News

9 June 2008

New Nukes

Since new reactors can take a decade to complete, the revival of interest in nuclear power in the past five years has yet to yield significant results. But executives from scores of companies are circling the globe to lobby governments and compete for contracts, determined to ensure that, when the nuclear surge takes off, they will be at the forefront. Two reactors are under construction in Europe – the Flamanville 3 plant in France and the Olkiluoto 3 plant in Finland – and Bulgaria is planning to add a new reactor at Belene.

FT 9th June 2008 more >>

Areva, the French nuclear reactor manufacturer, aims to dominate the next wave of UK nuclear power generation after receiving government assurances that its goal of supplying the technology for all the nation’s new reactors would not breach competition rules. Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive of the company which has already won pledges of support from energy companies EDF and Eon, told the Financial Times the UK was now “the most exciting place in Europe” for nuclear. Areva had been “very impressed by the decisions taken by the British government over a short period of time, over the last two years, to restart nuclear investment in Great Britain”, she said

FT 9th June 2008 more >>

Sellafield

Areva is bidding for the contract to operate Sellafield and it is talking to the NDA about what to do with the UK’s plutonium stockpile. It wants permission to build a new MOX plant at Sellafield.

FT 9th June 2008 more >>

Is “Atomic Anne” the new face of Britain’s nuclear industry? Anne Lauvergeon – her sobriquet reflects her role as chief executive of Areva, the state-owned French nuclear group – not only aims to supply the bulk of the next wave of reactors. She also wants to take charge of the UK’s nuclear waste problem: her group is bidding for the contract to run the Sellafield complex in Cumbria. Areva – which is the world’s biggest nuclear group and spans the full spectrum of nuclear services from uranium mining and enrichment to reactor design and spent fuel reprocessing – owes its identity principally to Ms Lauvergeon. She took the helm at Cogema, the uranium mining company, in 1999 and set about combining it with Framatome, the reactor-maker, to form Areva.

FT 9th June 2008 more >>

Italy

Enel SpA is planning to build four or five 1,800 MW nuclear plants in Italy, said CEO Fulvio Conti in an interview with daily La Repubblica.

AFX 9th June 2008 more >>

/div>

Posted: 9 June 2008

8 June 2008

Nuclear Waste

Councils will be asked to store nuclear waste in deep underground vaults in return for government investment in jobs, road improvements and health screening, under plans to be announced this week. Copeland council in Cumbria confirmed it was planning to put its name forward, a move seen as inevitable because most of the temporary waste is stored at the Sellafield reprocessing plant and the industry accounts for more than half of jobs in the area.

Observer 8th June 2008 more >>

British Energy

The board of nuclear generator British Energy is expected to recommend a £10bn takeover bid by French giant EDF within a fortnight. An announcement could be made as early as this week. The remaining rival bidders – German group RWE and Spanish utility Iberdrola, which owns Scottish Power – have not formally withdrawn from the auction. But banking sources said this weekend that it was unlikely that either would now table a firm offer for British Energy, the UK’s largest power generator.

Observer 8th June 2008 more >>

Telegraph 8th June 2008 more >>

French state-owned energy giant EDF should get the green light to take over the country’s leading nuclear energy producer within a fortnight, a newspaper said Sunday. An announcement could be made as early as this week, said The Observer weekly, saying the board of British Energy was expected to recommend the takeover once EDF, the world’s biggest nuclear energy producer, tables its bid. Rival bidders RWE from Germany and Spain’s Iberdrola have not yet formally given up on grabbing British Energy. Banking scources told The Observer that it was now “unlikely” that either would table a bid for the firm, in which the British government has a 35.2-percent stake.

AFP 8th June 2008 more >>

New Nukes

Britain’s nuclear regulator is in talks with its US and French counterparts to speed up the licensing of a new generation of reactor designs to meet the Government’s strict build timetable. The move follows concerns that the Government could miss out on its ambition to have the next nuclear power stations operational by the end of the next decade. In a conference for potential nuclear investors on Thursday, Business Secretary John Hutton is expected to calm these worries by confirming that the nuclear programme is on schedule. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) has until 2011 to grant licenses to a three-strong shortlist of bidders – Areva, GE Energy-Hitachi and Westinghouse – which want to design the reactors. Bidders have complained that the timetable could prove tight. A similar process is underway in the US and France, which have already made their own assessments on the reactor designs. The NII has held talks about sharing information so that it does not replicate the work.

Independent on Sunday 8th June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Campaigners attack huge amounts spent on hidden world of nuclear weapons. MAINTAINING AND developing the Trident nuclear warheads stationed on the Clyde is going to cost the British taxpayer a massive 18.5 billion over 13 years, according to the first official breakdown of defence nuclear spending. New figures released by the UK government after pressure from MPs reveal that £12.7bn of public money has been spent on nuclear weapons over the last 10 years. A further £5.8bn is planned to be spent over the next three years.

