News

11 April 2012

Sellafield

The public body in charge of Sellafield has tried to conceal evidence that it seriously underestimated the spiralling costs and delays of the biggest nuclear construction project in the UK. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which is the legal owner of the reprocessing site in Cumbria, denied the original estimate for the “evaporator D” project was £90m when the The Independent revealed the true cost to be £400m or more in February. In a statement released at the time, the NDA said: “The original plan of an Evaporator D to be delivered by 2010 for £90m has never been accepted by NDA as credible and we have no ownership for those numbers.” However, the minutes of a 2008 NDA board meeting show nuclear executives had originally estimated the evaporator D’s costs to be about £100m. The minutes state: “In discussion, the substantial increase in costs from the original £100m to the current £360m was observed… and the project was about four years behind schedule.”

Independent 11th April 2012 more >>

New Nukes

The war of words between the pro- and anti-nuclear environmentalists shows no sign of ending, with those writers in favour – George Monbiot, Mark Lynas, Fred Pearce and Stephen Tindale – now slugging it out with those campaigning against – Jonathon Porritt, Tom Burke, Tony Juniper and Charles Secrett. Everyone is pretending to be quite grown-up, polite and cool, but actually it’s getting vicious. Apart from a few gratuitous insults on either side, the dispute that has rumbled on for a few years has so far been largely technocratic and conducted with political and personal respect. In the latest skirmishes, the four former heads of Friends of the Earth (FoE) politely wrote to the prime minister advising him to drop nuclear power on cost and other grounds; whereupon the hacks also wrote to No 10 saying this advice undermined government climate change policy. Over the next month Porritt, Burke & co will issue four or five more intellectual blasts, and will convene a press conference, and we can expect the hacks to respond. Now, in an extraordinary exchange of emails between Monbiot and Theo Simon – who is one half of the renowned radical protest band Seize the Day – all opponents of nuclear power are said to have made their arguments “with levels of bullshit and junk science”. We are starting to get to the heart of what it means to be green today. One vision can justify a corrupt and odious state if it can make an odious technology work to overcome a terrible danger. The other argues that there are far better ways to achieve the same end without the resulting damage to society and the long-term dangers that the technology entails. The questions raised are profoundly difficult and need to be debated, but personal attacks are inflammatory and really help no one.

Guardian 10th April 2012 more >>

E-mails between George Monbiot & Theo Simon.

Guardian 10th April 2012 more >>

Japanese companies could help build nuclear power stations in Britain under a joint framework signed by David Cameron. The prime minister, who was on his first official visit to Japan, signed an agreement on Tuesday that opened Britain’s nuclear market up to “Japanese companies’ technical expertise in new plant design and construction”. In return, British companies will be called upon to help the ongoing clean-up at the Fukushima plant in the wake of last year’s earthquake and tsunami. The agreement said: “Japanese companies’ technical expertise in new plant design and construction, and the UK’s decommissioning and waste-management experience and technology make civil nuclear co-operation particularly mutually beneficial.”

Telegraph 11th April 2012 more >>

Particular areas noted for “mutually beneficial” cooperation included “Japanese companies’ technical expertise in new plant design and construction, and the UK’s decommissioning and waste-management experience and technology.” Former UK nuclear giant BNFL sold US-based Westinghouse to Toshiba some years ago and now that company’s AP1000 reactor design is one of two designs at a licensing stage that enables new build projects to move ahead. Meanwhile, opportunities for UK firms exist in contributing to the management, mitigation and clean-up of the effects of last year’s Fukushima accident.

World Nuclear News 10th April 2012 more >>

The UK and Japan today agreed a Framework on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, providing the basis for UK companies to engage in multi-billion pound decommissioning opportunities in Japan. Announced as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s first official visit to Japan, the Framework also recognises the importance both countries attach to co-operation on wider nuclear issues.

DECC 10th April 2012 more >>

Construction Index 11th April 2012 more >>

Engineering & Technology 10th April 2012 more >>

Construction News 10th April 2012 more >>

Horizon

The Russian nuclear giant that built Chernobyl has confirmed interest in erecting generators in Britain. Kremlin-owned Rosatom is fundamentally the same group that built the Ukrainian reactors, one of which exploded in 1986. And fallout from the disaster contributed to almost 1m premature cancer deaths, a leading Russian study concluded in 2004. Now the Russian giant is turning its gaze towards Britain. In its sights are Wylfa on Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

This is Money 10th April 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Sedbergh and Colton Parish Councils (both in South Lakeland) join the growig list of those opposed to continuing with the search for a nuclear dump in West Cumbria.

Radiation Free Lakeland 10th April 2012 more >>

Sizewell

Activists at the Sizewell nuclear power station are organising a campaign camp at Sizewell nuclear power station over the weekend of 20 – 22 April. A big demo is planned for Saturday (21st) and transport from London is being organised by London Region CND.

Greenpeace 6th April 2012 more >>

Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk is working again after a fault sparked its first unplanned stoppage for three years. An electrical fault in another part of the plant automatically shut the site’s reactor and turbines on 2 March. The reactor and one turbine at the site began working on 13 March and the second turbine rejoined the National Grid on Sunday. The site is expected to be back to full capacity by Wednesday.

BBC 10th April 2012 more >>

Wylfa

The Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey will close down one of its reactors later this month. Officials said Reactor 2, which began operating in 1971, would stop producing electricity on 30 April because of limited fuel stocks. The remaining Reactor 1 is allowed to operate until 2014.

BBC 10th April 2012 more >>

Enformable 10th April 2012 more >>

Old Nukes

EDF Energy yesterday resumed output from two nuclear plants, bringing 1,200 megawatts of potential generation capacity back on to the grid. EDF said its 600MW Sizewell B1 reactor returned to service several days ahead of schedule on Sunday after shutting down on 2 March. The company’s 620MW Hartlepool 1 reactor also resumed outputting power.

City AM 11th April 2012 more >>

Energy Business Review 10th April 2012 more >>

Plutonium

The National Nuclear Laboratory has signed a deal with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to research whether a new type of nuclear reactor could be used in the UK. The Warrington-based NNL is to team up with GEH to provide expert technical input on work to study the potential UK deployment of PRISM reactors. The reactors are being tipped as a way of disposing of the UK’s used plutonium while also generating low carbon electricity. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is seeking proposals for how to tackle the UK’s plutonium stocks. By 2018, the UK will have 140 tonnes of plutonium, mostly stored at Sellafield, Cumbria.

Manchester Evening News 11th April 2012 more >>

GE Hitachi has signed a memorandum of understanding for the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) to provide expert technical input towards the potential deployment of GEH’s Prism reactor to address the UK’s growing stockpile of civil plutonium. GEH also spent a day meeting with a number of skilled nuclear workers in West Cumbria to learn how they could work together on the potential deployment of Prism in the region.

Nuclear Engineering International 7th April 2012 more >>

R&D

The Government is to invest up to £15 million in research, development and knowledge transfer to stimulate innovation and support growth in the civil nuclear power sector. The investment – through the Technology Strategy Board, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will fund feasibility projects, collaborative research and development and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) that stimulate innovation and strengthen the UK supply chain. Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “This is an important and exciting time for the UK civil nuclear industry. With potential for investment and innovation in the new-build and decommissioning markets, now is the right time to make sure that the UK is best placed to win orders and grow global market share. “That’s why we are launching this substantial new funding programme to enhance innovation and capability development and expand the UK nuclear industry to provide rewarding careers and contribute towards more stable and balanced economic growth.”

Process & Control Today 11th April 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Update 6th – 9th April.

Greenpeace 10th April 2012 more >>

The central government is again marching steadily toward restarting reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant, but local governments in the area have raised the stakes for consenting to such a move. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and three of his Cabinet ministers on April 9 agreed that the road map for additional safety measures, submitted earlier in the day by Oi plant operator Kansai Electric Power Co., was generally appropriate. the energy strategy council of the Osaka prefectural and municipal governments on April 10 put together a set of eight conditions that it considers necessary before operations can resume at the Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture. The Osaka municipal government is the largest shareholder of Kansai Electric, so its position will likely influence the central government’s decisions regarding the Oi plant.

Asahi 10th April 2012 more >>

Japan’s government will announce soon its contingency plans for dealing with nuclear accidents to ease public concerns about restarting reactors closed since the Fukushima radiation crisis last year, Trade Minister Yukio Edano said on Tuesday. Contingency plans for Kansai Electric Power Co’s two reactors, which are at the most advanced stage in the government’s safety checks before restarting, would be announced in a few days, said Edano, who also has the energy portfolio.

Reuters 10th April 2012 more >>

Japanese technology conglomerate and solar technology manufacturer Kyocera has revealed plans to beef up its presence in the country’s booming solar market, unveiling proposals for a new 70MW solar farm and further investments in utility scale solar plants.

Business Green 10th April 2012 more >>

An agreement between Russia and Japan to cooperate in the peaceful use of atomic energy is to come into effect in May, according to Rosatom. The agreement will remain in force for 25 years, unless terminated by either party. The document lays down the regulatory basis for cooperation in the field of nuclear power and industry. It covers cooperation in exploration and mining of uranium deposits, design, construction and operation of light-water reactors, nuclear safety, including radiation protection and environmental monitoring. The agreement also provides for supply of nuclear material.

