News

27 May 2011

New Nukes

Fukushima Lessons Learned seminar 14th June 2011.

Nuclear Consultation Group May 2011 more >>

Lady Barbara Judge, chairman emeritus, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, told ACE’s conference that Fukushima will not be “that big a deal” for the prospects of the nuclear industry. Lady Judge explained that in countries where nuclear energy was already under pressure it would remain under pressure. But she suggested that China, the USA, the UK and other countries committed to nuclear energy would go unchanged. The UK’s report on what happened in Japan concluded it was unlikely to happen in Britain. Meanwhile, although the EU plans to stress test the nuclear industry, Lady Judge suggested this would have little impact on nuclear energy in the UK.

Association Consulting Engineers 26th May 2011 more >>

Oldbury

An advert in today’s paper shows how an accident like that seen at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, could affect Bristol. The Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy group have created the advert which shows the 30kms evacuation zone which might have to be put in place if anything happened at the Oldbury nuclear plant.

The Breeze 27th May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

NEW procedures for handling nuclear waste at Hinkley Point A – which could see some materials released into the sea – have been criticised by Burnham and Highbridge’s MP. Magnox, the company managing the decommissioning of the plant, is developing plans to introduce by 2015 a process called dissolution, to reduce the amount of waste on site. The process involves putting nuclear materials in acid to emit low-risk gases and liquids, which could then be released into the sea.

Burnham & Highbridge Weekly News 26th May 2011 more >>

AP1000

Westinghouse Electric said it expects no design changes will result from a federal regulator’s request for additional work on the AP1000 advanced nuclear reactor design favored by a half-dozen utilities in the United States. Officials of Pittsburg-based Westinghouse, majority owned by Toshiba Corp and Shaw Group, on Thursday said they were disappointed that a May 20 release from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding several technical issues has been “misinterpreted and sensationalized” by opponents of nuclear power.

Reuters 26th May 2011 more >>

Companies

Russia’s Rosatom said on Thursday it still wants to cooperate on nuclear issues with Siemens now the German industrial group looks close to severing an atomic venture with a French partner.

Reuters 26th May 2011 more >>

Radwaste

The champion of localism Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has approved a plan to dispose of radioactive waste at the East Northants resource management facility (landfill site) at Kings Cliffe near Peterborough.

Public Service 25th May 2011 more >>

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 26th May 2011 more >>

eGov Monitor 26th May 2011 more >>

Yorkshire Post 26th May 2011 more >>

Northampton Evening Telegraph 26th May 2011 more >>

AN average of 550 jobs generating £3 billion worth of wages over 140 years will come to any area which can take a deep nuclear waste repository. A study by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has illustrated the employment and economic benefits which can result from having an engineered underground facilities which would solve a major disposal problem. Says the study: “The highest employment rate during the £12 billion project would come during construction and the early operations stage, when workforce numbers will rise to more than 1,000 staff. Most of these will be directly employed at whatever site is chosen.”

Whitehaven News 26th May 2011 more >>

Sellafield

WEST Cumbria is entering the age of space exploration with the news that cutting-edge technology needed to launch future European space missions is to be developed in the National Nuclear Lab at Sellafield. If successful it will mean radioactive batteries being produced to power new space flights.

Whitehaven News 26th May 2011 more >>

SIR Roger Parker, who headed up The Windscale Inquiry at Whitehaven in 1977, has died at the age of 88.

Whitehaven News 26th May 2011 more >>

Europe

This morning in Vienna was the start of the anti-nuclear alliance in Europe. Ten nuclear-free states – Latvia, Denmark, Malta, Liechtenstein, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Estonia, Cyprus and Luxembourg – were invited by Environment Minister Niki Berlakovich to Vienna, to discuss the possibility of a nuclear-free Europe, nuclear safety and sustainable energy systems. During the meeting, a joint declaration was adopted, which includes the requirement of stress tests as well as the conversion of nuclear power to renewable energy.

Austrian Government 26th May 2011 more >>

Europe’s nuclear power faultlines in the wake of the Fukushima disaster were exposed on Wednesday as Switzerland moved to phase out its nuclear power plants and the extent of British and French lobbying to water down nuclear safety checks was revealed.

Business Green 26th May 2011 more >>

The European Union has finally agreed on a compromise on the guidelines and criteria of the proposed “stress tests” on 143 nuclear power facilities in Europe. The stress tests and viability and safety of nuclear plants became centre stage following the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima power station. Although member states have agreed to hold stress tests, they are divided over whether to include assessments of terrorist threats. The United Kingdom, France, Czech Republic are completely against assessing nuclear facilities for terrorist threats while others such as Austria and Germany want them to be included. So in a compromise, the European Commission has agreed that while stress tests would include both natural and man-made hazards, they would not include preventative measures for terrorist threats.

eGov Monitor 26th May 2011 more >>

Opinion Polls

More people are opposed to nuclear power since the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to an Asahi Shimbun poll survey of seven nations. The poll was conducted in May to gauge public perception of the accident and awareness of the use of nuclear energy to produce electric power. Those who favored the use of nuclear power outnumbered those against in the United States and France, whereas pros and cons were about even in South Korea and China. Opponents outnumbered proponents in Japan, Germany and Russia.

Asahi 27th May 2011 more >>

Japan

The meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant has grave implications for Japan’s planned atomic energy expansion, and also its long-term economic growth IN A CITY where mass demonstrations are rare and generally tame, Tokyo has seen at least four in the past month, all against nuclear power. Thousands of people have marched past the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) shouting slogans at the executives they hold responsible for the world’s worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.

Irish Times 27th May 2011 more >>

Computer analysis of reactor damage at Fukushima Daiichi has indicated more serious fuel melt has probably occurred than previously thought at units 2 and 3.

World Nuclear News 26th May 2011 more >>

Radioactive water appears to be leaking from a waste disposal building at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear complex, operator Tokyo Electric Power said on Thursday, in a new setback to the battle to contain radiation from the crippled power plant.

IB Times 26th May 2011 more >>

Two weeks ago Greenpeace released preliminary results from our marine radiation monitoring work off the coast of Japan, near the melted-down and leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. These results showed worrying levels of radioactive contamination in seaweed – a staple of the Japanese diet. After having difficulties finding a lab in Japan to do detailed analysis, we sent samples of seaweed, fish, and shellfish collected by our radiation monitoring teams both onshore and on the Rainbow to professional labs in France and Belgium. The results of the details analysis are back – and we can say that the situation in the ocean along the Fukushima coast is worse than we originally thought. The new data shows that some seaweed contamination levels are not only 50 times higher than safety limits – far higher than our initial measurements showed – but also that the contamination is spreading over a wide area, and accumulating in sea life, rather than simply dispersing like the Japanese authorities originally claimed would happen.

Greenpeace 26th May 2011 more >>

The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Thursday detailed a new leak of radioactive water as Greenpeace slammed the country’s “inadequate response” to a growing threat to sea water and health. And in an embarrassing reversal, Tokyo Electric Power officials changed a key element of an account of the early response to the crisis it had given on Saturday as part of a government investigation into the accident. Tokyo Electric said up to 57 tonnes of highly contaminated water had leaked from a storage facility into a trench. It vowed to step up monitoring of groundwater. The disclosure raises the stakes in a race to complete by next month a system to decontaminate a massive pool of radioactive water at the site that critics see as a growing risk to both the Pacific and groundwater. In early April, the utility dumped about 10,000 tonnes of radioactive water into the ocean, prompting criticism from neighbours China and South Korea. Environmental group Greenpeace said seaweed had been found with radiation levels 60 times higher than official limits, raising concerns about risks from contaminated sea water more than two months after the Fukushima-Daiichi plant was hit by an earthquake and tsunami.

Reuters 26th May 2011 more >>

Russia

A quarter of a century after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster sent a radioactive cloud over Europe, Russia is casting itself as a champion of stricter safety standards for the atomic energy industry.

Reuters 26th May 2011 more >>

Thorium

What if there existed a means of nuclear power generationin which risks were drastically reduced? The answer could be thorium – an element occurring as a silvery metal that’s more abundant, cleaner and can produce more bang-per-buck in energy terms than uranium. So how does thorium differ from uranium and plutonium, and why isn’t it being used? First, a quick run-down on how nuclear energy works.

Gizmag 26th May 2011 more >>

Electricity Grids

Eurotunnel has unveiled plans to run an electricity link through the Channel Tunnel as part of efforts to bolster UK power supplies. The proposed interconnector cable with France will help to smooth supply volatility relating to offshore wind power, meaning that energy generated from places where the wind is blowing can be shared around.

Independent 27th May 2011 more >>

Telegraph 26th May 2011 more >>

Times 27th May 2011 more >>

Renewables

Japan’s nuclear disaster and political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa have spurred momentum in the global renewables sector, but declining incentives and access to finance remain obstacles to growth, according to Ernst & Young. The consultancy said the post-Fukushima nuclear backlash combined with uncertainty over oil supply following revolution in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), prompted a rethink among many countries about the optimal energy mix and the role of renewables in electricity generation.

Environmental Finance 26th May 2011 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Incentives, such as garden makeovers and fruit and veg vouchers, could help home-owners invest in energy efficiency measures, a pilot scheme has shown. The trial by the University of Salford set out to discover if non-cash incentives could change attitudes. Studies have estimated that 70% of homes in 2050 have already been built. Experts warn that unless existing homes are “retro-fitted” with energy saving devices, then the UK will not meet its target of cutting CO2 emissions by 80% in the middle of this century from 1990 levels.

BBC 27th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 27 May 2011

26 May 2011

New Nukes

EDF Energy has confirmed it will continue with plans for four new nuclear reactors, including procurement of contractors to build the facilities. Chief executive Vincent de Rivaz made the statement after the government’s chief nuclear inspector found there was no reason to curtail the operation of UK nuclear facilities based on the direct causes of the Fukushima disaster. Major contracts have yet to be awarded at the site, including the main civils works worth more than £1.6bn. In the spring, Kier and BAM Nuttall were revealed as preferred bidders for a £100m earthworks contract. EDF Energy’s plans at Hinkley Point C could still be complicated by three Somerset councils which have refused to accept a proposed £100m investment in the region, including a £20m community fund. Somerset County, Sedgemoor District and West Somerset councils have yet to award planning permission for preliminary works on the site.

Construction News 26th May 2011 more >>

Green Investment Bank

Adrian Montague: The scope of the new bank’s activities has been pretty widely debated, so it’s important to be clear that the sectors it will prioritise are offshore wind, non-domestic energy efficiency and some waste projects. I’m quite well known in the Department from my days as Chairman of British Energy, and therefore we also need to be clear that nuclear projects are not on the list.

BIS 24th May 2011 more >>

Vince Cable: The initial analysis suggests that nuclear power would not be an appropriate sector for the bank’s investment, but in the very long run we are not ruling out particular possibilities, including nuclear. It is not part of the bank’s immediate planning, however.

Hansard Column 794 24th May 2011 more >>

Radwaste

In February 2011 CoRWM wrote to Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: Cumbria, an NDA-funded so-called ‘Partnership’, to assert that there was no basis for Prof David Smythe’s view regarding the unsuitability of West Cumbria. CoRWM wrote: “there is presently no credible scientific case to support the contention that all of West Cumbria is geologically unsuitable”. David Smythe has now refuted the bald assertion above with a detailed 35-page review of the geology and hydrogeology of Cumbria. He sent the review both to MRWS and to CoRWM on 12 April 2011.

David Smythe 12th April 2011 more >>

Plans for low-level radioactive waste disposal to be allowed at a landfill site in Northamptonshire have been given the go-ahead by the government. The decision for Kings Cliffe near Peterborough follows a two-year stand-off between the hazardous waste company Augean and campaigners. Some 98% of people who voted in local referendums opposed the plans. This was seen as a test case for waste companies and for the government’s proclaimed localism commitment.

BBC 25th May 2011 more >>

Metro 25th May 2011 more >>

Rutland Times 25th May 2011 more >>

Augean, the hazardous waste specialist, jumped 19.8 per cent to 33¼p after government gave permission for low-level nuclear waste disposal at the company’s landfill site near Peterborough. Stockbroker Killik said the news was transformational for the company.

FT 25th May 2011 more >>

There is another row in Cumbria after the Environment Agency gave the go-ahead last month for a permit to dispose radioactive waste at the Lillyhall landfill site, from the Sellafield nuclear complex. Augean, the waste management outfit, is expected to bring waste in to the East Northamptonshire site at King’s Cliffe by road from Harwell in Oxfordshire, which was established in 1946 as Britain’s first atomic energy research establishment. But local fears that the facility could also be used for waste created at other nuclear plants such as Bradwell in Essex. Louise Bagshaw, MP for nearby Corby told the BBC the decision undermined the government’s professed commitment to localism. “We had a local referendum at the ballot box, not a petition, actual votes cast and 96% of people were against this dump. I will be asking the secretary of state why his department has taken this appalling decision.”

