Electricity Market Reform
According to calculations by WWF and Greenpeace, the proposed carbon floor price could result in windfall profits for existing nuclear generators of up to £3.43 billion between 2013 and 2026. This not only follows a long history of UK taxpayer subsidies to support the nuclear industry (including a £10bn public bailout of British Energy in 2002) but also flies in the face of the government’s stated opposition to any more public subsidy for nuclear energy.
WWF Blog 14th Feb 2011 more >>
WWF Press Release 2011 more >>
The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) has issued eight advice notes over the last few months on various aspects of the Planning Act regime. It is now dividing its eighth advice note on making objections into five, and has just published its ninth advice note, on the subject of environmental assessment. Forthcoming advice notes are also promised on habitats assessments and transboundary effects, but here is a summary of the newly-issued documents.
Bircham Dyson Bell 14th Feb 2011 more >>
To coincide with Keswick Film Festival’s screening of the award winning film ‘Into Eternity’ a petition is being launched to strongly oppose the geological dumping of radioactive wastes in Cumbria. The petition has been authored by Radiation Free Lakeland in partnership with West Cumbria and North Lakes Friends of the Earth, North Cumbria Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Sustainable Carlisle, Cumbria Action on Climate Change and Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment.
Northern Indymedia 11th Feb 2011 more >>
Copeland Borough Council wishes to appoint legal advisors for a period of up to 4 years to provide advice to the Council in relation to nuclear power, nuclear waste and other energy related matters.
Nuclear Engineering International 14th Feb 2011 more >>
Sellafield MoX Plant
How’s this for timing? A week ago The Daily Telegraph published a confidential cable from the US embassy calling a controversial plant at Sellafield “one of Her Majesty’s Government’s most embarrassing failures in British industrial history”. Then, within days, ministers said they were minded to build another one like it. The embassy was not wrong. The so-called Mox plant, which makes nuclear fuel out of uranium and plutonium at the Cumbrian nuclear complex, is not just – as the cable put it – a “white elephant”, but one that could well go rogue. Built at a cost of £473 million, despite repeated warnings that it would be uneconomic and could be a security risk, it has never worked properly. Supposed to churn out a grand total of 560 tons of fuel by the end of its first decade of operation, later this year, it has so far produced just 15.
Telegraph 12th Feb 2011 more >>
When Chapelcross stopped producing electricity in 2004 it was the world’s oldest working commercial nuclear plant. It opened in 1959 and was Scotland’s first commercial atomic station, built in just 30 months by an army of 2,000 workers. It produced electricity for nearly twice as long as its anticipated lifespan – capable of powering a city of 150,000 people. Even with decommissioning underway, the site remains one of Dumfriesshire and north Cumbria’s major employers, with about 375 employees, 50 agency staff and 100 contractors. Its contribution to the area’s economy is worth between £27m and £30m-a-year, with 80 per cent of workers living with nine miles of the plant and 97 per cent within 20 miles. The end of defuelling next year will bring with it a cut in staffing, probably by about 80 to 100 people. Consultation is ongoing with workers and trade unions about that, but it is hoped that this could be achieved through voluntary redundancies. Further reductions are planned at the end of the hazard reduction programme, when staffing levels will drop to about 60. Chapelcross’ care and maintenance phase will last until 2095 when final site clearance will take place, with the reactor buildings brought down.
Carlisle News and Star 14th Feb 2011 more >>
Three large energy companies have been carrying out covert intelligence-gathering operations on environmental activists, the Guardian can reveal. The energy giant E.ON, Britain’s second-biggest coal producer Scottish Resources Group and Scottish Power, one of the UK’s largest electricity-generators, have been paying for the services of a private security firm that has been secretly monitoring activists.