Sunday Herald 8th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 8 June 2008

7 June 2008

British Energy

New Nukes

THE SIC has launched a scathing attack on the UK government, expressing “serious misgivings” over its proposals for a new generation of nuclear reactors. Providing their response to the government’s consultation on decommissioning new reactors and managing their radioactive waste, the council argues that any risks over funding should be borne by the operator, not the public.

Shetland Times 6th June 2008 more >>

Hinkley

The growing reality of a new nuclear power station in Somerset has sparked a mixed reaction, with supporters and detractors of a possible “Hinkley C” speaking out. As reported in the Western Daily Press, energy giant EDF is planning to build a new facility in Hinkley within the next 10 years, creating thousands of jobs.The company has been buying up land surrounding the existing Hinkley B power station in readiness for the next stage of generating nuclear power in the UK and has already begun the process of building a station alongside the existing facility.

Western Daily Press 7th June 2008 more >>

Energy

Governments around the world must spend $45 trillion (£23trn) if they are to halve carbon emissions by 2050, according to a leading energy watchdog, as it called for an “energy revolution”. If current policies are maintained, CO2 emissions will more than double, The International Energy Agency (IEA) warned. The IEA called for carbon capture technology, nuclear energy and energy efficiency to play a much bigger role in government policy. Recommended proposals would include fitting 35 coal-fired and 20 gas-fired power plants with C02 capture and storage technology, at a cost of $11.5bn each. The IEA has also called for 32 new nuclear plants and 17,500 turbines each year.

Independent 7th June 2008 more >>

FT 7th June 2008 more >>

BBC 6th June 2008 more >>

The cost of carbon dioxide emissions would need to be at least $200 per tonne – many times today’s levels – to deliver the cuts scientists propose will be needed to avert the threat of global warming, the International Energy Agency said yesterday.

FT 7th June 2008 more >>

Companies

EDF, Eni and other big energy companies could be forced to restructure their businesses after EU countries yesterday backed further opening of the electricity and gas markets. The agreement, reached at an EU meeting in Luxembourg, marks a breakthrough in long, divisive efforts to boost competition in the union’s energy sector.

FT 7th June 2008 more >>

Iran

Israel braced itself for conflict on two fronts against militants in Gaza and an Iranian government persisting with its nuclear programme.

Telegraph 7th June 2008 more >>

Israel “will attack” Iran if it continues to develop nuclear weapons, one of prime minister Ehud Olmert’s deputies warned yesterday. Shaul Mofaz, a former defence minister and a contender to replace the scandal-battered Olmert, said military action would be “unavoidable” if Tehran proved able to acquire the technology to manufacture atomic bombs.

Guardian 7th June 2008 more >>

Times 7th June 2008 more >>

Europe

Nobody would need to worry about Giles Chichester, if he was simply another man retaining a boyish fantasy. Regrettably, he has been an influential advocate of the nuclear cause, campaigning to keep power plants with a dodgy safety record running. For example, he has defended Kozloduy, a Bulgarian plant built with Soviet-era technology and with similar design flaws to Chernobyl, against EU demands that it be shut.

Guardian 6th June 2008 more >>

Korea

South Korea today signalled a further shift from its tough stance on North Korea as its president, Lee Myung-bak, praised the north for its cooperation in nuclear talks.

Guardian 6th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 7 June 2008

6 June 2008

G8

Today’s publication of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest energy forecast, to coincide with the start of the G8 Energy Ministers meeting, should be welcomed for its recognition that half the world’s energy could be supplied by renewable sources by 2050 said Greenpeace. However, the IEA’s vision of increasing nuclear power by a factor of four and relying on carbon capture and storage to meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets should be rejected as an expensive and dangerous distraction.

Greenpeace International 6th June 2008 more >>

New Nukes

A government move to increase the UK’s nuclear energy capacity has been welcomed by Atkins and the SMC group as a “major” business opportunity which could herald a new era of “colourful” power stations.

Building Design 6th June 2008 more >>

Video clip of Amory Lovins talking about nuclear power.

Climate Change Action 5th June 2008 more >>

Ministers are being urged to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in an effort to put the brake on spiralling fuel bills. Derek Simpson, leader of the Unite union, said yesterday it is the best way to cut the UK’s dependence on foreign oil and gas, and could create up to 10,000 jobs.

Mirror 5th June 2008 more >>

A rebellion by Labour backbenchers has forced Gordon Brown’s Government into a fresh retreat with a last-minute re-write of vital planning legislation. More than 60 Labour MPs have threatened to oppose a proposal to create an Infrastructure Planning Commission that would have the final say on major projects including nuclear power stations and airport runways. Ministers say the measures are will speed up the planning process, something especially important for the construction of the new wave of nuclear reactors that Mr Brown has said he wants to see built to help wean Britain off imported oil. But many MPs fear that the proposed commission would put “inordinate and unprecedented” powers to push through developments against public opposition in the hands of unelected officials. Under current laws, the final say on major projects rests with elected ministers.

