Nuclear safety regulators from around the world are in Canada’s capital this week to discuss what lessons they should learn from the Fukushima disaster. It’s a bad choice of venue. Canada’s approach to nuclear safety isn’t one to emulate. In Canada, the nuclear regulator is a promotional agency first and a safety watchdog second. After investigating the disaster, the Japanese government’s Independent Investigation Commission conclude Fukushima was not the result of a freak act of nature and was instead due to collusion between the government, the regulator and plant operator TEPCO.
Greenpeace 9th April 2013 read more »
If we’re going to get to the root of the challenges of sustainably securing our energy supplies whilst decarbonising the energy sector, then we need to think again about just what our existing reliance on fossil fuels means for us all. Since the start of the industrial revolution, our ability to access cheap and plentiful fossil fuels has enabled us in the West to deliver advances in technology, economic wealth and standards of living. Fossil fuels provide the life blood for our way of life, but with a potentially devastating long term environmental cost. Economically speaking, the problem with this approach is that we’ve built a house on sand. Fossil fuel supplies are finite in their nature, and they will run out one day. We need to change the terms of that debate so that it focusses more on how moving away from fossil fuels can allow us to harness renewable energy technology to deliver a better, more intelligent energy market, and one that helps people use the natural, renewable resources around them to give them more control over their energy. We need greater in-depth thinking about the transformational impact of renewable technology, its relationship with our economic system, and the benefits that it can bring to us all.
Energy Desk 9th April 2013 read more »
With the government locked in negotiations with the EU over its Electricity Market Reforms (EMR) nuclear is understandably where most of the tension between the UK’s reforms and the EU’s market structure has initially been focused – though this isn’t the only problem – see our analysis of the tension between the UK’s reforms and the EU. Here are four reasons the government’s support for nuclear may run into trouble with the EU, and two (very strong ones) why it may not.
Energy desk 9th April 2013 read more »
The EU guidelines for allowing state aid are also meant to encourage temporary support to new technologies – like offshore wind. The idea is that they are not yet ready to compete so need a little extra help to move down the cost curve and the distortion to free market competition is not permanent. Nuclear may have new reactor designs, but that is unlikely to sway the commission. Onshore wind and solar PV may soon encounter similar problems and subsidies for both are falling fast. Duration is also an issue. If you are looking to prevent permanent distortions to competition a proposed 40 year contract for a huge nuclear plant is particularly unappealing. A paper prepared for the EU Green party by Greenwich academic Steve Thomas and lawyer Dorte Fourqet suggests UK support for nuclear is very unlikely to pass. But there are others who disagree.
Energy Desk 9th April 2013 read more »
On the 31 March the Sunday Times, Independent on Sunday and Scotsman previewed the launch of a “deep pocketed” “cross industry” new industry and consumer lobby group, apparently set to take on the government’s energy reforms and apply “logic and focus to a low-cost/low-carbon economy debate” through a national advertising and social media campaign. An “internal memo” passed to Danny Fortson at the Sunday Times and repeated in the two other papers said the group’s ambition was to stop Britain “sleepwalking into blackouts, soaring energy bills and a desert of lost jobs”.
Energy Desk 8th April 2013 read more »
MP Mike Weir says £31 million public funding for nuclear energy projects has shattered Westminster’s no nuclear subsidy promise, and demonstrated that the Westminster Government simply cannot keep its word. LibDem Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced a £31 million handout for companies involved in the nuclear energy industry, despite the coalition agreement promise that there would be ‘no public subsidy’ for new nuclear energy. Mr Weir said: “This funding announcement breaks the Westminster Government’s promise and completely undermines the credibility of Vince Cable and the Lib Dems. “A recent poll showed that a majority of people in Scotland are opposed to new nuclear energy. There is no justification for Westminster to be wasting public money.
