News

21 July 2010

Nuclear Subsidies

The UK government must make “radical reforms” to the country’s electricity market if it is to meet its carbon reduction targets, a new report has claimed. KPMG has conducted an in-depth study into power generation in the UK in which it suggests that investment is needed in nuclear power. Richard Noble, European power and utilities partner at KPMG, said that nuclear power “has to play a central role” in the country’s energy mix. Mr Noble added that currently investment in low carbon energy production is based on “inconsistent interventions”. “While there is no simple answer, it is clear that a more consistent design is needed to reward low carbon generation,” he explained, adding that this could be done through changes to price mechanisms.

Low Carbon Economy 20th July 2010 more >>

Europe

Interview: Patricia Lorenz is a Friends of the Earth Europe’s spokesperson and expert on nuclear issues. She started her anti-nuclear activities at Global 2000 in 1993. Working for Friends of the Earth Europe she founded the European Nuclear Power Campaign and organized the Euratom Conference. In Vienna she was engaged in several projects such as Euratom and Nuclear Waste Watch. She is the antinuclear coordinator for the Friends of the Earth Europe based in Brussels and has organized and participated in several high-profile international conferences and workshops.

World Press 1st July 2010 more >>

Companies

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest electricity generator, plans to place half the French power grid into a fund to help pay for the dismantling of nuclear reactors, according to a person familiar with the project. State-controlled EDF aims to complete the transfer of a 50 percent holding in Reseau de Transport d’Electricite by the end of the year in a move that could provide about 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) to finance taking apart old nuclear reactors, the person said, declining to be identified because the plan is confidential. EDF is in talks with the government to pass a decree that would make the move compatible with existing rules on paying for decommissioning and would allow the utility to remove RTE debt from its balance sheet, the person said.

Business Week 20th July 2010 more >>

Supply Chain

A manufacturer which had an £80m loan cancelled by the new government has shelved plans to buy equipment to make parts for nuclear power stations. Sheffield Forgemasters’ chief executive said efforts to secure funding for the 15,000-tonne metal press would be suspended “for the time being”.

BBC 20th July 2010 more >>

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., Ltd. of South Korea and General Electric have announced a long-term agreement that extends their global cooperation in the development of next-generation nuclear and fossil steam turbines and generators. The immediate focus will be the development of larger output turbine-generators for South Korea’s next generation nuclear reactors, according to company statements.

Nuclear Engineering International 20th July 2010 more >>

Energy Supply

The BIS growth paper said demand for infrastructure investment up to 2030 was forecast to be significantly higher than historic levels in order to meet the demands of population growth, the needs of the energy sector and the development of green technologies. Approximately £150bn was invested in UK infrastructure between 2005-2010, predominantly by the private sector. “There are substantial challenges to meeting potential future demand for infrastructure of around £40-50bn per annum until 2030.

Guardian 21st July 2010 more >>

Neil Woodford, the star fund manager at Invesco Perpetual, is not one of the City’s more outspoken figures, so when he does stick his head above the parapet, it’s worth taking notice. And yesterday, Mr Woodford did more than that: you might say he climbed on top of the parapet and waved his hands about in a concerted bid to attract attention. A public letter from Mr Woodford to Lord Mogg, the chairman of the energy watchdog Ofgem, was lengthy and made a number of serious points. In essence, however, it boiled down to a threat: change the way you regulate the industry or investors such as Invesco won’t contribute to the cost of upgrading the UK’s energy production facilities over the next decade. The Invesco warning shot is not an isolated incident – it reflects a frustration that many leading figures in the energy industry have been expressing privately for some time now. Ofgem has come in for a great deal of criticism in recent years for its failure to protect consumers – in particular to get gas and electricity bills down – and that has prompted a change in the way it behaves. Those it regulates, meanwhile, have grown more and more upset about their perception that Ofgem has become increasingly consumerist.

Independent 21st July 2010 more >>

Regulation

The government says it will retain the Food Standards Agency, following concerns the independent watchdog would be scrapped under reforms.

BBC 20th July 2010 more >>

Guardian 21st July 2010 more >>

The coalition government will on Thursday announce plans to axe its sustainability watchdog in order to meet targets for public sector spending cuts. Proponents of the Sustainable Development Commission argue that its remit to advise government on reducing its carbon emissions and other resource use saves far more money that it costs. The plan to scrap the Sustainable Development Commission is scheduled to come ironically on the day that the agency will release its annual report into green improvements to the government’s operations. This lists tens of millions of pounds worth of savings from fuel costs, water, waste and other things. Many of the changes were prompted by advice from the SDC which has staff of around 60 and a budget of just under £3m, and which was set up by the then deputy prime minister John Prescott in June 2000 after persuasion from Michael Meacher MP.

Guardian 21st July 2010 more >>

Hinkley

EDF Energy, under the name of its subsidiary the NNB Generation Company Ltd (which I guess stands for ‘new nuclear build’), has started the formal pre-application process for the authorisation of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Bircham, Dyson & Bell 19th July 2010 more >>

Scotland

Letter from Steuart Campbell: Congratulations to John McTernan for so comprehensively setting out the case for nuclear power and against so-called renewable generation (Comment, 19 July). Since energy is a reserved matter, there seems to be no reason why EDF should not apply now for permission to build Hunterston C to call the SNP government’s bluff. There would be no rational grounds on which the SNP could refuse this. All the evidence is that, without such a replacement, Scotland is heading for blackouts. In any case, there is the possibility that the SNP will cease to govern Scotland next May and the application might succeed. (See other letters too)

Scotsman 20th July 2010 more >>

Labour delayed for more than a decade before reaching a decision on new civil nuclear stations, and announced its plans for ten new stations only in November last year. An SNP government in Holyrood cannot continue forever. Why, then, was there no plan for a new nuclear station in Scotland? Lack of courage? There is evidence that a small majority of Scots is not anti-nuclear.

Scotsman 21st July 2010 more >>

US

Americans are not particularly good at learning even the most painful lessons. Denial is our default mode. But at the very least this tragedy in the gulf should push us to look much harder at the systems we need to prevent a catastrophic accident at a nuclear power plant, and for responding to such an event if it occurred. Right now, we’re not ready. Nuclear plants are the new hot energy item. The Obama administration is offering federal loan guarantees to encourage the construction of a handful of new plants in the U.S., the first in decades. Not to be outdone, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, a certifiable nuke zealot, would like to see 100 new plants built over the next 20 years. There is no way to overstate how cautiously we need to proceed along this treacherous road. Building nuclear power plants is mind-bogglingly expensive, which is why you need taxpayer money to kick-start the process. But the overriding issues we need to be concerned about, especially in light of our horrendous experience with the oil gushing in the gulf for so long, are safety and security.

New York Times 20th July 2010 more >>

China

China’s new nuclear build programme took a step forward today after China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group announced it will start work on a plant in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region later this month. Last week the state council approved the 24 billion yuan ($3.5bn) project in which China Power Investment Corporation and Guangxi Investment Group are partners, according to the China Daily. The new plant will have six pressurised water reactors with an installed capacity of about 1,000MW each. At present there are around 11 nuclear reactors at six plants, all located on the country’s east coast, with a combined installed capacity of 9GW. But the government last year announced plans to increase its installed nuclear power capacity almost tenfold to 86GW by 2020.

Business Green 20th July 2010 more >>

Renewables

The next generation of solar cells will be small. About the size of lint. But the anticipated impact: That’s huge. Some of these emerging electricity-generating cells could be embedded in windows without obscuring the view. Engineers envision incorporating slightly larger ones into resins that would be molded onto the tops of cars or maybe the roofs of buildings. One team of materials scientists is developing microcells that could be rubber-stamped by the millions onto a yard of fabric. When such cells shrink in size but not efficiency it becomes hard to imagine what they couldn’t electrify.

Science News 31st July 2010 more >>

A mini revolution in eco-friendly computing is taking place in the depths of the 19th-century Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral in downtown Helsinki. The Finnish IT company Academica has installed a new 2MW database server centre in an empty second world war bomb shelter meant to protect city officials in the event of a Russian attack. Water warmed while cooling the servers will go on to provide heat for 500 homes or 1,000 flats in a city that often suffers winters of -20C. After the heat is extracted, the water will be recycled back to cool the servers again.

