News

10 February 2009

Scotland

SCOTTISH Labour was facing a fresh internal split last night after the party’s MPs called for its MSPs to be stripped of some of their powers.Chief among MPs concerns are planning powers, currently held by the Scottish Government, which give Scottish ministers control over the construction of new energy projects. The SNP Government has declared it will use the powers, enshrined in the Electricity Act, to ensure no new nuclear power stations can be built north of the border. But Labour MPs are warning of the threat to Scotland’s future energy security. It comes amid growing warnings that the SNP’s reliance on renewables will leave Scotland with an energy gap, once two nuclear stations, at Torness and Hunterston, are decommissioned.

Scotland on Sunday 8th Feb 2009 more >>

SCOTLAND is “turning up its nose” at thousands of highly paid high-skilled jobs because of the SNP administration’s opposition to new nuclear power stations, UK energy minister Mike O’Brien warned last night. Mr O’Brien opened up a new front in the ongoing war of words between the Scottish and UK governments when he attacked the SNP administration’s approach to nuclear power. The minister was due to make a speech today explaining why he believed the Scottish Government is wrong.

Scotsman 10th Feb 2009 more >>

Letter from John Robertson MP: Scotland’s need for nuclear power as part of a balanced, low-carbon mix of energy is becoming increasingly apparent. With a prospective gap in provision from the closures of Hunterston and Torness and the challenges of climate change and security of supply, the SNP’s dogma on nuclear is seriously jeopardising Scotland’s future.

Scotsman 10th Feb 2009 more >>

Is Scotland right to reject a new generation of nuclear power stations? Yes says Shirley Anne Somerville MSP; No says Mike O’Brien MP.

Scotsman 10th Feb 2009 more >>

Oldbury

This letter appeared in Stroud Life and Stroud News and Journal 4th Feb 2009. The NDA has now gone completely beyond its remit of cleaning up nuclear sites. Not long ago their chiefs were saying they’re not in the business of nuclear new build. Even the Government’s Sustainable Development Commission says that replacing all our old reactors will reduce carbon emissions by only four percent. It’s just not worth the £5 billion cost to build each reactor, of which the public will pick up some of the future bill.

Gloucestershire Green Party 30th Jan 2009 more >>

Campaigns

Anti-nuclear power campaigners dressed as “Radioactive Royals and nuclear guards” protested in front of Buckingham Palace on Thursday, 5 February as nuclear industry bigwigs were wined and dined by the Duke of York, Prince Andrew.

IndyMedia 9th Feb 2009 more >>

Companies

Spanish utility Iberdrola and French power and natural major GDF Suez have entered a partnership to jointly participate in the development of new nuclear power stations in the UK. According to the company, through the creation of a joint venture, GDF Suez and Iberdrola, together with Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), intend to participate in the sale of nuclear sites owned by The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the EDF Development Company. The consortium may consider additional partners.

Energy Business Review 9th Feb 2009 more >>

Europe

The European Economic and Social Committee has emphasised the need for transparency with regards to nuclear energy. Meeting on January 26, both those in opposition and those in favour of nuclear energy discussed the subject of transparency and its impact on the environment.

Edie 9th Feb 2009 more >>

Proliferation

Obama said the United States and Russia should lead the way in preventing nuclear proliferation by restarting negotiations to cut their atomic arsenals.

Yahoo 10th Feb 2009 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan has told the United States it will put some curbs around freed scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan to prevent him from becoming a renewed nuclear proliferation threat.

Telegraph 10th Feb 2009 more >>

Finland

Power utility Fortum has submitted to the Finnish government an application for a decision-in-principle concerning the construction of a new nuclear power plant unit on the island of Hastholmen in Loviisa, Finland. According to the company, it has already two nuclear power plant units on the island. As per the plan, the new unit will be operational in 2020. The application presents five different plant alternatives.

Energy Business Review 9th Feb 2009 more >>

Aldermaston

Anti nuclear warfare campaigners in Watford will be dedicating their Valentine’s Day to showing a film about a pioneering protest 50 years ago. The Watford Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) are showing The March to Aldermaston, a half hour “fascinating slice of 20th Century social history” narrated by Richard Burton.

Watford Observer 9th Feb 2009 more >>

Posted: 10 February 2009

9 February 2009

New Nukes

Letter from CBI: Sweden’s decision to opt for nuclear power is a recognition that new nuclear can play a major role in securing Europe’s energy supplies and in meeting targets for greenhouse gas reductions. But it is also a warning to the UK that competition for the jobs a nuclear revival will bring is going to increase. Therefore it is essential that government moves quickly to secure the UK’s position as the leading innovator in nuclear generation. Reports that the national planning policy statement on nuclear power may be delayed until 2010 are therefore a concern.

Times 9th Feb 2009 more >>

Companies

French oil group Total, which is seeking a double-digit percentage stake in France’s second EPR nuclear plant, also wants to play an active role in its construction.

Yahoo 9th Feb 2009 more >>

Justification

The NIA has published a quick guide to it’s justification application which was submitted to Government in June 2008. The application is currently subject to Government consultation that will run until 25 March 2009.

