News

25 October 2009

Radioactive Waste

Former senior government advisers on nuclear power have accused ministers of being “cavalier” and “cherry-picking” their advice to bolster the case for a new generation of nuclear power stations. They and other industry experts say the government should not embark on building any new atomic facilities without properly tackling the unsolved problem of how to deal with radioactive waste from existing power plants. In 2006 the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management published recommendations on how the UK should dispose of nuclear waste. A key idea was that long-term disposal would be best carried out by identifying suitable sites at which the waste could be buried, a process called deep geological disposal. The conclusions were used by the government to bolster the case for the building of new nuclear power stations. But Gordon MacKerron, chair of the committee until 2007, said the recommendations were meant for legacy waste and were not a “carte blanche” to think that radioactive waste from a new generation of power plants could be dealt with in the same way.

Observer 25th Oct 2009 more >>

Wales

Carwyn Jones has begun a week of policy announcements with a focus on energy and climate change. Visiting Wylfa power station on Anglesey he said that it’s “time to get real on climate change” and argued that the threat from global warming has already radically changed the terms of debate on nuclear energy. He therefore affirmed that nuclear power must form part of Wales’ low carbon response to the serious challenges posed by global warming, while making sure that nuclear waste is properly dealt with.

Wales Home.org 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Oldbury

A mother who lost her daughter to leukaemia will talk about the tragedy at a meeting that has been organised by campaigners opposing a new nuclear power station near Bristol. Susan D’Arcy blamed the Sellafield reprocessing plant in Cumbria for six-year-old Gemma’s illness and wrote a book about how she struggled to save her life. Her story was also turned into a drama documentary, which was screened in 1993. Mrs D’Arcy has been invited to give the second lecture in a series arranged by families in the Shepperdine and Oldbury-on-Severn areas, near Thornbury, who are fighting plans for a new generation atomic plant close to their homes.

Bristol Evening Post 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Companies

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, is set to pocket £400m from a deal in which it will sell half its stake in the world’s largest wind farm. The sale, which could be announced this week, is part of a wide-ranging programme of asset sales that Sam Laidlaw, chief executive, launched in July. Laidlaw had spent £3.5 billion on acquisitions in the previous six months. Centrica is selling assets to raise money for investments in gas storage projects, new nuclear plants and offshore wind farms. The stake to be sold is in the Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farm off the Lincolnshire coast.

Sunday Times 25th Oct 2009 more >>

Iran

US President Barack Obama spoke with his Russian and French counterparts Saturday, rallying support for a deal to end the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program, as they urged Tehran to accept the offer. Obama made Saturday-morning calls to Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy during which all three men “affirmed their full support” for a recently offered deal, the White House said.

Middle East Online 24th Oct 2009 more >>

INFLUENTIAL Iranian lawmakers yesterday criticised a United Nations-drafted agreement that requires Tehran to send its atomic stockpile abroad for processing. Their comments were reported as UN inspectors are expected today to arrive in the country to examine a nuclear site that has heightened western fears of a covert Iranian programme to develop atomic bombs. The draft International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) deal requires Iran to cut its atomic stockpile, but the Tehran government missed Friday’s deadline for responding to it.

Scotland on Sunday 25th Oct 2009 more >>

Telegraph 25th Oct 2009 more >>

The recently revealed nuclear facility at Qom was almost certainly part of a nuclear weapons programme. Communication intercepts revealed that Iran only planned to place 3,000 centrifuges in the plant. It would take that number of centrifuges twenty years to produce enough low-enriched uranium for a civilian power plant. But 3,000 centrifuges would produce enough weapons-grade uranium for two to three bombs a year.

Spectator 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Letter: In the Scottish Democratic Alliance we support a non-nuclear policy for Scotland although nuclear powered naval and commercial vessels would not be banned from our territorial waters.

Scotland on Sunday 25th Oct 2009 more >>

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s incoming second-term government plans to hold talks with the U.S. on the removal of American-made nuclear weapons from the country.

Bloomberg 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Renewables

For more than 100 Indian villages cut off from grid electricity, life no longer comes to an end after dark thanks to an innovative solar-powered lantern that offers hope to the nation’s rural poor.

Independent on Sunday 25th Oct 2009 more >>

The controversial Beauly-Denny power line, which will see 600 pylons, each 200ft high, built between Beauly, west of Inverness, to Denny, west of Falkirk, has been given the go-ahead by the Scottish Government, the Sunday Herald can reveal. It will create the capacity to transmit around six gigawatts of power generated from wind, wave and tidal turbines in the Highlands and Islands to electricity users further south, comprising about three-quarters of the output needed to meet the country’s 2020 renewable energy targets.

Sunday Herald 25th Oct 2009 more >>

Scotland was ignored at the Round Two stage of Offshore Wind licensing, since its waters were seen as deeper and more treacherous, but then received a whopping 6.4GW of potential capacity through the Scottish Territorial Waters Round late in 2008. The whole country is now waiting to see how the Crown Estate decides to allocate its Round Three concessions, which concern nine mega-sites in deeper waters comprising a further 25GW of potential capacity, including four more gigawatts in Scotland.

Sunday Herald 25th Oct 2009 more >>

Climate

Energy companies have privately warned the Government that its climate change targets are “illusory” and “delusional” as global leaders prepare to sign up to stricter guidelines at the Copenhagen climate change conference in six weeks.

Telegraph 25th Oct 2009 more >>

Peak Oil

Conventional oil powers modern economies and provides around a third of the world’s energy. But many commentators forecast a near-term peak soon and subsequent decline in global production as the resource is depleted. Some expect this to lead to major economic disruption, with “non-conventional” sources being unable to fill the gap in the timescale required.

Telegraph 25th Oct 2009 more >>

Posted: 25 October 2009

24 October 2009

Sellafield

Sellafield Ltd has reported today that the site’s HLW waste Evaporator ‘B’ has had to be taken out of service because of yet another failure of one its internal cooling coils. Under normal circumstances, the process of evaporating the liquid HLW produced by Sellafield’s THORP and Magnox reprocessing plant would be transferred to the site’s two other Evaporators A and C. Neither Evaporator A or C however are currently available for use – leaving the Sellafield site with no way of processing (condensing) any HLW prior to its transfer to the Vitrification Plant for conversion to a solid glass form. By way of lucky coincidence for Sellafield, both reprocessing plant are also currently out of action – THORP having closed in July (for an engineering overhaul of its own newer Evaporator C) and Magnox being closed down, somewhat suspiciously, ‘for routine engineering not long before the Evaporator B failure’.

CORE Briefing 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

AMERICAN Bill Poulson expects nothing but the best from the 10,000 people under his Sellafield command – and if he can see the light shining in their eyes to demonstrate a real appetite for work then all the better.

Whitehaven News 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

New Nukes

THE CONFEDERATION of British Industry (CBI) has called on the UK government to invest heavily in a new generation of nuclear power and scale back its “over-ambitious” targets for renewable power.

Chemical Engineer 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

The Engineer 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Conservative reassurances “to keep Britain’s lights on” will be welcomed by energy users and those involved with the energy industry. However, confidence, particularly among potential investors, is likely to remain uncertain until clarification and further details are given. Clarity is needed on whether (and how) they will propose a subsidy or other assistance, such as a feed-in tariff, to renewables in the context of carbon pricing. It is also uncertain what exactly the party means by “immediate action to keep Britain’s lights on” in the context of nuclear power. How does the party intend to maximise the prospects of nuclear power stations securing development consents.

