News

5 May 2011

Hinkley

A council consultation on plans to prepare land for the building of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point has been reopened. It comes after the applicant, EDF Energy, supplied West Somerset Council with more information. The council said it had made a formal request for extra details to be included in the environmental statement. The consultation is due to run until 20 May. The response from EDF includes more information on environmental issues including transport, ecology, landscape and visual impacts, noise, vibration and air quality.

BBC 4th May 2011 more >>

Hartlepool & Heysham

Electricite de France SA halted nuclear reactors at its Heysham-1 and Hartlepool plants in northern England, National Grid Plc data show. The 580-megawatt Heysham-1 unit 2 stopped at about 6 a.m. local time, grid data show. The halt was unplanned, Martyn Butlin, a spokesman based at the power plant in Lancashire, said by e-mail.“We are currently assessing the situation,” he said. “At no time was anyone’s safety at risk.” Reactor 2 at EDF’s Hartlepool site, with a capacity of 605 megawatts, stopped at about 7:30 p.m. yesterday as part of a “planned refueling outage,” Butlin said.

Bloomberg 4th May 2011 more >>

Reuters 4th May 2011 more >>

Terror

The five men who were arrested outside the Sellafield nuclear plant have been released without charge. But the incident has turned attention to nuclear facilities’ security. According to the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), which polices Britain’s nuclear facilities, the men were stopped as part of a routine patrol near the perimeter of the Sellafield plant and were “unable to give a satisfactory account of their actions.” They were arrested under the Terrorism Act and questioned, then released without charge. Nonetheless, with the West on heightened alert after bin Laden’s death, the incident will raise concerns about the security of Europe’s nuclear facilities and their ability to defend themselves from potential attack.

Christian Science Monitor 4th May 2011 more >>

Houses in Forest Gate and Stratford were raided by counter-terrorism police, it has emerged.

Newham Recorder 4th May 2011 more >>

A GANG of five terror suspects arrested outside the Sellafield nuclear plant hours after news of the killing of Osama bin Laden broke were expected to be quizzed by counter-terrorism officers today. It comes a day after police raided four houses in east London linked to the suspects.

Edinburgh Evening News 4th May 2011 more >>

Newcastle Journal 4th May 2011 more >>

Five men who were arrested outside the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria have been released without charge by counter-terrorism police after they were questioned and their homes searched.The men, all of Bangladeshi heritage and in their 20s, were stopped by armed Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers on Monday afternoon, just hours after the announcement that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan. The men told police they were travelling along the road only because their in-car satellite navigation system had taken them the wrong way on the remote road just off the coast of Cumbria, close to the Lake District. The plant’s main gate had been locked down for security reasons by officers from Cumbria Constabulary on Tuesday, with a roadblock set up on the main road.

Guardian 4th May 2011 more >>

NDA

Stakeholders Newsletter.

NDA 4th May 2011 more >>

Europe

Stress tests on nuclear power stations in the European Union will start in June, EU president Hungary announced Wednesday, following an informal meeting of European energy ministers this week.

EU Business 4th May 2011 more >>

Austria’s Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich has criticised the proposed security tests to be conducted at European nuclear power plants, in particular the absence of tests with respect to a terrorist attack. He faults the proposed tests being put together by the EU for their failure to take into account the consequences of human acts, such as terrorism, cyber attacks or an aircraft crash. The German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung has reported that the tests would focus solely on natural disasters.

Europolitics 4th May 2011 more >>

Japan

As part of a review of the nation’s growth strategy, Japan is considering a drastic shift in its energy policy to better deal with the consequences of the Mar. 11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis. Under the revised growth strategy Japan will put more emphasis on the development of renewable energy such as power generated by solar, wind, and geothermal heat, as well as the enhancement of electric accumulators. More to the point, Japan will seek to secure electricity without depending on nuclear power too much.

Oil & Gas Journal 4th May 2011 more >>

Consumers can expect to see higher electric bills as Tokyo Electric Power Co. passes on its compensation obligations due to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident. Government sources said May 2 that an estimate of the total amount of compensation required reached 4 trillion yen ($48.7 billion) and that TEPCO would be expected to cover about half of that.

Asahi 5th May 2011 more >>

Workers were set to enter the No.1 reactor building at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Thursday for the first time since an explosion ripped its roof off a day after the devastating March earthquake and tsunami. Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said 12 staff equipped with protective suits, masks and air tanks would go through a special tent set up at the entrance to prevent radiation leaks.

STV 5th May 2011 more >>

BBC 5th May 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Company has released a new video showing inside reactor number one at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

ITN 4th May 2011 more >>

Belgium’s safety watchdog has found radiation levels exceeding EU limits on a shipping container from Japan. The agency yesterday decontaminated the container after it found Caesium-137 emitting radiation at 0.5 microsieverts per hour in two rust spots, above the 0.2 limit.

Scotsman 5th May 2011 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan’s spy agency should have known Osama bin Laden was hiding not far from the country’s capital, Afghanistan’s defence ministry has said, the first direct comment from Kabul about its neighbour’s apparent inability to track the al-Qaeda leader. Defence ministry spokesman Zaher Azimy said the case raised questions about Pakistan’s ability to adequately protect its nuclear weapons.

Scotsman 5th May 2011 more >>

US

For the first time in more than 30 years, the construction of new nuclear plants is underway in the United States despite the ongoing nuclear crisis at Fukushima in Japan. Two new projects, from Southern Co’s Georgia Power unit and SCANA Corp’s South Carolina Electric & Gas Co unit, however, are on track to receive the combined construction permit and operating licenses (COL) from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), possibly before the end of 2011, S&P said. Both companies want to add two of Westinghouse Electric’s 1,154-megawatt AP1000 reactors at existing nuclear power sites: Southern’s Vogtle plant in Georgia and SCANA’s Summer plant in South Carolina.

Reuters 4th May 2011 more >>

China

The reactor building dome of unit 2 at the Yangjiang nuclear power plant in China was recently installed, 16 days ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, the second ring of the containment vessel of unit 2 at the Haiyang plant has also been lifted into place.

World Nuclear News 4th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

The US decision to site interceptor missiles at the Deveselu air base in Romania has been condemned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). The base will form a key part of the so-called ‘missile defence’ system, which critics say risks spurring the development of new missile and warhead technologies in attempts to circumvent the US system. CND has previously praised US President Barrack Obama for reaching agreement with the Russian government over the reduction of nuclear warheads.

Ekklesia 4th May 2011 more >>

Renewables

It is the spirit that powers the Scottish economy, and now whisky is to be used to create electricity for homes in a new bioenergy venture involving some of Scotland’s best-known distilleries. Contracts have recently been awarded for the construction of a biomass combined heat and power plant at Rothes in Speyside that by 2013 will use the by-products of the whisky-making process for energy production.

Guardian 4th May 2011 more >>

RENEWABLE energy produced by wave power could support 68,000 jobs and be worth 76 billion to the economy by 2050, according to a new report. A report by the Carbon Trust said the British marine energy sector had the potential to be a powerhouse of the economy. WWF Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon said: “This study reinforces our view that Scotland could literally rule the waves when it comes to creating jobs from marine renewables.”Pioneering wave and tidal energy machines here will also create a huge export industry for Scotland.”

Edinburgh Evening News 4th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 5 May 2011

4 May 2011

New Nukes

From Beijing and London to Tokyo and Washington, energy bureaucracies have for decades been pervaded by nuclear enthusiasm. The past few years, for the first time in history, also saw most major governments led by advocates of nuclear energy. The media are saturated with a skilled, intensive, and effective advocacy campaign by the nuclear energy industry and its powerful allies. With disinformation increasingly prevalent and wholly counterfactual accounts of nuclear power’s status and competitive landscape widely believed by otherwise sensible people, this report’s objective assessment is vital to informed discourse and prudent choice. Mycle Schneider, Antony Froggatt, and Steve Thomas have again performed a vital public service by preparing this uniquely independent, thorough, and timely assessment of the global status of nuclear power, both before and after the Fukushima disaster began to unfold on March 11, 2011.

REVE 3rd May 2011 more >>

The problem for the low carbon economy is that, rightly or wrongly, many of the world’s largest and most polluting economies have made nuclear a central component of their low carbon development plans. The US, China, the UK, India, France, and Japan are all at various stages with energy policies that would result in hundreds of new nuclear reactors. Meanwhile, clean tech investors and energy companies are ploughing millions into plans for new plants and research on cleaner and safer reactors. It is also worth noting that wider green economic plans rest on the foundations provided by a low carbon energy mix. For example, without reliable sources of low carbon energy the green credentials of proposed electric car fleets or high-speed rail networks become highly questionable. If Fukushima does result in an early end to the nuclear renaissance or even just a delay to current plans for new reactors, then governments and businesses will have to rapidly develop new low carbon energy strategies that deliver clean and reliable energy supplies without recourse to nuclear.

Business Green 3rd May 2011 more >>

Cumbria

Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet has urged the government to press ahead with the preparations needed for a new nuclear reprocessing plant that would create 5,000 construction jobs at Sellafield.

Construction Index 3rd May 2011 more >>

Terror

Five men are being held under the Terrorism Act after being arrested close to the Sellafield nuclear site. The men, who are all from London and aged in their 20s, were arrested on Monday shortly after 1630 BST. The arrests were made after Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers conducted a stop check on a vehicle close to the Sellafield site, in Cumbria. The BBC understands the men were taking photographs and are all believed to be Bangladeshi.

BBC 3rd May 2011 more >>

Express 4th May 2011 more >>

London Evening Standard 3rd May 2011 more >>

Telegraph 3rd May 2011 more >>

Counter-terror detectives have carried out a string of raids as part of investigations into arrests at the Sellafield nuclear site. Four houses in east London were swooped on by Scotland Yard after information was passed on to them by Greater Manchester Police.

ITN 3rd May 2011 more >>

Morning Star 3rd May 2011 more >>

Channel 4 News 3rd May 2011 more >>

Daily Mail 3rd May 2011 more >>

Guardian 3rd May 2011 more >>

One of the biggest concentrations of hazardous nuclear waste in Europe is crammed inside Sellafield’s 2.3 square miles. This relatively small facility in Cumbria holds almost all the UK’s remaining stock of plutonium, along with the waste produced over 50 years of civil nuclear power generation. As such, Sellafield is “probably one of the most hazardous nuclear sites in Europe”, said Roger Clayson, a nuclear specialist at Addleshaw Goddard, a law firm. As for the material it contains, “you’d be in a far worse situation if that got into the wrong hands than you were at Fukushima”, he added

FT 3rd May 2011 more >>

Scotland

Alex Salmond – first minister and leader of the Scottish National party – paid a visit to Nigg last week, bigging up his promise to produce 100% of Scotland’s electricity from renewables by 2020, and talking about nothing less than “the reindustrialisation of Scotland on a huge scale”. It was a characteristic performance; over the last few weeks, as Labour’s woeful campaign has resorted to shrill warnings about the perils of independence, and the Scottish Lib Dems have shrivelled in the spotlight, Salmond alone has shone – and looks set to win a second term, by as many as 62 to seats to Labour’s 51. His secret? A mixture of charisma, chutzpah and a showman’s sense of Scotland’s promise, despite the chill winds of austerity.

Guardian 4th May 2011 more >>

Companies

French nuclear engineer Areva SA says it made euro2 billion ($3 billion) in sales in the first quarter, up 2.2 percent from a year earlier as rising uranium prices boosted the firm’s mining and enrichment business. Areva said in a statement Monday its front end division, which includes uranium mining and enrichment, made sales of euro802 million in the first quarter, up 19 percent from euro674 million a year earlier. Areva’s other divisions, including its reactor building and nuclear waste treatment operations, saw sales slip during the first quarter.