Nuclear Engineering International 10th April 2012 more >>

Germany

Feldheim has become a mecca for European mayors and town planners keen to develop their own green technologies. And, since Fukushima, it has also pulled in planners, investors and environment correspondents from Japan. The hamlet has a resident population of only 148 people, but it attracted 3,000 visitors last year alone and more than half of them came from Japan. “Even more than the Germans, we are frantically searching for alternatives to nuclear power,” said Keiko Iizuka, a Japanese journalist who was visiting Feldheim last week. “People are here almost every day,” said Michael Knape, the mayor. “At first we didn’t know where it would go or how we would do it, but we knew it was important to move in this direction.” The hamlet’s transformation from a dilapidated rural backwater into a model renewable energy village began in the mid-1990s, when Germany’s big energy companies began using the former communist east to carry out a massive wind-energy expansion programme. Compared with their conservation-minded west-German counterparts, the newly liberated easterners were seen as soft targets who would more readily accept wind turbines. Villagers were reportedly offered incentives ranging from cash donations to new sewage plants to persuade them to accept turbines on their land. As a result eastern Germany now has one of the highest concentrations of wind farms in the world.

Independent 11th April 2012 more >>

France

French state-controlled utility EdF says its inspection team at the 2.6GW Penly nuclear facility is at the early stages of an investigation into the failure of a cooling system that caused the shut-down of one of its reactors. But the incident at the site has been graded at the lowest level by EdF, with the company saying there was no escape of any radioactive materials. The company’s inspection team today began to photograph and look for damage at reactor No 2 at Penly, close to Dieppe in northwestern France. EdF said the unit will remain in cold shut-down for up to another seven days. EdF said the incident will be graded a level one type, the lowest possible, the highest being a type seven event. Tests will also be carried out today on surrounding grass and farmlands to check for any radioactive contamination, with the sample results likely by the end of the week.

Argus 10th April 2012 more >>

Czech Republic

The Czech government sees building new nuclear power plants as a strategic priority and is considering minimum electricity price guarantees to ensure new reactors are built, the country’s industry minister said on Friday. In contrast to countries such as neighbouring Germany that are pulling out of nuclear energy in light of the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima a year ago, the Czech Republic aims to enlarge the existing Temelin site in the south of the country. The 70-percent state owned power producer CEZ, the biggest listed central European company with market capitalisation of $23 billion, has opened a tender to build two new units. But doubts have been hanging over the financial viability of the plan due to uncertain energy market in Europe.

Reuters 30th March 2012 more >>

Iran

MISTRUST runs deep as Iran and six world powers, including the United States, prepare for high-stakes nuclear talks in Istanbul on Saturday. There has been spin and posturing from both sides. Iran’s populist president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, warned yesterday that anyone seeking to violate his country’s nuclear rights “will get a blow to the mouth so bad they will forget the path to their homes”. He maintained that Iran’s economy could survive without selling a single barrel of oil “for two or even three years”. Even so, there are grounds for cautious optimism. Both sides have floated intriguing balloons as they jockey for position. Iran signalled this week it may be prepared to compromise over its stockpile of 20 per cent enriched uranium, a key issue for the West because that level of purification is a simple step away from producing 90 per cent bomb grade fissile material. The US, meanwhile, hinted it could accept Iran’s enrichment of uranium to below 5 per cent in return for verifiable guarantees that no material is diverted to military use.

Scotsman 11th April 2012 more >>

Days before new international negotiations over its nuclear program, Iran is letting world powers know that economic sanctions will have little effect on it in the near future. On Tuesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proclaimed that Iran has enough capital reserves to go “two to three years” without selling oil.

IB Times 10th April 2012 more >>

Korea

North Korea is digging a new underground tunnel as they apparently prepare to carry out a third nuclear test, according to South Korean intelligence officials. Satellite images show that the final work is being carried out for a test at a site in Punggye-r, in the north-east of the country, where tests were conducted in 2006 and 2009.

Daily Mail 10th April 2012 more >>

Fusion

CONSTRUCTION is finally under way in southern France of ITER, the experimental fusion reactor that scientists hope will produce more energy than it consumes. It is a huge undertaking, needing the backing of the European Union and six powerful nations to get even this far. But care needs to be taken that ITER does not overshadow other experiments. The US Department of Energy last month cited increased support for ITER as the reason it plans to axe funding for several smaller fusion projects. In these penny-pinching times, tough choices need to be made. But ITER will not address a host of practical and operational questions that must be answered before fusion power can become a reality. It is a first step, not a last best hope. If that is forgotten, the distant dream of fusion power may remain just that.

New Scientist 10th April 2012 more >>

Climate

Climate change minister Greg Barker told the BBC’s Today programme that moving from the current target of cutting emissions 20 per cent against 1990 levels by 2020 to a new 30 per cent goal would boost investment in low-carbon industries and strengthen the price of carbon, which has tumbled more than 60 per cent in a year. Barker said tougher targets would also help UK and European companies access a clean tech market estimated to be worth “trillions of dollars” by 2015 and allow the UK to build on progress that saw emissions fall seven per cent last year.

Business Green 10th April 2012 more >>

Guardian 10th April 2012 more >>

Green Deal

Nick Clegg will admit more work has to be done to remove “the hassle factor” that put consumers off reducing their home energy consumption. He will point to the way B&Q is offering in conjunction with local councils to clear someone’s loft while installling insulation, an offer that greatly increased willingness to take up the switch. He will also highlight the government’s plan from the summer to trial a project with First Utility and America’s Opower, where consumers are told how much energy other, similar households use in their locality. Opower has reduced bills by 2% in the US by showing consumers how neighbours are doing better than them. He will also insist the government had arranged the green deal, due to begin in the autumn, so that businesses and homeowners can introduce energy saving home improvements at no cost upfront.

Guardian 11th April 2012 more >>

Telegraph 11th April 2012 more >>

From this autumn, the six biggest suppliers — EDF Energy, E.ON, British Gas, Scottish and Southern Energy, Scottish Power and RWE npower — will write to their customers once a year outlining their different tariffs. They will have to inform vulnerable customers such as pensioners twice a year and also will have to offer their cheapest deal to customers who come to the end of their fixed-term contract.

Times 11th April 2012 more >>

Posted: 11 April 2012

10 April 2012

New Nukes

Rosatom is said to be eyeing a stake in Horizon, the nuclear joint venture put up for sale last month by RWE and E.ON. The move would be controversial, despite Russia’s insistence that it has overhauled its nuclear technologies since the Chernobyl disaster. Sergey Novikov, Rosatom’s Director of Communications, told The Daily Telegraph: “The British market is potentially attractive for Rosatom. Rosatom can give all guarantees that the construction of a NPP [nuclear power plant] in the UK will meet absolutely all international safety requirements and International Atomic Energy Agency standards.” Rosatom reportedly hired KPMG to examine possible purchases, while UK PR firms are said to be competing for a contract to improve Rosatom’s international image. Rosatom is expanding overseas and has projects in India, Bulgaria, Iran and China.

Telegraph 9th April 2012 more >>

Government may be forced to up its investment in renewable power sources and take a fresh look at energy policy in the light of recent news regarding the proposed new generation of nuclear power plants.

Green Building Press 9th Apr 2012 more >>

Sizewell

ENERGY giant EDF is urging caution over speculation that the Suffolk coastal area will receive a multi-million pound boost as compensation for preparatory work if plans for a new nuclear power station go ahead. The company has agreed a £30million package with the local authority at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, where the first of the UK’s new nuclear power stations is to be built. The money is to be spent on local housing, leisure facilities, transport and wildlife initiatives. It is aimed at compensating residents for the disruption caused during work to prepare the nuclear site for power station construction. It is hoped the Suffolk coastal area would also be in line for a sizeable figure should Sizewell C be given the green light. But an EDF spokesman said yesterday: “It would be wrong and inaccurate to simply take information from the Hinkley Point C planning process, such as the mitigation provision, and draw direct parallels across to what may happen at Sizewell. “The two are separate projects in different environments and require distinct solutions.”

East Anglian Daily Times 9th April 2012 more >>

Wylfa

The business community in North Wales remains shell-shocked at the decision by the German energy companies RWE npower and E-ON to pull out of plans to build an £8 billion new nuclear reactor at Wylfa B in Anglesey. Another positive development from this story is that both the Welsh Government and the UK Government have now co-operated closely to try and deal with this issue.After recent wranglings between Cardiff Bay and Westminster, they have come together to save a project that could create thousands of jobs within an economic blackspot.

Business 4 Wales 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Old Reactors

EDF Energy, the UK’s biggest atomic power producer, resumed output from two nuclear plants, bringing 1,200 megawatts of potential generation capacity back on to the grid, it said. EDF said its 600-MW Sizewell B1 reactor returned to service several days ahead of schedule on Sunday after shutting down on March 2. The company’s 620-MW Hartlepool 1 reactor resumed outputting power on Tuesday following a manual shutdown at the beginning of the month, it added.

Reuters 10th April 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Update 3rd – 5th April.

Greenpeace 6th April 2012 more >>

Japan’s government will announce soon its contingency plans for dealing with nuclear accidents to ease public concerns about restarting reactors closed since the Fukushima radiation crisis last year, Trade Minister Yukio Edano said on Tuesday. Contingency plans for Kansai Electric Power Co’s two reactors, which are at the most advanced stage in the government’s safety checks before restarting, would be announced in a few days, said Edano.

Reuters 10th April 2012 more >>

North Korea

The United States urged North Korea on Monday not conduct a nuclear test or launch a satellite and called on China to exert its influence over its neighbor to try to ward off such “provocative actions.”

Reuters 10th April 2012 more >>

Newly released satellite images shows North Korea is digging a tunnel in what appears to be preparation for a third nuclear test, according to South Korean intelligence officials. The excavation at North Korea’s north-east Punggye-ri site, where nuclear tests were conducted in 2006 and 2009, is in its final stages, according to a report by intelligence officials published yesterday.

