A Prism fast reactor could be built at Sellafield to burn the UKs large civil stockpiles of plutonium with financing support from the US Export-Import Bank, GE Hitachi officials said July 9. GE Hitachi said it submitted a feasibility study to the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority July 9 showing how it could use its Prism fast reactor to dispose of the UKs 84 tonnes of plutonium. The feasibility study included an independent assessment of the licensability of the reactors by DBD Limited. DBD Limited assessed the fast reactor design against the UKs Safety Assessment Principles and found that there was no fundamental impediment to licensing the reactor in the UK. GE Hitachi said the US government has approved export of the Prism technology to the UK and is interested in helping to finance the project through the US Export-Import Bank.
i-Nuclear 9th July 2012 more >>
A plan to burn Britain’s radioactive nuclear waste as fuel in a next-generation reactor moved a step closer to reality on Monday when GE-Hitachi submitted a thousand-page feasibility report to the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The UK has a large stockpile around 100 tonnes of plutonium waste. This is considered a security risk and the government is considering options for its disposal. The current “preferred option” is to convert the plutonium into mixed-oxide fuel (Mox) for use in conventional nuclear reactors. But a previous Mox plant in the UK was deemed a failure, and GE-Hitachi claims that its Prism fast reactor a completely different design fuelled by plutonium and cooled by liquid sodium offers a more attractive solution. A spokesman for the NDA said it will review the Prism and Candu reports and update its advice to the government towards the end of the year. The government will then make a final decision and the proposal selected will be referred to the Office of Nuclear Regulation. Whichever technology is selected, there will be an extensive licensing and consultation process. This and the construction of the new facility will most likely take around 10 years, according to the NDA, which said it expects the new plant to be up and running in “the early years of the next decade”.
Guardian 9th July 2012 more >>
How not to solve nuclear power’s trust problem. Continued secrecy, shown in stupidly brief minutes of official meetings, and entrenched attitudes lead to daft ideas like community-owned reactors. The public does not trust the government to be objective on nuclear power, a committee of MPs conclude today. So what to make of the pathetically, almost hilariously, bland “summary of minutes” released to me by the government’s new Nuclear Research and Development Advisory Board (NRDAB) meeting? Barely 150 words long, they reveal nothing whatsoever of substance of the meetings, chaired by the government chief scientist Sir John Beddington, lots of officials and academics and one energy company. “We were impressed by a citizen partnership model being developed in Germany for wind farms and suggest that enabling communities to feel more ownership of local energy infrastructure by offering shares in projects could be conducive to building trust and acceptance. Partnership models could form part of community benefits discussions for new nuclear build and other energy infrastructure.”
Guardian 9th July 2012 more >>
The Nuclear Industry Association today welcomed the conclusions of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on risk communication, Devils Bargain? Energy Risks and the Public. The NIA supports the recommendation for the independent nuclear watchdog, the Office of Nuclear Regulation, to play a greater role in communicating risk to the public. Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, Keith Parker welcomed the report, describing the role of independent regulators as absolutely fundamental to the safety of the existing and future civil nuclear programme in the UK.
NIA Press Release 9th July 2012 more >>
THE government has been accused of continuing its obsession with nuclear power instead of tackling the millions living in fuel poverty. South Downs SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie said the Fukushima disaster proves nuclear power can never be made entirely safe and her constituents in Northern Ireland were living in the shadow of Sellafield and what could happen. She said the government, through its draft Energy Bill, had the chance to make a difference to the lives of millions struggling to pay their energy bills and living in fuel poverty, but instead have favoured nuclear power.
NW Evening Mail 9th July 2012 more >>
David Cameron will on Tuesday greet Francois Hollande, on his first visit to London since winning the French presidential election. Co-operation between EDF and Areva, Frances big nuclear companies, and the British government over an expansion of UK power capacity will be on the agenda.
FT 9th July 2012 more >>
The arm wrestling has begun. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has started bilateral talks with EDF Energy and Centrica over what comfort the government can give in respect of the generation price for Hinkley C. The energy companies need to know this because the brave new world of contracts for difference (CfD) requires legislation not yet enacted. Without some form of guarantee no company will make a business decision to go ahead with new plant. No surprisingly MPs are very interested to know how this process is going and what will be in the public domain. Ministers have insisted that the exercise will be transparent. But energy secretary Ed Davey has made it clear that he will not be issuing weekly bulletins about the negotiations. Some details will be confidential. And it doesn’t look as if the yet to be appointed Panel of Technical Experts will be involved. “We will be held to account for the outcome of those negotiations and there will be real transparency about the agreement that is reached” says Davey. The price and the duration of the contract will be in the public domain, ministers and officials have stressed. MPs, correctly, are underwhelmed. They don’t like the prospect that the assumptions behind the figures bandied around in the negotiations will not become public. Or even if the companies want any strike price to include some form of guarantee against, say, construction risk. Knowing the final figure is one thing. But knowing how it was reached is frankly just as important. Probably more so. That’s the sort of transparency MPs would like and which should be on offer.
