Security at Britain’s nuclear power stations is being breached eight times every month, sparking safety fears. An investigation by The Sunday Post has discovered lapses such as broken CCTV cameras or door alarms, which may have left incredibly sensitive plants open to trespassers. But the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) which released the data, has been accused of a cover-up after it refused to release details of the breaches. Figures obtained under freedom of information (FOI) laws revealed there has been 398 security breaches since 2010. Experts fear the number could be even higher because the ONR has changed its definition of what poses a security risk to the UK’s nuclear power stations. Last night independent nuclear expert John Large said: “It is deeply worrying that the ONR admits there are existing weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the nuclear plants.
Sunday Post 11th May 2014 read more »
An ageing nuclear site on the coast of Cumbria might not seem a likely place for 3D printing, but Sellafield’s owners are hoping the innovative technology will save it – and British taxpayers – millions of pounds. Sellafield, western Europe’s largest and most complex nuclear waste site, is using 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, to help them decommission some of the most potentially hazardous plants in the world. It will use 3D printing to replace parts that are no longer made – many of which were one-off designs from 50 years ago – to save time and money when those running the nuclear facility have faced growing criticism for soaring decommissioning costs. These are estimated to total £70bn.
FT 11th May 2014 read more »
Letter from Eddie Martin: Dear Professor Williams and Fellow Members of CoRWM, Thank you for visiting Workington, for hosting the public meeting, and for listening to the many concerns and comments which were raised at that meeting. You accepted that it would be useful if we would further explain and elaborate on our genuine concerns; that is what I now seek to do. We believe there is a general consensus amongst geologists that GDFs present the least worst option: those of us who have led vocal opposition to siting a GDF in Cumbria tend to agree that it is the location that is the problem, and not the concept (e.g. Carrington, 2013; Smythe,2011a). That being the case, my colleagues and I were, nonetheless, concerned by the responses of some of your CoRWM Members who seemed to downplay the importance of the geological structure whilst apparently emphasising their confidence in engineered safety barriers – which is, in effect, an opaque safety case. We believe that CoRWM risks being judged complacent by taking the official SKB view of progress in Sweden, notwithstanding the fact that there is clear and compelling research evidence to suggest that copper canisters will, over time, corrode. We cannot understand how DECC, NDA, CoRWM and others cannot or will not accept apparently the geological and plethora of other evidence that West Cumbria has, over time, been thoroughly and exhaustively explored and that it is too fractured, faulty and fissured to be able to accept a GDF anywhere within its boundaries.
Cumbria Trust 11th May 2014 read more »
Over one hundred people in the south west have now found work thanks to the Hinkley Point C Employment Brokerage. Maria Smith from Bridgwater had cause for celebration as she was appointed as an accommodation assistant on the Hinkley Point C project after contacting the brokerage in 2013. The brokerage is an initiative by EDF Energy to match people interested in working on the power station project with the latest jobs and training on offer.
EDF Energy 9th May 2014 read more »
Guy Hands, one of the City’s most flamboyant deal-makers, warns on Monday that the Ukraine crisis has underlined the importance of the UK’s renewable energy sector, and attacks those wanting to phase out onshore wind subsidies. The financier, who has close links to the Conservative party, says energy security cannot be achieved by markets alone and that the government needs to play a decisive role. “We should be grateful to President Putin for bringing energy security back to the top of the political agenda in Europe. But it is up to us to ensure we understand and act on the long-term threat. And that is certainly not by turning our backs on renewable energy, no matter how persistent or loud the voices against it,” Hands argues in an article on the Guardian website.
Guardian 12th May 2014 read more »
Letter: The danger posed by nuclear power goes far beyond the catastrophic accidents that have occurred at Chernobyl and Fukushima. As the nuclear weapon programs of North Korea, Pakistan, Israel, India and perhaps Iran have shown, civilian nuclear power programs are inextricably linked with the technology needed to develop nuclear weapons. We cannot promote nuclear power as a source of electricity and also expect to prevent nuclear weapon proliferation, a development that poses as great a threat to humanity as global warming.
New York Times 8th May 2014 read more »
The multinational giant behind Lynx deodorant has been condemned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament for using the iconic CND symbol as part of its latest advertising campaign. Unilever has been projecting the peace symbol on to some of the UK’s most recognisable buildings as part of its “Peace Invasion” marketing campaign. CND general secretary Kate Hudson accused the firm of “trading off our 56-year legacy” and “a flagrant co-opting of decades of activism” by using the symbol without making a donation. The campaign is particularly annoyed that Lynx mentioned CND by name in a promotional tweet.
