Regulators are expected to announce that they have approved the design for nuclear reactors put forward by EDF and Areva as suitable to be built in the UK. The move will mark the end of a five-year, £35 million “generic design assessment” process by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency to assess the companies’ UK EPR reactor for use in the UK.
Express 13th Dec 2012 more »
York Evening Press 13th Dec 2012 more »
Construction News 13th Dec 2012 more »
The design for the first UK nuclear power stations to be built for 25 years will be granted approval later. After a five year process, regulators have said the European Pressurised Reactor, designed by two French firms, is safe and environmentally sound. But there are still a number of hurdles to be cleared before energy supplier EDF and the nuclear engineering firm Areva can begin construction. The firms are weighing up the economic case amid concerns about rising costs. The French companies are looking at building two new plants at Hinckley Point in Somerset, but will need planning permission.
BBC 13th Dec 2012 more »
The UK watchdogs requested dozens of modifications to the reactor designs initially submitted by the EDF-led consortium, including changes aimed at overcoming concerns about an over-dependence on computerised safety systems in the event of an accident. Changes demanded in the design of EPRs being built in Finland and France have been blamed for cost overruns for both. EDF announced two weeks ago that the cost of its EPR plant at Flamanville in northern France had risen by a third to €8.5bn. The nuclear power plant, the first to be built in France for 15 years, was originally expected to cost €3.3bn and be in operation by the end of this year. It is now not expected to be operational until 2016 at the earliest. Olkiluoto 3, an EPR being built by Areva in Finland, has also seen its costs double and its operational launch date put back from 2009 to 2014 or beyond. However EDF Energy, the UK arm of the French utility, has insisted that there is no parallel with Hinkley Point and said cost estimates given to the UK “already include the lessons learnt from Flamanville”.
FT 13th Dec 2012 more »
EDF Energy’s chief executive has acknowledged for the first time that its decision on building Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation may be delayed until 2013. Mr de Rivaz was speaking to The Daily Telegraph ahead of an announcement, expected today, that EDF’s reactor design has secured safety approval from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) for use in the UK. While EDF believes it is also on track to receive a key planning approval recommendation by the end of the year, it is still locked in talks with Government over subsidies for the plant. EDF’s junior partner, Centrica is widely expected pull out of the project, in which it has a 20pc option, in part due to concerns about costs and delays. EDF is in talks with other companies, thought to include Chinese nuclear groups, about joining the venture.
Telegraph 13th Dec 2012 more »
AREVA has signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) with 25 UK-based companies for the supply of components and services for new EPR nuclear reactors planned for the UK. The suppliers involved cover a wide range of products and services, including forgings, valves, pumps, cranes, electronics, piping, tanking and refrigeration units, AREVA said 12 Dec. Together with agreements already announced with Rolls-Royce, the scope of work could be worth up to £400 million to UK industry, the company stated.
Process Engineering 12th Dec 2012 more »
A public meeting held in Ennerdale heard how nuclear waste could be stored under the Lake District National Park. Around 160 local residents heard new details about the plans for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) to store nuclear waste in West Cumbria and potentially in the valley. The meeting received presentations from independent experts on geology, the environment and law as well as from Mr A Ellis Chief Engineer for the GDF from the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) and also the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) engaged geologist Dr Dearlove. At the end of the meeting those present were asked (on a show of hands) whether they wanted the repository project to proceed or not? There was unanimity that the project should not proceed and various actions were agreed in this regard. During the meeting it was confirmed that the NDA/Government are currently only looking at West Cumbria, as this is the only area to have expressed an interest. Dr Dearlove for MWRS acknowledged that he has identified two “rock volumes” in West Cumbria which he believes are potentially suitable for a repository. These are beneath Eskdale/Ennerdale, and close to Silloth. He denied that this amounted to site selection though. However Dr Dearlove, when pressed admitted that there was a low probability of such rocks being geologically suitable. He acknowledged this identification had been in response to independent geologists Professors Smythe and Haszeldine indicating that in their view all of West Cumbria was unsuitable. No alternative “Plan B” to deal with the nuclear waste is being looked at. However, the meeting heard that the Nirex process in the 1980s and 90s had identified more suitable sites elsewhere in the country.
Cumbria24 12th Dec 2012 more »
During the government quango MRWS (Managing Radioactive Waste Safely) drop in sessions earlier this year Dr Jeremy Dearlove coerced the unsuspecting public with reassurances that a nuclear ‘repository’ would be so safe he would be happy to have it under his home. Dr Dearlove is thought to live in Ennerdale.
Radiation Free Lakeland 12th Dec 2012 more »
The consultation surrounding proposals to house an underground repository for nuclear waste has won two awards. The West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership picked up the awards at the 2012 Chartered Institute of Public Relations North West Pride Awards which were announced on November 29. The partnership won a Gold Award for the best external publication for the consultation pack which included a comprehensive 127-page consultation document, an eight-page overview and a DVD. It also won silver in the community relations category.
NW Evening Mail 12th Dec 2012 more »
Cumberland News 12th Dec 2012 more »
Forget open beaches and seaside resorts; the new thing in travel is disaster tourism – and Pripyat, a city near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, is arguably its holy grail. Part urban exploration experience, part real-life video game, the tour is now being provided by several Ukrainian travel companies. In May 2011, I attended this tour, along with a group of about 50 others eager to see the ghost town left behind by the worst nuclear power plant accident to date.
Environmental Graffiti 12th Dec 2012 more »
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has said it will push ahead with plans to build an archive for the UK nuclear industry in Caithness. The proposal for a building on Highland Council-owned land near Wick airport was announced in 2008. The NDA said a commercial partner would operate the archive, which could be open by 2016. It would hold between 20 and 30 million digital, paper and photographic records going back to the 1940s.