Montrose Review 9th April 2013 read more »
The French energy company EDF could withdraw from the £14bn Hinkley Point nuclear power plant project due to lack of funds, it has been claimed. Mycle Schneider, ex energy adviser to the French government, said that EDF already had debts of £33.3bn so it was by no means certain that the company would put money into Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Public Service 9th April 2013 read more »
EDF Energy took its 610 megawatt Heysham 1-1 nuclear power plant off line on Sunday for refuelling, it said in a statement on Monday.
Reuters 8th April 2013 read more »
All 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology, the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Monday. Shutting them all down at once is not practical, he said, but he supports phasing them out rather than trying to extend their lives.
New York Times 8th April 2013 read more »
Pakistan’s controversial nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan – who allegedly transferred nuclear technology to North Korea – and his nuclear rhetoric still resonate with ordinary Pakistanis and Islamists alike. North Korea owes a great deal to Pakistan, in particular to its former nuclear chief Abdul Qadeer Khan, who, in 2004, confessed that he sold nuclear secrets to Pyongyang. Experts say that without Khan’s help, North Korea would not be able to conduct nuclear tests. Internationally, Khan is a controversial figure but in his country he is revered by millions and is fondly called the “father of the Islamic bomb.”
Deutsche Welle 9th April 2013 read more »
The price of uranium – the fuel for nuclear reactors – is hovering very near to its post-financial crisis lows. And that’s why now could be the perfect time to add some nuclear industry exposure to your portfolio.
Money Week 9th April 2013 read more »
By coincidence two clashes over nuclear issues are hitting the headlines together. North Korea and Iran have both had sanctions imposed by foreign governments, and when they refuse to “behave properly” they are submitted to “isolation” and put in the corner until they are ready to say sorry and change their conduct. If not, corporal punishment will be administered, since they have been given fair warning by the enforcers that “all options are on the table”. It’s a bizarre way to run international relations, one we continue to follow at our peril. For one thing, it is riddled with hypocrisy, and not just because states that have hundreds of nuclear weapons are bullying states that have few or none. The hypocrisy is worse than that. If it is offensive for North Korea to talk of launching a nuclear strike at the United States (a threat that is empty because the country has no system to deliver the few nuclear weapons that it has), how is it less offensive for the US to warn Iran that it will be bombed if it fails to stop its nuclear research?
Guardian 9th April 2013 read more »
Fukushima update 5th to 8th April.
Greenpeace 9th April 2013 read more »
Radiation monitors and other devices have repeatedly broken down. Human error remains a constant problem. And the troubles plaguing the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reached farcical levels when a rat caused a blackout and subsequent work to prevent a recurrence led to another system failure. Such problems continue because the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., is still using temporary equipment and makeshift facilities, such as power supply units critical to cooling the crippled reactors and spent fuel rods, two years after the nuclear crisis unfolded on March 11, 2011.
Asahi Simbum 8th April 2013 read more »
Radioactive water was found leaking at Japan’s tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant earlier today. A statement released by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), said the contaminated water could have leaked into the ground from one of the plant’s storage tanks. The underground tanks store radioactive water that has been used in the plant’s cooling systems. The company, however, said the toxic water had not reached the sea, according to reports.
Energy Live News 9th April 2013 read more »
Telegraph 9th April 2013 read more »
A 6.3 magnitude earthquake has struck in south-west Iran, not far from the country’s only nuclear power station, the US Geological Survey (USGS) says. The Bushehr nuclear plant has not been affected and is working normally, officials are quoted as saying. At least three people are reported to have died in the quake that struck 90km (60 miles) south of Bushehr. Iran’s Red Crescent is sending teams to the area.
BBC 9th April 2013 read more »
A powerful earthquake struck close to Iran’s only nuclear power station on Tuesday, killing 30 people and injuring 800 as it devastated small villages, state media reported. The 6.3 magnitude quake totally destroyed one village, a Red Crescent official told the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), but the nearby Bushehr nuclear plant was undamaged, according to a local politician and the Russian company that built it.