Telegraph 6th June 2008 more >>

Eon says it wants to build two nuclear stations in the UK.

Independent 6th June 2008 (not on web)

Waste

Letter: For decades it has been possible to glassify waste and deep bury it, or deposit it in subduction trenches. But its energy content is too valuable. Sir David King, until recently Government Chief Scientist, is reported as saying: “We can bury nuclear waste, or use it as free fuel for life. We have six tonnes of plutonium and 60 tonnes of uranium stockpiled from the Fifties. Using fast-breeder reactors we would be near self-sufficient in nuclear fuel until 2100.”

Independent 6th June 2008 more >>

Iran

The UN’s atomic watchdog made little progress on Iran’s nuclear drive at a four-day meeting that ended here Thursday and Syria emerged as a new proliferation problem for the West. Iran insisted after the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-member board meeting that it had answered all questions on its alleged nuclear weapons work and that it considered the controversy closed.

Africasia 5th June 2008 more >>

Iran’s foreign ministry on Thursday slammed US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s pledge to work to “eliminate” the threat posed by Tehran as “unacceptable” and biased.

Africasia 5th June 2008 more >>

Slovenia

Slovenia was caught in a nuclear controversy Thursday after admitting that it wrongly told other countries that a water leak that forced it to shut down a nuclear reactor was only an exercise. The shutdown on Wednesday led to the EU raising a Europe-wide radiation alert for the first time since the system was put in place in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster 22 years ago. After detecting a loss in the reactor’s cooling system mid-afternoon Wednesday, Slovenian authorities decided to manually shut the plant down, and correctly alerted the European Commission — but erroneously told neighbouring countries the incident was an exercise. The Slovenian government apologised Thursday but insisted there was no safety threat from the water coolant problem, and that the reactor at Krsko, 120 miles (75 kilometres) east of the capital, Ljubljana, would be fixed within days.

AFP 5th June 2008 more >>

The European Commission defended issuing a nuclear alert on Wednesday.

EU Business 5th June 2008 more >>

Slovenia’s only nuclear plant, which was shut down on Wednesday because of a water leak, is expected to start operating again next week, the plant’s chief executive told Reuters on Thursday.

Reuters 5th June 2008 more >>

Italy

Italy’s minister for economic development Claudio Scajola confirmed the government’s intentions to lay the foundations to start building nuclear power plants in Italy in 2013, Italian newswire Radiocor reported, citing the minister.

AFX 5th June 2008 more >>

US

The two top leaders of the American Air Force were fired by US defence secretary Robert Gates yesterday after a series of embarrassing errors including a mistaken shipment of nuclear weapons fuses to Taiwan, officials said.

Telegraph 6th June 2008 more >>

Guardian 6th June 2008 more >>

The US navy is pinning its hopes of winning support for the forthcoming deployment in Japan of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington on the fictional Japanese-American hero of a new comic about life as a US serviceman.

Guardian 6th June 2008 more >>

Submarines

Two nuclear submarines are due to visit Portsmouth Harbour this month, according to a Local Notice to Mariners. The first of the visits will take place before 9 June, and the second between 9 and 12 June.

Motor Boats Monthly 5th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 6 June 2008

5 June 2008

Slovenia

The UN’s atomic watchdog said it is monitoring Slovenia’s nuclear plant at Krsko, after it began shutting down on Wednesday following a problem with the cooling system, but that it had been at the lowest of the four nuclear emergency levels. The Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration (SNSA) had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) about an “unusual event” at Krsko, said an IAEA statement released late Wednesday. But the SNSA “said there was no radiation release to the environment”.

AFX 5th June 2008 more >>

IHT 4th June 2008 more >>

The EU’s executive arm activated its European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange (ECURIE) system, immediately transmitting the information to all 27 member states. “At this point in time, no discharge to the environment has been identified,” the commission said, adding that the power of the reactor was at 22 percent and “the safe shutdown is still in progress.” The ECURIE system requires early notification and exchange of information “in the event of a radiological or nuclear emergency.”

AFP 4th June 2008 more >>

Reuters 4th June 2008 more >>

CNN 4th June 2008 more >>

Express 4th June 2008 more >>

BBC 4th June 2008 more >>

Wales

THE National Eisteddfod is set to receive a welcome financial boost from a nuclear power company, the Daily Post can reveal. Magnox North, the current owners of the Trawsfynydd nuclear power station, has agreed to donate £50,000 towards the £3m cost of staging next year’s festival at Bala.

Daily Post 4th June 2008 more >>

US

Nevada officials say they’ve filed the first challenge to a Bush administration bid to win Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval for a national nuclear waste dump outside Las Vegas.