BBC 12th Dec 2012 more »
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has asked nuclear waste contractors at the Oskarshamn nuclear plant to review their security requirements after cracks were found in the pools where nuclear waste is temporarily stored on site.
The Local 12th Dec 2012 more »
North Korea rattled the world on Wednesday by putting a satellite into orbit using the kind of technology that appears to demonstrate it can develop a missile capable of hitting the United States. Its next step will likely be a nuclear test, which would be the third conducted by the reclusive and unpredictable state. Its 2009 test came on May 25, a month after a rocket launch.
Trust 13th Dec 2012 more »
The quickening pace of Iran’s nuclear activities has produced an international sense of urgency. Sanctions have intensified, while fears of an Israeli strike abound. Talks have briefly eased the tension, before failing due to fundamental differences between Iran and the West. There seem to be dim prospects for peaceful resolution; the worry is that this long-running dispute could become a permanent crisis.
RUSI 13th Dec 2012 more »
The aftermath of Fukushima has raised two key questions in Europe. One: is nuclear power with its attendant waste and safety issues worth having? And, two: can Europe, in the absence of nuclear power generation, reduce its dependency on oil and gas imports and meet its climate targets? New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, European Nuclear Power Sector, finds that nuclear energy is the answer to meeting aggressive EU targets on carbon dioxide emissions and fossil fuels. Despite the environmental risks, nuclear energy shows potential to reduce emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, and therefore, will be a major contributor to the European energy mix in 2020.
Commodities Now 12th Dec 2012 more »
Thor Energy will team up with the Norwegian government and Westinghouse of the US to begin a four year test which will determine whether or not thorium is a viable alternative to uranium. The test will occur at the government controlled nuclear reactor in Halden.
Oil Price 12th Dec 2012 more »
Abandoning Britain’s nuclear deterrant would decimate entire communities. The future of the UK’s nuclear weapons is understandably highly emotive and contentious. The almost unimaginable horror of nuclear war, and changes to the balance of global power, leads many to reject the central pillar of the country’s strategy that maintaining a minimum credible deterrent makes such a catastrophe less likely, not more. Others see the price tag and insist there must be a way to do the same job for less. Still more would hold back from committing the money until they see from where precisely the next threat will emanate, despite the real danger that if Barrow’s submarine skills base is broken up it may never be possible to reassemble it, leaving the UK without the capacity ever to build such vessels again. So there is considerable interest beyond the Furness peninsula in the report published today by the Nuclear Education Trust on what would happen to Barrow’s economy if planned contracts to build new Trident-carrying submarines in the town were cancelled or reduced. The report spells out that any of the identified alternative scenarios to a like-for-like replacement of the continuous at sea deterrent would have a damaging impact on jobs and prosperity in the area. Now even as the MP for a constituency which currently has more than 5,000 people directly employed in the shipyard, I am clear that the question of whether and how to renew the UK’s nuclear deterrent must be made primarily on the grounds of national security rather than the economic impact across the UK of scrapping planned orders.
Politics Home 13th Dec 2012 more »
A decision by the government not to build a like-for-like replacement of Britain’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent would lead to the loss of at least 2,000 jobs at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, putting the onus on ministers to financially regenerate the local community, according to an independent report published on Thursday.
FT 12th Dec 2012 more »
A proposed Cumbrian windfarm development could seriously impact the UK’s ability to detect distant nuclear tests, it has been claimed. A public inquiry into Carlisle City Council’s move last December to reject the proposed development at Beck Burn Peat Works, near Longtown, is underway at the Civic Centre. EDF Energy wants to build nine massive wind turbines built at the site – each measuring 126m to the tip of the blade – but their plan was rejected by the city council.
Carlisle News & Star 12th Dec 2012 more »
Campaigners have raised fears that the government is poised to give the green light to shale gas exploration in the UK in a decision due on Thursday. Moves by the gas company Cuadrilla to exploit the unconventional gas in Lancashire were put on hold 18 months ago after the process of “fracking”, which uses high-pressure liquid to split rock and extract gas, caused two small earthquakes. The company believes it could supply a quarter of the UK’s gas needs from the resource in Lancashire, leaving the country less reliant on foreign imports from Qatar or Russia.
Guardian 13th Dec 2012 more »
Edward Davey, the Energy Secretary, is to give a statement to MPs about shale gas drilling today – more than a year after it was temporarily banned when it was believed to have caused tremors in Blackpool.
Telegraph 12th Dec 2012 more »
Telegraph 12th Dec 2012 more »
Times 13th Dec 2012 more »
Household energy bills will be about £600 higher per year by the end of the decade if the UK relies increasingly on gas, the government’s climate advisers warned on Thursday. But the Committee on Climate Change found that bills would only be £100 higher than today’s average dual fuel bill of about £1,300, if the country concentrated on renewable power generation, such as wind power. The committee’s findings rebuff the government’s argument that gas will in future provide a cheap source of electricity and heating – and the findings are based on the government’s own research.
Guardian 13th Dec 2012 more »
Wind farm subsidies and other green policies will add as much as £100 a year to household energy bills by 2020, and businesses can expect a rise of up to 25 per cent, according to a report by the government’s climate watchdog. But green power strategies will eventually prove cheaper than relying on the gas-fired electricity generation favoured by George Osborne, the chancellor, because that option could increase household bills by as much as £600 in later decades, the committee’s research reveals.
FT 13th Dec 2012 more »