NIA 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Aldermaston

The US military has been using Britain’s atomic weapons factory to carry out research into its own nuclear warhead programme, according to evidence seen by the Guardian. US defence officials said that “very valuable” warhead research has taken place at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire as part of an ongoing and secretive deal between the British and American governments.

Guardian 9th Feb 2009 more >>

Climate

Scientists are to hold an emergency summit to warn the world’s politicians they are being too timid in their response to global warming. Climate experts from across the world will gather in Copenhagen next month to agree a stark message to policy makers, which they hope will break the political deadlock on efforts to curb rising temperatures. The meeting follows “disturbing” studies that suggest global warming could strike harder and faster than expected.

Guardian 9th Feb 2009 more >>

More than one in four homes in the UK will be offered a complete eco-makeover under ambitious plans expected to be announced this week to slash fuel bills and cut global warming pollution. The campaign is thought to involve giving 7m houses and flats a complete refit to improve insulation, and will be compared to the 10-year programme that converted British homes to gas central heating in the 1960s and 1970s. Householders could also be encouraged to install small-scale renewable and low-carbon heating systems such as solar panels and wood-burning boilers.

Guardian 9th Feb 2009 more >>

Posted: 9 February 2009

8 February 2009

New Nukes

New nuclear reactors planned for Britain will produce many times more radiation than previous reactors that could be rapidly released in an accident, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. The revelations – based on information buried deep in documents produced by the nuclear industry itself – calls into doubt repeated assertions that the new European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) will be safer than the old atomic power stations they replace. Instead they suggest that a reactor or nuclear waste accident, although less likely to happen, could have even more devastating consequences in future; one study suggests that nearly twice as many people could die.

Independent on Sunday 8th Feb 2009 more >>

Scotland

THE Scottish Government will come under renewed pressure this week to reverse its ban on building nuclear power stations or risk plunging the country into a jobs and energy crisis. A powerful lobby of employers, trade union officials and opposition politicians will accuse First Minister Alex Salmond of failing to wake up to the possibility of an electricity shortage and a brain drain of skilled engineers and technicians.

Scotland on Sunday 8th Feb 2009 more >>

Iran

Mr Biden reiterated the “hand” that President Obama had “stretched out” but said Iran faces a stark choice. “Continue down your current course and there will be pressure and isolation; abandon your illicit nuclear programme and support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives.”

Independent on Sunday 8th Feb 2009 more >>

Sunday Times 8th Feb 2009 more >>

Bulgaria

Restarting two Soviet-era reactors at Bulgaria’s sole nuclear power plant would be “a triumph of justice” for Hristophor Gerdzhikov. The engineer who takes care of one the closed units, as well as a majority of Bulgarians, have applauded the government plan to seek a relaunch of the shuttered plants as compensation for damage caused by last month’s cut-off in Russian gas supplies. But observers and some politicians say the move by the Socialist-led cabinet is a bluff and a gamble. Besides conjuring images of Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, they argue it is a ploy to stoke a nationally sensitive subject and revive plunging support ahead of parliamentary elections likely in July or August.

Reuters 8th Feb 2009 more >>

France

A new nuclear plant is good for France’s trade balance, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said February 6 in justifying his decision last week to

approve construction of a 1,650-MW EPR unit at Penly. During a visit to the first EPR under construction at the Flamanville site, Sarkozy said a new reactor could export 12 terawatt-hours a year, reaping Eur600 billion (US$776 billion) for the French economy. “France’s external trade is not so flourishing that it can sneeze at electricity exports” based on nuclear power, the country’s area of excellence, he said. His remarks were the first overt confirmation that France could build reactors explicitly destined to export power, rather than to satisfy internal demand.

Platts 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Map: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_France

Trident

The UK government deployed Trident nuclear missiles because they could cause the total breakdown of Russian cities by killing half their inhabitants, according to a top secret document passed to the Sunday Herald. To ensure that the warheads inflicted “unacceptable damage” on Moscow and St Petersburg, the government was prepared to explode them at ground level to maximise lethal levels of radioactive contamination.

Sunday Herald 8th Feb 2009 more >>

Green New Deal

Gordon Brown’s much-vaunted plan to beat the recession by going green lacks “coherence” and is being overtaken by rival plans around the world, the chair of the Environment Agency warns today. Chris Smith, a former cabinet colleague of the prime minister, said Britain risked being left behind in developing technologies such as carbon capture, where gases pumped out by polluting industries are compressed and stored under the sea to prevent them reaching the atmosphere and adding to global warming. Brown has boasted of how his own so-called “green new deal” would be bigger than Barack Obama’s, relative to the size of their respective economies, but Lord Smith suggested that such claims were hollow, with few concrete initiatives beyond a push on home insulation.

Observer 8th Feb 2009 more >>

Posted: 8 February 2009

7 February 2009

Bradwell

The nuclear power industry suffered an embarrassing blow today when the operator of the Bradwell-on-Sea plant was found guilty of allowing a radio active leak to continue for 14 years. Magnox Electric Ltd, the operator of the site, denied some of the allegations but was found guilty of breaking the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 over the way it dealt with waste on the premises.

