New British nuclear reactors are unlikely to cost significantly more or experience extended construction delays as a result of the lessons learnt from the Japanese nuclear disaster. The UK nuclear regulators interim report into the Fukushima meltdown is not expected to recommend significant changes to the design of planned new reactors or a large increase in capital investment required to build them when it is published next week. Mike Weightman, chief nuclear inspector and head of the newly created Office for Nuclear Regulation, has spent the past two months taking evidence from the nuclear industry and experts about what lessons can be learnt from the worlds most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. The Times understands the report will be published on Wednesday. Well-placed sources said that the interim recommendations were likely to focus on issues such as disaster training for site workers and how specific sites for new reactors are assessed. The deadline for the nuclear regulator to approve new reactor designs has already been extended from June to September, when Dr Weightmans final report will be published. The regulator is expected to complete its reactor design assessment towards the end of the year to fully review the chief nuclear inspectors final report and any implications it may have on the design assessment. This would lead to a six-month delay in the UKs new-build programme, much shorter than many in the industry had feared. EDF Energys promise to build the UKs first new reactor in decades by 2018 at Hinkley Point, would still be theoretically possible.
Times 13th May 2011 more >>
The easy, safe sources of fossil fuels have all been burned up by now. The ones that remain are in dangerous places whether it’s the soil beneath Libya, or rock that has to be dissolved with a potentially carcinogenic cocktail off the coast of Blackpool. The flaws of nuclear power have also been horribly exposed in Japan. That’s why the US is expected to depend on shale gas for 45 per cent of its energy needs by 2035, with Britain trailing obediently behind a terrifying prospect for the climate. It doesn’t have to be this way. Britain could instead be leading the world in showing how an advanced society can be powered by the awesome force of renewables the wind, the waves and the sun. These are job-intensive industries that will dominate the 21st century, as the fossil fuels run out and throttle humanity. We could have the head-start on a better path, and become the global experts. Instead, we are bombing and drilling for the dirtiest fuels.
Independent 14th May 2011 more >>
In producing nuclear power we are taking the benefits today but leaving the burden of cleaning up waste and accident risks to future generations, argues a study on nuclear ethics. As we delay and dispute how to manage our existing nuclear waste, we continue to produce more of it – an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes in total exists around the world – and create a bigger burden of safe disposal on future generations. ‘Considering we have only had 10,000 years of written history, we must realise how long future generations will suffer from the onerous legacy left by present societies. Only a few decades of using nuclear energy leave hazardous nuclear waste for an unimaginable number of future generations,’ says Wolfgang Gruendinger, from the German NGO Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG). While long-term underground storage facilities like Onkala and ones being proposed in the UK seem a sensible technological solution, they may not be morally justifiable, according to Dr Behnam Taebi, from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. In a recently published academic paper on the ethics of nuclear power, he argues the present generation has a moral duty not to jeopardise the safety and security of future generations or impose any harm upon them.
Ecologist 13th May 2011 more >>
The U.K.s oldest working atomic power station is preparing to start generating for the next year even as it faces a deadline to shut next month. Reactor 1 at the Magnox North Ltd. Oldbury nuclear power station near Bristol, will produce 200 megawatts from July 10 until at least May 13, 2012, according to information submitted to National Grid Plc. The Oldbury station started in 1967 and is set to close at the end of June. Magnox North Ltd. is seeking approval from regulators to extend the life of reactor 1.
Bloomberg 13th May 2011 more >>
COUNCIL chiefs are particularly keen to hear Bridgwater people’s opinions on the proposed Hinkley C and are setting up an information shop in the town’s Angel Place. Sedgemoor will commandeer a vacant shop to allow people to discuss EDF’s new nuclear build plans over the next two weekends. Responses will help the council’s planning officers asses the development’s possible impact on the area and communities.
This is Somerset 13th May 2011 more >>
Lancashire beauty spots could be scarred by a chain of giant pylons being planned to transfer electricity from a new generation of low carbon power plants. Energy bosses say high-voltage cables are needed by 2020 to connect nuclear power stations, such as Sellafield and Heysham, and new windfarms to the national grid.
Blackburn Citizen 13th May 2011 more >>
Cllr Jones has been elected the new council chairman for Anglesey Council. An electrician by trade, he works as a Senior Production Technician at Wylfa Power Station.
News Wales 13th May 2011 more >>
One of the worlds biggest nuclear companies has set up its European headquarters in west Cumbria. US giant URS, part of the Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) consortium that runs Sellafield, now runs its global management and operations services from the Westlakes Science Park, near Whitehaven.
Cumberland News 13th May 2011 more >>
European nations split over whether to include the threat of terror attacks in stress tests to be carried out on the continent’s reactors have reached a key compromise, diplomats said Friday. Tests will be divided into two categories — safety tests to see whether plants can survive ageing and natural disasters, and security tests that will include terror attacks and other man-made disasters, sources told AFP. The solution was found by national nuclear safety regulators but has yet to be agreed by Austria, Germany and the European Union executive arm, the European Commission. The three hold-outs will decide whether to sign on by Wednesday.