Guardian 25th May 2011 more >>

Weightman Report

British nuclear plants could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks, power failures, severe natural disasters and hydrogen explosions, according to evidence from industry experts submitted to the government’s review of nuclear safety after the Fukushima accident in Japan. Submissions to the review, being conducted by the head of the newly-formed Office for Nuclear Regulation, Dr Mike Weightman, were published online last week but have since been withdrawn. They highlight a series of previously unpublicised concerns from nuclear insiders. In one submission, Robert Quayle, who says that he was for 15 years a member of the emergency response team at the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, warns of the dangers of terrorists causing a power blackout. They could do this, he says, by disabling back-up power systems and downing pylons without breaching the site security fence. That would mean that emergency diesel generators would have to be brought in from Manchester or Newcastle to keep vital safety systems going, which could take hours. According to Quayle, who is now a consultant to the engineering company, Babcock, this scenario was apparently discussed by engineering teams at Sellafield “some years ago”. He concludes: “It was considered that there is the potential for severe damage that could readily and easily be caused, without gaining access to the secure areas, and the impact would not only be to the site but also the surrounding areas.”

Rob Edwards.com 25 May 2011 more >>

Stress Tests

Europe may take action to shut plants temporarily or decommission them entirely if it finds any of Britain’s existing 10 stations to be lacking in safety features. Gunther Oettinger, Europe’s energy commissioner, said yesterday that all plants, regardless of their age, must be tested for resilience to natural threats. However, the stations will not be tested for their ability to withstand terrorism, as some green groups had demanded, since protection from attacks will be left to national security forces.

Telegraph 26th May 2011 more >>

Austrian Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich welcomed Wednesday a deal to conduct EU-wide safety checks on nuclear plants, saying it marked the start of a new era in nuclear safety in Europe. The deal was a “complete success” and met all of Austria’s demands, Berlakovich told a news conference. Austria has long been opposed to nuclear energy and does not have a single atomic power plant in operation. It had been pressing for tests to be conducted on atomic power stations in Europe to assess their resistance in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan. Earlier this month, Berlakovich insisted the tests also take into account man-made events such as a plane crash, a cyber attack and terrorism.

EU Business 25th May 2011 more >>

Europe’s nuclear power faultlines in the wake of the Fukushima disaster were exposed on Wednesday as Switzerland moved to phase out its nuclear power plants and the extent of British and French lobbying to water down nuclear safety checks was revealed. The UK, with the backing of France and the Czech Republic, managed to have terror attacks excluded from a series of new nuclear safety tests ordered after the Japanese tsunami led to radiation leaks from Fukushima nuclear reactors in March.

Guardian 25th May 2011 more >>

‘Stress testing’ of the European Union’s 143 nuclear power reactors will not specifically include terrorism after that idea was rejected by national safety regulators. Instead, the tests will focus on the aspects of nuclear plant safety highlighted by the Fukushima accident: earthquakes and flooding as natural events, as well as loss of safety functions and severe accident management following any initiating event.

World Nuclear News 25th May 2011 more >>

European nuclear watchdogs have agreed details of new safety checks on the region’s 143 reactors and said a group would be set up to deal with the risks of a nuclear crisis arising from a terrorist attack.

Guardian 25th May 2011 more >>

STV 25th May 2011 more >>

It is reported that the Sellafield plant in England will not be included in a round of stress tests on nuclear facilities across Europe. Authorities in Britain have apparently decided to exclude Sellafield from the review, because it only reprocesses nuclear fuel, and does not generate power anymore. However, a spokesperson for the Irish Department of the Environment has told the Irish Times that Minister Phil Hogan was led to believe just two months ago that Sellafield would be included in the tests.

Evening Echo 26th May 2011 more >>

Torness

Old footage of the May 1979 Demonstration.

Vimeo May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Somerset has the perfect opportunity to become a world leader in low-carbon technology, top civil servant Hergen Haye told delegates at a major business conference. Mr Haye, head of nuclear new build at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, said cutting carbon emissions and saving energy provides the county with “a huge challenge and fantastic business opportunity.” The proposed building of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has already led developer EDF to plough funds into an energy skills centre at Bridgwater College. He added it can be the catalyst for developing a cluster of businesses specialising in technology which Britain, and the world, must have to tackle the problems of climate change.

This is Somerset 25th May 2011 more >>

Planning

The first abbreviation is ‘NPS’ – National Policy Statement. There are going to be 10 or 11 of these: the first seven were published in draft in November 2009; six of these were republished in October 2010 and one more was published in November 2010. The remaining three or four will be published over the next year or so. These will set out national policy on a particular area of national infrastructure in a single accessible document, and will state to a greater or lesser degree what infrastructure is needed over the next 15-20 years, and set out the impacts of the infrastructure that should be addressed by project promoters when making applications, and the Infrastructure Planning Commission when considering them.

Bircham Dyson Bell 25th May 2011 more >>

Companies

The Shaw Group has won a contract from SMR, a subsidiary of Holtec International, to provide phase I engineering support services for a new 140MW small modular nuclear power reactor, the Holtec Inherently Safe Modular Underground Reactor (HI-SMUR). Shaw will develop the conceptual design of the balance of plant and support systems to advance the HI-SMUR toward eventual commercial application. The company will also prepare an overall design basis, support licensing activities and evaluate plant layouts and optimization of plant output.

Energy Business Review 25th May 2011 more >>

Old Reactors

Climate change poses a serious threat to the future safety of nuclear power plants, a UK-based researcher has warned in a respected science journal. Natalie Kopytko says there are “serious doubts” that nuclear can cope with our changing global weather. Often touted as the solution to global warming by pundits, including recent convert George Monbiot, nuclear power could instead be one of its first victims, writes Kopytko of the University of York’s environment department in the New Scientist. Nuclear power plants are vulnerable because they depend on access to huge volumes of water which they need to cool their reactors – and to power in order to pump that water. It was after both these vital links were severed in an earthquake and tsunami that the Fukushima 1 plant in Japan went so disastrously awry.

First Post 25th May 2011 more >>

Japan

Sales of Geiger counters have soared amongst a nervous Japanese public and despite efforts by the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. to play down fears over the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear reactor.

Telegraph 26th May 2011 more >>

The Fukushima crisis is exactly the kind of disaster that Japan’s anti-nuclear lobby has been warning of for decades. The Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC), a Tokyo-based network of scientists, activists and concerned citizens, spearheads the movement for a non-nuclear Japan. It has repeatedly warned that Japan’s nuclear power plants will, over their operating lives, experience stronger earthquakes and larger tsunamis than they were designed to withstand.

New Internationalist 1st May 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Co. is fast running out of places to stash highly radioactive water from the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and may soon be unable to prevent leaks into the ocean.

Asahi 25th May 2011 more >>

Japan’s atomic energy specialists are discussing a plan to make the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant a storage site for radioactive waste from the crippled station run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. The Atomic Energy Society of Japan is considering the proposal, and building a repository would cost several trillion yen, Muneo Morokuzu, a professor of energy and environmental public policy at the University of Tokyo, said in an interview yesterday. The society comprises more than 7,000 nuclear researchers and engineers and makes recommendations to the government on atomic energy policy.

Bloomberg 26th May 2011 more >>

Despite the managed media campaign by Tokyo Electric Company, the Japanese government and nuclear industry flacks worldwide, the 11 March 9.0 on the Richter scale earthquake, followed by a tsunami that off-lined TEPCO’s six reactor Daiichi Fukushima nuclear power complex represents a global mortal blow to the nuclear power industry, which had been optimistic of a renaissance following worldwide concerns about global warming. While TEPCO’s PR spin doctors along with Japanese government flacks will continue to parsimoniously dribble out information about the real situation at the stricken reactors while blandly assuring the Japanese population and the world that all is well even as nuclear lobbyists bleat “it can’t happen here,” all but the most obtuse are beginning to realize that catastrophes at nuclear power facilities, whether man-made (Chernobyl) or natural (Fukushima) have radioactive pollution consequences of potentially global significance.

IB Times 26th May 2011 more >>

Two of the damaged reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan may be riddled with holes, according to the facility’s owner. The holes may be as big as 7 to 10 centimeters ( 2.8- 3.9 inches), Tokyo Electric Power Co. said in a 225-page document submitted to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

CNN 25th May 2011 more >>

Switzerland

The Swiss government decided on Wednesday to phase out nuclear power by 2034 after the Japan disaster shook public confidence in the industry, but said it will not shut any existing power plants prematurely. The Swiss government suspended the approvals process for three new nuclear power stations in March pending a review into safety after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant.

Reuters 25th May 2011 more >>

FT 25th May 2011 more >>

World Nuclear News 25th May 2011 more >>

BBC 25th May 2011 more >>

Syria

A remote desert site in Syria that was bombed by Israeli planes in September 2007 was “very likely” a nuclear reactor, the UN atomic watchdog said Tuesday.

Middle East Online 25th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Testing

The clock, which is located in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, was reset to from 251 to 54, the number of days that have passed since the last US nuclear tests took place.It is the 14th time the clock has been reset since it was created by a peace group and opened at the museum on August 6 2001, the 56th anniversary of the city’s atomic bombing. The most recent US nuclear tests took place last November and in March this year at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, using equipment capable of generating the world’s strongest X-Rays to simulate a nuclear fusion.

Telegraph 25th May 2011 more >>

A group of anti-nuclear protesters staged a sit-in in the Japanese city of Hiroshima against new nuclear experiments conducted by the United States.

Telegraph 25th May 2011 more >>

NUCLEAR test veterans have been offered fresh hope after the Supreme Court set aside a full day to hear an appeal against a legal setback to their battle for compensation.

Burton Mail 25th May 2011 more >>

Renewables

Solar power may be cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear reactors within three to five years because of innovations, said Mark M. Little, the global research director for General Electric Co. (GE). “If we can get solar at 15 cents a kilowatt-hour or lower, which I’m hopeful that we will do, you’re going to have a lot of people that are going to want to have solar at home,”

Bloomberg 26th May 2011 more >>

Energy Strategy

Letter Ruth Chambers: The competition to find new pylon designs that has been launched by the National Grid and the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, is very welcome, but we must not let it detract from the real issues facing the nation’s landscapes. Surely the growing concern about the landscape impact of connecting new generations of nuclear and renewable energy power stations should lead to a more fundamental look at the strategy for generating the energy that we need and using it more wisely? With several national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty in the firing line for new pylon connections, updated designs are unlikely to address public concern about landscape impact – but a rethinking of the location of electricity generation and a more joined-up approach to generation and transmission would be a good start.

Guardian 26th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 26 May 2011

25 May 2011

New Nukes

Plans by E.ON and RWE to build new nuclear reactors in Britain are in limbo because of the backlash against nuclear power in Germany after the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdown, The Times has learnt. Bankers and industry sources also said that the cash-strapped RWE would struggle to fund its share of the multibillion-pound programme even if it went ahead. Horizon, the British new-build joint venture set up by the two German companies, had been due to award the contract to build its first reactors on Anglesey early this year. Work is still under way to assess competing bids from two consortiums, fronted by the reactor groups Areva and Westinghouse, to build them. But a decision is now not expected this year, according to several sources. One source close to RWE’s supervisory board, whose approval is necessary for strategic moves, said that the contract would not be awarded in the next “three to six months, at the earliest”. The source said that taking such steps to build new reactors overseas while the industry was under a cloud in Germany would be seen domestically as “politically provocative”. there is fierce lobbying going on behind the scenes directed at Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister, who is drawing up a White Paper to reform the electricity market. RWE is furious about the Government’s carbon tax, which has made its task of convincing the board in Germany to back new- build plans more difficult. Putting a floor under the price of carbon to support nuclear power also penalises coal plants, which RWE relies on to generate much of its electricity. It will also result in a windfall for its competitor EDF Energy, which owns British Energy, the nuclear generator.

Times 25th May 2011 more >>

THE accident at the Fukushima power plant in Japan has led to much discussion about the future of nuclear power. I believe one important lesson of the accident has been overlooked. Nuclear power is often touted as a solution to climate change, but Fukushima serves as a warning that far from solving the climate problem, nuclear power may be highly vulnerable to it. Of course, the emergency in Japan was caused by an earthquake and tsunami. But the effects of climate change could cause very similar problems. Two facts that everyone should now know about nuclear power are that it needs access to large volumes of water to cool the reactor and a supply of energy to move the water.

New Scientist 24th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Subsidy

The UK Government coalition agreement was clear – no public subsidies for new reactors. The Government is planning to force consumers to subsidise nuclear power, driving an extra million into fuel poverty, whilst failing to implement a comprehensive energy efficiency programme. Any limit on liability on the costs of nuclear accidents eases the burden on nuclear operators. Paying for commercial insurance could add around half a euro to the cost of a unit of electricity, making new reactors unviable. And offering new nuclear operators a fixed unit price for the cost of spent fuel management and disposal represents a subsidy of around £427 million per reactor.