Guardian 21st July 2010 more >>

Trident

There are big arguments at the Ministry of Defence this week, and the row about who pays for a new Trident missile system, if at all, is only part of it. The current defence budget, at somewhere around £37.5bn a year, is already overspent by a wide margin – particularly on equipment. Under the coalition government’s austerity proposals, defence spending must be reined in by between 10% and 20% in the first instance, and by 33% within five years.

Guardian 20th July 2010 more >>

Britain’s defence programme is “entirely unaffordable” as it stands, the defence secretary, Liam Fox, said yesterday, in a speech preparing contractors and the military for a shift in spending priorities. His assessment came after he confirmed over the weekend that the Ministry of Defence was being asked to foot the bill for the capital costs of renewing Trident. If he loses that battle, ministerial allies have warned there would have to be a further cut to troop numbers than that already accepted by Fox.

Guardian 21st July 2010 more >>

Posted: 21 July 2010

20 July 2010

New Nukes

Early decisions and radical changes are needed to the UK’s electricity market to secure the large-scale private sector investment required for nuclear new build to proceed, a new report concludes. The report from global consultancy KPMG was commissioned by German utility RWE. The report has not been published in full yet, but summary conclusions were released Monday. It says that early decisions need to be implemented if the UK is to achieve its transition to low carbon electricity generation. “Positive investment decisions on the scale of new nuclear generation required under most scenarios are unlikely to be achieved under the current framework,” the report says. “A carbon price floor may provide some benefits to investors in new nuclear generation but will not be effective on its own in achieving positive investment decisions of the scale required,” the report says.

Platts 19th July 2010 more >>

KPMG Press Release 19th July 2010 more >>

An early and radical reform of UK electricity markets is needed to provide a framework to secure large-scale private sector investment in nuclear energy in the UK, consultancy group KPMG has warned. Such investment, it says, will be needed for the country to meet its ambitious emission reduction targets.

World Nuclear News 19th July 2010 more >>

R&D

The UK government announced last week that it was cutting yet more money from of the energy R&D budget. Some £34m is to be axed, affecting low-carbon technology programmes including offshore wind, wood fuels, building insulation and geothermal energy. This represents a reduction of just under 20% of total public expenditure on low-carbon technologies. This figure is on top of the cancellation of the £80m loan to Sheffield Forgemasters that would have paid for much of the installation of a new press to make the huge parts necessary for new nuclear power stations.

Guardian 20th July 2010 more >>

Companies

Revived talks on a reverse takeover of International Power by French group GDF Suez, the world’s biggest utility business, were given an early boost with the biggest shareholder in the British power generator supporting the deal. IP has expanded rapidly since being hived off by National Power after privatisation. Its strong balance sheet and expanding operations in developing markets make it an attractive target for a group which has been on an investment and acquisition binge since the French government approved Suez’s takeover of Gaz de France. GDF has a generating presence in Britain with a Teesside power plant but has teamed up with Iberdrola, the Spanish owner of Scottish Power, to break into the nuclear power business in Britain in competition with EDF, the state-owned energy group.

Telegraph 20th July 2010 more >>

Times 20th July 2010 more >>

Nuclear Subsidy

The government’s case for cancelling an £80m loan to a Sheffield engineering company has been undermined after it emerged that David Cameron and Nick Clegg wrongly accused its directors of being unwilling to dilute their shares. The loan, approved by the previous government, was designed to help Sheffield Forgemasters expand further into providing parts for nuclear power stations. It was made on the basis the company raised further capital by selling 40 per cent of its shares to private equity.

FT 20th July 2010 more >>

Hinkley

Anti-nuclear campaigners claimed yesterday the chances of new nuclear reactors operating in the West by 2018 have been hit by a planning delay. Hinkley Point in Somerset in Somerset has been earmarked for the first wave of new reactors, while Oldbury, South Gloucestershire is being considered for a later project. Energy Minister Charles Hendry has revealed the National Policy Statements (NPS) will pave the way for a new generation of nuclear power will not be presented to Parliament until next spring. The Western Daily Press reported on Wednesday how Mr Hendry told MPs they would have been agreed by Parliament before the winter. Now he says they “have decided to take a further look at the appraisal of sustainability (AoS) of our draft energy policy statements to make sure that they are fit for purpose. Taking this decision now is essential to safeguard our long-term goal of a sustainable and secure energy supply.”

Bristol Evening Post 17th July 2010 more >>

Iran

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the US must stop using “cowboy logic” if it wants dialogue with Iran over its nuclear programme.

BBC 19th July 2010 more >>

US

It’s not clear we’d see a nuclear boom even with a carbon price. A recent MIT report on “The Future of Nuclear Power” concluded that under the House cap-and-trade program, nuclear power plants would still have difficulty attracting financing, partly because they’re prone to cost overruns and delays. (Just look at the EPR reactor being built in Finland.) That’s why the nuclear industry is asking for government loan guarantees on top of carbon pricing. They argue that once the first wave of new plants get built remember, there hasn’t been a new reactor ordered since the 1970s then the costs will start tumbling down. That’s a hard argument to assess.

New Republic 16th July 2010 more >>

China

After more than a century as the country that consumes the most energy, the United States has been knocked off its perch by China.

Telegraph 20th July 2010 more >>

Trident

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners are planning to stage the biggest blockade ever held in Plymouth to protest against Trident.

Hundreds of protesters are intending to block all six entrances to Devonport Naval Base and the adjoining dockyard on November 1. The protest, which organisers describe as a non-violent event, will see anti-nuclear activists from across the country descending on Plymouth.

Plymouth Herald 20th July 2010 more >>

With the number of nuclear-armed states threatening to grow, Britain probably does need to maintain a nuclear deterrent. But the weapons involved are so horrific that any semi-rational adversary is likely to be as deterred by a 1 per cent chance of nuclear annihilation as by a 100 per cent certainty. Britain’s recent government white paper on nuclear weapons emphasised the need for a “credible” nuclear deterrent, such as Trident, but an all-but incredible one would be just as effective. Instead, Britain’s official thinking is still based on ideas derived from the cold war: a time in which it seemed essential to convince the Kremlin that, if the Soviet Union were ever to nuke Britain, what was left of Britain could definitely strike back.

FT 20th July 2010 more >>

Letter: It’s time to press Liam Fox further over his belief that we should continue with the replacement of Trident to “ensure we have the precautions to protect Britain from nuclear blackmail by any other state”. There are a number of key questions which can, and should, be answered now. Are we prepared to use Trident? Under what circumstances? Would it be used in a pre-emptive strike or in retaliation? Would it be used against a “rogue” state such as Iran, or against a terrorist group such as al-Qaida within another state? It is not enough simply to say that we do not know what the threats will be over the next few decades. We are long past the game of bluff that played out during the cold war, and a reliance on the hope that no one will call our bluff is no longer sufficient to keep us safe in this increasingly complex world.

Guardian 20th July 2010 more >>

The strategic defence and security review set up by the government will be “skewed” unless it includes the future of the Trident missile system, a former Liberal Democrat leader and spokesman on defence and foreign affairs said today.

Guardian 20th July 2010 more >>

Solar

Larry Hagman, forever known as J.R. Ewing from “Dallas” (but better remembered by me as Major Tony Nelson, master of Jeannie the genie) is doing a series of ads for SolarWorld, one of the biggest PV manufacturers. Hagman has the largest solar array of any residence in the US, maybe the world. He has also been an outspoken advocate for solar for a number of years, and serves on the board of Solar Electric Light Fund, an NGO bringing power and wireless communication to the developing world.

Climate Change 15th July 2010 more >>

Low Carbon Technology

Low-carbon technologies must continue to get government support, or risk falling into the “valley of death” where they never reach market, according to the latest report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The independent body set up to report on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, recommended that the UK must protect funding for green industries and identified offshore wind, carbon capture and storage and smart grids among the six priority areas that should be nurtured in order for the UK to meet its ambitious carbon-reduction targets.

Guardian 20th July 2010 more >>

One of the energy industry’s biggest shareholders has threatened to block all new investments in British renewables unless the Government increases the returns available to investors and gives greater certainty over its future policy. Neil Woodford, the head of investment at Invesco Perpetual which holds more than £4.5 billion of shares in energy companies including National Grid, Centrica, United Utilities, SSE, Drax and International Power fired a warning shot at coalition plans for a green energy revolution. He accused officials of a fundamental lack of understanding of the challenges facing the sector. In a letter to the chairman of the energy regulator Ofgem, Mr Woodford said: “Unless reforms to the electricity market are appropriately structured and give greater clarity and incentives around renewable investment, we will not support this incremental investment . . . and will seek to achieve our desired returns from rising prices in an increasingly constrained supply market.”