Utility Week 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Wales

Of the three contenders to succeed Rhodri Morgan as leader of the Welsh Labour Party, Edwina Hart says she will “redouble assembly government efforts in the renewable energy field, and “where nuclear power is concerned, only the highest degree of scepticism is sensible”

BBC 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Would-be First Minister Carwyn Jones has backed nuclear power as part of Britain’s energy mix to combat climate change. He is today due to visit the Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey, which is being decommissioned but which could be the site of a new nuclear plant. Mr Jones said: “It is now perfectly clear that because of climate change, the terms of the debate we previously had on nuclear energy have shifted. “We are involved in an entirely different world and in energy terms we stand at a crossroads.

Western Mail 24th Oct 2009 more >>

IPC

Ministers would decide whether major planning applications should go ahead if the Conservative Party wins the general election, despite David Cameron’s pledge to reduce “big government”. A Tory policy paper, passed to The Independent, says that the relevant secretary of state would take the final decision on projects such as nuclear power stations, wind farms, airport extensions and major roads. The Tories would abolish a new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) set up by Labour to streamline the system after long-standing complaints from industry that decisions took several years.

Independent 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Hinkley

EdF, who plan to build two giant reactors at Hinkley Point, have insisted upon a series of supposedly legally binding agreements with Sedgemoor, West Somerset and Somerset Councils allowing EdF to exclude certain planning information from the Freedom of Information Act. This move has occurred despite legal advice to councils that they cannot ‘contract out’ of the Freedom of Information Act.

Bristol Indymedia 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Low Level Waste

There will be another chance for people to have their say on controversial plans to turn a former opencast mine into a low-level radioactive dump. Three public exhibitions were held last week and following requests from Arlecdon and Frizington Parish Council to hold another, Endecom UK Ltd has agreed to hold a fourth session in the area next month.

Whitehaven News 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Villagers in Northamptonshire are campaigning against the use of their local landfill for radioactive waste from the nuclear industry. It is the quintessential English village, a place where people are so keen to live that even the local hazardous waste landfill around the corner doesn’t put people off. But residents of King’s Cliffe, with its pretty sandstone cottages, on the north Northamptonshire border, are beginning to wonder whether the landfill is about to attract the kind of attention which will make the area synonymous with something less desirable. The hazardous waste management firm Augean plc, which runs the site, wants to dispose of low level nuclear waste.

BBC 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Northampton Chronicle 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

High Level Waste

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has proposed an alternative nuclear fuel recycling system, which could reduce radioactive waste and avoid extraction of plutonium that can be used for making weapons. Nuclear experts say while the proposed Advanced Recycling Center (ARC) could help to solve some of the biggest worries as more countries build nuclear reactors, high costs are drawbacks.

Interactive Investor 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Nuclear experts say the proposed Advanced Recycling Centre (ARC) could help to solve some of the biggest worries as the world looks to build more than 100 nuclear reactors to curb greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring energy supply. “It’s very clever,” said Tim Stone, KPMG’s Corporate Finance Partner. “The principles have been known for a long time but the overall package is very neat … A positive part of this is burning the worst radioactive waste,” said Stone, who advises the British government on nuclear matters. The drawbacks of the system by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy are that the fast reactors involved are very costly and the reprocessing technology involves handling highly radioactive material yet to be proven on industrial scale. The ARC would include GE Hitachi’s fourth generation PRISM sodium-cooled fast reactors and an electrometallurgical separation process that would make a new form of fuel from spent fuel rods without separating plutonium.

Reuters 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Belgium

French utility GDF Suez said Friday it has reached an agreement with Belgian authorites to settle a dispute that had darkened relations between the government and the country’s largest power producer. GDF Suez, which operates both of Belgium’s nuclear power plants, will invest euro500 million ($751 million) in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. The investment, to be financed by GDF Suez’s Belgian subsidiary Electrabel, will be made between 2010 and 2015, and is conditional on access to sites, the company said.

Forbes 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Bulgaria

RWE has changed its mind about Bulgaria’s Belene nuclear power plant project, Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov said on Friday, indicating the German utility may walk out of the project.

Reuters 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Pakistan

The Pakistani Taliban targeted an air base believed to be one of the country’s secret nuclear weapons facilities on Friday among a wave of suicide bombings that killed at least 25 people across the country.

Telegraph 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Daily Mail 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Herald 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Iran

Iran defied the West by missing a deadline it had been set to agree to hand over its stockpiles of enriched uranium for processing abroad.

Telegraph 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Times 24th Oct 2009 more >>

FT 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Scotsman 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Herald 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Independent 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Given that Israeli government has made a nuclear-free Iran its prime international goal, a military strike to try to achieve that is now correspondingly more likely.

Telegraph 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Iran will respond to a proposed deal on its controversial nuclear programme by the middle of next week, it has told the UN’s atomic energy agency.

BBC 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

US

Public support for the use of nuclear energy in the USA remains strong, according to the results of a recent opinion poll. Over 80% of those questioned said that all low-carbon energy sources should be exploited to combat climate change.

World Nuclear News 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Submarines

WORKERS at Rolls-Royce Submarines are taking industrial action from Monday over pay. Members of the union Unite were balloted for industrial action following the rejection of a pay offer. This involved a pay freeze for 2009, a 2% rise in 2010 and a lump sum, one-off taxable payment of £300.

Derby Telegraph 24th Oct 2009 more >>

Posted: 24 October 2009

23 October 2009

New Nukes

The government will release its long-awaited National Policy Statements for new nuclear build in November, climate change minister David Kidney told a CBI conference today. The Statements, which will be released for consultation, are designed to give energy firms an indication of the legislative framework they will have to comply with as they start planning the new nuclear reactors.

Business Green 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Dungeness

Details of a nuclear-industry funded armed police force that guards Dungeness, and other nuclear power stations, and patrols the local area in permanently armed cars have been revealed today in the Guardian newspaper. The Civil Nuclear Constabulary, whose job is to protect civil nuclear plants and radioactive nuclear material when in transit and to recover control of the material if lost or stolen, has a force of 750 officers and staff. At Dungeness they maintain an overtly heavily armed presence 24 hours a day, 7 days week and patrol an area up to 3 miles from the nuclear plant in permanently armed patrol cars.

Romney Marsh Times 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Heysham

Thomas Consulting, which has offices in Buckshaw Village, near Chorley and Leyland, has signed up with power group British Energy to provide services at its two reactors in Heysham, near Morecambe, until the end of 2012. The services include designing and building offices and providing advice on contaminated land services.

Lancashire Evening Post 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Low Level Waste

Villagers in Northamptonshire are campaigning against the use of their local landfill for radioactive waste from the nuclear industry.

BBC 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Iran

If Tehran tries to renegotiate the draft nuclear deal agreed in Vienna on Wednesday, it could all fall apart. But before we list the pitfalls that lie ahead, it is worth contrasting where we are today with what was on offer a year ago. At the previous round in Geneva, Iran produced a scrappy, typewritten two-page document called the None Paper. It should have read non-paper – jargon for an unofficial negotiating document – but the content was truer to its mispelled title than its authors intended.

