News

7 August 2006

Iran

Iran warned Britain and the US yesterday that the international community could face a new oil crisis if the United Nations security council imposes sanctions on Tehran over its alleged attempt to acquire a nuclear weapons-making capability.
Guardian 7th August 2006

Iran yesterday rejected last week’s UN Security Council resolution demanding Iran suspend uranium enrichment by August 31, but stressed that Tehran was ready for international negotiations on its nuclear programme.
FT 7th August 2006
BBC 6th August 2006

Energy Review

The long-awaited Energy Review may have been published last month, but the policy statement was just the beginning of a long road towards finding practical solutions to the problems of climate change and energy insecurity. Alistair Darling has charg-ed officials at the Department of Trade and Industry with putting together an energy white paper before Christmas. This could be hard as several other public consultations – from the planning regime to the security of gas supplies – have to be squeezed in before then.
FT 7th August 2006

Nuclear Waste

An amazing 33 places in the North have been identified as possible sites for nuclear waste storage, we can reveal. They were located in the 1980s by industry experts Nirex on behalf of the then Tory Government, and included the Farne Islands in Northumberland … one of Britain’s top seabird sanctuaries. However, the list was shelved as the topic was seen as too politically sensitive.
Newcastle Sunday Sun 6th August 2006

Nuclear weapons

Dr Julian Lewis, shadow defence minister defends Trident: The argument that in today’s world, so radically altered since the Cold War, one begins to query the value overall of the “nuclear deterrent”, outside of America, overlooks the fact that – far from being “exorbitant” – the existing Trident fleet costs a tiny fraction of our defence budget.
Telegraph 7th August 2006

Posted: 7 August 2006

6 August 2006

Hunterston

The nuclear industry’s attempt to clean up its image in support of Tony Blair’s promised new programme of reactors has been marred by some dirty washing. The Sunday Herald can reveal that the laundry at Hunterston nuclear power station in North Ayrshire has sprung a leak. Radioactive water escaped from a tank, causing it to be shut down. The revelation is described as “very worrying” by anti-nuclear campaigners, who are calling for an independent investigation. But British Energy, the company that runs Hunterston, dismisses the leak as a “relatively minor occurrence”.
Sunday Herald 6th August 2006
RobEdwards.com 6th August 2006

Energy Review

Key consultants working on the government’s controversial energy review, which recommended a new generation of nuclear power stations, have strong links to the nuclear industry. Experts on both sides of the debate criticised the use of AEA Technology, formed by the privatisation of the Atomic Energy Authority, to handle hundreds of submissions to the review’s public consultation earlier this year. The company has sold most of its nuclear businesses, but still has a nuclear waste unit, and senior executives and staff have links to the old authority and other parts of the nuclear industry.
Observer 6th August 2006

Foreign companies are in pole position to scoop tens of billions of pounds in contracts to build new nuclear reactors and decommission old ones. The trade union Amicus has expressed concerns that UK firms will also miss out when Britain’s state-owned nuclear companies are sold off later this year and the lucrative contracts are handed out.
Independent on Sunday 6th August 2006

Letter from Keith Allott: WWF put in a detailed submission to the UK Energy Review which included commissioning independent consultants ILEX Energy Consulting to look at our future electricity needs. Its report concluded that if we improved energy efficiency and increased and diversified our use of renewables we would not need to build any new nuclear power stations. This is the same conclusion that the government reached in its 2003 Energy White Paper.
Scotland on Sunday 6th August 2006

Nuclear Weapons

The precise locations of dozens of secret military and spy bases are to be revealed on Ordnance Survey maps for the first time, ending one of the last remaining legacies of the Cold War.
Independent on Sunday 6th August 2006

Posted: 6 August 2006

5 August 2006

Sweden

Sweden’s nuclear power regulator has decided not to shut down all 10 of the country’s reactors after a safety-related incident last week. The failure of a back-up power system at one reactor activated its emergency systems and forced its closure. Two others were shut down as a safety precaution. The Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, the regulator, said the reactors could continue operating with “sufficient safety”.
FT 5th August 2006

40% of Sweden’s Reactors down after incident.
Greenpeace International Press Release 4th August 2006
Greenpeace International News 4th August 2006
Greenpeace UK 4th August 2006

