News

16 August 2006

Decommissioning

The escalating cost of cleaning up Britain’s civil nuclear legacy is expected to be significantly higher than the current estimate of £70bn, according to a report out today. The House of Commons trade and industry committee has expressed concern about the rising cost of nuclear decommissioning in the report and warned the government over any further changes to the structure of the agencies involved in the industry. The committee concluded that the final cost of decommissioning was “still unclear”, noting that the estimated public liability had risen from £48bn in 2002, to £56bn in 2004 and to £70.2bn in 2006.
Guardian 16th August 2006

Iran

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has rejected a UN Security Council resolution that demands Tehran halt sensitive nuclear work, saying the Iranian people did not accept the “language of force”.
Interactive Investor 15th August 2006

Chernobyl

Letter: The “Chernobyl disaster” has reminded us that, despite scaremongering claiming that vast numbers will have suffered death or disease, there have been hardly any deaths, and that away from the reactor itself, there actually seems to have been improvements in health brought about by low doses of radiation kick-starting the body’s self-repair mechanisms.
Nottingham Evening Post 15th August 2006

Sweden

Even as giant nuke companies manoeuvre to secure British power station contracts, at least one rich country is having second thoughts. Half of Sweden’s nuclear reactors are shut down, after a security scare at the Forsmark plant, 125 miles north of Stockholm, when two back-up generators failed to work during a power failure. The two other generators were enough to avert a meltdown, but one expert was scathing. “It’s a bit like a lottery,” said Lars-Olov Hoglund, an engineer involved in the construction of the plant, adding it was nearly as serious as the 1986 accident at Chernobyl. Four other reactors have been shut down as a precaution.
Guardian 16th August 2006

Japan

Something that would be regarded as taboo even five years ago – that Japan rearm itself with its own independent nuclear deterrent – is now discussed openly among right-leaning politicians. Despite the enforced disarmament that took place after the Second World War, Japan would be ready to retaliate within weeks if the need arose, they claim. There is no reason to doubt them.
Independent 16th August 2006

Posted: 16 August 2006

15 August 2006

Dounreay

Another radioactive particle has been recovered from the public beach at Sandside
near the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness. It is the 67th hotspot to have washed ashore from the nearby UK Atomic Energy Authority site. The metallic fragments of reprocessed reactor fuel are linked to a rogue historic discharge from the plant. The particles have been discovered on the seabed and beaches near Dounreay over the past two decades. Last week, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it had submitted reports to the procurator fiscal over the finds.
BBC 13th August 2006

Lovelock

James Lovelock: You Ask The Questions The environmentalist on whether humanity is doomed, and why he offered to bury nuclear waste at his home?
Independent 14th August 2006

Iran

The Iranian President, in his quest for a new means of regaling the masses with his fiery political rhetoric, has opened his own blog, a colourfully written message to his electorate, in which he lambasts the US for opposing Iran’s nuclear programme and asks readers to vote on whether they think Israel is trying to trigger a new world war.
Independent 15th August 2006

British Energy

British Energy will prepare the ground for a block-busting £4 billion share offer this week when chief executive Bill Coley is due to confirm that it is poised to resume dividend payments after another profits surge as a result of high electricity prices. The Livingston-based nuclear group, responsible for 40% of Scotland’s electricity needs, is expected to announce that earnings before interest, tax and depreciation more than doubled to around £265 million during its traditionally quiet first quarter. This should put the group comfortably on course to meet analysts’ forecasts of a £1bn jump in full-year pre-tax profits to £1.6bn or more.
Sunday Herald 13th August 2006

Posted: 15 August 2006

14 August 2006

Spain

Spain has issued a defiant explanation of its motives for attaching conditions to Eon’s takeover of Endesa, adding a fresh volley to the growing battle between Madrid and Brussels over the €27bn ($34.3bn) deal.
FT 14th August 2006

Uranium

A Canadian mining business with operations in Kazakhstan plans to become Britain’s biggest listed pure uranium company when it joins the London Stock Exchange next week.
Guardian 14th August 2006
Times 14th August 2006
FT 14th August 2006

Emergency Planning

A simulated accident at a nuclear power station in the Westcountry has exposed significant flaws in the emergency response plans. Documents seen by the WMN show that an exercise staged at Hinkley Point in Somerset earlier this year exposed a number of worrying shortcomings.
Western Morning News 7th August 2006

If there had been a nuclear accident at Hinkley Point power station earlier this year it is likely that vital time would have been lost before local people were told to take essential radiation-blocking potassium iodate tablets. The shortcoming in the power station operators’ emergency plans was one of a number of flaws exposed by a test carried out at the plant on the Somerset coast.
Western Morning News 7th August 2006