Guardian 7th Feb 2009 more >>

New Nukes

Letter from Stephen Salter: Steuart Campbell challenges my statements about carbon releases and clean-up costs for nuclear energy. There are two detailed sources, Dan Forster from AEA Technology (which was in line with Mr Campbell’s figure) and papers by Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith, both former nuclear engineers but working alone. The Forster paper was specific to Torness and was funded by British Energy.

Scotsman 7th Feb 2009 more >>

Sellafield

THIRTEEN hundred contractors walked out on Monday to join the protest against the employment of foreign workers at the Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire. Construction site union bosses are concerned that if the government gives the green light for at least one new nuclear reactor at Sellafield then a good percentage of the 9,000 promised building jobs might be taken by foreign workers unless there are fundamental changes to European Union laws.

Whitehaven News 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Korea

North Korea wants to advance nuclear disarmament steps if its aid demands are met and it played down concerns over possible missile launches, a former senior U.S. diplomat just back from Pyongyang.

Reuters 7th Feb 2009 more >>

Pakistan

The US hit out at Pakistan yesterday after Abdul Qadeer Khan, the architect of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, was freed after five years of effective house arrest for selling nuclear secrets. Mr Khan was declared to be a free citizen and allowed to move around the country in a brief unexpected order by the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court.

FT 7th Feb 2009 more >>

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the architect of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, was yesterday freed after five years of effective house arrest for his role in sharing nuclear know-how and technology with Iran, Libya and North Korea.

FT 7th Feb 2009 more >>

The US and Britain have reacted angrily after AQ Khan, the Pakistani scientist accused of selling nuclear secrets, was freed from five years of house arrest in a court ruling in Islamabad.

Guardian 7th Feb 2009 more >>

Aldermaston

Anti-nuclear campaigners returned to their post yesterday following a successful appeal court ruling against a “no camping” bylaw which threatened their famous women’s peace camp. The bylaw prohibited “camping in tents, caravans, trees or otherwise” near the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston, Berkshire. The ban was challenged by the Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp (AWPC) on the grounds it contradicted their rights guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights. The High Court rejected their claims the ban interfered with their rights to free expression and the right to assembly.

Politics.co.uk 7th Feb 2009 more >>

Carbon

The price of carbon has hit new lows as power generators and industrial companies continue to cash in credits to bolster their balance sheets. The price of European Union allowances under the second phase of the emissions trading scheme has plunged to 10.15 (£8.85) a tonne, compared with highs over 30 seen in July last year.

Guardian 7th Feb 2009 more >>

Posted: 7 February 2009

6 February 2009

Bradwell

A nuclear power station operator in Essex has been found guilty of allowing radioactive waste to seep from a sump in a decontamination unit for 14 years. Magnox Electric denied four charges of allowing unauthorised disposal of radioactive waste between 1990 and 2004 at Bradwell nuclear power station. At Chelmsford Crown Court the firm was convicted of breaching laws governing the disposal of radioactive waste.

BBC 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Community Funding

The government must issue interim guidance on funding community involvement in major infrastructure, the RTPI demanded this week. It was responding to the revelation that Sedgemoor District Council asked EDF and British Energy for £750,000 to investigate proposals for a reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Planning Resource 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Scotland

THE head of a new climate-change body that will advise the Scottish Government has disagreed with Alex Salmond’s decision not to build nuclear power stations. Lord Adair Turner, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said he thinks all options for providing electricity should be left open, including the creation of new nuclear power plants. “The Scottish Government has to make its own decisions, but we think the challenge of dealing with climate change is so big that we should be very wary of ruling out any option that is available.”

Scotsman 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Billions of pounds is lost to clean energy sources through investment in nuclear power, First Minister Alex Salmond has said. The Scottish Government announced plans to create 16,000 green energy jobs by 2020 earlier this week. SNP backbencher Joe Fitzpatrick had asked what impact the UK government’s “obsession” with nuclear power would have on the renewables industry, during First Minister’s Questions.

Wishaw Press 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Chapelcross

A £2.5m investment to help tackle the economic impact of a nuclear plant closure has been announced. Decommissioning work is currently under way on the Chapelcross nuclear plant near Annan in Dumfries and Galloway. The grants are designed to support economic regeneration projects in the Gretna, Lockerbie and Annan area.

BBC 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Energy Supplies

Andrew Duff (RWE): The UK energy sector is facing huge and pressing challenges. We need a modernised power system capable of reconciling environmental commitments with long-term security of supply at an affordable cost. Achieving this, and avoiding a genuine energy crisis, requires a coherent energy plan and a sense of urgency. Currently the industry is able to push ahead with some wind and gas power stations. That is good news, but more is needed; we will have to deploy the full range of available energy generation technologies. There must also be a step-change in reducing demand, which means greater fiscal incentives, not just taxes, to encourage consumers to invest in energy efficiency. A lower- carbon primary energy mix is even more vital if we are to move to greater electrification of private transport, reducing the reliance on oil.

FT 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Companies

Siemens and Rosatom are in negotiations to form a cooperative venture that will strengthen their positions in the nuclear market, which has fuelled speculation that Europe’s largest engineering company could create a joint venture with Atomenergoprom, an affiliate of Russia’s state nuclear corporation.