Scotsman 10th April 2012 more >>

Independent 10th April 2012 more >>

Daily Mail 9th April 2012 more >>

Guardian 9th April 2012 more >>

Telegraph 9th April 2012 more >>

Independent 9th Apr 2012 more >>

Jordan

Jordan is facing an uphill battle to build its first nuclear reactor to supply badly needed electric power amid serious concern over environmental hazards and financial risks the cash-strapped kingdom would have to endure. Lacking the oil and gas reserves of its neighbors, Jordan has been reliant on imports to provide powers for its homes and vehicles. Chaos in the Egypt’s Sinai peninsula over the past year virtually cut of natural gas imports because the pipeline has been sabotaged 14 ties in succession, most recently this week when a blast cut the line near Al-Arish. Nuclear power could help full the gap, but the nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant last year has cast fresh doubt over safety and viability of such projects at a time when environmentalists are pushing for clean sources of energy. Aware of the growing opposition to the multi-billion dollar project, the government in Amman has appointed a public relations team to persuade the public of its importance to the country’s energy independence. The Jordan Nuclear Commission said recently government is preparing to announce it has chosen the French nuclear power contractor AREVA to build the country’s first reactor.

Media Line 9th Apr 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran has no interest in reviving a failed nuclear fuel swap deal with Western powers, but might scale back production of higher-grade enriched uranium once it has the material it needs, the head of the country’s atomic energy organisation said.

Herald 10th April 2012 more >>

Iran’s nuclear chief has signalled that the country could offer a compromise in talks on its atomic energy programme this week. Atomic Energy Organisation head Fereidoun Abbasi said Iran could pledge to stop producing its most highly enriched uranium while retaining some ability to make nuclear fuel. The proposal outlined late on Sunday seeks to directly address one of the main issues in this Friday’s talks between Iran and the five permanent UN security council members plus Germany.

Morning Star 9th April 2012 more >>

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran would not agree to world powers imposing pre-conditions ahead of the resumption of nuclear talks later this week.

ITV 9th April 2012 more >>

China

China has launched a new 650-megawatt (MW) reactor at the Qinshan nuclear plant in the eastern province of Zhejiang, the project’s operator said on Monday, as part of a push to increase the share of nuclear energy in the country’s power mix. Nuclear power amounts to 12.528 gigawatts or around 1.1 percent of China’s installed power capacity, but projects under construction are expected to raise the total to more than 41 GW by 2015.

Reuters 9th April 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

The Tory chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee questioned today whether Government proposals to compel people to fit energy-saving insulation in homes will be effective.

Telegraph 10th April 2012 more >>

Renewables

The River Caldew has provided a source of energy for industry in the small parish of Dalston, five miles south of Carlisle, for centuries. The Romans established a corn mill on the river and the first cotton mill was built in 1782 at Mill Ellers. The same spot is set to play a part in the latest industrial revolution – the reintroduction of small scale, renewable energy production back to local communities.

Telegraph 9th April 2012 more >>

Posted: 10 April 2012

9 April 2012

Horizon

Pressure on the government to increase its energy generation from renewables has increased since Eon and RWE of Germany last month pulled out of plans to build new nuclear reactors in the UK. Mr Barker admits this was “disappointing” but not fatal to the country’s climate goals.

FT 8th Apr 2012 more >>

Iran

The US and Europe are to demand that Iran dismantle its fortified underground nuclear facility and halt higher-grade uranium enrichment at a new round of talks this week as a condition for lifting sanctions and the threat of a military attack – demands that Tehran swiftly denounced as “irrational”.

Guardian 8th April 2012 more >>

Talks on Iran’s nuclear stand-off with the West will resume in Istanbul, it emerged yesterday. While the United States and allies are set to demand an end to high-level uranium enrichment suitable for weapons development, Iran says its programme is for power generation and medical isotopes.

Herald 9th April 2012 more >>

Iran must immediately close a large nuclear facility built underneath a mountain if it is to take what President Obama has called a “last chance” to resolve its escalating dispute with the West via diplomacy.

Independent 9th Apr 2012 more >>

The “Istanbul wobble” of the past few days appears to be over. After telling the Iraqis on Wednesday that it wanted Baghdad as a venue for next weekend’s nuclear talks, the Iranian government has now confirmed it will accept the Turkish city straddling Europe and Asia.

Guardian 8th Apr 2012 more >>

Israel would not be able to destroy Iran’s nuclear programme in a pre-emptive air strike with its current airforce, forcing its leadership to look for alternative means of attack, an influential defence report has concluded.

Telegraph 8th Apr 2012 more >>

North Korea

North Korea, pressing ahead with a rocket launch in defiance of a UN resolution, is also preparing a third nuclear weapons test, South Korean news reports said on Sunday, a move bound to scare neighbours and infuriate the west.

FT 8th Apr 2012 more >>

Times 9th Apr 2012 more >>

North Korean space officials have moved all three stages of a long-range rocket into position for a controversial launch, vowing yesterday to push ahead with their plan in defiance of international warnings against violating a ban on missile activity.

Independent 9th Apr 2012 more >>

Turkey

China appears to be edging ahead in the international contest to build a new nuclear power station on Turkey’s Black Sea coast – a sign of how the ambitions of its nuclear companies are poised to reshape the global nuclear industry. Beijing is not looking for government guarantees for the project and can supply its own financing, according to an Ankara official, pointing to China’s advantage in the race to build the reactor for Turkey.

FT 8th Apr 2012 more >>

Trident

According to Professor Chalmers, Trident would cause diplomatic problems even if Scotland did not join Nato. Mr Robertson said an independent Scotland would remove Trident “in the soonest possible timescale” and would be able to decide its own defence priorities.

Times 9th Apr 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Those who want to build conservatories, replace broken boilers or install new windows will be required to pay for measures to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The works, which will include projects such as loft and wall insulation, are expected to add ten per cent to the cost of any home building project. Those who cannot afford to pay will have to borrow it under the Coalition’s Green Deal and pay it back through an extra charge on their energy bills. The new rules, which have been drawn up by the Communities and Local Government department, are under consultation and could be implemented in April 2014.

Telegraph 9th Aug 2012 more >>

The Coalition’s energy efficiency “revolution” is due to begin in just six months’ time. Yet industry experts still doubt whether the Green Deal can deliver on its ambitious aims. Many in the industry fear demand will indeed be low – leaving consumers in draughty homes with energy bills rising ever more steeply. Their concerns are informed by the recent experience of the Big Six suppliers in promoting efficiency to try to meet Carbon Emissions Reduction Targets (CERT) – under the threat of fines if they do not. Insulation has been given away heavily subsidised, or even for free. Sara Vaughan, E.ON’s director of energy policy, says that while the supplier expects to meet its CERT obligation, “the low-hanging fruit has been picked so it is more difficult to get the remaining consumers to sign up for insulation”.

Telegraph 8th Apr 2012 more >>

Posted: 9 April 2012

8 April 2012

Nuclear Investment

Britain’s nuclear programme faces a new threat after the revelation that ratings agencies could downgrade French energy giant EDF and British Gas owner Centrica if they decide to build four reactors. A credit downgrade would be highly likely to spark a confrontation with shareholders because it would make it more expensive for the companies to borrow and could undermine the share price. US-based Moody’s says building nuclear plants is risky because of the huge costs and uncertainties over future power prices. Britain’s nuclear programme is likely to cost EDF and Centrica £24 billion together. The latest threat comes as senior executives at Centrica are having growing doubts about whether to give the go-ahead to a £5 billion nuclear investment. Their anxiety stems from the fact that the Government and Centrica are far apart in their estimates of the level of price guarantees for providing nuclear-generated energy. Sources say that if Centrica pulls out because it cannot make the project finances work, then it would be clear that French taxpayers would be subsidising British energy users were the largely State-owned EDF to go ahead.

This is Money 7th April 2012 more >>

Horizon

German energy giants RWE and E.on have kicked off plans to sell their UK nuclear power plant joint venture. It is understood that they have asked a select number of corporate advisers, accountants and investment banks to come up with ideas of how they would sell Horizon Nuclear Power. Requests for proposals were sent out just before the Easter break, a week after the German duo rocked government plans for a new wave of nuclear power plants by announcing they could no longer afford to participate in the programme. Because of the complicated nature of the business, which still has to choose the reactor designs it will use as well as the prospect of heated planning application battles, the sale process could stretch into 2013. Unless the eventual winning venture can make up the time in improved programme management, this would mean that the first of Horizon’s proposed stations, Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey, will start generating electricity in 2022 rather than 2021. Any delay will worry the Government because of the prospect of a widening gap between energy demand and supply.

Independent 8th April 2012 more >>

Sizewell

Saturday 21ST April – Coach from London TO NUCLEAR POWER DEMO AT SIZEWELL, SUFFOLK Coach leaves at 8.15am prompt from the Embankment (opposite side to the river to the left of the riverside entrance from Embankment tube) and will also pick up at 9am prompt from outside Redbridge tube station (Central line.). It will arrive outside the main gate of Sizewell Nuclear Power Station in Suffolk by the start of the planned demo there at noon

Rising Tide 7th April 2012 more >>

Dounreay

A PROMINENT Scots estate owner faces bankruptcy following a long-running legal battle over radioactive contamination of his land by the operators of the Dounreay nuclear plant. Geoffrey Minter, the laird of Sandside in Caithness, faces losing his 10,000-acre estate after a panel set up by the government to assess financial compensation only awarded him a fraction of the amount he believed he was due. Minter made a claim for millions of pounds after a series of radioactive particles attributed to an underground explosion in a storage pit in the 1970s were discovered on the foreshore of his estate, leading to a decline in the value of the land close to the former nuclear power station on the Pentland Firth coast. He has also spent tens of thousands of pounds on legal fees fighting his case over the last 14 years.