Business Week 2nd May 2011 more >>

Europe

Europe’s nuclear power plants would not have to prove their ability to withstand the force of an aircraft crash under stress tests being drafted by regulators. The possibility of an aeroplane collision was the most glaring omission among scenarios laid out in a proposal for the stress tests, the centrepiece of the European Union’s plan to ensure the safety of its 143 nuclear plants after Japan’s Fukushima crisis. In spite of pleas from the Austrian government, environmental groups and some members of the European Parliament, the authors steered clear of aircraft crashes because of the insistence of some member states that the tests be limited to natural disasters and not man-made ones, such as terrorist attacks.

FT 3rd May 2011 more >>

Wall Street Journal 3rd May 2011 more >>

Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has triggered a sharp increase in worry across the European Union about the safety of nuclear power, according to a new Harris poll commissioned by the Financial Times. Nonetheless, the Harris poll found that – with the exception of Germany – citizens were broadly confident about the management of nuclear plants in their own country.

FT 3rd May 2011 more >>

Japan

Some of the shareholders of a Japanese electric power company say they want the utility to close its nuclear power plants. On Monday, a group of 232 individual stockholders of Tohoku Electric Power Company submitted the documents needed for their proposal to scrap its nuclear power plants. The proposal is expected to be put to a vote in an annual shareholders’ meeting at the end of next month.

NHK 3rd May 2011 more >>

Japanese officials say radiation readings are 100 to 1,000 times the normal level on the Pacific seabed near the Fukushima nuclear power plant

Chosunilbo 4th May 2011 more >>

TEPCO, the owners of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, just announced that they found contamination levels 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal in sediment from the Fukushima coast. TEPCO did the sediment testing late last week—in areas Greenpeace identified for testing in our research plan—after we were denied permission to research inside Japan’s 12 mile territorial waters. The buzz around Japanese Twitter has been saying that Greenpeace is the reason why the authorities have actually done this research.

Greenpeace 3rd May 2011 more >>

The government is planning to seek contributions from the electric power industry for an envisaged entity to help Tokyo Electric Power Co pay compensation over radiation leaks at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, government sources said Tuesday. Under the plan, TEPCO will be required in principle to shoulder all the compensation, but if it faces a fund shortage, the envisaged entity will make up for the remainder using contributions from electric power companies operating nuclear power plants, the sources said.

Japan Today 4th May 2011 more >>

Workers at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant began putting up equipment on Tuesday to allow the start of repairs to its cooling systems, key to bringing reactors under control after they were badly damaged in the March 11 quake and tsunami.

IB Times 3rd May 2011 more >>

Angry Japanese farmers working and living up to 60 kilometres away from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have protested in the country’s capital Tokyo that their businesses are in jeopardy. More than 200 farmers including cereal, vegetable and livestock growers demanded redress for farm products contaminated by radiation spewing from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Agra Europe 3rd May 2011 more >>

Germany

According to German business newspaper Handelsblatt, Chancellor Angela Merkel is hoping to speed up an end to nuclear power in the country, which is now targeted for 2022. The paper says Merkel is in talks with German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen and Chief of Staff Ronald Pofalla. A target year of 2022 had been set by the government of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

RTT News 3rd May 2011 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micropower News is now available. Up to 15,000 homes could benefit from solar costing as little as £99 as part of a scheme being run by E.ON; the first full year of the feed-in tariff scheme has seen over 28,000 solar PV installations; the Co-operative Group and Co-operatives UK are joining forces to work on a new piece of research to support the development of community renewable energy in the UK; Staffordshire County Council is planning to power itself with green energy.

Microgen Scotland 29th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 4 May 2011

3 May 2011

Terror

TERROR warlords are ready to nuke Britain in revenge for Osama bin Laden’s death, it was feared last night. Al-Qaida chiefs have warned they have hidden a dirty bomb in Europe to be detonated if their leader was killed or captured. And they were promising to bring a “nuclear hellfire” to the west. The chilling threat emerged during the interrogation of terror chiefs held in Guantanamo Bay.

Daily Star 3rd May 2011 more >>

Justification

Rory Walker, a community worker from Lancaster has been granted legal aid for a Judicial Review against the government’s “justification” decision which is a preliminary stage of approval required by the EU Euratom Directive before a final decision can be taken to build more nuclear power stations. A hearing will be held at the High Court in Leeds on May 12th to decide whether the challenge will proceed to a full judicial review hearing.The case centres on whether the government should first have measured “health detriment” including radiation linked diseases being inflicted on people, especially children in the vicinity of nuclear power stations. Although Rory has won legal aid for the case, the Legal Services Commission has made a requirement that £16,250 should be made by other citizens who would benefit, should the case be successful. Rory’s solicitors, Irwin Mitchell are still arguing against this large amount but its becoming apparent that a large sum will need to be met. If the contribution cannot be found Rory will lose his legal aid and the protection that gives should the case be lost.

101 uses for nuclear power 2nd May 2011 more >>

Companies

GDF Suez SA Chief Executive Officer Gerard Mestrallet said the nuclear accident in Japan may raise expenses for operating atomic reactors and cause delays in developing new plants. “The cost of nuclear will be higher,” Mestrallet said today in Paris at a shareholders meeting for the former natural gas monopoly. “The pace of development of nuclear can only slow. Will this slowdown be short or long? It’s still too early to tell.”

Bloomberg 2nd May 2011 more >>

GDF Suez remains committed to owning and managing new nuclear reactors despite the Japan nuclear crisis, its chief executive said on Monday.

Reuters 2nd May 2011 more >>

Scotland

The continuing squabble over renewables targets in the Scottish Parliamentary election debate is missing the key issues, say Scottish Greens. The party, which is defending two seats and looking for more, says that the real emphasis should be on community- and publicly-owned renewables, on energy efficiency, and on a broader mix of energy sources, not just onshore wind. Co-leader Patrick Harvie, who has been excluded from TV debates featuring the other four of the five parlaimentary parties in Scotland, said yesterday: “Essential though well-sited windfarms are, nobody is suggesting that they can be the sole basis for Scotland’s energy revolution. There’s an urgent need for smaller and community-run renewables projects as part of a decentralised energy system, and these kind of projects can also build serious community support.” “Beyond that,” he added, “local authorities need support to start building the kind of local energy projects which can bring in revenue that’s sustainable in every sense. Labour and the SNP, despite some clear ambition on large scale renewables, are missing this opportunity – and each is holding the door open either to new nuclear or coal-fired power stations. Neither has yet grasped the opportunity to commit to a real national energy efficiency drive. The cheapest power station is the one you don’t have to build.”

Ekklesia 30th April 2011 more >>

Japan

The resignation of a top adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has highlighted the growing public opposition to the government’s handling of the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and its scant regard for the safety of nuclear workers and local residents.

World Socialist Web 3rd May 2011 more >>

As more budgetary battles lie ahead, mounting frustrations over the government’s response to the tsunami and the still-unfolding nuclear crisis at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant are threatening to topple the country’s prime minister.

Scotsman 3rd May 2011 more >>

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Monday that there would be no upper limit set on the amount of compensation paid by nuclear power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) over the crisis at its Fukushima No.1 power plant.

Asahi 3rd May 2011 more >>

Reuters 2nd May 2011 more >>

Hamaoka is built to withstand an 8.5 magnitude earthquake and an 8m tsunami, says Chubu Electric, Japan’s third-largest power company. However, that would not have been enough to cope with this year’s crisis, which was triggered when last month’s magnitude-9 earthquake knocked out the Fukushima plant’s external power. A subsequent near 15m tsunami drowned the plant’s back-up generators, leaving its uranium fuel uncooled. The fuel partially melted down, the reactor buildings filled with hydrogen and exploded, showering the surrounding area with radiation and forcing the evacuation of 80,000 people – and counting. Hamaoka’s oldest reactors, No 1 and No 2, are permanently closed after Chubu decided upgrading them for a stronger quake would be too costly. The company is inspecting Unit 3 with a view to restarting it in the sweltering summer. Pro tem just reactors 4 and 5 are operating. Reactor 5 was restarted this year after being shut down for 18 months by a 6.5 earthquake in August 2009. “We take every safety precaution,” says company spokesman Nikio Inamata. He claims he has never heard Mr Nagano’s allegations that Hamaoka is built on crumbly rock. Less than two weeks after Japan’s worst nuclear crisis began, Chubu Electric announced a “delay” in building Hamaoka’s sixth reactor but plans to have it running by 2024.

Independent 3rd May 2011 more >>

Furious parents in Fukushima have delivered a bag of radioactive playground earth to education officials in protest at moves to weaken nuclear safety standards in schools. Children can now be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously permissible. The new regulations have prompted outcry. A senior adviser resigned and the prime minister, Naoto Kan, was criticised by politicians from his own party. Ministers have defended the increase in the acceptable safety level from 1 to 20 millisieverts per year as a necessary measure to guarantee the education of hundreds of thousands of children in Fukushima prefecture, location of the nuclear plant that suffered a partial meltdown and several explosions after the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March.

Guardian 2nd May 2011 more >>

Germany

Germany’s dramatic rethink over nuclear power has thrown up new problems, as the consequences of a retreat from atomic technology emerge. Just after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in March, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a review of energy policy and ordered Germany’s oldest reactors to be shut down immediately, and perhaps permanently. Only a few months earlier, she had decided to keep the reactors running past their original shutdown dates. But only now comes the hard bit. Power companies have warned of higher prices because of the shutdown; Germany has imported electricity to meet peaks in demand; analysts have warned that coal-fired power stations will be boosted – and nuclear ones in the nearby Czech Republic and France.

BBC 3rd May 2011 more >>

India

India is planning to complete the construction of its first nuclear reactor at Kalpakkam in South India by end of 2012 and to add six more by 2023. Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam project director Prabhat Kumar said the reactor will require an investment of $1.3bn and the additional six reactors will each have a capacity to generate 500 megawatts of power. According to the Planning commission, India is planning to increase its nuclear capacity to 60GW by 2030, reports Bloomberg.

Energy Business Review 2nd May 2011 more >>

Fusion

China is one of a number of countries pursuing technologies that could provide the ultimate solution to the world’s energy needs — nuclear fusion. While researchers across the globe have struggled to turn theory into practice in the last half-century, breakthroughs have been made, and some predict that working fusion reactors could be part of the world’s energy mix by 2060.

Yahoo 3rd May 2011 more >>

Renewables

The EU’s climate chief is seeking to extend the bloc’s renewable energy targets, in a move apparently designed to protect the green energy sector from an intensifying attack by the gas industry. This is the first time the European commission has raised the issue of mandatory targets beyond 2020, when the current commitment – to generate 20% of energy from renewable sources – expires. An extension would boost the renewable energy industry in the face of lobbying efforts by the gas industry, which is trying to rebrand gas as a cheaper “green” alternative to renewables.

Guardian 2nd May 2011 more >>

A government think-tank has predicted that the British marine energy sector could be worth £76bn to the economy and support 68,000 jobs by 2050. The analysis, released this week by the Carbon Trust, comes only weeks after coalition ministers ended the industry’s subsidy programme. Britain could capture almost a quarter of the global wave and tidal power market if it builds on its existing lead, the trust forecast. The majority of the jobs would be a result of the growing export markets in countries such as Chile, Korea and the US as well as Atlantic-facing European states which benefit from powerful waves or tidal currents. The study, the most in-depth of its kind, found that total marine energy capacity could be 27.5 gigawatts in the UK by 2050, enough to supply more than a fifth of current electricity demand.

Guardian 2nd May 2011 more >>

Posted: 3 May 2011

2 May 2011

New Nukes

The World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE) last week demanded a global ban on new nuclear power, policies to phase out current plants – and a decisive, immediate move to a 100% renewable world. WCRE: Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl atomic power disaster. The Fukushima catastrophe earlier this year reiterates that level 7 incidents will always threaten the world – it occurred in an advanced industrial country with some of the highest safety standards. After Harrisburg’s Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, it is time to wake up and terminate the reliance on this incredibly dangerous technology. No matter what the likelihood is for a similar event to happen in another country – it can never be excluded!