New nukes

Letter from Dr David Purves: There is no satisfactory solution to the problem of disposal of large quantities of dangerous waste which may remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. However, it can be argued that it will be forgotten about before global warming takes its full, dire effect.
Scotsman 5th August 2006

Nuclear Waste

Britain’s radioactive waste should be buried underground at geologically suitable sites agreed with local communities, a Government-commissioned inquiry has concluded.
EDIE 4th August 2006

France

France’s soaring temperatures have forced the heavily nuclear-dependent country to take the unusual step of importing electricity, as nuclear reactors slowed down in the summer heat.
EDIE 4th August 2006

Sellafield

A total of 700 new jobs could be created at the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria this year. Site operator British Nuclear Group is recruiting 300 workers to meet decommissioning targets and is looking to take on staff from the Corus steel plant in Workington, which closes later this month, and the Alcan Pechiney plant at Lillyhall, which shuts next year.
Lancashire Evening Post 4th August 2006

Waste Trains

A timetable of nuclear waste trains that will be passing through Wandsworth has been highly publicised to shake-up transport bosses before a terrorist attack or serious crash happens. Greenpeace has published the timetable on its website to put pressure on Direct Rail Services to beef up security after an undercover reporter from a national newspaperplaced a fake bomb on a stationary freight train last week.
Wandsworth Borough News 4th August 2006

Posted: 5 August 2006

4 August 2006

Nuclear Testing

For the first time, the French government has been confronted with scientific evidence that its nuclear tests in the Pacific caused an increase in cancer on the nearest inhabited islands.
Independent 4th August 2005

Letter from Sue Rabbitt Roaf, Dundee University: The award of compensation to Roy Prescott from the US for a radiogenic condition for which he was denied a pension in the UK (US compensation for British nuclear test veteran, July 26) comes two weeks after the Australian government granted “non-liability” healthcare for all Australian participants in UK nuclear weapons tests. Several years ago, New Zealand followed the US model of “presuming” that participation in the tests could have been the cause of any condition suffered by veterans known to be potentially radiogenic. I have been involved in more than 60 successful claims in the UK for nuclear test veterans, but each case takes upward of two years (during which the claimant commonly dies).
Guardian 4th August 2006

Nuclear Weapons

Most people in Britain oppose the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system, a new report has shown. A survey of 1,000 adults for CND revealed that almost two out of three are against a new generation of nuclear missiles.
Ananova 4th August 2005

Sweden

Sweden’s nuclear power regulator may close down all 10 of the country’s reactors, after problems at one plant forced it to be shut down and two others were switched off as a safety precaution. Last week’s failure of a back-up power system at a reactor operated by Vattenfall, the Swedish energy company, activated the reactor’s emergency systems and forced its closure.
FT 4th August 2006

Sweden’s nuclear regulator SKI will meet in emergency session tomorrow (3 August) to decide on a possible immediate shut-down of all but one of the country’s nuclear power stations supplying up to 50% of Sweden’s electricity. Greenpeace has called for the reactors to be shut down following a serious incident last week at Sweden’s Forsmark nuclear power station, in which “it was pure luck there wasn’t a meltdown” according to a former director of the plant.
Greenpeace International Press Release 3rd August 2006

Swedish nuclear authorities held an emergency meeting Thursday after two reactors were shut down at a plant in the southeast of the country. The plant in Oskarshamn, about 250 kilometers (150 miles) south of the capital, Stockholm, shut down two of its three reactors late Wednesday after the company running the plant reported that “safety there could not be guaranteed.” The decision followed an incident last week at another nuclear plant in Sweden, in Forsmark, where backup generators malfunctioned during a power outage, forcing a shutdown of one of its reactors, said Anders Bredfell, a spokesman for the Swedish nuclear authority, SKI. Bredfell said the reactors would remain shut until authorities determine whether the plant’s backup generators could malfunction in the same way as at Forsmark.
CNN Europe 3rd August 2006
BBC 3rd August 2006

Spain

The Spanish government has levied a record E1.6 million fine on the Vandellos II nuclear station, operated jointly by Endesa and Iberdrola. The government took the decision to impose a fine after the operators failed to implement changes recommended by the country’s nuclear safety agency. The amount charged against Iberdrola and Endesa is more than five times larger than the previous highest fine, which was also levied against the Vandellos II plant in 1997.
Energy Business Review 4th August 2006

