Green Investment Bank
CIWEM’s Environmental Parliamentarian of the Year Caroline Lucas is supported by the Institution in her criticism of the Government potentially funding the development of nuclear power through their Green Investment Bank. As no final decision had been made on whether the bank will provide financial support for the nuclear industry, CIWEM urges the Government to prioritise providing the necessary financial support to fast-track offshore wind, wave and tidal energy production. An evolving energy mix, with an increasing proportion of low-carbon and renewable fuels is required to decarbonise our electricity generation and meet our legal and moral responsibilities to protect the environment. “The Green Investment Bank must invest in cutting edge renewable technologies that lead us to a genuinely competitive low carbon economy. Our carbon targets will be missed unless urgent action is taken to improve access to capital, so we urge the Government to live up to their promise to be the greenest government ever and prioritise the development of renewable energy through their green bank.”
Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management 15th Jan 2011 more >>
National Policy Statements
House of Lords Debate on the Nuclear NPS (EN-6)
House of Lords Hansard 13th Nov 2011 more >>
Sellafield MoX Plant
Lord Marland: As I have told him and the House previously, I have commissioned a cost-benefit analysis of a Mox plant. If we have the biggest plutonium stock in the world, we must turn that liability into an asset … It is madness to have it sitting there if we can make it a non-cost exercise. However, we must remember that we have failed at this once already. We have a Mox plant that was not fit for purpose, so we must get it right-it is very important, with new technologies, that we do that. This is of course a clear message to the people of Cumbria, because that is where the Mox plant would be located. I do not think that we have any problem as a Government in sending clear messages to the people of Cumbria about the importance of that site and of their role in it. The next generation of nuclear waste reprocessing has to carry us forward for years to come as we replace the current existing plant.
House of Lords Hansard Column GC177 13th Nov 2011 more >>
Electricity Market Reforms
The UK electricity market faces a return to centralisation with government dictating the quantity and types of generating technology that can be built, it has emerged this week.
New Civil Engineer 13th Nov 2010 more >>
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s main voice in the call for more waste sites for west Cumbria has been branded as out of order. Alun Ellis, the NDA’s Repository Project Manager reassured people that “ the outcome of the Nirex Inquiry would have been favourable to geological disposal of high level nuclear wastes had all the information been available at that time”. Now Radiation Free Lakeland has been able to release a letter sent by the lead Nirex Inspector Chris McDonald to Mr Ellis, expressing grave concerns at comments made at the recent public drop-in sessions. In his letter Mr McDonald says: “Radiation Free Lakeland has told me of your opinion that the outcome of the Inquiry would have been different if Nirex 97 had been available to us in time. This was not a view put forward by Nirex on publication of Nirex 97, and it causes me some concern now. “The fundamental conclusion of the expert Assessor and myself was that the Proposed Repository Zone had been chosen for these studies in an arbitrary manner, without conforming to internationally agreed, geological criteria. “The Secretary of State remarked in his formal decision that the site selection process had singularly failed to impress in terms of its transparency and the rigour of its technical and scientific logic. “Moreover, notwithstanding the preliminary post-closure safety assessments, he shared our concerns over uncertainties and deficiencies. “The introduction of the novel concept of the chemical barrier, in order to reinforce safety, was one of those. We also concluded that the ongoing work programme would not range over an extensive enough hydrological field, nor make sufficiently lengthy observations, to resolve uncertainties. Therefore we advised that another site be sought elsewhere. “Nothing claimed for Nirex 97 has changed that position, in my view: the uncertainties inherent in these theoretical exercises were still too large.
Get Noticed Online 14th January 2011 more >>
A claim that enriched uranium is present on the site proposed for a new nuclear power station in Somerset has been dismissed as “unfounded and irresponsible” by the developer. The Environment Agency also questioned the claim by independent research group Green Audit, which said it reached the conclusion by analysed data in developer EDF Energy’s own Environmental Impact Statement. Professor Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, carried out the research and said it was possible to show the two kilometre site “contained approximately 10 tonnes of enriched uranium reactor fuel”.
This is Somerset 14th Jan 2011 more >>
Hinkley Point B began operating shortly before the doomed TMI-2 reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, US, and is due to be decommissioned after 40 years of service in 2016. As parts of the plant are showing the industrial equivalent of crow’s feet, it runs at 70 per cent capacity to minimise further wear and tear. But when I asked EDF Energy, a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest nuclear energy companies, whether I could visit a nuclear facility to talk about safety, Hinkley Point B was the site they volunteered.