Commodities Now 1st May 2011 more >>

Terror

Shortly after 9/11, Al Qaeda had warned to set off a “nuclear hellstorm” if Osama bin Laden is ever captured or killed, according to U.S. government documents that were leaked just last month by Wikileaks.

IB Times c2nd May 2011 more >>

Osama Bin Laden is dead.

Guardian 2nd May 2011 more >>

Japan

Japans prime minister has come under renewed criticism for his government’s handling of the crisis. At an unusual Sunday parliamentary session in advance of Japans Golden Week holidays, opposition party Diet members grilled Naoto Kan, the prime minister, about the resignation of Toshiso Kosako, a radiation safety expert. Prof Kosako announced his resignation at an emotional press conference late on Friday, during which he criticised the government for ad hoc and ineffective decision-making and for not imposing tighter radiation limits on school playgrounds in areas around the stricken atomic plant. Last month, the government published provisional guidelines to allow school playgrounds to be used as long as current radiation levels in them did not exceed 20 millisieverts in a year the standard limit for nuclear industry employees. While the level of risk posed by such exposure is the subject of disagreement among experts, children are considered much more vulnerable to radiation exposure than adults, and Prof Kosakos protest will strengthen calls for more conservative limits on school use.

FT 2nd May 2011 more >>

Thousands of parents living near Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant have condemned a government decision to lift radiation limits for schools in the area by 20 times, saying the move is based on incomplete science and could put children in danger. The decision, which has also prompted the resignation of a government adviser, has been condemned as political expediency.

Independent 2nd May 2011 more >>

Physicians for Social Responsibility, a U.S. nonprofit organization of medical experts, has condemned as ”unconscionable” the Japanese government’s safety standards on radiation levels at elementary and middle schools in nuclear disaster-stricken Fukushima Prefecture. The PSR statement directly challenges the Japanese government stance that it is safe for schoolchildren to use playgrounds on school premises in the prefecture as long as the dose they are exposed to does not exceed 20 millisieverts over a year. The PSR view is also in line with that voiced by Toshiso Kosako, who said Friday he would step down as an adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan on the Fukushima nuclear crisis in protest. The University of Tokyo professor urged the government to toughen guidelines on upper limits on radiation levels the education ministry recently announced for primary school playgrounds in Fukushima.

Kyodo News 2nd May 2011 more >>

Those living outside the evacuation zones have felt left in limbo, exposed to levels of radiation that are several times the normal level, though not high enough to cause observable health risks. Still, experts admit that there is a lack of knowledge about the health effects of lower doses of radiation, especially over an extended period of time. Japan’s plant has been dispersing radioactive material for nearly two months and counting, far longer than the 10 days during which the Chernobyl plant released a much larger burst of radioactive particles in 1986.

New York Times 1st May 2011 more >>

Japan’s system for predicting the volume of radioactive materials to be released into the environment failed in the wake of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant due to the power supply cut following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, sources close to the matter said Monday. The malfunction of the Emergency Response Support System, or ERSS, coupled with the insufficiency of the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information, or SPEEDI, designed to predict the dispersal of radioactive materials based on forecasts by ERSS, is likely to have delayed the effective evacuation of residents in Fukushima Prefecture. The systems’ failure casts doubt on the government’s disaster-prevention policy, which said that the systems should be used to analyze and predict the amount and spread of radioactive material into the environment during a nuclear crisis. The two systems have cost around 28 billion yen in total for their development and maintenance.

Japan Today 2nd May 2011 more >>

Japan’s government will not put a cap on the liabilities faced by Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) for damages stemming from its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Monday. Under Japanese law, the operator of a nuclear facility can be granted an exemption from damages caused by a reactor if the accident was deemed to have been triggered by “a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character.”

STV 2nd May 2011 more >>

Europe

Considering the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, the Council of the European Union declared that “the safety of all EU nuclear plants should be reviewed, on the basis of a comprehensive and transparent risk assessment (“stress tests”). During their plenary meeting on the 22nd and 23rd of March 2011, WENRA members decided to provide “an independent regulatory technical definition of a “stress test” and how it should be applied to nuclear facilities across Europe”.

WENRA 21st April 2011 more >>

Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to stop using nuclear power in Germany possibly before 2022, Handelsblatt reported, citing unidentified people familiar with government discussions. Merkel, in talks with German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen and Chief of Staff Ronald Pofalla, agreed to set a fixed deadline for closing nuclear power plants, the newspaper said.

Bloomberg 2nd May 2011 more >>

US

In an effort to encourage nuclear power, Congress voted in 2005 to authorize $17.5 billion in loan guarantees for new reactors. Now, six years later, with the industry stalled by poor market conditions and the Fukushima disaster, nearly half of the fund remains unclaimed. And yet Congress, at the request of the Obama administration, is preparing to add $36 billion in nuclear loan guarantees to next year’s budget. Even supporters of the technology doubt that new projects will surface any time soon to replace those that have been all but abandoned.

New York Times 28th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 2 May 2011

1 May 2011

New Nukes

The disaster at the Fukushima power plant is damaging the government’s plan to create a low-carbon power industry in Britain. Japan’s daily struggle to prevent a full-blown disaster may have fallen off the front pages here, but it brings into sharp relief what energy executives say is a moment of truth for Britain. Nuclear power is at the heart of government plans to reshape our energy infrastructure for a low-carbon world. In June, the government will publish its final plan to get us there. Based on the initial version, released before Christmas, it will involve a cocktail of big subsidies for nuclear and offshore wind, harsh penalties for coal, and a doubling, at least, of household energy bills. The electricity market reform is a return to aggressive state intervention — ministers argue the market alone cannot deliver the “green revolution”. The scale of the task is on a par with North Sea gas conversion in the late 1960s — only more expensive: £200 billion, by current estimates. Increasingly, though, there are concerns the government has got its sums badly wrong. The industry has lobbied frantically for changes to the new market structure but the consultation period has ended. It is highly unlikely Weigtman will produce an authoritative report on nuclear safety while Fukushima remains too radioactive for close examination. Industry insiders are now factoring a delay of two years or more into EDF Energy’s plans to build Britain’s first new reactor by 2018. Such a delay would be a big problem. Ofgem, the regulator, predicted that, in the worst-case scenario, household energy bills could double to £2,000 a year within a decade. Industry insiders now acknowledge that this figure looks low. To make matters worse, the industry has lost faith in the government. The multi-billion pound investments that companies are being asked to make will be underpinned by subsidies for the more expensive low-carbon technologies. The more firms spend, the bigger their profits. Spending £200 billion will generate £10 billion to £15 billion in additional profit for Britain’s big six utilities. So, companies have been unsettled by chancellor George Osborne’s surprise “windfall” tax on North Sea oil firms in the budget. The only company pleased with all the government’s proposed reforms is EDF, owner of British Energy, the nuclear monopoly. Rivals argue that the subsidy system, which would top up power prices for low-carbon technologies to a guaranteed level, is tailored to nuclear power at the expense of rival forms.

Sunday Times 1st May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Safety

British and French trade unions will push for improved terms for European nuclear workers at a EU-funded conference in Paris next month. The GMB and the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), France’s leading unions, have invited major nuclear companies to attend. EDF Energy and RWE, the energy giants planning to lead the construction of new nuclear power stations in the UK, are likely to take part. A union source said: “The event should debate a charter about cross-European standards in nuclear. The trade unions want to ensure that employees are treated properly from construction phase through generation and decommissioning of sites.” EDF Energy has already been talking to the UK’s biggest unions to remove any threat of strikes if and when it constructs new plants at Hinkley Point and Sizewell. However, the conference is likely to be overshadowed by discussions on pan-European nuclear safety standards following the Fukushima plant disaster in Japan.

Independent 1st May 2011 more >>

Tepco’s struggle with its tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant reminds us of last year’s “black swan”: BP’s struggle with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. One year has passed since what Barack Obama called the US’s “environmental 9/11”. Why dwell on what is already in the rear-view mirror? Having looked in-depth at the Gulf of Mexico crisis, we see some parallels between the two events. With corporate disasters apparently increasing in frequency, understanding a pattern that may have wider significance is clearly relevant to investors. One common driver of such disasters is regulatory failure. Lack of support for regulators from government and corporate political influence played a significant role in ineffective regulation of offshore drilling in the US. Some are suggesting it is also true for Fukushima: according to WikiLeaks, in 2006 the government overturned a court order to close a nuclear power plant because of safety risks related to serious earthquakes. And a Financial Times report highlighted that the “System bred Tepco’s cosy links to watchdogs”

FT 1st May 2011 more >>

Radhealth

Helen Caldicott: During the 25th anniversary last week of the Chernobyl disaster, some commentators asserted that few people died in the aftermath, and that there have been relatively few genetic abnormalities in survivors’ offspring. It’s an easy leap from there to arguments about the safety of nuclear energy compared to alternatives like coal, and optimistic predictions about the health of the people living near Fukushima. But this is dangerously ill informed and short-sighted; if anyone knows better, it’s doctors like me. There’s great debate about the number of fatalities following Chernobyl; the International Atomic Energy Agency has predicted that there will be only about 4,000 deaths from cancer, but a 2009 report published by the New York Academy of Sciences says that almost one million people have already perished from cancer and other diseases. The high doses of radiation caused so many miscarriages that we will never know the number of genetically damaged fetuses that did not come to term. (And both Belarus and Ukraine have group homes full of deformed children.)

New York Times 30th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

SCOTLAND must embrace renewables as there is no alternative to new forms of energy generation, given the world’s dwindling reserves of oil, coal and uranium, a senior industry figure has argued. Rick Eggleston, the managing director of wind turbine manufacturer REpower UK, threw his weight into a debate that has been raging since First Minister Alex Salmond vowed to see renewables produce 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity by 2020.

Scotland on Sunday 1st May 2011 more >>

Japan

Japan’s embattled prime minister, Naoto Kan, defended his government’s handling of the nation’s nuclear crisis on Saturday, a day after an adviser resigned during a tearful news conference in which he charged that the government was not adequately protecting the population from radiation.

New York Times 30th April 2011 more >>

Japan Times 1st May 2011 more >>

Japan’s chief government spokesman said Saturday that the resignation by a senior science adviser over radiation safety limits for schools around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was over a misunderstanding, while Prime Minister Naoto Kan defended the government’s handling of the situation. Separately, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said two workers who received radiation burns from highly radioactive water in an incident March 24 have received close to the legal annual limit of radiation.

Wall Street Journal 30th April 2011 more >>

CRITICISM of the government’s handling of the nuclear power plant crisis increased yesterday, with a new poll indicating three-quarters of Japanese disapprove and a key adviser quitting in protest. A poll released yesterday showed that prime minister Naoto Kan’s support ratings were plunging. The poll reported that 76 per cent of the respondents think Kan is not exercising sufficient leadership in handling the country’s earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear crisis, up from 63.7 per cent in March. Toshiso Kosako, an expert on radiation exposure, also announced he was stepping down as a government adviser over what he lambasted as unsafe measure.

Scotland on Sunday 1st May 2011 more >>

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin criticised Japan on Saturday for its “slow” reaction to its nuclear disaster and for building nuclear reactors in earthquake-prone zones.

Reuters 30th April 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has released new video showing the damaged reactor No 4’s spent fuel rod pool.

ITN 30th April 2011 more >>

India

India aims to complete building its first indigenous fast breeder nuclear reactor by the end of next year and plans to add six more by 2023 as the nation seeks new energy sources to propel economic growth. The reactor will require an investment of 56.8 billion rupees ($1.3 billion), Prabhat Kumar, project director at the state-owned Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd., told reporters at Kalpakkam in South India. The additional six reactors will each have a capacity to generate 500 megawatts of power, Kumar said.

Bloomberg 30th April 2011 more >>

Taiwan

Thousands of Taiwanese took to the streets on Saturday to protest against a new nuclear power station as safety concerns mounted in the wake of the atomic crisis in Japan, an organiser said. Holding sunflowers and bright yellow banners reading “No Nuke”, demonstrators rallied simultaneously in several cities across Taiwan, with the largest protest in the capital Taipei, said main organiser Tsui Shu-hsin.