Trust 9th April 2013 read more »
Iran has announced two key nuclear-related projects that expand its ability to extract and process uranium, which can be enriched for reactor fuel but also for atomic weapons.
Belfast Telegraph 9th April 2013 read more »
Iran announced two key nuclear projects today that enhance its ability to extract and process uranium which can be enriched for reactor fuel. Iran already has uranium mines and the ability to turn ore into yellowcake, which is the first step in the enrichment chain. But the new facilities – the country’s largest uranium mine and a processing facility – give Tehran more self-sufficiency over the raw materials and underscore Iran’s drive to expand its nuclear capacities even as the world’s existing nuclear powers fight to restrict membership of their exclusive club.
Morning Star 9th April 2013 read more »
An agreement signed by Canadian and Indian nuclear regulators has brought the nuclear cooperation agreement that will allow Canadian companies to export nuclear items including uranium to India nearer to implementation.
World Nuclear News 9th April 2013 read more »
Japan aims rockets at North Korea: Tokyo sets up huge missile defence as madman dictator warns EVERYONE to leave South Korea in preparation for nuclear war.
Daily Mail 9th April 2013 read more »
NORTH Korea intensified threats of an imminent conflict in the region last night, warning foreigners to evacuate South Korea to avoid being dragged into “thermonuclear war”.
City AM 10th April 2013 read more »
Letter: Britain needs a missile defence system more than a Trident replacement. Defence is better than retribution when dealing with the threat of rogue states armed with nuclear weapons (report, April 5). The priority of the Government should therefore be acquiring means to defend the British population from a nuclear missile strike, rather than on maintaining existing means for exacting revenge once an attack has taken place.
Telegraph 8th April 2013 read more »
No-one is disputing there is cross-party support for Trident at Westminster, although the Liberal Democrats have serious doubts about proceeding with the Trident renewal programme. But that is not the case in Scotland. The Scottish Parliament has just voted against having nuclear weapons in Scotland. The SNP and the Greens are pledged to disarm Trident quickly with the power that would come with independence and a number of Labour MSPs are also opposed to Trident although not the Labour leadership. A majority of Scottish MPs voted against the decision of the Blair-Brown Government to initiate the new Trident development. As in so many other issues, the centre of gravity in Scottish politics is different here.
Herald 10th April 2013 read more »
Portugal is the newest country to make the list of over 60% renewable electricity. According to this report by the network operator REN, it got 70 per cent in quarter one of this year. The largest part (37 per cent) comes from hydro, which had excellent weather conditions, leading to a 312 per cent increase over last year’s figures. But wind also contributed 27 per cent, with a 60 per cent increase, also primarily due to favorable weather conditions. As expected, generation from coal was down by 29 per cent, and from gas was down by 44 per cent.
Renew Economy 10th April 2013 read more »
It is accepted wisdom that solar panels should be ‘the last thing you do’, once all your lights are LED, your loft lagged and your windows double, even triple, glazed. This viewpoint is even enshrined in legislation with less energy efficient domestic and business properties receiving a lower feed-in-tariff rate. But what if reversing this journey made it quicker; if installing solar earlier made implementing other energy efficiency measures easier? Evidence from our Solar Schools project certainly points to this. Solar Schools helps schools raise money to install solar panels. We provide on and offline resources, communications training, support and mentoring which enable schools to reach out to, and involve, both their immediate and wider communities. We’ve witnessed mini energy revolutions taking place within many of our Solar Schools. Running a high profile project has succeeded in pushing once struggling and almost invisible ‘green teams’ in to the spot light. With higher visibility has come kudos, and the mandate and support to make things happen.
Energy desk 8th April 2013 read more »
The extent of the split within the European solar industry over proposals for Brussels to impose tariffs on imported solar panels from China was laid bare yesterday, when it emerged that over 1,000 companies from across the industry have written to the European Commission warning import duties could have a grave impact on the industry.
Guardian 9th April 2013 read more »