Letter from Mike Weir MP: One would expect a Liberal Democrat MSP to be an expert on “flip-flopping”, however Liam McArthur’s attempt to attack the SNP by using a partial quote from me (your report, 12 December) is inept even by his party’s standards. The full quote, from the latest issue of the Parliamentary Monitor, in which I was opposing new nuclear power stations, was: “Ultimately there is also a question of morality. We are busy threatening other nations who are attempting to get nuclear power, since we do not trust them to deal with it. What authority do we have to do that when we ourselves are considering a mass extension of nuclear power?” This is a quite different issue as to whether an existing station should be extended by a further few years. SNP policy is, and always has been, quite clear: existing stations would be allowed to function until the end of their technological life. The question at Hunterston is whether it is safe.
Scotsman 13th Dec 2007 more >>
Letter from Allan Wilson: Your editorial (December 12) hit the nail on the head. The Nationalists are being more than a little disingenuous when they say we “no longer need” nuclear energy and downright hypocritical to then “welcome” the good news that the life of Hunterston B nuclear power station is to be extended by five years. (plus other letters – put the Hunterston life extension to good use by develping hydrogen storage, and one anti-wind)
Herald 13th Dec 2007 more >>
Nuclear & Climate
Nuclear power’s claim to be the answer to global warming is being questioned by reports suggesting mining and processing of uranium is carbon intensive. While nuclear power produces only one 50th of the carbon produced by many fossil fuels, its carbon footprint is rising, making wind power and other renewable energies increasingly attractive, according to environmental groups and some official reports. While the earth’s crust still has large resources of uranium — 600 times more than gold — much of the highest grade orebodies are already being exploited, forcing miners to develop more technically challenging or lower grade resources. That means uranium mining requires much more energy. One example is Cameco’s Cigar Lake project in Saskatchewan, which has been plagued with setbacks caused by floods at the underground mine, which may one day supply over 10 percent of the world’s mined uranium. The problems have forced Cameco to push back the production start to 2011 from 2007, and analysts this week said further delays out to 2012 or 2013 were likely. “The potential is that nuclear will increase its carbon footprint due to the lower grade ores that remain,” Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth said on the sidelines of a U.N. climate change conference in Bali. The carbon cost at Rio Tinto’s Ranger uranium mine Australia has also risen. The mine produced 17.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of uranium oxide in 2006, from 13 tonnes in 2005, a Rio Tinto spokeswoman said. She added that part of the rise was due to bad weather which restricted access to high grade ore, as well as an expansion in capacity, and the company was trying to reduce emissions again.
Guardian website 12th Dec 2007 more >>
The United States hopes that North Korea will keep its promise and disclose all its nuclear activities by the end of this year, Washington’s envoy to nuclear talks on North Korea said on Wednesday.
Reuters 12th Dec 2007 more >>
Hospitals across North America have been forced to cancel tests for cancer and heart disease because the unexpected closure of a Canadian nuclear reactor has led to a sudden shortage of medical isotopes.
Nature 12th Dec 2007 more >>
India said it is working on a new ballistic missile capable of hitting targets 6,000 km away, which would more than double its current nuclear strike range.
AFX 12th Dec 2007 more >>
Tory MP David Mundell believes that the nuclear industry could still have a future at Chapelcross.
Carlisle News and Star 12th Dec 2007 more >>
Nuclear firm British Energy has sparked jubilation and outrage by extending the life of Somerset’s Hinkley B power station for at least five years.
Western Dail Press 12th Dec 2007 more >>
THE bill to deal with Dounreay’s radioactive liquor spill within a waste plant is now expected to be over £4 million. The job of recovering the fissile material which accidentally spewed on to the floor of a shielded cell in September 2005 has been much tougher than initially envisaged. A failure of management systems led to intermediate-level active liquid waste spilling over a steel drum after an automatic mechanism to release its lid failed to activate. Before the flow was stemmed, 58 gallons had poured out, much of it mixing with a separate feed of cement powder. The embarrassing blunder has been a major blot on the UKAEA’s improving safety record at the Caithness site in recent years.
John O Groat Journal 12th December 2007 more >>
“Come quickly and come alone,” the fax said. “Illicit trafficking issues need urgent attention.” That is how a Russian nuclear agency asked experts at the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate (SKI) for their insight and experience in assessing the scale of serious security risks in the Kola peninsula, arguably the world’s most radioactive region. The resulting investigation was completed earlier this year, but in keeping with its cloak-and-dagger origin, the Russian authorities are keeping the details secret. However, New Scientist has learned that the report exposes gaping holes in the arrangements meant to prevent the theft of plutonium and highly enriched uranium.
New Scientist 28th Nov 2007 – now available in full at robedwards.com more >>
A stand-off between the United States and Europe over carbon reduction targets should not overshadow the “significant” progress made on a new climate deal, Hilary Benn said yesterday. The environment secretary said the so-called Bali roadmap, which negotiators hope to produce tomorrow as the first step towards a new treaty, did not need a fixed target to be considered a success. He said: “Of course there are people who hoped it would all be sorted out this week. But the roadmap will give us the means to get where we want to go, and we haven’t had that previously, and that’s a significant step.”
Guardian 13th Dec 2007 more >>