Posted: 14 August 2006

13 August 2006

Security

THE British nuclear industry has reported 39 lapses in security against terrorism in the past year, including laptop thefts, internet misuse, a power cut and lightning strikes. The failings are revealed in a report from the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS), the government watch dog responsible for ensuring nuclear power stations and radioactive waste facilities are protected from terrorist attacks. The revelations have disturbed experts and environmentalists, who are calling for security to be tightened. The OCNS has itself warned of “complacency” on leaks of sensitive nuclear information.
Sunday Herald 13th August 2006
RobEdwards.com

British Energy

The most dazzling set of results is likely to come from British Energy, which is expected to report a tripling in first-quarter pre-tax profits to just over £180m. The biggest profit driver is expected to be a significant rise in wholesale electricity prices. The energy group is also likely to be a beneficiary of the Government’s recent proposals for more nuclear power plants.
Independent on Sunday 13th August 2006

Energy Demand

Britain’s seemingly insatiable appetite for the latest plasma screen televisions could be posing a serious threat to the planet, a technology expert has warned. If just half of British homes were to buy one of the flat-screen sets, two more nuclear power stations would be needed to meet the extra energy demand – with all the environmental problems that would bring.
Independent on Sunday 13th August 2006

Posted: 13 August 2006

12 August 2006

Iran

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is preparing to confront the US and United Nations security council over Iran’s nuclear activities partly to distract attention from the country’s worsening economic problems, sources in Tehran have said.
Guardian 12th August 2006
Guardian 12th August 2006

Sweden

Following the incident at the Forsmark 1 reactor, which Swedish nuclear expert Lars-Olov Hogland said was ‘almost as serious’ as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, activists in Germany and Sweden called for nuclear power to be phased out as promised by the governments of both countries.
EDIE 11th August 2006

New nukes

Letter from Leicester FoE Roger Helmer (Mailbox, August 6) suggests that we need nuclear power to ensure energy security and protect the environment. I believe he is promoting a dangerous diversion. Nuclear power is expensive, produces highly toxic waste that will need to be kept safe for longer than human civilisation has existed and is a tempting target for terrorists.
Leicester Mercury 11th August 2006

Sellafield

Ex-Sellafield boss Brian Watson has landed a job with US firm Fluor which is expected to bid for BNG.
Whitehaven News 10th August 2006

BNG will have to pay £2m to the NDA for the THORP accident.
Whitehaven News 10th August 2006

Nuclear Waste

COPELAND has not yet set its stall out to accept the country’s first underground nuclear dump. Confusion over whether the borough had already volunteered arose following a meeting of Copeland Council’s controlling Labour group. “All eyes are on Copeland,” admitted council leader Elaine Woodburn, “but it would be wrong to say we have already volunteered to host this deep waste repository.” The minutes read: “A meeting with government ministers will be sought to qualify implications of Copeland volunteering to accept nuclear waste. We should expect resources to be made available for public consultation. Agreement on the timing of the right to withdraw must be made at the start of the process. The government should not be left in any doubt about who it is they need to talk to.”
Whitehaven News 10th August 2006

Posted: 12 August 2006

11 August 2006

Nuclear Skills

Britain’s first purpose-built nuclear decommissioning training and research centre was opened near Thurso yesterday. It will support the £70bn programme to clean up after the UK’s nuclear power stations.
Herald 11th August 2006
BBC 10th August 2006

NDA

Two British nuclear operators have been fined £2m each by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority over spillages of radioactive materials. The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) was penalised for a spill while radioactive liquid was being mixed with cement at Dounreay. BNG Sellafield was also fined after a mixture of radioactive fuel and concentrated nitric acid leaked from a pipe at its Thorp reprocessing plant.
Guardian 11th August 2006
Independent 10th August 2006
Independent 11th August 2006
Times 10th August 2006
Sky 10th August 2006
Daily Mirror 11th August 2006
Telegraph 11th August 2006

As pointless exercises go, the fining of one arm of government by another takes some beating. That is what happened yesterday when the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority imposed penalties of £2m each on British Nuclear Fuels and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority for radioactive spillages at their respective Sellafield and Dounreay sites. All three organisations are state-owned, which means the effect was merely to send £4m of taxpayers’ money on a financial merry-go-round from one corner of the public finances to another. No one suffered any financial hardship.
Independent 11th August 2006