Money AM 4th June 2008 more >>

IHT 4th June 2008 more >>

Hundreds of scientists have been laid off at America’s most important nuclear weapons design laboratory, prompting fears that they could sell their expertise to hostile foreign powers. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory near San Francisco made 440 staff redundant last month, many of them involved in nuclear weapons work or efforts to stop other countries acquiring them.

Telegraph 5th June 2008 more >>

In the United States, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has begun reviewing nine applications for licenses to build new reactors, the first since 1979 when a plant at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania came close to a catastrophic nuclear meltdown. In their analysis, entitled The Nuclear Illusion, Amory B. Lovins and Imran Sheikh write that “turning (nuclear) ambitions into actual investments, firm orders, and operating plants faces fundamental obstacles that are now first and foremost economic, since the political obstacles related to safety, waste, proliferation etc. can be and in many countries have been bypassed by fiat.”

Reuters 4th June 2008 more >>

Japan

A nuclear reprocessing plant in northern Japan is sited directly above an active geological fault line that could produce a magnitude 8 earthquake, some earth scientists say. The massive Rokkasho plant for uranium enrichment, spent fuel reprocessing and nuclear-waste storage is built on an uplifted marine terrace of sloping sedimentary rock layers on the northeast coast of the island of Honshu.

Nature 4th June 2008 more >>

Iran

Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of Israel, has sought to increase pressure on Iran by saying “all possible means” must be used to stop the Islamic republic from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Telegraph 5th June 2008 more >>

Daily Mail Online 4th June 2008 more >>

Daily Mirror 4th June 2008 more >>

The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was today set to meet the US president, George Bush, to discuss concerns over Iran. Both leaders claim the country remains a serious problem, and Olmert believes it has yet to suspend its weapons programme and remains intent on developing a nuclear arsenal.

Guardian 4th June 2008 more >>

The USA and Britain will use the same techniques they used to justify aggression against Iraq – falsehood, deception and disinformation – in order to attack Iran and seize its oil, argues Christopher King.

Middle East Online 4th June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear fusion has the potential to transform the way that we generate energy forever. Fusion describes the process of forcing atoms together to release energy, as opposed to nuclear fission, the process used in current nuclear reactors, which forces atoms apart. If successful, and nuclear fusion reactors are not expected to start producing energy until around 2040, these fusion reactions could be a never-ending source of energy with absolutely zero carbon dioxide emissions.

Independent 31st May 2008 more >>

Renewables

A new programme to open up the UK’s seas to more wind farms was launched today as part of a bid to increase massively the supply of offshore renewable power. The Crown Estate, owner of the seabed around Britain, launched round three of its scheme to license companies to build wind farms, which it hopes will speed up the delivery of offshore renewables.

Independent 4th June 2008 more >>

Times 5th June 2008 more >>

Coal

Malcolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, was accused of recklessness yesterday for supporting the construction of a coal-fired power plant. The Environmental Audit Select Committee said that the Government was rushing into the planned £1.5billion E.ON plant at Kingsnorth, Kent, before it had successfully developed carbon-cleaning technology. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is intended to capture the carbon produced when fossil fuels are burnt in power plants, so that it can be safely stored rather than being released into the atmosphere.

Times 5th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 5 June 2008

4 June 2008

Renewables

One of Britain’s leading energy providers warned yesterday that Britain will need substantial fossil fuel generation to back up the renewable energy it needs to meet European Union targets. The UK has to meet a target of 15% of energy from renewables by 2020. E.ON said that it could take 50 gigawatts of renewable electricity generation to meet the EU target. But it would require up to 90% of this amount as backup from coal and gas plants to ensure supply when intermittent renewable supplies were not available. That would push Britain’s installed power base from the existing 76 gigawatts to 120 gigawatts.

Guardian 4th June 2008 more >>

FT 4th June 2008 more >>

The era of cheap and plentiful energy to which we have become so accustomed is about to give way to a new age of scarce and expensive power that will see household bills rocket, said Paul Golby, the chief executive of E.ON UK. He warned that over the next 12 years, the industry and the Government will need to invest some £100bn to meet ambitious carbon-reduction targets and a looming generation gap. The predictions came in the company’s UK Energy Manifesto, which was published yesterday.

Independent 4th June 2008 more >>

Proliferation

NATO chief says the “scarcity of fossil fuels is already leading to a renaissance of civilian nuclear energy – and this poses its very own proliferation problems.”

Telegraph 4th June 2008 more >>

The founder of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb is bristling with indignation. After four years of enforced silence, the scientist described by the CIA as “at least as dangerous as Osama bin Laden” and on a Time magazine cover as the “merchant of menace”, is finally getting a chance to fight back. The voice is a little faint but his mind is clearly still razor-sharp. Now aged 72 and suffering from prostate cancer, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, characterised as a Dr Strangelove figure by critics but regarded as a hero by most of his fellow Pakistanis, wants to set the record straight. A bookshelf-worth of titles have painted him as a greedy pedlar of nuclear technology to some of the world’s most dangerous regimes.

