THE Doomsday Clock — which counts down to nuclear Armageddon — is to have its hands moved forward. University of Chicago boffins, who run the clock, are acting on rising fears over nuclear threats in Iran and North Korea, and unsecured atomic materials in Russia. Midnight on the clock is ‘the end of the world’. It has shown 11.53pm since 2002 when the US rejected a series of arms control treaties.
The Sun 16th Jan 2007
Letter: Nuclear generation can be allowed to wither without causing massive blackouts. The politicians also need to get serious about the majority of energy consumption, and thus greenhouse gas emissions, which is not related to electricity.
Herald 16th Jan 2007
New guidance on the assessment of nuclear power station designs was published by nuclear regulators today.’The Generic Assessment of Candidate Nuclear Power Plant Design’ is aimed at providing a single, integrated approach to assessing designs for new power reactors. The guidance has been published by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS). Early scrutiny of designs will help ensure regulatory resources are applied at a stage when greater influence can be brought to bear, said EA head of radioactive substances regulation Joe McHugh.
New Civil Engineer 15th Jan 2007
Nuclear safety could be compromised because Britain’s nuclear clean-up agency is likely to face a further round of cuts over the next three years, unions said yesterday. The Times has learnt that the new cuts are expected by the Department of Trade and Industry’s Shareholder Executive in the Comprehensive Spending Review. It said: “There are longer-term questions about NDA funding and the knock-on implications for employment, amongst other things, which will shortly arise in our consideration of the NDA’s position in the Comprehensive Spending Review, which will settle public sector financing for the three years starting 2008.”
Times 16th Jan 2007
Hazarads Magazine 15th Jan 2007
Police in north-west Pakistan say they have foiled a bid to abduct six officials working for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).
BBC 15th Jan 2007
Iran on Monday defiantly stuck by its ambition to massively crank up uranium enrichment capacity amid spiralling tensions with the United States over its role in the Middle East. Government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said Iran wanted to install “even more” than 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at a key nuclear plant in defiance of Western warnings to freeze the sensitive activity.
Middle East Online 15th Jan 2007
Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has suffered a potentially fatal blow to his authority after the country’s supreme leader gave an apparent green light for MPs to attack his economic policies.
Guardian 16th Jan 2007
SHEFFIELD University scientists have been working with a team from Cambridge on a project which could see radioactive waste being stored safely for thousands of years. The idea is to convert dangerous waste into different crystal forms which would only begin to leak thousands of years into the future. And by then, the experts believe, most of the radioactivity would already have decayed.
The Sheffield Star 15th Jan 2007
Four employees at a nuclear plant in Japan were splashed by radioactive water during a routine inspection. The workers’ health and the area had been unaffected by the incident, the plant’s operators, Kansai Electric Power Co, were quoted as saying. The water, with traces of radiation, leaked at the Takahama No 1 reactor in Fukui, in western Japan.
BBC 15th Jan 2007
In the next 10 to 15 years power demand in China and in India will double and the International Energy Agency tells us global demand for energy will also have doubled by 2030. How can the price of oil not be in a long-term uptrend? Expect more flip-flopping in January 2008. The other point we shouldn’t lose sight of just because the oil price has fallen is that we still desperately need a real substitute for oil. The West has its worries about the security of supplies from the Middle East and Russia, but even if these concerns didn’t exist there still wouldn’t be enough oil about to cope with a doubling of global demand. It would be nice to think the slack could be picked up by renewables wind, wave and solar power but it can’t. It doesn’t matter how excited the European Union gets about global warming or how many announcements governments make about energy efficiency and low-carbon economies, it remains the case that renewable energy is expensive, inefficient and capable of meeting only a small part of the extra demand. The only thing that is up to the task, as far as I can see, is nuclear power.
Sunday Times 14th Jan 2007
When Vladimir Putin switched off the gas supplies to Ukraine, then doubled prices for Georgia and this week halted oil supplies through Belarus, he opened our eyes to a future in which the Kremlin has, potentially, an iron grip on EU foreign policy. With 50% – and rising – dependence on imported energy, Europe’s response has been mainly to panic and to cut bilateral deals. It is the surest, quickest route down a cul-de-sac to sky-high energy prices and ever greater indebtedness to unstable, repressive regimes. The challenge is not, or not simply, economic. Nor is it short-term. Putinism, ‘managed democracy’, is a determined assault on Europe’s whole value-system. What Europe needs is a new energy for Europe pact which links climate security with energy security and fills the vacuously technocratic Lisbon Agenda with genuine content and creates a real chance of delivering what it said on the packet: innovation, competitiveness and jobs. New energy for Europe means in practice:
– taxing ‘dirty’ energy and investing the revenues in new, clean technology;
– phasing out subsidies and incentives for coal-fired and nuclear power stations;
– setting ambitious and binding sectoral targets for the share of new energy by 2020, eg, doubling the efficiency of European vehicles;
– creating an EU legislative and budget framework which specifically favours renewable energy, energy-efficient technology and innovation in this sector.
These are policies which can and should be implemented quickly, with substantial changes to the EU budget, when it is reviewed in 2008, to shift investment to new energy sources.
* Andre Wilkens is director of the Open Society Institute, Brussels.
Fouad Hamdan is director of Friends of the Earth Europe.
European Voice 11th January 2007