Sellafield

UNION leaders at Sellafield in Cumbria are set to oppose plans for long-term nuclear waste storage there unless it is tied to a deal for a new reactor. Gary Smith, national officer at the GMB, said: “If the government wants to build a repository on site at Sellafield, that will come at a price. We will not allow Sellafield to be perceived as a dumping ground.”
North West Enquirer 10th August 2006

Fluor, the US engineering company that is keen to buy British Nuclear Group, has hired the former boss of the Sellafield site as a consultant. Sellafield, in west Cumbria, is the largest nuclear site in the UK. Whoever buys BNG will receive a five-year contract to clean up its ageing reactors. Fluor yesterday confirmed it had hired Brian Watson, who ran Sellafield for five years until he retired in 2004. A spokesman for the Texas-based company said it believed Mr Watson would be able to help the company “get a better understanding of the Sellafield complex and help us grow across all of our businesses”.
Telegraph 11th August 2006

New nukes

Germany’s second-largest energy group, RWE, which owns National Power, is considering building a nuclear power station in Europe but outside its home country in a sign of its increased frustration with the Berlin government’s policy of phasing out such plants. Harry Roels, chief executive, said on Thursda that planning for a new European plant was at an early stage and would have to be in a country where there was “public acceptance” of nuclear power. RWE could choose to enter into a partnership with another company as the costs of such a move were so high.
FT 11th August 2006
Interactive Investor 10th August 2006

Capenhurst

URENCO (Capenhurst) Ltd has been praised for its performance in safeguarding the environment. At the latest Local Liaison Committee meeting the site was commended for its ‘high standards’ and ‘commitment to continual improvement’.
Ellesmere Port Pioneer 10th August 2006

Health and Safety

Businesses could face fewer health and safety inspections under plans by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to lose up to 350 jobs as part of government budget cuts, according to a trade union. Prospect, which represents almost half the HSE’s 3,800 staff, warned that the cuts would damage efforts to improve safety in Britain’s workplaces. Major hazards area, which includes nuclear installations, onshore and offshore fuel storage and oil rigs, would be exempt.
Guardian 11th August 2006

Posted: 11 August 2006

10 August 2006

Dounreay

Dounreay operators could face legal action over the release of radioactive particles. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it had submitted reports to prosecutors about the Dounreay facility in Caithness. Sepa is now waiting to see if legal proceedings will be brought against the operator of the site, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).
IC Scotland 9th August 2006

THE operator of Dounreay has incurred the biggest financial penalty in the 50-year history of the nuclear site over the spillage of highly active liquor at a waste processing plant. The Nuclear Decommission Authority (NDA) has debited £2m from the annual fee the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) receives from the quango over the fault at the Caithness plant. A similar penalty has been imposed against BNG Sellafield for the leak of highly radioactive fuel from its Thorp reprocessing plant in Cumbria. The £2m penalty imposed at Dounreay followed last September’s spillage. The lid of a 500-litre steel drum was closed when the highly active liquor was piped into a remotely-operated cell, causing it to spill.
Herald 10th August 2006
Scotsman 10th August 2006

Sellafield

A nuclear plant in Cumbria has been fined £2m after breaching regulations which led to a radioactive leak of highly active waste at the THORP plant. Plant operator British Nuclear Group Sellafield (BNGSL) admitted responsibility and has been fined by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The spillage, discovered in April 2005, may have gone unnoticed for eight months. In June, at a hearing at Whitehaven Magistrates’ Court, BNGSL pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching conditions attached to the Sellafield site licence, which was granted under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965.
BBC 9th August 2006
CORE Press Release 9th August 2006

New nukes

Letter: Tony Blair is conning the public into believing that if we don’t take the nuclear route the lights will go out, but this is just a scare tactic to get the anti-nuclear public on his side.
Notingham Evening Post 9th August 2006

GREENPEACE activists are set to ask Horsham residents what they think about nuclear power. A nuclear survey of Horsham residents will be launched at the informal meeting and plans to establish a local group will be discussed.
County Times 9th August 2006

Letter: It is hard to take the latest Energy Review seriously. Alistair Darling says “if you want to be frightened about anything, you want to be frightened about the impact of climate change”. Yet as Minister for Transport, Mr Darling favoured the unrestricted growth of air travel and estimates suggest nuclear will only prevent around a three per cent increase in emissions through 2020.
Gloucestershire Echo 8th August 2006