Independent 4th June 2008 more >>

Markets

British industry will be “damaged irreparably” unless the imbalance between energy markets in the UK and continental Europe is addressed over the next decade, a senior chemical industry executive warned yesterday.

Guardian 4th June 2008 more >>

Radwaste

Letter: How do you propose to dispose of the high-activity waste which all nuclear-generating systems produce? There has never been a satisfactory response to our question and, given the nature of the material in question, there probably never will be. People who think like Mr Hyde propose to leave a terrible legacy to future generations.

Independent 4th June 2008 more >>

Yucca

The U.S. Energy Department has applied for a license to operate a long-delayed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman announced on Tuesday. Bodman said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will take about three years to review and decide whether to approve the license request for the Yucca Mountain storage facility, which was supposed to have opened in 1998. The earliest Yucca Mountain could open is 2020.

Reuters 3rd June 2008 more >>

France

Article by Mycle Schneider: Developing countries that have expressed interest in French nuclear power technology can’t implement it anytime soon. A French-led global nuclear power renaissance is problematic, since the country’s nonproliferation record is poor. French nuclear reactors aren’t as safe as its promoters claim. Nuclear power provides only a small portion of total French energy consumption.

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 3rd June 2008 more >>

Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said Iran’s nuclear programme must be stopped by “all possible means”.

BBC 4th June 2008 more >>

Reuters 4th June 2008 more >>

Iran’s supreme leader has insisted it will continue its nuclear activities for civilian purposes only and will not manufacture nuclear weapons.

BBC 3rd June 2008 more >>

Syria

Syria has told fellow Arab countries that it will not permit an International Atomic Energy Agency probe to extend beyond a site bombed by Israel, despite agency interest in three other suspect locations, say diplomats in Austria.

Express 3rd June 2008 more >>

Syria is not seeking nuclear weapons but wants to have access to atomic energy for peaceful purposes through a collective Arab project, President Bashar al-Assad said in remarks published on Tuesday.

Middle East Online 3rd June 2008 more >>

Syria’s official press lashed out at the United States and Israel on Tuesday over claims it was building a secret nuclear reactor, and said the Jewish state’s own atomic facilities should be subject to international inspection.

Middle East Online 3rd June 2008 more >>

US

Future bright for nuclear power in US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Dale Klein told Reuters he expects that nuclear energy will play an expanding role in US energy policy. Currently about 20 percent of electricity in the US is generated by nuclear power. Klein said the government is reviewing nine applications for 15 nuclear plants that could increase the percentage of electricity in the US generated by nuclear power.

Reuters 3rd June 2008 more >>

Vietnam

Lawmakers in communist Vietnam approved a law on Tuesday allowing it to use atomic energy for civilian purposes and paving the way for its first ever nuclear power plant, an official said.

AFX 3rd June 2008 more >>

Submarine

A sailor is facing a disciplinary after falling asleep while on watch duty on the British nuclear submarine which crashed into rocks.

Telegraph 4th June 2008 more >>

Herald 4th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 4 June 2008

3 June 2008

Microgeneration

SOLAR panels and other small-scale home energy devices could save the same amount of carbon dioxide as taking all lorries and buses off UK roads within 12 years, according to a new report. The research found that up to nine million gadgets, from wind turbines to solar panels, could be installed on homes by 2020, if new policies are put in place. This would generate as much energy as five nuclear power stations. But the report said much greater policy support and financial incentives are needed to turn home energy devices, known as microgeneration, into a mass market.

Scotsman 3rd June 2008 more >>

Guardian website 2nd June 2008 more >>

Guardian 3rd June 2008 more >>

Telegraph 3rd June 2008 more >>

Home Energy Options

Guardian 3rd June 2008 more >>

See the following link for more details of the independent report more >>

British Energy

The trading floor was buzzing on talk that Iberdrola, one of the names already linked to an offer for Britain’s biggest electricity producer, was set to storm in with a knockout 885p per share bid. While some heads of trading raised a cynical eyebrow over what they thought was a generous price, investors bit hard, sending the UK group storming into the top three FTSE 100 risers of the day. The share gains of 1.91 per cent reversed losses from last week after the group revealed full-year profits had slumped 28 per cent. Other parties rumoured to be interested in a bid include EDF, RWE and Centrica.