AFP 30th April 2011 more >>

Renewables

A Yorkshire company has developed a rooftop wind turbine that it claims could produce up to half a family’s energy needs without being an eyesore. The Ridgeblade is a narrow box that sits along the ridge of a pitched roof. Inside are turbines that turn like the reel of a combine harvester. Its developers say it benefits from the natural acceleration of wind speeds at the top of pitched roofs, will work even in mild breezes, and can cope with most wind directions.

Sunday Times 1st May 2011 more >>

Posted: 1 May 2011

30 April 2011

Oldbury

THE company behind plans to build a second nuclear power plant at Oldbury has said the project may still not go ahead. Speaking at the Oldbury Site Stakeholder Group (OSSG) meeting recently, Tim Proudler, from Horizon, said there were still several hurdles to overcome. He said: “A future Oldbury isn’t clear yet. We are at the beginning of a very long process.” Mr Proudler had been invited to speak to the local community by the OSSG, which normally deals with issues surrounding the current Oldbury Power Station run by Magnox. In a short presentation to local people Mr Proudler outlined what Horizon, a partnership between energy firms E.ON and RWE npower, had already done and what else needed to be done before a planning application could be made.

Gloucestershire Gazette 29th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

Letter: IS NUCLEAR power dirty and dangerous, as some politicians claim? Coal contains both uranium and thorium and these are concentrated at least tenfold when coal is burnt. Danger is usually estimated from the frequency of death. Based on TWhr (tera watts, equal 1,000 gigawatts) of power generated, the annual average number of world deaths from coal is 161, that of oil 40, natural gas four, wind 0.15 and nuclear 0.04. Attitudes to nuclear power need to be based on knowledge, not fearful ignorance.

Scotsman 30th April 2011 more >>

Radhealth

The nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan and the 25th anniversary of the catastrophe in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine have thrown into relief contradictions in the role played by the World Health Organisation, which civil society organisations have spent years pointing out. An international coalition of NGOs, IndependentWHO, says the multilateral agency has never shown independence in its decisions or actions, in terms of living up to its mandate of protecting the victims of radioactive contamination.

IPS News 27th April 2011 more >>

Japan

May 5 is Children’s Day, a Japanese national holiday that celebrates the happiness of childhood. This year, it will fall under a dark, radioactive shadow. Japanese children in the path of radioactive plumes from the crippled nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station are likely to suffer health problems that a recent government action will only exacerbate. On April 19, the Japanese government sharply ramped up its radiation exposure limit to 2,000 millirem per year (20 mSv/y) for schools and playgrounds in Fukushima prefecture. Japanese children are now permitted to be exposed to an hourly dose rate 165 times above normal background radiation and 133 times more than levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows for the American public. Japanese school children will be allowed to be exposed to same level recommended by the International Commission on Radiation Protection for nuclear workers. Unlike workers, however, children won’t have a choice as to whether they can be so exposed.

IPS 29th April 2011 more >>

Huffington Post 29th April 2011 more >>

Criticism of the Japanese government’s handling of the radiation crisis at a nuclear power plant has increased after an adviser quit in protest over what he claimed were unsafe, slipshod measures. Toshiso Kosako, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s graduate school and an expert on radiation exposure, announced late yesterday that he was stepping down as a government adviser. In a tearful news conference, Prof Kosako said he could not stay and allow the government to set what he called improper radiation limits of 20 millisieverts an hour for elementary schools in areas near the plant.

Independent 30th April 2011 more >>

Japan’s chief government spokesman said Saturday that the resignation by a senior science adviser over radiation safety limits for schools around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was over a misunderstanding, while Prime Minister Naoto Kan defended the government’s handling of the situation.

Nikkei 30th April 2011 more >>

A community bank in Tokyo will offer incentives, including a 1-percent deposit interest rate, to promote non-nuclear energy. Johnan Shinkin Bank said April 28 it will offer 1-percent interest on a one-year deposit and an interest-free loan for the initial year from May 2. People who purchase solar panels, generators, storage batteries or LED lighting worth 100,000 yen ($1,230) or more will be eligible.

Asahi 30th April 2011 more >>

IAEA Update of the situation at Fukushima.

IB Times 29th April 2011 more >>

Europe

The results of stress tests on European nuclear power plants should be clear by the end of the year, EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger said in Helsinki Friday.

EU Business 29th April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

Acivists around the world came together to mark the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl

Greenpeace 27th April 2011 more >>

India

Now is not the time for energy-starved India to increase nuclear dependency. Soaring costs and safety doubts post-Fukushima mean India is unwise to plan a doubling of its nuclear plants.

Guardian 29th April 2011 more >>

Renewables

Total, one of the world’s largest oil companies, is to make a $1.38bn (800m) investment in solar power reversing a trend that has seen Shell and BP cut back their involvement in green energy. France’s biggest company is to purchase 60% of SunPower Corporation, the second biggest solar panel manufacturer in America, and use it as a new springboard into a renewable sector struggling for competitive edge. Shares in SunPower surged 40% after it revealed a “friendly tender offer” from an oil company that had been expected to put major new investment into nuclear rather than solar or wind, at least until the Japanese earthquake raised new questions about the safety of atomic power. “The world future energy balance will be the result of a long-term transition in which renewable energies will take their place alongside conventional resources,” said Philippe Boisseau, president of Total’s gas and power division.

Guardian 30th April 2011 more >>

RENEWABLES will overtake oil, gas and coal as the world’s main energy source by 2025, according to a new survey of operators. The annual Maxwell Drummond International Energy Survey 2011 was led by global consultancy Maxwell Drummond, which has its HQ in London and offices in Aberdeen, Calgary, Houston, Johannesburg, Perth and Sydney. The survey is based on responses from business leaders in major oil and gas operators and contractors in Europe, US, Canada, Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Middle East. Kevin Davidson, chief executive of Maxwell Drummond International, said the results are “illuminating”.

Scotsman 30th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 30 April 2011

29 April 2011

New Nukes

A new generation of nuclear reactors should be built at Sellafield, according to the leaders of Cumbria County Council. The are urging the government to press ahead with plans for new reactors which would recycle mixed plutonium and uranium oxide fuel (Mox). Most of the UK’s plutonium is already stored at Sellafield. A Mox plant at Sellafield would provide around 5,000 construction jobs and ongoing plant employment. The call was in response to a government consultation on how the UK’s 112-tonne stockpile of civil separated plutonium should be managed. Cumbria County Council says the government should “consider the case for constructing one or more dedicated Mox burning reactors on available land beside the Sellafield and NuGeneration Ltd sites”.

BBC 28th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

Richard Dixon: THE history of renewable electricity targets in Scotland is instructive in considering how credible the current crop of manifesto promises are. In 2000 Labour environment minister Sarah Boyack set a target of 17.5 per cent of Scotland’s electricity consumption to come from renewables by 2010. This was only a 5 per cent increase on current production, but at the time her civil servants told her this was “very brave”. This is Sir Humphrey-speak for something that can’t be done. However, technology advanced rapidly and the 2010 target was met years early. The Labour-Liberal Democrat government went on to set a target for 2020 of 40 per cent and by 2007 the Lib Dems were proposing 100 per cent by 2050, which was impressive at the time. When the SNP came to power they set the 2020 target at 50 per cent. Again because rapid progress was being made, they raised the 2020 figure to 60 per cent and only recently raised it again to 80 per cent, the same level promised by Labour and the Lib Dems in their manifestos, with the latter also promising 100 per cent by 2025. The SNP and the Greens both promise 100 per cent by 2020. By the end of 2010 the actual figure was around 25 per cent and the figure for 2011 is likely to be 33 per cent a third of all the electricity we consume being created from clean, green sources. Politicians often set targets that they struggle to reach but the lesson of the last decade is that targets for renewable electricity soon go out of date because the technology is moving so quickly. Moving to renewable energy is an essential part of tackling climate change and Scotland, with her huge natural resources in wind and waves, should be leading the world. Our own research shows that 100 per cent by 2020 is possible. Massive job and export benefits would arise from hitting this milestone. As offshore wind, wave and tidal power start to come on stream, Labour and the Lib Dems’ 80 per cent is eminently achievable, and with a bit of political will, 100 per cent by 2020 is certainly possible.

Scotsman 29th April 2011 more >>

Letter Niall Stuart Chief Executive Scottish Renewables: The proposed target is for Scotland’s renewable energy sector to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of annual electricity demand, not 100 per cent of electricity output. This does not mean the abandonment of other forms of energy generation, but rather a firm commitment to have renewables as a substantial part of an energy mix, which would not just meet Scotland’s needs but allow us to export clean power to other parts of the UK, creating wealth and jobs in Scotland. Scotland has around 25 per cent of Europe’s tidal stream and 10 per cent of its wave power, creating a combined 33 gigawatts potential of practical marine energy in Scottish Waters. Existing plans for 1.6GW installed capacity by 2020 would mean our marine renewables sector providing more than 10 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs. Although the SNP’s pledge to increase the target of Scotland’s consumption from renewables from 80 to 100 per cent is ambitious, it can be achieved with the necessary level of support and commitment from government. To succeed will require the right market framework, investment in grid connections and skills, and the correct balance in the planning system between development and conservation.

Scotsman 29th April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

MOST people in West Somerset support a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point according to a recent survey commissioned by the energy company planning the new build. EDF Energy has said it will invest £100 million in the area, including a £20 million Community Fund, which was increased from £1 million after consultation.

This is the West Country 28th April 2011 more >>

CONCERNED residents have formed a protest group against two developments on North Petherton greenfield. The Sedgemoor Traffic Action Group (STAG) was launched to fight plans for a business development and EDF’s freight management and park-and-ride between the town and Bridgwater. Spokesman Matthew Jackson-Smith said: “The group formed because the project has outraged and frustrated residents who say it will create traffic chaos at junction 24 and along the A38 Taunton Road from North Petherton to Bridgwater.

This is Somerset 28th April 2011 more >>

FIFTY Bridgwater children swapped their Easter break to taste university life and discover the skills needed and opportunities available in the nuclear industry.

This is Somerset 29th April 2011 more >>

The Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in Japan is having a potential impact on the West’s political landscape. In West Somerset, which along with neighbouring Sedgemoor, will bear the impact of the proposed Hinkley C nuclear plant, the Green party is running twice as many district council candidates as Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined. A dozen Greens will stand on May 5, compared with four Labour candidates and two Liberal Democrats, making the environmental campaigners the principal local opposition to the Conservatives.

This is Somerset 28th April 2011 more >>

Wylfa

(Translated from Welsh) People Against Wylfa B, has invited Dr Ian Fairlie to address a meeting Thursday night.

BBC 28th April 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Plans for a nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico were initially opposed in the late 1980s by a 2-1 margin but a new analysis of 35 statewide public opinion surveys taken over a decade shows that public acceptance steadily grew as Federal agencies went through the policy development and approval process over a 25-year-span. “By the time the facility opened in March of 1999, a majority of New Mexicans supported its continued operation,” according to the research.

Waste Management World 28th April 2011 more >>

Japan

Officials postponed a plan to ramp up efforts to cool nuclear fuel at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex amid concerns that the use of thousands of additional metric tons of water could result in dangerous leaks. Tepco officials said they would postpone their plan to cool reactors via the injection of massive amounts of water into the pressure vessel holding the fuel rods, ultimately spilling into and filling the outer containment vessel in each unit. The plan to fill the containment vessels is a departure from the current system of continuously injecting smaller amounts of water that haven’t yet fully covered the rods. They didn’t say when it might resume. The trial run saw a more-than-anticipated drop in the temperature and the pressure inside the plant’s No. 1 reactor, raising the possibility that air from outside could enter suspected gaps and spark an explosion when oxygen hits the hydrogen inside the reactor. Similar explosions in the first week of the crisis exacerbated damage and radiation at the plant.

