Scotland and Coal
Attempts by Scottish ministers to clean up coal so that it can replace nuclear power will lead to massive amounts of pollution and wreck the government’s targets to combat climate change. A new analysis reveals that the £2 billion “clean” coal plant proposed for Hunterston in North Ayrshire would end up belching over 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over its lifetime. On Monday, the Scottish finance secretary, John Swinney, announced that any new coal station would have to capture carbon from 300 megawatts of its electricity generation from the first day of operation. But the new coal plant planned at Hunterston by Clydeport’s owners, Peel Holdings, is going to generate 1,600 megawatts of electricity. That means that four-fifths of the plant will produce pollution as usual – millions of tonnes of it every year for many years. The Scottish Labour leader, Iain Gray argued that without nuclear power, Scotland would have to buy in electricity, or rely on coal or gas. But according to Garrad Hassan, Scotland could meet between 60% and 143% of its annual electricity demand from renewable energy. Exactly how much depends on the levels of investment in saving energy and boosting renewables.
Sunday Herald 15 November 2009 more >>
robedwards.com 15 November 2009 more >>
Nuclear power around the world
France is the world’s biggest consumer of nuclear power, with more than three quarters of the country’s electricity being generated by 58 reactors. But even it has its nuclear headaches. This summer, the heat put a third of the reactors out of action, because the river water needed to keep them cool became too warm. This winter the French nuclear industry is expecting to have to import electricity from abroad because several plants will be shut down for maintenance and repairs. And last week Brazil had to shut down its two nuclear reactors because of a major power blackout caused by the collapse of transmission lines. The reactors need power from the grid to keep them safely cooled. Such events are reminders of the fragility and inflexibility of nuclear power, but they have not staunched enthusiastic talk of a global “nuclear renaissance”. But evidence to back up the talk is scant.
Sunday Herald 15 November 2009 more >>
The governments new draft National Policy Statement on nuclear power, indicating which issues the new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) should take on board, and which it can ignore, contains this remarkable statement: “The Government is satisfied that effective arrangements will exist to manage and dispose of the waste that will be produced from new nuclear power stations. As a result the IPC need not consider this question.” The draft Statement goes on to say that ‘Geological disposal will be preceded by safe and secure interim storage’. So it seems, the waste issue is all in hand and we needn’t bother too much about it, or any problems with the much more active spent fuel that the new reactors’ high fuel ‘burn up’ approach will create.
Environmental Research Web 14th Nov 2009 more >>
Plans for nuclear waste disposal could be thrown into confusion tomorrow at a summit because of new evidence of corrosion in materials traditionally used for burial procedures. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) says it will keep careful watch on a meeting organised by the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste, which will look at potential problems with copper, designated for an important role in sealing radioactive waste underground. Concerns have risen from a most unexpected quarter. Examination of copper artefacts from the Vasa, a fifteenth-century galleon raised from Stockholm harbour, has shown a level of decay that challenges the scientific wisdom that copper corrodes only when exposed to oxygen. David Lowry, a consultant on the nuclear industry, said the latest evidence had profound implications. “As the British nuclear industry gears up to build a new generation of nuclear reactors, so the pressure builds to demonstrate there is a solution to the long-term management of nuclear waste. But plans to adopt the Swedish system of nuclear waste disposal look as if they might have hit the rocks.”
Observer 15th Nov 2009 more >>
We talk all the time about the terrible economics of nuclear power. Every aspect of them is, without exception, terrible: Citigroup see very little prospect of construction costs falling and every likelihood of them rising further.
Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 14th Nov 2009 more >>
Nuclear Power and Development
As electricity and energy consumption increases in many developing countries, the energy generation choices made over the coming years will have profound consequences for the planet’s climate, as well as the lives and livelihoods of billions of people. A new briefing details why nuclear power is neither a necessary nor a beneficial part of a sustainable energy strategy for countries experiencing rapid industrialisation.
Greenpeace International Nov 2009 more >>
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has revealed that Dungeness will not be completely ruled out as a possible location for a new nuclear power station. His announcement came during a visit to Kent on Thursday, just days after Dungeness was dismissed from a list of 11 shortlisted sites.
Kent News 14th Nov 2009 more >>
Wylfa B is unlikely to come on line until 2021, it will cost billions to construct and when finished, will employ far less than in Wylfa A and even less than the workforce required to dismantle Trawsfynydd. The construction jobs will give a boost, but again most workers will be from outside the area. If the economic boost is not what many would hope for, then is it really worth adding to the concrete coffin already destined for the island when the current plant closes in a few years?
Grangetown Jack 14th Nov 2009 more >>
ANEW nuclear power station is to be built just 70 miles from Dublin city, close to Holyhead in north Wales. Last May, an existing reactor at the same location was closed for a period following a small fire. The planned facility at Wylfa, on Anglesey, is one of seven new nuclear power stations along the west coast of Britain. Another will be at Sellafield in Cumbria, currently home to one of the biggest and most dangerous nuclear waste dumps in the world. Last Monday, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore criticised Taoiseach Brian Cowen for failing to respond more strongly to the British announcement. A day later, the Catholic Archbishop of Cashel Dermot Clifford claimed that “95 per cent of the bishops are against nuclear reactors”.
Irish Independent 15th Nov 2009 more >>
There is a green form of energy, the raw materials for which are available in Ireland, which would create thousands of jobs and is backed by environmentalists from Al Gore to George Monbiot. Yet its exploitation is shunned by a luddite consensus on both sides of the border. In case you haven’t guessed yet, I’m talking about nuclear power. It’s one of those issues where hypocrisy knows no bounds and reason is thrown out the window.
Sunday Times 15th Nov 2009 more >>
CENTRICA, which trades as Scottish Gas and British Gas, could be lining up a change of name following its move into the nuclear sector. It has emerged that when the company bought a 20 per cent stake in British Energy from lectricit de France (EDF) earlier this year it also acquired an option to buy the British Energy brand.
Scotland on Sunday 15th Nov 2009 more >>
Friends of the Earth has learned that Duke Energy has taken a decisive step which signals its complete withdrawal from the Department of Energy’s controversial program to test the potential use of surplus military plutonium as fuel for commercial nuclear reactors. In a stunning and silent move, Duke Energy has decided not to reload experimental plutonium fuel (mixed oxide fuel, MOX) test assemblies into its Catawba Unit 1 reactor during the current fuel outage which began on November 6. This move is a major setback to the Department of Energy’s goal of using MOX fuel in commercial reactors.
Common Dreams 12th Nov 2009 more >>
DRAMATIC disagreements emerged between the three Welsh leadership candidates last night over whether to scrap Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system.
Western Mail 14th Nov 2009 more >>