Times 20th July 2010 more >>

Posted: 20 July 2010

19 July 2010

New Nukes

Britain must reform electricity markets if it is to secure the private investment needed to meet its carbon emissions targets, according to a study by KPMG. The report, which will be published on Monday, said the British government’s approach to investment in low-carbon generation was inconsistent and clearer planning was needed to show how emissions targets will be met. The KPMG report, commissioned by German utility RWE, said investment on the scale needed for new nuclear generation is unlikely to be achieved under the current framework and greater investment would be encouraged by a more consistent market design to reward low-carbon energy. A carbon price floor, as planned by the government, may provide some benefits to investors in new nuclear generation but on its own will not be effective in achieving the level of investment required, it said.

KPMG, who consulted seven potential nuclear project sponsors including Centrica, EDF and EON, said potential investors would generally prefer a price mechanism which exposed them to some degree of market risk. The report suggested paying a premium tariff over and above electricity market revenues or setting a requirement for suppliers to source a certain amount of their energy from low carbon producers.

Reuters 18th July 2010 more >>

Scotland

‘Alex Salmond destroys 10,000 Scottish jobs.” Not a headline you’ll have read recently, but one you should have because the First Minister’s utterly irrational prejudice against nuclear power is directing a construction boom to England.

Scotsman 19th July 2010 more >>

Waste Transport

Last weekend Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP, supported renewed calls from campaigners to end the running of trains transporting nuclear waste through Hackney. Trains carrying radioactive nuclear fuel rods run at least once a week alongside passenger services on the North London Line – right through the 2012 Olympic Park site – en route to the Sellafield reprocessing plant in Cumbria.

Hackney Citizen 16th July 2010 more >>

Energy Security

Britain could face years of blackouts and high electricity bills because of the focus on renewable energy sources, an energy expert has warned. Derek Birkett, a former Grid Control Engineer, has warned that the cost of the energy crisis could rival that of the banking collapse. And he claims renewable energy targets were ‘dangerous illusions’ which could see consumers forced to pay out more for their power.

Daily Mail 19th July 2010 more >>

Companies

International Power, the UK power generation company, and GDF-Suez of France have revived talks about entering a partnership to create a global electricity group, they said on Monday. GDF-Suez is 35pc owned by the French government, which is understood to have indicated that it backs the latest plans. The two companies would make a good geographical fit, analysts believe. GDF currently has few assets in the UK, so the expansion makes sense for the group, but there is growing disquiet that a swathe of UK utilities is being owned by foreign groups.

Telegraph 19th July 2010 more >>

Times 19th July 2010 more >>

Trident

Defence Secretary Liam Fox has urged the Treasury not to play ‘fast and loose’ with Britain’s security by threatening to cut the nuclear arms budget. Dr Fox is locked in a row with the Treasury over suggestions that the Ministry of Defence should absorb the £20billion capital costs of renewing the Trident system. Cost-cutting plans by the government could palm this off onto the Ministry of Defence, eating into its budget of nearly £37billion.

Daily Mail 19th July 2010 more >>

Guardian 19th July 2010 more >>

A crunch spending decision on the £20 billion plan to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system has been postponed for a third time, creating new doubts about government defence funding. UK ministers originally said that a major decision on the investment in new nuclear submarines to carry Trident missiles would be made last September. But then it was delayed to December, and then again to this month. Now, however, the Secretary of State for Defence, Liam Fox MP, has said that the decision will only be made “towards the end of 2010”. The delay comes as government departments are engaged in a fierce wrangle over how to pay for a new generation of nuclear warheads.

Sunday Herald 18th July 2010 more >>

Climate

Tim Yeo: Not only is it right for the environment to tackle the challenge of climate change sooner rather than later but there will also be large financial rewards for UK Plc if we succeed in doing so. Working towards a low carbon economy is not a “luxury”; it is essential to our future prosperity. If we fail to decarbonise our electricity industry, our transport system and our buildings we will fall behind our competitors abroad and pay a much heavier price financially in the future. we must speed up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions from electricity. This means more renewables, more nuclear and no new coal fired power stations without carbon capture and storage, even though the combined impact of these changes will inevitably raise consumer prices. It also means much more emphasis on energy efficiency. Significantly all these changes improve Britain’s energy security too.

Telegraph 19th July 2010 more >>

Britain and other western countries are in danger of being left behind by China which is investing “furiously” in low carbon technology, aiming to profit from tough climate change targets in the next 20 years, a leading Tory warns today.

Guardian 19th July 2010 more >>

Letter: A 30 per cent target for reductions by 2020, instead of the present 20 per cent, ought to push up the price of carbon emissions and favour new investment in low-carbon energy. However, the timing aspect should also be considered: the low-carbon technologies that might be expected to play a major part in the longer term, such as new nuclear power and carbon capture and storage, will not be widely available until after 2020. That might mean more use of gas and wind power to meet the tougher short-term target.Government has to deliver a credible framework that supports this massive long-term investment.

FT 19th July 2010 more >>

Renewables

Visitors to the West Bank town of Hebron this summer might find a strange-looking white vehicle motoring through its streets – the first Palestinian solar-powered car. The product of an environmentally friendly project for Palestinian engineering students, the car is bedecked with banks of solar panels and doesn’t manage to reach a speed much above 19mph (30kph) – but it is being lauded as a feat of creative engineering in the face of limited funds and scant resources.

Guardian 19th July 2010 more >>

Smart Meters

BT is drawing up plans to win the rights to provide a key component for the Government’s multi-billion pound plan to introduce smart meters, designed to cut carbon emissions and slash energy bills, across the country. The telecoms giant will announce today that it has teamed up with transmission group Arqiva and technology consultant Detica to create a communications network to run smart meters, which will be introduced to all British households by 2020.

Independent 19th July 2010 more >>

Posted: 19 July 2010

18 July 2010

New Nukes

Britain’s new generation of nuclear power stations will not be built if the Government persists with a promise to refuse them any taxpayer support, a KPMG report will say this week. The study, commissioned by RWE npower, says it is still uneconomic for utility companies to invest billions of pounds in nuclear power. The Government has offered to impose a minimum price on carbon permits – which would raise the cost of fossil fuel generation and make low-carbon nuclear more attractive. But it has made a promise not to offer any direct subsidies. KPMG’s report will say a carbon “floor price” is not enough for the big utilities to commit large capital investments to the nuclear sector.

Sunday Telegraph 18th July 2010 more >>

Hinkley

A council boss has called for the developers of a nuclear power station which will store radioactive waste on-site to ‘do the decent thing’ and financially compensate the community. If the Hinkley C power station is given planning permission, developers EDF Energy will store nuclear waste on the site near Bridgwater in Somerset. Delays in Government legislation for nuclear developments were announced yesterday, but if the French company’s bid to build a twin reactor replacement wins approval, radioactive waste may be kept in Somerset for more than 100 years. There have been nuclear power stations at Hinkley since 1959, and Kerry Rickards, chief executive of Sedgemoor district council, says EDF Energy should properly compensate the local community.

This is Devon 17th July 2010 more >>

Wylfa

The process of decommissioning Wylfa is a major undertaking and will last over a hundred years from the end of power generation in 2010 to release of the location from its Nuclear Site Licence in 2125. Against a backdrop of the twin concerns over climate change and energy security, as the old generation of nuclear power stations such as the Magnox reactor at Wylfa on Anglesey are decommissioned, a new nuclear build programme is about to start in Britain. While there is much focus on driving forward with ambitious plans for a new Wylfa B on the island, here we look at how the legacy of Wylfa A will be handled.

Anglesey Today 13th July 2010 more >>

Sizewell

FIFTEEN high school students from Leiston and Bungay have jumped at the chance of a two-week work placement at Sizewell B power station to help bring their studies to life.

East Anglian Daily Times 17th July 2010 more >>

Vanunu

There were demands last night for the release from prison of the man known as the Israeli nuclear whistleblower after it emerged he was being held in solitary confinement in the same section of prison as some of Israel’s most notorious criminals.

Scottish Herald 18th July 2010 more >>

Iran

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro meets with the corps of ambassadors to Cuba and issues another warning about impending nuclear war.