Guardian 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Economist 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

UAE

The United States and United Arab Emirates are finalizing a landmark nuclear power cooperation agreement now that Congress has given its tacit approval, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Interactive Investor 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Pakistan

A suicide bomber struck a checkpoint near a military complex reportedly linked to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme today, killing seven people as the army pressed ahead with a major anti-Taliban offensive in the northwest.

Belfast Telegraph 23rd Oct 2009 more >>

Posted: 23 October 2009

22 October 2009

New Nukes

Letters (1) Dr Simon Lewis: Lord Hunt’s assertion that “Putting nuclear energy at the very heart of our low-carbon economy is part of our credibility going into the climate summit in Copenhagen,” rests on a dangerously naive world-view. We need to leave not only the technology of the 20th century behind, but political attitudes too. In a highly interconnected world, large-scale investment in technologies we would like to see replicated around the world should be at the heart of the UK government’s response to climate change. (2) Val Mainwood: Could Monbiot explain how many nuclear power stations worldwide would be needed to prevent climate breakdown? Has he a timetable for the worldwide construction and costing of these, that would deliver the required carbon reduction in time? And what about the substantial energy poverty of those who live in isolated environments, far away from these heavy industrial plants?

Guardian 21st Oct 2009 more >>

The CBI yesterday stepped up its campaign for plans for new nuclear plant to be fast-tracked with the release of a new report warning the UK risks missing climate change targets and undermining energy security unless at least six new nuclear plants are built by 2030.

Business Green 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

New Civil Engineer 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Utility Week 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Building 21st Oct 2009 more >>

CBI Press Release 21st Oct 2009 more >>

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) has revealed the first projects likely to use it, and the schemes are dominated by energy projects with a single road scheme. Five major wind farms and two new nuclear power stations are on the list, as well as a biomass power plant, and two national grid connection projects.

New Civil Engineer 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Telegraph 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Times 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Low Level Waste

A PETITION has been launched against controversial plans for a waste repository at Keekle Head. The petition, which already has 100 signatures, was organised by Copeland councillors Brian Dixon and Willis Metherell in opposition to plans to transform a former opencast mine into a low-level radioactive waste dump. A meeting on Monday last week was the first in a series about plans for the repository, on a site less than one mile from Pica and five miles from Whitehaven. The managing director of Endecom UK Ltd, the company behind the scheme, said that the response from the public had been positive so far.

Whitehaven News 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Cumbria

NUCLEAR Management Partners has appointed a local manager to head up its extensive West Cumbria socio-economic support operation. He is Gary McKeating who worked most recently for West Lakes Renaissance and Invest in Cumbria.

Whitehaven News 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Companies

Toshiba Corp will likely beat its own estimate to post a first-half operating profit of 1 to 2 billion yen ($11 million-$22 million), helped by cost cuts and solid earnings from its chip and nuclear power businesses, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Thursday.

Reuters 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Iran

The UN nuclear watchdog has given Iran a draft agreement designed to check the country’s ability to acquire a nuclear arsenal and says it wants an answer from Tehran by tomorrow. Under the programme, 1.2 tonnes of the Islamic Republic’s 1.5 tonne reserve of low-enriched uranium would be shipped to Russia and France by the end of the year and converted into fuel – a process that aims to prevent Iran manufacturing nuclear weapons.

Belfast Telegraph 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Western diplomats expressed serious doubts on Wednesday that Tehran would sign up to an agreement to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium. As two days of talks with Iran over its nuclear programme ended in Vienna Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Tehran had agreed a draft proposal under which it would send most of its low-enriched uranium abroad for processing.

FT 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Guardian 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Independent 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

North Korea

U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday that North Korea poses a threat to his country’s allies in North Asia and promised to protect them under the U.S. nuclear deterrent.

Reuters 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Italy

Edison, Italy’s second largest power producer, wants to have up to a 20% stake in the country’s nuclear power programme, according to the company’s CEO Umberto Quadrino. He said that Edison is in talks with Enel and Electricit de France (EdF) about taking a stake in their Italian joint venture.

World Nuclear News 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Belgium

The Belgian government wants GDF French utility GDF Suez to sign an agreement stating it will pay energy charges in return for operating nuclear power stations, daily De Tijd reported on Wednesday. GDF Suez Chief Executive Gerard Mestrallet was reported as saying last Thursday that he was not willing to pay the levy Belgium wants for 2009 — 250 million euros — for operating nuclear power stations and to a renewable energy fund.

Interactive Investor 21st Oct 2009 more >>

CTBT

A British nuclear expert has fallen to his death from the 17th floor of the United Nations offices in Vienna.

Telegraph 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Renewables

The amount of installed wind capacity in the UK has already reached 4GW and will top 10GW by 2012, overtaking nuclear, a study by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) has found. However, the BWEA said this rapid expansion was dependent on improvements to the planning system and an increase in the rapidity of decisions.

New Energy Focus 21st Oct 2009 more >>

The shadow business secretary, Ken Clarke, was slapped down by his party today after contradicting Conservative policy by suggesting mainland Britain was “not suitable” for onshore windfarms. Clarke yesterday told a conference organised by the centre-right thinktank Policy Exchange: “My view is that those few wild and open spaces that we have left in Britain should not be used for wind turbines.” He also said he thought windfarms should be built offshore. Clarke today issued a clarification through the Conservative leader David Cameron’s office: “At the event I was expressing an off-the-cuff view as a layman and not as a party spokesman on this subject. There is no change in Conservative party policy.” “We’re very much in favour of renewables and we’ve got stretching targets to meet,” said the shadow energy and climate change secretary, Greg Clark. “When it comes to wind, onshore wind has its place as well as offshore.”

Guardian 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Submarines

A DEFIANT message has been delivered to defence chiefs over plans to scrap nuclear submarines in Plymouth: ‘the fight starts now’. Council leader Vivien Pengelly was speaking as the Ministry of Defence announced it will host a meeting in Plymouth on Friday over the controversial Submarine Dismantling Project. The project could see 27 de-fuelled nuclear submarines stored and cut up at Devonport Naval Base over the next 60 years. Key city figures, MPs and MoD officials have been invited to the behind-closed-doors meeting.

Plymouth Herald 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Trident

John Hutton, the former defence secretary, has warned Gordon Brown that it would be “daft” to scrap the Trident nuclear weapons system, and predicted that his plans to scale it back will not save much money.

Independent 22nd Oct 2009 more >>

Posted: 22 October 2009

21 October 2009

New Nukes

Jonathan Porritt: If you are a minister in a government that spent its first 10 years in office talking on and on about the merits of energy efficiency and renewable power, but actually doing very little about it, then conjuring up a programme of nuclear power as a “get out when all else fails” sort of makes sense. If you are chief executive of a large energy company in a country where the regulatory system does not permit you to make much money on your renewable investments, and no money at all from selling fewer electrons (to increase efficiency) rather than more, then taking a punt on a couple of nuclear reactors definitely makes sense. All the more so since you can pretty much guarantee that the government will pick up the tab for anything that goes wrong. All these pretexts for resuscitating our moribund nuclear industry remain utterly unconvincing. Two years ago it was the consensus view that companies bidding for new reactors would require no subsidy. Six months ago that bold (and some would say preposterous) assertion was put aside with a much more honest acknowledgement from E.ON, EDF and others that substantial amounts of public money would be required after all. Indeed, the case was made that the government would have to stop subsidising renewables in order to prioritise nuclear.