No2nuclearpower briefing 24th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Research

Professor Sir John Beddington, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) will appear before the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on Tuesday 24 May. He will be questioned about setting departmental science budgets and the appointments of chief scientific advisers. He will then be joined by Professor David MacKay, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, and they will be quizzed on the UK nuclear research and development capabilities.

Lords Select Committee 24th May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Low-level radioactive gas and effluent could be released into the sea under proposals for decommissioning a West nuclear power station. The proposals, by Magnox, the company which manages the decommissioning of Hinkley Point A in Somerset, are still being developed. The effluent and hydrogen gas would be byproducts of a process to reduce the bulk of some intermediate level nuclear waste by dissolving it in acid. Outer fins from Magnox fuel casings would be among the material to be reduced. The sludge which remained after processing would be stored on site before finally being stored at a national site which has yet to be established. The effluent would be treated by existing site water treatment plant before being discharged into the sea.

This is Somerset 24th May 2011 more >>

Burnham-on-sea.com 23rd May 2011 more >>

Hartlepool

THE owner of Hartlepool Power Station has welcomed the interim report into the implications of events at Fukushima, and pledged to implement all its recommendations. EDF Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz praised the high quality of Dr Mike Weightman’s work as he welcomed the interim conclusions that the UK nuclear power industry has reacted “responsibly and appropriately” to events in Japan, “displaying a leadership for safety and a strong safety culture”.

Evening Gazette 24th May 2011 more >>

Radwaste

A DECISION on whether a company can dump nuclear waste at a site in King’s Cliffe has been delayed. Augean hopes to secure permission to dump low level waste at its East Northants Resource Management Facility in the village. Local government minister Eric Pickles was due to make a decision on the plans today (Tuesday) but campaigners have since heard that his announcement has been deferred until Wednesday. Northampton County Council refused to grant planning permission and Augean bosses failed to overturn the decision at a planning inquiry in November. The community then took part in a referendum on the plans last month where 98 per cent of people voted against them.

Rutland and Stamford Mercury 24th May 2011 more >>

Companies

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power producer, will focus development on nuclear energy even after the disaster in Japan threatens to delay new projects and tighten safety rules. EDF should be a world “reference” for nuclear energy as the state-run utility enters a period of uncertainty following the accident, Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio told an annual shareholders’ meeting in Paris today. “Safe nuclear generation is possible.”

Bloomberg 24th May 2011 more >>

Utility EDF said it would invest in gas and renewable energies while forging ahead with its core nuclear power business, as the former French monopoly vies to be the world’s biggest provider of electricity by 2020.

Reuters 24th May 2011 more >>

TOSHIBA said yesterday it may not reach its target of 39 orders for nuclear reactors until two to three years later than expected, and that it would increase focus on renewables as the crisis rumbles on at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Despite the setback, Toshiba said it aims to more than double its operating profit to 500bn yen (£3.7bn) by the year to March 2014.

City AM 25th May 2011 more >>

Business Green 24th May 2011 more >>

BBC 24th May 2011 more >>

In a new report from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd (DTTL), suggests the recent natural disasters that led to a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan will have far-reaching impacts on the global nuclear power industry. The report, titled Empowering ideas 2011: A look at 10 of the emerging issues in the power and utilities sector,, offers insights into issues and trends in the coming year and identifies opportunities. This includes the high growth of unconventional gas and challenges related to the security of energy supplies.

The Engineer 24th May 2011 more >>

Japan

In a belated acknowledgment of the severity of Japan’s nuclear disaster, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said Tuesday that three of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant’s reactors most likely suffered fuel meltdowns in the early days of the crisis.

New York Times 24th May 2011 more >>

Worls Socialist Web 25th May 2011 more >>

Guardian 24th May 2011 more >>

Experts from the Vienna headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday to study the nuclear situation in Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear plant, IAEA said in a statement. The IAEA mission consists of a team of nuclear experts from 12 countries who will prepare a report for the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety at IAEA headquarters in Vienna on 20 to 24 June, it said.

IB Times 25th May 2011 more >>

Few days pass without news that makes us wonder if the government is telling the truth about the disastrous nuclear accident triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake. On May 23, the Lower House special committee on reconstruction from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami asked about the government’s suspected involvement in the decision to temporarily suspend the injection of seawater into a crippled reactor the day after the accident broke out at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The government said it was a voluntary decision by the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). But the answers from government officials to the questions failed to dispel suspicions that the prime minister’s office influenced the company’s decision. It is easy to imagine the utter confusion within the government and TEPCO at that time. Efforts to uncover what actually happened should be made carefully. That is all the more reason why it is essential to get an independent entity to look into the nuclear crisis in an inquiry clearly separated from policy debate on recovery and rebuilding in the devastated areas.

Asahi 25th May 2011 more >>

The nuclear crisis triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami has made it difficult for Japan to build new atomic power plants, Prime Minister Naoto Kan suggested in an interview with the Financial Times citing the experience of the United States after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. Kan was quoted Tuesday by a Japanese government official as telling the British newspaper that Japan will depend less on nuclear energy and focus more on natural energy and energy-saving efforts in light of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi complex.

Japan Today 25th May 2011 more >>

More than 160 nuclear and civil engineers over the age of 60 are planning to set up a Skilled Veterans Corps to assist restoring control over crucial cooling functions at the tsunami-hit nuclear power plant. Decades of professional engineering expertise combined with a desire to protect younger workers from radiation exposure have united the elderly workers in a desire to help fix the plant. The idea was masterminded by Yasuteru Yamada, 72, a retired engineer formerly working in plant construction, who was alarmed by reports of young subcontractors, some unskilled in this field, undertaking the high-risk work.

Telegraph 25th May 2011 more >>

Kaliningrad

France’s EDF and Italy’s Enel are among companies in talks with Russia’s Rosatom on a stake in its planned nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad, Rosatom official said on Monday. Head of Rosatom’s marketing and business development department Alexei Kalinin said on the sidelines of the Nuclear Energy Congress in Warsaw that Rosatom will certainly maintain at least 51 percent stake in the power plant.

Reuters 23rd May 2011 more >>

Syria

A Syrian site bombed by Israel in 2007 was “very likely” to have been a nuclear reactor which should have been declared, the U.N. atomic agency said in a report, an assertion which may lead to Damascus being referred to the U.N. Security Council.

Telegraph 24th May 2011 more >>

BBC 24th May 2011 more >>

US

A report from the Institute for Policy Studies says that the spent nuclear fuel currently stored in pools at dozens of sites in the U.S. poses a danger and should be moved into dry storage as soon as possible. The report, authored by Robert Alvarez, who served as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration, says the problem is that too often the spent fuel pools are storing more fuel — and more highly radioactive fuel — than they were designed for. Alvarez also says there have been at least 10 incidents in the last decade in which the spent fuel pool lost a significant amount of water, and there are other cases in which the systems that keep the pools functioning as they should are under strain. Much of this, he says, is simply because most of the pools in the country are at capacity already.

IB Times 24th May 2011 more >>

Iran

The U.N. nuclear watchdog has received new information about possible military aspects to Iran’s atomic activities, adding to concerns Iran may be working to develop a nuclear-armed missile, the agency said in a report.

STV 24th May 2011 more >>

Italy

The Italian government has won a confidence vote on measures that include shelving plans to build new nuclear power plants. The prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has been an advocate of nuclear power, but he decided to scrap the construction of new nuclear plants amid mounting public concern after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima reactor. He has said the situation will be reassessed in one or two years’ time. The government hopes shelving its nuclear plans will avoid a referendum on the issue, which is due on June 12. It won the confidence vote on Tuesday by 313 votes to 291.

Guardian 24th May 2011 more >>

Green Bank

The former chairman of the nuclear operator British Energy, Sir Adrian Montague, has been appointed to direct the establishment of the Green Investment Bank. The institution will prioritise investment in offshore wind, energy efficiency and waste. However, Mr Cable said he envisaged the bank funding a range of projects in the future including rail developments and nuclear power. He said its purpose would be to “tackle risks which the private sector cannot adequately finance”.

Telegraph 25th May 2011 more >>

Flood defences and nuclear power are expected to receive funding from the green investment bank, according to detailed plans for the new institution set out on Tuesday by Vince Cable, the business secretary. Cable also announced that Sir Adrian Montague, a City of London grandee, would be the first de facto chairman of the bank, in the first formal step towards establishing the institution. He will initially be chair of an advisory group rather than a formal board for the bank, because the government must satisfy EU state aid rules before it can formally set up the bank. Sir Adrian is chairman of venture capital group 3i, and formerly worked for British Energy and Network Rail, as well as serving as chief executive of the Private Finance Initiative Taskforce at the Treasury.

Guardian 24th May 2011 more >>

Trident

History can repeat itself. Looks like the Lib Dems are set to run a replay of Whitehall’s great Trident debate from 30 years ago – a thrilling tale involving secret studies by civil servants, party leaders going behind the backs of their grass roots and an outgoing Labour prime minister ordering officials to help his Tory rival, Margaret Thatcher. Well, it may not be as exciting and devious this time round, but there are similarities. Nick Harvey, Lib Dem armed services minister, has told the Financial Times that he is asking military intelligence and the Cabinet Office for fresh advice on Trident. Under the coalition deal the Lib Dems can have a separate position to the Tories on the UK nuclear deterrent – hence the review. Mr Harvey’s Tory boss, Liam Fox, backs Trident. The Lib Dem grass roots are against. It is all reminiscent of Labour in the 1970s.

FT 24th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 25 May 2011

24 May 2011

New Nukes

Tony Roulstone MA CEng FIMechE MIET is delivering a lecture tomorrow entitled ‘Fukushima — new wine in old wineskins?’ Taking place at IMechE, central London, the free lecture is based on the premise that events at Fukushima have cast doubts over the inevitability of a nuclear renaissance. The event’s publicity material states: ‘The scale of the accident, involving multiple reactors and the way it ran across the global news for weeks…has challenged the idea that the nuclear industry has learned the lessons and is now a safe-and-sound means of generating electricity.’ Roulstone’s talk will focus of what went wrong at Fukushima and the response from Japanese authorities, moving on to consider whether the effects of the accident might be felt more by old reactors such as those at Fukushima, or newer ones such as those planned to be built in the UK.

The Engineer 23rd May 2011 more >>

Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, has warned that an energy policy founded on nuclear will saddle future generations with a costly debt. Speaking during a special European Greens press briefing on the implications of the Committee for Climate Change’s Renewable Energy Review, the Green MEP argued that the Whitehall preference of nuclear energy places the UK in grave danger of missing out on the economic and environmental benefits that the renewable sector has to offer. Lambert, who is currently involved in new European legislation on nuclear waste management said:

News on news 23rd May 2011 more >>

Senior IChemE members have welcomed a new interim report about the implications of the nuclear crisis in Japan and its impact on the UK nuclear industry. The report, conducted by Michael Weightman, HM chief inspector of nuclear installations, says that there is no need to restrict UK nuclear power following incidents earlier this year at the Fukushima site. Weightman describes the threat of earthquakes and tsunamis like those experienced in Japan as ‘far beyond the most extreme natural events’ likely to be experienced in the UK but does call for revaluation of existing plant safety systems. The report says that there is no need to change the present siting strategies for new nuclear power stations in the UK but for those sites with a flooding risk, detailed consideration may require changes to plant layout and the provision of particular protection against flooding. Bill Harper, Chair of IChemE’s nuclear technology subject group says: “The interim report is a substantial and authoritative piece of work, especially impressive given the short timescales.

Process and Control Today 23rd May 2011 more >>

Electricity Market Reform

The government will introduce a carbon floor price of £16 per tonne from 2013, with the aim of encouraging low-carbon forms of electricity generation, particularly nuclear power. However, the first new reactor will not come into service until 2018. As for why the government was introducing this measure five years earlier, Mr Cridland said: “The answer is because we need the revenues to bring down the deficit … We need to start the carbon floor price late and low. Instead we’re starting it high and early.

FT 23rd May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Plans being developed to deal with nuclear waste at Hinkley Point A in west Somerset will see radioactive gas and liquid released into the sea. The power station began decommissioning in 2001 and is working on a system to put “intermediate” waste in vats of acid to reduce it down. Magnox, the company that manages the site, said there would be no risk to public health or the environment. But a nuclear expert questioned the controls in place at Hinkley Point. Magnox said the process of dissolving materials in acid would give off gas and produce liquid that was radioactive, however those releases would be very low and cause no harm.

BBC 23rd May 2011 more >>

Oldbury

THE Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan will not stop the progression of new nuclear power stations in the UK, including a proposed second plant at Oldbury. An interim report into the events at the Japanese nuclear plant has made 25 recommendations that existing and future nuclear power plants need to consider, and has said stations can continue to operate.

Gloucestershire Gazette 23rd May 2011 more >>

Japan

The operator of a damaged nuclear power station in north-eastern Japan said Tuesday a partial fuel meltdown was believed to have taken place at two more reactors at the plant. The latest update suggested that three of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant were believed to have suffered fuel meltdowns after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant.

