There were 37 security breaches and incidents at nuclear power plants across the UK last year, according to the Civil Nuclear Police Authority (CNPA). That is the highest number in the last three years, and includes the loss or theft of electronic devices, the unauthorised disclosure of secret documents and the compromise of personal data. CNPA provides heavily-armed police forces at eight nuclear power stations around the coast, as well as at three major nuclear facilities: Dounreay in Caithness, Sellafield in Cumbria and Harwell in Oxfordshire. Its mission is to “deter any attacker whose intent is the theft or sabotage of nuclear material whether static or in transit.” Its latest annual report, published on 10 July, reveals that there have been 96 “security breaches and security incidents” over the last three years: 34 in 2011-12, 25 in 2012-13 and 37 in 2013-14. Most of the incidents are categorised as “low level”, with no further details being given. In 2013-14 there were two incidents recorded as “loss or theft of protectively marked electronic equipment, devices or paper documents from outside secured Civil Nuclear Constabulary premises”. Another two were said to involve “unauthorised disclosure through insecure transmission of protectively marked documents”.
robedwards.com 14 July 2014 read more »
A nuclear reactor at a power station has been switched off following testing at the plant. Reactor one at Torness power station, near Dunbar, East Lothian, was taken “off-line” just before 2pm today. Operator EDF Energy said there were “no safety, health or environmental impacts” as a result of the development. It is understood station bosses switched the reactor off after an alarm went off during testing. In a statement posted on the energy company’s website, station director Paul Winkle said: “I wanted to make you aware that we took reactor one off-line earlier today. “During testing of the reactor protection system, reactor one automatically shut down.
Daily Mail 14th July 2014 read more »
A nuclear reactor at the Torness power station in East Lothian has gone offline in an unplanned outage, its operator has said. EDF Energy said the 640MW Torness 1 reactor went offline at 13:56 on Monday. The unit was expected to remain unavailable until 13:30 on 21 July, the firm said. Torness station director Paul Winkle said there were “no safety, health or environmental impacts”. It is understood station managers switched the reactor off after an alarm went off during testing. In a message posted on the Torness website, Mr Winkle said: “During testing of the reactor protection system, reactor one automatically shut down. We test this system, which is very sensitive, on a regular basis to prove the reactor will always shut down when required.
BBC 14th July 2014 read more »
STV 14th July 2014 read more »
Edinburgh Evening News 14th July 2014 read more »
Herald 15th July 2014 read more »
When it comes to renewable energy, Scots can’t have their cake and eat it in the event of independence, writes Peter Jones. For the life of me, I cannot work out how the prospects for the renewable energy industry would be better under independence. The only way things could be better is if Scotland gets all the benefits of existing arrangements under the Union, but then is able to use the fact of being politically separate to tweak the internal Scottish energy market. A classic case of having your cake and eating it, which is to say it almost certainly isn’t going to work.
Scotsman 14th July 2014 read more »
Those who are against nuclear power generation for whatever reason should take the time and make the effort to see what actually goes on at one of these enormous plants. They could not fail to be impressed by the very professional efforts of all the staff involved who contribute to providing the country with reliable, predictable baseload power at a time when traditional forms of generation, including some of the earlier nuclear plants, are being decommissioned. It all augurs well for the construction of the adjacent Hinkley Point C station with all the benefits of local employment in the long term which this presents. All this in a framework of continuous environmental monitoring and instant reaction to any contraventions of acceptable practice. If all industries operated like this, continually learning lessons from earlier incidents like Fukushima and radically changing their practices, many examples of which are already in place such as flexible fuel rods to mitigate seismic events, safety would genuinely become a way of life…
Energy Live News 15th July 2014 read more »
Letter Catherine Mitchell: National Grid’s high case scenario says the price of electricity could double over the next 20 years, which it could. But then again, it could halve. Predicting the future is more likely to be wrong than right. What we do know from evidence is that where there is a large percentages of electricity supplied from variable power sources (ie primarily wind and solar), peak electricity prices – the most expensive ones during the day and where companies make their profits – are falling rapidly, thereby bringing down the wholesale cost of electricity. We also know from evidence that bills are as low as they can be in an energy system where real efforts are made to reduce total energy demand and improve energy efficiency. Neither of these strategies are being followed with any conviction in Britain. On the other hand, again from evidence, the California electricity crisis of 2001 occurred because the economic justification for all the changes undertaken relied on wholesale prices coming down, and many analyses showed that they would. In the event, wholesale prices went up and led to a $40-45bn bill for customers. Now with Britain’s electricity market reform, the costs to consumers of its strategy can only be justified if wholesale prices go up – and sure enough we are seeing reports showing that this will happen. Evidence, plus many other reports, dispute this. Evidence is stronger and more robust than predictions. Thus, were policy in Britain to change, and if customer concerns and their bills started to become the primary goal of energy policy in this country, then I would predict falling wholesale prices and an uncomfortable time for the incumbents – including National Grid.
Guardian 14th July 2014 read more »
Letter: Your otherwise excellent article says renewables rely on “significant public subsidies”. But it is actually the electricity from fossil fuels that is subsidised, because users do not pay for the environmental damage caused by the associated carbon dioxide emissions. Economists can argue over the true cost of burning fossil fuels when the environmental damage is factored in, but current users of electricity certainly aren’t paying it. The money paid to wind farms and other renewable sources of generation is not so much a subsidy as a market fudge because politicians don’t see paying for environmental damage as a vote winner – particularly when no country wants to be the first to penalise its industry with higher costs. However, as the Stern report showed, it is cheaper to curb emissions than to pay for the problems caused by climate change. We need to ensure that the loose accusation that renewables are subsidised is firmly rebutted.