Guardian 21st Oct 2009 more >>

UTV 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Dealing with the problems of old age lies at the heart of the nuclear industry’s challenge to convince the public of its safety: leaky power plants, crumbling waste stores nearing the end of their lives and overworked inspectors who do not have the time to assess properly the next generation of power stations. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), has admitted that the possibility of a serious accident at Britain’s biggest nuclear complex, Sellafield in Cumbria, is still “far too high”, while questioning the safety designs of new reactors being submitted for approval. The warning comes months after the Observer revealed an internal NII report that detailed 1,767 leaks, breakdowns and other mishaps around the atomic industry over the last seven years. “We have serious concern about your proposal, [to build EPRs] which allows lower safety class systems or manual controls to [override] higher safety class systems,” it says in a letter, suggesting the operating and safety mechanisms should be able to operate independently. Finnish regulators have also questioned this aspect of an EPR being built at Olkiluoto. The NII is questioning both Areva and a rival company, Westinghouse, about how their designs would stand up to a 9/11-style attack from the air.

Guardian 21st Oct 2009 more >>

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has said that nuclear power plant construction jobs should not be funded by new taxes or levies. Earlier this week, the Guardian reported that the government was planning to subsidise the building of new nuclear power stations with a tax on electricity bills. Matthew Sinclair, research director for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said the planned construction jobs should not be funded by members of the public already paying over the odds for their utility bills.

Career Engineer 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Uranium

On uranium, Gordon MacKerron, an energy expert at the University of Sussex, says: “We are extremely unlikely to run short of uranium for a very long time.” The suggestion that good quality uranium supplies are becoming scarce is fanciful, he adds. Much of the planet’s uranium supplies are yet to be surveyed and with new markets emerging in Namibia and Kazakhstan the supply of nuclear fuel is not expected to peak until 2015 at the earliest. In terms of emissions, nuclear power is often described as having no CO2 emissions; this is only really true once a nuclear plant is operational. The mining and preparation of the fuel and the construction of the power plants all carry a carbon price tag. However even when this is taken into account, nuclear comes out looking relatively clean. Plants produce on average 2-20 tonnes of carbon per gigawatt-hour of energy. According to a report by the Sustainable Development Commission, the government’s independent watchdog, this makes nuclear power orders of magnitude better than fossil fuels and on a par with wind power.

Guardian 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Nuclear Police

The nuclear industry funds the special armed police force which guards its installations across the UK, and secret documents, seen by the Guardian, show the 750-strong force is authorised to carry out covert intelligence operations against anti-nuclear protesters, one of its main targets.

Guardian 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Hinkley

AN ENERGY company is proposing to build up to nine wind turbines just a few miles from another of its sites earmarked for a controversial new nuclear power station. EDF Energy Renewables (EDF ER) has released plans to develop a new wind farm at Withy Farm, Puriton, near Bridgwater in Somerset.

Western Morning News 20th Oct 2009 more >>

This is the West Country 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Waste Transport

Shipments of compacted metallic waste resulting from the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel have been sent by rail from France back to Switzerland and the Netherlands for final disposal. The metal came from the zirconium-iron-pewter alloy tubes that formed the structure of nuclear fuel assemblies. During reprocessing, the rods are sheared into 35-mm lengths and dissolved in nitric acid so that powdered uranium, plutonium and other fission products can be chemically extracted and recycled. The shards of metal are removed from the acid, before being rinsed, packed and compacted along with certain other technological waste. Ultimately the metal leftovers end up in metal canisters similar to those that hold vitrified high-level radioactive waste.

World Nuclear News 14th Oct 2009 more >>

Radioactive Waste

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) are looking at whether to allow the nuclear industry to use ordinary landfill sites to dispose of radioactive waste. Since 2007 it’s been legal to use landfill for getting rid of very low-level waste, which includes plastic, clothing, metal and building rubble. The NDA said this made up around 90 per cent of radioactive waste but contained “less than 0.0003 per cent” of radioactivity.

Public Service 20th Oct 2009 more >>

The trouble is, when it comes to dumping its waste, the nuclear industry simply cannot be trusted. Regulations are flouted and scrutiny is avoided. How can we be sure that other, more dangerous waste won’t find its way into these sites? There are, after all, so many past examples.

Nuclear Reactions 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Regulation

The Conservative Party is drawing up plans for drastic job cuts at Ofgem, the energy regulator, as part of a sweeping overhaul of British energy policy.

Times 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Test Veterans

A NUCLEAR test veteran from Fife has accused the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of further delaying tactics as he continues his long drawn out fight for compensation.

Dundee Courier 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Australia

Australia does not (yet) have nuclear power but its most prominent nuclear reactor is at Lucas Heights in Sydney. On 21 October 2009, the Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam was told that several incidents had occurred at the reactor since 2008.

Hazards Magazine 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Finland

The Finnish radiation and safety authority, Stuk, has concluded in a preliminary safety assessment that Fennovoima has the qualifications to construct its proposed nuclear power plant safely and in accordance with Finland’s nuclear energy act.

World Nuclear News 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Argus Media 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Iran

Talks between Iran and three world powers over Tehran’s nuclear programme were stalled last night after the Iranian delegation put a range of obstacles in the path of an agreement to reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium. Although negotiations between Iran, the US, Russia and France will resume today in Vienna, Tehran appeared to be blocking attempts at agreement, saying it would not negotiate directly with the French delegation because of grievances over bilateral issues.

FT 21st Oct 2009 more >>

BBC 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Telegraph 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Israel and the United States launched a major air defence drill on Wednesday as part of what Israeli public radio called preparation for a faceoff with Iran.

Herald 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Letter: Rotblat went on to totally repudiate deterrence and came to the view that the only course of action open to him was to work towards the complete abolition of nuclear weapons.

Times 21st Oct 2009 more >>

Posted: 21 October 2009

20 October 2009

Radioactive Waste

The low-level nuclear waste depository at Drigg in Cumbria could be full in 20 years, one reason the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is looking to ‘refine’ its strategy. LLWR wants to find ways of cutting costs. One proposal made to the regulators is to do away with the traditional procedure of placing the waste in various protective membranes, putting it in one of the 10,000 containers, which cost £10,000 each, then covering it in earth and concrete. “We think it’s wasteful”. The NDA last month completed a 14-week consultation on how to deal with low-level waste and is now working to “refine” its strategy. Insiders confirm that the policy is almost certain to switch to putting more waste in landfill and other sites not used in the past. The energy department is known to be increasingly concerned at the slow progress with the deep geological disposal programme for higher level waste. The next generation of nuclear reactors it hopes to see built will generate more highly radioactive waste. The department wrote on 1 October to all local authorities in England “offering to give presentations to interested parties”.

Guardian 20th Oct 2009 more >>

“New plants will continue to be built with no concern for where to put the spent fuel,” said Georgui Kastchiev, senior scientist for nuclear safety at the University of Vienna’s Institute of Risk Research. “A solution to the problem is constantly being moved to some point further in the future.” The new reactors will pile up radioactive waste, which already grows by 12,000 tons a year, the International Energy Agency in Paris estimated. That has prompted scientists to call again for the world to start building permanent dump sites, a request made periodically ever since the first commercial atomic plant began generating power in Sellafield, England, in 1956. Germany has learned the hard way that trying to seal off waste forever can come back to haunt.