Nuclear Engineering International 6th Feb 2009 more >>

GDF Suez will hope to fulfil its ambition of building nuclear capacity in the UK through an industrial partnership with Iberdrola and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE).

Modern Power Systems 6th Feb 2009 more >>

NDA

A senior Tory was under fire last night after he described funding for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as “burning taxpayers’ money on a quango gravy train”. Former Conservative Party chairman and now Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude attacked spending on Britain’s non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), including the NDA.

Carlisle News and Star 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Pakistan

A Pakistani court freed nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan from house arrest, five years after he admitted selling atomic bomb technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Bloomberg 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Times 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Telegraph 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Guardian 6th Feb 2009 more >>

BBC 6th Feb 2009 more >>

China

China will spend 580bn yuan (£59.5bn) expanding its energy sector in 2009 with plans for new solar and wind-powered generating capacity, but also nuclear and coal-fired plants.

Guardian 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Sweden

Nuclear power received a significant boost today when the Swedish government announced plans to overturn a near 30-year ban on atomic plants as part of a new drive to increase energy security and combat global warming.

Guardian 6th Feb 2009 more >>

FT 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Herald 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Times 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Iran

“If Iran gets nuclear weapons, the nuclear non-proliferation treaty falls apart,” a Foreign Office official suggested. The treaty is due for review and renewal next year. Iran is still a member of the treaty arrangement. “There is nothing civil in the [Iranian] programme as far as we can tell so far, and there have been no enrichment plants opened for visits.”

Guardian 6th Feb 2009 more >>

The Bushehr nuclear power station being built in Iran by Russia is nearly complete and should be launched within the year, Iran’s ambassador to Moscow said in an interview published Friday.

Yahoo 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Turkey

The Russian-led consortium that won the tender to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and supply energy to the national grid has revised its price offer in an attempt to prevent its bid from collapsing.

Today’s Zaman 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Henry Kissinger, the pioneer of Cold War detente during the Nixon era, has made a return to frontline politics after President Barack Obama reportedly sent him to Moscow to win backing from Vladimir Putin’s government for a nuclear disarmament initiative.

Telegraph 6th Feb 2009 more >>

The Obama administration is looking for a quick deal between the US and Russia to more than halve their nuclear weapons stockpiles, reversing the Bush White House’s refusal to be bound by international treaties. Diplomats and officials say they are optimistic Washington and Moscow can quickly agree to cut warheads to about 1,000.

Guardian 6th Feb 2009 more >>

Posted: 6 February 2009

5 February 2009

Companies

GDF-Suez yesterday became the latest French company to set its sights on the UK’s nuclear industry when it unveiled plans for a joint venture to help to build new reactors in Britain. GDF-Suez, 35 per cent-owned by the French Government, said that it had formed a partnership with Iberdrola, the Spanish owner of ScottishPower. Together, they plan to build at least two new reactors in the UK on existing nuclear sites that are due to be sold by the Government. GDF-Suez and Iberdrola are expected to each control a 40 per cent stake in the venture. Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) is expected to join as junior partner, with 20 per cent. Vatenfall, the Swedish utility group, is in talks with GDF-Suez and Iberdrola about entering alongside SSE as a junior equity partner.

Times 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Scotsman 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Herald 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Independent 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Metro 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Utility Week 4th Feb 2009 more >>

BBC 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Bloomberg 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Blimey. Here’s a Government policy that seems to be actually working. Ministers declared that they were keen to encourage competition in the construction of new nuclear power stations and that’s precisely what they seem to be getting. News yesterday that GDF Suez is clubbing together with Iberdrola to bid for the sites owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority brings to three the number of consortia which have declared plans for new nuclear build in Britain. Plummeting energy prices, together with the fast falling price of emission permits, has made the commercial case for new nuclear build less compelling than it was, but the investment plans are on exceptionally long lead times, and nobody believes the present depressed price of hydrocarbons is going to last for long. Emission targets, energy prices and energy security all work in nuclear’s favour.

Independent 5th Feb 2009 more >>

New Nukes

Letter Steuart Campbell: it is unlikely that the use of lower grade ore would ever give gas the advantage. Furthermore, Prof Salter appears to ignore the availability of plutonium as a fuel and the eventual deployment of fast reactors.

Scotsman 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Areva, a provider of technological services for nuclear power generation, and the Swiss electric utility KKL have signed a contract aimed at providing KKL with casks for the interim storage of spent nuclear fuel from the Leibstadt power plant in Switzerland.

Energy Business Review 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Nuclear Finance

The financial crisis isn’t necessarily bad news for nuclear. Lower capital cost inflation and improved government infrastructure planning could all benefit new build.

Nuclear Engineering International 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Sellafield

Cumbria County Council is backing plans to build up to three nuclear reactors at Sellafield by 2025. It says each would create around 350 permanent jobs plus thousands more during the construction phase. The council’s cabinet yesterday threw its weight behind the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s bid to nominate Sellafield as a site for a new nuclear power station.

