Antony Froggatt: Maximum liability is £140m in the UK, but Fukushima clean-up and compensation costs are running to tens of billions – and the state is footing the bill. 27 years after Chernobyl and two years after Fukushima, the proposed changes to the liability regimes are still to be adopted by the signatories of the international conventions. Consequently, in the UK, the current maximum that a nuclear operator is liable is still only £140m. The government is seeking to revise the maximum limit, but is waiting on the post-Chernobyl revisions to be adopted by other countries. If it is introduced, it will raised the operator’s liability ultimately to £1bn. As of October 2012, approximately £9.4bn (1,335 bn yen) had been paid out in compensation as a result of the Fukushima accident and this is expected to double in the next year. At this stage the final cost can only be roughly estimated, but the utility company, Tepco, has suggested that cost for compensation and decontamination maybe in the order of £70bn (10 trillion yen).
Guardian 11th March 2013 read more »
Two years after the triple calamities of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster ravaged Japan’s northeastern Pacific coast, debris containing asbestos, lead, PCBs — and perhaps most worrying — radioactive waste due to the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant looms as a threat for the region. So far, disposal of debris from the disasters is turning out to have been anything but clean. Workers often lacking property oversight, training or proper equipment have dumped contaminated waste with scant regard for regulations or safety, as organized crime has infiltrated the cleanup process.
Insurance Journal 11th March 2013 read more »
Kumi Naidoo: Regulatory change is needed to hold reactor operators and their suppliers liable for paying the costs of a nuclear disaster and compensating victims. In law, Fukushima plant operator Tepco should pay the full costs of the accident. But there is a loophole: Tepco can’t pay. So the government stepped in and nationalised the company, meaning Japanese taxpayers will pay for this disaster.What’s worse, is that this protection system works even better for the companies that supply reactors and other equipment to nuclear operators: they don’t pay any of the costs of a disaster. Big energy giants, such as General Electric, Toshiba and Hitachi, pay nothing if one of their reactors causes a disaster. At Fukushima, all three built reactors based on GE’s flawed Mark I reactor design. Concerns that the reactor containment would fail during a major accident proved correct – this is exactly what happened. The flaw was revealed decades earlier, but the problem wasn’t fixed.
Guardian 11th March 2013 read more »
Much-discussed changes in government structures did not come to pass. Precisely how this turning point failed to turn is the subject of a new book by Samuels, the first full-length scholarly analysis of Japanese politics since the devastating events of 2011. The book, titled “3.11,” after the initial date of the event, is being published this month by Cornell University Press. And while it is focused on Japan, Samuels’ book may have an important lesson for observers of other countries at a time when states around the world seem beset by political, military and economic crises: Even during great upheaval, entrenched interests are hard to dislodge. “Political entrepreneurs come into crises with preferences that don’t change as a result of a crisis,” says Samuels.
Physics Organisation 11th March 2013 read more »
EDF, the French state backed energy company, has for years been preparing to build new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset, next to the existing power station. They have the nuclear licence, thousands of tonnes of earth have been moved, hundreds of staff have already been working there, and with the final planning decision due the day before the Budget, the site is, EDF tells me, absolutely ‘ready to go.’ And, the UK’s looming gap in the amount of energy we need and the amount of energy we have available to use is no secret either. You can hardly move at the moment for politicians searching for ways of getting growth going – the project at Hinkley could create up to 25,000 jobs, the amount of cash that would be spent would be even bigger than the Olympics. Ease the growth problem and help keep the lights on. So what is the problem? The government cannot agree either internally, or with the company on exactly the new reactors should be paid for. George Osborne’s officials are also anxious about the risks of the construction costs spiralling and the projects over running. Many nuclear experts warn that the taxpayer could end up on the hook for many billions, over several decades. Treasury sources say, “we can’t just agree any price”. Because EDF is backed by the French government, curiously, the British taxpayer could end up putting billions into the French taxpayer’s pocket. If the Treasury refuses to budge from a strike price of 80 pounds the deal might just not be worthwhile. They have to be able, not just be sure they will cover their own costs, but to persuade other investors to come in with them.
ITV 11th March 2013 read more »
At a meeting between energy experts and Günther Oettinger, the EU commissioner for energy, the commissioner was asked to comment on the process by which Dave’s people seek to allay the investment fears of French state-owed nuclear giant EDF by guaranteeing the future unit costs of electricity. Positively “Soviet”, he said. It was “a jokey reference”, the commissioner explained after his comment, apparently made under Chatham House rules, leaked to Twitter. Will Dave be amused? Nyet.