Monsters and Critics 24th May 2011 more >>

BBC 24th May 2011 more >>

The government has discovered thousands of cases of workers at nuclear power plants outside Fukushima Prefecture suffering from internal exposure to radiation after they visited the prefecture, the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

Mainichi 21st May 2011 more >>

Japan is considering a plan that would make it compulsory for all new buildings and houses to come fitted with solar panels by 2030, a business daily said Sunday. The plan, expected to be unveiled at the upcoming G8 Summit in France, aims to show Japan’s resolve to encourage technological innovation and promote the wider use of renewable energy, the Nikkei daily said.

AFP 22nd May 2011 more >>

Outraged Japanese parents have held a rowdy demonstration outside the Education Ministry in Tokyo, to protest against the government’s decision to weaken nuclear safety standards in schools. Under the new guidelines, Japanese children can now be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously permissible. The government argues the new rules are essential to keeping schools in the Fukushima region from being forced to close.

ABC 24th May 2011 more >>

France

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has asked the state audit office to perform a detailed study on nuclear plant costs including those for decommissioning and waste storage. In a letter published Sunday, Fillon asked the Cour des Comptes to complete the report by January 31, 2012. The study on long-term costs associated with nuclear power would supplement a separate report by the nuclear regulator ASN on the safety of plants following Japan’s Fukushima disaster, which is to be completed by the end of this year, Fillon said.

Platts 23rd May 2011 more >>

US

Critics of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission received fresh ammunition on Thursday when the agency revealed that many of the nation’s aging nuclear power plants would be ill-equipped to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters. The revelation stood in direct contrast to repeated statements made by the agency — and by the nuclear power industry — in the days and weeks following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. It suffered a partial meltdown, resulting in a massive release of radiation that is still not under control.

Huffington Post 13th May 2011 more >>

Germany

Phasing out nuclear power in the next decade could boost competitiveness and “reap enormous pay-offs for the economy”, Germany’s environment minister has claimed in a powerful snub to critics. Energy generators and industry more widely have warned of price surges and the potential deindustrialisation of Europe’s largest economy.

FT 23rd May 2011 more >>

Germany could face widespread winter blackouts following Angela Merkel’s “knee-jerk” decision to decommission the country’s nuclear power stations, according to German power grid operators. The warning from four energy providers came after the German chancellor suggested she agreed with a proposal to shut down all of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants by 2022.

Guadian 23rd May 2011 more >>

Switzerland

Around 25,000 people joined Switzerland’s biggest anti-nuclear demonstration in a generation on Sunday, waving banners emblazoned with “No thanks to nuclear” and “The future is renewable.”

Morning Star 23rd May 2011 more >>

Test Veterans

VETERANS of nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s have been offered hope after the Supreme Court set aside a full day to hear an appeal against a legal setback to their battle for compensation.

Hemel Today 23rd May 2011 more >>

Green Investment Bank

The UK’s green investment bank will be investing in UK low-carbon infrastructure projects within a year, and is expected to have assisted in injecting £15bn into the green economy within four years, Nick Clegg told a City of London audience on Monday. Green investors, businesses and campaigners welcomed the announcements, which met most of the criteria they had set out for a fully functioning green bank. Ed Matthew, director of Transform UK, a green campaigning organisation, said: “Confirmation of legislation and full, independent borrowing powers is a major step forward. It is absolutely critical to ensure the bank is an enduring institution, operationally independent and able to maximise its leverage from the capital markets. It will give a real boost to investor confidence in the institution.” In a further boost to green campaigners, the bank may be used to help finance the green deal scheme, by which householders will have access to loans to carry out energy efficiency refurbishment, paying back the loans in instalments through their energy bills. Campaigners had warned that the green deal would not work if private sector providers were able to charge commercial rates of interest on the loans, as the interest payments would outweigh the savings on energy bills.

Guardian 23rd May 2011 more >>

Posted: 24 May 2011

23 May 2011

Decommissioning Costs

The Treasury is refusing to hand over nearly £7 billion from the sale of British Energy to the Energy Department, even though the cash pile is earning such meagre returns that future generations may be forced to pick up the nuclear generator’s huge decommissioning bill. The Nuclear Liabilities Fund was set up by the Government to cover the cost of decommissioning British Energy’s eight reactors. All of the state’s shares in the generator were sold by January 2009, producing £6.8 billion for the fund. But because three of the fund’s five trustees are appointed by the Government, and because DECC ultimately underwrites it, the fund is classified as a public sector body. That means the Treasury has been able to hoard the cash in the public sector account, despite protests from the energy department and the Public Accounts Committee. Leaving the money there helps to reduce the deficit, but brings in a return of only about 0.5 per cent. The nuclear fund’s chairman believes the trust should be able to make long-term higher return investments to match liabilities that will stretch beyond 100 years in a similar way to sovereign wealth funds. The fund’s total assets are £8.5 billion, just over double its current estimated decommissioning liabilities. But decommissioning costs have been above inflation for several years, and huge uncertainty remains over how much the work will cost in the decades ahead.

Times 23rd May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Ant-nuclear campaigners have this week released a new study showing the effects of a hige tsunami hitting Hinkley Point power station.

Burnham-on-sea.com 21st May 2011 more >>

Plutonium

Letter: The opposition to MOX fuel overlooks the fact that we need to get rid of military plutonium from nuclear warheads. A significant proportion of US electricity is made from Russian warheads. The same technology can turn the Sellafield plutonium into carbon-free energy equivalent to 600 million tonnes of coal. But, given the record at Sellafield, maybe we should put the French in charge of the project. MOX may be more expensive than mined uranium, but this will not remain true if there is an expansion of nuclear energy. Peak oil will soon present us with the choice of expanding nuclear energy or facing a medieval standard of living.

Independent 23rd May 2011 more >>

Uranium

The biggest drop in prices of uranium in two years may be ending as China and India plan atomic power developments that will more than double global production even after Japan’s nuclear disaster. The radioactive metal has slumped 8.7 percent this year, the most since 2009, after tumbling as much as 27 percent as governments reviewed nuclear plants following the Japanese crisis in March, according to prices from MF Global Holdings Inc. China and India will lead a 46 percent increase in consumption by the world’s five biggest atomic-power developers by 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg 23rd May 2011 more >>

Switzerland

About 20,000 people took part in an anti-nuclear demonstration in north Switzerland on Sunday ahead of a government decision on the future of atomic energy in the country. “At least 20,000” protesters joined the march near the town of Doettingen and the Beznau nuclear power plant, Switzerland’s oldest, police and organisers said. “It’s the biggest demonstration in Switzerland against nuclear power since the Fukushima accident (in Japan),” spokeswoman for “Sortons du nuclaire” Maude Poirier told AFP. “These thousands of people who have come are sending a strong signal to the Swiss authorities.

AFP 22nd May 2011 more >>

Japan

Leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea agreed on weekend to facilitate joint programs on renewable energy and energy conservation to avoid excessive dependence on nuclear energy even as they recognize nuclear power as a very important option for many countries.

IB Times 23rd May 2011 more >>

Members of an International Atomic Energy Agency investigation team arrived Monday morning in Japan to conduct fact-finding and assess safety issues at the radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Nikkei 23rd May 2011 more >>

Since 2006, Watanabe has been traveling across the country surveying nuclear power stations built near fault lines. He describes his findings as follows: “The length of an active fault line is a direct factor in the severity of an earthquake.” When assessing a site for a new plant, power companies, “in order to make the impact of potential earthquakes seem as low as possible, will (on paper) divide a fault line into two or more segments. The nuclear power industry even has its own technical term for it: ‘value-cutting.’ It seems unthinkable, and yet it’s surprisingly common.” Prime Minister Naoto Kan, with much fanfare, issued on May 6 an unprecedented request to Chubu Electric Power Co to shut down its nuclear power plant at Hamaoka, Shizuoka Prefecture. The request, though not legally binding, was complied with. How, under the circumstances, could Chubu Electric refuse? If Hamaoka is hit by an earthquake-tsunami event approaching in scale the one that in Fukushima Prefecture is making nonsense of decades of blithe official assurances that nuclear power is safe – and seismologists rate at 87 percent the chance of a major quake occurring near Hamaoka within the next 30 years – Tokyo itself, the heart and lungs of Japan, would suffer what much of Tohoku is now suffering.“It’s not just Hamaoka,” says Watanabe, the Toyo University geologist – who describes himself, incidentally, as “not anti-nuclear.” “To keep running Japan’s nuclear power plants in their current condition is a terrifying prospect. To start with, all nuclear plants near active fault lines need to be shut down.”

Japan Today 22nd May 2011 more >>

Iran

A secret report compiled by Iranian nuclear scientists delivered a stark warning that a future earthquake could have devastating consequences for Iran’s nuclear plant in the Gulf port of Bushehr. “The seismic danger to Iran and its implications for the reactor in Bushehr could be disastrous for Iran, similar to the disaster in Fukushima, Japan,” states the report, which was commissioned shortly after the Japanese reactor was crippled by the tsunami on March 11. But nuclear experts advising the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna report that Iran is pressing ahead with plans to start operating the reactor.

Telegraph 22nd May 2011 more >>

Renewables

Securing investment, jobs and prospects for the next generation requires boldness. The Committee on Climate Changes recent Renewable Energy Market Review reflects a lack of commitment by the UK Government that could suffocate the renewables industry in its infancy. The CCC report says: The precise level of appropriate ambition will become clear over time. But we do not have the luxury of time, politically or environmentally. Someone needs to make long-term decisions on where we invest resources, talents and energy to halt climate change and keep the lights on. Last week, Denmarks Vestas announced 2000 jobs at its new UK offshore turbine blade factor, with the caveat: Policy uncertainty may kill it off … the likely scale of investment in the less mature renewable technologies (eg offshore wind, marine) during the 2020s is very uncertain [reflecting] the lack of policy co mmitment to providing support for new investments beyond 2020. If this Coalition Government fails to put its eggs in the renewables basket today it will rob the UK of the biggest job opportunities for decades. Only certainty will ensure we have the workforce capable of creating, growing and sustaining the sector.

Sunday Herald 22nd May 2011 more >>

Posted: 23 May 2011

22 May 2011

Politics

Chris Huhne has conceded that he may have been driving his car on the day it was caught speeding, after weeks of denials that he broke the law. The energy secretary’s cabinet career is hanging by a thread after allegations that he lied to police about who was behind the wheel. Police have launched a criminal investigation into the claims, which can carry a prison sentence.

Sunday Times 22nd May 2011 more >>

Cumbria

Greenpeace this week unveiled 118 pages of minutes and other documents, mostly obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which it claims undermine the case for a new power station at Sellafield. It hopes the findings might force a rethink of the NuGen consortium’s plan to start building in 2015. In fact, many of Greenpeace’s “revelations” were already public knowledge, such as problems with the site’s geology and difficulties in accessing the National Grid. But the documents do shed light on a behind-the-scenes campaign to promote Sellafield as suitable for nuclear new build against improbable odds. In Jan 2008 Cumbria’s movers and shakers held a ‘nuclear influencing strategy workshop’ at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal. Rosie Mathisen, director of nuclear opportunities at West Lakes Renaissance, was in the chair. Also present were representatives from Copeland, Allerdale and Cumbria County councils, Sellafield unions, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Cumbria Vision, Northwest Development Agency, Invest in Cumbria, and Carl Carter from Copeland MP Jamie Reed’s office. Greenpeace argues that the minutes of these meetings show the ‘expression of interest’ from local authorities in having a long-term waste repository were a smokescreen to promote nuclear new build.

Times & Star 21st May 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Bruce Power still plans to ship nuclear generators to Sweden via the Great Lakes. Officials at the Owen Sound, Ontario, plant just don’t know when that’s going to happen. For now, things are on hold.

Times Herald 21st May 2011 more >>

Weightman Report

The Areva EPR, the Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 PWR and Fukushima – submission by John Busby to the Weightman review.

After Oil 15th April 2011 more >>

Also see submission to NPS consultation.

After Oil 29th December 2009.

more >>

AP1000

U.S. nuclear regulators are demanding more information about Toshiba Corp. (6502)’s new reactor design, potentially delaying its approval for use by power companies such as Southern Co. (SO) and Scana Corp. (SCG) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s review of the AP1000 reactor, developed by Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric Co., has uncovered “additional technical issues,” Gregory Jaczko, the agency’s chairman, said in a statement yesterday. Westinghouse “must prove to our satisfaction that the company has appropriately and completely documented the adequacy of the design,” Jaczko said.

Bloomberg 21st May 2011 more >>

Japan

IAEA’s latest update on the Fukushima crisis.

IB Times 21st May 2011 more >>

The United Nations has launched a broad study of the implications of the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the earthquake and tsunami in March, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced.