Guardian 15th Feb 2011 more >>
Swiss utilities BKW and Axpo secured regional support for their plan to construct a new nuclear reactor in the canton of Bern in a popular vote held on the weekend. Voters in the Swiss canton of Bern decided in favour of building a 1,450MW nuclear plant in Muehleberg to replace the existing 375MW plant, which is reaching the end of its lifespan. The utilities clinched a narrow success in the non-binding vote, with 51.2pc backing the construction of the replacement power station.
Argus Media 14th Feb 2011 more >>
Britain is talking to other countries about stepping up pressure on Iran to freeze uranium enrichment, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday.
Reuters 14th Feb 2011 more >>
The “hacktivist” group Anonymous claims to have access to the sophisticated computer virus reportedly developed as a joint Israeli-US cyber attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Anonymous says it has obtained details of the Stuxnet worm from the emails of HBGary, a US security company the loose hacker collective attacked earlier this month. It is not yet clear whether Anonymous plans to deploy the computer virus, but last week the group signalled an intention to attack Iranian government websites in support of a planned green movement rally in Tehran.
Guardian 15th Feb 2011 more >>
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has appointed Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani as the new head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI). Nuclear physicist Abbasi-Davani was the target of an alleged assassination attempt in November 2010 when terrorists on motorcycles threw a bomb at his car.
World Nuclear News 14th Feb 2011 more >>
President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget almost triples U.S. loan guarantees for nuclear power-plant construction, funds development of a new breed of smaller reactors and spends more on “breakthrough” energy research.
Bloomberg 14th Feb 2011 more >>
House Republicans are choosing to significantly cut the National Nuclear Security Administration’s nonproliferation programs, the sole purpose of which is to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on loose nuclear weapons and materials.
Think Progress 14th Feb 2011 more >>
Buried in the details of President Barack Obama’s budget release Monday will be more than $770 million that nuclear-power companies pay each year for a waste-storage site that’s years behind schedule. But this might be the last year the White House can count on that income. Nuclear-power companies are pressing to suspend the hefty fees they pay into the national nuclear-waste fund. Created by Congress in 1982, this fund was designed to finance the government’s storage of radioactive waste.
Wall Street Journal 11th Feb 2011 more >>
Nuclear energy firm Westinghouse Electric has signed a long-term deal with South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) to provide nuclear fuel fabrication services for the VC Summer power plant in South Carolina. The fabrication services will be provided for the existing reactor, as well as for two new AP1000 nuclear power units currently in the early stages of construction. The contract, which is valued in excess of $400m, runs through 2033, with the first delivery scheduled for 2012.
Energy Business Review 15th Feb 2011 more >>
The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W), through its subsidiary Nuclear Fuel Services Inc (NFS), has been awarded a naval nuclear fuel contract extension in the US. Under the 2011 contract extension totaling approximately $79m, the company will continue to deliver fuel and support activities for the US Naval Nuclear Propulsion program.
Energy Business Review 14th Feb 2011 more >>
Fusion research company Tokamak Solutions has secured £170,000 of equity investment to complete the design of its fusion neutron source – a super compact tokamak that could offer a viable way of cleaning up nuclear waste. The company also announced a €110,000 contract from ITER, a next generation international fusion energy researcher, to advise on diagnostics for measuring neutron emission and fusion power. The Tokamak Solutions team, located at Culham, Oxfordshire, based its technology on the concept of ‘fusion for neutrons’ research undertaken by Dr Mikhail Gryaznevich and Alan Sykes over 20 years ago.
Eureka 14th Feb 2011 more >>
Deep fissures are opening up among the coalition’s senior defence policymakers over the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, the Guardian can disclose. The splits are being exposed as it emerges that senior officials have not drawn up assessments for ministers about alternatives to replacing the existing Trident fleet of nuclear submarines. Despite this, Liam Fox, the defence secretary, insists the fleet must be replaced by a “like for like” system. At the centre of the dispute is whether Britain should persist with a continuous at-sea deterrent (CASD) – that is, having one nuclear-armed submarine on patrol every day of the year.
Guardian 15th Feb 2011 more >>