Scotland on Sunday 8th April 2012 more >>

GDF Suez

International Power’s board is right to squeeze as much as it can out of GDF. Its mix of plants in more than 30 countries, many of them in rapidly growing markets of the developing world, is unique and a good counterbalance to its moribund home markets in Europe. GDF threatened to walk away after the company said no. Few in the market believed it.

Sunday Times 8th April 2012 more >>

Iran

A prominent Iranian politician has for the first time publicly declared that Iran has the ability to produce nuclear weapons, but will never do so.

Independent 8th April 2012 more >>

South Asia

President Asif Ali Zardari will sit down to lunch with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Sunday in the highest-level meeting on each other’s soil in seven years as the nuclear-armed foes seek to normalise relations.

Reuters 8th April 2012 more >>

Trident

AN INDEPENDENT Scotland would not be able to clear nuclear weapons from its military bases and remain in Nato, one of Britain’s leading defence experts has warned. As the SNP debates a U-turn that could see Alex Salmond’s party dropping its long-standing opposition to being a member of the international defence pact, Professor Malcolm Chalmers has claimed that signing up to the organisation would mean the Trident submarine fleet and its nuclear warheads being kept in Scotland for possibly decades to come. In a paper commissioned by Scotland on Sunday, Chalmers, the defence policy director of the Royal United Services Institute, stated that the SNP’s anti-nuclear stance would be “hard to square” with an independent Scotland accepting Nato’s commitment to a nuclear alliance. A separate Scottish government might have to allow the UK’s nuclear deterrent to remain based in Scotland if it wanted to remain within the military group.

Scotland on Sunday 8th Apr 2012 more >>

Renewables

David Cameron has been accused of hypocrisy for hosting a major green energy summit at the same time as slashing subsidies for solar power generation. The third Clean Energy Ministerial conference, featuring more than 20 ministers from the world’s leading and emerging economies, will take place in London later this month in what No 10 hopes will position the UK as a global leader in renewable power and build on the Prime Minister’s claim to lead the “greenest government ever”. Yet The Independent on Sunday understands that one of the UK’s largest solar energy companies has been invited to the conference not by the Government but by the US Department of Energy.

Independent 8th April 2012 more >>

Ice cream maker to use methane from its herd to power factory and move towards green energy vision. MACKIE’S of Scotland, the ice cream maker, is developing a new way of powering its factory – using dung produced by its 400-strong herd of cows. It is estimated that turning poop into power will help the firm to save up to £300,000 in fuel costs as well as creating one job and safeguarding two others. The company has teamed up with scientists at Edinburgh Napier University’s Biofuel Business Programme (BBP) to devise plans for a plant that will use thousands of tonnes of slurry to generate methane biogas, which can then be transformed into electricity. The development of a 250kW anaerobic digestion system at Mackie’s dairy farm in Westertown, Rothienorman, near Inverurie, would be the final element in making the firm entirely reliant on renewable energy.

Scotland on Sunday 8th April 2012 more >>

Posted: 8 April 2012

7 April 2012

Nuclear Investment

Investment bank Citi Investment Research managing director Peter Atherton said the main problem was high up-front costs of building new nuclear, which is not sufficiently countered by the EMR. He said the EMR only covers power stations’ revenue risk by guaranteeing a minimum amount the utility will receive for producing power. The risks of construction costs overrunning are not covered and, as a result, utilities will be deterred to invest in nuclear. “[UK’s energy] targets are too ambitious because utilities do not have the money to fund the investment required in nuclear,” he added. “Horizon’s decision sends out a strong message – that there’s not a cat in hell’s chance that utilities alone can fund this investment in nuclear.”

New Civil Engineer 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Alston Moor Parish Council in Eden District, Cumbria is the latest to urge the west Cumbria authorities to withdraw from the search for a nuclear dump.

Radiation Free Lakeland 6th April 2012 more >>

For an updated list of Parish Councils that have taken a view on the nuclear dumping issue see

Save our Lake District 7th April 2012 more >>

Wylfa

PRIME Minister David Cameron last night pledged full support in the bid to find new backers for a Wylfa B nuclear power plant and thousands of jobs. The Conservative leader – in North Wales to bolster party support ahead of council elections in May – told the Daily Post of his personal commitment to the strategy to replace the UK ageing nuclear reactors.

Daily Post 6th Apr 2012 more >>

Dounreay

One of the most hazardous legacies of Britain’s early atomic research has been destroyed, bosses at the redundant Dounreay nuclear power station said today. The last of 57,000 litres of liquid metal have been removed from the experimental reactor in Caithness. The Dounreay reactor, which was constructed in the 1950s, was one of only two ever built in Britain to use liquid metal as a coolant — presenting a major chemical and radiological hazard. In total 354 batches of the liquid sodium and potassium alloy have been removed and undergone chemical neutralisation since September 2007. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said it was “extremely pleased” the liquid metal no longer posed a hazard.

Morning Star 6th Apr 2012 more >>

Rutherglen reformer 6th Apr 2012 more >>

Scotland

Letter: The statement by Alex Salmond underpinning all this renewable nonsense – a statement issued without any detailed analysis of how the lights would be kept on – binds us to have no generation from nuclear energy, presumably ever. It must rank and will be historically seen as in the company of Michelson who announced the end of physics in 1894, Spencer Jones, the astronomer royal who said “space travel is bunk” in 1957, and the hapless Decca agent saying “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out” in rejecting The Beatles in 1962. Nuclear energy is the only substantial, scaleable power source that does not use carbon to generate.

Southern Reporter 6th Apr 2012 more >>

Climate

Prof Jim Hansen to use lecture at Edinburgh International Science Festival to call for worldwide tax on all carbon emissions. Hansen said his proposal for a global carbon tax was based on the latest analysis of CO2 levels in the atmosphere and their impact on global temperatures and weather patterns. He has co-authored a scientific paper with 17 other experts, including climate scientists, biologists and economists, which calls for an immediate 6% annual cut in CO2 emissions, and a substantial growth in global forest cover, to avoid catastrophic climate change by the end of the century. The paper, which has passed peer review and is in the final stages of publication by the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, argues that a global levy on fossil fuels is the strongest tool for forcing energy firms and consumers to switch quickly to zero carbon and green energy sources. In larger countries, that would include nuclear power.

Guardian 6th Apr 2012 more >>

Energy Supplies

Ignacio Galán, Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola: We need balanced and honest debate over future energy supplies. With energy sector investment projected as high as £200bn this decade, we must have a framework that guarantees sufficient returns and the right generation mix. The Government has launched its Electricity Market Reform (EMR), providing a regulatory framework for new generation projects, but there are still issues to be resolved affecting wind and nuclear. Regulatory uncertainty will make it harder to borrow from capital markets or persuade pension funds to invest. We continue to advance on plans for a new nuclear plant at Moorside together with GDF Suez.

Telegraph 6th April 2012 more >>

US

The top U.S. nuclear official said on Friday his agency has not set any timetable for restarting the troubled San Onofre nuclear station in Southern California and that it would only do so if safety was assured. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair Gregory Jaczko made his comments after touring the facility where both reactors have been shut since January due to the discovery of premature wear on tubes in giant steam generators installed in 2010 and 2011.

Reuters 7th April 2012 more >>

Japan

Japan should aspire to phase out nuclear power completely, its energy minister said, as the government struggled to persuade a wary public that it was safe to restart reactors after the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years. Yukio Edano’s comments could anger industries eager to see nuclear power bounce back.

Herald 7th Apr 2012 more >>

JAPAN is setting stricter safety guidelines for nuclear power plants to ease public concern about restarting reactors idled after the disasters a year ago. Facing a national power crunch, the government is anxious to restart two reactors in Fukui, western Japan, before the last operating reactor of the 54 in the country goes offline in May. But the government has faced strong public opposition due to the meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant, and local leaders are reluctant to give their approval.

Scotsman 7th April 2012 more >>

France

Europe’s biggest laggard on renewable energy has belatedly made its first — and spectacular — move into offshore wind. Almost a decade after Britain’s first large offshore wind farm began to operate, the French Government has announced ambitious plans to install hundreds of giant turbines in the Channel and the Atlantic. Four contracts will lead to the building of 2,000 megawatts in total of offshore wind capacity, able, when the wind blows, to generate enough electricity to supply the needs of central Paris. France, which generates most of its power from nuclear reactors, has a target of meeting 23 per cent of its energy demand from renewables by 2020.

Times 7th April 2012 more >>

Electricite de France SA and partners including turbine maker Alstom SA (ALO) won a French government tender to build three offshore wind farms, andIberdrola SA (IBE) got one, while GDF Suez SA (GSZ) was left empty-handed. EDF, Danish utility Dong Energy A/S, and Alstom were picked to build 1,428 megawatts of wind power at three sites off the coasts of Brittany and Normandy, the government said today. Spanish power company Iberdrola and U.K. group RES will erect a 500-megawatt farm with Areva SA (AREVA)’s turbines off the Saint-Brieuc shore in Brittany, though its offer was higher than Paris-based EDF’s on that site, France said.

Bloomberg 6th Apr 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

Micro Power News we 6th April now available: UK solar industry continues to install at top speed; Green Deal providers announced; EON trains external wall insulation installers; Dorset Councils set up energy partnership.

Microgen Scotland 6th Apr 2012 more >>

Posted: 7 April 2012

6 April 2012

Radwaste

Beckermet Joins Gosforth in saying NO to going any further along with the government plan for geological disposal of high level nuclear wastes. Beckermet is a village, civil parish and post town in the English county of Cumbria, located near the coast between Egremont and Seascale. Historically within Cumberland, it is served by Braystones railway station and is less than a mile west of the A595 road. It is near – around 2 miles/3 km from – the Sellafield nuclear plant which may be seen from the higher parts of the village.