Carlisle News and Star 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Springfields

A new managing director has been appointed at the helm of Preston’s booming nuclear fuel manufacturer. Neil Longfellow took up the role this week at Springfields Fuels Ltd, which employs around 1,500 people at Salwick, near Preston, after serving as deputy managing director at Sellafield in Cumbria.

Lancashire Evening Post 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband says he wants major world powers to begin new talks aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons. The British diplomatic chief says he hopes countries can agree on an international legal framework to reduce their arsenals.

AP 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Guardian 4th Feb 2009 more >>

David Miliband called for a new debate on ridding the world of nuclear weapons yesterday, saying that 40 years after the signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty now was the “time to show that we’re serious”.

Times 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Campaigners have turned on the speech over continued plans to replace or upgrade the Trident missile system to a cost of up to £76 billion. Greenpeace said the Trident plans “severely undermined” David Miliband’s comments. “Until the government puts plans to replace Trident on hold, anything they say about ridding the world of nuclear weapons is severely undermined,” said executive director John Sauven. Kate Hudson, chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said Mr Miliband’s speech, which accompanied a policy information paper from the Foreign Office was a “great disappointment”, which treated Trident as the elephant in the room. And the Liberal Democrats said the government’s leadership on non-proliferation was threatened by the “premature and provocative” decision to renew Trident ahead of the global disarmament conference next year.

Politics.co.uk 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Greenpeace 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Russia moved swiftly yesterday to extend a hand to President Obama over American plans for big cuts in nuclear weapons. Sergei Ivanov, the Deputy Prime Minister, said that Russia was ready to sign a new strategic missile treaty with the US.

Times 5th Feb 2009 more >>

After a long period of neglect, nuclear disarmament has re-emerged at the top of the foreign policy agenda. Barack Obama is seeking a dramatic reduction in global stockpiles over the next four years. In Britain, too, the subject is in vogue.

Telegraph 5th Feb 2009 more >>

A LEADING authority on international law has warned that nuclear weapons in Scotland increase the risk of a nuclear attack on the country. Judge Christopher Weeramantry, former vice-president of the International Court of Justice, told a conference in Edinburgh that the issue could not be left in the hands of Westminster. While agreeing that international relations were reserved to the UK Parliament, he insisted the Scottish Parliament must uphold international humanitarian and legal obligations. SNP defence and foreign affairs spokesman Angus Robertson said: “Judge Weeramantry’s comments add further weight to the argument for removing Trident from Scotland.”

Edinburgh Evening News 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Fusion

Laboratories across the world, packed with dozens of supreme eggheads, have spent millions trying to harness the power of nuclear fusion, but they have failed so far. Is Christopher’s home-made Doomsday machine – custom-built out of components from the High Street electronics shop Maplin’s – the answer? ‘I’ve only managed to get two watts out of it so far,’ he says. ‘But if I increase the power, I should be able to start a nuclear fusion reaction. Of course, I wouldn’t want to do a really big experiment here – it’s not an ideal place. And it could be dangerous.’

Daily Mail 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Iran

A senior adviser to Iran’s president says dialogue with the US will succeed only if the Obama administration accepts Tehran’s right to have a nuclear programme. Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi, right-hand man to Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the fundamentalist president, said in an interview with the Financial Times that Tehran was studying its options, just as the new US administration was reviewing its Iran policy.

FT 5th Feb 2009 more >>

The government believes Iran is just years away from developing a nuclear capability and London is prepared to go it alone with tougher sanctions if necessary, a minister said on Wednesday.

Reuters 4th Feb 2009 more >>

India

Areva, the French nuclear group, agreed yesterday to supply India with up to six nuclear reactors, in one of the first deals since India’s nuclear programme was brought into the international fold last year after decades of isolation. In a preliminary agreement with the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Areva will provide technical co-operation on two of the heavy-duty 1600MW EPR reactors, at Jaitapur in the state of Maharashtra. The deal could be worth more than 8bn ($10.3bn).

FT 5th Feb 2009 more >>

Posted: 5 February 2009

4 February 2009

Nuclear Costs

Letter from Gerry Wolff: Steuart Campbell is himself misrepresenting the cost of nuclear power, quoting the misleading figures successfully spread by the nuclear industry. A report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in 2005 concluded that, once realistic construction and running costs were factored in, a kilowatt-hour of electricity from a nuclear generator would cost as much as 8.3p – substantially more than claimed by the nuclear industry. Since then, nuclear costs have risen.

Scotsman 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Al Gore speaking about climate change at last week’s US Senate committee on foreign relations: “I came to the Congress in 1976 as a very strong supporter of nuclear power. I have grown sceptical. I am not opposed to it, but there is now in the industry absolutely zero ability to predict with any confidence what the cost of construction is.” Now skip to Finland, where the French state-owned nuclear company Areva is building Europe’s first new reactor in years, one of a type expected to be chosen for Britain. The Finnish nuclear authority has already found 2,200 “quality deficiencies”, the plant is three years behind schedule, and its cost has spiralled to $6.2bn – 50% more than the original estimate. Everyone is blaming everyone else. Now Elfi, a consortium of Finnish industries, calculates that the delays will create an extra $4bn of indirect costs for electricity users.

