The latest figures from Sellafield Ltd show that both magnox (B205) and oxide (THORP) reprocessing plants again failed to meet their respective annual targets. In a presentation to the site’s local stakeholder working group on spent fuels (29th April) the Company maintained however that the currently scheduled ‘end of reprocessing’ dates – ‘around 2020’ and 2018 respectively – would be met. In a reference to the written evidence submitted by CORE to the Government’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last year, the Company also admitted that, for magnox reprocessing particularly, it would be setting ‘more realistic targets’ in the future.
CORE 10th May 2014 read more »
David Cameron is “confident” Somerset will have a new nuclear plant despite an EU investigation. The comments come after Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger called for an urgent parliamentary debate into the issue. The prime minister also said the investment was “part of a balanced plan to provide core energy”. The European Union is investigating whether the contract with developers EDF Energy breaks EU subsidy rules. Speaking to the BBC, Mr Cameron said: “Countries in Europe should be able to invest in nuclear energy as part of a balanced plan to provide core energy and to keep carbon emissions down. “That’s what we’re doing. I’m sure the [EU] commissioner will see that is the point and I’m confident this will go ahead.”
BBC 9th May 2014 read more »
A leading expert on European law has told Platts news web site that he believes the UK’s bid to provide state aid for the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant will almost certainly be rejected by the European Commission on the grounds that it is illegal. Austrian law professor, Franz Leidenmuhler, who specializes in EU state aid cases and European competition law, said in an email that he believed “a rejection is nearly unavoidable. The Statement of the Commission in its first findings of December 18, 2013 is too clear. I do not think that some conditions could change that clear result.”
Penn Energy 9th May 2014 read more »
In January 2014, ONR introduced Annex 2 to their document The Technical Assessment of REPPIR Submissions and the Determination of Detailed Emergency Planning Zones. This Annex details a description of the process ONR uses to determine Detailed Emergency Planning Zones (DEPZs) around nuclear facilities in the UK and the principles used. This includes both Operational Nuclear Power Stations and those undergoing decommissioning. Where there is potential for off-site release of radioactivity within the UK that would require implementation of countermeasures, a DEPZ will be implemented. The changes proposed, primarily relate to the fact that from now on, in consultation with local authorities, ONR will base its decisions on consideration of practical and strategic factors, such as local demographic and geographical features that influence where the boundary of the DEPZ lies, as well as technical assessments. These principles allow ONR to look beyond the technical assessment of the hazards on site and also consider local practical and geographical issues in the operation of the off-site plan. We would expect future DEPZ to be irregular in shape rather than the current circular zones drawn around each licenced site, taking into account issues such as postcode boundaries and nearby towns and villages.
Mondaq 9th May 2014 read more »
You might have heard that the most likely culprit for the Valentine’s Day radioactive leak was…kitty litter! Yes. The wrong kitty litter was probably used to treat some of the nuclear waste recently disposed in the world’s only deep underground nuclear waste repository, near Carlsbad in New Mexico. Cat litter has been used for decades in radiochemistry labs and nuclear facilities to stabilize certain radwastes, like liquid scintillation solutions, evaporator bottoms, and other materials that have nitrate salts in solution. Nitrate salt solutions can ignite when they dry out – which is why it’s tricky working with nitrate solutions in the lab and why you need to make sure they don’t dry out, something many a chemistry student has found out the hard way. So you need to stabilize nitrate solutions before they dry out, or prevent them from completely drying out.
Forbes 10th May 2014 read more »
The head of the recovery effort at the federal government’s nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico said Thursday it could be up to three years before full operations resume at the underground facility. Recovery manager Jim Blankenhorn made the announcement when answering questions from the public during a weekly meeting in Carlsbad. He said the timeline continues to be a moving target, but full operations are expected to resume no earlier than 18 months from now.
Chron 8th May 2014 read more »
Monday, January 17, 1966, will forever be a day of embarrassment for the US Air Force, and one of infamy for the village of Palomares on Spain’s Andalucian coast. It was on that day that a giant B-52 bomber from the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina, was completing a 24-hour global patrol at the height of the Cold War. Nestling in the bomb bay was a deadly cargo: four 1.5 megaton Mark 28 thermonuclear hydrogen bombs, each about 70 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima. On the last leg of the flight towards home, during refuelling at 31,000ft with a KC-135 tanker, disaster struck. An official investigation later concluded that the B-52 overran in manoeuvres to hook up with the trailing fuel boom and rammed the tanker. There was an explosion and a huge fireball engulfed both aircraft. All four men on the tanker and three of the bomber’s crew died instantly. Four others managed to eject before plunging into the sea where they were rescued by Spanish fishermen. And the H-bombs? Mercifully there was no detonation. But while one splashed into the Mediterranean and a second drifted down on its parachute and landed intact in a dried-up river bed, the remaining two bombs split open upon impact, scattering plutonium and covering the tomato fields of Palomares with a fine and deadly radioactive dust.
Daily Mail 10th May 2014 read more »
North Korea has renewed its threat to conduct a nuclear test amid heightened concern that the state may be on the path to building a nuclear arsenal. The repressive regime’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said the country was justified in using all available means to protect itself from challenges by the United States and South Korea.
Guardian 10th May 2014 read more »
PAYMENTS to green energy firms under a controversial government scheme that compensates them for wasted power have soared by more than 1,300%. About £35m has been awarded since the start of the financial year to the owners of 21 renewables projects — all of them in Scotland — because Britain’s power network could not cope with the energy they produced. The figure is a huge increase on the £2.4m paid in 2011-12 under the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change’s “connect and manage” scheme. Campaigners warn the compensation payments, paid for by the public through their electricity bills, will continue to increase as more wind farms are built. A 2009 report by Frontier Economics for regulator Ofgem estimated the cost of the scheme would reach £2bn by 2020.
Sunday Times 11th May 2014 read more »
Tidal turbines are being put in the Pentland Firth but the electricity they produce will cost six times the normal price. Atlantis Resources, is closing in on a deal that will pave the way for the world’s first commercial tidal power array. Work to sink the turbines in the Pentland Firth, the strait between Orkney and the north tip of Scotland, with one of the world’s strongest tidal currents, will start in months.
Sunday Times 11th May 2014 read more »
A UNIVERSITY spin-out company is poised to become the first tidal energy technology developer to produce commercially viable electricity. Tests are now being carried out at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney on a turbine device and mooring system developed by renewable energy engineers in Glasgow. Nautricity, a company which emerged from Strathclyde University, has spent 18 months building its first commercial-scale device known as a Contra Rotating Marine Turbine (Cormat). With the help of a Â£250,000 Smart Scotland grant from Scottish Enterprise, it has also developed and patented a tethered-based mooring system, called a Hydrobuoy, that ensures the Cormat devices remain steady in strong currents.
Scotland on Sunday 11th May 2014 read more »