On September 6 and September 7 2012, public meetings wer held in Cockermouth School, and in Calder Bridge village Hall. These were organised by concerned individuals of the public, not by any national NGO. All booking and attendances were privately funded, not by any campaign organisation or stakeholders. At these meetings presentations (click on the coloured links) were given by Professor Stuart Haszeldine of Edinburgh University – West Cumbria radioactive waste site suitability: the backdrop to UK radioactive waste disposal, the history of site investigation, geological resons why west Cumbria is not suitable, and organisational reasons why the MRWS process is not yet mature enough to provide Councils with enough information and assurance to accept moving forwards. The probability of finding a storage site in Cumbria is assessed by many experts as very low. Prof Andy Blowers, formerly of CoRWM, spoke on Time to Consider, Time to Decide : the process of MRWS, how that differs from the programme and aims agreed by CoRWM, ethics, benefits, resolving of disputed issues, and involvement of citizens and communities in decision making Prof David Smythe, emeritus of Glasgow University, explained the site selection process, and explained how more than adequate information already exists to make a decision to exclude possible sites in Allerdale District – specifically around Silloth and the Mercia Mudstone Group, and also sites in Copeland District sites in Copeland District – specifically the Eskdale and Ennerdale granites are not suitable.
School of Geo Sciences 7th Sept 2012 more >>
A leading British academic has called for accelerated research into futuristic geo-engineering and a worldwide nuclear power station “binge” to avoid runaway global warming. Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, said both potential solutions had inherent dangers but were now vital as time was running out. “It is very, very depressing that politicians and the public are attuned to the threat of climate change even less than they were 20 years ago when Margaret Thatcher sounded the alarm. Co2 levels are rising at a faster than exponential rate, and yet politicians only want to take utterly trivial steps such as banning plastic bags and building a few windfarms,” he said.
Guardian 9th Sept 2012 more >>
I just read the Nuclear Industry Status Report 2012″ published in July and authored by Mycle Schneider and Antony Frogatt. Thanks to this Tweet by Energywende Germany for the link. Anybody who still believes nuclear energy might have something to contribute to climate change mitigation is well advised to have a look at the about 99 pages of hard facts this report presents. Knowing these facts, it would be highly irresponsible to count on nuclear contributing much to the effort of dealing with climate change. Renewable energy will have to solve the problem without any such contribution.
Lenz Blog 9th Sept 2012 more >>
Britains nuclear waste could be used to power spacecraft as part of government attempts to offset the huge cost of the atomic clean-up by finding commercial uses for the worlds largest stock of civil plutonium. A £1m pilot programme by the European Space Agency has shown that nuclear batteries for use on deep space missions could be made from an isotope found in decaying plutonium at the Sellafield waste storage site in Cumbria. Britains National Nuclear Laboratory has harvested americium-241 from the plutonium, produced from reprocessing fuel. The ESA believes this could replace plutonium-238, only available from Russia and the US, and provide an independent source of energy for planned deep space missions to Jupiter and other distant planets.
FT 9th Sept 2012 more >>
EDF Energy stopped its 620-megawatt (MW) Hartlepool 2 nuclear unit in Britain on Saturday for planned refuelling work, a spokesman said.
Reuters 10th Sept 2012 more >>
Labour has accused the SNP of preparing to perform a U-turn on one of its flagship policies nuclear power. The SNP is vehemently opposed to the construction of a new generation of nuclear power plants in Scotland, but Labour has accused the party of preparing to signal that its stance has changed. The attack has been rejected by the Scottish Government, which insists it remains opposed to a new generation of nuclear power stations and that it “will not happen in Scotland”. But in a speech this week Labour MP Tom Greatrex will accuse the SNP approach of being ” chaotic and confused”. “However, as with a significant number of their policies, it would appear that Alex Salmond and the SNP leadership are preparing the ground for a U-turn,” he will say. “The signs are there if you look closely.” In the speech, at the TUC annual conference in Brighton, he will accuse the SNP of already shifting their position on nuclear power from outright opposition to accepting the current role nuclear power plays in Scotland’s energy mix. He will add: “Do not be surprised if at some point in the next few years, the SNP’s ideological opposition to nuclear power that was evident only a few years ago is swept under the carpet alongside previous policies on Nato, the monarchy and the currency in a separate Scotland, in the attempt to gain votes for its separatist agenda. A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have a long-standing opposition to the building of any new nuclear power stations, so that will not happen in Scotland.
Herald 10th Sept 2012 more >>
The risk of a fire starting in reactor 4’s spent-fuel pool at the Fukushima No. 1 plant continues to alarm scientists and government officials around the world, prompting a leading U.S. nuclear expert to urge Japan to tap global expertise to avert a catastrophe. Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer and former executive in the nuclear power industry who is now one of its foremost critics in the United States, has been monitoring the No. 1 plant since the March 2011 triple meltdowns through his Vermont-based Fairewinds Energy Education nonprofit organization. The spent-nuclear-fuel pool at Fukushima No. 1’s unit 4 remains a sleeping dragon. The situation and possibility of a fuel pool fire in reactor 4 in the days (immediately) after the (March 2011) quake was the reason the U.S. government recommended that the evacuation zone be (set at) 80 km,” said Gundersen, who served as an expert witness during the federal investigation into the 1979 Three Mile Island disaster in Pennsylvania.
Japan Times 8th Sept 2012 more >>
A surge in Japan’s LNG imports for thermal power generation is on the cards as the party of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is gearing up to adopting a zero-reliance policy on nuclear power to win voters’ support in the forthcoming election. Japan’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is expected to disclose a landmark policy shift towards a nuclear-free energy mix in an attempt to win voters’ support before a snap election that will be called in the autumn, Japanese media reported. Once adopted, the policy would result in the decommissioning of all nuclear plants between now and 2030. As an alternative, a compromise policy of 15 percent nuclear use is also being considered within the ruling DPJ party.
Gas to Power Journal 10th Sept 2012 more >>
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has authorised a US$2bn (£1.25bn) direct loan to underwrite the export of American equipment and service-expertise for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi.
Construction Index 9th Sept 2012 more >>
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Sunday that a nuclear-armed Iran was “not an option” as he called on Tehran to hold “substantial negotiations” over its controversial atomic programme.
AFP 9th Sept 2012 more >>
David Camerons reshuffle has prompted much talk about the possible implications of ministerial changes for government policy. And one area where there may be real repercussions is on the debate about the future of Britains nuclear deterrent. For the last two years, Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat politician and armed forces minister, has strongly advocated that the UK should adopt a cheaper deterrent than the current one, which is based around the Trident D5 missile. However, Mr Harvey last week lost his job in the Ministry of Defence, a move accepted by his boss, the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. Mr Harveys departure suggests that Mr Clegg has now given up pursuing any alternatives to Trident.
FT 9th Sept 2012 more >>