Independent 3rd June 2008 more >>

Hinkley

Nigel Cann’s zeal for nuclear expansion at Hinkley Point, Somerset, is not surprising, given his role as director of Hinkley B, but there are other sides to the argument. His reactor has not been “generating electricity safely” for its 32-year life. Accidental releases of radiation have occurred throughout that time, including one episode in the 1980s where radioactive carbon dioxide gas escaped, with claims by a nuclear consultant at the time that the accident was second only to Windscale in severity. Human error seemed to be the trigger. Hinkley B’s construction in the 1970s was found to have been flawed with systematic “bodge” welding to steel pipes owned up to by a former welder. History repeats itself as the new European Pressurised Reactors (EPR), expected to be built in Somerset, have been afflicted with construction faults on two sites in Finland and France. The faults have ranged from concrete foundations having the wrong concrete mix to steelwork having been badly welded by under-qualified sub-contractors. Work at the Flamanville site was halted this week by the French regulators.

Western Daily Press 2nd June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Costs

The estimated cost of new nuclear power plants has tripled in the past few years, with projections now hitting $6 billion to $9 billion per reactor. Cost estimates are expected to continue escalating. Soaring costs make the prospect of new nuclear power even harder to sell to a public that will ultimately pay for new plants through rate increases.

Grist 1st June 2008 more >>

Nuclear power still has so many problems that unless the federal government shovels tens of billions of dollars more in subsidies to the industry, and then shoves it down the throat of U.S. utilities and the public with mandates, it is unlikely to see a significant renaissance in this country. Nor is nuclear power likely to make up even 10 percent of the solution to the climate problem globally. New nuclear power now costs more than double what the MIT report assumed — three times what the Economist called “too costly to matter” — lets focus solely on the unresolved problem of cost. While safety, proliferation and waste issues get most of the publicity, nuclear plants have become so expensive that cost overwhelms the other problems.

Salon News 2nd June 2008 more >>

The Self Limiting Future of Nuclear Power by Joe Romm.

Centre for American Progress Action 2nd June 2008 more >>

It won’t be possible to build a new generation of nuclear power stations without pledging large sums of taxpayers money and extending unlimited guarantees to underwrite the debts of the existing and future nuclear industry, a new study concludes today

FoE Press Release 29th May 2008 more >>

US

The parent company of a Lancashire fuel manufacturer has announced a deal to build two nuclear power reactors in the United States.

Westinghouse Electric Company, which operates Springfields Fuels Ltd in Salwick, near Preston, has agreed the deal to build its AP1000 reactors in South Carolina through its partner The Shaw Group Inc.

Lancashire Evening Post 3rd June 2008 more >>

Electric utilities that build a new nuclear plant may see their credit rating slip during construction, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report today. Analysis of a hypothetical utility showed that credit measurements derived from cash flow tumbled in the second half of a 10-year project as costs rose, Moody’s said in the report, “New Nuclear Generating Capacity: Potential Credit Implications for U.S. Investor Owned Utilities.’’

Bloomberg 2nd June 2008 more >>

Syria

The UN nuclear agency has said that Syria is to allow inspectors to visit the country to investigate allegations that it was building a nuclear reactor. The International Atomic Energy Agency says its inspectors are due in Syria between the 22 and 24 June.

BBC 2nd June 2008 more >>

Independent 3rd June 2008 more >>

Guardian 3rd June 2008 more >>

Telegraph 3rd June 2008 more >>

Times Online 2nd June 2008 more >>

Iran

The prudent starting point for the new paradigm is the return of Iran’s nuclear dossier to the IAEA. Iran has indicated that if this is done, it will implement the additional protocol that allows for intrusive, unannounced visits to anywhere in Iran by the IAEA. According to the latest IAEA report, 14 unannounced visits to Iran’s nuclear facilities were conducted over the past year, implying that Iran is already in substantial compliance with the protocol.

Guardian 2nd June 2008 more >>

Posted: 3 June 2008

2 June 2008

New Nukes

THE Government’s proposal to press ahead with a new generation of nuclear power has come under fire from a Scarborough Green Party councillor. Cllr Dilys Cluer condemned Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s comments as “a knee-jerk response to scare the British people into blindly accepting nuclear power”.

Scarborough Evening News 2nd June 2008 more >>

Algeria

Algeria and France are due to sign an unprecedented nuclear energy cooperation pact, Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil said Saturday.

AFX 1st June 2008 more >>

Iran

Iran suggested on Sunday it may move to limit cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, which last week said Tehran’s alleged research into nuclear warheads remained a matter of serious concern.

Reuters 1st June 2008 more >>

Posted: 2 June 2008

1 June 2008

New Nukes

Energysolutions and its partner Toshiba have offered to kick start the UK’s stalled nuclear clean-up programme – in return for being given the sites to build a new fleet of reactors. At present French utility company EDF is leading the race to buy nuclear generator British Energy and start the new-build programme. But the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which owns the public sector’s old nuclear sites, has also put these on the block for firms interested in building new reactors. EnergySolutions, which operates the 10 old Magnox reactor sites in Britain, has teamed up with Toshiba, owner of the Westinghouse reactor design company. They have proposed taking ownership of the Magnox sites and building new reactors on them. In return, they are promising to accelerate the decommissioning effort.