Guardian 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Letter from Hugh Richards: EDF boss Vincent de Rivaz says one way to start convincing the public that nuclear power is the solution to our energy problems is to “make all decisions public and transparent” (Friday Interview, 30 January). We as taxpayers are being asked to take responsibility for significant amounts of spent fuel – something omitted by Rivaz. Spent nuclear fuel contains most of the radioactivity from the new reactors, but neither government nor its regulators have assessed its “disposability”, or the health effects of managing it. The Nuclear Industry Association says a repository dealing with legacy wastes could readily accommodate the smaller volumes of easier-to-handle wastes from the new nuclear plants. But the spent fuel from EDF’s planned European pressurised reactors in England would be hotter and more radioactive than that from the EPR at Olkiluoto, in Finland. There are serious doubts it could be disposed of in the deep geological repository for legacy waste.

Guardian 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Companies

GDF Suez SA, the world’s second-biggest utility, will today announce an alliance with Iberdrola SA of Spain as part of its plans to bid for nuclear projects in the U.K.. GDF Suez aims to build two Evolutionary Power Reactors, or EPRs, in the U.K..

Bloomberg 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Germany’s Siemens and Russia’s state nuclear company have pledged to look at closer cooperation in what Russia said could lead to a powerful alliance in the world nuclear market.

Reuters 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

FT 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

GDA

The Generic Design Assessment (GDA) team when constituted was expected to take until 2012 to complete its work and found difficulty in recruiting its experts; most of those in the UK are either retired or approaching retirement. But the manning up of the team with French experts risks compromising the independence of the GDA, which it is supposed to maintain. It is in all our interests that unwarranted haste will not dilute the detailed examination of the inherent disadvantages of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Sanders Research 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Sellafield

A BITTER dispute over the use of foreign workers on construction projects has exploded into a series of wildcat strikes across the UK – includig Sellafield.

North West Evening Mail 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Contractors at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing complex in Cumbria have returned to work after a 24-hour walkout over the use of foreign labour.

BBC 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Heysham

Nuclear power firm British Energy said yesterday it was ready to restart another reactor hit by technical issues. The company has been dogged by long-term problems at its Heysham and Hartlepool sites, but said a “comprehensive” return to service for Reactor 1 at its Heysham 1 plant was due in the “coming days”.

Yorkshire Post 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Scotland

A Holyrood report due to be published today will call for nuclear power to be kept on the agenda. The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee is expected to say the nuclear option should not be ruled out over fears that renewable power generation will not grow fast enough. The government has set a target of cutting emissions by 80% before 2050.

Building 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

US

The desperate, dangerous nuclear power industry has dropped a $50 billion stealth bomb meant to irradiate the Obama Stimulus Package. It comes in the form of a mega-loan guarantee package that would build new reactors Wall Street wouldn’t finance even when it had cash. The vaguely worded bailout-in-advance provision was snuck through the Senate Appropriations Committee in the deep night of January 27. It would provide $50 billion in loan guarantees for “eligible technologies” that would technically include renewable sources and electric transmission. But the handout is clearly directed at nukes and “clean coal.” Unable to get private financing, the industry is back yet again. In the interim, the projected cost of building new reactors has soared to more than $10 billion each, and continues to climb steadily. The Congressional Budget Office now predicts that half the nuclear utilities using such a loan program will go into default.

Huffington Post 3rd February 2009 more >>

Iran

President Obama’s ambition of bringing Russia in from the cold was graphically underlined when Iran announced that it had successfully launched its first home-built satellite into orbit, using a rocket that the West believes is part of its long-term ballistic missile programme.

Times 4th Feb 2009 more >>

BBC 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Guardian 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cautioned Tehran of “consequences” if it did not give up sensitive nuclear work and said world powers would discuss a new Iran strategy in talks on Wednesday.

Reuters 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Trident

THE SNP yesterday stepped up calls for Scotland to be rid of nuclear weapons. The call came at a conference in Edinburgh where the SNP MP Angus Robertson said Scotland could “help lift the nuclear shadow”. But the Nationalists came under attack from Labour, who accused them of wanting to give up nuclear weapons when other countries had them and “rogue nations” wanted them.

Scotsman 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Herald 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Carrick Gazette 4th Feb 2009 more >>

THE conference on Trident in Edinburgh yesterday underlined our commitment to make the world a safer place by ridding ourselves of weapons of mass destruction. Majority opinion in Scotland is opposed to the Trident weapons system.

Scotsman 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Arms Control

President Obama will convene the most ambitious arms reduction talks with Russia for a generation, aiming to slash each country’s stockpile of nuclear weapons by 80 per cent. The radical treaty would cut the number of nuclear warheads to 1,000 each, The Times has learnt. Key to the initiative is a review of the Bush Administration’s plan for a US missile defence shield in Eastern Europe, a project fiercely opposed by Moscow.

Times 4th Feb 2009 more >>

By the treaty’s deadline of June 1, 1991 2,692 weapons had been destroyed – 846 by the US and 1,846 by the Soviet Union. Under the treaty both nations were allowed to inspect each other’s military installations.