Guardian 14th July 2014 read more »
In the second half of next year France will be sending nuclear waste to Australia for permanent storage. The waste comes from uranium and plutonium exported to France between 1999 and 2004 to run its nuclear power plants. It’s coming home because of an international agreement that states that Australia—as the nation of origin—must take the spent fuel back. This same agreement means we’ll also be taking waste back from the UK sometime before 2020. The bulk of the French waste consists of unrecycled nuclear fuel mixed into molten glass to form what’s known as a durable product. This will be accompanied by six drums of intermediate level refuse including gloves, protective clothing and old equipment, embedded in cement. All this makes a total volume of about 13.2 cubic metres, roughly one third the size of a shipping container, with a half-life of 24,000 years. Despite having known about this arrangement since the 90s, Canberra now has just 17 months to build something deep, strong, and stable enough to house 14 tonnes of radioactive rubble. And to make matters worse, no one even knows where to put it.
Vice 7th July 2014 read more »
Australia’s nuclear industry has a shameful history of ‘radioactive racism’ that dates from the British bomb tests in the 1950s, writes Jim Green. The same attitudes have been evident in recent debates over uranium mines and nuclear waste, but Aboriginal peoples are fighting back!
Ecologist 14th July 2014 read more »
A nuclear plant in southern Japan is to clear an initial safety hurdle on Wednesday, a key step in what is likely to be the gradual restart of an industry idled by the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) will approve the upgraded design and safety features of Kyushu Electric Co’s Sendai plant at a Wednesday meeting, the regulator said on Monday. After this initial approval, the regulator will seek public comment for a month. Further on-site operational checks will be required, followed by the approval of local communities.
DNA 14th July 2014 read more »
Foreign Affairs Committee: It would be in the UK’s interest to have a mature and constructive relationship with Iran on many levels: political, strategic, commercial and cultural. Yet this remains an ideal which is far from being achieved. Relations between the UK and Iran have been strained for years and suffer from lack of trust on both sides, born of a fear that one side is seeking to destabilise or thwart the other, and a perception on both sides that their interests rarely coincide. This perception has been reinforced by missed opportunities at various times by both countries.
Foreign Affairs Committee 8th July 2014 read more »
A major speech by Iran’s Supreme Leader has limited the ability of the Iranian delegation at high-level nuclear talks to make concessions with six world powers and this could scuttle chances for Tehran to reach an accord to end sanctions, diplomats said.
Reuters 15th July 2014 read more »
The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has stayed on in Vienna for a second day of talks with his Iranian counterpart in an attempt to break an impasse in international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Guardian 14th July 2014 read more »
Russia and Argentina have signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy. Rosatom director general Sergey Kiriyenko and Argentina’s minister of planning, investments and services, Julio de Vido, signed the document on 12 July, during Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit to Argentina. It was one of a set of bilateral agreements signed after talks in Buenos Aires between Putin and his Argentinian counterpart, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
World Nuclear News 14th July 2014 read more »
Energy Live News 14th July 2014 read more »
Letter: While India tries to squeeze into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the world’s nine nuclear-armed countries — including India — are being sued by the Marshall Islands in the International Court of Justice for their continuing possession and modernization of nuclear weapons. The lawsuits allege that India and the others are in continuous violation of customary international law by failing to negotiate in good faith for nuclear disarmament.
New York Times 14th July 2014 read more »
Nasa’s decision to end the US space shuttle programme has inadvertently caused a spike in the cost of rocket fuel used for Britain’s Trident nuclear missiles. Both the space shuttle and the nuclear-tipped weapon rely on booster engines containing a powerful form of solid rocket fuel because liquid fuels are too dangerous to store in the confined quarters of a submarine.
Telegraph 15th July 2014 read more »
More than £500k has been secured by 30 local renewable energy projects across the UK as the first recipients of investment from the Government’s Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF). Unveiled today (14 July) by the Fund’s administrator WRAP, the 30 projects receiving loans represent a variety of technologies, including community-scale solar power, hydro, wind and anaerobic digestion.
Edie 14th July 2014 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Tim Cornelius admits it’s been a “busy start to the year” for Atlantis Resources. The tidal power company where he is chief executive raised £20m in February by listing on the AIM, pulled in fresh public funding, and has since signed a development deal with global defence giant Lockheed Martin, Chinese state-backed corporation Dongfang, and RusHydro, one of largest hydro generators in Europe. The investment has set Atlantis on course for financial close on the first phase of its MeyGen project, which is set to see up to 86 of the company’s 1MW turbines installed in the Inner Sound of Scotland’s Pentland Firth, with ambitious plans to deploy up to 398MW by the end of the decade. Atlantis expects construction work on the project to begin later this year and the first power to come online in 2016.
Business Green 14th July 2014 read more »
The coalition’s flagship insulation programmes have failed to put the UK on the right track to meet its commitments on cutting greenhouse gases, a review by the statutory advisers on climate change has found. The number of cavity wall insulations – one of the most effective measures for cutting energy use – has plunged by more than two-thirds owing to a change in government schemes to encourage insulation. The judgement is the first clear statutory assessment of the “green deal” and “energy company obligation”, the government’s twin schemes to cut energy wastage by investing in efficiency measures for domestic properties, and has found both wanting. The green deal, under which householders can apply for loans to provide their homes with energy-savings installations such as insulation, has long been criticised for failing to attract enough takers, partly because the cost of paying back the loans is so high.
Guardian 15th July 2014 read more »