France’s EDF remains in the hunt for a partner to build four nuclear reactors in Britain after talks were halted with China’s Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation Holding (CGNPC), sources close to the talks said on Friday. “They have talked. EDF and CGNPC have a relationship going back many years,” one source said. But two other sources close to the discussions confirmed negotiations regarding a British partnership are no longer ongoing.
Reuters 11th Jan 2013 more »
Before EDF can get a new partner on board or take a final investment decision on the multi-billion dollar project, it has to agree with the U.K. government the guaranteed price the French utility will be paid for the electricity generated by the new nuclear power plant. This “strike price” will give EDF and any other investors in that project clarity on future returns–something that is vital for nuclear projects which are complex, lengthy and have huge upfront costs. “It’s a delicate situation for the U.K. government, which is facing two major concerns: If support is too generous and returns are too high it will be politically difficult. If support is too low and three quarters of the way through construction EDF realizes the project isn’t going to be economic, the government could face a situation where they have to consider giving more help to support a new build program,” said Liberum Capital utilities analyst Guillaume Redgwell. And even with a strike price acceptable to all parties, there’s still the enormous construction risk, which can inflate costs dramatically.
Wall Street Journal 11th Jan 2013 more »
By electrifying more track and contracting nuclear power supplies from EDF Energy the UK rail network operator will reduce fossil fuel use and make trains even more environmentally friendly over the next ten years. A joint statement today described how Network Rail will purchase power exclusively from EDF Energy, with that supply matched to nuclear generation. With a requirement of 3.2 TWh per year, Network Rail is the UK’s largest power customer. It owns all the railway infrastructure and purchases power centrally, recouping money from firms that operate trains across its network.
World Nuclear News 11th Jan 2013 more »
Utility Week 11th Jan 2013 more »
Guardian 11th Jan 2013 more »
IB Times 12th Jan 2013 more »
Sellafield & Magnox
An American engineering group that was criticised by the National Audit Office for its running of the Sellafield nuclear site has dropped out of bidding for a new taxpayer-funded £7 billion contract to decommission Britain’s oldest reactors. URS failed to appear on a shortlist of nine companies bidding for the Magnox contract, published yesterday by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which is running what will be one of the largest public procurements in recent years. Industry sources said that the NDA had “discouraged” the San Francisco-based group from bidding for the clean-up work so that it could concentrate on sorting out the sprawling site at Sellafield — claims that the authority denied. URS declined to comment. The Times has also learnt that Todd Wright, the URS executive in charge of running Sellafield, is standing down shortly after less than two years in the job, after the NAO’s criticism. URS again declined to comment. Four consortiums have made it on to the NDA’s shortlist: Babcock and Flour; Amec and Atkins; CH2M Hill, Areva and Serco; and Bechtel and EnergySolutions, the latter of which holds the present Magnox clean-up contract. It is believed that Bechtel had planned to go into partnership with URS but opted for EnergySolutions, which has detailed knowledge of the sites, having operated them for more than five years.
Times 12th Jan 2013 more »
Private equity firm Energy Capital Partners is set to buy nuclear commercial services company EnergySolutions in a deal that values the firm at $1.1 billion. EnergySolutions CEO David Lockwood said the transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the company’s board of directors, would give it the investment capital needed to grow its business. “As a private company with substantial financial backing, we will be able to better manage our business for the long-term in order to serve the best interests of our customers, employees, joint venture partners and other stakeholders,” he said. EnergySolutions can trace its roots to Utah low-level waste management company Envirocare, through a series of mergers and acquisitions grew into a self-proclaimed global leader in the recycling, processing and disposal of nuclear material. The company provides integrated services to the international nuclear industry as well as the governments of the USA and UK and medical and research facilities.
Assystem 10th Jan 2013 more »
Accounts of the cross party meeting of MPs reveals that there is some spinning going on – so much so that the accounts are completely at odds. Jamie Reed MP for Copeland states: Following today’s session and the written submissions received from the witnesses in advance, it is the view of the majority of the cross-party group that Copeland Borough Council, Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria County Council should proceed to Stage 4 of the MRWS process. Moving to Stage 4 will enable the local geology of West Cumbria to be better understood and will ensure that a suitable community benefit package from government is established. While Tim Farron MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale states: I am an active opponent of any such development because I do not believe that the geology would permit such a scheme to be safe. I am confident that the Councillors are fully aware of my views on this subject, although they must vote on conscience and their understanding of their electors’ wishes. I can tell you from the meeting of all Cumbria MPs on the
subject that just one is wholly in favour because I in 3 working people in Copeland are employed at Sellafield. Who to believe?