Iran

Iran said on Thursday it was still weighing an international package of incentives to suspend its nuclear programme but conflict in Lebanon had diverted its attention.
Reuters 3rd August 2006

Sellafield

The operator of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site is in the process of recruiting 300 staff. British Nuclear Group (BNG) said many of the jobs have been created as part of the decommissioning process at the Cumbrian site. It said there was the possibility of 400 more jobs but it would depend on the company making sufficient savings to fund additional clean-up work.
BBC 3rd August 2006

Nuclear Waste Trains

Parents on a Stafford estate say they are outraged nuclear waste is passing within a few feet of a children’s play area near their homes. And they are demanding the route be altered.
Stafford Post 1st August 2006

Trains carrying nuclear waste are passing through Bescot up to three times a week. Last week timetables for radioactive waste rail transport across the UK were published for the first time by Greenpeace. The organisation claims it has released the information in a bid to make the government act to prevent terrorist attacks on what Greenpeace claim is a ‘vulnerable’ way of transporting radioactive material. But MP for Walsall South, Bruce George, has slammed the group, saying all it has done is alert potential terrorists to the movements of the hazardous waste.
Walsall Observer 2nd August 2006

Politics

Labour members delivered an embarrassing blow to the leadership yesterday by electing Walter Wolfgang, vice-chair of Labour CND, who was thrown out of the last conference for heckling, to the party’s ruling national executive committee.
Guardian 4th August 2006

How we lost people’s trust by Charles Kennedy: Several issues will cast a long shadow across the lifetime of the current parliament and beyond: Trident, for example, the future role of civil nuclear power and the recurrent reality of Britain’s place within Europe. These are all real issues of strategic substance that cut across conventional party political lines, but as they’re not considered “vote winners” they were barely raised during the last election.
Guardian 4th August 2006

British Energy

The government has appointed three banks to manage the sale of part of its 65 per cent stake in British Energy, the nuclear power group – an agreement that could raise more than £2bn. According to people close to the proposed move, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch have been hired to manage the sale of British Energy shares later this year.
FT 4th August 2006

Nuclear Waste

Letter from David Lowry: The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) may find its proposals to ensure public approval of decisions over siting of a repository are, ironically, scuppered by the incompatibility between willing communities and the unsuitablity of their local geology (Nuclear panel suggests contest for waste burial, August 1). Evidence backing this may be found in a report by Nirex, Britain’s nuclear waste management agency. Its summary of “climate and landscape change” at 11 current nuclear sites suggests that by 2100, five years before the disposal repository should be full, four sites will be vulnerable to flooding, and three others vulnerable to coastal erosion.
Guardian 4th August 2006

Posted: 4 August 2006

3 August 2006

Nuclear power – to be or not to be?

While we are all still playing “hunt the subsidy” to try to find out if the Government’s Energy Review really does herald the rebirth of the UK nuclear power industry, and well before meaningful consideration of where any new power stations might be built, the Government is already moving to render any future planning inquiries impotent.

The eyes of the world will be on the United Kingdom over the next few years. After a brief six-month energy review the Government has sanctioned a new generation of nuclear reactors, but has stressed there will be no public subsidies. (1) Serious doubts remain over whether private investors will take the risk and invest in new reactors without further guarantees or rigging of the market. New reactors have not been financed within a liberalised electricity market anywhere in the world. (2)

The UK is not alone in discussing new reactors, but other countries – even those that are the very embodiment of the free market – expect to provide subsidies or guarantee prices. (3) The US has plans for 20 new plants and Washington wants them built as soon as possible. The Energy Policy Act in 2005 included $13.7 billion in subsidies, to cover insurance for construction delays, loan guarantees for construction costs and operating subsidies.(4) This is enough to fund the entire capital cost of six reactors. (5) The Liberal Democrats say a nuclear revival can only be made to work using vast taxpayer subsidies or a rigged market. “The real question … is where will Blair hide his nuclear subsidy?” (6) Their analysis suggests that if consumers were forced to pay a ‘nuclear tax’ on electricity bills, it could amount to £170 a year. (7)

Mr Blair and his officials appear to be victims of “nuclear amnesia”. Walt Patterson of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, says “If we make the same mistakes all over again, let us at least be sure that our children know who to blame. Let us call the first one the Tony Blair nuclear plant.” (8)

Nuclear is not and never was feasible without heavy subsidy. The Nuclear Industry Association demanded that the 2006 Energy Review deliver a streamlined planning system, a mechanism to support the price of nuclear power by forcing all suppliers to buy it at above a certain price, and a cap to decommissioning liabilities. (9) So what has suddenly changed? Even the current high gas prices were predicted when the last energy review decided that nuclear power was too expensive. When the government swears there will be no price guarantee or subsidy, none of the experts believe it – though the industry naturally pretends. Investors will only build on the unspoken understanding that the state will step in, one way or another. Always has, always will.