Reuters 17th July 2010 more >>

The strange case of Shahram Amiri has puzzled US intelligence chiefs who approved a $5 million payment to him for information about Iran’s illicit nuclear programme. Former US intelligence agents have predicted that Mr Amiri will disappear into prison or even face death, despite the hero’s welcome he was accorded as he was met by his wife and hugged his seven-year-old son.

Telegraph 18th July 2010 more >>

Trident

Defence Secretary Liam Fox is risking his Cabinet job on securing a full replacement for Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent. He has clashed with Chancellor George Osborne, who wants to slash at least 10 per cent from the MoD’s £37billion budget. But Dr Fox has told allies he would rather quit than see cuts in the £20billion plan to replace Trident with four new nuclear submarines, due to start in 2014. One MoD source revealed Dr Fox has vowed that any effort to block a replacement for Trident would not happen “while I’m in charge”.

Daily Mirror 18th July 2010 more >>

Renewables

SCOTLAND’S wind farms have produced only around half the amount of power they were expected to this year, Scotland on Sunday has learned. The government blamed the low generation levels on unusually calm weather, but critics said the figures showed the danger of becoming too dependent on renewable energy. Rosie Vetter, policy manager for onshore wind at Scottish Renewables, said “cherry picking” data over such a short period was “totally meaningless” because trends have to be looked at over a longer time frame. “The most recent annual figures show over a fifth of Scotland’s electricity demand was met from renewables,” she said. “No single energy technology can meet all of our needs, which is why we need a mix of renewables and thermal generation in different locations linked by a strong grid, with enhanced capacity to store electricity so it can be released when it is needed.”

Scotland on Sunday 18th July 2010 more >>

Posted: 18 July 2010

17 July 2010

NDA

Bonuses at taxpayer-funded quango the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority rose by almost a third last year even though it faces a £4bn budget shortfall by 2015. Staff were awarded £5m, according to an answer to a Freedom of Information request tabled by the Guardian, compared with just under £3.8m the previous year. The NDA, which employs about 300 people, will publish its annual report by the end of the month when it will outline how much it paid to directors for the last financial year. The TaxPayers’ Alliance said that the pay-outs would be hard to justify at a time of public sector spending cuts.

Guardian 17th July 2010 more >>

Companies

Frazer-Nash, the systems and engineering technology consultancy, has been awarded a five-year framework contract and three significant work packages by Horizon Nuclear Power, the company which aims to develop and operate around 6,000 MW of new nuclear power stations in the UK by 2025.

Process and Control Today 16th July 2010 more >>

World Nuclear News 16th July 2010 more >>

Emergency Planning

EMERGENCY services from across South Yorkshire came together for an exercise testing out the response to a potential terrorist attack on the region. Exercise Godiva was organised to test how the various agencies would respond to a disaster which would necessitate mass decontamination of victims following a nuclear fizzle in the area.

Sheffield Star 15th July 2010 more >>

BARNSLEY could not cope with a nuclear disaster, said volunteers who took part in a hospital exercise. Part of Barnsley Hospital was transformed into a mass treatment area to test emergency responses to a potential terrorist attack on Tuesday. But mock victims complained they were left waiting in the cold while the equipment was set up and they did not know where they were supposed to be.

Barnsley Chronicle 16th July 2010 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Some thirty years ago, a group of engineers and technologists at Risley, UK, responsible for the design of radioactive plants, began a feasibility and order of cost study of the storage and underground burial of vitrified HLW. This was published in 1980. A synopsis of the conclusions is set out below together with some more recent observations.

Nuclear Engineering International 16th July 2010 more >>

Hinkley

ENERGY firm EDF proposes a bypass to the west of Cannington to cope with traffic to its proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station, but insists it does not want a bypass around Bridgwater.

This is the West Country 16th July 2010 more >>

Cumbria

Uranium mining is the beginning of the nuclear fool cycle. Cumbrians have been invited to make charcoal drawings of the threatened wildlife and habitats in Finnish Lapland.

“What time is it Mr Wolf? Time to stop uranium mining!”

Indymedia 16th July 2010 more >>

France

France is being forced to import electricity from Britain to cope with a summer heatwave that has helped to put a third of its nuclear power stations out of action. With temperatures across much of France surging above 30C this week, EDF’s reactors are generating the lowest level of electricity in six years, forcing the state-owned utility to turn to Britain for additional capacity. Fourteen of France’s 19 nuclear power stations are located inland and use river water rather than seawater for cooling. When water temperatures rise, EDF is forced to shut down the reactors to prevent their casings from exceeding 50C.

Times 3rd July 2010 more >>

India

Japan, long critical of Indian nuclear policy, is discussing a civilian nuclear energy cooperation agreement that could be signed by the end of the year when the Indian prime minister visits Tokyo. This is a significant move for Japan, and though India-Japan ties have blossomed in recent years on a whole range of issues, the nuclear issue has been a major irritant in the relationship.

Oil Price 15th July 2010 more >>

Iran

An Iranian scientist who claims he was abducted and taken to the United States by the CIA returned to Tehran yesterday to a hero’s welcome and said that he had been pressured into lying about his country’s nuclear programme.

Belfast Telegraph 17th July 2010 more >>

The scientist claiming to have been kidnapped and tortured by the United States was a CIA mole who spied on Iran’s nuclear programme for several years, American officials have said.

Telegraph 17th July 2010 more >>

Test Veterans

Former Armed Forces Minister Kevan Jones told the House of Commons last December that studies had ruled out a link between veterans’ cancer and the nuclear tests.

Derby Telegraph 16th July 2010 more >>

How could ministers possibly fail to understand the need to compensate veterans who, in doing their duty, had been unwittingly exposed to radiation that would ruin their lives. Well, it turns out there has been no such failure – as we discovered this week in the Derby Telegraph. The Government did appreciate the necessity to compensate veterans. Back in 1993 it saw fit to put up £20 million to help settle their claims. The problem is none of the veterans it was prepared to compensate were British. The money was given to the Australian Government, in part to cover the cost of cleaning up test sites where A-bombs had been detonated, but crucially it was also paid to settle Australian claims.

Derby Telegraph 17th July 2010 more >>

Trident

BARROW shipyard managers and workers will be forced to wait five years before they know whether the government will order all four Trident replacement submarines.

Whitehaven News 15th July 2010 more >>

The Financial Times revealed concerns in the military about having to bear the cost of renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent.

FT 17th July 2010 more >>

Fusion

Iter the next fusion machine and the first to be built as an international collaboration, is designed to demonstrate the scientific feasibility of net energy production. It is expected that Iter will produce about 500MW of fusion power – 10 times the input power. Just as importantly, it will show how to integrate the many cutting-edge technologies required for efficient and reliable future power station designs. Put simply, it is the big step needed to prove the viability of fusion as a commercial energy source. Unfortunately, Iter’s construction expenses have risen from about 5bn to over 13bn and the cost overruns have prompted some to question why chasing nuclear fusion is a priority. How sure are we that Iter will work? Could this money be spent more wisely in other areas of energy research, such as renewables or new fission? My answer is that fusion is more than desirable. It may be crucially necessary.

Guardian 16th July 2010 more >>

Posted: 17 July 2010

16 July 2010

NPS Consultations

The Government’s draft National Policy Statements for energy infrastructure will be strengthened, it was announced today. Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy said: “For large energy projects we need to give industry maximum certainty, so that if sound proposals come forward, they will not fall victim to unnecessary hold-ups. “We have decided to take a further look at the Appraisal of Sustainability of our draft Energy Policy Statements to make sure that they are fit for purpose. Taking this decision now is essential to safeguard our long-term goal of a sustainable and secure energy supply”. Plans for the first new nuclear power station to begin generating electricity by 2018 remain on course. The Government will be launching a re-consultation in the autumn on the draft energy National Policy Statements following the consultation undertaken by the previous administration earlier this year, and in particular due to changes which have been made to the Appraisal of Sustainability for the Overarching Energy National Policy Statement. The revised statements will give investors the certainty they need to bring forward proposals to maintain security of supply and ensure progress towards decarbonisation and plans for the first new nuclear power station to begin generating electricity by 2018 remain on course. We intend to present the finalised statements to Parliament for ratification next Spring. A detailed implementation plan for planning reform on major infrastructure – including transitional arrangements and a revised timetable – will be published later in the summer.

DECC 15th July 2010 more >>

The nuclear industry was plunged into further uncertainty on Thursday when the Government insisted it was necessary to re-examine planning laws aimed at speeding up the UK’s first atomic plants for a generation.