Bloomberg 20th Oct 2009 more >>

The government is poised to allow nuclear power generators to use ordinary landfill sites for dumping “hundreds of thousands of tons” of waste in an attempt to reduce the 73bn cost of decommissioning old reactors. The move has triggered a swath of applications around the country from big corporations trying to cash in on this potential new business, but infuriated local councils and campaign groups. The issue of waste is critical to the government as the stockpile is potentially much greater than previously thought and ministers are keen to encourage the power industry to build a new generation of reactors. Actions being considered by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and its Nuclear Decommissioning Authority include: Allowing the nuclear industry to use ordinary landfill sites for disposing of radioactive waste in a more extensive way; Allowing the main independent nuclear waste dump at Drigg in Cumbria to reduce its costs by scaling back the level of containment; Building a 1.5bn radioactive liquid-waste processing plant at Sellafield, Britain’s biggest atomic site, despite a history of project cost overruns and wider safety concerns there; Extending a blueprint for dealing with existing high-level waste to cover that created by future nuclear stations an “unjustifiable” step, according to the chair of the committee that created the blueprint.

Guardian 20th Oct 2009 more >>

New Nukes

George Monbiot: There’s little doubt that nuclear power could be produced safely and cleanly. There’s also little doubt that it seldom has been. The contrast between the way things are and the way they should be threatens to split the environmental movement from top to bottom. The persistent trouble with nuclear power – like any other potentially polluting industry – is that doing things the right way is expensive, while doing them the wrong way is cheap. My newfound complacency about nuclear power – it’s ugly, but not nearly as bad as a global climate crash – was shaken by the discovery last month of a shipwreck off the coast of Italy. The ship was one of 42 believed to have been scuttled by the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia. Most were sunk off the coast of Somalia.

Guardian 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Government officials have drawn up secret plans to tax electricity consumers to subsidise the construction of the UK’s first new nuclear reactors for more than 20 years, the Guardian has learned.

Business Green 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Building 19th Oct 2009 more >>

New Civil Engineer 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Contract Journal 19th Oct 2009 more >>

UK Department of Energy and Climate Change minister Lord Hunt has given the Government’s clearest endorsement of nuclear power yet, writing in today’s Guardian newspaper. A nuclear renaissance in the UK would be a tremendous opportunity, he says, to secure a home-grown, low-carbon, reliable and relatively low-cost energy supply.

Energy Efficiency News 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Lord Hunt said building just one nuclear station could provide 9,000 construction jobs.

Career Structure 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Cumbria

Organisers of the Whitehaven Festival have received a £100,000 grant to stage the event next year. Nuclear Management Partners, the new owner of Sellafield, has donated the money for the food and music festival from June 25 to 27.

Carlisle News and Star 19th Oct 2009 more >>

CUMBRIA is ideally placed to benefit from a rejuvenated nuclear industry. That’s the view of Robert Hough, the new chairman of government funding arm, the Northwest Regional Development Agency. The NWDA has an annual budget of £421m. Virtually all major public-sector investment projects depend on its support. Through its offshoot, Cumbria Vision, the NWDA underwrites the Energy Coast Masterplan and Barrow Waterfront, a £200m scheme to transform redundant dockland in the town.

NW Evening Mail 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Flamanville

The Flamanville EPR will be delayed two years and a 300 million Euro extra provision has been made for Olkiluoto, according to an AREVA. That puts OL3 extra cost at 2.6 billion and total cost at 5.8 bln.

Easy Bourse 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Korea

South Korea Monday described North Korea’s admission of an enriched uranium nuclear weapons programme as a “very worrying” development and questioned whether the country is committed to disarming.

AFP 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Iran

Iran began fresh talks with world powers yesterday on the future of its nuclear programme amid western hopes that Tehran will agree a deal that significantly reduces its current stock of low enriched uranium (LEU). In a new attempt to resolve the stand-off over Iran’s programme, the US, France and Russia sent high-level government figures to Vienna for talks which, if successful, could help avert fresh international sanctions from being imposed next year.

FT 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Irish Times 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Guardian 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Iranian officials appeared to rule out the main demand made by the West that enrichment of uranium should take place abroad and not in the Islamic Republic – a safeguard against the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad acquiring a nuclear arsenal.

Independent 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Times 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Ahmadinejad religiously believes he should export the Iranian revolution – and it is this, combined with the conspiracy theorist’s promise of “revenge”, that will be a much graver threat should Iran obtain a nuclear capability.

Telegraph 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Belgium

BELGIUM will delay phasing out nuclear power until 2025, ten years later than had previously been planned. Belgium has seven nuclear reactors producing 55% of its power, and the first of these due to be closed – two at Doel and one at Tihange – will now remain operational until 2025. Laws passed in 2003 meant that the country should have begun shutting down its nuclear reactors in 2015

Chemical Engineer 19th Oct 2009 more >>

US

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved cost recovery amounts for the state’s two largest utilities related to the construction of planned nuclear power reactors and uprates of existing reactors. The utilities will be able to collect more than $270 million from customers in 2010.

World Nuclear News 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Spain

Environmental group Greenpeace says it took legal action on Friday against the government and the nuclear regulator for alleged delays in setting up a panel on nuclear safety with public participation. A Greenpeace statement said legislation provided for the Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee to be constituted by August 2008 in order to issue non-binding recommendations to the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) watchdog.

STV 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Climate

A global treaty to fight climate change is hanging “in the balance”, Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary, said last night, although there were signs that developed countries were preparing to roll back on their demand that developing countries agree to long-term cuts in emissions. At the end of a two-day meeting in London of those countries responsible for 80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, Miliband said: “There is a universal view that we need to get an agreement, but not at any price. It is not a done deal and remains in the balance in my view.”

Guardian 20th Oct 2009 more >>

Posted: 20 October 2009

19 October 2009

Nuclear Subsidy

Government officials have drawn up secret plans to tax electricity consumers to subsidise the construction of the UK’s first new nuclear reactors for more than 20 years, the Guardian has learned. The planned levy on household bills would add £44 to an annual electricity bill of £500 and contradicts repeated promises by ministers that the nuclear industry would no longer benefit from public subsidies. There is mounting pressure on the power industry to show it can keep the lights on, with fears growing of an energy gap as ageing nuclear stations are retired and plans for new coal plants attract hostile protests. Ministers have become concerned that power companies such as E.ON and EDF Energy are reluctant to commit themselves to building nuclear stations because energy prices have fallen and they fear they will not be able to recoup the multi-billion pound cost of building new nuclear stations. Nuclear developers, such as the French-owned group EDF Energy, will need to decide whether to commit funds to start building reactors in less than a year, which is why ministers are keen to act soon. The carbon tax would take effect from 2015, to encourage developers like EDF planning to have reactors operational from 2017.

Guardian 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Herald 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Ananova 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Steve Thomas, Professor of Energy Policy, Public Services International Research Unit, Business School at the University of Greenwich, will say at a Westminster Seminar on nuclear reactors: “If the government caves in to industry demands for subsidies and guarantees, it will be electricity consumers and taxpayers that will pay huge additional costs.” David Elliott, Emeritus Professor of Technology Policy, from the Open University, will also say: “EDF tell us that a large nuclear programme will be operationally and economically incompatible with the UK renewables programme. Something will be curtailed – either renewables or nuclear. Do we want a renewable or a nuclear future?”