The nuclear lobby now claims that a streamlined and shortened planning and licensing regime is all that is needed to make a new construction programme viable. But City experts, according to The Independent, believe it will require government guarantees before any private investors will put money into the industry. (10) The newspaper said the report on the energy review was desperately short on the practicalities. Beyond the planning proposals, there is no convincing set of policy initiatives suggested that would ensure new reactors are built. Instead, the Government seems blithely to assume that the market will somehow provide. (11)

Even the CEO of the US nuclear power company Dominion said that, despite US government wishes for new nuclear power stations, he would not build, to avoid giving credit raters Standard & Poors and his own chief financial officer “a heart attack”. Standard & Poors say that not even government help with construction costs changes this reality: “an electric utility with a nuclear exposure has weaker credit than one without and can expect to pay more … for credit”.

The Treasury has just said it will sell a chunk of its British Energy interest. Who wants it? Probably EDF, the French government-subsidised company bidding to build new nuclear on BE land. (Watch for favours or subsidies in return.) BE had to have a £5.1 bn liability guaranteed by the taxpayer as one lot of shareholders saw their investment go bust. Yet somehow fresh “value” has been added. The Treasury hopes to raise £2bn of its paper £6bn BE holding. 
If nuclear building begins, all future governments must back it. Once we start down the nuclear road the taxpayer will have no choice but to bail it out, as with the railways, pfi hospitals, etc. Even if tax money flows in one end, shareholders can still take it out the other. But nuclear power will be worse than the likes of Railtrack, because of the huge, unknown, waste and decommissioning liabilities. Shareholders will not only have taken their “profits” but be long dead before the full costs are even known.

The New Statesman accuses Blair of a lack of imagination. This is not the same as a lack of boldness. Blair mistakes a readiness to grasp the nettle for a genuine vision of Britain’s future. What has really changed since the 2003 Energy Review is that the nuclear industry’s PR machine has got its act together.

As New Statesman says: “A pattern is emerging. There is something repellent about allowing radioactive waste to lie around until future generations invent the technology to deal with it. But, as in the case of those other toxic legacies (from Trident to tuition fees), our children and grandchildren will be the ones to suffer from this government’s failure to think big.”(12)

Would-be nuclear builders are also watching Areva, the French government-subsidised company building in Finland the first new nuclear station anywhere in Europe for decades. It has just admitted it is already one year behind, after its first year of construction. Beset with design problems and skill shortages, this is no market tester but a loss-leader financed by Finnish local and central government and the French, borrowing at a subsidised 2.6% from a bank that owns the company building the turbines. Even then, its says it will generate electricity at twice the cost the UK government uses as its guesstimate of the price of new nuclear power here. (13)

Once embarked on, nuclear stations will drain political enthusiasm for any other energy finance. Governments hide the true cost from voters, and even from themselves. State insurance against disaster isn’t even counted in. Watching the small print will not reveal all: hidden taxpayer backing will be watermarked into every clause of new nuclear contracts. If not, if Labour genuinely means no subsidy, there will be no new stations and all this nuclear posturing may be fantasy politics.

Even before we know where any new nuclear power stations will be proposed, we only have until 31 October 2006 to object if we want to use the “economics” or “necessity” of nuclear power in our argument. Because from 31 October, the government will consider both arguments settled. But the sites will not be chosen until after a review which starts in January next year. (14) Once it has published a “statement of need” in a White Paper at the turn of the year, the necessity or economics of individual nuclear power stations will not form part of any local enquiry. And it’s not just the economic argument that starts being settled now. The first stages of a separate enquiry into the safety of nuclear power could begin this year, though the process, known as justification, will eventually involve a public consultation. The licensing of the most likely reactor designs could start this year and once the sites are decided, local planning enquiries will not be able to question whether there are more suitable locations, or whether a particular reactor is safe.