Telegraph 16th July 2010 more >>

The coalition government will reconsider the nation’s nuclear power plans, it said Thursday, surprising the nuclear industry, but added targets for first power generation by 2018 remain intact. The nuclear plan issued by the previous Labour government was widely consulted on by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, but the new coalition government says it wants to look at it again in the autumn to see if it is sustainable. “We have decided to take a further look at the Appraisal of Sustainability of our draft Energy Policy Statements to make sure that they are fit for purpose,” Energy Minister Charles Hendry said in a statement Thursday.

Reuters 15th July 2010 more >>

New Energy Focus 15th July 2010 more >>

World Nuclear News 15th July 2010 more >>

Hinkley C application could still go ahead. See Register of Advice 16th June 2010

IPC website more >>

The announcement throws the planning process into some confusion as there will be no list of nuclear sites with which developers such as EdF can line up their planning applications. The text of the announcement suggests that the Government fears being challenged over aspects of the Policy Statements which may not be legally watertight. The suggestion is that the re-consultation and consequent delay will benefit the developers in terms of certainty but oddly states that a nuclear power station is still possible by 2018. A spokesman for the Infrastructure planning Commission said to Stop Hinkley that a case could still be examined and a recommendation made ‘under a hierarchy of policy’. When asked how the public or even the IPC commissioners could judge what questions to put in the planning process without a blueprint we were told they would come back to us after seeking advice.

Bristol Indy Media 15th July 2010 more >>

EDF Energy notes the announcement today on the timetable for ratification of the National Policy Statements on energy. We will work with Government to understand the details and the implications of the announcement. It is vital that the Nuclear NPS is ratified as soon as practical and that it is fully robust. For our part, since the last Nuclear Development Forum meeting, we and our partner Centrica have shown own commitment to new nuclear, pressing ahead with our plans at Hinkley Point and Sizewell. Alongside our increasing commitment, we need to see continued action from Government, in line with its commitment to new nuclear, to address the complex issues that will need to be resolved before new power stations can be built. Our aim is to have our first reactor operational in 2018. As we have consistently said, our plans depend on a robust framework being in place at the right time. The two years of 2010 and 2011 are crucial if we are to keep to this overall timetable.

British Energy 15th July 2010 more >>

Geological Disposal Research

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, under the auspices of the Research Council Energy Programme (RCEP), has been working with the NDA’s Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) to identify research challenges associated with the implementation of a geological waste facility. The NDA and RCEP have called for expressions of interest from researchers to attend a joint workshop focussed on developing possible research activities to address these challenges. These activities will be light touch reviewed at the workshop and the most appropriate invited to prepare full proposals for a subsequent competitive call. Up to £4M will be available over the next four years to support proposals through this call.

NDA 15th July 2010 more >>

Waste Transport

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley is trying to drum up opposition from around the lakes to veto plans to ship radioactive waste by boat from Owen Sound to Sweden.

London Free Press 15th July 2010 more >>

Proliferation

Britain and India are expected to reach agreements on some “very big projects”, including nuclear power and higher education, during the visit of prime minister David Cameron to New Delhi this month end. “The prime minister is taking (to India) some of the key ministers in the government. This is the first really big concentrated visit of this coalition government abroad,” UK’s secretary of state for business, Vince Cable, told reporters. There are some “very big projects” that Britain is hoping to bring to conclusions, he said, without mentioning exact dates for Cameron’s India visit. “Among them is the nuclear power projects which we have been discussing with them (India). One of the big areas where India has a large demand and we have potential suppliers is education; higher education. British Universities are potentially very big collaborators in the field as well,” Cable said.

DNA 14th July 2010 more >>

Energy Security

The EURATOM Supply Agency, whose ‘mission is to ensure a regular and equitable supply of nuclear fuels for [European] Community users’, has just released its annual report for 2009. It gives some interesting information on the flow of uranium into and from the European Union. From the pie chart on page 25 of the report, we can see that in 2009 just 2.73 per cent of the uranium delivered to EU utilities came from within the EU itself. Almost half came from Russia, Niger, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, South Africa and Namibia. Is that energy insecurity, relying on uranium supplies from unstable governments with questionable human rights records? The nuclear ‘renaissance’ is supposed to make Europe less reliant on things like Russian gas supplies. It does that by making us reliant on Russian uranium supplies.

Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 14th July 2010 more >>

Hinkley

Petition against a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. SHE want thousands of people to sign up by the time EDF puts in its official planning application later this year, so follow the link to either sign online or print off copies to distribute among your friends. more >>

Sellafield

MORE than 700 employees are in the queue to leave Sellafield. With only a few days left for employees to show an interest, The Whitehaven News has learned this is the number of staff who already want to part company. Sellafield Ltd is looking to cut at least 800 jobs in a massive cost-cutting drive. The company has not been negotiating with the unions, leaving it to the workforce to come forward as volunteers. GMB convenor Peter Kane said yesterday he also understands around 700 had inquired about their individual redundancy terms but this was an “expression of interest” without commitment.

Whitehaven News 14th July 2010 more >>

Companies

WESTLAKES Scientific Consulting Ltd, which employs 65 staff across its two West Cumbrian sites, has gone into administration.

Whitehaven News 15th July 2010 more >>

Frazer-Nash, the systems and engineering technology consultancy, has been awarded a five-year framework contract by Horizon Nuclear Power, the company that aims to develop and operate around 6,000MW of new nuclear power stations in the UK by 2025. The framework agreement calls for Frazer-Nash to provide Horizon Nuclear Power with regulatory and licensing services for a five-year period from 2010, representing the start of a long-term strategic relationship. The company will initially focus on supporting Horizon’s submissions of site-licence applications for the Oldbury and Wylfa sites.

The Engineer 15th July 2010 more >>

Small Reactors

Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) and Bechtel have announced they will develop the first small-scale Generation III++ nuclear power stations.

New Civil Engineer 15th July 2010 more >>

Reactor Designs

The WNA, in its role as the international organization of the global nuclear industry, has in recent months begun to focus intensively on the challenge of achieving greater standardisation in reactor designs. The industry, through the WNA, believes that steady progress toward this objective is essential if the world is to achieve success in the decades ahead in exploiting the full potential of nuclear power as a large-scale source of clean energy.

Commodities Now 15th July 2010 more >>

Radiation and Health

A cancer patient recovering from radiation therapy sparked bomb fears as he drove off a Channel ferry. Officials checking for radioactive material stopped Peter Davies, 60, after he set off detectors at Dover. He was allowed through only after he showed a letter detailing the thyroid cancer treatment he’d had a fortnight earlier at St Bart’s, London.

Daily Mirror 15th July 2010 more >>

Iran

The scientist who claims he was abducted by US spies was paid $5 million by the CIA to disclose Iran’s nuclear secrets, American officials have said.

Telegraph 15th July 2010 more >>

Shahram Amiri tells reporters he was tortured in US but reception suggests regime is using him for propaganda.

Guardian 15th July 2010 more >>

Italy

Energy Solutions is adopting a new international business strategy whereby, rather than importing foreign radioactive waste for processing and disposal at its US facility, it will help overseas customers dispose of such waste in their own country. The company – which has faced strong opposition to its plan to import waste from decommissioned nuclear facilities in Italy for processing and recycling at its facility in Clive, Utah – said that under the new strategy, no internationally generated radioactive waste would be disposed of at the site.

World Nuclear News 15th July 2010 more >>

Trident

Liam Fox, the defence secretary, is locked in high-stakes talks with the Treasury over the future funding for Britain’s nuclear deterrent, as he resists pressure on his department to absorb the £20bn cost of renewing the system into its core budget. In a dispute that may have serious implications for the shape of Britain’s armed forces a decade from now, Mr Fox insists that the Treasury must stick to a commitment made by the last Labour government that the nuclear deterrent is of special strategic significance – and that the cost of renewing it must, therefore, be ring-fenced from spending on conventional defence equipment.

FT 16th July 2010 more >>

Posted: 16 July 2010

15 July 2010

Hinkley

Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger called upon the government to ensure investment for a new build nuclear power at Hinkley Point. In November 2009, the Labour government approved sites for the building of 10 new nuclear power stations, seven of which already host nuclear plants. During a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday, the Bridgewater and West Somerset MP emphasised the important economic contribution that Hinkley Point makes to his local area and called for “decisive action” on nuclear power.

ePolitix 14th July 2010 more >>

THE firm behind plans for a third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point wants to hear the views of people in Burnham and Highbridge as it unveils its “preferred proposals”.