AFP 21st May 2011 more >>

Highly contaminated radioactive water that leaked into the sea in earlier May from a pit near a seawater intake of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant totaled 250 tons and contained an estimated 20 terabecquerels of radioactive substances, Tokyo Electric Power Co said Saturday. The estimated amount of radioactive substances from the plant, crippled by the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, is about 100 times the annual allowable limit for release outside the plant, said TEPCO. The leak is estimated to have lasted for 41 hours from 2 a.m. on May 10 through 7 p.m. on the following day, TEPCO said based on its analysis of data showing changes in water levels in the pit.The leak raised the concentration of radioactive substances within the port of the power plant, but the level outside the port did not change significantly, TEPCO said. The leak from near the No. 3 reactor compares with about 500 tons of radioactive water with 4,700 terabecquerels of radioactive substances that leaked from near the No. 2 reactor from April 1 to 6.

Japan Today 22nd May 2011 more >>

Several damaged pipes carrying sea water were found at the No. 5 reactor of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, plant operator Chubu Electric Power Co. said May 20. Damage was found to small pipes running inside the condenser of the boiling water reactor, which turns steam into water after it has been used to power the turbine. At least 20 of the approximately 21,000 titanium pipes, which are 0.5 millimeters thick and have a diameter of 3 centimeters, had cracks or holes in them.

Asahi 22nd May 2011 more >>

Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday backed proposals to shut down all of the country’s 17 nuclear power plants within about a decade. Speaking at a meeting of the Christian Social Union (CSU), Bavarian sister party to her conservatives, Merkel said a 2022 date proposed by the CSU was appropriate and that her government will eventually fix a date for Germany’s nuclear exit.

Reuters 21st May 2011 more >>

Trident

THE Scottish Parliament is to call, for the first time, for the Trident nuclear submarine weapons system to be removed from Scotland. The devolved parliament is to back a formal resolution on the matter soon, with this month’s Scottish elections having returned a majority of parliamentarians who are now opposed to the base at Faslane. The move comes after Defence Secretary Liam Fox last week began the process for a new generation of submarine-based nuclear warheads to replace Trident with the Clyde Naval base at Faslane seen as the only realistic place to house them in the UK. The Scottish Parliament has no say over Trident being based in Scotland, as defence is a matter wholly reserved to the Westminster parliament. However, the SNP will be able to use a resolution to argue that any decision to maintain the nuclear weapons at Faslane goes against the devolved parliam ent’s will, prompting further cross-border tensions. It comes with Alex Salmond set to make a major speech on the constitution tomorrow, setting out his plans for Scottish independence. While Holyrood’s vote will not carry legal force, analysts said last night they expected a Scottish challenge to be added to arguments within the MoD among generals who are privately opposed to Trident’s replacement. Scottish-based campaigners also say the SNP Government should press home its mandate from the Scottish Parliament, once the motion is passed, to make it impossible for warheads to be transported around the country. Brian Larkin, of Trident Ploughshares, said yesterday: “The UK Government currently transports nuclear warheads over Scotland’s roads to Faslane and Coulport. The Scottish Government could refuse to allow that.” But academics have warned that such a non-negotiable stance will massively complicate any attempt by Scotland to secede from the UK. A study by Professor William Walker, professor of International Relations at St Andrew’s Uni versity concluded that, in such negotiations, other EU nations would want to be assured there was an agreement on military relations within the UK. He warned that would be “difficult if Edinburgh was intent on expelling Trident against the will of London”.

Scotland on Sunday 22nd May 2011 more >>

Renewables

SCOTTISHPOWER is this week expected to unveil a multi- million pound partnership in Europe that will help establish its wind power technology on the continent. A deal with a manufacturer to build wind turbines will mark another milestone in the company’s progress in the renewables sector. It is already in talks with Germany and Poland and is now understood to be making inroads into another key European state. The latest project is described as being worth potentially hundreds of millions of pounds and will help establish Glasgow as a key centre for the development of wind energy technology.

Scotland on Sunday 22nd May 2011 more >>

Climate

One British company uses more power than Liverpool and Manchester combined. Little wonder, then, that Ineos, the chemicals giant, is leading the charge against government plans to raise power bills by much more than the rest of Europe is proposing. The firm’s pleas have gained little traction. Last week the government accepted the advice of the Committee on Climate Change to agree a new target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 50% of 1990 levels by 2027. It will make Britain the first country in the world to commit itself to targets beyond 2020. Manufacturers say the move, taken with other plans, including a UK-only carbon tax, will cripple industry. They insist thousands of jobs will be lost as firms move their plants to countries where the cost of doing business is lower.

Sunday Times 22nd May 2011 more >>

Posted: 22 May 2011

21 May 2011

Weightman Report

DECC pages – including correspondence between Mark Higson and Mike Weightmam on the National Policy Statements.

DECC 18th May 2011 more >>

Chris Huhne’s answer to my urgent question yesterday proved that his faith in his new religion is skin deep. The voice of someone in the cabinet who once believed is more useful than a gaggle of politicos who have never believed in anything. Again and again yesterday, he chanted his mantra of no subsidies on nuclear power. Interesting.

Paul Flynn MP Blog 19th May 2011 more >>

New Nukes

MPs have accused the government of planning to subsidise nuclear power despite pledging no public financial support for the industry. The coalition government says it is committed to new nuclear build but has insisted it would not be taxpayer funded. But a report by the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee said hidden subsidies for nuclear will be awarded through government-supported long-term contracts to supply energy, and a minimum price for carbon emissions. It condemned the attempts to hide the subsidies as “deeply irresponsible” and said it put the government’s green credentials in jeopardy.

North West Evening Mail 20th May 2011 more >>

H&V News 20th May 2011 more >>

Parts of the most beautiful countryside in Britain will be blighted by hundreds of miles of electricity pylons in the next few years, campaigners warned yesterday. Energy bosses are planning at least 300 miles of high-voltage power lines to connect new wind farms and the next generation of nuclear power stations to the grid.

Daily Mail 21st May 2011 more >>

Fukushima didn’t kill nuclear power – it was already dead. Christopher Flavin of the World Watch Institute says there wasn’t a revival of nuclear power before the accident. It’s actually a dwindling energy source.

Fast Company 20th May 2011 more >>

The recent devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan have confirmed the worst fears of nuclear power critics. Governments everywhere are re-evaluating their nuclear plans. But are fears of nukes misplaced? Chris Goodall and Jose Etcheverry are both environmentalists – but stand divided on the nuclear debate.

New Internationalist June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Industry Association

Former Cumbrian MP Lord Hutton has been named chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA). The former Barrow MP and energy secretary will take over in mid-June following the end of Lord O’Neill’s three-year tenure at the head of the UK’s nuclear trade association. Lord Hutton was at the forefront of UK energy policy when new nuclear build became official Government policy.

Cumberland News 20th May 2011 more >>

Cumbria

Evidence leaked to Greenpeace and released under the Freedom of Information Act shows local nuclear consultation on nuclear waste disposal is a sham and pro-nuclear lobbyists know Sellafield is not a suitable location for a new reactor. The documents reveal that the three Councils which have made an ‘expression of interest’ in West Cumbria hosting a national nuclear dump secretly view hosting the dump as a ‘trump card’ in getting new reactors at Sellafield.

Greenpeace Briefing 16th May 2011 more >>

Copy of Council Minutes released 16th May 2011 more >>

Copy of Amec Slides released 16th May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Stop Hinkley May Newsletter.

Stop Hinkley 19th May 2011 more >>

Sizewell

The Sizewell B nuclear plant in Suffolk is considered among the most advanced reactors of its kind in the world, according to a report prompted by the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Nuclear chief inspector Mike Weightman’s report, which said none of Britain’s 19 reactors are the “boiling water design” used at Fukushima, has been welcomed by EDF Energy and its partner Centrica in the light of plans to build a third reactor at Sizewell.Charles Barnett, of the Shut Down Sizewell group, said he had no confidence in the report, adding: “The Government is hell-bent on foisting another 10 nuclear power stations on the public. “The report mentions only the tsunami and takes no account of terrorism, which could leave large areas of the country a radioactive desert, or the real chance of mudslides in the Canaries which could generate a tsunami to dwarf that of Japan.”

Eastern Daily Press 20th May 2011 more >>

Civil Nuclear Police

Lieutenant General Sir Philip Trousdell KBE CB has been appointed as interim Chair of the Civil Nuclear Police Authority to take over from Sir Chris Fox, who has stepped down.

DECC Press Release 20th May 2011 more >>

AP1000

In a setback for the only model of nuclear reactor for which ground has been broken in the United States, government regulators have found additional problems with the design of its shield building, a crucial component, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Friday. The chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, said that computations submitted by Westinghouse, the manufacturer of the new AP1000 reactor, about the building’s design appeared to be wrong and “had led to more questions.” He said the company had not used a range of possible temperatures for calculating potential seismic stresses on the shield building in the event of an earthquake, for example.

New York Times 20th May 2011 more >>

Companies

Siemens AG (SIE) will pay France’s Areva SA (CEI) 648 million euros ($927 million) after an arbitration tribunal found the German company failed to meet contractual obligations in a nuclear joint venture that it exited earlier this year.

Bloomberg 19th May 2011 more >>

The government has proposed the most radical reforms of the electricity market since privatisation 20 years ago partly to encourage low carbon generation. Mr Marchant said that SSE’s priority would be to capitalise on its expertise in renewable energy, particularly by expanding offshore wind generation, while being cautious about investing in new nuclear power stations. The aim was to have “more than our fair share of renewables and less than our fair share of nuclear”. Mr Marchant added: “We have no experience in running a nuclear plant, so we would inevitably be the junior partner of a consortium, whereas in renewables, we could be leading a consortium.

FT 20th May 2011 more >>

Radhealth

A study to assess cancer risks in people living near nuclear plants and facilities will begin with a public meeting Monday that will be shown via a live video webcast.

The Tennessean 20th May 2011 more >>

Japan

The operator of Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant has announced record losses of 1.25 trillion yen (£9.5bn) as it counts the cost of ongoing efforts to contain the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

Guardian 20th May 2011 more >>

FT 21st May 2011 more >>

IAEA Update on the status of the reactors.

IB Times 21st May 2011 more >>

TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, used to be in the business of supplying energy to the world’s largest metropolis and its environs. Ten weeks after the disaster at its Fukushima nuclear power plant following the March 11th quake and tsunami, its primary activity is transforming into a massive financial-compensation vehicle, with a power company on the side.

The Economist 20th May 2011 more >>

As more people are forced to leave their homes around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, anger is growing in a farming community forced to make the agonising decision whether to slaughter livestock or face ruin.

AFP 20th May 2011 more >>

Damage to pipes inside a turbine steam condenser has been discovered following the leak of seawater into a reactor at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, its operator Chubu Electric Power Co said Friday. The utility will investigate the cause of the damage as the pipes, measuring 3 centimeters in diameter through which cooling seawater flows in the condenser, may have fractured.

Japan Today 21st May 2011 more >>

The president of the Japanese utility that runs a tsunami-devastated nuclear plant resigned in disgrace on Friday after reporting the biggest financial losses in company history, saying he was stepping down to take responsibility for the ongoing crisis.

Telegraph 20th May 2011 more >>

Sky News 20th May 2011 more >>

Reuters 20th May 2011 more >>

Independent 21st May 2011 more >>

US

Nuclear Regulatory Commission still insists that US nuclear plants with same design as Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi facility are safe. But watchdog groups cite failed venting system, which led to hydrogen explosions.

Christian Science Monitor 20th May 2011 more >>

Germany

From Saturday only four of the 17 nuclear plants will be operating. It threatens serious power shortages if the weather does not cooperate.

Die Welt 20th May 2011 more >>

France

A NUCLEAR waste treatment plant in Basse-Normandie has been rapped for under-declaring dangerous incidents. In its report for 2010 on nuclear installations in Normandy the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) said Areva’s plant at Beaumont-Hague in the Manche was had an “unsatisfactory” record last year when it came to its declarations process. Last year there were 58 “events” in total compared to only 25 the year before at the plant, which is one of the sites which houses the most radioactive material in the world. Out of these, six were classed at 1, the rest at 0. The plant last had a level 2 incident in 2009.

Connexion 20th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Letter: Dr Mark Campbell-Roddis (Letters, 20 May) suggests that it is now time to question whether we should continue to rely on our “allies” for nuclear defence. It is not at present clear which of our so-called allies has the authority to launch nuclear weapons on the civilian populations of a number of unspecified countries – the so-called nuclear deterrent policy. I would be surprised if any of the targeted countries represent any threat to Scotland. What is certain is that the implementation of this policy, associated with bases located in Scotland, would make Scotland a primary target in the event of a nuclear holocaust. On this basis, it important that the Scottish Government should now be fully responsible for Scotland’s defence policy.

Scotsman 21st May 2011 more >>

Renewables

A pioneering project based in Norfolk could improve how we use renewable energy. The electrical substation near Great Yarmouth takes power from nearby wind farms and stores it in industrial batteries. At the moment, renewable energy has to be used as it is generated. If this prototype is successful, it could have a big impact on green energy production.