Radiation Free Lakeland 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Wylfa

After over 40 years of safe operation, Wylfa Site’s Reactor 2 will finish generating electricity on the 30 April, in line with the station’s agreed operating plan. Since it opened in 1971, Wylfa has generated over 200TWh (terawatt hours) of electricity. The decision to close Reactor 2 was taken because limited fuel stocks do not allow for the continued operation of both reactors. Wylfa received its final delivery of Magnox fuel in December 2011. Efforts will now focus on optimising generation on Reactor 1, which is allowed to operate until 2014. A decision by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) on the transfer of partially used fuel from Reactor 2 to Reactor 1 is expected in the Summer.

NDA 4th Apr 2012 more >>

The UK has announced plans to shutdown the Wylfa 2 magnox reactor on 30 April. The move comes just two months after Oldbury 2 closed and will leave the UK with just one of first generation gas cooled reactors left in its fleet of nuclear power plants.

Nuclear Engineering International 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Power Engineering 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Dungeness

THE collapse of plans to build two new nuclear sites in the UK could finally pave the way for Dungeness C, campaigners say – but the news has erupted into a vicious war of words between local Tory and Labour figures. Major German energy firms RWE npower and e.on were planning to invest in new plants on the Isle of Anglesey and at Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire. The situation has descended into a slanging match between Marsh political figures. Tory MP Damian Collins said the news offered a welcome boost to the Marsh, but Labour’s Donald Worsley accused Mr Collins of misleading residents and said the government was responsible for the withdrawal. Mr Worsley, chairman of the local Labour party, said: “Any hope Damian Collins had of conning the voters of Dungeness and Romney Marsh that his government could build a new nuclear plant at Dungeness sometime in the future have surely now evaporated.” He added: “Damian should therefore come clean and tell his constituents that for the foreseeable future the prospect of Dungeness C is merely a pipe dream on his behalf and not a reality.”

Romney Marsh Herald 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Urenco

NUCLEAR company Urenco saw sales rise despite a “challenging and complex operating environment” in the industry following the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The group, which employs hundreds at its processing plant in Capenhurst, reported revenues of £1.1bn for 2011 – up 3% on 2010. But net income fell 7% to £297m as operating costs rose. The nuclear industry has had a challenging year. Confidence in the sector was shaken after last year’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused explosions and radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Liverpool Daily Post 5th Apr 2012 more >>

A uranium enrichment group part-owned by the Government insists that the world “has no choice” but to use nuclear power, despite safety fears heightened by the Fukushima meltdown in Japan last year. Urenco admitted that the disaster had created a “challenging and complex operating environment”. The ensuing backlash has resulted in a number of countries, including Japan and Germany, starting to phase out nuclear power. Last week the German energy groups E.ON and RWE scrapped their plans to build up to six reactors in the UK. Helmut Engelbrecht, chief executive of Urenco, said that the group had suffered a “setback” because of Fukushima, but added: “It does not change the need for nuclear energy. Nuclear is a very long-term business.” With global electricity demand forecast to triple in the next 30 years, he argued: “People will have no choice but to use nuclear.”

Times 6th Apr 2012 more >>

Dounreay

MANY millions of pounds might flow into Copeland in exchange for bringing a lot more “exotic” radioactive material to Sellafield. Copeland Council has declined to speculate on any potential figures, but others believe “tens of millions of pounds” is the potential size of a community benefits package. The government has decided that highly radioactive spent fuel can be moved from Dounreay site to Sellafield after the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority concluded there was a “clear and compelling” case for it. Copeland Council feels that “a reasonable benefits package” has to be considered but as yet there is only speculation about what the size of it might be. A national consultation on the NDA’s proposal to transport the Dounreay materials has just finished but a more local consultation is being sought to examine how communities would be affected. Sellafield is the NDA’s preferred option for moving 44 tons of radioactive spent fuel for reprocessing. The material would be carried by rail over a five-year period.

Whitehaven News 5th Apr 2012 more >>

NDA

TWO new non-executive directors have been appointed to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s board. Chris Fenton is group strategy and marketing director for Amey plc. He has been with the company since 2006 and has experience of complex public procurement. Before that he held a variety of senior international positions in the chemical industry. Murray Easton – the former head of the BAE Systems (Submarine Solutions) yard in Barrow – is currently an adviser to the MoD, chairman of QiResults Ltd and governor of the Health Foundation. His career includes spells as an executive director of construction company Murray & Roberts, a director at Babcock International Group plc, and managing director of Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd.

Whitehaven News 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Sellafield (Moorside)

THE consortium behind West Cumbria’s proposed new nuclear power station has said it is “100 per cent committed” to the project after a separate consortium suddenly pulled out of plans to develop nuclear plants elsewhere in the UK.

Whitehaven News 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Japan

Tokyo Electric Power is facing a revolt by corporate customers after the utility said it would sharply increase the price of electricity, highlighting the difficult choice Japan faces between accepting higher energy costs or restarting nuclear plants that were shut after the Fukushima accident last year. Tepco, which has a near-monopoly on electricity sales in Tokyo and the surrounding area, is seeking an average 17 per cent rate increase for large users in contracts that were due to be renewed from April 1. But so far fewer than one in five customers have agreed to the rise.

FT 5th April 2012 more >>

Japan should aspire to phase out nuclear power completely, its energy minister said on Friday, even as the government struggles to persuade a wary public that it is safe to restart reactors after the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

Reuters 6th Apr 2012 more >>

France

French state-controlled utility Electricité de France SA said late Thursday that a leak was detected at one of its nuclear reactors in northwestern France, after two small fires were extinguished at the site earlier in the day. France’s nuclear regulator said it had provisionally ranked the leak as a low-level incident and had returned to normal management of the situation after shifting to crisis mode earlier in the day. In a statement, EDF said that a faulty joint on a pump used to cool the reactor had caused a leak inside the reactor building of its nuclear power station in Penly, Normandy.

Wall St journal 5th Apr 2012 more >>

CNN 6th Apr 2012 more >>

BBC 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Iran

The head of an influential foreign policy committee in Iran’s parliament says the country does not want Turkey to host talks with world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Scotsman 6th Apr 2012 more >>

China

GSE Systems has won contracts worth $7.5 million to supply engineering simulators to two Chinese nuclear engineering companies.

Nuclear Engineering International 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Aldermaston

Engineering services group Redhall saw its shares tumble 21pc after warning that delays in work on doors for nuclear weapons facilities would hit its second-half profits. Redhall said the problems related to a £20m, four-year contract to design, manufacture and install specialist doors for an Atomic Weapons Establishment facility at Burghfield in Berkshire.

Telegraph 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Evening Standard 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Independent 6th Apr 2012 more >>

Christians are planning to pray and protest at the UK’s leading nuclear weapons base on Easter Monday (9 April). They will process around the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire, where nuclear arms are researched and developed.

Ekklesia 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Renewables

ROUND-the-clock electricity is to come to a remote island, where its 38 residents currently ration their use of power over just nine hours a day. The ten families on Muck, in the Inner Hebrides, are celebrating winning almost £1 million in Lottery funding yesterday. Having struggled on sharing the power from a 10KiloWatt generator – with islanders having to give each other slots to use washing machines – the cash boost will enable them to install renewable energy schemes for all-day electricity. And delighted residents now hope that having 24-hour power will help attract more families to the island.

Scotsman 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Companies making devices that generate renewable energy from the ebb and flow of tides and waves around the UK could win a share of a new £20m government prize announced on Thursday. It is hoped the scheme, the Marine Energy Array Demonstrator (Mead), will encourage growth in the industry, which has been struggling to create a commercially viable projects. Ministers believe wave and tidal power could in the future generate up to 20% of Britain’s energy needs and create 10,000 jobs in the sector.

Guardian 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Posted: 6 April 2012

5 April 2012

Oldbury

THE future of land snapped up by the company behind plans for a new Oldbury B nuclear power station is in doubt after its shock withdrawal from the project. Created by power giants RWE and Eon to head the controversial proposal, Horizon built up a large landholding at Shepperdine, near Thornbury, in order to build a much bigger atomic station next to the existing plant.

Bristol Evening Post 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Wylfa

ANGLESEY’S Energy Island concept – which is two thirds reliant on Wylfa B being built – could be in tatters. Fears that planners looking at Anglesey’s future economic prosperity have staked everything on the outcome of Wylfa B to the detriment of everything else, could now worryingly come true. Developments such as the Land and Lakes holiday village on Holy Island could be affected as a major part of their plans included accommodation for Wylfa B construction workers.

Holyhead & Anglesey Mail 4th Apr 2012 more >>

THE news that Horizon has pulled out of plans to build a Wylfa B – supposedly worth £8billion to the island’s economy – have caused shockwaves across the island.

Holyhead & Anglesey Mail 4th Apr 2012 more >>

THE withdrawal of the Horizon RWE E.on partnership from the proposed new build at Wylfa was always a possibility in the present financial climate. This only gained in probability after the German Government’s decision to withdraw from nuclear as an energy source following the Fukishima disaster. What this tells us is what the planners of Anglesey County Council should always have known: don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Holyhead & Anglesey Mail 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Horizon

Yet more news in the past week about how bad an investment nuclear power is. In Bulgaria a plan to build a nuclear power plant was cancelled while in the UK plans to build two new plants were thrown into chaos. Belene and the RWE/E.ON decisions are yet two more examples of how the economics of nuclear power are broken. Since the costs of building new reactors are massive, private investors aren’t interested in the risks.