Telegraph 19th Oct 2009 more >>

New Nukes

Lord Hunt: A nuclear renaissance in the UK presents a tremendous opportunity. It has the potential to supply us with substantial amounts of home-grown, low-carbon, reliable and relatively cheap energy. That is why the government is facilitating a new generation of nuclear power: removing regulatory barriers, making the planning system fairer and faster, and creating more certainty for communities and industry.

Guardian 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Nuclear Costs

The government has refused an invitation to attend a public debate on the cost of new nuclear power today, which will be attended by industry figures, academics and many other interested parties. Paul Dorfman, a senior research associate at Warwick University and the event’s organiser, said it showed ministers were scared about the cost to consumers and taxpayers of nuclear power. Companies at the forefront of plans to build new reactors, such as EDF and Centrica, have said they will attend the meeting at Portcullis House, next to the Houses of Parliament. But the Office for Nuclear Development (OND) – an arm of the Department of Energy and Climate Change – said: “On this occasion ministers and officials have decided not to attend.”

Guardian 19th Oct 2009 more >>

The details are of course shocking, but the broad thrust of our story today on the government’s secret plans to subsidise nuclear power is also sadly unsurprising. The history of atomic power has always been one of huge costs overruns, massive government bailouts and the running problem of what to do with the toxic waste – in other words, it is the history of taxpayers handing over cash to giant nuclear companies. The atomic lobby sometimes tries to pass off this woeful track record as ancient history, but it is not – just ask the Finns. A nuclear reactor was meant to open on the Finnish island of Olkiluoto this summer, but – after four years of building, countless defects and at least a 2bn rise in the original costs – the thing will not be working until 2012 at the earliest.

Guardian 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Oldbury

The US safety regulator has deemed that the containment structure of a reactor, possibly destined for Oldbury and other UK sites, ‘may not withstand a tornado, earthquake or even high winds’. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has directed the designers, Westinghouse, to strengthen the outer shell which protects the reactor’s containment structure as it does not meet their requirements for safety.

Bristol Indymedia 18th Oct 2009 more >>

Cumbria

THE newly-enthroned Bishop of Carlisle, James Newcome, has set out his vision to reverse the Church of England’s declining fortunes in Cumbria – but in an interview with the Gazette, he also reveals his views on a range of other pressing issues faced by members of his rural flock. BISHOP James Newcome has a mild and engaging manner and his thoughtful response to each of my questions hints that he is unlikely to be a controversial prelate – as long as you don’t raise the subject of nuclear power. His support for Sellafield and the prospect of another nuclear power station in West Cumbria saw members of Radiation Free Lakeland stage a demonstration in Carlisle before his enthronement last Saturday.

Westmorland Gazette 17th Oct 2009 more >>

Finland

The paper mountain helps explain why the reactor, which should have cost 3bn (£2.72bn) and been working this year, will now miss its revised completion date of mid-2012 and will cost at least 5.3bn. In the latest delay, Finland’s nuclear safety regulator halted welding on the reactor last week and criticised poor oversight by the sub-contractor, supplier and TVO. Areva claims TVO does not trust it to modify the fiendishly complex design as it sees fit, demanding documentation and approval from regulators for every change, however small. TVO says Areva is treating the new reactor as an R&D project in which the Finns are guinea pigs. TVO and Areva are now locked in arbitration over the cost overrun and damages. If TVO loses, Finnish consumers will pick up the tab.

Guardian 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Energy Supplies

Tony Hayward, BP: We need a more diverse energy mix involving greater use of nuclear power and of renewable sources as well as fossil fuels to enhance energy security and tackle climate change. But we also have to face a few facts. First, the transition to a lower-carbon economy is a journey that will take decades. Second, it is not clear right now how we are going to get there. We need a clear road-map for the transition to a lower-carbon world, with governments and the private sector working together to shape the framework for our future energy mix. Third, we should take a realistic view of the potential for alternative energy. There is a danger of promising too much, too soon.

Times 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Renewables

Government plans to generate 30 per cent of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2020 are doomed to failure, according to the chief executive of one of the world’s biggest utility companies. Wulf Bernotat, chief executive of E.ON, said that British politicians needed to stop misleading the public about what was achievable. He said that British plans to build 33 gigawatts of offshore wind power, up from 0.6 gigawatts at present, was impossible, given the necessary investment and relatively short timeframe. “Politicians need to be more realistic,” he said. “If you just set out these targets without really taking the effort to square it with industry, then you end up with the dilemma of it not being achievable.”

Times 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Mr Bernotat is in the gritty Swedish city of Malm , standing in a windswept former dockyard that E.ON has helped to convert into a “zero-carbon city”. Hands thrust deep into his overcoat pockets and with his collar turned up against the biting air, he is being lectured on the merits of a solar-powered district heating system that pumps hot water to hundreds of local homes.

Times 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Climate

Gordon Brown will warn today that the world is on the brink of a “catastrophic” future of killer heatwaves, floods and droughts unless governments speed up negotiations on climate change before vital talks in Copenhagen in December. This applies to the US as much as anyone, he will say, adding that “there is no plan B”, and that agreement cannot be deferred beyond the UN-sponsored Copenhagen conference. There are fears that Barack Obama does not have the political capital to reach a deal in Copenhagen and will instead use a visit to China next month to reach a bilateral deal that circumvents the UN.

Guardian 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Independent 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Telegraph 19th Oct 2009 more >>

The 10:10 climate change campaign will reach the floor of the House of Commons on Wednesday when the Liberal Democrats lead an opposition day motion backing its proposals. The motion will call on parliament, the government estate and departments and the public sector to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 10% in 2010, compared to 2009 levels. Gordon Brown and the cabinet, the shadow cabinet and the Liberal Democrat party have already signed up, as have many hospitals and schools, suggesting the motion may gather enough support to pass.

Guardian 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Police arrested 52 climate change protesters after clashes outside the Ratcliffe coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire at the weekend. A policeman needed hospital treatment on Saturday when hundreds of protesters repeatedly tried to breach the perimeter fence around E.ON’s 2,000MW facility.

Guardian 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Trident

No one seems to give Salmond credit for is leading the only party in the UK that is committed to defending explicitly social democratic values in government, removing Trident nuclear weapons, rejecting nuclear power in favour of renewable energy, blocking identity cards and establishing an open border policy for immigration. In his conference speech in Inverness Salmond received a standing ovation for saying that one Trident submarine in the Clyde is one too many. When did we last hear any UK party leader say that? The metropolitan left seems to have decided that there is nothing anyone can do about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in the UK – as if it is just a fact of political life. We have a Labour government that is committed to spending around £100bn on a weapons system that is a moral abomination, a military anachronism and a dangerous health hazard. Someone has to call a halt to this madness.

Guardian 19th Oct 2009 more >>

Posted: 19 October 2009

18 October 2009

Energy Security

On Monday, October 20th, Lord Jenkin of Roding will ask the government when they will publish their response to the paper prepared by Malcolm Wicks MP, the prime minister’s special representative on international energy, on future energy security for the United Kingdom. When ministers found themselves facing increasing anxieties about how Britain was going to ‘keep the lights on’, there was a reversal of policy; the nuclear renaissance had to include Britain. Now we have the Wicks report – and, although in very careful diplomatic language, and with due obeisance to Labour’s past prejudices – it spells out what needs to be done now to catch up with those locust years.

e-Politix 18th Oct 2009 more >>

Radhealth

An inquest is to be opened into the deaths of two Manchester University academics who died of pancreatic cancer after working for years in the building where Ernest Rutherford, the father of nuclear physics, conducted his experiments.