ITV Anglia 19th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 21 May 2011

20 May 2011

Weightman Report

Costs for nuclear new build could rise in the wake of the findings of a report by the chief nuclear inspector assessing the implications of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. Mike Weightman this week published the interim report, which identified 25 areas recommended for review to further improve safety measures in the industry. These included the layout of UK power plants, emergency response arrangements, dealing with prolonged loss of power supplies and the risks associated with flooding. The report also calls for a plan to be published in June outlining how each of the 25 areas will be addressed. One nuclear industry source said: “It asks whether there are diverse ways of connecting the grid if power goes down. Are there alternative transport options?”

Building Magazine 20th May 2011 more >>

THE SEVERN Estuary is a nuclear timebomb just waiting for a terriorist to attack, Newport West MP Paul Flynn has told the House of Commons Mr Flynn believes the region should ‘look again’ at the lessons of Fukushima, the nuclear facility in Japan that was shaken to its’ core by the massive earthquake to hit the Far East earlier this year.

Wales and West Media 19th May 2011 more >>

Western Mail 19th May 2011 more >>

The UK’s current nuclear safety measures are adequate, concludes the interim report from the country’s chief nuclear inspector in the wake of the Japanese nuclear crisis at Fukushima. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne presented inspector Mike Weightman’s initial findings to Parliament yesterday, pending a full report in September. Weightman’s report concludes that the UK has a strong safety culture and immediate safety improvements to the country’s operating reactors are not necessary.

Energy Efficiency News 19th May 2011 more >>

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, responded to an urgent question asked by Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West, in the House of Commons on Wednesday 18 May on the implications of the Weightman Report.

Parliament 19th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear plants in the UK need to learn lessons from the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi power station, an interim report from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has concluded.

Health & Safety at Work 19th May 2011 more >>

New Nukes

The majority of the world will continue to use nuclear energy, recent events at Fukushima notwithstanding, according former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Hans Blix. In an interview with AFP, Blix said that the nuclear industry would adopt changes following on from the experiences at the Japanese plant, struck by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, and in the process become better and safer. “Fukushima is a bump in the road and will also lead to a further strengthening of the safety of nuclear power,” he said.

World Nuclear News 19th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Industry Association

FORMER Cumbrian MP Lord Hutton has been made the next chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA). The former energy secretary will take over in mid-June following the end of Lord O’Neill’s three-year tenure at the head of the UK’s nuclear trade association. Lord Hutton was at the forefront of UK energy policy at a time when the many benefits of low-carbon nuclear power were re-assessed and new nuclear build became official UK government policy.

Whitehaven News 19th May 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Radiation Free Lakeland’s letter of objection to Keekle Head being used as a low level wste dump.

Radiation Free Lakeland 19th May 2011 more >>

Hosting a permanent nuclear waste repository is not high on the list for most municipalities. But residents of the Swedish town of Östhammar are 77 percent in favor. Transparency on the part of politicians and industrial leaders has made the difference.

Der Spiegel 19th May 2011 more >>

Dungeness

“Fukushima in the making” – that is how anti-airport campaigners branded the air crash risk to Dungeness power station this week. Despite being branded “scaremongering rubbish” by pro-airport groups, campaigners likened the dangers posed to the nuclear plant to the tsunami-hit Japanese station Fukushima Daiichi and even the Titanic. The claims emerged during the government inquiry into Lydd Airport’s plans for a runway extension and new terminal.

Kent Online 18th May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

On the day that the government’s interim report (1) on safety following the Fukushima nuclear accident was published, a hypothetical modeling of a similar tsunami event at Hinkley Point power station in Somerset shows that it would have disastrous consequences. This new analysis has been prompted both by the seriousness of the radiation releases into the environment from the Japanese nuclear plant and by continuing revelations about the extent of the damage, which shows that the situation at Fukushima is still not under control.

Stop Hinkley Press Release 18th May 2011 more >>

What would have happened to the fallout if a Tsunami damaged Hinkley Point on 11th March 2011.

Stop Hinkley 18th May 2011 more >>

THE closing date for the latest Hinkley Point consultation has been extended to May 31. People are invited to give their comments on the extra information provided by EDF Energy on their Environmental Statement forming part of its planning application for Site Preparation Works. The 11-day extension has been granted after requests for more time from the public to look at the changes.

This is the West Country 18th May 2011 more >>

Three Somerset councils have accused EDF Energy of penny-pinching over compensation for building a nuclear power station. The company has offered a community benefits package totalling £20m, but the councils say this is derisory compared with what is paid by nuclear operators elsewhere in Europe. In a joint statement, Somerset CC, Sedgemoor DC and West Somerset DC said they wanted to “make sure Somerset residents don’t get short-changed” if the proposed Hinkley Point C power station is built. The application is with the Infrastructure Planning Commission. It would take around nine years to build, be operational for at least 60 years and possibly require radioactive waste storage for a further 100 years. They said EDF Energy’s £20m offer would thus equate to less than £120,000 per year.

Local Government Chronicle 19th May 2011 more >>

Dounreay

Offshore clean-up contractor Land and Marine recovered 50 particles from the seabed before bad weather caused a suspension of its operation.The company’s platform, the 60m-long barge LM Constructor, has now been towed to shelter in Thurso Bay until the weather improves. The latest phase of work offshore started on May 6 when a remotely-operated vehicle returned to the seabed to seek out high activity fragments.

DSRL 17th May 2011 more >>

Wylfa

PLANS for Wylfa B received a massive boost after Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said he “could see no reason” why the Government’s nuclear energy programme could not go ahead. He said the Government’s policy had been delayed following the earthquake in Japan which triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Mr Huhne added he would consider all 26 recommendations made by Dr Mike Weightman, who was asked to review potential dangers in the UK to nuclear power.

Daily Post 19th May 2011 more >>

Sellafield

THE world’s biggest open air nuclear fuel storage pond is being emptied at Sellafield. Heavily radioactive sludge makes it a high hazard, priority clean-up project and one of the most challenging ever to be tackled. But Sellafield has come up with the solution to help make sure the old pond can be safely decommissioned and prevent any radiation escape to the environment. It comes in the shape of a machine known as the Sludge Retrieval Hood, designed and built to suck up the radioactive sludge from the floor of the Pile Fuel storage pond. This is a 60-year-old facility which has looked after irradiation fuel and isotopes from the two Windscale reactors which stopped operating after the 1957 fire – which caused Britain’s worst nuclear accident. The sludge retrieval project has taken nine years of work requiring significant engineering as well as the design of bespoke equipment to operate in an underwater, radioactive environment.

Whitehaven News 19th May 2011 more >>

Terror

Preventive capacity building and partnerships across all sectors against the threat of radiological and nuclear terrorism is the focus of the INTERPOL Global Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Conference in Lyon this week.

IB Times 20th May 2011 more >>

Japan

Japan’s nuclear crisis remains very serious but there are some signs of progress, the head of the U.N. atomic agency said on Thursday.

Reuters 19th May 2011 more >>

The cost of protecting Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s debt from default surged to a record amid reports the utility will post Japan’s largest corporate loss when it announces earnings today following the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Credit-default swaps on Tokyo Electric’s debt jumped 221 basis points to 726, topping BP Plc’s record set last year amid the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bloomberg 20th May 2011 more >>

Fukushima could have avoided a meltdown but lost its chance due to inaction. Also a questionmark is being raised over whether the reactor was damaged by the earthquake before the Tsunami hit.

Daily Tech 19th May 2011 more >>

A radiation alarm went off at Tokyo Electric Power company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima power plant even before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which served as a contrary to earlier theories the reactors were damaged by the natural catastrophes.

IB Times 19th May 2011 more >>

Japanese workers have entered the last of three reactor buildings hit by nuclear fuel meltdowns at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima plant, operator Tokyo Electric said on Thursday, as it moves to stabilise a facility that has been leaking radiation for more than two months.

Reuters 19th May 2011 more >>

This is the moment (pictured) the Japanese tsunami destroyed a sea wall designed to protect the Fukushima nuclear plant and surged towards reactors. Tons of water can be seen destroying the wall and sweeping away reactor equipment, cars and other machinery in pictures released by plant owners. The tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the plant, causing the reactors to melt down and numerous explosions as engineers tried to release a build up of radioactive hydrogen gas.

Daily Mail 19th May 2011 more >>

US

Entergy Corp. (ETR), the second-largest U.S. nuclear operator, and Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) said the industry may need to retrofit reactors or bolster safety systems after a pressure-relief system failed in Japan, contributing to the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Venting systems at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi reactors were designed to allow engineers to release pressurized gas into the atmosphere to avoid dangerous hydrogen explosions. The systems were installed in the U.S. and in Japan after the partial core meltdown at Three Mile Island Unit 2 in 1979.

Bloomberg 19th May 2011 more >>

Iran

The United Nations nuclear watchdog is investigating whether Iranian officials hacked into computers and mobile telephones left unattended by inspectors monitoring Iran’s nuclear sites, diplomats say. The suspected security breaches could further complicate exhaustive efforts by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to determine whether Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of its civilian programme.

Independent 20th May 2011 more >>

Guardian 19th May 2011 more >>

South Africa

South Africa needs to start the international procurement for its planned nuclear plants early next year so it can build the first 1,600 MW plant by 2023 and avoid blackouts, the energy minister said on Thursday.

IB Times 19th May 2011 more >>

France

French nuclear generation will be lower by at least 2pc over the next week after the 1,300MW Cattenom 3 unit was taken off line unexpectedly today. The unit was taken down as a result of a steam generator fault and the grid does not expect it to come back on line until 25 May. Potential nuclear generation on 25 May of 47,784GW will be 2,744GW lower than forecast by the grid on 17 May as a consequence of the outage at the Cattenom 3 unit, and because the 1,240MW Belleville 2 unit will be taken off line on 24-25 May.

Argus Media 19th May 2011 more >>

Energy Efficiency

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has today quietly announced that the Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust will no longer receive core grant funding from next April. The two flagship government-backed green bodies will instead be required to bid for government funding through competitive tendering processes, as part of efforts to deliver better value for money and help tackle the deficit.

Business Green 19th May 2011 more >>

The government’s flagship environmental policy, the “green deal” whereby millions of households are to be fitted with energy-saving technology, is likely to be rejected by homeowners because of its high cost, campaigners have warned. Ministers unveiled the green deal with fanfare this month, as the centrepiece of the energy bill, but problems with its implementation are already apparent, even according to the government’s own calculations.Under the scheme, from 2012 firms, including utilities but also retailers such as Tesco and Marks & Spencer will offer households loft and wall insulation, double glazing and other energy efficiency measures designed to reduce heating bills. The householder pays nothing up front, but the equipment and installation cost will be added in instalments to the household’s energy bills for years. A report from the environmental thinktank E3G and research by the Green party MP Caroline Lucas suggest that householders’ bills are likely to be so high there will not be enough of an incentive to “energy refurbish” a home.

Guardian 19th May 2011 more >>

Trident

DAVID Cameron has admitted that he fears Hampshire backbencher Julian Lewis will never be satisfied with the Government over Britain’s nuclear defence – even if he ordered a submarine to be parked in the Solent and handed him the missile codes. During a jokey exchange at Prime Minister’s Questions, the New Forest East MP called for an alliance of Conservative and Labour MPs who support replacing the Trident deterrent to be formed.

Daily Echo 19th May 2011 more >>

Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, made a statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday 18 May on the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

Parliament 19th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 20 May 2011

19 May 2011

National Policy Statements

Chris Huhne confirmed that nuclear energy would continue to play its part in the future mix of UK electricity supplies. He referred to the suite of six energy National Policy Statements (NPSs) in particular: “Subject to careful consideration of the detail of Dr Weightman’s interim report, I intend to bring forward for ratification as soon as possible the Energy National Policy Statements, which are principally about the planning guidance on energy infrastructure for the IPC but will also include a list of potential sites for nuclear power stations.”

Bircham Dyson & Bell 18th May 2011 more >>

Office for Nuclear Regulation

Almost a third of Britain’s nuclear inspectors are eligible to retire within three years, leaving a potential “knowledge gap” within the regulator. The Office for Nuclear Regulation has hired 93 new inspectors since 2008. But of the 217 inspectors, 30 per cent are over the age of 57, 11 per cent are over 60 and 70 could retire by 2015. The regulator said that new recruits were needed soon so that the older generation could pass on their expertise and bridge the knowledge gap.

Times 19th May 2011 more >>

Weightman Report

The UK’s Interim assessment of the implications of the nuclear crisis in Japan concludes there is no need to curtail the operations of nuclear plants in the UK but lessons should be learnt. Known as the Weightman report after the head of the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation.