Wall Street Journal 29th April 2011 more >>

Kansai Electric Power Co said its nuclear run rate this year would be lower than initially planned, and it may delay the restart of three reactors due to stricter safety steps imposed after a massive earthquake triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

Reuters 27th April 2011 more >>

On March 15, the Japanese Government announced that the permissible cumulative radiation exposure for nuclear workers was increased to 250 mSv per year from 100 mSv per year. The purpose of this increase seems to be merely to extend the time nuclear workers could legally spend in a radioactive area. On April 12, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of Japan decided to raise the severity level of the crisis to 7—the highest level and equal to the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union. We emphasise the need to predict potential scenarios in Fukushima and to prepare medical care providers for how to respond in cases of accidental high radiation exposure, since this operation is estimated to take months to years.

The Lancet 18th April 2011 more >>

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Thursday he will launch an independent panel around mid-May to investigate the causes of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.‘‘By sharing the lessons from the accident with the international community through the International Atomic Energy Agency and other channels, we will take the lead in contributing to safety improvements of nuclear plants around the world,’’ Kan also told a plenary session of the House of Representatives.

Japan Today 29th April 2011 more >>

A group of officials from Tepco, the beleaguered operator of Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, have become unlikely heroes thanks to their daily internet broadcasts on the latest situation at Fukushima.

Telegraph 29th April 2011 more >>

Korea

Japan’s nuclear crisis could result in a two to three year setback in the nuclear power reactor market, but demand will rise in the longer term, a senior executive at Korea Electric Power Corp said on Friday.

Reuters 29th April 2011 more >>

Syria

THE head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has said for the first time that a target destroyed by Israeli warplanes in the Syrian desert in 2007 was the covert site of a future nuclear reactor, countering assertions by Syria that it had no atomic secrets.

Scotsman 29th April 2011 more >>

US

The Tennessee Valley Authority has shut down its undamaged Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in northern Alabama, cooling its reactors after power transmission lines into the plant were knocked out by severe storms in the state.

IB Times 28th April 2011 more >>

Exelon and Constellation Energy have announced a $7.9 billion merger. Under the name Exelon, the resulting firm will be America’s largest generator of nuclear power by an even greater margin. A definitive agreement posted today will see a stock-for-stock transaction combine the two companies. The new firm wants to take advantage of Exelon’s large low-carbon generation fleet and Constellation’s customer-facing business. Nuclear expansion plans for both companies have faltered over the last two years on the drop in power demand due to the financial crisis and the increasing availability of cheap gas. Exelon had proposed to build two new units at Victoria County in Texas but licensing for this has been downscaled to just an Early Site Permit. Constellation was a 50% partner in the Unistar initiative to build a fleet of Areva EPRs in America. A proposal for Calvert Cliffs has the most promising of this effort, but the company pulled out last year and sold its stake cheaply to the other partner, EDF of France. This had come after Constellation sold half of its nuclear generation business to EDF for some $4.5 billion, rejecting an offer of $4.7 billion for the entire company from MidAmerican Energy Holdings. Constellation shares had plunged on the financial crisis. For its part during that crisis, Exelon had tried to buy out another huge US generator, NRG, for $6.2 billion. The nuclear fleet of the expanded Exelon will include its 17 reactors across ten sites: Braidwood, Byron, Clinton, Dresden, LaSalle, Limerick, Oyster Creek, Peach Bottom, Quad Cities, and Three Mile Island 1. The deal with Constellation will add interests in five more reactors across the Nine Mile Point, Calvert Cliffs and R G Ginna sites.

World Nuclear News 28th April 2011 more >>

French state-controlled power group Electricite de France SA owns 7.2% of U.S.-based Constellation Energy Group, the group noted Thursday after Exelon Corp. announced it agreed to buy Constellation in a stock-for-stock deal valued at about $8 billion. “EDF still owns 7.2% in Constellation and also owns 49.9% of its nuclear assets, through CENG, a joint-venture,” a spokeswoman for the group said. She declined to further comment the Exelon announcement.

Fox Business 28th April 2011 more >>

India

The Indian government announced, 26 April, a number of measures that will be taken in response to the recent nuclear accident in Japan. The measures address safety concerns about India’s nuclear power programme, in particular the planned Jaitapur plant, which have seen large public opposition.

Nuclear Engineering International 28th April 2011 more >>

Thailand

Thailand is preparing to double LNG imports after putting plans to two nuclear power plants on ice.

Petroleum Economist 28th April 2011 more >>

Pakistan

Shrouded in secrecy and jealously guarded by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, there is little public debate about Pakistan’s nuclear safety record in the wake of what is happening at Fukushima.There are two main reactors used for energy production in Pakistan: the ageing plant on the coast near Karachi (Kanupp) and the nuclear plant near Chashma Barrage on the Indus River (Chasnupp I). Between them, they provide only about 350 MW of energy, just 2% of Pakistan’s energy demand. A second nuclear reactor at Chashma (Chasnupp II) is being tested and should start operations soon. They are extremely costly, at about US $1bn for each of the Chasma reactors, plus they are very unsafe, according to two of the country’s top physicists who teach at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Guardian 28th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 29 April 2011

28 April 2011

Nuclear Subsidy

Letter Yousaf Mahmood Butt, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: You advocate reviving nuclear power in the radioactive shadow of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. I would, perhaps, support your viewpoint if the nuclear industry could revive itself without massive government subsidies. In the US – the biggest user of nuclear power – the industry receives huge ongoing insurance bail-outs under the 1957 Price-Anderson Act. This outdated legislation limits the liability of the nuclear industry in the event of a major nuclear accident and artificially cheapens the price it pays for insurance. As a result, nuclear-derived power itself is artificially cheap, one reason that it continues to displace renewables in the not-so-free-market. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reports that many nuclear suppliers have said that “without Price-Anderson coverage, they would not participate in the nuclear industry”. If an industry that has benefited from massive government research and development and other subsidies for more than five decades, and which creates staggering unresolved waste disposal problems, raises proliferation issues, and poses serious risks to human health, cannot survive without government support then, perhaps, it ought not to survive.

FT 28th April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Safety

Letter: Gordon Murray uses the report of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to imply that nuclear installations are not safe. But some of the figures he quotes do not agree with those of other experts in the field and are therefore misleading. In fact, the 500 or so nuclear stations around the world have an outstanding safety record. The International Energy Agency gives the number of deaths per 10 billion kWh generated as 0.2 for nuclear compared with 0.3 for gas (its nearest neighbour) and a huge 2.8 for coal – and this is after taking into account Chernobyl.

Herald 28th April 2011 more >>

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday he plans to convene a summit meeting in September to discuss nuclear safety following the crisis at Japan’s earthquake-damaged Fukushima plant. Ban told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council that he had used the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine to call for improvements in nuclear safety worldwide.

STV 26th April 2011 more >>

Supply Chain

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has given the go-ahead to the Manufacturing Advisory Service North West (MAS-NW) to continue to co-ordinate the national MAS civil nuclear supply chain activity through until 31st December, under the current MAS contract terms.

Process & Control Technology 27th Apriol 2011 more >>

Oldbury

A warning has been issued to Oldbury power station after oil used for cooling leaked into the River Severn. Managers at the plant near Bristol said the leak on 6 and 7 February had “no measurable environmental impact”. But the Environment Agency said the discharge contravened regulations by “causing polluting matter to enter the Severn estuary”.

BBC 27th April 2011 more >>

OLDBURY Power Station looks set to keep powering the nation until December 2012. Operators at the 42-year-old nuclear plant are hoping to extend its life for a further 18 months. Phil Sprague, site director, said his team was currently working on a safety case to extend its life span until the end of next year. Both reactors one and two at the site were due to shut down on June 30 this year. However, Magnox, which runs Oldbury, hopes to transfer all remaining fuel that is available into reactor one and continue producing electric.

Gloucestershire Gazette 27th April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

EDF Energy says most people surveyed in a new poll think its £100million investment as part of its plans for Hinkley Point C will have a positive impact on the area. According to the survey, 75% believe the cash will have an impact with 53% saying it will have a big impact. The same survey suggests nearly two-thirds consider EDF’s investment offer to be about right and 17% say it is not enough.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly 27th April 2011 more >>

Protest

Nuclear white elephant blown up outside Parliament.

Stop Nuclear Power 27th April 2011 more >>

Twitpic 27th April 2011 more >>

A SOUTH Lakeland-based campaign group is challenging the Bishop of Carlisle to abandon his support for nuclear power. Radiation Free Lakeland (RFL) will make its demand today as members lay three crosses outside Carlisle Cathedral to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. They will also deliver a letter to Bishop James Newcome urging him to reconsider his position on new-build nuclear power.

Westmorland Gazette 26th April 2011 more >>

CAMPAIGNERS walked through Bridgwater last night to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Anti-nuclear group Stop Hinkley along with the Sedgemoor and West Somerset Green Party and the Bridgwater Peace Group organised the commemorative walk from the bandstand in Blake Gardens at 7.30pm to the Blake statue in Cornhill.

Bridgwater Mercury 27th April 2011 more >>

London CND and Medact staged a vigil and parliamentary meeting at Portcullis House in Westminster to mark the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl, the world’s worst ever civil nuclear disaster.

London Indymedia 27th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

SNP plans to generate 100 per cent of Scotland’s power from renewable sources by 2020 have been endorsed by seven leading industry figures. The proposals have been dismissed as “cuckoo” by business leaders, while Labour leader insisted this week that no serious engineer or scientist thought the plans were credible. But, in an open letter, seven executives say that it is vital that Scotland builds on its current low-carbon industry in order to attract investment in the sector. Meanwhile, Ignacio Galn, chairman and chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables’ parent company, Iberdrola, has described the renewables goal as “entirely credible”. The endorsement have been welcomed by First Minister Alex Salmond, who was campaigning at Nigg Yard in Easter Ross yesterday. “Our goal of generating 100 per cent of Scotland’s own electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020 is ambitious but achievable,” Mr Salmond said.

Scotsman 27th April 2011 more >>

Letter: NO developed economy can function without a reliable and economic supply of electricity but with present UK policies we have been warned that within a few years there will be a risk of power failures while increases in prices to consumers will rise by more than 50 per cent by 2025. On a standalone basis the situation in Scotland would be even more disastrous. The huge investment required to remedy the neglect and wishful thinking of recent years will require two decades or more to take effect and in the run up to the May elections we urge all political parties in Scotland to put the future of our electricity supplies at the top of their agendas. The pretence that our electricity can in future be supplied from renewables, mainly wind and marine, has gone on too long. These matters are not a question of opinion; they are answerable to the laws of physics and are readily analysed using normal engineering methods. All of these energy sources are of very low concentrations and intermittent; they are and will remain inherently expensive and no amount of development will have more than a marginal effect on this conclusion.

Scotsman 27th April 2011 more >>

Japan

Gundersen Postulates Unit 3 Explosion May Have Been Prompt Criticality in Fuel Pool,

Vimeo 26th April 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Co said Wednesday that one of its female employees was exposed to radiation doses far above the legal limit at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant—the latest revelation of lax radiation management by the plant operator since the crisis erupted last month.As a key step to bringing an end to the ongoing crisis, the utility said, meanwhile, it will seek to start in June decontamination of highly radioactive water accumulating in the plant’s premises, which has prevented restoration work as a side effect of the emergency water injection into troubled reactors from outside in place of their lost cooling functions. TEPCO also started to increase the amount of water injected into the damaged No. 1 reactor core in preparation to flood the reactor’s primary containment vessel to cool the fuel inside in a stable manner. In the latest sign of tough working conditions at the radiation-leaking plant, the firm said it found earlier in the day that one of its 19 female employees working at the plant when the March 11 quake and tsunami crippled it had been exposed to 17.55 millisieverts of radiation by March 23, against the legal limit of 5 millisieverts over a three-month period.The woman, who is in her 50s, has no health problems, but two more female workers may also have been exposed to radiation in excess of the limit before all the female employees left the plant on March 23, the utility and the government’s nuclear safety agency said.