Once the issues of economics, necessity and safety have been determined in the abstract, planning enquiries for real nuclear power stations will have fewer grounds for objection than a small supermarket – what would there be left to debate – the landscaping? (15)


References

(1) The Energy Challenge, UK Department of Trade and Industry, July 2006 
(2) The Energy Review, Performance and Innovation Unit, February 2002, page 195 para 42. 
(3) Financial Times Editorial 21st June 2006
(4) Where will Blair hide his nuclear tax bombshell? Liberal Democrat Trade and Industry Team, June 2006. 
(5) Centre for Media and Democracy 26th July 2006
(6) Where will Blair hide his nuclear tax bombshell? Liberal Democrat Trade and Industry Team, June 2006. 
(7) Daily Mail 18th May 2006
(8) Walt Patterson
(9) Observer 4th June 2006
(10) Independent 12th July 2006
(11) Independent 12th July 2006
(12) New Statesman Leader 17th July 2006 
(13) Interactive Investor 13th July 2006
(14) The Business 16th July 2006 See Annex A, Page 161: The Energy Challenge 
(15) More info on the so-called Nuclear Policy Framework consultationSee also Guardian 18th July 2006

Posted: 3 August 2006

3 August 2006

Nuclear Waste

Alan Duncan – Shadow Trade secretary says: We made it clear in our energy review findings on July 4, and once again on July 31 (when the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management published its report), that continued delay in identifying a site for the storage and burial of waste, both old and new, is unacceptable.
Telegraph 3rd August 2006
 
Sweden
 
A Swedish nuclear plant has had to shut two of its three reactors over safety fears.
Sky 3rd August 2006
 
New Nukes
 
Michael Meacher: When Tony Blair abruptly overturns his own 2003 energy white paper and announces that Britain will go nuclear “with a vengeance”, even before the energy review he himself set up has reported, is policy-making now a matter of personal diktat? If not, how can effective counter-pressures be brought to bear? When Gordon Brown declares his support for replacing the Trident nuclear missile system at a cost of up to £25bn, even though many believe it now serves no useful purpose, are we to take it that such ex cathedra statements are now how policy is made?
Guardian 3rd August 2006

Posted: 3 August 2006

2 August 2006

Nuclear Waste

Local councils must not be allowed to enter a squalid bidding war for these poinsonous dumps.
Times 2nd August 2006

Green group Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to implement urgent interim measures for nuclear waste storage and disposal, following this week’s announcement that a ‘geological’ solution would be used long-term. In recommending the deep underground disposal option, the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) also outlined the issues that could see the development delayed, such as the fact that no site has been chosen for the facility and the approval process could take as long as 100 years.
Green Consumer Guide 2nd August 2006

Mr McConnell has been under pressure to make a decision on whether to replace ageing reactors in Scotland, but deferred a decision until a consensus could be reached on how best to dispose of nuclear waste. Yet despite the report’s conclusion, a spokesman for the minister said that the issue was still unresolved and needed to be looked at by ministers, presumably in London.
Energy Business Review 2nd August 2006
 
A weekly look at what bloggers have to say about the issues in the news. This week a group of scientists recommended storing nuclear waste deep underground. Nirex has already identified 12 sites in the UK as having the right geology for such an idea, including Sandray and Fuday in the Western Isles and Altnabreac in Caithness.
Herald 2nd August 2006
 
Scientists claim to have discovered a way of speeding up the decay of nuclear waste so that it can be rendered harmless within a few decades, instead of thousands of years. The technique proposed by German physicists involves slashing the half-life of alpha-emitting material by embedding it in metal and cooling the metal to a few degrees above absolute zero.
Telegraph 2nd August 2006

Iran
 
Iran’s President yesterday rejected a UN Security Council resolution that would give his country until the end of this month to suspend uranium enrichment.
Herald 2nd August 2006

Devonport
 
Highly radioactive waste is being stored at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth because defuelling facilities for nuclear-powered submarines are not yet ready. The material is being stored on two nuclear-powered vessels, HMS Spartan and HMS Splendid.
Western Morning News 2nd August 2006

Posted: 2 August 2006

1 August 2006

Nuclear Waste

Storing nuclear waste deep underground was recommended by scientific experts yesterday, but technical answers remain decades away and communities may have to be bribed to accept such sites.
Herald 1st August 2006

