Nuclear Energy the dream that failed. A year after Fukushima, the future for nuclear power is not brightfor reasons of cost as much as safety. For nuclear to play a greater role, either it must get cheaper or other ways of generating electricity must get more expensive. In theory, the second option looks promising: the damage done to the environment by fossil fuels is currently not paid for. But in practice carbon prices are unlikely to justify nuclear. Britains proposed carbon floor pricethe equivalent in 2020 of 30 ($42) a tonne in 2009 prices, roughly four times the current price in Europes carbon marketis designed to make nuclear investment enticing enough for a couple of new plants to be built. Even so, it appears that other inducements will be needed. There is little sign, as yet, that a price high enough to matter can be set and sustained anywhere.
Economist 10th Mar 2012 more >>
Despite opposition from their Liberal Democrat coalition partners, the Tories endorsed the proposals in June 2010, recommending the building of more nuclear power stations as long as it was carried out without public subsidy. Plans for the building of new plants were announced by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne in June last year, including new reactors in Bradwell (Essex), Heysham (Lancashire), Hinkley Point (Somerset), Oldbury (South Gloucester), Sellafield (Cumbria), Hartlepool (Borough of Hartlepool), Sizewell (Suffolk) and Wylfa (Isle of Anglesey).
Huffington Post 10th Mar 2012 more >>
The accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant one year ago shocked not only world opinion but also the nuclear industry, says the World Nuclear Association (WNA). According to WNA, the nuclear industry and its national regulators have responded with comprehensive reviews and adjustments that will render nuclear power even safer as the use of this clean-energy technology continues its worldwide growth.
Commodities Now 9th Mar 2012 more >>
John Sauven: Across the world, the nuclear industry has stalled. Costs are soaring and governments, such as Germany, are phasing out reactors and instead building renewable energy plants.This year, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have the opportunity to overhaul Britain’s electricity system with a new Energy Bill in parliament. They should use the Fukushima anniversary to challenge some of the vested interests that are serving us so badly.Even before the tragedy in Japan, major investors, such as Citigroup, were questioning the economics of nuclear new build. Now the economics look even worse. The French Audit Court concluded that the new French reactor design was too costly and could not be built in time to solve France’s energy crisis. No wonder President Sarkozy was so keen to offload those same reactor designs to David Cameron at a recent meeting in Paris. The front-runner in April’s presidential election, Francois Hollande, has promised to phase out one-third of France’s nuclear fleet by 2025. And as European politicians have turned increasingly against nuclear, they have started taking energy efficiency seriously. In Germany politicians plan to reduce electricity demand by 25% by 2050 through energy efficiency. But the coalition government here in Britain is planning for electricity demand to double over the same period, even though Ministers accept that energy saving is cheaper and greener than building new power stations.
Huffington Post 9th Mar 2012 more >>
POLITICIANS and environmental groups have expressed serious concern after information was released confirming a growing risk of flooding around nuclear power stations close to Wales. A previously unpublished analysis undertaken by Westminster’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Defra, has been made available following a request under the Freedom of Information Act by The Guardian newspaper. It shows that the nuclear power station at Oldbury in Gloucestershire, across the Severn and less than four miles from Chepstow, is on the edge of an “indicative flood plain” and currently has a medium risk of flooding that rises to a high risk by the 2080s.
Waste Management World 9th Mar 2012 more >>
A UK delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will call for more vigilance about the spread of potentially dangerous information when world leaders gather at the nuclear security summit in Seoul later this month. Representatives from 53 nations will gather in the South Korean capital to discuss progress on attempts to lock down vulnerable nuclear materials. It is feared that terrorists may acquire equipment or technology enabling them to launch a nuclear attack. The potential for such a scenario is growing with the spread of nuclear technology, particularly as more countries develop civil nuclear power.
Scotsman 10th Mar 2012 more >>
The crisis that unfolded at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after Japan’s megaquake and tsunami is rewriting the nuclear safety guide. The European Union, for instance, has ordered a risk assessment of all nuclear power plants in its member states. These assessments are supposed to consider each plant’s ability to withstand a full range of potential hazards from earthquakes and floods to plane crashes and terrorist attacks.
New Scientist 9th Mar 2012 more >>
Please find enclosed a link to the IPC letter addressed to all interested parties containing information regarding the appointment of Lorna Walker to the panel of commissioners.