HSE 18th May 2011 more >>

An enormous row broke out on Wednesday after the chief nuclear safety inspector gave Britain’s reactor fleet the all-clear and made modest “recommendations” to be incorporated in the planned new plant design. Critics immediately accused Mike Weightman of rushing to judgment and “complacency” in his interim report on the lessons to be learned from the Fukushima atomic crisis. The safety boss said there was no need to curtail the operations of atomic plants in Britain, given that conditions in Japan were so different, but wanted a review of backup power supplies, ventilation procedures and plant layout. Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace, said the regulator’s review of safety essentially concluded that the industry should go away and think about it. “Many people will regard that as complacent, given the huge cost and misery inflicted by the Japanese accident, and this cannot inspire confidence in Britain’s nuclear regulators. Even as the struggle to control Fukushima reactors continues, it appears Huhne has rushed to judgement on the safety of reactors to keep the timetable for new nuclear power on track,” he added.

Guardian 18th May 2011 more >>

Rowena Mason asks: is someone who has for many years been responsible for the safety of current reactors and designs of new ones the right person to stand back make an unbiased judgement on their reliability? Mike Weightman has just been chosen to lead an international delegation of “fact-finders” to dig for more information at the site of Japan’s meltdown.

Telegraph 18th May 2011 more >>

Mike Weightman, chief inspector of Britain’s nuclear sites, said he believed Britain’s atomic power generation “does not need to be curtailed”. He added: “Whether that means major changes to reactor plans, I would be surprised because of the way we’ve gone about the design process.”

Telegraph 19th May 2011 more >>

Britain’s nuclear power stations could be at risk from flooding, according to a report today on the Fukushima nuclear accident by the government’s safety watchdog. There is “potential for flooding to occur in the near vicinity of nuclear sites”, says the report from the newly formed Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), an agency of the Health and Safety Executive. But it points out that the actual risk for each site is unknown “because the detailed specific likelihood and consequences of flooding have not been assessed.” The Environment Agency in England and Wales and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, which assess flood risks, have recommended reviewing the need for more site-specific assessments.

Rob Edwards.com 18th May 2011 more >>

Companies proposing new-build nuclear stations in the UK have been handed a lengthy checklist of issues to review to demonstrate the nuclear industry has learnt the lessons of the nuclear crisis in Japan. Top of the list are reassessments of the layout of power plants, how nuclear operators would deal with a prolonged loss of power supplies and the risks associated with flooding. These actions are highlighted in the interim report on the Japanese crisis produced by Mike Weightman, the UK’s chief inspector of nuclear installations. He refused to speculate on what this exercise would mean for the timetable surrounding the approval of the two new reactor designs currently under consideration for the UK. However he acknowledged:”There may well be [design] changes needed”. Companies have been given a month to respond to the 25 recommendations set out in his report. This will be followed by a more detailed document which will be published in September.

Utility Week 18th May 2011 more >>

Britain’s nuclear power plants are not threatened by the type of natural disaster that caused Japan’s nuclear crisis in March and there is no reason to limit their operation, the chief inspector of nuclear installations said on Wednesday.

Reuters 18th May 2011 more >>

The government remains committed to plans to build new nuclear power stations after reassurances from the chief inspector of atomic installations. “We want to see new nuclear as part of a low carbon energy mix going forward, provided there is no public subsidy,” energy minister Chris Huhne said. “The Chief Nuclear Inspector’s interim report reassures me that it can.”

Reuters 18th May 2011 more >>

In his interim report, to be completed after a forthcoming trip to Japan, Weightman said safeguards already in place in Britain should protect against even very remote risks. “The extreme natural events that preceded the accident at Fukushima – the magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent huge tsunami – are not credible in the UK,” he said. His report said there was no need to halt nuclear power generation, and supported proposed sites for new reactors, but recommended that the industry review sea-level protection. Weightman’s report recommended that the UK nuclear industry review whether it needed additional backup power. He supported Areva and Westinghouse’s designs for future reactors that are likely to be built in Britain, saying he would be surprised if major design changes were needed.

Reuters 18th May 2011 more >>

Weightman stated that the direct causes of the nuclear accident: a magnitude 9 earthquake and associated 14m high tsunami, are far beyond the most extreme events the UK could expect to experience. In this respect he concluded there is no reason for curtailing the operation of nuclear power plants or other nuclear facilities in the UK. He also said that is not necessary to make immediate safety improvements to operating nuclear reactors in the UK. But Weightman noted that severe events can occur from other causes, and that learning from such events is fundamental to the robustness of the UK’s nuclear safety arrangements. Weightman found that the UK has displayed a strong safety culture in its response to Fukushima and current safety measures are adequate. Accordingly, Weightman’s 26 recommendations in the report require the review of a wide range of nuclear safety matters,

New Civil Engineer 18th May 2011 more >>

The report recommends that both the UK nuclear industry and the Office for Nuclear Regulation should consider ways of “enhancing the drive to ensure more open, transparent and trusted communications and relationships with the public and other stakeholders”.Mr Huhne said: “Dr Weightman’s interim report is authoritative and detailed and I thank him for his work. It provides us with the basis to continue to remove the barriers to nuclear new build in the UK. “We want to see new nuclear as part of a low carbon energy mix going forward, provided there is no public subsidy. The chief nuclear inspector’s interim report reassures me that it can.”

Construction News 18th May 2011 more >>

THE UK is to push on with its nuclear plant building plans and let existing reactors run as normal, the government said yesterday after its nuclear watchdog dismissed fears of a Fukushima-like disaster in the UK.

City AM 19th May 2011 more >>

ITN 18th May 2011 more >>

Independent 18th May 2011 more >>

Britain’s chief nuclear adviser says the country’s nuclear plants are not at risk of replicating Japan’s nuclear crisis but Greenpeace tells Channel 4 News his findings are premature. Louise Hutchins, head of UK energy campaigns at Greenpeace, queried the wisdom of commissioning a report on the safety of Britain’s nuclear facilities in relation to Japan, when “we don’t even know what happened in Japan yet.” “It is extraordinary to think that anyone could draw conclusions from Fukushima before we have any idea what happened. We still can;t get into those plants to see what damage has been caused and there are still emergency workers and engineers risking thier lives to try and bring the plant under control. This really looks like a rushed judgement to try and keep the nuclear bandwagon on the road here,” she said.

Channel 4 News 18th May 2011 more >>

The Weightman Report couldn’t have been much better for the nuclear industry, and their response indicates this. EDF and Centrica issued a joint press release welcoming the report. EDF boss Vincent de Rivaz said: As Dr Weightman promised, the report is transparent, comprehensive in scope and evidence based. While these are interim findings only, they provide a clear endorsement of the safety culture and performance of the UK nuclear industry.

FT 18th May 2011 more >>

It has only been a matter of a few weeks since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan. The whole world watched on in horror as the nuclear power plant exploded (several times) and then residents within a 50km zone were evacuated and put up in temporary shelters having been checked for radioactive contamination with geiger counters. Despite this, it seems the UK government is unstoppable in its unseemly rush for new nuclear. Does it seriously think we have all forgotten Fukushima? At the time when the public was reeling from the events that took place at Fukushima, Huhne promised that there would be a review of the UK’s nuclear safety arrangements. Many people assumed that they would take a good long look at what happened and thoroughly review existing stations and plans for new nuclear. At the very least it was expected by many that new nuclear plans would be modified and slowed down and they would shut down a few of the UK’s ageing, long past their sell by date reactors! However, instead of an independent review Huhne asked the Chief Nuclear Inspector, Dr Mike Weightman to carry this out. How can the Government’s own Chief Nuclear Inspector report that anything is wrong with nuclear safety or plans for nuclear expansion in the UK? It would be like admitting he had not done his job properly!

Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy 18th May 2011 more >>

LABOUR MP Paul Flynn yesterday urged Prime Minister David Cameron to abandon the “national virility symbol” of nuclear missiles and challenged Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne to reject a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Western Mail 19th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Safety

The Fukushima accident has made it clear that additional safety and security measures are needed to protect nuclear facilities. Improvements to power supply systems, fuel storage systems, and ventilation systems can make nuclear plants safer. A multinational agreement prohibiting military attacks on nuclear facilities should be on the agenda for next year’s Nuclear Security Summit.

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 4th May 2011 more >>

Safety authorities of three European countries (UK, Finland & Germany) have concluded that there is no reason to shut down nuclear plants as a response to the Fukushima accident, despite varying political views on the technology.

World Nuclear News 18th May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

The deadline for a council consultation on plans to build a new nuclear power station has been extended again. EDF Energy wants to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. West Somerset Council had requested more information from the energy company on environmental issues such as transport, air quality and noise. The council said the original deadline of 20 May had been extended to 31 May following requests from people wanting more time to look at the new plans.

BBC 18th May 2011 more >>

Sellafield

Anti-nuclear campaigners claim to have documents that show Sellafield is unsuitable for a new nuclear power station. Greenpeace’s evidence includes items released by West Lakes Renaissance, leaked presentations by the nuclear consultancy AMEC, and minutes of meetings obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. It says these show that “expressions of interest” from Cumbria, Copeland and Allerdale councils in having a nuclear waste repository are a smokescreen to promote new nuclear plants. It also claims the documents show: Electricity generated at Sellafield would not be needed in Cumbria and would require a network of 50-metre pylons around the Lake District to link to the National Grid; The geology of Sellafield is “problematic” and would add significantly to reactor construction costs; Plutonium contamination in mud banks off Sellafield could pose difficulties in extracting sea water to cool any new reactors; The name of the new-build site would have to be changed to distance it from Sellafield to avoid “reputational damage”. Greenpeace said today: “The councils, and others who initiated these meetings, seem to view west Cumbria and the Lake District as their private fiefdom to be offered up for nuclear waste dumping. “Their blind pursuit of nuclear jobs will cost jobs and income in the tourism, food and drink, and agricultural sectors dearly. “These minutes expose the cynical machinations behind the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely stakeholder-engagement programme. Claims about openly discussing nuclear waste disposal are a sham based on a hidden agenda.

Carlisle News & Star 18th May 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Costain has been granted its first nuclear-related patent following an extensive four-year examination process by the Patent Office. The patent involves a more efficient method of immobilising radioactive sludge in a cement matrix.

Construction Index 18th May 2011 more >>

Build 18th May 2011 more >>

Japan

Last week, anti-nuclear campaigners’ hearts beat a little faster when Naoto Kan, the prime minister, announced the abandonment of Japan’s previous target of relying on nuclear power for half of electricity generation by 2030. Plans needed to be discussed “from a clean slate”, he said. So far, however, the Fukushima Daiichi crisis seems to be having less effect on long-term official policy in Japan than it has in distant and geologically stable Germany, where the government is now retreating from plans to delay a phase-out of nuclear power until 2036. While some observers seized on Mr Kan’s remarks as signalling a halt to all of the 14 new reactors planned or under construction, the premier insists no decision has been made on individual projects or the fate of nuclear power in general.

FT 19th May 2011 more >>

The reconstruction of disaster that hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on March 11 this year, published by the Wall Street Journal shows the deterioration of the nuclear plants in the first 24 hours was much faster as opposed to what was comprehended earlier.

IB Times 18th May 2011 more >>

Increasing movements to shift away from nuclear power generation following the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant have propelled demand for gas on a global basis, and the subsequent rise in its prices will inevitably hurt Japanese buyers, a department head of an Edinburgh-based research and consultancy firm says. ‘‘There is an impact (by anti-nuclear movements) on gas demand because gas and coal will end up replacing some of the nuclear generation that is lost,’’ said Noel Tomnay, head of global gas research at Wood Mackenzie Ltd, in an interview with Kyodo News in Tokyo. ‘‘At the global level, no one can build renewable sufficiently fast enough to remove the need for either fossil fuels or nuclear generation. Consequently you are making a political choice between carbon emissions and nuclear generation,’’ said Tomnay, who is on a visit to Japan to hold conferences and meetings with his clients amid growing demand for gas. In Japan, the trouble at the Fukushima plant and the suspension of the Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture in line with the government’s request have prompted efforts to beef up procurement of liquefied natural gas as an alternative source to nuclear energy.

Japan Today 19th May 2011 more >>

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Wednesday that Japanese nuclear reactors currently under inspection will be allowed to resume operations once their safety is confirmed, but at the same time the government needs to reinforce the independence of the country’s nuclear regulatory structures. Kan suggested that Japan should spin off the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which was actively promoting atomic energy until the crisis at Fukushima.

Japan Today 19th May 2011 more >>

Kan calls for nuclear regulation overhaul. Naoto Kan, prime minister, has called for “fundamental reform” of Japanese nuclear power regulation, taking aim at failings exposed by the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant. Any reform will be closely watched by regulators in other countries with nuclear power sectors.

FT 18th May 2011 more >>

There is “an extremely large potential for wind power generation”, says a report by the Japanese Ministry of Environment, especially in the tsunami-hit north-east of the country. The potential from offshore generation is huge because of Japan’s long coastline, agrees Tetsunari Iida, founder of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies in Tokyo, who advocates a 100 per cent switch to renewable energy by 2050.