FEW reasonable observers would have expected the First Minister, Jack McConnell, to jump off the fence the instant that the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management produced its long-awaited report. This is a sensitive issue for the Executive, and the First Minister’s opponents have made much capital of his fence- sitting.
Scotsman 1st August 2006

Environment Minister Ross Finnie has pledged that public safety would be given top priority when dealing with the burial of nuclear waste.
BBC 31st July 2006
 
Commenting on the report by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) which recommended that radioactive waste should be stored in a deep underground repository, Lembit Opik, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and MP for Montgomeryshire, said: “If the least bad way for managing our 6,000 tonnes of nuclear waste is deep ground burial, it just goes to show how bad our nuclear waste problem really is. “We have no choice but to manage our existing nuclear waste. But we don’t have to add to this problem by building more nuclear power stations. The lesson is, when you are in a hole, stop digging.
News Wales 1st August 2006
 
It is now “time to get on with the job” of burying the UK’s radioactive waste deep underground, a nuclear advisory group has said in its final report.
BBC 31st July 2006

The search for underground nuclear waste storage sites is unlikely to focus on Notts, claims Paddy Tipping MP.
Government suggestions that the UK would rely more on nuclear power in the future sparked a study into where the resulting radioactive waste might be stored. A similar search in the late 1980s earmarked 13 potential underground storage sites in Notts, among 537 in the UK. None of the sites on that list, only released last year, were used. But Nirex, the agency which oversees radioactive waste disposal, has previously said they could not be ruled out of inclusion on a future list.
Nottingham Evening Post 1st August 2006
 
ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners have already condemned plans to bury radioactive waste as fatally flawed. They argue that waste should be stored above ground where the authorities can keep an eye on it. Martin Forwood, of Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, said: “You’ll never get one community to volunteer to have what is, in effect, an international nuclear waste dump. “They may get a few communities currently associated with the nuclear industry who will agree to take their own waste but nobody else’s. “In 10, 15 or 20 years time we will be back to square one.”
Carlisle News and Star 1st August 2006

The debate over whether Cumbria should house a deep underground nuclear dump is about to reopen.
Carlisle News and Star 1st August 2006

Communities across the Westcountry could be invited to provide a home for a massive new radioactive waste dump under proposals put forward yesterday for dealing with the legacy of Britain’s nuclear industry. In its final report on dealing with the tens of thousands of tonnes of waste generated by the civil and military nuclear programmes the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management said an underground dump remained the best option – despite the difficulty of identifying a site.
Western Morning News 1st August 2006

The Government need to urgently implement interim measures to ensure nuclear waste is stored safely while investigating longer term measures to deal with the problem, Friends of the Earth warned today. The move comes as Government advisors published a report which concludes that a deep geological nuclear waste dump might take100 years to approve and construct.
Friends of the Earth Press Release 31st July 2006

Britain’s stockpile of 470,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste, enough to fill the Albert Hall five times, should be “entombed” in deep underground silos, a committee advised the Government yesterday.
Belfast Telegraph 1st August 2006
Independent 1st August 2006

Britain should take steps to join the ranks of countries planning to store nuclear waste deep underground, an advisory committee has told the government. Because any such plan will take decades to implement, the panel adds that politicians need to act on the committee’s recommendations immediately.
Nature 1st August 2006
 
Once a pioneer of atomic power, the UK is now a serious laggard in what to do with spent fuel from it. Yesterday the government-appointed Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) wound up three years of work by stating that higher level waste should eventually be buried deep underground. It called meantime for “a robust programme of interim storage”. This is a statement of the obvious: virtually every government wants to bury its waste, but until it can convince its citizens of this it has to accept surface storing of spent fuel. So the report by CoRWM, which calls for a new body to implement its proposals on actually choosing a waste burial site, does not take the UK much further forward than it was in 1982 when it started to study the waste issue. Indeed it may be that CoRWM, whose initial brief included examination of such impractical options as burying waste in the Antarctic or shooting it into space, was partly set up to delay any new nuclear reactors. For last month’s government announcement of its preference for new reactors effectively depends on dealing with the waste of existing reactors. CoRWM correctly says its report should not be taken as “a green light” for new reactors, but if the UK cannot take steps to deal with past or unavoidable waste, it will surely have difficulty with future or avoidable waste.
FT 1st August 2006
 