FT 14th Jan 2011 more >>
So very disappointing to read that the Energy Minister, Charles Hendry, still considers the site appropriate despite the fact that so many local people and councils disagree with him. Clearly he is simply not listening to anything we, our local councils and our MP have said to DECC. It seems he is only interested in the views of the pro-nuclear people at the power station. Clearly he didn’t take the trouble to look at the view from the villages surrounding the site and those above that look down on the site. If he had gone to Hill, for example, he might not have been so insensitive! The village of Oldbury, which is presumably the only village he travelled close enough to, will not even see the new site as it will be hidden behind the existing power station! Unless of course Horizon revert to the gravity towers, in which case they too will be visibly affected.
Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy 14th Jan 2011 more >>
A SENIOR government minister has said local opinion will not decide if a new nuclear power station will be built near Oldbury. The comments were made during a two-hour visit by Charles Hendry, Minister for Energy, to the existing Oldbury Power Station. During his visit yesterday, Mr Hendry also viewed the proposed site for the new station at Shepperdine and met with representatives from Horizon, the company that wants to build the power plant. Mr Hendry said: “Local opinion is important but it can’t be the deciding factor.” He insisted, however, that people’s views were being listened to. He added: “This is one part of the process. This isn’t the minister coming down and stamping a seal of approval on it. There are many more stages to go through before it goes forward.”
Gloucestershire Gazette 14th Jan 2011 more >>
The Energy minister Charles Hendry has been visiting Sizewell in Suffolk as the consultation process for a new nuclear power station in the village continues. Plans for the site next to Sizewell B, along with one at Bradwell in Essex, still have to be approved by the Government. They’re expected to make a decision in the Spring.
Anglia Tonight 14th Jan 2011 more >>
Norwich Evening News 14th Jan 2011 more >>
Energy minister Charles Hendry said Sizewell was favoured for new development.
BBC 14th Jan 2011 more >>
A Co Down company has won a multi-million-pound contract to help clear up Britain’s nuclear waste. Hillsborough’s Graham Construction was chosen yesterday as the preferred bidder to design and build a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility at Dounreay, in the Scottish Highlands.
Waste Management News 14th Jan 2011 more >>
A landfill site containing construction waste from a former nuclear research station is to be remediated. Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) revealed this week it wants to restore an area of land designated as a rubble dump during the construction and operation phases of Britain’s former centre of fast reactor research and development. The work is expected to cost around £2 million and, subject to regulatory controls, is due for completion by the end of 2011.
Edie 14th Jan 2011 more >>
Nuclear Why Not?
The most common question asked when I’m at a party and someone finds out I work for Greenpeace is: “What about nuclear energy?” Most people don’t want to know about blocking whaling ships in an inflatable, or whether I recently climbed a smokestack of a coal-fired power station. No, they want to discuss nuclear.
Greenpeace International 14th Jan 2011 more >>
British Energy, the operator of 15 of the UK’s 19 nuclear reactors, said Friday its nuclear output had dropped by 12% in 2010, to 48.3 TWh. Several of the company’s reactors went offline unexpectedly in 2010, including the UK’s biggest at Sizewell, in Suffolk, curbing nuclear output. British Energy said it would generate a theoretical maximum of 63.4 TWh from its reactors in 2011, but stressed this did not take into account any unplanned outages during the year.
Platts 14th Jan 2011 more >>
A nuclear reactor the size of a dining table is a futuristic-sounding idea that is actually only a few years away from operation. With outputs of 10-300 megawatts, they offer the prospect of cheaper and more flexible energy than the large 1,000MW-1,600MW reactors that are the industry standard for power plants. The potential market, particularly in emerging economies, is huge. Yet the unfamiliarity of the technology may prove its biggest problem, fuelling scepticism and caution among regulators, politicians and probably – once they get to hear about it – the general public, too. If pocket-sized nuclear plants are to live up to their potential, they will need to win a lot of people over
FT 15th Jan 2011 more >>
The CIA persuaded Switzerland to destroy millions of pages of evidence showing how a Pakistani scientist helped Iran, Libya and North Korea acquire sensitive nuclear technology, according to a new book.