Greenpeace 4th Apr 2012 more >>

The decision by German power firms E.ON and RWE npower to sell joint venture Horizon Nuclear Power will set the UK’s nuclear new build programme back by up to two years, experts have said. It was tipped to select Areva’s technology – a decision that would have meant that the construction work would have gone to contractor Balfour Beatty, which is in a consortium with the French supplier. Analysts told Building that the move had been foreseeable as it had never been clear how Horizon would finance the project. Suggestions had been made that Horizon had asked the bidders for supplying the technology, Areva and Westinghouse, to buy into the project with upfront investment. Alistair Smith, chair of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ power division, said if a buyer for the Horizon project was not found quickly, there was a risk the Horizon team would be disbanded, which would put the project back by up to two years because the licences would need to be awarded to new owners.

Building 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Plutonium

A plan to reuse the UK’s enormous stockpile of plutonium waste as fuel for a new nuclear power station at Sellafield moved a step closer today, after GE Hitatchi (GEH) signed an agreement with the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL). Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) NNL will provide “expert technical input” to support the proposed deployment of GEH’s PRISM reactor, which the company calculates could process practically all of the 87 metric tonnes of plutonium stored at Sellafield.

Business Green 4th Apr 2012 more >>

ONR

ONR e-bulletin includes round up of first 12 months achievements.

ONR 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Companies

Three days after becoming Westinghouse President and CEO, Jim Ferland has resigned and become president and CEO of Charlotte, North Carolina, US-based Babcock & Wilcox Company. At B&W, the 45-year-old Ferland will replace the retiring Brandon C. Bethards who is stepping down on April 19, B&W announced April 4. On April 1, Ferland became Westinghouse President and CEO, replacing the retiring Aris Candris and on April 3 he resigned.

i-Nuclear 4th Apr 2012 more >>

GDF Suez’s attempt to scoop up the 30 per cent of International Power it does not already own stopped in its tracks today as the UK electricity group batted away its French suitor.

Independent 5th Apr 2012 more >>

GDF, which owns 70 per cent of International Power, insisted that its offer to take full control was attractive and said that it was considering options “including the possibility to withdraw”. But analysts said that the sides were likely to hammer out a deal at a modestly higher price. Under a deal, the global power plant operator would delist from the London market and become a fully owned subsidiary of GDF Suez. International Power, which owns six plants in Britain, was formed out of the privatisation of Britain’s energy industry in the Nineties. A full takeover would hand it the fate of other privatised British utilities, such as ScottishPower, Innogy and Powergen, which were acquired by foreign groups over the past decade. A higher bid could be tabled in days because GDF Suez, which is 35 per cent-owned by the French state, is keen to wrap up a deal before presidential elections get under way in France this month. The group is concerned that the favourite, the Socialist François Hollande, might block the full takeover if elected.

Times 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Politics

Prime minister will address G20 ministers on 26 April, in what will be his first major speech on green issues since taking office. Tom Burke, previously adviser to three Tory environment ministers and head of Friends of the Earth, believes Cameron’s green reputation is now beyond redemption. “The chancellor has shot his husky,” he said. “Cameron would have to give a speech so radically opposed to those given by Osborne, that it would be at the expense of opening a Blair-Brown-type rift.”

Guardian 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Nuclear Liability

Nuclear operators are to be liable for damages amounting up to seven times the current limit in the event of a nuclear incident, the Government has confirmed. A phased increase to a limit of €1.2bn (£999m) will be introduced over five years following the coming into force of an international treaty on nuclear third party liability. Liability will initially be capped at €700m and will rise by a further €100m each year until the €1.2bn level is reached. Currently, operator liability is limited to £140m per incident. However nuclear law expert Chris White of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that the Government’s unilateral desire to increase the compensation available to people affected by nuclear accidents could place capacity constraints on insurers.

The Register 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Germany & Switzerland

What can Germany, Switzerland and others take from the Japanese experience of living without nuclear power? For other countries that are backing off nuclear energy, including Germany, Switzerland and potentially Belgium, the lesson from all this is clear: shutting down reactors comes with a real penalty. Of Japan’s nuclear closures, Jeremy Gordon, analyst at the World Nuclear Association, says: “They can do that if they want but it’s going to cost a lot of money and begin to undermine your economic competitiveness. But Japan’s experience so far shows that the knee-jerk reaction to the closure of nuclear power plants is usually to fall back on fossil fuels that are easy to obtain and can be used to deliver reliable base-load energy. The decision to go return to hydrocarbons is helped by current low prices for natural gas.

Nuclear Insider 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

India

Pakistan is reportedly alarmed by India’s embrace of nuclear submarine technology, warning it could lead to a dangerous arms race in South Asia.

IB Times 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony is to formally commission the INS Chakra II at its base in Visakhapatnam, a navy shipyard on the country’s south east coast in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Telegraph 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Japan

Japan plans to build the nation’s largest geothermal power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, the location of the massive earthquake and tsunami which led to last year’s nuclear disaster. The geothermal plant will generate 270,000 kilowatts, approximately a quarter of the output capacity of a nuclear plant. Investment will likely be in the tens of billions of yen, or hundreds of millions of dollars.

IB Times 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Japan’s government is racing to get two nuclear reactors, idled after the Fukushima crisis, running again by next month out of what experts say is fear that a total shutdown would make it hard to convince a wary public that atomic power is vital. “They want to avoid setting a precedent of the country operating without nuclear power because it will create a huge barrier in terms of restarts.”

Reuters 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Renewables

A major windfarm on Shetland, which could be the most productive in the world, has been approved by ministers despite a bitterly fought campaign against the scheme by local residents. The Viking windfarm will straddle the hills and moors of Shetland’s main island, where the onshore wind speeds are frequently the highest in Europe, and lead to earnings of £30m a year for islanders and Shetland’s wealthy charitable trust. The project has been cut in size by Fergus Ewing, the Scottish energy minister, from 127 turbines to 103, to protect safety for Scatsta airport near Sullom Voe oil terminal. The joint venture between energy giant SSE and Viking Energy Ltd, owned by the trust, will have 370MW capacity and is expected to generate enough energy for 175,000 homes – sixteen times the number of homes on Shetland.

Guardian 4th Apr 2012 more >>

The government has been told that its proposed rate of reduction for the solar power feed-in tariff is too rapid and steep and may lead to firms going out of business. The government is proposing to introduce a timetable for reductions in the feed-in tariff (FIT) from July this year that would see it fall by 10% every six months. But industry leaders have told the government this is too fast.

Building 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Green Deal

Three of the Big Six energy companies, Marks & Spencer and Tesco are missing from the initial list of companies offering home insulation under the government’s flagship green deal scheme. The government’s list of companies that will be providing home improvement services, published on Wednesday, was expected to include leading supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s. The loan scheme is designed to increase energy efficiency in draughty British homes, nearly half of which do not have loft or cavity wall insulation. Of the energy companies, British Gas, E.ON and Scottish and Southern Electric are confirmed as providers, and B&Q is the only high street retailer. The list of 22 initial green deal providers is dominated by small- and medium-sized energy companies such as Toriga Energy and Yorkshire Energy Services.

Guardian 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Contractors Carillion and Willmott Dixon and social housing provider Keepmoat are among 22 organisations set to become the first to provide the government’s Green Deal scheme. All the organisations have signed an agreement with Department for Energy and Climate Change to work to become the first providers of the scheme. Providers of the Green Deal are central to the scheme as they will broker the deals with consumers and provide the finance necessary to fund the energy efficiency installations, which consumers then payback with a charge on their energy bills.

Building 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Fuel Poverty

Fresh fears that millions are heading into fuel poverty are raised today as figures reveal that consumers now owe £478m to their energy suppliers. The news comes after yesterday’s announcement by Ofgem that it has launched a new investigation into mis-selling on the doorstep or the phone, this time against E.on. The energy watchdog is already investigating the sales tactics of three of the Big Six firms – Scottish Power, SSE and npower. Its recent investigation into EDF Energy resulted in the French giant agreeing to pay out £4.5m after staff were found to have made misleading claims to customers. Research published by The Independent suggested the number of people who die because they can’t afford to adequately heat their homes could be as high as 8,000 a year.

Independent 5th Apr 2012 more >>

Posted: 5 April 2012

4 April 2012

Horizon

State-run nuclear holding Rosatom might buy a stake in the $24 billion Horizon Project to build atomic power stations in Britain, Kommersant reported Monday, citing an unidentified official at the Russian company. German companies RWE and E.ON had previously owned a share in the project to build two power stations, one in Oldbury, Gloucestershire, and one in Wylfa, Wales, but intend to pull out. Rosatom wants to take their stake, the source told Kommersant. “This market seems very promising,” the source said. But it remains to be seen whether the British market will accept Rosatom, being a Russian company with a checkered history — a senior executive was arrested last July on embezzlement charges. “The appearance of Rosatom in new nuclear power projects is most likely to lower British people’s level of trust in nuclear energy,” Simon Harrison, director of energy for consulting company Mott MacDonald, told The Times, Kommersant reported. Another source at The Times suggested that British politicians might not approve Rosatom’s approach because they do not want to rely too heavily on Russia for energy, Kommersant wrote. In anticipation of this, Rosatom has already employed an unspecified international PR company to improve its image abroad, Kommersant’s source reported.

Moscow Times 2nd April 2012 more >>

EDF

Electricite de France SA, the world’s biggest operator of atomic plants, remains committed to developing nuclear reactors in the U.K. even after Germany’s two biggest utilities abandoned projects in the country. EDF has no intention of following EON AG and RWE AG (RWE), which announced last week they’ll scrap a plan to build reactors in Britain through their Horizon venture, Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio told reporters today in Paris. “The British government is eager to develop new sources of energy and we will accompany them,” he said.

Bloomberg 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Hinkley

EDF Energy has restarted its 480-megawatt (MW) Hinkley Point B-8 nuclear reactor after an automatic shutdown, National Grid data showed on Wednesday. The reactor switched off automatically on March 27 due to a gas circulator earth fault, the operator said.