Times 4th Feb 2009 more >>

A supercomputer with the processing power of two million laptops is to be built by IBM for the US government to help manage its nuclear arsenal.

Times 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Climate

Although emissions of carbon dioxide fell, its total decline since the baseline year of 1990 was 8.5%, substantially short of Labour’s manifesto pledge of 20% by 2010. The decline by 2007 increases to 12.8% if it includes carbon credits bought from emission reduction programmes overseas.

Guardian 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Over half of Britain’s poorest households are ineligible for help from an £852m scheme to cut fuel bills with grants for home insulation and heating, a report from the National Audit Office reveals today. The report discloses that £34m has been given to people who already have energy-efficient homes and are comparatively well off. The report on the Warm Front Scheme run by the Department of Energy and Climate Change says that the mismatch is caused by complex eligibility rules that mean many of the 1.9 million poorest households cannot get a grant.

Guardian 4th Feb 2009 more >>

Posted: 4 February 2009

3 February 2009

Industrial Action

The wave of wildcat strikes sweeping the UK showed no sign of letting up yesterday as contractors at two nuclear plants joined workers at sites across the country to protest about the use of foreign labour. The walkouts at Sellafield and Heysham came as employers and union leaders were locked in negotiations aimed at preventing a further escalation of the dispute.

Guardian 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Bloomberg 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

FT 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

Interactive Investor 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

Reuters 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

More than 600 engineering contractors working on the Sellafield nuclear site went on strike yesterday in protest at the employment of foreign workers. Wearing thick anoraks and woolly hats to shield themselves from the raw wind whipping the Cumbrian coast, the contractors gathered just before 8am to murmur support and grudgingly extract hands from pockets to agree to a 24-hour strike.

Times 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Companies

GDF-Suez looks set to become the latest European energy giant to set its sights on the rejuvenated UK nuclear energy market, after it was reported yesterday that the company is in talks about forming a joint venture to bid for UK nuclear sites. According to reports in The Sunday Times, the French company is in parallel talks with Germany’s RWE, Spanish energy giant Iberdrola and Sweden’s Vattenfall about forming a joint venture to table bids. It is expected to make a final announcement on which partner it has chosen soon.

Business Green 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Nuclear waste from the reactors likely to be built in the UK will be up to seven times more hazardous than that produced by existing reactors. The admission was made in an ‘environmental impact assessment’ report by nuclear company Posiva. Posiva are responsible for managing the waste which will be produced by the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) currently being constructed in Olkiluoto, Finland. And an independent nuclear consultant has warned that this will increase the costs of nuclear energy, as waste storage and safety expenses will rise above expected levels.

Greenpeace UK 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

Sizewell

Workers at two nuclear power stations in Suffolk will make a decision today about holding further industrial action in a row over the use of foreign workers. Sub-contractors employed by companies working on the decommissioning of Sizewell A, and routine work at Sizewell B, walked out yesterday in a show of solidarity for energy employees at a Lincolnshire oil refinery.

East Anglian Daily Press 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Up to 70 sub contractors went on strike at the Sizewell A and B power stations in Suffolk today.

East Anglian Daily Press 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

Heysham

NUCLEAR power generator British Energy yesterday said it was ready to restart another reactor hit by technical issues. The firm has been dogged by long-term problems at its Heysham and Hartlepool sites, but said a “comprehensive” return to service for Reactor 1 at its Heysham 1 plant was due in the “coming days”.

Scotsman 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Workers at Heysham nuclear power station will decide today whether or not to stage a wildcat strike in a simmering row over foreign workers.

Lancashire Evening Post 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

New Nukes

Letter from Stephen Salter: You report that nuclear power has no carbon emissions. The truth of this statement depends on how much of the cycle is being considered and greatly on the quality of ore from which the uranium is extracted. With the present ore grades, nuclear generation has a carbon advantage over gas of about three times, but the gap closes at grades of 100 parts per million, which may well be reached within the lifetime of plant planned now.

Scotsman 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Scotland

Scottish Government plans for a massive expansion in green energy employment were cautiously welcomed yesterday by environmental groups. Finance Secretary John Swinney announced the move, saying it would help Scotland through the recession and provide a sustainable economy

for the future. At a conference in Glasgow he announced plans to invest in renewable technology to help create up to 16,000 jobs over the next 10 years. He said the Scottish Government will be implementing their Renewable Energy Action Plan which is hoped to boost production and deliver cost savings for consumers. Plans to increase power from wave wind and water technology to lower carbon emissions and reduce reliance on

fossil fuels will, he said, put Scotland at the forefront of a global renewables industry.

Herald 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Switzerland

Areva, a provider of technological solutions for nuclear power generation, and the Swiss electric utility KKL have signed a contract aimed at providing KKL with casks for the interim storage of spent nuclear fuel from the Leibstadt power plant in Switzerland. The contract is to be applied for the duration of the power plant’s operation, ultimately resulting in all spent fuel being removed, with these operations to continue until 2049.

Datamonitor 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

India

India has signed an agreement with the UN atomic watchdog to allow inspections of its civilian nuclear plants. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei and Indian Ambassador Saurabh Kumar signed the accord in Vienna. The deal requires India to make 14 of its 22 nuclear reactors subject to non-proliferation inspections by 2014.