Observer 1st June 2008 more >>

GORDON BROWN and John Hutton, the business secretary, are to woo international investors and power groups at a special summit in London on June 12 to drum up interest in Britain’s multi-billion-pound plans for new nuclear power stations. About 80 top executives from banks, investment funds and leading international power and nuclear-technology groups are expected at the Westminster meeting. Brown is likely to host a dinner on the eve of the conference, with Hutton the key speaker at the half-day event.

Sunday Times 1st June 2008 more >>

Microgeneration

Ministers could avoid building nuclear reactors by encouraging families to fit solar panels and other renewable energy equipment to their homes, a startling official report concludes. The government-backed report, to be published tomorrow, says that, with changed policies, the number of British homes producing their own clean energy could multiply to one million – about one in every three – within 12 years. These would produce enough power to replace five large nuclear power stations, tellingly at about the same time as the first of the much-touted new generation of reactors is likely to come on stream. And, it adds, by 2030, such “microgeneration” would save the same amount of emissions of carbon dioxide – the main cause of global warming – as taking all Britain’s lorries and buses off the road.

Independent on Sunday 1st June 2008 more >>

Investing in the technology to develop renewable energy sources plays an important part in the German economy. In Britain, what’s left of manufacturing seems ridiculously dependent on the arms trade. Between Berwick and Berlin I heard one of the drivers of this German revolution, the Social Democratic MP Hermann Scheer, speak in a large but crowded Commons committee room. Scheer – styled by Time magazine as one of its five “Heroes for the Green Century” – had just five MPs in that audience. Two of them – both Labour MPs – shared the platform and his enthusiasm. Neither will be standing at the next election.

Independent on Sunday 1st June 2008 more >>

The outlines of the green choice are clear. Parts of it are visible, scattered across Government like green shoots. Mr Brown has his back to the wall, and is being urged by his friends to throw caution to the winds and do what is right in the next two years rather than what he thinks might be popular. At the moment, he gives every sign of making the wrong choice for this country and the world. If he does so, he risks ceding a critical issue to Mr Cameron.

Independent on Sunday 1st June 2008 more >>

Zero-Carbon

Lord Coe , the chairman of the London Olympics organising committee, is in talks with the National Grid over a deal intended to make the London 2012 games carbon neutral.

Independent on Sunday 1st June 2008 more >>

Jordan

Jordan and France signed an agreement on Friday to help the Arab kingdom develop its nuclear energy program. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his Jordanian counterpart, Salaheddine al-Bashir, announced the deal in Amman. The agreement calls on France to help create nuclear reactors to be used for electricity production and desalination of sea water.

AP 31st May 2008 more >>

Iran

Iran is not trying to acquire nuclear weapons but Tehran should avoid “irritating” its neighbours, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Saturday in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde. Putin, who was in Paris for two days of meetings with President Nicolas Sarkozy and other French leaders, said there was no indication Iran was building its own nuclear arsenal.

Middle East Online 31st May 2008 more >>

Iran should open its nuclear installations to international scrutiny to clear suspicions about its nuclear ambitions, French Defence Minister Herve Morin said on Sunday.

Reuters 1st June 2008 more >>

Posted: 1 June 2008

31 May 2008

Nuclear Waste

A HUGE nuclear dump storing thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste in west Cumbria has been recommended for approval at Sellafield. Copeland council’s planning panel yesterday gave the thumbs up to outline plans for the major development. Sellafield Ltd want to build the facility to store intermediate level nuclear waste before it is exported to a final permanent repository. An area of around six acres would have to be cleared at Sellafield to make way for the dump. Sellafield Ltd stated in their applications that the new facility would create around 105 jobs. But anti-nuclear campaigners fear more radioactive waste could be transported into Sellafield from elsewhere.

Whitehaven News, 29th May 2008 more >>

A MAJOR development to import and export radioactive waste in and out of Sellafield could create 105 new jobs. The building would be used for surface storage of intermediate level waste before it is exported to a final permanent repository, when one is built. But anti-nuclear campaigners are worried that more radioactive waste could be transported in from elsewhere. Currently, waste for storage or reprocessing is transported in and out of Sellafield by road and rail and also by ship through Barrow and Workington.

Whitehaven News 28th May 2008 more >>

ONE million hours, or more than five years, have been worked at the low level waste repository at Drigg without a reportable accident.

Whitehaven News 28th May 2008 more >>

New Nukes

A leading environmental group has attacked what it calls the “voodoo economics” of nuclear power. Friends of the Earth says vast sums of taxpayers’ money will be needed to build a new generation of nuclear power stations. It makes the claim in a report on the performance of Britain’s nuclear industry over the past 50 years. FoE says it has been “disastrous” and marked by “broken promises and escalating bills to the taxpayer”.