Letter from Green Party Councillor Stroud: Nuclear power is reliable, we are told. Yet the current European heatwave has forced nuclear power plants to reduce or halt production in Spain and Germany. France has also been affected; it has given its reactors special permits to dump hot water into rivers and had to import power to compensate. Meanwhile, also this week, in Sweden a catastrophic incident was narrowly averted. A former director of the plant said it was pure luck there wasn’t a meltdown.
Western Daily Press 9th August 2006

Posted: 10 August 2006

9 August 2006

Sweden

An observer has called last week’s mishap in Sweden the worst incident to befall a nuclear power plant since the accident at Chernobyl. Nobody was injured, but for 22 minutes, workers had no idea what was happening in the reactor’s core. Swedish officials have taken half the country’s nuclear power plants offline until it can ensure their safe operation.
Speigel Online 4th August 2006

Nuclear Weapons

More than 20 campaigners congregated in silence around the war memorial in Victoria Square at the weekend in memory of those killed by nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan at the end of the Second World War.
Bolton Evening News 8th August 2006

Decommissioning

STUDENTS studying for Britain’s first foundation degree in nuclear decommissioning will be given a 90 per cent subsidy by the Government body charged with winding down nuclear plants across the UK. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has offered £50,000 for students at Lakes College West Cumbria, Lillyhall.
Cumbrian Times and Star 8th August 2006

Nuclear Waste

A GERMAN astrophysicist is claiming a new way to make nuclear waste harmless within a few decades, instead of thousands of years.
Berwickshire News 8th August 2006

South Asia

The warming-up of relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours in the past two and a half years has been indisputable good news. The US has contributed to this deterioration, albeit with good intentions. It has chosen to court India with poorly thought-out concessions on its nuclear programme, and Pakistan with a package of treats, including arms sales. America’s engagement should be welcomed, but these are favours the region could have done without, while Washington has ducked any attempt to help the rivals to settle the border dispute.
Times 9th August 2006

India and Pakistan would do well to heed at least one of the lessons from the violence in Lebanon and Israel: with a little ill will on either side, an apparently insignificant crisis can quickly become a war.
FT 9th August 2006

Wind Power

Eco Soundings is concerned about a turbine at Oldside, near Workington, Cumbria. The blade of a turbine fell to the ground after being struck by lightning. Interestingly, it didn’t seem to fly through the air several hundred yards and crash into a nuclear power station. The nuclear industry has used this excuse to oppose windfarms in Somerset.
Guardian 9th August 2006

Posted: 9 August 2006

8 August 2006

Pakistan

The United States and Pakistan have disputed a recent report by a nuclear monitoring institute which says that Pakistan is building a new reactor.
BBC 7th August 2006

Sweden

Following a dramatic safety scare on July 25 at the Forsmark 1 nuclear reactor in Sweden, which only came to public attention several days later, the country’s safety authority on August 4 decided against closing all the country’s reactors.
Energy Business Review 7th August 2006

United States

GE Energy’s nuclear business and the STP Nuclear Operating Co (STPNOC), acting as agent for NRG South Texas LP, signed a project development agreement to study the deployment and begin licensing activities for two GE Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) that would be located at the South Texas Project Electric Generating Station (STP).
Interactive Investor 7th August 2006

Devonport

Anti-nuclear weapon campaigners gathered outside Devonport Dockyard at the weekend in protest against Trident submarines being refitted at the base. The ‘symbolic’ blockade outside Camels Head Gate on Saturday was billed as supporting protestors at Faslane, Scotland, where the Trident submarines are deployed.
Plymouth Evening Herald 7th August 2006

Energy Efficiency

Householders are to be encouraged “to do their bit” to combat global warming but steep rises in the cost of air travel and motoring were ruled out by the Government yesterday. Tony Blair said he wanted individual homes to have carbon audits to encourage home owners to do more to reduce their own contribution to pollution. But ministers distanced the Government from proposals by MPs for steep rises in air travel and car taxes. A report from the Commons environmental audit committee recommended new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) car tax bands, with MPs suggesting that owners of gas guzzlers should pay as much as £1,800 a year.
Telegraph 8th August 2006

Spain

Spain is coming under mounting pressure over its hostility to Eon’s €27bn ($35bn) takeover bid for Endesa, after the European Commission voiced serious concerns over the legality of the government’s stance in a letter to Madrid last week. The Commission, the European Union’s top antitrust regulator, told Spain it was worried about several conditions that the country’s national energy regulator wants to impose on the deal.
FT 8th August 2006

Posted: 8 August 2006

7 August 2006

Iran

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

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

Energy Review

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

Nuclear Waste

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

Nuclear weapons

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

Posted: 7 August 2006