IPC 9th Mar 2012 more >>
Letter: Before your readers get too carried away by the benefits supposed to flow from the construction of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (EDF Energy advertisement in your issue of March 1), they should consider the legacy of the existing stations at Hinkley Point. Hinkley Point A ceased operation in 2000. According to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the site is expected to enter ‘care and maintenance’ in 2031, clearance of the site is expected to start in 2095 and be completed by 2104. So for 35 years of power generation (1965-2000) there will be a legacy of about 104 years before the site can be used for anything else, if indeed even then. Hinkley Point B is expected to close in 2016 and there will presumably be a similarly long period of decommissioning.
Wells Journal 8th Mar 2012 more >>
A Shepton Mallet man arrested during the eviction of campaigners at the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station site has been sentenced. Theo Simon, from Shepton Mallet, and David Jesse, from Taunton, both pleaded guilty to the obstruction of an enforcement officer. They were part of a group of seven protesters who set up a protest camp at an old farm building, which they had occupied since Sunday, February 12. Both men were given a conditional discharge of six months, at Taunton Deane Magistrates’ Court.
Shepton Mallet Journal 8th Mar 2012 more >>
An oil leak at the Dungeness B power station on the Romney Marsh in Kent is being investigated. The leak happened as an oil pump was being reconditioned, at about 22:30 GMT on Thursday, owners EDF Energy said. EDF said it believed the small leak was contained within the site and there was no impact on the environment.
BBC 9th Mar 2012 more >>
Ask the people here what brought them to live, as the cliché would have it, “in the shadow” of a nuclear plant, and most of the replies touch on the same themes: not just the low cost, but a very familiar view of most modern lives being beset with danger, annoyance and worry noisy neighbours, traffic, petty violence, anxiety about what might happen to children. Here, by contrast, everyone I talk to enthuses about a strong feeling of security and a rare kind of community spirit. Put simply, they live in houses that happen to be next door to a nuclear power station because it makes them feel safe.
Guardian 9th Mar 2012 more >>
An energy supplier has issued a reassurance that Hartlepools nuclear site is protected against storms and flooding after reports claiming the site is high risk. The report suggested that rising sea levels and storms put Hartlepools nuclear power station site at high risk of flooding. But EDF Energy, which runs the site, has said that all of its nuclear sites are protected against such risks.
Hartlepool Mail 9th Mar 2012 more >>
Various clay and salt rock sites, in England and Wales, were identified in parliament in late 1979 and early 1980 as possible sites for the burial of High Level Waste. Some of the 9 sites were quite large areas. One of them was described as the Worcester Basin which stretched across three counties:- Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester. Friend of the Earth Evesham who were leading the opposition, decided to organise a spot the dump competition. The prize for the winner was a poem specially written by Monty Pythons Terry Jones. A facsimile of the poem and Terry Jones’ dedication will form part of Rock Solid? Expo A Poem by Terry Jones “They didn’t want it in London There are too many folk there (with friends), And they couldn’t go and put it near Brighton, Because that’s where they spend their weekends. They ruled out all places near Windsor Where you just don’t know who it offends, And Berkshire is frightfully pretty And so are the Downs and the Thames. The Chilterns are too full of tourists On whom our whole country depends, And Kent has got such lovely houses, And it’s just far too wet in the Fens. And Henley and Sidcup and Finchley Are all places one…somehow…defends… So they thought that they’d dump it in Evesham, Just where the rainbow ends”.
Rock Solid Expo 9th Mar 2012 more >>
Fukushima Update 6th 8th March.
Greenpeace 9th Mar 2012 more >>
As the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi reactor accident is marked on March 11, a new paper by Peter C. Burns, Henry Massman Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame and colleagues from the University of Michigan and the University of California, Davis, stresses that we need much more knowledge about how nuclear fuel interacts with the environment during and after an accident. In the paper, which appears in the March 9 editions of the journal Science, Burns and Rodney C. Ewing of the University of Michigan and Alexandra Navrotsky of the University of California-Davis call for increased research to help develop predictive models for future nuclear accidents.
Eurek Alert 8th Mar 2012 more >>
Engineer 10th Mar 2012 more >>
A debate is raging in Japan over the extent of the radiation contamination in the wake of last year’s nuclear disaster in Fukushima. The government says 13 per cent of the district is contaminated, nearly 2500 square kilometres of land or an area about the size of the US state of Rhode Island. The area’s farming industry was worth $3.2bn a year, most of which is now destroyed. The government says it has already spent $3bn to make the land safe, and needs another $6bn for the coming year. Steve Chao reports from Minamisoma, in Fukushima, that some people say the radiation is continuing to make them ill.
Al Jazeera 9th Mar 2012 more >>
A year after the power plant’s triple meltdown, conflicting official information leaves families confused and fearful for their future.