Corwm’s recommendations leave the small matter of finding a suitable site. The committee says neither it nor the government should make that decision. This is probably wise, given that public resistance to the old approach of government dictating to rather than consulting people about a site was decisive in plans for deep disposal of nuclear waste being abandoned in the 1980s. Instead, the committee says it should be left to communities to volunteer, attracted by a range of infrastructure and other incentives.
Herald 1st August 2006
 
Devolution could add tens of billions of pounds to the bill for disposing of nuclear waste, it emerged yesterday at the launch of a two-year independent study. Professor Gordon MacKerron, the chairman of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, conceded that the deep repository his committee recommended as the means of disposal might have to be several repositories if regions refused to take each other’s waste.
Telegraph 1st August 2006

The burial site for Britain’s stockpile of nuclear waste should be decided by a country-wide contest in which regions bid to become home to the hole, a government advisory panel said yesterday.
Guardian 1st August 2006

JACK McConnell, the First Minister, will today come under renewed pressure to say whether he favours building new nuclear power stations in Scotland. Mr McConnell will face fresh questions over his stance after the publication of the final report from the independent body charged with finding ways of safely disposing of nuclear waste.
Scotsman 1st August 2006

Mr McConnell’s spokesman insisted last night the issue was still “unresolved” and needed to be looked at by ministers.
Scotsman 1st August 2006

The independent radioactive waste management company Nirex has listed five sites in Scotland in its top 12 of potential nuclear storage sites. But yesterday Scottish ministers reaffirmed their pledge that no Scottish community will have a nuclear dump imposed on it.
Dundee Courier 1st August 2006

Iran

As the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme intensifies, so does the debate over whether or not Iran really needs its own nuclear fuel cycle.
BBC 1st August 2006

Iran has asserted its right to produce nuclear energy a day after the United Nations passed a resolution demanding it suspend uranium enrichment.
BBC 1st August 2006
 
Iran reacted angrily Tuesday to a UN Security Council resolution ordering the Islamic to freeze sensitive nuclear work by the end of the month.
Middle East Online 1st August 2006

The United Nations Security Council has given Iran until the end of August to suspend uranium enrichment.
Telegraph 31st July 2006

India
 
India has stepped up security at its nuclear installations fearing an attack by a Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the defence minister told parliament on Monday.
Reuters 31st July 2006

New Nukes

Wolverhampton based Nuclear Engineering Services Limited, plays a leading in decommissioning work; producing equipment to help safely take old nuclear power stations apart and return their sites to green fields. And those 50 years’ of engineering experience makes NESL a prime candidate for work making parts for a new generation of nuclear power stations, envisaged by the current Government under its Energy Review published this summer.
Express and Star 31st July 2006
 
Last week, the chief executive of Scottish & Southern Energy told shareholders he and his colleagues are keeping an “active watching brief” on the group’s nuclear investment options. No firm decision is likely before the end of the decade, Ian Marchant warned. And if the group does decide to get involved, it certainly won’t be going it alone.
Herald 1st August 2006
 
Nuclear power is back on the agenda in the UK. But does the country have the skills and manufacturing capability to go ahead with a substantial reactor construction programme?
Nuclear Engineering International 31st July 2006

Posted: 1 August 2006

31 July 2006

Nuclear Waste

The UK government should move with haste to begin burying the country’s radioactive waste deep underground, says the Royal Society. The national scientific body made its call as the panel tasked with finding a long-term solution to the waste problem prepared to issue its final report.
BBC 31st July 2006
Sky News 31st July 2006
Times 31st July 2006

Government advisers are today set to outline their proposals for the disposal of Britain’s stockpiles of radioactive nuclear waste.
e-politix.com 31st July 2006

Iran

The U.N. Security Council was poised on Monday to adopt a resolution demanding Iran suspend its nuclear activities by the end of August or face the threat of sanctions.
Reuters 31st July 2006

Comment: Iran’s nuclear threat must be faced.
Telegraph 31st July 2006

Scotland

JACK McConnell, the First Minister, will today come under renewed pressure to say whether he favours building new nuclear power stations in Scotland. Mr McConnell will face fresh questions over his stance after the publication of the final report from the independent body charged with finding ways of safely disposing of nuclear waste.
Scotsman 31st July 2006