Sky News 29th May 2008 more >>

SNP Energy Spokesperson Mike Weir attacked Gordon Brown’s plan for more reactors saying it involved signing a blank cheque to the nuclear industry.

Aberdeen Press and Journal 30th May 2008 more >>

A power cut that affected hundreds of homes this week is proof more atomic energy is needed, according to a politician. Tory parliamentary candidate for Taunton Deane, Mark Formosa, claims more nuclear plants must be built to prevent Britain being plunged into an energy crisis.Mr Formosa, who is a staunch supporter of Government proposals to build two new reactors at Hinkley Point, said: “I have warned for some time that Britain is facing an energy crisis and that in winter we could see the lights going out in homes and businesses in Taunton Deane because of insufficient energy supplies.”

Western Daily Press 30th May 2008 more >>

Companies

Britain’s second biggest gas and electricity supplier, Scottish and Southern Energy, warned today the industry stood on the brink of radical change. Centralised fossil fuel fired generation would have to give way to a combination of energy efficiency and diversity of generation. “The days of meeting an unchecked demand for energy through monolithic carbon intensive power stations are coming to an end. Increasingly the emphasis will be on energy efficiency, renewables, cleaned up fossil fuel plant and micro generation,” the company said in a statement accompanying its full-year results. SSE, which currently gets 15% of its energy from nuclear suppliers, said it believed “one more tranche of nuclear power stations will be necessary, but that the deployment of such power stations should be minimised through the maximum exploitation of renewable energy sources.”

Guardian 29th May 2008 more >>

NDA

The cost of cleaning up the UK’s nuclear facilities – some of which date back to the 1950s – looks set to rise above £73bn. A senior official at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) told the BBC this week that the costs of dismantling 19 sites over the coming years will rise by billions of pounds.

Edie 29th May 2008 more >>

Radhealth

CLAIMS of increased risk of leukaemia near nuclear facilities will be on the agenda at a Cumbrian conference next month. International health researchers will present the latest evidence of health effects at the 20th Low-Level Radiation and Health Conference, at the University of Cumbria’s Ambleside campus on June 7-8.

Whitehaven News 28th May 2008 more >>

Chernobyl

A plan to smuggle a highly radioactive helicopter from the Chernobyl disaster area and turn it into an eye-catching cafe has been foiled in Ukraine. Police said several people were detained after they were found transporting the scrap from the 18-miles exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power station, which exploded in 1986. The helicopter, an Mi-8 “Hip”, was found to emit up to 30 times the legal level of radiation.

Telegraph 31st May 2008 more >>

Pakistan

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the disgraced Pakistani scientist once responsible for his country’s nuclear weapons programme, has retracted his confession that he sold nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

Telegraph 31st May 2008 more >>

Proliferation

Nuclear bomb blueprints and manuals on how to manufacture weapons-grade uranium for warheads are feared to be circulating on the international black market, according to investigators tracking the world’s most infamous nuclear smuggling racket. Alarm about the sale of nuclear know-how follows the disclosure that the Swiss government, allegedly acting under US pressure, secretly destroyed tens of thousands of documents from a massive nuclear smuggling investigation. The information was seized from the home and computers of Urs Tinner, a 43-year-old Swiss engineer who has been in custody for almost four years as a key suspect in the nuclear smuggling ring run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani metallurgist who in 2004 admitted leaking nuclear secrets and is under house arrest in Islamabad. The Khan network trafficked nuclear materials, equipment and knowhow to at least three countries: Iran, Libya, and North Korea.

Guardian 31st May 2008 more >>

US

The nuclear energy industry’s main trade group spent $320,000 in the first quarter to lobby the federal government, according to a recent disclosure form. The Nuclear Energy Institute, whose members include Duke Energy Corp. and Exelon Corp., lobbied on legislation dealing with power grid reliability, uranium issues, trade agreements, and climate change, according to the amended report posted online April 21 by the House clerk’s office.

AFX 30th May 2008 more >>

New thinking is needed to stem the spread of nuclear weapons around the world, a phenomenon that may represent the biggest threat to global security. John McCain, the presumptive US Republican presidential candidate who laid out his views on the subject this week, has signalled he may be ready to change the direction of US policy. This newspaper has expressed strong reservations about some of Mr McCain’s foreign policy positions, particularly his approaches to Iran and Iraq which seem to offer little more than a continuation of the failure of the Bush years. But on this issue he is talking sense.

FT 31st May 2008 more >>

Syria

America is pressing UN inspectors to broaden a search for secret nuclear sites in Syria following the destruction of an alleged reactor by Israel. The US has given information on three suspect sites to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which is negotiating with Syria for permission to conduct inspections in the country.

Sky News 30th May 2008 more >>

Posted: 31 May 2008