Reuters 14th Jan 2011 more >>
A portable forensic device to detect nuclear isotopes intended for use in weapons has been made by scientists from Canada. The method was miniaturised without compromising its sensitivity, making it suitable for use by nuclear safeguard inspectors travelling the world.
Chemistry World 14th Jan 2011 more >>
For commercial nuclear power to be successful in the Middle East, it must be supported by the development of a strong nuclear culture, which is by any measure a complex and difficult task. Using the nuclear expertise of international companies by signing design and construction contracts is a good starting point, but it is people, not contracts, who build and operate nuclear plants. Eager to diversify their energy sectors, countries in the Middle East such as the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar, are attempting to fast-track the development of a regulatory structure and multiple plants. Achieving a nuclear culture committed to quality, safety, accountability, and performance is tricky anywhere, but the Middle East countries face the dual challenges of limited expertise and a unique labour market
FT 15th Jan 2011 more >>
Seven international envoys are getting a look inside two key Iranian nuclear sites in a tour that Tehran hopes will build support ahead of more talks on its disputed atomic work. In a blow to the effort, key powers Russia, China and the European Union refused the invitation. The EU said it should be up to inspectors from the UN atomic agency to verify whether Iran’s program is entirely peaceful. The United States was not invited. The US and some of its allies accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies. On the tour are envoys from Egypt, Cuba, Syria, Algeria, Venezuela, Oman and the Arab League. They will see the unfinished heavy water reactor near Arak today and the uranium enrichment facility near Natanz later.
Independent 15th Jan 2011 more >>
BBC 15th Jan 2011 more >>
Burma has reportedly been asked to open up for a visit by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, following concerns that the ruling junta may be trying to build a nuclear weapon.
Telegraph 15th Jan 2011 more >>
Remember the defence review? The one that left us marvelling at the Alice in Wonderland world we inhabit – where we build two giant aircraft carriers we don’t actually want because building them is actually cheaper than cancelling them? The one that said we can’t actually afford to buy any planes to put on those carriers? Yes, that was also the review that told us that the thorny issue of whether to build a new generation of nuclear weapons had been kicked into the long grass. The long grass of 2016. It said the potentially coalition-busting vote on whether or not to replace Trident could be delayed until after the next election – since the existing armed subs can be kept going for an extra four years or so. But the plan is to sign and seal a huge long list of contracts ahead of the 2016 vote, before parliament has decided whether we actually want to build new nuclear subs. And this isn’t a short shopping list – according to the documents they intend to buy things like the submarine hull, the nuclear reactor, generators, switchboards, and “various components of the combat systems”. I’m no sub designer but it begs the question: what’s left to buy and how much is all of this going to cost?
Greenpeace UK 14th Jan 2011 more >>
The government has been accused of keeping vital information about the cost and contracts for a new Trident nuclear missile system secret despite promises that it would be open and disciplined over spending on defence. David Cameron and the chancellor, George Osborne, have pledged greater transparency and the MoD’s recently published business plan included a commitment to release “new data relating to tender documents for contracts over £10,000, new items of central government spending over £25,000, [and] new central government contracts over £10,000”.
Guardian 15th Jan 2011 more >>
A shortage of qualified staff and cuts in funding posed major problems to the Royal Navy’s running of its nuclear dockyard in the Westcountry, it has emerged. Official Ministry of Defence (MoD) reports highlighted 11 “potentially significant risks” across Britain’s nuclear licensed estate, including Devonport in Plymouth. The reports, from 2006 and 2007, also warned that attempts to minimise radioactive risks have been “weak”, while safety analysis was “inconsistent” and change management “poor”.
Plymouth Herald 14th Jan 2011 more >>
This weeks micro power news includes news on a pilot scheme in Stoke on Trent which has seen PV installed on 57 council houses; A million pound energy efficiency scheme for Leeds City Council buildings; A £2.5 million scheme for homes in Swansea which will see energy efficiency and small scale renewable installation; solar farming proposals reach Scotland; EDF Energy has handed out more than £150k in grants for small energy projects, including a small wind turbine at Seascale School near Seallafield. The National Insulation Association estimates that 10 million homes in Britain still have cavity walls that need filling and 13 million lofts that need extra insulation. A further 6.6 million homes have solid walls that could easily be made more efficient. The Micro Power Coucil says the Government has broken the law by not introducing Permitted Development for small wind and air source heat pumps.
Microgen Scotland 14th Jan 2011 more >>