Guardian 11th March 2013 read more »
Alan Whitehead MP: It’s the half way stage in the great Energy Bill marathon in Parliament. The Committee stage is done but there will be a chance to make final amendments at Report Stage, and then it is off to the Lords for the whole process to be repeated. So where does the bill now stand? Not many amendments were taken on board in Committee, but it has to be said that the Government introduced a number of changes after the draft bill received a bit of a mauling from the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. Improvements to the accountability of the system operator, promised amendments on demand side reduction and some greater clarity on the system for underwriting renewable and low carbon energy production have all been written into the bill, or will be shortly. The need for a target in the Bill is real, and is not just a theoretical aspiration. It has received support not just from the more expected quarters but from across the business and investment community. It is about, in essence, framing all the contents of the Act as it will become in terms of the direction of travel of energy policy, so that investors can be clear about the future landscape in which they are raising funds and laying down concrete. This is certainly the view of Ernst and Young, for example. In their recent Quarterly Renewable Energy Review they specifically raise the lack of a clear target on the Bill as ‘casting doubt over the UK’s commitment to cut carbon emissions by 2027 and (leaving) investors with a sense of uncertainty.’
Alan Whitehead 11th March 2013 read more »
CUMBRIA will continue to play an important role in the future of Britain’s nuclear clean-up, a minister has said. In a letter to Councillor Eddie Martin, leader of Cumbria County Council, Baroness Verma, parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, says Cumbria will continue to play a central role in the nuclear industry and the government would welcome the views of Cumbria County Council in future discussions. Baroness Verma used the letter to point to the results of an opinion poll that showed the majority of residents supported taking the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership’s search process forward. Of those surveyed, 68 per cent of Copeland residents, 51 per cent of Allerdale residents, and 50 per cent of the “rest of Cumbria” were in favour of proceeding to the next stage of the siting process.
In Cumbria 11th March 2013 read more »
NW Evening Mail 11th March 2013 read more »
Tim Farron will meet with Ed Davey today to ask questions posed by Radiation Free Lakeland. Noises are being made by DECC and some nuclear cheerleaders in Copeland and Allerdale suggesting that a “new process” may be banged down on the table to keep Cumbria in the running for a nuke dump. Given Cumbria’s reaffirmed NO vote and the government’s myopic push for geological ‘disposal’ (rather than above ground storage) we are sure that other counties being eyed up.
Radiation Free Lakeland 11th March 2013 read more »
In spite of a bitingly cold wind, a demonstration by residents of the Forest of Dean, organised by STAND (Severnside Together Against Nuclear Development), saw over 80 people march on the head offices of Horizon/Hitachi, a nuclear power construction consortium, in Gloucester. Hitachi are planning to build a new nuclear power station on the Severn estuary near Oldbury.As well as Forest of Dean residents, concerned people from Stroud, Hereford, and other parts of the region turned up to send a clear message to Hitachi – we do not want your nuclear power station.
Bristol Indymedia 11th March 2013 read more »
Anti-nuclear protesters marched along a beach and made claims of radioactive contamination. Environmentalists from Radiation Free Lakeland went from Seascale to Sellafield to highlight concerns about the nuclear complex’s impact on the surrounding coastline.
Carlisle News & Star 11th March 2013 read more »
A LOCAL residents’ leader has expressed “disgust” over the possibility of further building on the site of the redundant Sizewell A nuclear plant – currently scheduled to be returned to a “greenfield” state – as part of the C station project. It has been disclosed that one of the options being considered by EDF Energy to clear the way for Sizewell C is to relocate some of the B station buildings on the A site. The company says this would minimise the need to build on existing countryside, including a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). But Pat Hogan, who represents Sizewell residents on the local community liaison group, said it would be “disgusting” if new building went ahead on the A site. Under the approved strategy for the decommissioning of the power station, which ceased electricity generation in 2006, the site was due to be returned to a “greenfield” state.
East Anglian Daily Times 11th March 2013 read more »
A NEW group campaigning against the production of nuclear warheads at the Atomic Weapons Establishment has been launched. Action AWE, which is backed by CND, is calling for people to get involved locally and politically to prevent new nuclear weapons being produced at AWE Aldermaston and Burghfield.
Basingstoke Gazette 11th March 2013 read more »
ANTI-nuclear campaigners staged a protest next to the Menai Suspension Bridge this morning – exactly two years on from the Fukishima disaster in Japan. Members from People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) protested on the Anglesey side of the bridge as commuters headed to work. The group oppose the building of a new nuclear power station on Anglesey by Hitachi backed Horizon Nuclear Power. Dylan Morgan, from PAWB, said: “The purpose of the protest was be to show that the Fukushima crisis continues, and to underline the dangers of nuclear power to humanity and the environment.