New Scientist 18th May 2011 more >>

Pakistan

New satellite images have shown the alarming speed at which Pakistan is constructing a weapons-grade nuclear reactor. The aerial images, taken on April 20, show the rapid building progress of the fourth reactor to produce plutonium in Pakistan’s Khushab facility. The site was barren in 2009 and the facility ‘costing billions’ was undetectable by satellite just 17 months ago, but has since grown at an alarming rate.

Daily Mail 18th May 2011 more >>

France

The authorities in northwestern Swiss regions neighboring France have called for French Fessenheim nuclear plant to close because of its age and location in a seismic area until its safety is verified.

Energy Market Place 17th May 2011 more >>

Trident

A study will try to find an alternative to Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent – despite the signing of a £3bn deal for a new generation of missile-armed submarines. Defence Secretary Liam Fox said in the Commons he believed a submarine-based ballistic missile system remained the most effective deterrent. The move is another concession to the Liberal Democrats who have already succeeded in putting back a decision on the final order for the submarines to 2016.

Independent 19th May 2011 more >>

FT 18th May 2011 more >>

The government said on Wednesday it would spend 3 billion pounds on preliminary work on a new generation of nuclear-armed submarines, a sensitive issue for the coalition.

Reuters 18th May 2011 more >>

The cost of a new fleet of Trident nuclear missile submarines could more than double to £25bn by the time they are built, the defence secretary, Liam Fox, told MPs.

Guardian 18th May 2011 more >>

Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, commenting on the Government announcement to approve the first stage of Trident renewal, said: “Britain’s independent deterrent has been the cornerstone of our peace and security over half a century and our view is that in today’s world, as long as there are other countries with such capability, it is right that the UK retains an independent nuclear deterrent”.

Labour 18th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Russia will need to speed up the development of its nuclear strike capabilities if the United States does not convince Moscow its missile defense system isn’t aimed at Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.

CNN 18th May 2011 more >>

Renewables

Dreams of harnessing the vast power of the Atlantic waves that batter Scotland’s west coast have moved closer to reality with a decision by the Crown Estates to award a Western Isles seabed licence to Edinburgh wave energy company Aquamarine Power. The announcement, however, was accompanied by cautionary notes that there are still many hurdles to be overcome before green electricity from the ocean starts to flow.

Times 19th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 19 May 2011

18 May 2011

Weightman Report

A safety review of the UK’s nuclear industry, to be released on Wednesday, is expected to give a broad all-clear to current reactors and future plans. Chief nuclear installations inspector Mike Weightman is expected to raise issues that should be explored further but will not affect new-build plans.

BBC 18th May 2011 more >>

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, requested a report from Mike Weightman after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on 11 March which led to unprecedented events at Fukushima Dai-ichi. The Secretary of State requested an interim report, outlining the chief inspector’s initial conclusions and recommendations by the middle of May, with the full comprehensive report by the middle of September. A press briefing will be held on Wednesday, where Mike Weightman will explain the findings of his interim report. The interim report and key messages will be available from Wednesday on ONR’s webpages.

HSE 17th May 2011 more >>

Radhealth

The NFLA has published a Policy Briefing which considers the 14th Annual Report of the independent Government committee COMARE (the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment). The briefing provides a critique of this report with comments of the independent consultant in the environment, Dr Ian Fairlie. Dr Fairlie’s analysis of the report identifies a number of areas of concern. In the conclusions to his assessment of the COMARE report Dr Fairlie argues the data in the COMARE Report indicates a 22% increase in various types of leukaemias and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. COMARE’s Report is regrettable as it may mislead members of the public into thinking there are no increases in leukaemias near UK nuclear power stations when in fact this may not be the case.

NFLA Press Release 16th May 2011 more >>

NFLA Policy Briefing No.82 16th May 2011 more >>

Justification

At the High Court in Leeds on 12th May Rory Walker challenged the Government’s insane push for cancer factories. Judge McCombe refused to allow the case to go ahead because in his esteemed opinion it is perfectly OK for the Secretary of State, Chris Huhne to be both cheerleader for new build and the person authorised to rubber stamp the safety. Following new “fast tracking” of the planning system at no other point will the safety of new reactors be under scrutiny. Rory was granted legal aid – but the Legal Services Commission has asked for £16,000 towards court costs if the case does eventually go ahead to “prove that there is public support for his case” This money was raised in a short space of time from ordinary people – not big NGOs – but the Judge had the brass neck to say that health detriment from new build was “of no public interest.” He also looked over towards us in the public gallery and said that the case being brought with legal aid was “unattractive” Hmmm. The Secretary of State’s defence lawyer declared on Thursday in court that the “best evidence suggests that there is no increase in cancers near nuclear power stations – that is the end of it” I suppose the “best evidence” is the recently published government COMARE report which did not include Sellafield ! And the real evidence of increased childhood leukemias (every week in the Cumbrian papers another “story” of another child’s “brave fight”) and other radiation linked diseases is nothing more than an inconvenient truth to be airbrushed out of history.

101 uses for Nuclear Power 17th May 2011 more >>

Climate vs Nukes

Activists debated whether nuclear power has any place in the fight against climate change at a meeting organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change last week. Stephen Tindale, former executive director of Greenpeace and a recent convert to nuclear power, put the case for. “Nuclear power is pretty nasty, and Fukushima has demonstrated that again,” he said. “But it is less nasty than coal. Darren Johnson of the Green Party put the case against nuclear.“Not only is nuclear power too dangerous, it’s too costly and it’s too slow.” He pointed out that even if a new nuclear reactor was built every ten days for the next 40 years, nuclear would still only provide a tenth of the world’s energy by 2050. “If we are to get serious about tackling climate change we need a real transformation of our economy.”

Socialist Worker 21st May 2011 more >>

Japan

Over the last several days, evidence has emerged indicating that the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was far more dire than previously recognized. The main evidence is extensive—rather than partial—melting of the nuclear fuel in three reactors in the hours after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Despite that bad news, however, today plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co. pledged it would still meet the target set 17 April to stabilize the situation by January 2012 so 100,000 residents evacuated from around the plant can return to their homes and the decade-long process of demolishing the reactors can get started.

Science Mag 17th May 2011 more >>

A roadmap for stabilizing the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex underwent a significant revision Tuesday, as the discovery of severe damage to the three most troubled units forced a change in strategy. But plant operator Tepco, maintained its original projection that damaged reactors will be brought to a safe shutdown in a six to nine month period.

Nikkei 17th May 2011 more >>

BBC 17th May 2011 more >>

Tepco insisted on Tuesday it would bring stricken reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant under control by January 2012, despite evidence that the complex is more seriously damaged than previously thought. But Tepco’s roadmap has looked increasingly unworkable recently, after it said uranium fuel rods in three reactors had been left exposed and had melted hours after the earthquake on 11 March. On Friday, the company revealed fuel in the No 1 reactor had partially melted and fallen to the bottom of the pressurised vessel which holds the reactor core together. Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at Tepco, said reactors Nos 2 and 3 were likely to have suffered similar problems.

Guardian 17th May 2011 more >>

Seven/Eleven Japan, with over 13,200 stores nationwide, is among the many forward-looking companies helping set the pace for change within the nation’s energy policy. The convenience store chain plans to spend over $123 million to switch to energy efficient LED lighting at about 6000 outlets in Tokyo, and will install solar panels on roofs of 1,000 stores around the country over the next few months. This would not only save 125KW a day per store but also benefit manufacturers of LED lighting and solar cell panels — a win-win for all. Renewable energy experts agree that the ongoing nuclear crisis, while tragic, could be a remarkable opportunity to move away from the country’s focus on nuclear power development and imported fossil fuels toward solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and other natural domestic sources.

Time 18th May 2011 more >>

The United Nations atomic agency announced today that it will send a team of international experts on a fact-finding mission to Japan to assess nuclear safety in the wake of the damage caused by March’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. The mission – which will visit Japan from 24 May to 2 June – will comprise nearly 20 experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the wider international community, the IAEA said in a statement issued from its headquarters in Vienna. Mike Weightman, the chief inspector of nuclear installations in the United Kingdom, will chair the mission, which will report to the IAEA-organized Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety that is scheduled to begin in Vienna on 20 June.

Click Green 17th May 2011 more >>

ITN 17th May 2011 more >>

Electricity supply from nuclear plants, already down by almost 20 percent following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, will drop further during peak summer demand as operators shut reactors for maintenance. Six reactors are scheduled to be offline for checks and maintenance by the end of August. Chubu Electric Power Co. last week shut two reactors out of fear of a natural disaster causing a crisis similar to the one at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The planned shutdowns mean 75 percent of Japan’s nuclear power capacity will be idled or damaged by August when air conditioning demand surges as temperatures can rise to as high as 40 degrees.

Japan Times 18th May 2011 more >>

The reaction of emergency authorities to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami showed Japan at its best. The growing squabble over paying the bill, however, shows its institutions at their worst. The Democratic Party of Japan, which took office less than two years ago vowing to confront “bureaucracy-led protectionism and conformity”, is in danger of flunking its first real test. After a long consultation with Japan Inc on how to settle claims arising from the nuclear crisis, the DPJ has emerged with a fudge. The state plans to issue special bonds of an indeterminate amount to fund a new organisation to pay compensation. Then it will let Tokyo Electric Power Company repay that organisation over time. To keep lenders lending to Tepco throughout this long process, the government may buy preferred stock, while setting up yet another body to ensure the utility is run correctly. Rather than making haircuts on existing unsecured loans to Tepco an explicit condition of this support, however, the government is relying on vague moral suasion, urging “co-operation from every stakeholder”.

FT 17th May 2011 more >>

Germany

None of Germany’s 17 nuclear plants is protected from a crash by a heavy plane, a commission concluded on Tuesday after weeks of safety checks. But it did not recommend that any should be taken offline immediately. The government said it wants to postpone a shutdown until alternative sources of energy are found.

Der Spiegel 17th May 2011 more >>

The German government on Tuesday signalled it will set harsh safety requirements for the country’s 17 nuclear power stations as it searches for ways to bring forward the final phase-out of the power source from 2036. A review by the German nuclear safety commission following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan declared all plants “robust”, but warned the seven oldest had no protection against jet airliners crashing into them. The remaining ten plants were built to withstand an accidental or terrorist strike from a medium-sized aircraft – though none could withstand a similar disaster involving the biggest passenger planes, the commission said.

FT 17th May 2011 more >>

Netherlands

Dutch municipally owned utility Delta is to own 70% of the Netherlands’ Borssele nuclear power plant after reaching an agreement over plant ownership with RWE Group of Germany. RWE will own 30%.

World Nuclear News 17th May 2011 more >>

German group RWE, Europe’s fifth-largest utility, said on Tuesday it agreed to end a legal row with Dutch generator Delta over the ownership of the sole nuclear power plant in the Netherlands. The deal offers a nuclear foothold for RWE in the Netherlands at a time when a big question mark hangs over its aspirations in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel has reversed a decision to extend the life of nuclear plants.

Reuters 17th May 2011 more >>

Iran

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday “the burden remains on Iran” to show it is serious about tackling the international community’s concerns over its nuclear ambitions. Clinton’s remarks highlighted the continued deadlock after Iran said the ball was in the court of the six major powers that have been working to resolve concerns over Tehran’s nuclear program.

EU Business 17th May 2011 more >>

Pakistan

The new Chashma nuclear power plant unit-1 (CHASNUPP-2), located in Pakistan, has started operations. The 330MW power plant, which is placed near Chashma Barrage, was co-developed by China National Nuclear Corporation and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.

Energy Business Review 12th May 2011 more >>

Fusion

NEW investment has helped bring a small company a stage closer to the prospect of its world-changing technology making nuclear power safer, pollution-free energy commonplace, as well as the end to shortages in equipment for treating major diseases such as cancer. Tokamak Solutions (TS) is currently designing machines, based on fusion science, which are capable of tackling the world’s most urgent, universal energy problems, such as how to dispose of toxic nuclear waste, in simpler and more cost-effective ways than are currently available.

Express 18th May 2011 more >>

Climate

Chris Huhne has confirmed that the government will enshrine aggressive emission cuts in law, promising to halve output by 2025 and put the UK on course for a 60 per cent decrease by 2030. As widely expected, the Energy and Climate Change minister unveiled the UK’s fourth carbon budget in the House of Commons today, accepting the recommendations of the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Business Green 17th May 2011 more >>

Independent 18th May 2011 more >>

It is of course easy for governments to set themselves tests far into the future. Mr Huhne will not be the climate change minister in 2027, when yesterday’s target must be met. The greater test of this government’s green credentials is what is being done now. Emissions fell heavily in 2009, because of recession. Any economic recovery now would probably push them back up. There are very difficult decisions ahead on energy supplies, and in particular nuclear. If petrol prices stay high, the government will face more pressure to drive them back down.

Guardian 18th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 18 May 2011