Utility Week 9th July 2012 more >>
New nuclear power stations could be built on Anglesey and near Bristol by a joint French and Chinese group. The Areva group and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) group are to bid for the Horizon project. In one of the UK’s biggest nuclear projects, Horizon Nuclear Power plans to build new plants at Wylfa on Anglesey and at Oldbury near Bristol. The withdrawal of previous backers had left the projects in doubt and Horizon has since been put up for sale.
BBC 9th July 2012 more >>
South Cotswolds Gazette 9th July 2012 more >>
Power Engineering 9th July 2012 more >>
ITV Wales 9th July 2012 more >>
The company that wants to build a new nuclear power station in Somerset has said it will build a bypass six months earlier than originally planned. EDF Energy said it would build the road around Cannington if planning consent was granted for the Hinkley Point C plant. It said the work would reduce the amount of works traffic having to drive through the village. If the government grants permission, the plant could open by 2020.
BBC 9th July 2012 more >>
This is the West Country 9th July 2012 more >>
OPPONENTS of plans for a Sizewell C nuclear power station emerged from a meeting with council chiefs calling for local authorities to adopt a more vigorous approach to the issues posed by the project. The meeting, boycotted by two anti-nuclear groups because they had been excluded from an earlier community engagement session, was held with senior members of a joint county and district council task force. Pete Wilkinson, a Suffolk-based environment consultant and former UK director of Greenpeace, said the meeting had been useful in airing issues which opponents believe the local authorities should investigate more thoroughly. These included the storing of radioactive waste on site, plans for the emergency evacuation of the local population and a possible link suggested by studies overseas between exposure to low level radiation and childhood leukaemia. However, Mr Wilkinson said there seemed to be a reluctance to accept anything but bland assurances given by the industry and Government departments.
East Anglian Daily Times 9th July 2012 more >>
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is to contribute £100,000 towards a £220,000 study of potential solutions for the Berriedale Braes on the A9. The road drops down 130m (426.5ft) at the braes in Caithness. There is also a hairpin bend which lorry drivers can have difficulty negotiating. The NDA is responsible for the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness. Transport Scotland is giving £100,000 and Highland Council and Hitrans £10,000 each towards the study.
BBC 9th July 2012 more >>
Last Saturday, tourists sauntering around Hawkshead the prettiest village in the Lake District, were surprised to see three eared rabbits in biohazard suits with Beatrix Potter . The reason for the stunt was the launch of a petition opposing the geological dumping of nuclear wastes in the Lake District .
Radiation Free Lakeland 9th July 2012 more >>
While many would blame nature for last year’s Fukushima nuclear accident, a Japanese parliamentary committee report has concluded that culpability really lies with Homo sapiens. After 900 hours of hearings and 1100 interviews over a six-month period, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission chaired by Kiyoshi Kurokawa, an academic fellow at Tokyo’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies said that the accident was “a profoundly man-made disaster that could and should have been foreseen and prevented”.
New Scientist 9th July 2012 more >>
The tragedy cried out for a rapid policy response: the government failed to meet this challenge. The authorities incompetence is chronicled in the report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Commission released this month. Its sobering conclusion is that this was not a natural disaster but a profoundly manmade disaster that could and should have been foreseen and prevented. Its effects could have been mitigated by a more effective human response. Had Mr Kan not stormed into Tepco headquarters and tried to exercise some authority over the companys executives, the situation might have been far worse. If Tepco had had a more competent president, its communications with the prime ministers office would have been better. People matter: one of the heroes in the Fukushima story was Tepcos Masao Yoshida, the plant manager who disobeyed orders not to use saltwater to cool the reactors. Incredibly, Tepcos management initially clung to the hope the reactors might one day be brought back to operation, something that would be impossible once saltwater was injected into them. To pin the blame on culture is the ultimate cop-out. If culture explains behaviour, then no one has to take responsibility. This is indeed what the report concludes when it says that the results would have been the same even with others in charge. Culture does not explain Fukushima. People have autonomy to choose; at issue are the choices they make, not the cultural context in which they make them. If obedience to authority is such an ingrained trait in Japan, how then is it possible for a group of Japanese to write a report that not only questions but lambasts authority, anything but an example of reflexive obedience? The culture argument is specious.
FT 9th July 2012 more >>
Not content with ambitious plans to dominate space exploration over the coming decades, China is also looking to master the ocean with the development of a deep-sea station which could be its first step towards large-scale underwater mining. Plans for the nuclear powered mobile deep-sea station were unveiled earlier this year by China Ship Scientific Research Centre the state-owned venture whose Jiaolong manned submersible recently reached depths of 7,000 metres according to South China Morning Post.
Register 9th July 2012 more >>
Lithuania, which closed its Ignalina nuclear power plant as part of its EU accession in 2004, warned that it needed more generous European funding for the site’s decommissioning for many years to come.
Euractiv 10th July 2012 more >>
There are high levels of public support for the continued expansion of renewable energy capacity in the UK, according to the results of one of the largest surveys ever undertaken into attitudes towards energy policy and climate change.
Business Green 9th July 2012 more >>