Japan Today 28th April 2011 more >>

Design techniques were used to create the rover currently examining the inside of Japan’s nuclear reactors, in areas not yet deemed safe for human crews, which before were honed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for Mars rovers.

IB Times 27th April 2011 more >>

Japanese engineers are struggling to gain control of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, which was seriously damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Two of the six reactors at the plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), are considered stable but the other four are volatile. Following are some questions and answers about efforts to end the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl accident.

Reuters 27th April 2011 more >>

Japan, stung by international criticism of its handling of a nuclear crisis, will likely include foreign experts in a review of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, an aide to the prime minister said on Wednesday. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has promised an eventual review of the crisis, in which cooling functions at the nuclear power plant in northeast Japan were knocked out by a 15 meter (49 foot) tsunami on March 11, leading to leaks of radiation into the air and sea.

STV 27th April 2011 more >>

US

A team with radiation monitoring equipment highlight the threat to millions of people from New York’s Indian Point nuclear plant. 17 million people live within 50 miles of Indian Point, an old nuclear plant in an active seismic zone just north of New York City. If an accident or terrorist attack led to a catastrophic release of radiation, evacuation would be impossible. Nationwide, 1 in 3 Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear plant. Greenpeace is calling for the shut-down of the Indian Point nuclear plant, and the replacement of dangerous nuclear power with safe solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency.

You Tube 25th April 2011 more >>

Blaming uncertainties arising from the nuclear crisis in Japan, NRG Energy says it will write down its $481 million investment in two planned new nuclear reactors in South Texas.

Climate Progress 26th April 2011 more >>

Germany

Germany must speed up its transition to renewable energy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident, writes Norbert Röttgen, the German environment minister, in an opinion piece. He says Germany can lead the way with a successful shift into green power that will boost its economy.

Der Spiegel 27th April 2011 more >>

India

India is planning an overhaul of its insular nuclear establishment as it gears up for a big expansion of its nuclear energy capacity in the aftermath of the disaster at Japans Fukushima reactor. The Congress-led government said it planned to introduce legislation in the coming session of parliament that will create an independent and autonomous nuclear power regulator, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India, to oversee the expanding nuclear energy industry. The decision comes as the administration of Manmohan Singh, prime minister, affirmed its determination to go ahead with plans for Frances Areva to build two 1,650MW European pressurised water reactors, for $9.6bn, on Indias west coast, in spite of fierce local resistance.

FT 28th April 2011 more >>

Thailand

BANGKOKThailand will delay the commercial startup of five planned nuclear-power plants by three years because of safety concerns following the nuclear crisis in Japan. Energy Minister Wannarat Charnnukul said Thailand will instead build three 800-megawatt combined-cycle power plants to offset the deferral of the nuclear plants under the country’s long-term energy development plan. Thailand had planned to start commercial operations of the first nuclear-power plant in 2020.

Wall Street Journal 28th April 2011 more >>

Low Carbon Investment

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) published a report yesterday expressing its concern that the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy needs boosting, echoing that of the British Chambers of Commerce last week. The CBI commissioned Accenture to interview businesses about planning and investment. They concluded that the money is there to invest, but investment is not sufficient because: pensions funds, who have the money, invest indirectly through utility companies; banks are unwilling to lend money for the 6-7 years required; and low-carbon technology is seen as a risky investment, partly due to unpredictable policy-making. The government’s current consultation on reducing feed-in subsidies for larger solar projects, currently being challenged in the courts by a consortium of solar power companies, is given as an example of the perception of policy being unstable.

Bircham Dyson Bell 27th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 28 April 2011

27 April 2011

New Nukes

The UK nuclear new build programme will be delayed by a year in the aftermath of the Japan Fukushima disaster, according to ICE vice president Richard Coackley. “It has changed processes [in the UK] and delayed decisions by a year,” he said. Last week, the Health & Safety Executive decided to postpone the outcome of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) for nuclear reactors until government chief scientist Mike Weightman has completed his report into the Fukushima accident, due in September. Already, new nuclear developer EdF Energy’s attempts to build a power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset have run into trouble, with two local councils objecting to its proposals earlier this month. Stage two of its public consultation for the plant ended last week with Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council still objecting to parts of the proposal. However, a top government advisor told NCE that there was “no cause for concern” and the nuclear new build programme will go ahead as planned.

New Civil Engineer 21st April 2011 more >>

SCHOOLCHILDREN in Bridgwater gave up their Easter holidays to enjoy a taste of university life and learn about the nuclear energy industry.

Bridgwater Mercury 26th April 2011 more >>

Letter Dr Gerry Wolff: You say: “For the foreseeable future, neither fossil fuels nor renewable sources will be able to replace the 14 per cent of global electricity generated by nuclear reactors, without risking severe instability and shortages in energy markets.” But exactly the same would be true of new nuclear power stations in the unlikely event that all existing nuclear plants were to be suddenly closed down. In general, renewables can be built much faster than nuclear power plants. Last year, Germany installed 8.8 GW of photovoltaic solar panels, producing about the same amount of electricity as a 1 GW nuclear plant. But it would take much longer – about seven years – to build that nuclear plant.

FT 27th April 2011 more >>

Sizewell

British Energy, which is part of EDF Energy and runs the power station, has written to people living close by to keep them informed about the discovery, which is not isolated to Suffolk. Traces of Iodine have been found at stations around the UK in the wake of the Japanese earthquake but Jim Crawford, station director at Sizewell B, said he expected the traces in Suffolk to have disappeared “within a month”. He said: “We have measured trace quantities of Iodine – 131 in air samplers where none is usually detected, similar readings have been detected at other EDF Energy stations around the country.

East Anglian Daily Times 26th April 2011 more >>

Evening Star 26th April 2011 more >>

Iodine-131 has been detected at some of the ten plants owned by EDF Energy. But the company’s subsidiary, British Energy, has been quick to quash fears of individual leaks, claiming the readings are a direct result of last month’s Fukushima disaster and nothing to do with their plants.The scare comes after levels of the dangerous substance were found in the air around the Sizewell B nuclear power reactor near Ipswich. Jim Crawford, the station’s director, insists that the readings are ‘extremely low’ and not of greater concern.

Metro 26th April 2011 more >>

Video of Sizewell Demo.

You Tube 25th April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

The Green party is running twice as many district council candidates as Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined in West Somerset, where Britain’s first new nuclear power station is expected to be built.A dozen Greens will stand on May 5, compared with four Labour candidates and two Liberal Democrats, making the environmental campaigners the principal local opposition to the Conservatives. The emergence of the Greens in West Somerset is the first tangible evidence that last month’s disaster at the Fukushima reactor in Japan has influenced the local debate over a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. EDF Energy, the UK subsidiary of EDF, the large French energy group, plans to build two reactors beside an existing nuclear power plant.

FT 26th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

GREEN campaigners have used the 25-year anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster to call for an end to new nuclear power plants in Scotland. WWF Scotland said there was now “very little chance” of any new reactors being built, with most of the main political parties committed to renewable energy. Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, said: “Twenty-five years on from Chernobyl, nuclear power’s record of accidents, secrecy and hidden subsidies is again in the spotlight.”

Edinburgh Evening News 26th April 2011 more >>

Dounreay

Remotely controlled robotic arms have been used to clean the windows of the Dounreay nuclear power plant in Scotland.

Metro 26th April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Safety

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has called for new safety rules to be drawn up for the global nuclear industry as Chernobyl marks the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident.

Engineering & Technology 26th April 2011 more >>

Daily Mail 26th April 2011 more >>

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

RUSSIA’S president argued yesterday that tough international guidelines could help prevent accidents such as the Chernobyl meltdown. He was defending atomic energy during solemn ceremonies commemorating the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in history.

Scotsman 27th April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group joined campaigners from across Greater Manchester on Monday evening (25 April 2011) to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl which resulted from the meltdown of the nuclear reactor there on 26 April 1986.

Rochdale Online 26th April 2011 more >>

FARMERS who were saddled with restrictions on livestock in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster have made fresh calls for them to be lifted. This week marks 25 years since the nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union exploded, sending a radioactive cloud across Europe. Hundreds of British sheep farmers are still feeling the effects, with close monitoring and strict rules a daily bind. Emlyn Roberts whose farm in Dolgellau, is one of 330 affected in Wales, still has to obtain a licence every time he wants to move sheep, which he said can make his business less competitive. “We were told by a MAFF official the restrictions would only last three weeks – three months at the most – and here we are a quarter of a century on,” said Mr Roberts.

Farmers Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, while the world still struggles with the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, CEE Bankwatch Network issues a startling report showing how plans of the Ukrainian government to build 22 new nuclear reactors and extend the lifetime of old Soviet reactors are indirectly supported with European public money as part of the long-term EU energy security strategy.

Bankwatch 26th April 2011 more >>

Bankwatch Report 26th April 2011 more >>

Twenty-five years ago, the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine suffered a catastrophic explosion. The real lessons are still being learned. There is also growing evidence that the effects of radiation can be passed to future generations. Studies of mice by Prof Yuri Dubrova, of the University of Leicester, reveal that large doses of radiation can make the genetic code more likely to suffer mutations, and that this propensity can be passed down the generations in the “germ line”, the genes contained in sperm and eggs.

Telegraph 26th April 2011 more >>

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Friends of the Earth Europe stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and neighbouring countries, remembering those affected by the catastrophe. Friends of the Earth Europe also stands with those still affected by the tsunami and ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan – where the severity level of the nuclear crisis has been raised to maximum, on a par with Chernobyl. The Chernobyl catastrophe is still a reality, and nuclear power remains more than ever a threat to people and planet – a fact driven home by the unfortunate events in Japan. Friends of the Earth Europe calls on European governments to start phasing out nuclear power across Europe, and calls on national authorities in the Ukraine and Japan do everything possible to prevent the immeasurable damage to people, the environment and the local ecosystem that further radioactive leaks will cause.

FoE Europe Press Release 26th April 2011 more >>

Campaign Opposing New Nuclear Energy Development Press Release and brfiefing on Chernobyl

CONNED 26th April 2011 more >>

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe. We went to Carlisle Cathedral to lay three crosses: Windscale- Never Again? Chernobyl – Never Again? Fukushima- Never Again? A letter was delivered to the “nuclear is a green option” Bishop of Carlisle.

101 uses for nuclear power 26th April 2011 more >>

TWENTY-FIVE years on from Chernobyl, kind-hearted Wirralians are opening their homes to children affected by the nuclear disaster. Volunteers from the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line charity have welcomed over 800 children from Belarus to the borough every summer for the last 17 years. Belarus received up to 70% of the radioactive fallout when the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the Ukraine exploded on April 26, 1986. It caused a huge increase in cancer among the population, particularly in children.

Wirral News 27th April 2011 more >>

Terror

Secret files have revealed that terrorists claim to be hiding a nuclear bomb in Europe, according to WikiLeaks.

Metro 26th Apriol 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Villagers from a dozen local communities were in London today, trying to stop the dumping of low-level nuclear waste near King’s Cliff in Northamptonshire. 12 villages to the east of Peterborough held referendums at the beginning of the month – to force their parish councils to take action.

Anglia Regional News 26th April 2011 more >>

The UK has a unique problem with nuclear waste. As a pioneer in the nuclear sector in terms of the development of weaponry and of nuclear power a variety of equipment designs were used in the early days, along with unusual materials and much experimentation. The large majority of waste forms can be handled with conventional encapsulation, but a small proportion probably a single-figure percentage can’t. ’But that’s still a large volume and tonnage of waste.’ Known as WRATs (wastes requiring additional treatment) or orphan wastes, these materials are being studied for their suitability to encapsulation in polymer materials.

