Nukes vs Climate
In Paris, in early December, the advocates of nuclear power made yet another appeal to world leaders to adopt their technology as central to saving the planet from dangerous climate change. Yet analysis of the plans of 195 governments that signed up to the Paris agreement, each with their own individual schemes on how to reduce national carbon emissions, show that nearly all of them exclude nuclear power. Only a few big players—China, Russia, India, South Korea and the United Kingdom—still want an extensive program of new–build reactors. To try to understand why this is so the U.S.-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists asked eight experts in the field to look at the future of nuclear power in the context of climate change. One believed that large-scale new-build nuclear power “could and should” be used to combat climate change and another thought nuclear could play a role, although a small one. The rest thought new nuclear stations were too expensive, too slow to construct and had too many inherent disadvantages to compete with renewables. Amory Lovins, co-founder and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, produced a devastating analysis saying that the slow-motion decline of the nuclear industry was simply down to the lack of a business case.
Eco Watch 31st Dec 2015 read more »
Climate News Network 31st Dec 2015 read more »
The UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has announced that Wylfa unit 1 – the world’s last operating Magnox reactor – closed yesterday. The unit had generated electricity for five years longer than originally planned. The two units at Wylfa were both scheduled to shut down at the end of 2012, but Magnox Ltd – which manages and operates the plant on behalf of its owner, the NDA – decided to shut down unit 2 in April 2012 so that unit 1 could continue operating in order to fully utilize existing stocks of fuel, which is no longer being manufactured. In September last year, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) approved the plant’s latest periodic safety review and permitted the continued operation of unit 1 until the end of 2015. Stuart Law, the Wylfa site director, said in the NDA statement that the closure marked “a safe and dignified end to the generation of electricity at Wylfa, and indeed for Magnox”.
World Nuclear News 31st Dec 2015 read more »
This was the moment 44 years of electricity generation came to an end at Wales’ last remaining nuclear power plant.
Daily Post 31st Dec 2015 read more »
The account of the 44 years’ operating life of the reactor omits one very important aspect: the production of plutonium for use in nuclear warheads, both in Britain and the US. This was first revealed in an exclusive front page Western Mail story by your then political editor, Sarah Neville, on 8 October 1984. It was followed in more detail by former Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent, Llew Smith – for whom I used to do research – on in a feature article in the Western Mail on 3 March 1986, followed up by a letter in the paper from Mr Smith (“Safety problems at Wylfa Nuclear plant, “11 December 1995).
David Lowry’s Blog 31st Dec 2015 read more »
Graphene could be used to clean up nuclear waste contaminated with radioactive tritium, a hydrogen isotope that can be separated by the graphene filter, the scientists said. “Essentially, graphene is the finest sieve known. It can sieve particles smaller than an atom. That is not only new but unexpected,” said Marcelo Lozada-Hidalgo of Manchester University, the first author of the study published in the journal Science. “Acquiring the ability to separate particles smaller than an atom using a membrane at room temperature was unthinkable even to me not long ago. I could imagine applications in biology, nuclear science, chemistry or physics.”
Independent 31st Dec 2015 read more »
CORE: re the Drigg Flooding story – a storm in a teacup we’re afraid. The EA’s flood warning was just that – a warning. Jad the map reflected actual water levels the flood waters would have reached an unused council landfill site.
Radiation Free Lakeland 31st Dec 2015 read more »
The international Energiewende reporting makes me want to rub my eyes. If one is to believe those reports, industry is fleeing because energy costs are going through the roof. Since Germany’s supposed panic reaction to Fukushima and the shutdown of nuclear reactors in 2011, the country is allegedly increasingly dependent on power imports, and its grid is less stable than before. And those are just a few of the unfounded claims: Fact-checking reveals that the above statements are myths. Readers of this blog know that the Energiewende is neither an irrational reaction to Fukushima, nor unique in its ambitions. Nonetheless, these myths keep circulating through the international press. How can this divergent discourse be explained?
Arne Jungjohann 18th Dec 2015 read more »
The government promised to deliver shale in 2015 – but during the year no wells were fracked and no applications for shale gas exploration were approved.
Drill or Drop 31st Dec 2015 read more »