Guardian 9th Mar 2012 more >>
Briefing from FoE Japan: In 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster forced us to confront the danger of a nuclear-dependent society. An enormous amount of radioactivity was released from the destroyed nuclear reactors, contaminating the air, soil, and water. Many people in Fukushima had no choice but to evacuate by leaving behind their homes and livelihoods, while many others continue to live in fear of nuclear pollution since they could not evacuate for a variety of reasons.
FoE Japan 9th Mar 2012 more >>
Despite being urged to abandon his village, Ito was one of the farmers who refused to leave. Instead, he began to study the effect of radioisotopes on crops.
New Scientist 9th Mar 2012 more >>
The Fukushima accident will achieve in the next few months what has eluded campaigners for decades: the closure of every one of Japan’s nuclear reactors. The question is when, or if, the reactors will restart amid a hardening of public attitudes towards nuclear energy in the aftermath of Fukushima, and a new enthusiasm for investment in renewable energy. Significantly, the Mainichi Shimbun this week became the first major newspaper to come out in favour of ditching nuclear power. “The illusion of nuclear power safety has been torn out by the root,” it said. “The Fukushima nuclear disaster that followed the great waves of 11 March last year made sure of that.” Tomas Kaberger, a member of the Swedish energy agency who was appointed to lead a renewable energy foundation set up by the Softbank chief executive, Masayoshi Son, believes the Fukushima accident has ruled out even a modest a return to nuclear power.
Guardian 9th Mar 2012 more >>
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission on March 9 ordered all 104 operating nuclear power plants, plus those under construction, to implement safety improvements resulting from lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear accident last year. US nuclear plant owners have until December 31, 2016 to better protect safety equipment installed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and to obtain sufficient equipment to support all reactors at a given site simultaneously. The commission also ordered all plants to install enhanced equipment for monitoring water levels in each plants spent fuel pool.
i-Nuclear 9th Mar 2012 more >>
Reuters 9th Mar 2012 more >>
The U.S. has reactors of the same designs that melted down at Fukushima Daiichi, but regulators hope changes could prevent a repeat of Japan’s nuclear crisis. The U.S. has 23 reactors with the same kind of safety systemsand the same risky placement of pools for spent nuclear fuel, namely, alongside the main reactor in the top of the reactor building. Would U.S. reactors perform any better than Japan’s in a crisis? And what lessons does Fukushima hold for reactor safety worldwide?
Scientific American 9th Mar 2012 more >>
The prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have reaffirmed their commitment to build a new nuclear power plant serving the Baltic states and have promised to work together to make sure progress is maintained.
World Nuclear News 9th Mar 2012 more >>
TIGHT financial restrictions imposed on the Ministry of Defence to plug its multi-billion funding black hole have delayed the contract to refit and refuel HMS Vengeance despite the submarine already being alongside in Plymouth.
Plymouth Herald 10th Mar 2012 more >>
Later this month, Kilburns Tricycle Theatre hosts a series of films, talks, discussions and exhibitions about the nuclear bomb. Tricycle Goes Nuclear runs 22-25 March, and addresses the wider issues involved in this world-changing weapon through its cinematc depiction.
The Londonist 9th Mar 2012 more >>
The Government has been accused of trying to sweep the plight of millions of households who can’t afford their energy bills under the carpet by backing a controversial plan to change the official definition of fuel poverty. The Times has learnt that ministers want to adopt the new definition being published next week which would see the official figures for fuel poor households fall by at least a quarter, or more than one million households. A household is defined as being in fuel poverty when it spends more than a tenth of its income to heat and light its home adequately. Energy bills hit record levels in the autumn and consumer groups estimate that 6 million, almost one in four households, fall into this category, triple the figure in 2004. The new definition has been proposed by John Hills of the London School of Economics after he was asked to review the measure by t he Government last March. His complex formula will largely exclude middle-class households living in draughty houses and low-income households in well-insulated homes.
Times 10th Mar 2012 more >>
SCOTTISH renewable energy experts have been signed up to help Japan develop an alternative power infrastructure in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre (Emec) will collaborate on setting up a similar wave and tidal power test facility in Japan. Emec has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ocean Energy Association of Japan (OEAJ), which could see it providing advice and support on the design, set up and operation of the Japanese Marine Energy Centre. Following the meltdown of several reactors at Fukushima in the wake of the tsunami – a year ago tomorrow – Japan is trying to reduce its reliance on nuclear power. The partnership will play an integral role in Japan’s focus on developing viable renewable energy generation schemes on a large scale as an alternative to both nuclear and fossil fuel base d electricity.
Scotsman 10th Mar 2012 more >>
This weeks Micro Power News with news including solar Wadebridge and Wrexham; Green Deal updates and community wind.
Microgen Scotland 9th Mar 2012 more >>