The Engineer 25th April 2011 more >>

Japan

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has cut its outlook on Japan’s sovereign debt following last month’s quake-tsunami disaster and warned that reconstruction costs could pass $600 billion (£360bn). Standard & Poor’s warned that its projections were “uncertain” due to ongoing developments at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, where workers are battling to cool reactors and spent fuel rod pools to prevent a meltdown. The nuclear disaster, the world’s worst since Chernobyl 25 years ago, caused electricity shortages while the quake and tsunami damaged and destroyed production facilities and infrastructure, disrupting supply chains.

Telegraph 27th April 2011 more >>

Angry farmers brought two cows to Tokyo yesterday, shouting and punching the air to demand compensation for products contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima plant. The 200 farmers, mostly from north-eastern Japan, rallied outside the headquarters of Tepco, the operator of the nuclear plant which was damaged by the tsunami on 11 March. The farmers held aloft cabbages they said they could not sell and carried signs saying: “Stop nuclear energy.”

Independent 27th April 2011 more >>

Ten days have passed since Tokyo Electric Power Co released its road map for bringing the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant under control. Efforts are under way to stabilize overheated nuclear fuel rods and keep water temperatures in reactors in check but new challenges have emerged such as dealing with a large volume of contaminated water found inside the No. 4 reactor building. Rubble containing radioactive materials and a series of aftershocks following the March 11 massive earthquake have also been hampering work. The road map lists three areas that need to be tackled immediately—bringing the reactors and spent fuel pools to a stable cooling condition, mitigating the releases of water and air containing radioactive materials from the power station, and monitoring radiation levels in areas around the power station.

Japan Today 26th April 2011 more >>

The backup electricity generators at many of Japan’s nuclear power stations lack the capacity to keep reactor cores cool if another earthquake and/or tsunami strikes. So say sources at Japan’s electricity utilities who have been comparing the power capacity of the backup generators available against that needed to keep reactors safe from thermal runaway and meltdown.

New Scientist 26th April 2011 more >>

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says water may be leaking from the spent fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor. More than 1,500 spent fuel rods are stored in the pool, the largest number at the site. Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been injecting water daily into the pool to make up for the loss of cooling function and prevent the fuel rods from being exposed and further damaged. TEPCO has poured in 140 to 210 tons of water over each of the last few days. The company found that water levels in the pool were 10 to 40 centimeters lower than expected despite the water injections.

NHK 27th April 2011 more >>

TEPCO workers agreed to a management proposal to cut their pay by as much as 25 percent out of a sense of responsibility for the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, their union said. “Most union members didn’t object to a pay cut, considering the situation at the company and the effect on society from the nuclear accident,” Koji Sakata, secretary- general of the Tokyo Electric Power Workers Union, said by telephone today.

Bloomberg 26th April 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power said it would cut the total remuneration of its president, chairman and other top executives by half as it grapples with the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

Reuters 25th April 2011 more >>

Exports from Japan contaminated by high levels of radiation from the country’s nuclear meltdown in Fukushima are beginning to arrive in Western ports. Last week Russian custom officials stopped 49 contaminated cars from a consignment of 300 newly manufactured vehicles.

What Doctors Don’t Tell You 26th April 2011 more >>

Angry farmers picketed the head office of nuclear privateer Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) today to demand compensation for produce contaminated by the radiation that continues to spew from its crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Hundreds of farmers from Japan’s north-east wore green bandanas, held up cabbages they said they couldn’t sell and carried signs saying “Stop nuclear energy” outside the firm’s headquarters.

Morning Star 26th April 2011 more >>

Given the fierce insularity of Japan’s nuclear industry, it was perhaps fitting that an outsider exposed the most serious safety cover-up in the history of Japanese nuclear power. It took place at Fukushima Daiichi, the plant that Japan has been struggling to get under control since last month’s earthquake and tsunami.

New York Times 26th April 2011 more >>

A group of Diet members studying ways to build a new Japan without nuclear power plants was formed on April 26. Hiroyuki Arai, a New Renaissance Party member in the Upper House representing Fukushima Prefecture, urged drastic steps to reinvent the country’s energy policy.

Asahi 27th April 2011 more >>

IAEA

From the name, one might expect the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to have been a major force in the response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan. Instead, its performance was sluggish and sometimes confusing, drawing calls for the agency — an independent organization that advises the United Nations — to take a more proactive role in nuclear safety. Ministers from the countries that oversee the IAEA will meet in June at the agency’s head quarters in Vienna to discuss lessons from the nuclear accident. A shake-up of the agency’s function in emergencies is likely to be on the agenda.

Nature 26th April 2011 more >>

US

“It is highly irresponsible to talk of building new nuclear power plants unless the nuclear wastes we have already generated over forty years are dealt with promptly and effectively,” says Richard Stewart, co-author, with Jane Stewart, of Fuel Cycle to Nowhere: U.S. Law and Policy on Nuclear Waste (August 2011, Vanderbilt University Press). The meltdown of spent fuel rods and releases of radioactivity at nuclear plants in Japan highlights the dangers of the current policy drift in the U.S. Spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power generation now sits in spent fuel pools at 104 reactor sites in 35 states, and there is no plan in place for its disposal.

IB Times 26th April 2011 more >>

The Japanese nuclear crisis will likely curtail expansion of U.S. nuclear power generation, an official from the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.

Reuters 26th April 2011 more >>

India

India will tighten safety systems at a proposed $10 billion nuclear plant, potentially the world’s largest, a minister said on Tuesday, after protests against the plan turned violent in recent weeks following last month’s nuclear disaster in Japan.

Reuters 26th April 2011 more >>

BBC 27th April 2011 more >>

South Korea

Even before Japan’s atomic disaster in March unsettled sentiment towards nuclear power, South Korea’s plans to export atomic technology were hitting commercial and political obstacles. Primarily, Seoul is battling to convince potential buyers it can finance projects of this scale. After South Korea won the deal to build four nuclear reactors in Abu Dhabi, traditional atomic exporters such as Japan’s Toshiba/Westinghouse and France’s Areva were concerned. Kepco had bid at about 20 per cent beneath the industry average. But since then, Kepco has failed to win key contracts in Turkey and Lithuania. Vietnam, which Kepco sees as a big potential market, finalised a reactor deal with Japan in October.

FT 26th April 2011 more >>

Renewables

How can we cope with the variability of renewable energy? Do we need some coal, gas and nuclear in Scotland to keep the lights on when the wind drops? Electricity only meets a quarter of all our energy needs; what can we do about emissions from transport and heating? What is electricity anyway? Find answers to all these questions and more, in our new myth-busting pamphlet on renewable energy in Scotland, based on the research of Garrad Hassan, one of the UK’s leading energy consultants.

FoE-Scotland 26th April 2011 more >>

For years, solar panels were just too expensive. And businesses relied on government subsidies, which collapsed in the wake of the financial crisis. Prices of solar energy stocks plummeted – and stayed there. But solar energy is about to have its moment. Costs have been slashed. A solar panel now costs half of what it did in 2008. Large-scale manufacturing is cutting costs by 5%-8% per year on average. Efficiency is improving all the time too. Photovoltaic solar energy cells convert sunlight directly into energy, rather than using its heat. Solar energy now costs 15c/kWh to produce this way, compared to 8c/kWh for wind, and between 3-7c/kWh for coal and gas. In fact, installations in certain regions have even achieved the Holy Grail of ‘grid parity’ – producing electricity as cheaply as conventional grid power.

Money Week 26th April 2011 more >>

Fusion

Engineers are investigating potential ways of sustaining electricity generation from nuclear fusion reactors, in anticipation of a demonstration plant coming online in the proceeding decades. In an EPSRC-funded project, researchers based at Queen Mary University will focus on harnessing power from a tokamak design where reacting plasma is confined by powerful magnets.

The Engineer 26th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 27 April 2011

26 April 2011

New Nukes

Roland Kupers – visiting fellow at Oxford University and a former executive at Royal Dutch Shell: The evidence of the link between carbon reduction, economic growth, and job creation is mounting. In the past six months, studies by the United Nations Environment Program and Johns Hopkins University, as well as “A new growth path for Europe,” a blueprint proposed by six leading European universities, all project the creation of millions of job before 2020. Notably, these are not just “Green Jobs”; they are “Green Growth jobs” across all industrial and services sectors. What we are witnessing is a watershed in the debate on greenhouse-gas emissions. A low-carbon growth path requires neither coal nor new nuclear power. The way forward is to pursue more ambitious and consistent climate and energy policies that drive the massive deployment of renewables; install new load-balancing electricity grids; and ensure large-scale adoption of energy-efficiency measures. This agenda promises to boost investments, stimulate economic growth, and create jobs while increasing competitiveness and energy security. In both economic and ethical terms, nuclear power merits no role.

Project Syndicate 25th April 2011 more >>

Scotsman 26th April 2011 more >>

Karl Grossman: With the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plants in Japan, some people ask: can nuclear power be made safe? The answer is no. Nuclear power can never be made safe. Instead we must fully implement the use of safe, clean, renewable energy technologies like solar, wind (now the fastest growing energy source and cheaper than nuclear) and geothermal and all the rest which, major studies have concluded, can provide all the energy the world needs energy without lethal radioactivity, energy we can live with.

Counter Punch 25th April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

The health effects of Chernobyl, 25 years after the reactor catastrophe.

IPPNW 26th April 2011 more >>

More than a 100,000 anti-nuclear protesters gathered on the French-German border on Sunday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Euro News 25th April 2011 more >>

Telegraph 25th April 2011 more >>

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

Ukraine will today mark a the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, as Japan struggles to recover from its own atomic crisis.

Telegraph 26th April 2011 more >>

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a Comment and Editorial published Online First by Lancet Oncology describes the known health consequences of this event. The authors point out that there were many obstacles in studying the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident and that the Fukushima incident might offer a new, albeit sad, opportunity to more accurately study the health consequences of a major nuclear power plant accident. The authors attribute this to the greater scientific expertise in Japan, as well as the greater economic and political stability. The Comment is by Dr Kirsten B Moysich and Dr Philip McCarthy, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA, and Dr Per Hall, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden – who have contributed to numerous scholarly articles on this topic, including the first major United Nations Report into the effects of the Chernobyl accident in 2000.

Medical News Today 25th April 2011 more >>

Twenty five years since the world’s worst nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power station, the surrounding settlements are still ghost towns, with thousands of houses abandoned and left to fall into ruin. Ukraine is today preparing to mark a quarter of a century since the disaster, which endangered hundreds of thousands of lives and contaminated pristine forests and farmland with deadly radiation. The blast on April 26, 1986, spewed a cloud of radioactive fallout over much of Europe and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes in the most heavily hit areas in Ukraine, Belarus and western Russia.

Daily Mail 25th April 2011 more >>

TODAY’S 25th anniversary of the disaster at Chernobyl finds the world engaged in a new debate about the safety of nuclear power following the damage done by the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Both are now classified on the highest scale of such accidents. Despite the undoubted progress made in design and safety standards, trust in the industry still lags behind its technological development because endemic secrecy, powerful lobbies and disputed statistics remain characteristic of its public profile. Chernobyl put these on the map and they are still there.

Irish Times 26th April 2011 more >>

For 25 years, the children of Chernobyl have suffered sickness, disability and death. Instances of genetic abnormalities, birth deformities, cancers and suppressed immune systems, allergies, water on the brain, asthma, blood vessel damage, pancreatic diabetes and heart defects increased after the accident. The Belarus government and the nuclear industry are reluctant to attribute this to radiation. The Chernobyl Children’s Project observed that “it is possible for scientists to insist that there is no proof that radiation has affected the rate and severity of any illnesses because in recent years there have been no serious studies to settle the matter one way or another.” Why? Nuclear accidents are an occupational hazard for the industry. In England, operator liability is limited by the Paris and Vienna Conventions which cap liability of reactor operators at a minuscule fraction of the likely cost of a significant nuclear accident.