Trident

Letter from Medact: The British Trident system is not “fully operationally independent of the US” (Government backs off from replacing Trident missile fleet, July 27). The missiles are loaned from the US and serviced at Kings Bay submarine base, Georgia.
Guardian 31st July 2006

N.Korea

The US is considering the reimposition of a full suite of bilateral economic sanctions against North Korea following its recent missile tests, a senior US official has said.
FT 31st July 2006

Posted: 31 July 2006

30 July 2006

Heatwave

The European heatwave has forced nuclear power plants to reduce or halt production. The weather, blamed for deaths and disruption across much of the continent, has caused dramatic rises in the temperature of rivers used to cool the reactors, raising fears of mass deaths for fish and other wildlife.
Observer 30th July 2006

Pakistan

PAKISTAN will soon be able to strike every city in India using a new arsenal of plutonium warheads developed with Chinese help, according to senior generals and defence analysts.
Sunday Times 30th July 2006

CoRWM

BRITAIN now has enough nuclear waste to fill the Albert Hall five times over. The stockpile of 470,000 cubic metres in surface tanks is growing at such a rate that government advisers will recommend this week that it is entombed underground beneath concrete layers thick enough to contain it for centuries. A report from the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (Corwm) will be published this week after three years of deliberations.
Sunday Times 30th July 2006

Drigg

THE race is hotting up to take over the running of the national low-level radioactive waste disposal site at Drigg with two American giants set to battle it out for a contract worth more than £100 million. Energy Solutions, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is set to bid for the lucrative contract against Washington Group International, whose HQ is in South Carolina. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, who now own both Sellafield and Drigg, will award the contract next year, signalling the start of the NDA’s open competition in the £70 billion clean up and decommissioning market. Energy Solutions, who describes itself as the world’s leading and most experienced radioactive waste management contractor, will lead a consortium including Fluor Ltd and BNG, the operating arm of British Nuclear Fuels, who have run Drigg as well as Sellafield for more than 30 years, along with Jacobs Babtie, a major UK company specialising in engineering and safety with American connections.
Whitehaven News 27th July 2006

Nirex

MP JAMIE Reed has made a scathing attack on Nirex and called for the nuclear waste quango to be scrapped. Mr Reed, who briefly worked as a publicist for Nirex, told the House of Commons it “remains a byword for everything that was wrong with the old nuclear industry”.
Whitehaven News, 27th July 2006

Nuclear Skills

CAREER prospects for the area have taken a giant leap forward with news that Lillyhall is set to be the base for a new ‘nuclear academy’. The academy will be a dedicated centre of excellence and innovation. It will provide a wide range of education and training facilities, enabling the local workforce to make the most of the employment opportunities as the NDA spends an estimated £40 billion over the coming decade.
Whitehaven News 27th July 2006

Nuclear Testing

Sixteen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, hundreds of thousands of inhabitants from this area south-east of Astana, Kazakhstan’s new capital, are still reeling from the deadly legacy of being a nuclear test site.
Sunday Telegraph 30th July 2006

Devonport

Clearing up Devonport Dockyard’s nuclear legacy will cost future taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds, according to new figures published by the Ministry of Defence. In a move that will intensify the debate about the cost of Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent, Defence Secretary Des Browne reveals that the MoD has already run up nuclear liabilities totalling almost £10 billion.
Western Morning News 29th July 2006

British Energy

The hottest mandate in town right now is the one to advise on the sale of the Government’s stake in British Energy. Over the past week, some of the City’s leading investment bankers have been queuing up outside the plush Mayfair offices of Lazard, the blue-chip bank hired by the Government to sell its 65 per cent stake in the nuclear generator.
Sunday Telegraph 30th July 2006

Utilities

If Friday’s decision by the country’s highly politicised energy regulator is anything to go by, Spanish prime minister Jose Zapatero now wants to secure a face-saving deal. Spain’s National Energy Commission (CNE) on Friday approved Eon’s offer, after a scrutiny process that seems to have lasted an age. It imposed 19 conditions but ones less onerous than some feared. Eon will have to sell some 7,600MW of Endesa’s Spanish power generation, including the Asco nuclear power plant, 2,400MW of coal-fired plant, and all the businesses outside the Iberian peninsular – the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, and the North African outclaves of Melilla and Ceuta.
The Business 30th July 2006

Posted: 30 July 2006