Reuters 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Sellafield

The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has signed a contract with GE Hitachi to “enable a more detailed assessment” of GEH’s proposal to “burn” the UK’s stockpile of plutonium in GEH’s Prism fast reactors, officials said April 3. Under the agreement, the NDA will pay GEH for additional studies and analyses over the next four months to demonstrate that its proposal is a credible alternative to using the plutonium in mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel.

i-Nuclear 3rd April 2012 more >>

Talks will take place on Wednesday which could see the world’s fastest nuclear reactor built at Sellafield. GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, the company behind the PRISM reactor, claim it would not only dispose of plutonium stocks at Sellafield but deliver low carbon electricity. If the talks are successful the firm has predicted a multi-billion investment creating around 900 permanent jobs and a further 1,000 jobs indirectly. The plant would dispose of 87 metric tonnes of plutonium stored in west Cumbria while generating 600 MW of electricity.

Cumberland News 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

One of Sellafield’s biggest trade unions has criticised a council leader’s £6,606 pay rise. Organisers from the GMB, which represents workers at the west Cumbrian site, condemned Copeland Borough Council’s decision to award Councillor Elaine Woodburn £6,606 in special allowances for her role in the nuclear industry.

Cumberland News 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Nuclear Research

The government is to invest up to £15million in research, development and knowledge transfer to stimulate innovation and support growth in the civil nuclear power sector. The investment, which is being awarded through the Technology Strategy Board, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the EPSRC, will fund feasibility projects, collaborative research and development and knowledge transfer partnerships that stimulate innovation and strengthen the UK supply chain.

Eureka 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Nuclear Liability

Nuclear operators are to be liable for damages amounting up to seven times the current limit in the event of a nuclear incident, the Government has confirmed. Nuclear law expert Chris White of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that the Government’s unilateral desire to increase the compensation available to people affected by nuclear accidents could place capacity constraints on insurers. “Insurance companies are only able to participate in the nuclear insurance market on a net lines basis, meaning that from year to year there is a limited amount of capacity available to cover nuclear risks,” he explained. “Insurers are now being asked to not only provide increased cover as well as provide insurance to cover long-tail claims made up to 30 years after any nuclear incident and underwriting several new heads of damage.”

Out Law 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Out Law 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

Small firms wanting to capture lucrative nuclear contracts need to invest now to meet the rigorous safety standards demanded. Nuclear Now, a conference organised by PE and attended by smaller engineering companies outlined the opportunities available to them in the new-build landscape, but also warned of the standards that would be expected and required by the reactor vendors, utilities and large engineering companies such as Rolls-Royce.

Professional Engineering 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Companies

International Power has rejected as too low a £6bn approach by French energy giant GDF Suez to buy the 30pc of the UK electricity producer it does not own.

Telegraph 4th Apr 2012 more >>

UAE

Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) said it will begin talks next year with the United Arab Emirates on a new deal for four nuclear power plants, and plans to spend 800 billion won ($706.06 million) this year on overseas resources development including acquisitions.

Reuters 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Update 30th March to 2nd April.

Greenpeace 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Japan needs more time to decide whether to restart two offline nuclear reactors, the trade minister said on Tuesday, as concerns about a summer power crunch vie with safety worries in the wake of last year’s Fukushima crisis. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will not make any immediate decision on a restart date, Trade Minister Yukio Edano, who holds the energy portfolio, told reporters. “It will take some time to obtain the understanding of the public including the locals. Of course, it is not good to be too slow but neither is it good to rush,” he said. The nuclear safety watchdog will compile the standard and present it at the next round of the ministers’ meeting to discuss the restarts of the No.3 and No.4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co’s Ohi plant, Edano said.

Reuters 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Engineering & Technology 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Japan’s Electric Power Development Co has decided to delay the construction of its Ohma nuclear power plant indefinitely. The plant, which is under construction in Aomori prefecture (northern Honshu), was expected to be complete in late 2014. However, construction has been suspended since the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, J-Power said in a statement that it is ‘moving ahead to review safety enhancement measures in response to the accident at Fukushima Daiichi’ and that it would incorporate any necessary measures.

Nuclear Engineering International 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

India

India is to formally commission a nuclear submarine into its navy, joining an elite group of nations with similar capabilities. The $1bn (£630m) Russian-built Nerpa has been leased by the Indian navy for the next 10 years. It was handed over to India in eastern Russia in January.

BBC 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Iran

Let’s jump ahead a few years and imagine the following: despite all efforts by Israel and possibly the U.S., Iran has managed to build nuclear weapons and would now be ready to engage in nuclear warfare with its Israeli counterpart. However, instead of a nuclear Armageddon, peace dominates the political landscape of the Middle East; not despite the presence of nuclear weapons but because of it. Nuclear weapons could foster peace and relax tensions in this region that is riddled with potential conflict. What might sound overly optimistic or even foolish has in fact a lot of arguments and evidence backing it.

Huffington Post 2th Apr 2012 more >>

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Tuesday that a nuclear-armed Iran or a conflict over its programme would both destabilise the region as she pressed Tehran for clear commitments in forthcoming talks.

Telegraph 4th Apr 2012 more >>

North Korea

North Korea is on the verge of an environmental collapse. Its fresh water is polluted and bacteria-infected, its land deforested and the soil eroded. The North Korean people are struggling to find clean water to drink and to grow food to eat.

IB Times 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Pakistan

I had a conversation with a prominent Pakistani intellectual. He went from decrying the influence of fundamentalists on the school curriculum, to saying – with evident pride – that India had been unable to retaliate for the Mumbai terror attacks, because Pakistan is a nuclear-weapons state. As for the Americans, they too should remember that Pakistan has nuclear weapons and should therefore be careful about how far they push Pakistan. It was one of the more depressing conversations I’ve had recently.

FT 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

US

Nuclear-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that would increase operational flight durations from days to months are a technological possibility today, according to a feasibility study undertaken last year by Sandia National Laboratories and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. A nuclear power supply would additionally double the availability of electrical power to onboard systems, including weaponry, the study found.

Giz Mag 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Book Review

Published in 1988, just two years after the catastrophic explosion at Chernobyl, Weart’s Nuclear Fear remains a classic study of the way imagery has dominated the nuclear debate. This book is a slimmed-down and revised version of the earlier 550-page volume. Its publication is well timed. The threat of global warming has brought about a second nuclear age, with even some environmentalists now accepting that nuclear energy has a role to play in a low carbon future. But the meltdown at the Fukushima reactors may undermine that – opinion polls show that fear of all things nuclear is back to pre-1990 levels.

Guardian 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

CCS

More than £1bn of public funds will be allocated to a new push to develop carbon capture and storage technology that could create an industry with 100,000 jobs, with the revival of a government-sponsored competition to design the first workable demonstration project. The move is the government’s first foray into CCS – technology used to capture carbon dioxide from power plants and store it permanently underground, which experts say will be essential to meet climate change targets – since the demise of the original long-running competition in October.

Guardian 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Independent 4th Apr 2012 more >>

The £1bn in capital for building costs is still on offer, but so too is a guaranteed future revenue stream for the plant operators. This will come from so-called “Contracts for Difference”, which will offer a fixed price for their electricity, whatever the market price for it on any given day.

Independent 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Peterhead represents the best hope for the first “clean power” station in the UK and potentially Europe, the power company behind the scheme has said. Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) said the plant could be up and running within five years in response to the UK Government’s launch of a £1 billion competition to build a carbon capture and storage (CCS) power station for the third time in five years. UK ministers also announced that Edinburgh University will host a new £13 million CCS research centre.

Herald 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Scotsman 4th Apr 2012 more >>

Posted: 4 April 2012

3 April 2012

Plutonium

A radical plan to deal with Britain’s plutonium waste – the biggest civil deposit in the world – has come a step closer with a legal contract to test the feasibility of building an American nuclear fast reactor on the Sellafield site in Cumbria. Nuclear officials have signed a feasibility study to investigate the possibility of building an American-designed fast reactor to “burn” the plutonium waste on-site at Sellafield. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which has overall responsibility for Sellafield and its 100-tonne plutonium-waste problem, has signed the deal with GE-Hitachi to see whether its Prism fast reactor can directly eliminate the plutonium waste rather than the alternative method of converting it into mixed oxide (Mox) fuel for conventional nuclear reactors. The deal represents a remarkable U-turn on the part of the NDA which has consistently said that its preferred option to deal with the plutonium waste at Sellafield is to build a second Mox fuel plant at Sellafield – the first Mox fuel plant was closed last year after a catalogue of failures costing £1.34bn.

Independent 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Horizon

EDF Energy appears unlikely to take over the Horizon Nuclear Power project following the shock exit of two energy companies. Uncertainty surrounds the 120 jobs at Horizon at Gloucester Business Park after both RWE npower and E.ON pulled out of the joint venture to create some of the next generation of nuclear power stations.

Gloucestershire Echo 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Nuclear Investment

The Government is talking with global sovereign funds about buying into the UK’s nuclear renaissance providing a huge boost to a pair of Lancashire firms. The Evening Post understands talks have taken place with funds in the Middle East and Far East about pumping cash into getting new power stations built across the country amid fears the new-build programme could stall due to a lack of cash. It could see a deal struck to secure new investment into Horizon Nuclear Power, the group bidding to build new nuclear reactors at Wylfa in Angelsey and Oldbury, Gloucestershire, which was rocked by the pull-out of German energy giants RWE and E.ON last week. That would be a major boost for Lancashire-based Westinghouse, one of two energy companies bidding to build reactors, which had hoped its AP1000 design could land a multi-billion pound deal to build the reactor at Wylfa ahead of the rival French Areva EPR reactor. The fuel for any AP1000 reactor built in the UK will be produced at the Springfields Fuels factory at Salwick, near Preston, securing up to 1,000 jobs for up to a century.