This is the West Country 14th July 2010 more >>

Small Reactors

Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy and Bechtel Power have entered into a formal alliance to design, license and deploy the commercially viable Generation III++ small modular nuclear power plant. The alliance, to be called Generation mPower, brings the two companies together in engineering, manufacturing and construction of B&W’s mPower 125MW modular reactor.

Energy Business Review 14th July 2010 more >>

Emergency Planning

Fire crews and hospital staff carried out an exercise in Barnsley yesterday to test the emergency response to a terrorist attack in South Yorkshire. The scenario was that a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) device had exploded in the Meadowhall shopping centre and crowds of people with radiation burns needed to be treated.

Yorkshire Post 14th July 2010 more >>

Poland

The USA and Poland have signed a joint declaration for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. The signing of the agreement followed a US nuclear trade mission to Warsaw.

World Nuclear News 14th July 2010 more >>

Platts 14th July 2010 more >>

Iran

An Iranian nuclear scientist claimed today that he suffered extreme mental and physical torture at the hands of US interrogators after disappearing last year, adding to Tehran’s allegations he was abducted by American agents. The US said he was a willing defector who changed his mind and decided to board a plane home from Washington.

Wales Online 15th July 2010 more >>

The Iranian nuclear scientist who said he was abducted by U.S. agents was paid more than $5 million (3.3 million pound) by the CIA for information about Iran’s nuclear program, The Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing U.S. officials.

Yahoo 15th July 2010 more >>

Shahram Amiri, the Iranian nuclear scientist, has described the moment he claims to have been abducted at gunpoint by the CIA while on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Telegraph 15th July 2010 more >>

Dangerous surprises may be in store, for both Israel and the US, emanating from Iran. The depth and breadth of the confrontation with Tehran on numerous fronts – political, commercial, geographical and physical – is growing exponentially. The situation grows less predictable, and thus more volatile, by the day. It would not take much to spark a full-blown crisis, most probably unplanned.

Guardian 15th July 2010 more >>

Italy

Italy is set to name the head of a new nuclear safety agency within days, moving closer to a relaunch of the nuclear power industry abandoned over 20 years ago, the Environment Minister said on Wednesday. Setting up a nuclear safety agency is a key step in Italy’s plans to revive nuclear energy rejected by a public vote in 1987 after the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine. But clashing political interests have delayed the new agency, Italian media have said.

STV 14th July 2010 more >>

EnergySolutions Inc. said Wednesday it is abandoning its plans to dispose of nuclear waste from Italy in Utah’s west desert and instead will try to help open a disposal facility in that country. The Salt Lake City-based company had been seeking to import up to 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italy’s shuttered nuclear power program. After processing in Tennessee, about 1,600 tons would have been buried in Utah.

Hartford Courant 14th July 2010 more >>

Renewables

Europe is more than halfway to hitting its target of generating 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020, according to new figures published by Eurostat today. Renewable energy consumption rose 0.6 per cent in the European Union in 2008 to 10.3 per cent, compared with 9.7 per cent in 2007 and 8.8 per cent in 2006, meaning that the EU has passed the halfway point to reaching its 20 per cent target over the next decade. Of the EU’s three biggest economies – Germany, France and Britain – France boasted the highest share at 11 per cent of gross final energy consumption generated by renewable energy sources, followed by Germany’s 8.9 per cent and the UK’s 2.2 per cent.

Business Green 14th July 2010 more >>

Spain has opened the world’s largest solar power station, meaning that it overtakes the US as the biggest solar generator in the world. The nation’s total solar power production is now equivalent to the output of a nuclear power station. The new La Florida solar plant takes Spain’s solar output to 432MW, which compares with the US output of 422MW. The plant, at Alvarado, Badajoz, in the west of the country, is a parabolic trough. With this method of collecting solar energy, sunlight is reflected off a parabolic mirror on to a fluid-filled tube. The heated liquid is then used to heat steam to run the turbines. The mirror rotates during the day to follow the sun’s movement. The solar farm covers 550,000 square metres (the size of around 77 football pitches) and produces 50MW of power.

Guardian 13th July 2010 more >>

He was once the world’s most ruthless and notorious oil baron. But now JR Ewing has turned his back on black gold to spend his retirement selling eco-friendly solar panels.

Guardian 15th July 2010 more >>

Test Veterans

BRITISH ex-servicemen have reacted angrily to news that ministers paid out £20 million to Australia to settle compensation claims arising from UK nuclear bomb tests – while continuing to deny them payouts for illnesses they say were caused by the same blasts. Documents obtained by the Derby Telegraph show that, in 1993, the Foreign Office agreed to hand over £20 million “in full and final settlement” of all claims which “any person” might have due to the actions of the UK in relation to the 1950s’ tests in Australia.

Derby Telegraph 14th July 2010 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear campaigners have branded the government’s proposed “value-for-money” review of the multibillion-pound renewal of Trident as nonsense. Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced on Wednesday at a conference in London’s Chatham House that the government could scale back Britain’s fleet of Trident nuclear submarines from four to three. But he added it would only be done if Britain could maintain its deterrence at sea and that a decision will not be made until 2014-15.

Morning Star 14th July 2010 more >>

Depleted Uranium

Chris Busby, Malak Hamdan Entesar Ariabi have released their epidemiological study on the health problems the people of Fallujah are suffering from – entitled “Genetic damage and health in Fallujah Iraq worse than Hiroshima”.

Countercurrents 11th July 2010 more >>

Climate

Europes current focus on recovery from recession must not distract us from the question of what kind of economy we want to build. Unless we set our countries on a path to a sustainable low-carbon future, we will face continued uncertainty and significant costs from energy price volatility and a destabilising climate. This is why we today set out our belief that the European Union should raise its emissions target. A reduction of 30 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020 would represent a real incentive for innovation and action in the international context. It would be a genuine attempt to restrict the rise in global temperatures to 2C the key climate danger threshold stiffening the resolve of those already proposing ambitious action and encouraging those waiting in the wings. It would also make good business sense. The writers are UK climate change secretary, German federal environment minister and French environment minister

FT 15th July 2010 more >>

Posted: 15 July 2010

14 July 2010

New Nukes

The length of time to make a decision on approving new nuclear power stations could be cut down to just three months. Energy Minister Charles Hendry promised the coalition Government’s changes to the planning system will not mean plans for new reactors will suffer long delays. And he also said it is considering compensating communities with sites nearby, which could be worth tens of millions of pounds a year for places near Hinkley Point in Somerset, and Oldbury, South Gloucestershire.

Bristol Evening Post 14th July 2010 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Sweden plans to encapsulate depleted fuel rods – unlike France there is no reprocessing here – in copper-coated cast-iron canisters. Some 6,000 of these boxes will be required for the waste from existing power stations, but their number is due to increase following the decision by Sweden on 17 June to gradually replace its 10 reactors. After being stored for 40 years in special pools, where part of the residual heat wears off, each canister will be set into a cavity, subsequently plugged with bentonite, a rock that swells up in a moist environment and stops water from circulating. But will that be sufficient to contain the radiation for 100,000 years?

Guardian 14th July 2010 more >>

Supply Chain

THE North West Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has been appointed to co-ordinate support to British businesses by the MAS service nationwide to help them seize commercial opportunities from the rapidly expanding civil nuclear market.

Liverpool Dail Post 14th July 2010 more >>

Tritium

The risks of tritium could be undervalued because it could be bound into the DNA of cells, according to experts who participated in a White Paper published by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) . Tritium may be combined with certain cellular components, even DNA, said the experts noting reports of tritium measurements made in the UK, including Sellafield. “In Cardiff Bay, the tritium concentration in marine fauna is 1,000-10,000 times that of seawater” he said. At Cardiff, “organic molecules containing tritium were released into the sea” which may explain this concentration. “In the case of Sellafield, tritium concentrations in marine fauna concentration were only increased by a factor of 10, but only tritiated water was released.” Faced with these issues, the Director-General of the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire (ASN), Jean-Christophe Niel, wants the investigation “on new approaches in relation to possible hereditary effects”. After the publication of the White Paper of tritium, the ASN intends to establish a “monitoring committee” and calls on nuclear operators to control their (tritium) emissions. ASN’s action plan also provides for the monitoring of various forms of tritium in the environment and for assessing their impact.