Independent on Sunday 18th Oct 2009 more >>

Test Veterans

Defence chiefs are appealing against a legal ruling in favour of Britain’s nuclear test veterans. They are trying to overturn a judgement in June allowing vets to sue the MoD for negligence.

Sunday Mirror 18th Oct 2009 more >>

Terror

The young French Algerian was already showing a remarkable talent in the sciences that would propel him towards an outstanding career as a nuclear physician. But Hicheur, now 32, will spend the next decade in jail after admitting pinpointing targets for Al Qaeda which are likely to have included some in Britain, where he completed his education.

Mail on Sunday 18th Oct 2009 more >>

Russia

Russian authorities in Siberia deny allegations that there is radioactive waste being stored in the town of Severesk.

Reuters 17th Oct 2009 more >>

Climate

Nicholas Stern: Global emissions of greenhouse gases in 2010 are likely to be about 47bn tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent (they may have exceeded 50bn tonnes without the global economic slowdown). Countries around the world have been designing programmes that could reduce annual emissions to about 49bn tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent in 2020, compared with 55 to 60bn tonnes under “business as usual”. However, to have a reasonable chance of cost-effectively limiting a rise in global average temperature to no more than 2 C, beyond which scientists regard as “dangerous” to go, annual emissions must be reduced to below 44bn tonnes by 2020, well below 35bn tonnes in 2030 and well below 20bn tonnes by 2050. Put another way, today’s average world emissions per capita are nearly 7 tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent each year, with big variations between countries: for instance, the United States emits about 24 tonnes per head while the figure for India is below 2 tonnes.

Observer 18th Oct 2009 more >>

Nearly 80 people were arrested and three police officers left needing hospital treatment during a huge climate change protest at a power station. More than 1,000 demonstrators converged on the giant coal-powered Ratcliffe-on-Soar site in Nottinghamshire yesterday, with clashes breaking out between police and protesters as they tried to tear up perimeter fencing.

Independent on Sunday 18th Oct 2009 more >>

Telegraph 18th Oct 2009 more >>

Posted: 18 October 2009

17 October 2009

Oldbury

After more than 40 years project workers at Oldbury have devised a safer and more efficient method for handling the nuclear waste. The waste will now be mixed with concrete and then poured into a container before being transported to a Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) in Cumbria. Bosses at Oldbury claim the new method will save taxpayers £800,000 in nuclear clean up costs.

Gloucestershire Gazette 16th Oct 2009 more >>

Rosyth

DUNFERMLINE AND West Fife MP Willie Rennie last night called on the government to “think again” about “dumping” nuclear submarines at Rosyth. There are still seven decommissioned subs at the dockyard and Mr Rennie has expressed his concern at discovering plans have been mooted to shortlist the site as part of the submarine dismantling project (SDP).

Dundee Courier 17th Oct 2009 more >>

AP1000

After U.S. regulators raised safety concerns about the design of a new Westinghouse nuclear reactor, a company that owns part of Westinghouse said on Friday it did not expect a delay in certification of the reactor design. Shares of Shaw Group Inc , a construction and engineering company based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, fell nearly 10 percent Friday on the New York Stock Exchange, a day after the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission told Westinghouse it had some safety concerns about the AP1000 shield building.

Interactive Investor 16th Oct 2009 more >>

Russia/ Iran

Just how far is the Obama administration prepared to go in its misguided attempt to befriend the Kremlin? First, it caved in to Russian pressure and cancelled the missile defence shield planned for Eastern Europe. Now it is prepared to turn a blind eye to Moscow’s somewhat cavalier attitude to the rule of law and respect for human rights. The Russians, who have spent the past decade developing an important strategic dialogue with Tehran, were deeply embarrassed by the revelation that Iran had secretly developed a second uranium enrichment plant at Qom. Consequently, the US delegation was delighted to see the Russians giving the Iranians a hard time in Geneva about their oversight. This also led the other nations represented at the talks – including Britain – to conclude that Moscow might now be more amenable to supporting a new round of UN sanctions against Tehran, in the event that they are deemed necessary. But the Russians had clearly had a change of heart by the time Mrs Clinton arrived in Moscow this week. Far from hearing support for the kind of “crippling” economic sanctions that Mrs Clinton believes are warranted if Iran refuses to freeze its nuclear programme, she found herself subjected to a lecture by Mr Lavrov, who argued that further sanctions could prove counter-productive, and that what was needed was more time for the negotiating process to take its course.

Telegraph 16th Oct 2009 more >>

US

The Florida Public Service Commission on Friday agreed to let the state’s two largest utilities collect more than $270 million from ratepayers next year as a down payment to develop new nuclear plants expected to come online in the next decade.

Interactive Investor 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Coal

Britain’s first carbon capture and storage demonstration plant will be built at Hatfield in Yorkshire, thanks to a 180m award from the European Union. The funds, announced today, will be matched by the UK government. The money has been awarded to Powerfuel Power for a 900MW coal-fired electricity plant that could start operating as soon as 2014. The company will use “pre-combustion” CCS technology, which removes carbon dioxide from the coal before it is burned, and then pipes it to be buried in an offshore gas field 100 miles away. Pre-combustion CCS should trap more CO2 than post-combustion techniques.

Guardian 17th Oct 2009 more >>

Posted: 17 October 2009

16 October 2009

Nuclear Regulation

In mid-October nuclear safety experts concluded a 10-day mission to peer-review the UK Nuclear Regulator: Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Nuclear Directorate (ND). The IAEA commended some of HSE/NDs practices and identified further areas where they feel ND can improve its regulatory effectiveness.

Nuclear Engineering International 16th Oct 2009 more >>

Companies

Swedish utility Vattenfall said it had not made a decision regarding investment in new nuclear plants in the UK after a report said it was mulling investment in an EDF project.

Reuters 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Hinkley

A leading energy policy professor claimed companies that wanted to build a new generation of nuclear power stations would need help from the Government if the plants were to be provided. Despite assurances from ministers that they could be built without subsidy, Professor Stephen Thomas predicted that would not be the case when the time came for decisions to be made. The professor of energy policy at Greenwich University made his forecast in Oldbury-on-Severn, near Thornbury, in the shadow of the atomic plant that has operated for 40 years, and close to the site in Shepperdine where one of the new stations could be built. Professor Thomas was the first lecturer to be invited to talk to people by campaigners opposed to the new plant.

Bristol Evening Post 16th Oct 2009 more >>

AP1000

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is raising safety concerns with the design of a proposed new reactor to be built by Westinghouse, saying a key part of the reactor may not withstand a tornado, earthquake or even high winds. The NRC staff has directed Westinghouse to make changes in the reactor design so that its outer shell, which is supposed to protect the reactor’s containment structure, is strengthened. The staff concluded the steel and concrete structure does not meet the design requirements for safety. The reactor, called the AP-1000, is the choice of seven utilities that have filed applications to build a new nuclear power plant. NRC officials said it is now up Westinghouse to figure out how the design problem will be resolved.

AP 15th Oct 2009 more >>

New York Times 16th Oct 2009 more >>

CANDU

A union that represents engineers and scientists at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is warning that the sale of AECL’s reactor unit to a foreign buyer could spell the end of the country’s CANDU technology.