Daily Post 11th March 2013 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has submitted a detailed and thorough response to the Food Standards Agency in response to its consultation seeking comments on proposed changes with the regime to monitor radioactivity levels in foodstuffs. The NFLA response was developed for it by independent marine pollution consultant Tim Deere-Jones and follows on from a number of similar comments of concern made by the NFLA to the Environment Agency over draft environmental permits for a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point.
NFLA Press Release 7th March 2013 read more »
Scotland is making good progress in reaching its climate change emission reduction targets, according to an independent report. But pressure group Stop Climate Chaos Scotland points out that the UK Committee on Climate Change report said the Scottish government must do more. The committee found that the annual target was missed by 2% last year. However, the CCC states that it would have been met if it had not been an exceptionally cold winter. Overall, the Scottish government has said it wants to cut carbon emissions by 42% by 2020.
BBC 12th March 2013 read more »
FT 12th March 2013 read more »
STV 12th March 2013 read more »
Scottish Water has fitted its pipe network with a new turbine that harnesses enough renewable energy to power up to 150 homes. Capable of producing 600 MWh of electricity each year, the technology known as Difgen is located in a strategic trunk water main at Denny, near Falkirk, reducing the amount of electricity the water firm needs to buy from the National Grid. The new technology can be installed where the flow of water needs to be controlled by installing a pressure reducing valve. A turbine recovers the lost pressure and turns it into energy.
Edie 11th March 2013 read more »
A glut of government-subsidized wind power may help accomplish a goal some environmentalists have sought for decades: kill off U.S. nuclear power plants while reducing reliance on electricity from burning coal. That’s the assessment of executives and utility experts after the U.S. wind-energy industry went on a $25 billion growth binge in 2012, racing to qualify for a federal tax credit that was set to expire at year’s end.
Bloomberg 11th March 2013 read more »
The NRC Commissioners today upheld last summer’s licensing board denial of a construction/operating license for the proposed Calvert Cliffs-3 nuclear reactor in Maryland. The decision marks the first time in history that the NRC Commissioners have upheld the denial of a license for a commercial nuclear reactor, and only the second time a license for a commercial nuclear facility has been denied. The first license denial was for a uranium enrichment project in Homer, Louisiana, which was denied on environmental justice grounds in 1997.
Common Dreams 11th March 2013 read more »
Two years after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, many of the inhabitants of affected areas are reluctant to return despite expensive decontamination efforts. The electronic board in the playground at the elementary school in the small town of Kawauchi displays 0.09 microsieverts per hour – much less than the radiation level of 1 millisievert per year above which it would be too dangerous to play outside. However, only 16 out of 114 pupils have come back to school since the evacuation order was lifted. The 13 teachers, however, have all returned. But the headmaster Hitoshi Takashima is worried about another nuclear accident. “I can’t forget how close the reactors are,” he says.
Deutsche Welle 11th March 2013 read more »
Families and communities are breaking up, financial ruin is common, as is divorce and mental breakdowns. Recent estimates suggest cancer rates are likely to increase in Fukushima, which weighs heavily on people’s minds, and suicides are increasing in the area. It is untrue to say nobody has lost their lives as a result of the nuclear accident. This ongoing tragedy for the victims of the nuclear disaster is the fault of a system that is supposed to provide fair compensation when there is a nuclear disaster, but doesn’t. This system essentially protects the nuclear industry, not people.
Greenpeace 11th March 2013 read more »
Wearing white protective masks and suits, Yuzo Mihara and his wife Yuko pose for photographs on a deserted street in the town of Namie, inside the Fukushima nuclear disaster exclusion zone. Following the 11 March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, tens of thousands of people lost their homes and are still living in temporary housing. The 21,000 residents of Namie had to abandon their homes after the town was evacuated following the nuclear alert.
Telegraph 11th March 2013 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) commemorates the 11th March 2013 as the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. It welcomes the large number of people who attended a Remembering Fukushima event and rally in London over the weekend which coincided with a considerable number of events held around the world. It particularly notes the tens of thousands who commemorated official events in Japan and over 100,000 people who commemorated the disaster and raised major public concerns over the building of new nuclear reactors in Taiwan.
NFLA Press Release 11th March 2013 read more »
If Taiwan is to phase out nuclear energy, its citizens must be ready to pay the cost. Saturday’s massive anti-nuclear protests– the largest ever of their kind– have pushed a referendum on the construction of Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant to the top of the domestic agenda. But with energy prices on the rise and minimal renewable energy development on this island, do citizens understand the ramifications of their demands?
Huffington Post 11th March 2013 read more »