Le Monde 8th July 2010 more >>

White Paper published by the French ASN (Autorite de Securite Nucleaire= French Nuclear Safety Authority). This White Paper has 28 individual chapters on tritium. (3 are translated into English.)

ASN 8th July 2010 more >>

Also see the French IRSN (Instiute de Radioprotection et Surete Nucleaire) which has published at various dates in 2009 and 2010, not one but six major research reports on tritium http://www.irsn.fr/FR/Actualites_presse/Actualites/Pages/20100709_rapports_IRSN_etat_connaissances_tritium.aspx

Nuclear Research

Uranium nitride, a nuclear fuel that might one day offer a more efficient alternative to the uranium and plutonium oxides now used, has been given a boost by research that has illuminated its reactive properties. The threat of climate change and uncertain fossil fuel prices have made nuclear power a tempting option for meeting some of the world’s future energy needs. The nuclear industry today uses oxides of uranium and plutonium, but some chemists think they could one day be replaced with uranium nitrides.

New Scientist 13th July 2010 more >>

Sellafield

Letter from Marianne Birkby; Sellafield uses the equivalent of Millom, Barrow and Ulverston’s fresh water put together every day. Over four million gallons are abstracted daily from Wastwater, Britain’s favourite view, to prevent the high level liquid wastes from boiling. The industry pays exactly nothing apart from an abstraction license. While Cumbrians are urged to save water and struggling to meet higher water utility bills, Sellafield cools its high level liquid wastes with Lakeland water for free, using more water than any other industrial user in Cumbria.

Big Issue 12th July 2010 more >>

Dungeness

Dungeness could be back on the list of potential new nuclear sites after MP Damian Collins raised the issue in a debate at Westminster. The site had been ruled out by the last government due to concerns over the potential environmental impact on the unique shingle peninsula, largely based on conservation body Natural England’s recommendation.

Your Shepway News 8th July 2010 more >>

Hinkley

EDF Energy has launched a stage 2 public consultation process for its ’preferred proposals’ for the development of Hinkley Point C new nuclear power station. The discussion process will last for 12 weeks – from 9 July to 4 Oct.

The Engineer 12th July 2010 more >>

Areva

Interview with Anne Lauvergeon CEO of Areva

Charlie Rose, In Business 6th July 2010 more >>

US

Gerry Pollet, executive director of Heart of America Northwest, which describes itself as a watchdog group focused on Hanford, will be giving evidence to the Nuclear Waste Commission set up by Obama. Mr. Pollet’s prepared testimony argues that Hanford has deeper problems than the possible demise of Yucca Mountain. Even if Yucca had opened as planned 10 years ago, it would not have enough space for all of Hanford’s wastes, he argues. The Energy Department is trying to build a factory at Yucca that will take liquid wastes and mix them with molten glass to produce a solid, as a factory at another bomb plant in South Carolina is already doing. But at the moment, there is no final resting place for these “vitrified” wastes.

New York Times 12th July 2010 more >>

Iran

An Iranian nuclear scientist who appeared in the US and claimed he had been abducted by the CIA has now left the US, Iran’s foreign ministry says. Iranian officials, who claim Shahram Amiri was abducted last year, told state media he had left the US. In Washington, the US state department has insisted the scientist came to the country of his own free will.

BBC 14th July 2010 more >>

An Iranian nuclear scientist who was missing for over a year amid claims that he had been abducted by the CIA surfaced today at the Pakistani embassy in Washington, apparently asking to be returned home.

Guardian 14th July 2010 more >>

Scotsman 14th July 2010 more >>

Telegraph 14th July 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 14th May 2010 more >>

Shahram Amiri, the Iranian scientist who took refuge in the Pakistani embassy in the United States today, is a nuclear physicist in his early 30s.

Guardian 14th July 2010 more >>

Renewables

The Egyptian Electricity Ministry has unveiled plans to build a new $700m 100MW solar power plant between 2012 and 2017 that should further establish the country as one of the leading developers of utility-scale solar plants. According to reports in the local Al-Ahram newspaper, the solar power project at Kom Ombo, near the Aswan High Dam hydro-electric plant, will be financed by a number of international institutions, including the African Development Fund and the World Bank. Additional finance is also expected to be provided through the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) carbon offsetting scheme. The project is part of a five-year plan running from 2012-2017 designed to establish the Egypt as one of the top generators of solar energy in North Africa, electricity ministry undersecretary Aktham Abou el-Ella told news agency Reuters.

Guardian 12th July 2010 more >>

Trident

BRITAIN’S fleet of nuclear submarines could be reduced to save money, but the renewal of the Trident system represented good value for money, said Defence Secretary Liam Fox. Dr Fox said the number of submarines may be cut from four to three if it could be done while maintaining the UK’s “continuous at-sea” deterrence, but any decisions on reducing the fleet would not be taken until 2014/15.

Scotsman 14th July 2010 more >>

Telegraph 14th July 2010 more >>

Nearly three-quarters of opinion formers in Britain think the government should either scrap the country’s nuclear weapons or look for a cheaper alternative, according to a poll published on Tuesday.

Reuters 13th July 2010 more >>

Posted: 14 July 2010

13 July 2010

New Nukes

Manufacturers are calling on the Government to revise the country’s target for the expansion of renewable energy, arguing that its ambitions are too demanding and too costly. The previous Government committed Britain to deliver a sevenfold expansion of renewable energy to meet 15 per cent of its electricity consumption by 2020, the second most stretching emissions target in Europe after Malta. The new coalition Government has expressed a desire to increase this target, but the EEF, the former Engineering Employers Federation, which represents manufacturers, believes that it should be reassessed. Mr Salomone said that early signs from the Government on energy were mixed. The EEF is urging ministers to set a carbon-based tax on electricity generation to make clear its commitment to replacing the country’s ageing energy infrastructure and building nuclear power.

The Times 12th July 2010 more >>

Nuclear Industry Association and EDF Energy suppliers websites launch to allow large and small businesses to register and be approved for work on the multi-billion pound new nuclear power station building programme.

Telegraph 13th July 2010 more >>

Chief executives from the main nuclear energy companies are meeting the UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne in London this week, to urge progress in the plans to build new nuclear power stations across the country, the Telegraph has reported. The meeting will take place on Thursday at the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s Nuclear Development Forum. Keith Parker, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, has been reported as saying that the forum was a “crucial opportunity” to engage the new Government. He added that the nuclear industry would urge it to maintain momentum in the new build programme for nuclear power plants.

New Statesman 12th July 2010 more >>

Hinkley

CAMPAIGNERS say their battle against power plant proposals in Cannington is nearly won but now the war to save Bridgwater will begin. The Save Cannington Action Group has been fighting EDF Energy’s infrastructure plans for Hinkley C, which it claims would destroy the village. The pressure paid off this week when EDF, in its “preferred options” proposals, scrapped plans to build a campus to house hundreds of workers during construction and a lorry park in the village.

This is the West Country 12th July 2010 more >>

Developer launches 12-week stage-two consultation believed to be the most extensive and wide-ranging ever for a British nuclear power station. EDF Energy will make its ‘Preferred Proposals’ for the development of Hinkley Point C new nuclear power station available for public consultation from 9 July.

British Energy 8th July 2010 more >>

Sedgemoor District Council, West Somerset Council and Somerset County Council have gone out to tender for firms to provide professional technical advice during the planning process for new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point. Successful firms will be expected to provide technical advice, support in the drafting of documentation, and carry out a critical review of documentation from developers. They will also represent the councils, as and if required during the course of the projects.

New Civil Engineer 10th July 2010 more >>

Hartlepool

MEMBERS of Hartlepool power station’s local community liaison committee were given a behind the scenes tour of the site after their recent meeting. Station director Paul Newman led the tour for committee members, who were taken to see the pile cap, fuel ponds, turbine hall, the cooling water pump house and the control room.

British Energy 8th July 2010 more >>

Sellafield

While Cumbrians face the prospect of £1000 fine for using a hosepipe during the drought – Sellafield uses the equivalent of Millom, Barrow and Ulverston’s fresh water put together every day. Over 4 million gallons are abstracted daily from Wastwater, Britain’s favourite view, in order to prevent the high level liquid wastes from boiling.