Lancashire Evening Post 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Moody’s Investors Service said RWE and E.ON’s decision last week to abandon plans to build new nuclear power plants in the UK was “credit positive” for the two firms. “The companies’ decision to pull out of their UK nuclear joint venture, known as Horizon Nuclear Power, is credit positive for both German utilities, which can instead focus on investment in less risky projects,” Moody’s said in an April 2 statement. In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan, new safety measures and potential changes to reactor design have significantly increased the uncertainty around construction costs for new nuclear power facilities, Moody’s said. Curiously, Moody’s said the German withdrawal from the UK nuclear new build policy was also credit positive for EDF, which remains committed to building four Areva EPR reactors in the UK.

i-Nuclear 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

The news that nuclear giants RWE and E.ON are dropping plans to build any new UK reactors has sent a toxic cloud not only over Wales, but over the nuclear industry itself. So the torpedo that has just been launched at the majestic British nuclear ship by the sneaky German energy corporations has hit the most vulnerable part of the nuclear industry – its economic credibility. Among the wreckage, the unpalatable fact is that the electricity produced is not economic and that the scheme has only been kept going by increasingly exotic public subsidies and finance packages (read sub-prime crisis).

Guardian 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

German utility companies RWE and E.ON have pulled the plug on a joint project to build nuclear reactors at Wylfa on the island of Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. The firms blame a shortage of cash following the German government’s decision last year to abandon nuclear power. “There is no doubt that the withdrawal is a symptom of a much wider post-Fukushima effect,” says Gordon MacKerron of Sussex University in Brighton, UK. Despite the drop-off in nuclear power generation, Germany’s decision may not mean a boost for European green energy . “Investment is stalling generally across the energy industry, including the major investment needed for offshore wind projects,” says Sue Ion of the Royal Academy of Engineering in London. The energy technology most likely to gain from any nuclear freeze in UK is gas turbines, says McKerron. With gas prices high, they cost a lot to run – but they are cheap and quick to build.

New Scientist 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Nuclear Liability

The UK government is to substantially increase the third party liabilities of nuclear plant operators in the event of an accident, bringing them into line with previously agreed amendments to the Paris and Brussels conventions. The UK is party to both the Paris and supplementary Brussels convention (as amended in 1984), and domestic laws are embodied in the Nuclear Installations Act of 1965. The proposals aim to put the existing UK legislation in line with amendments to the conventions adopted in 2004. The government conducted a consultation on the implementation of the changes to the conventions between 24 January and 28 April 2011.

World Nuclear News 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

eGov Monitor 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Nuclear Research

Sheffield and Manchester Universities are spearheading a £4 million project to help UK firms play an increasing role in the civil nuclear industry. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded New Nuclear Build and Manufacturing programme – NNUMAN – aims to develop new manufacturing processes that enable British firms to out-compete foreign rivals and train a new generation of nuclear scientists and engineers.

Sheffield Star 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Dounreay

Senior figures from government and industry are gathering at Dounreay today to hear the site’s new clean-up team set out their vision to accelerate the demolition of Britain’s second largest civil nuclear site. Three of the world’s biggest engineering and project management companies – Babcock International, CHM2HILL and URS – have come together to win the largest site closure contract ever let in the UK. Their aim is to complete the decommissioning of the site by 2022-25 and reduce the cost to the UK taxpayer by over £1 billion. The consortium, known as the Babcock Dounreay Partnership, officially took over Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd at the weekend. It will use the company’s 950 staff and supply chain to clean up and demolish the remainder of the site.

DSRL 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Share Cast 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Scotsman 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority today publishes its business plan for 2012/13, setting out key clean-up goals for sites such as Dounreay to achieve.

DSRL 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Small Modular Reactors

Large, modern nuclear reactors can produce more than 1,000 megawatts worth of power, but cost around $7 billion to build. They must also pass vast amounts of safety procedures and certifications, especially after the Fukushima disaster last year. Babcock & Wilcox, a one-time builder of large pressurized water reactors as well as smaller ones suitable for the submarines, have suggested that reducing the size and capacity of nuclear reactors, to about 180 megawatts, could improve safety and reduce the cost. The reactors would be produced in a modular fashion, with all parts being assembled in a factory and then shipped to the required sites. B&W believe that the major hurdle facing the nuclear industry is the huge expense, and therefore financial risk, of constructing a reactor; an expense that would take years to earn back.

Oil Price 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Nuclear Drones

American scientists have drawn up plans for a new generation of nuclear-powered drones capable of flying over remote regions of the world for months on end without refuelling. The blueprints for the new drones, which have been developed by Sandia National Laboratories – the US government’s principal nuclear research and development agency – and defence contractor Northrop Grumman, were designed to increase flying time “from days to months” while making more power available for operating equipment, according to a project summary published by Sandia. “It’s pretty terrifying prospect,” said Chris Coles of Drone Wars UK, which campaigns against the increasing use of drones for both military and civilian purposes. “Drones are much less safe than other aircraft and tend to crash a lot. There is a major push by this industry to increase the use of drones and both the public and government are struggling to keep up with the implications.”

Guardian 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Lithuania

Hitachi has signed a concession agreement with the Lithuanian Energy Ministry for construction of the Visaginas nuclear power plant in Lithuania. The deal will be officially concluded after the approval by the Lithuanian parliament which has been in session since last month. Lithuania is intending to build a new nuclear power plant in Visaginas in the northeastern part of the country, with the aim of having an operational plant in 2021.

Energy Business Review 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Nuclear Engineering International 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran declared on Monday it will not be swayed from its nuclear “path” by sanctions, a week before talks with world powers that are increasingly seen as a last chance for diplomacy in its showdown with the West.

Middle East Online 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Gas

IGas said it now believed the volume of “gas in place” was near 10 trillion cubic feet (tcf). If even 10pc of that were recoverable, it could equate to about a quarter of the UK’s annual natural gas usage. The company is now seeking a partner with which to drill further and develop the shale resources. Andrew Austin, IGas chief executive, said the shale gas, added to the company’s coal bed methane gas, could together “power about 15pc of the UK’s homes for 30 years”.

Telegraph 3rd Apr 2012 more >>

Posted: 3 April 2012

2 April 2012

Horizon

JAPAN’S Toshiba is considering taking over a venture to build up to three nuclear reactors at Wylfa in Anglesey. The firm may team up with France’s GDF Suez to invest around £1 billion in the venture, which is called Horizon and was put up for sale by two German utilities last week. Toshiba owns Westinghouse, the reactor designer that was formerly owned by the UK government. GDF is a giant French utility with ambitions to take part in the UK’s new nuclear age. The Japanese powerhouse is also interested in investing in Oldbury, Gloucestershire, the other site owned by Horizon. This could mean it is involved in the construction of up to six new reactors to Westinghouse’s AP1000 design. A source said: “This could work out very well for Toshiba.” Any GDF decision on Wylfa may be influenced by its involvement in another nuclear consortium with Spain’s Iberdrola, called NuGen. It has plans to develop a power station at Sellafield on the Cumbrian coast. Yesterday GDF said it was focused on its Cumbria plan and did not comment on other consortia. It is understood that America’s General Electric and Japan’s Hitachi are also interested in Wylfa. Previously, there had been concerns that the UK’s new reactors would be dominated by French utilities building to a French design.

Power Engineering 1st Apr 2012 more >>

Old Nukes

EDF Energy, the largest nuclear producer in the UK, stopped its 620-megawatt (MW) Hartlepool reactor 1 on Sunday, after restarting three other units on Saturday, the company said. “R1 at Hartlepool Power Station came offline at 15:39 British time on Sunday,” a spokeswoman said. EDF Energy restarted its Heysham 2-7, Hartlepool 2 and Dungeness B21 reactors on Saturday, which have a combined installed capacity of 1,830 MW.

Reuters 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Germany

One fact largely overlooked was that nine German NPPs will still be operating for up to a decade. With 10 other German NPPS now offline, the nine still operating mean that Berlin has only halved its chances of a Fukushima Daiichi type disaster, not ended it. So, how prepared are German authorities to deal with an incident of Fukushima’s magnitude? Not much, apparently.

Oil Price 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Japan

Much of Japan’s Pacific coast would be inundated by a tsunami more than 34 metres (112 feet) high if an offshore earthquake as powerful as last year’s occurred, according to a government panel of experts. They report that a wave of such height could result from any tsunami unleashed by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake in the Nankai trough, which runs east of Japan’s main island of Honshu to the southern island of Kyushu. An earlier forecast in 2003 put the potential maximum height of such a tsunami at less than 20 metres (66 feet). The latest forecast shows a tsunami of up to 21 metres (69 feet) could strike near the Hamaoka nuclear plant on the south-eastern coast. Its operator, Chubu Electric Power Co, is building an 18-metre (59-foot) high sea wall to counter tsunamis. The wall is due to be completed next year.

Guardian 1st Apr 2012 more >>

Trident

Scottish independence would have ‘profound ramifications for UK’s nuclear deterent and for US-UK relations’ says American think-tank.

STV 1st Apr 2012 more >>

Press & Journal 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Climate

Caroline Flint: Unless we address people’s concerns about prices, jobs and security, and show that cutting our emissions and tackling climate change will leave them and their families better off, the same old voices will carry on peddling the same old rubbish about the transition to a low-carbon economy being a burden on bill-payers and a threat to jobs and growth. In the end, if we’re serious about building public support for tackling climate change in the UK, it has to be about bills, not bears.

Guardian 2nd Apr 2012 more >>

Posted: 2 April 2012