The rapid spread of solar power across China, India, Africa and Latin America is being driven not by subsidy but by the market. So this is the question: does the world need nuclear power for us to solve the climate crisis, as Monbiot claims? To borrow a second thought, this time from Margaret Thatcher, must we accept that there is no alternative? Lets look at the figures. In 2010 the world demand for primary energy was equivalent to 12,000 million tonnes of oil (Mtoe), 87% of which was provided by oil, gas and coal. Nuclear power contributed a gross 626 Mtoe, about 5% of the total, while renewables accounted for 935 Mtoe, almost 8%. So can nuclear power do it? Assume a 2% growth in primary energy demand per year over the next 35 years, and that demand will double to some 24,000 Mtoe. Rely on nuclear power to accommodate all the growth, and knock out 4,000 Mtoe-worth of coal, and it will have to produce 16,000 Mtoe of energy per year a 25-fold increase on its current level. Today the world has 440 operational nuclear reactors, so 25 times more means 11,000 reactors. To have these in 35 years means building, on average, about one a day. Or in an exponential growth scenario, the world would need to sustain an annual increase of 8% per year in the number of operational nuclear reactors for 35 years. As for renewables, wind, solar PV and solar hot water technologies have already reached a point of no return. The question is not whether they will come to dominate world energy supply, but when. By investing wisely in the critical enabling technologies, Britain can make a huge contribution to bringing that time forward, not just here in the UK but across the world. To really make a difference to global climate, and to achieve energy security and abundance for ourselves and for the wider world, we must wholeheartedly back the renewable revolution and bring a decisive end to the nuclear nightmare.
Ecologist 13th July 2012 more >>
French nuclear conglomerate Areva has now confirmed it will bid to buy the UKs Horizon Nuclear Power from its German owners, but Westinghouse, General Electric Hitachi and Rosatom, to various degrees, remain coy on their own plans. It has been widely reported that Areva was teaming up with Cgnpc, while Westinghouse was teaming up with Chinas State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. (Snptc). But, until recently, none of the reports had been confirmed and there have been conflicting reports about whether the two Chinese firms are bidding separately with Western partners or in tandem. Westinghouse declined comment again on July 12. A Westinghouse spokesman said, A public announcement will be duly communicated if and when appropriate. GE Hitachi had recently said it wouldnt comment on speculation about potential acquisitions or investments. Russias Rosatom, meanwhile, had previously confirmed interest in the UK nuclear market, but has not confirmed absolutely whether that interest extends to making a bid to buy Horizon Nuclear Power.
i-nuclear 13th July 2012 more >>
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has taken ownership of an amount of German plutonium, by participating in a series of title swaps, as part of a commercial deal which will bring financial benefit to the UK and enhance international nuclear security. The deal will make German utilities’ plutonium available in France for manufacture into mixed oxide fuel for use in German reactors. This will improve security, as it removes the need for the UK to physically transport plutonium previously owned by German utilities from Sellafield to France. The UK will deal with the plutonium in return for financial benefits, which exceed the long-term costs for the safe storage and management of the material. The commercial agreement reached will not result in any additional plutonium being brought into the UK and will not increase the overall amount in the UK, representing four tonnes of the 118 tonnes of separated material stored in the country, most of which is held at Sellafield. The deal will enhance nuclear security across Europe as it will mean a net reduction in the total amount of separated plutonium in storage, as it allows German nuclear operators to turn it into fuel for use in their existing reactors. The arrangements, which have been approved by the Euratom Supply Agency, are the subject of commercial agreements between the NDA, German utilities and AREVA NC.
DECC Press Release 13th July 2012 more >>
DECC Written Ministerial Statement 13th July 2012 more >>
The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will take ownership of 4 tonnes of plutonium already at Sellafield, but owned by unnamed German utilities, under a swap arrangement announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change July 13. The UK has 118 tonnes of civil plutonium, thought to be the largest civilian stockpile in the world, of which some 28 tonnes is foreign-owned. Commercial agreements between the NDA, German utilities and Areva will make available plutonium in France to which the German utilities will take title and transfer title to NDA of the plutonium currently ascribed to the German utilities at Sellafield, according to a statement published in Parliament from Minister of State for Energy Charles Hendry. Some of the German plutonium in the UK was under contract to be manufactured into MOX fuel in the now closed Sellafield MOX Plant, the statement said. The swap deal will result in German utilities plutonium being available in France for manufacture into MOX fuel by Areva without undertaking a physical shipment. The financial benefits to the UK of taking ownership are considered to be sufficient to offset the estimated long-term cost of managing that plutonium in the UK, Hendry said. It will also enable MOX fuel to be provided to German utilities ahead of the German nuclear phase-out.