BBC 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

France

Despite the French government’s global marketing of its flagship European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) as cheap and safe, nuclear energy is rapidly becoming the most expensive way to produce electricity, and its highly radioactive waste poses an ever-increasing problem. At a time when France is setting itself up as the political and industrial champion of a supposed worldwide expansion of nuclear power, Global Chance – an association that includes among its members several of France’s few independent nuclear experts – has produced a report that shows how France’s nuclear promises are a dangerous illusion. France is locked into nuclear power in a way that presents an obstacle to the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

Greenpeace International 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

Korea

North Korea said on Monday it would never unilaterally dismantle its nuclear weapons and demanded inspectors probe the South to make sure it is not harbouring U.S. atomic arms, further stepping up tensions with its neighbour.

Reuters 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

Trident

The SNP will step up its calls for Scotland to be rid of nuclear weapons. The calls will come at a conference in Edinburgh on the day the Westminster Government launches a policy paper on the issue. The conference, to be attended by a range of anti-nuclear groups, will focus on Trident and international law.

Hamilton Advertiser 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Carrick Gazette 3rd Feb 2009 more >>

Posted: 3 February 2009

2 February 2009

New Nukes

Letter from Steuart Campbell: Brian Hunter (Letters, 29 January) is entitled to oppose nuclear power, but he should not misrepresent the costs. The latest comparison estimates (in the House of Lords report The Economics of Renewable Energy) are that nuclear power’s base cost is 4.5p/kWh generated. This is slightly higher than coal (4.1p) – a figure that ignores carbon emissions – but much less than onshore wind (7.3p).

Scotsman 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

Bradwell

The most senior figure in nuclear safety has defended the regulation of an atomic power station barely 50 miles from the centre of London that leaked radioactive material for 14 years. Mike Weightman, chief inspector at the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, said it was not possible to “inspect or check every feature of a complex plant”. But as soon as the leak in the sump of one of the Magnox reactors at Bradwell-on-Sea was discovered the safety body did all it could to ensure that the cause of the problem was identified and dealt with, he added.

Guardian 2nd Feb 2009 more >>

Sellafield

Workers at two nuclear power stations could walk out in a dangerous escalation of the dispute over foreign labour. Hundreds of contractors at Sellafield in Cumbria are meeting today to discuss industrial action. An unofficial walkout also threatens Heysham nuclear power station in Lancashire.

Metro 1st Feb 2009 more >>

Uranium Mining

Niger is one of the world’s poorest countries, but also the world’s third-largest source of uranium. More mining to power nuclear stations in the UK could bring enormous benefits to Niger’s northern region, and to the country as a whole. But this will not happen automatically. Before signing any deals, Gordon Brown should ensure that the cleaner, cheaper energy he hopes nuclear power will provide for the UK does not come at a vast expense to local communities in Niger.

Guardian 1st Feb 2009 more >>

US

On Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to increase nuclear loan guarantees by $50 billion in the economic recovery package. This staggering sum “would more than double the current loan guarantee cap of $38 billion” for “clean energy” technology.

Climate Progress 1st Feb 2009 more >>

Posted: 2 February 2009

1 February 2009

Energy Supplies

The UK faces an energy crunch leading to much higher electricity and gas bills within three years because power companies are shelving investment plans, the chief executive of Centrica has warned. Sam Laidlaw also told the Observer that unless the government increased the level of financial support available for offshore wind farms soon, the UK would have little chance of meeting its 2020 renewable energy targets.

Observer 1st Feb 2009 more >>

Interview with Sam Laidlaw.

Observer 1st Feb 2009 more >>

Scotland

ALEX Salmond’s plans for a nuclear power-free Scotland will be dealt a severe blow this week with the publication of a report calling for the retention of the controversial power stations. Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee will say that the nuclear option should not be ruled out, despite Salmond’s desire to focus entirely on coal-powered stations and renewable energy.

Scotland on Sunday 1st Feb 2009 more >>

The Scottish government is to announce a blueprint to create thousands of new “green” jobs as part of its economic recovery plan. Finance secretary John Swinney will tomorrow outline specific proposals on how it plans to encourage the creation of “new, low-carbon industries in energy production, energy efficiency and sustainable transport”.

Observer 1st Feb 2009 more >>

Israel

AN ultra-rightwinger, who is said to favour flattening Tehran if Iran develops nuclear weapons, has emerged as the politician gaining the most ground in next week’s general election in Israel.

Sunday Times 1st Feb 2009 more >>

Trident

THE UK government’s plan to maintain nuclear weapons on the Clyde will this week be condemned as cruel, criminal and barbaric by one of the world’s leading legal experts. At a major conference discussing Trident on Tuesday, the former vice-president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), judge Christopher Weeramantry will back attempts by the Scottish government to remove nuclear warheads from Scottish soil. He will also argue that non-violent resistance to nuclear weapons can be justified in international law. Trying to protect humanity from the ultimate catastrophe of a nuclear war is every citizen’s right, he will say.

Sunday Herald 1st Feb 2008 more >>

Posted: 1 February 2009