EU Business 13th May 2011 more >>
Japanese banks have come under pressure to forgive loans to Tokyo Electric Power, as part of a government plan to help the utility at the centre of Japans worst nuclear disaster avoid bankruptcy. Yukio Edano, chief government spokesman, on Friday said the government would have trouble providing financial support to Tepco, operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, unless Japanese banks waived some of their estimated Y4,000bn ($50bn) in loans to the company. Mr Edano said it would be impossible to win public understanding for the government plan unless the banks forgave some of the Y2,000bn in loans they provided Tepco before the nuclear crisis that erupted following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
FT 14th May 2011 more >>
Polyester tents will be placed over Japan’s stricken nuclear reactors in a bid to try and contain the escape of radioactive substances into the atmosphere. Next month Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) will start work on installing the first cover at the No.1 reactor in Fukishima, which has been the focus of recent stabilization efforts. The Japanese government plans to erect a steel framework and place a giant polyester tent-like cover around the reactor building – similar covers will be placed around units 3 and 4.
Daily Mail 13th May 2011 more >>
Overall, the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains very serious. The IAEA receives information from various official sources in Japan through the Japanese national competent authority, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA). This Update Brief is based on information issued by the IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre up to 17:00 UTC on 11 May 2011.
IB Times 14th May 2011 more >>
Tepco said: A contract worker, 60, died after a fall at the facilitys waste disposal building.
IB Times 14th May 2011 more >>
Times 14th May 2011 more >>
Japan’s ageing Hamaoka nuclear power plant, located near a tectonic faultline southwest of Tokyo, completed the shutdown of all its reactors Saturday to prevent any accident due to a natural disaster.
AFP 14th May 2011 more >>
Japan announced a plan to help Tokyo Electric Power compensate victims of the crisis at its tsunami-crippled nuclear plant without going broke while it struggles to resolve the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.
IB Times 13th May 2011 more >>
Japan could increase installations of renewable power capacity by up to 3.5GW a year, HSBC Global Research calculates, as the country rethinks the role of nuclear power in the light of the Fukushima disaster.
Environmental Finance 13th May 2011 more >>
DAMAGE to the number one reactor at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is much more severe than previously thought, according to its operator Tepco. The realisation came when improving conditions at the facility opened new areas up to workers. This allowed them to check the depth of water in the reactor, which was found to be around five metres below the minimum level needed to submerge the fuel rods. According to Junichi Matsumoto, a Tepco general manager, this means that there must be a large leak.
Chemical Engineer 13th May 2011 more >>
Japanese nuclear power availability has fallen for a third consecutive week, after another planned shutdown. Kyushu Electric Power’s 890MW Sendai 1 unit went off line last week, further reducing overall fleet capacity to 18.8GW, its lowest in at least four years and down by 40pc from total availability before the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Shikoku Electric Power’s 890MW Ikata 3 reactor and Hokkaido Electric Power’s 579MW Tomari 1 unit have shut for planned outages in recent weeks. And capacity will be reduced further when Chubu completes the shutdown of its two remaining operating reactors at Hamaoka the 1,137MW 4 and 1,380MW 5 units in the next few days. As a result, Chubu expects to raise its LNG imports by around 37pc to 11.8mn t in the fiscal year ending March 2012, up from its previous forecast of 8.6mn t.
Argus Media 13th May 2011 more >>
President Barack Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on where and how to store radioactive waste from nuclear power plants on Friday called for temporary storage facilities as an alternative to a controversial waste site in Nevada.
Reuters 13th May 2011 more >>
STV 13th May 2011 more >>
Some nuclear plants could do a better job preparing for a catastrophic event, including ensuring safety equipment is in good working order, the top federal nuclear regulator said on Friday. All U.S. plants, however, could withstand a catastrophic event, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a review launched after a massive earthquake and tsunami brought Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi complex close to a complete meltdown.
Reuters 13th May 2011 more >>
The Republic of Slovenia has become the 30th member country of the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). The country, which obtains some 25% of its electricity from the Krsko nuclear power plant which it co-owns with Croatia, has been an observer on NEA standing committees since 2002 and joined the OECD in 2010. The NEA describes its mission as to assist its members in maintaining and developing the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy through international cooperation.
World Nuclear News 13th May 2011 more >>
Nuclear Engineering International 13th May 2011 more >>
The Government is planning to reject recommendations on cutting carbon emissions in a move that will infuriate environmentalists. It will be the first time that advice on emissions targets from the Committee on Climate Change, a government watchdog, has been rejected since it was established three years ago. The decision will undermine David Camerons pledge to lead the greenest government ever, made a year ago today. It will strengthen suspicions that ministers are willing to sign up to very long-term targets that require little action but do not want to commit to taking tough action in this Parliament.
Times 14th May 2011 more >>
Every ash cloud has a silver lining. The volcanic forces that grounded thousands of flights last year could help to keep the lights on in Britain under plans to build the worlds longest undersea electricity cable. The Government believes that a 700-mile cable between Iceland and Scotland, known as an interconnector, could supply millions of homes with cheap, renewable power from Icelands 200 volcanoes and 600 hot springs. It would reduce the risk of power cuts as Britain becomes increasingly reliant on wind turbines. Energy from Icelands vast resources of geothermal energy and hydropower is constant. More than 80 per cent of its homes are heated by geothermal energy.
Times 14th May 2011 more >>