Morning Star 25th April 2011 more >>

The 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster is prompting much debate about the future of the industry. Safety is very much in focus as Japan deals with the problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant, in the aftermath of the tsunami. Asia’s emerging economies have plans to invest billions of dollars in nuclear power to fuel their fast growing countries.

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

Ukraine is marking the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident – at the Chernobyl power plant. An explosion at one of the plant’s reactors sent a plume of radiation across Europe and killed at least 30 people in its immediate aftermath. A disputed number of others died later from radiation-related illnesses. The anniversary comes amid renewed global protest over nuclear power and as Japan struggles to contain radiation leaks at its crippled Fukushima plant.

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

A consortium of Ukrainian and international scientists is making an urgent call for a $13.5m (£8.28m) programme to prevent potentially catastrophic wildfires inside the exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl’s ruined nuclear power plant. The fear is that fires in the zone could release clouds of radioactive particles that are, at the moment, locked up in trees, held mainly in the needles and bark of Scots pines. The consortium says an automated fire detection and monitoring system and new firefighting and forestry equipment are needed to guarantee safe management of Chernobyl’s forests.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

The long-term health effects of Chernobyl remain unclear 25 years after the most serious nuclear accident in history, according to a former World Health Organisation (WHO) official. A full assessment of the public health impact has been thwarted by poorly co-ordinated research on residents in areas close to the plant, and should be carried out with funding from the European commission, said Keith Baverstock, a former health and radiation adviser to the WHO. He said research had been frustrated by pro- and anti-nuclear lobby groups who had turned the debate over health risks into a battleground. Crucial lessons on how to respond to nuclear emergencies and quell public anxiety had been missed by governments and aut horities such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In an editorial in the British Medical Journal to mark the anniversary of the disaster, Baverstock calls for comprehensive research into cancers, birth defects and other health problems among 600,000 people in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

The control room where Soviet atomic staff fought a losing battle to prevent a nuclear disaster is quiet and cold as a tomb. Even through a face mask, anti-radiation suit and large industrial boots one feels a deep chill plus rubble underfoot. The size of the space is hard to fathom. It is pitch black until suddenly illuminated by the flash on my camera. In the burst of light a huge V-shaped console desk looms battleship grey in the distance, its top pock-marked with dozens of tiny holes. It is easy to imagine that a fireball swept through the nerve centre of the Chernobyl power plant’s reactor No 4 on theday of the world’s worst atomic accident, 25 years ago. In fact the instrument panel was not stripped of plastic switches by fire; rather more mundanely it has been raided by souvenir-hunters among the decommissioning staff.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Accidents

The nuclear crisis in Japan has revived fears over the safety of nuclear power and the potential danger posed to public health when things go wrong. There have been a number of serious nuclear incidents since the 1950s. Here are details of the most serious.

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

Terror

One of the terrorist group’s most senior figures warned that al-Qaeda had obtained and hidden a nuclear bomb in Europe that would be detonated if Osama bin Laden was killed or captured. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al-Qaeda mastermind currently facing trial in America over the 9/11 atrocities, was involved in a range of plans including attacks on US nuclear plants and a “nuclear hellstorm” plot in America.

Telegraph 26th April 2011 more >>

Channel 4 News 25th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

Scotland could generate more than 100% of its power from renewable sources such as wave and tidal generators by 2020, the Scottish Greens have said. Launching their national energy policy, the Greens have asked for public support in ending “risky” nuclear and “dirty” coal power in favour of renewables. The Greens’ plans would see the country export surplus power to other parts of the UK, while also empowering Scottish Water and local authorities to develop renewable capacity in the public sector and to reduce their dependence on central funding.

STV 25th April 2011 more >>

Twenty-five years to the day after the Chernobyl disaster, a leading environmental group has said it is unlikely any new reactors will ever be built in Scotland. Restrictions on Scottish sheep were finally lifted last year, but they are still in place for some livestock in Cumbria and Wales. In Scotland, the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Greens have also ruled out building new reactors. However, the Conservatives and Labour say they will not rule out building new nuclear power stations entirely although, like the other parties, they have made a commitment to sourcing most of the country’s energy from renewable sources, meaning there would be little demand for nuclear energy. This year WWF Scotland published a report which showed all of the world’s energy needs could be provided from renewable sources by 2050 and charity director Dr Richard Dixon said he believes it is extremely unlikely new reactors will ever be built in Scotland. Even if a pro-nuclear government is elected Scotland’s nuclear dream is over. Even the enthusiasts secretly know that there is now virtually no chance of new reactors ever being built in Scotland. “Scotland’s politicians should be working together to prevent the UK coalition government’s total zeal for nuclear reactors in England damaging investment in renewables here.”

Dundee Courier 26th April 2011 more >>

WWF Scotland Press Release 26th April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Nuclear power bosses are under fire after claiming most people believe a £20 million community fund is appropriate compensation for living with the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station. French power giant EDF Energy commissioned a telephone poll of 1,004 people living in Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane and West Somerset. It asked whether the fund, increased from £1 million earlier this year following consultation, was “about right”, “too big” or “too small”. A total of 54 per cent of people responding said it was about right, with 17 per cent saying it was too small and nine per cent saying it was too big. Twenty per cent said they did not know whether the fund was adequate, or had no opinion. Kerry Rickards, chief executive of Sedgemoor District Council which is leading the civic fight for a much bigger fund, said people were not given enough information to judge whether the sum was fair compensation for hosting the power plant for 60 years, and its waste fuel for up to 100 years.

This is Somerset 25th April 2011 more >>

Sellafield

BEAUTY spots in the Lake District and north Lancashire could be scarred by giant pylons needed to transfer electricity from a new generation of low carbon power plants. High-voltage cables are needed by 2020 to connect nuclear power stations, such as Sellafield and Heysham, and offshore windfarms to the national grid.

Westmorland Gazette 25th April 2011 more >>

Wylfa

A GREEN group has demanded Labour and Plaid Cymru reverse their support for a nuclear power plant in Wales on the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. In a letter seen exclusively by the Western Mail, Friends of the Earth Cymru urged Carwyn Jones and Ieuan Wyn Jones to reverse their controversial backing for the Wylfa B nuclear station on Anglesey ahead of the Assembly poll on May 5. The group also labelled the leaders’ support for the plant – in opposition to the Assembly Government – as “extremely disappointing and bizarre” and claimed that Mr Wyn Jones was “going against the policies of the party he leads”.

Western Mail 26th April 2011 more >>

Sizewell

Images from the anti-nuclear camp 22nd-25th April 2011.

Picasa 25th April 2011 more >>

Japan

Letter Steuart Campbell: Japanese authorities have over-reacted and are needlessly forcing people to leave an area which, although suffering from raised radiation levels, is quite safe to occupy. More damage will be done by the evacuation itself, which will produce its own health effects.

Scotsman 26th April 2011 more >>

Japanese activists are alarmed about a government decision to allow children in Fukushima Prefecture to attend schools where radiation readings indicate they could be exposed to 20 MilliSieverts/year (2 rems/year) 20 times the U.S. allowable standard for the public. This decision appears not to be based on risk (and children are more susceptible to radiation than adults), since the government also is relocating people in five villages outside the previous evacuation zone because people in them could be exposed to 20 MilliSieverts/year. Rather, the decision appears to be based on the reality that many schools in Fukushima Prefecture are experiencing high levels of contamination, and the government apparently does not want to require children to go to schools further away, nor further expand the exclusion zone.

NIRS 25th April 2011 more >>

A group of 87 nongovernmental organizations in Japan reiterated calls to achieve ‘‘a nuclear-free society’’ on Tuesday, the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, at a time when a nuclear crisis is continuing in Japan at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. ‘‘We will launch a large national action’’ seeking the permanent closure of the Fukushima Daiichi and neighboring Daini plants, cancellations of the nuclear fuel recycle program and new reactor construction plans as well as shutdowns of aging reactors, the NGOs said in their joint statement.

Japan Times 26th April 2011 more >>

Atsushi Kasai, a former senior researcher with the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, says Fukushima crisis is more serious than Chernobyl. “It’s graver than Chernobyl in that no one can predict how the situation will develop.”

Mainichi Daily 25th April 2011 more >>

UPI 25th April 2011 more >>

The Nuclear Safety Commission said Monday that it will start issuing forecasts of how airborne radioactive material may be spreading out by the hour from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Starting Tuesday, the commission’s Web site will show hour-by-hour data from SPEEDI, a system that analyzes and predicts dispersal of radioactive material in the event of a nuclear emergency.

Nikkei 26th April 2011 more >>

The core of unit 4 had been placed in the reactor’s spent fuel pool as part of routine maintenance prior to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. However, the reactor building and cooling pool were damaged by a hydrogen explosion. The state of the core, which became exposed and heated up, is unclear. Last Friday, TEPCO had to inject 200 tonnes of water in a bid to bring down the temperature of the pool which was nearing boiling point. At the same time, engineers were concerned that the weight of the extra water might further damage the building. The problems associated with units 1, 2 and 3 are more complex. Last week, robots sent into the reactor buildings recorded radiation levels of up to 57 millisieverts an hour in unit 1 and 49 millisieverts an hour in unit 3. Hidehiko Nishiyama, spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), told the press that these levels were too high to allow workers to enter. Japan has set an annual exposure limit at 250 millisieverts, raised from 100 at the beginning of the crisis. Attempts by a robot to enter the building of unit 2, where radiations levels are believed to be higher, were hampered by steam which fogged its camera. The steam is being produced by water fed by emergency lines into the reactor’s hot core.

World Socialist Web 26th April 2011 more >>

Despite increased injections of cooling water, the water temperature is rising in a spent fuel pool at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Japan’s Pacific coast. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, says it will inject 210 tons of water into the Number 4 spent fuel pool on Monday, after finding on Sunday night that the temperature in the pool had risen to 81 degrees Celsius. The Number 4 spent fuel pool stores 1,535 nuclear fuel rods, the most at the nuclear complex. TEPCO engineers are trying to balance the amount of water needed to keep the nuclear fuel covered with the structural integrity of the reactor containment building. On Friday, TEPCO found that the temperature in the Number 4 spent fuel pool had reached 91 degrees, so it began injecting two to three times the amount of water as before. TEPCO says the pool’s water temperature dropped to 66 degrees on Saturday after water was injected, but is now rising again.

ENS 25th April 2011 more >>

The government’s nuclear agency said Tuesday that water may be leaking from the No. 1 reactor container of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and that remote-controlled robots are expected to check the situation inside the reactor building.

Kyodo News 26th April 2011 more >>

More than 200 farmers brought two cows to Tokyo where they protested to demand compensation for products contaminated by radiation spewing from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant. The farmers from north-eastern Japan wore green bandanas and held signs saying “Nuclear disaster is human disaster” and “Stop nuclear energy” outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the plant damaged in the March 11 tsunami.

Irish Independent 26th April 2011 more >>

About 5,000 citizens rallied against nuclear power in Shibuya on April 24, reflecting the increasing concerns about the energy source following the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident. Many of the demonstrators said they participated in a demonstration for the first time, as they urged the government to switch from nuclear power to natural and renewable energy sources.

Asahi 26th April 2011 more >>

Iran

Iran has been hit by a second computer virus, a senior military official has said. He suggested it was part of a concerted campaign to undermine the country’s disputed nuclear programme.

Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of an Iranian military unit in charge of combating sabotage, said experts discovered the “espionage virus” which he called “Stars”.

Belfast Telegraph 26th April 2011 more >>

Guardian 25th April 2011 more >>

Renewables

Business leaders are to accuse ministers of failing to lay the groundwork fast enough for the raft of urgently needed low-carbon projects that are vital if Britain is to plug the widening gap between its energy requirements and its fast dwindling sources of power. The CBI employers’ group is urging the government to set out long-term, business-friendly guidelines that will give companies the confidence to invest in green energy infrastructure projects.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

Independent 26th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 26 April 2011