Radiation Free Lakeland 11th Jan 2013 more »
Cumbria Crack 10th Jan 2013 more »
Nuclear power plants have materials operating at the extremes of their capabilities, and improving understanding of them is only going to become more crucial in a shifting energy climate. The consensus at the event seemed to be that nuclear power has an unavoidable role to play in our energy future. Plans to implement the Generation IV nuclear reactors bring with them a whole host of materials issues, and attendees swapped notes on the physics challenges of extending the life of current reactors, the material requirements of future reactors and long-term storage facilities.
Materials World 7th Jan 2013 more »
Almost two years after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi power plant sent shockwaves around the world, Japan’s government is attempting to resell the nuclear dream to a traumatised public. Japan appeared to have ended its addiction to nuclear power when the previous centre-left government pledged last year to phase out all of the country’s 50 working reactors by 2040. The announcement marked a dramatic shift from pre-Fukushima plans to increase Japan’s dependence on nuclear from 30% to 50% by 2030. For the emboldened anti-nuclear lobby, it heralded the start of an unprecedented shift towards renewable energy. But the return to office last month of the conservative Liberal Democratic party (LDP) under Shinzo Abe effectively killed off the idea of a non-nuclear Japan. It was no coincidence that within days of the LDP victory, Tepco, the firm that operates Fukushima Daiichi, saw a dramatic rise in its share price – but nowhere near the level it was before the accident.
Guardian 11th Jan 2013 more »
Former residents of nursing homes near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant died at a higher rate than usual in 2011, a study has shown, likely because of the stress of evacuation and having to live in temporary accommodations such as draughty school gyms. Researchers from the Fukushima Medical University studied reports submitted to the Fukushima prefectural government by 34 institutions for the elderly and found that the death rate over eight months in 2011 was 2.4 times that of the same period in 2010. Furthermore, there was a spike in deaths during the three months immediately following the disaster to three times the level of a year earlier.
Asahi Shimbun 11th Jan 2013 more »
Fukushima Crisis Update 8th to 10th Jan.
Greenpeace International 11th Jan 2013 more »
Nuclear plant staff live unseen in the shadow of the disaster, says worker Atsufumi Yoshizawa, as Japan grapples with the fallout from the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. They became the heroes of the disaster. The world feted their bravery and selfless dedication, an antidote to the opprobrium being poured on Japan’s hapless nuclear safety officials and politicians. But at home, almost all of the Fukushima 50 have remained anonymous. Some shun the spotlight, but many others fear reprisals as the public continues to grapple with the environmental and political fallout from the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Guardian 11th Jan 2013 more »
In documents filed Wednesday with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a wide range of national and grassroots environmental groups said it would be impossible for the NRC to adequately conduct a court-ordered assessment of the environmental implications of long-term storage of spent nuclear reactor fuel in the two short years the federal agency envisions for the process.
IB Times 11th Jan 2013 more »
Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a corporation wholly owned by the Province of Ontario, is asking the federal government to approve its proposal to bury low and intermediate level radioactive nuclear waste under the Bruce Nuclear Power Plant site, directly on the shore of Lake Huron, in the Municipality of Kincardine, Ontario. Called a Deep Geological Repository, DGR or Nuclear Waste Dump, the 31 burial caverns are planned to be 680 metres below the ground carved out of limestone, and will extend to approximately 400 metres from Lake Huron.
Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump (accessed) 13th Jan 2013 more »
In the Czech Republic, a new State Energy Policy is currently being prepared. The current energy policy dates from 2004, and its contents are inadequate for modern industrial trends. Unfortunately, the Czech government has decided to turn its back on opportunities to increase energy efficiency and the use renewable resources. Instead, the basis of the new energy policy is to be the construction of more nuclear reactors.
Heinrich Boll 9th Jan 2013 more »
At a toll road booth in northern Spain on Friday, Spanish police swooped in to inspect a trailer truck and seized what they said was material destined for Iran’s nuclear program, an Interior Ministry statement said. Two people were arrested.
CNN 11th Jan 2013 more »
A nuclear-powered US attack submarine has struck a suspected fishing boat shortly after passing through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf, damaging one of the submarine’s periscopes but injuring no one.
Guardian 11th Jan 2013 more »