i-Nuclear 13th July 2012 more >>
Britain risks being turned into a “nuclear laundry” by taking ownership of German plutonium in return for cash, the government was warned on Friday. The move came along with confirmation that ministers were moving towards a controversial decision to build a new mixed oxide fuel (MOX) plant despite having just agreed to close an existing one which lost millions of pounds. Ministers believe the plutonium should be converted to MOX fuel for use in civil nuclear reactors although the statement elaborated: “While the UK government believes that it has sufficient information to set out this policy direction, it is not yet sufficient to make a specific decision whether to proceed with procuring a new MOX plant.” Pete Wilkinson, an independent environmental consultant, said it “beggared belief” that ministers were going down this path after losing an estimated £600m from operating an original MOX plant. The facility opened in 2001 was originally designed to produce 120 tonnes of reprocessed fuel annually but by 2007 had only produced 5.2 tonnes in six years up to 2007. “It just seems we are going back to becoming a nuclear laundry looking after everyone else’s unwanted waste. We should be getting rid of this material [plutonium] as quickly and safely as possible in deep burial instead of trying to restart a mega-nuclear future of new plants that will leave a dangerous legacy for generations to come.”
Guardian 13th July 2012 more >>
It is increasingly likely that high-voltage power lines to serve a new nuclear power station at Sellafield will come north across the Solway Plain to Carlisle. The National Grid is consulting on six options for transmitting electricity from a nuclear plant at Moorside, near Sellafield, and from offshore wind turbines in the Irish Sea. Four of these would bring 400kV power lines to Harker, north of Carlisle. It is likely they would be supported by 152ft-high pylons, spaced 400 yards apart, although in environmentally-sensitive locations cables could go underground. Local authorities are being consulted on the plans.
Cumberland News 13th July 2012 more >>
The Lizards Revenge music and arts festival and protest camp will take place at the gates of the Olympic Dam mine (or close by) from the 14th-18th July 2012. The festival will include a variety of musicians, bands and artists from around the country, a solar powered sound system, wind powered cinema, mobile artworks and the message that there is strong community opposition to uranium mining and to South Australia hosting the largest uranium mine in the world. We anticipate a vibrant protest camp which combines educational workshops, entertainment and non-violent direct action. We will converge on the site of the current mine and approved expansion as the South Australian and Australian governments have failed to put the environment and peoples health before short term economic concerns. The impacts of this project will remain long after BHP Billiton packs up, repatriates its profits, and moves on to the next project.
London Mining Network 11th July 2012 more >>
Lizards Revenge 14th July 2012 more >>
A nuclear-armed Iran would increase the chances of terrorists using a dirty bomb in the future, security and intelligence agencies fear. One security expert last night warned that, at the very least, Iran would feel emboldened to support more terror activity around the world if it had a nuclear arsenal to deter any retaliation.
Telegraph 14th July 2012 more >>
The problems with the steam generators at the San Onofre nuclear reactors are the most severe found in comparable generators across the U.S. nuclear industry, according to a new report commissioned by Friends of the Earth. The report by Fairewinds Associates also analyzes a leaked Southern California Edison document, which shows that despite assertions by Edison and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, thousands of tubes inside both San Onofre reactors are severely damaged and both reactors should remain shut down.
Friends of the Earth Press Release 13th July 2012 more >>
Fukushima crisis update 10th to 12th July.
Greenpeace 13th July 2012 more >>
Is Iran a nuclear threat?.
Huffington Post 13th July 2012 more >>
Toby Greene BICOM (Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre).
Huffington Post 13th July 2012 more >>
Paul Flynn MP.
Huffington Post 13th July 2012 more >>
Something I find remarkable about Iran’s nuclear programme is that they are still some naive people in this world who cling to the notion that Iran’s nuclear intentions are entirely peaceful. Only last month I took part in a discussion at the House of Commons where former Chancellor Lord Lamont of Lerwick among others were arguing that the West completely misunderstood Iran’s ambitions, and that all the ayatollahs were doing was conducting a few innocent experiments that might help them to improve their medical treatment of cancer patients. When you hear a pillar of the British political establishment like Lord Lamont expressing such views you realise that something has gone very badly wrong with the Government’s attempts to persuade the British people to take the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear programme seriously.
Telegraph 13th July 2012 more >>
The US, the UK, the IAEA and most western intelligence agencies do not believe that the Iranian leadership has made the political decision to make a bomb. Even the Mossad – according to its former deputy director, Ilan Mizrahi, who was in London recently – concurred with that assessment. The outliers here are the French, who sometimes take a more hawkish view, and sometimes not. So as far as we know, Iran would not have had nuclear weapons in 2008 no matter what the Secret Intelligence Service did or didn’t do. Nor will they have them in 2012 or 2014, or whenever, without making that decision.
Guardian 13th July 2012 more >>
Tory rebels are to keep in close touch over the summer to ensure they are not outmanoeuvred by the Government in the battle over Lords reform. The move reflects the growing organisation of dissidents opposed to plans for an elected upper house. Similar determination has been shown by party Eurosceptics pressing for a referendum on Britain’s place in the EU and by MPs critical of subsidies for wind farms.
Independent 14th July 2012 more >>
Micro Power News we 13th July 2012 now available: news of several solar parks and a project by a Staffordshire Housing Association to solarise housing.
Microgen Scotland 13th July 2012 more >>