Independent 11th May 2014 read more »
The total amount of radioactive cesium released into the atmosphere and seawater from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan is estimated at between 17,500 and 20,500 terabecquerels, a study by a Japanese team of researchers showed Friday. The team’s finding on the cumulative amount of cesium-137 is nearly 1.5 times more than the estimate by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. of less than 13,600 terabecquerels.
Mainichi 12th May 2014 read more »
Germany’s nuclear industry is fighting Berlin over a plan to transfer the risks of shutting down facilities to a publicly owned foundation that would act as a “bad bank”. The power companies are engaged in a decommissioning exercise with an estimated cost of more than €30bn after Berlin announced an accelerated exit from nuclear energy following the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The work includes demolishing nuclear plants and disposing of radioactive waste. German utilities Eon, RWE and EnBW have discussed the creation of a state-owned foundation to oversee the decommissioning process. Under their plan, the utilities would transfer to the foundation billions of euros in reserves that they have built up to pay for demolition and disposal. In return, the German government would shoulder the risk for any cost overruns. But that proposal, first reported in Der Spiegel on Sunday, was rejected by German environment minister Barbara Hendricks. She said: “The full responsibility for the safe phasing out, closure, decommissioning and interim storage of nuclear waste lies with the energy companies.”
FT 11th May 2014 read more »
Iran’s Supreme Leader described as “stupid and idiotic” Western expectations for his country to curb its missile development, striking a defiant tone ahead of a fresh round of nuclear talks.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to mass produce missiles and said the nuclear negotiations were not the place to discuss Tehran’s defense program or to solve the problem of sanctions damaging the Iranian economy.
Reuters 11th May 2014 read more »
The Ukraine crisis has strengthened Iran’s hand in its nuclear talks and other dealings with the west by reminding European countries and the Obama administration of its potential as a major alternative energy supplier if Russia cannot be relied upon, officials and analysts in Tehran say.
Guardian 11th May 2014 read more »
Iran’s attempts to illicitly procure materials for its disputed nuclear and missile programmes appear to have slowed down as it pursues talks on a long-term accord with world powers, a U.N. expert panel said in a confidential report seen by Reuters.The U.N. Panel of Experts, who monitor compliance with the Security Council’s sanctions regime on Iran, presented this conclusion cautiously, suggesting it was also possible Tehran has simply learned to outsmart security and intelligence services in its pursuit of sensitive components and materials.
Reuters 11th May 2014 read more »
Iranian president Hassan Rohani has once again declared that his country will not allow western powers to dictate Tehran’s nuclear agenda. Addressing a ceremony to mark Iran’s accomplishments in the field of medicine, the Iranian leader said Tehran would not accept nuclear discrimination or apartheid. Rohani told the gathering: “Their [west’s] claim that Iran has secret activities is a blatant lie. If we wanted to be secretive, we wouldn’t attempt to purchase centrifuges at global markets. Neither would we negotiate with international companies during the process of fuel production and uranium enrichment.
IB Times 11th May 2014 read more »
Three months into the talks to rewind Iran’s advance towards a nuclear weapon, and with under three months to run, everything is still to play for and everything still to be lost. The talks – triggered last November by an accord signed in Geneva – will reopen this week in Vienna at the Coburg palace. At the meeting, the Iranian delegation will be adamant it should retain its right to enrich uranium while a six-country bloc of leading powers will be certain it must not. The sides will try to close the gap using the promise of rolling back a sanctions regime that has crippled the Islamic Republic’s economy.
FT 11th May 2014 read more »
THE Government needs to do more to boost energy projects such as community-owned solar panels and energy-saving schemes, researchers say. Initiatives such as ¬community renewables could make a big difference to climate change and energy security, according to a report from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and University of Sussex. The Government has launched a new community energy strategy to help nurture small-scale schemes, but the researchers said better policy support was needed to boost grass-roots development. Researchers looked at 12 small-scale projects including a community island buy-out on Gigha, a solar panel project in Brighton, a home energy programme in Bristol and hydro-electricity generation in Cumbria. The study, published in the journal Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, interviewed people responsible for getting community energy projects going. It found that: “While community energy has successfully grown up in between the cracks of the mainstream energy system, it needs to be nurtured and supported … if it is to continue to grow and develop.”
Herald 12th May 2014 read more »
Shale gas could be fuelling British homes for the first time by late 2015, under plans from fracking firm Cuadrilla. The company is preparing to submit planning applications by the end of this month to frack at two sites in Lancashire next year. Francis Egan, Cuadrilla chief executive, said that, if successful, it planned to connect the test fracking sites up to the gas grid, in what would be a milestone first for the fledgling British shale gas industry. He also suggested homeowners hostile to fracking beneath their land should be entitled to only minimal compensation, if any.
Telegraph 11th May 2014 read more »