Indymedia 10th July 2010 more >>

Devonport

DEVONPORT Dockyard is to change the way it describes nuclear accident procedures to bring them into line with civilian practice. The latest meeting of the Devonport Local Liaison Committee heard that the old military system of talking about ‘category one, two and three’ incidents will be replaced by more “logical” terms used at civilian nuclear facilities. Mark Rouse, director of nuclear safety and quality at Devonport Dockyard, said the old definitions were confusing, as category one was in fact the least serious scenario. The categories will now be referred to as ‘site standby’, ‘on-site incident’ and ‘off-site nuclear emergency’.

Plymouth Herald 13th July 2010 more >>

Waste Transport

The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station plans to ship 1,760 tonnes of radiation-laced steel through Lake Ontario a precedent-setting project that has officials worried on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. On April 1, Bruce Power asked the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Canada’s nuclear regulator, for a licence to ship low-level radioactive generators from its power plant on Lake Huron to Sweden, where 90 per cent of the metals inside the generators are to be cleansed and resold.

The Star 11th July 2010 more >>

Iran

The Middle East is on the verge of a nuclear war triggered by a US attack on Iran in the name of preventing the country from developing its own weapons, according to ageing Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro.

Guardian 13th July 2010 more >>

Sky News 13th July 2010 more >>

Saudi Arabia

The Shaw Group, Exelon and Toshiba plan to team up to pursue contracts for “a full complement of services to design, engineer, construct and operate” nuclear power projects in Saudi Arabia.

World Nuclear News 12th July 2010 more >>

Energy Business Review 12th July 2010 more >>

Trident

A clear majority among the general public and leading opinion-formers wants a cheaper alternative to Britain’s nuclear deterrent, either by reducing the number of submarines in the system or scrapping it altogether. The findings, contained in a YouGov poll commissioned by Chatham House, the think-tank, come as the government prepares to announce whether it will press ahead with plans to spend £20bn building a new submarine platform for the deterrent.

FT 13th July 2010 more >>

Posted: 13 July 2010

12 July 2010

New Nukes

The nuclear industry will meet Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, for the first time this week and urge him to push on with plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations across the country. Chief executives from the main energy companies will meet Mr Huhne in London on Thursday at a gathering of the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s Nuclear Development Forum. At Thursday’s meeting, EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz is expected to ask for the Government to set out its plans and timetable a date for Parliament to vote on them “as soon as possible”. He is also expected to tell Mr Huhne that he wants to see an “increasing commitment from the Government” as spending by EDF and its partner Centrica increases in anticipation of the formal go ahead. A consultation on 10 proposed sites closed earlier this year and the industry is waiting for the Government to make a final decision on an investment programme. EDF Energy is hoping to have the first new nuclear plant up and running at Hinkley Point by 2018. However, officials need to finalise the Government’s national policy statement for nuclear energy. Ministers have said it will not be available until late summer at the earliest.

Telegraph 12th July 2010 more >>

Regulation

The Food Standards Agency is to be abolished by Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, it emerged last night, after the watchdog fought a running battle with industry over the introduction of colour-coded “traffic light” warnings for groceries, TV dinners and snacks. The move has sparked accusations that the government has “caved in to big business”. As part of the changes Lansley will reassign the FSA’s regulatory aspects – including safety and hygiene – to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Its responsibilities for nutrition, diet and public health will be incorporated into the Department of Health.

Guardian 12th July 2010 more >>

Independent 12th July 2010 more >>

Energy Security

Britain’s competitiveness and future security will come under threat if the Government fails to act on energy policy, the Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) will warn today. The UK faces an unprecedented combination of energy challenges over the next decade and needs to invest billions of pounds in infrastructure, manage the risks associated with growing dependence on imported gas and meet renewable energy targets, the employment body says. The association has launched an “Energy Action Plan”, which it says is a blueprint for attracting as much as £200bn needed to meet the Government’s goals, and safeguard the interests of consumers. The plan urges the coaltion to keep to an existing timetable encouraging a greater reliance on nuclear power, and ensuring that Britain increases its gas storage capacity. “The Government must address the growing risk to the security of supply from the UK’s increasing dependence on imported gas,” the plan says.

The Independent 12th July 2010 more >>

There is only a limited window of opportunity to implement new policies and market reforms to generate the estimated £200bn of investment the UK needs in the next decade, the EEF argues in a report published on Monday. It says the energy industry must make far-reaching investment decisions as early as 2012 to secure finance and mobilise supply chains. The EEF wants the government to keep to the existing timetable for replacing nuclear power stations and reversing nuclear’s declining share of electricity generation. That means completing planning reforms later this year and finishing assessment of new reactor designs by next year. It says the two main support programmes for renewable energy – the renewables obligation for large-scale technologies and feed-in-tariffs for smaller ones – are poor value for money and need reform.

FT 12th July 2010 more >>

Uranium

China is buying unprecedented amounts of uranium, signaling that prices are poised to rebound after three years of declines. India and China are leading the biggest atomic expansion since the decade after the 1970s oil crisis to cut pollution and power economies growing more than twice as fast as Europe and North America. The boom, combined with slowing supply growth, may benefit Cameco Corp., a co-owner of the world’s largest uranium mine, and Areva SA, the largest builder of reactors.

Business Week 12th July 2010 more >>

Test Vets

AN MP has pledged to write to the Armed Forces Minister today to demand the Government pays compensation to Britain’s nuclear test veterans. Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham made the pledge after reading in the Derby Telegraph about the plight of hundreds of veterans who suffered terrible illnesses after taking part in Britain’s nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s. Mrs Latham said that she would write to Nick Harvey who, as the Coalition Government’s new Armed Forces Minister, is responsible for dealing with the test veterans’ case. While other world governments – such as those in America, France and Russia – have compensated veterans who took part in their tests, British leaders have so far staunchly refused to accept responsibility for their veterans’ problems.

Derby Telegraph 12th July 2010 more >>

Hold the front Page 12th July 2010 more >>

Nuclear War

The Queen was to be put aboard a “floating bunker” and moved around remote Scottish lochs in the event of a nuclear attack on Britain, newly-declassified papers has revealed.

Telegraph 12th July 2010 more >>

Fuel Poverty

People in fuel poverty face being unfairly hit by the costs of investment in energy infrastructure and reducing greenhouse gases, a report says. Such spending may see energy bills rise by 50% – on top of 125% rises seen in the past six years – the government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group said.

BBC 11th July 2010 more >>

Renewables

General Electric and a solar technology specialist, Solarcentury, will today launch a scheme to help schools to invest in renewable energy. Solar panels could cut up to £840 from a school’s annual electricity bill and generate another £3,000 by feeding excess power back into the National Grid, they say. High upfront costs can be a deterrent: installation can cost up to £16,000 for a primary and £35,000 for a secondary school. Under the scheme, GE Capital will pay for installing solar panels, after receiving a small deposit from a school. A lease will then be paid back over 15 years, using income from the feed-in tariffs to pay for excess capacity.

Independent 12th July 2010 more >>

The minister for Climate Change, Greg Barker, will today launch a consultation on the Government’s strategy to boost energy self-sufficiency in communities. The public debate about microgeneration will look at ways to ensure the quality of generating technology and its installation, how to improve available products, and how to develop the microgeneration supply chain while providing more accessible advice. The consultation follows last week’s news that the Government is to overturn a ban on councils selling “green” electricity back to the national grid by the end of the year.

Independent 12th July 2010 more >>

News that the Scottish government is to scrap the home renewables loan scheme, which has helped nearly 3,000 people add green energy devices to their homes since 2007, is a blow to hopes of achieving our environmental goals. Home energy use accounts for more than a third of Scotlands greenhouse gas emissions. Getting hous eholds to generate their own energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind on site is a crucial part of Scotlands strategy for reducing those emissions. For many households, it is only the existence of the grant scheme, which offers up to 4,000 towards costs, that make microgeneration schemes viable. Many will worry that this announcement indicates the Scottish Governments willingness to de-prioritise the environment at a time of economic hardship.

Herald 12th July 2010 more >>

Environmental organisations have reacted with anger to the scrapping of a scheme that helped homeowners meet the cost of installing green devices such as solar panels and small wind turbines. Almost 3000 households have benefited from the Scottish Governments home renewables grant scheme, which offered up to 4000 towards the cost of environmentally friendly power systems. It was set up in 2007 and has handed out a total of 7.4 million but budget cuts mean it will close on July 23.

Herald 12th July 2010 more >>

Scotland on Sunday 11th July 2010 more >>

Posted: 12 July 2010