Ottawa Citizen 14th Oct 2009 more >>

New Nukes

A UK study provides the first contemporary investigation of public perceptions of nuclear power among residents living close to existing nuclear plants. It indicates that responses are not simply ‘for’ or ‘against’, but a complex ‘landscape of beliefs’ that will need complex communication from authorities about plans for new plants.

Environmental Expert 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Amory Lovins: Today, most dispassionate analysts think new nuclear power plants’ deepest flaw is their economics. They cost too much to build and incur too much financial risk. My writings show why nuclear expansion therefore can’t deliver on its claims: it would reduce and retard climate protection, because it saves between two and 20 times less carbon per dollar, 20 to 40 times slower, than investing in efficiency and micropower.

Grist 14th Oct 2009 more >>

Letters: Margaret Penn: With reference to the proposed nuclear waste site at Keekle Head do the public realise that this French company called Endecom intends to make money at the expense of the local community? We must rely on our local councillors to refuse planning permission for this site otherwise our children’s futures will be affected by a 50-year site. Marianne Birkby: Radiation Free Lakeland would like to thank the 150 people who signed letters to the new Bishop of Carlisle on Saturday. Many people came along specially, knowing that there was going to be an anti-nuclear presence outside Carlisle Cathedral and wanting to voice their concerns about Bishop James Newcome’s pro-nuclear build stance.

Whitehaven News 14th Oct 2009 more >>

Wylfa

New fuelling ropes supplied to Wylfa power station in Anglesey, North Wales last around three times as long as the old ones. Staff at the site – operated by Magnox North on behalf of the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority – are now looking to utilise the ropes elsewhere.

Nuclear Engineering International 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Trawsfynydd

A campaign group are making a last ditch attempt to save two towers at the old Trawsfynydd nuclear power station in Snowdonia National Park.

BBC 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Dounreay

Dounreay entered into contracts in the early 1990s with overseas customers to recycle their spent fuel. This work ceased following a breakdown in one of the chemical plants in 1996. All contracts required the waste generated during reprocessing to be returned to the customer, along with the recovered nuclear material. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority inherited these contracts from the UK Atomic Energy Authority, the former site operator, in 2005. The total amount of waste arising from these old commercial contracts at Dounreay is about two per cent of the total amount of waste that needs to be managed as part of the clean-up and demolition of the site. Concluding these historical contracts is a small but important part of the overall site closure programme. None of the foreign waste has been returned so far. One of the customers has asked NDA to return their waste in a glass mix, known as vitrified waste, instead of the cement used at Dounreay. Dounreay does not work with glass but another NDA site, Sellafield in Cumbria, does produce vitrified waste. This proposal to mix and match different types of waste of equivalent radioactivity is known as “waste substitution”. Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd understands the Scottish Government intends to consult the public on the acceptability of waste substitution.

DSRL Ltd 11th Oct 2009 more >>

New webpage on Dounreay’s historic overseas fuel contracts more >>

Dounreay has published details of £114m worth of contracts to be placed during the next three years. The procurement plan lists 261 contracts which will go to tender between October 2009 and October 2012. Tom Cummings, DSRL’s head of commercial services, said that the plan was the site’s way of helping its supply chain to understand DSRL’s business needs over the next three year business cycle.

DSRL 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Low Level Waste

A petition has been launched against controversial plans for a waste repository at Keekle Head.

Carlisle News and Star 16th Oct 2009 more >>

RUTLAND County Council has called for more information about plans to dump radioactive waste in a village landfill site in Northamptonshire. The council is being consulted by neighbouring Northamptonshire County Council which will have the final say on whether the development at King’s Cliffe can go-ahead.

Rutland Times 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Rosyth

WILLIE Rennie MP has reacted angrily to the news that Rosyth has been short-listed as a possible “nuclear waste dump” for old radioactive submarines. He vowed it should “never be allowed to happen” after receiving a letter confirming that the town is being considered as part of the Submarine Dismantling Project.

Dunfermline Press 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Nuclear Finance

HSBC Private Bank is recommending weightings of 1-5 percent in nuclear power to clients without ethical objections, as subsidy-dependent renewable energy stocks are too exposed to political risk.

Reuters 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Finland

The executives of electric utilities worldwide are dreaming of a renaissance in nuclear power. But problems with a new, state-of-the-art reactor in Finland suggest that this is unlikely to happen. The industry’s alternative strategy is to modernize older plants to drastically extend reactor lifetimes. TVO and the two manufacturing companies are involved in a heated dispute, as they battle over billions in out-of-court settlements. Costs have exploded, and the project is already several years behind schedule. Critics accuse the consortium of having made dangerous mistakes. The concrete, they say, is porous, the steel is brittle and some of the design principles seem so risky that experts from the Finnish nuclear regulatory agency can only shake their heads in wonder.

Der Spiegel 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Finnish electric firm TVO said Thursday that the opening of a reactor being built for the company by French nuclear giant Areva and Germany’s Siemens could face further delay. The plant in Olkiluoto, western Finland, has fallen more than three years behind its original schedule and the parties have blamed each other for delays and ballooning costs. “According to the latest progress report published by suppliers Areva-Siemens, TVO estimates that the reactor’s opening could be pushed back beyond June 2012, which is the current delay confirmed by the suppliers,” said TVO in a statement.

Terra Daily 15th Oct 2009 more >>

The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) said it had found shortcomings in security and would not permit welding of the plant’s cooling system to continue before TVO and Areva-Siemens presented remedies. ‘TVO should now clarify to STUK why regulations have not been followed in welding and why surveillance of the subcontractor, supplier and TVO have not noted the shortcomings,’ the watchdog said in a statement.

Yahoo 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives have agreed with the Free Democrats (FDP) on extending the life of nuclear plants deemed safe but the timing is unclear, FDP and conservative politicians said on Thursday.

Reuters 15th Oct 2009 more >>

France

Work to dismantle a nuclear plant in France has been suspended after unexpectedly high levels of plutonium were discovered. The incident has raised concerns about safety and security at the country’s nuclear sites. Around 22 kilograms of plutonium were found three times more than expected. Greenpeace says the plant was in breach of international rules. A spokeswoman said every gram of plutonium had to be strictly controlled and that it was clear that, Areva, the company running the site was incapable of doing that. France’s nuclear watchdog is also angry that it was only informed of the discovery last week, three months after it was made. But it says there was no risk of a major nuclear accident at the Cadarache plant near Marseille.

Euro News 15th Oct 2009 more >>

US

Anything that hops, burrows, buzzes, crawls or grazes near a nuclear weapons plant may be capable of setting off a Geiger counter. And at the Hanford nuclear reservation, one of the dirtiest of them all, its droppings alone might be enough to trigger alarms.

New York Times 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Belgium

Belgium’s government has agreed to delay the start of a progressive phase-out of nuclear power by ten years but will charge the country’s nuclear producers an annual levy.

Utility Week 15th Oct 2009 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Letter from Pugwash: The world is slowly moving in the right direction. Le Monde (Oct 15) carries a call for global nuclear disarmament from two former French Prime Ministers (Jupp and Rochard), a former Defence Minister (Richard), and a former Air Force General (Norlain). This will be welcomed all over the world by everyone who has paused to think about the effects of nuclear weapons.

Times 16th Oct 2009 more >>

Posted: 16 October 2009