An overdue risk assessment of a 9/11-style attack on a British nuclear power plant is just one of a string of issues that could delay vital investment in the country’s energy infrastructure. Bad-tempered meetings between Health and Safety staff and nuclear industry executives are also to blame for slow progress in the new nuclear build programme, the agency has admitted in its own report. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) is undertaking a “general design assessment” (GDA) of the two proposed designs for new nuclear power stations in the UK which are at the heart of the Government’s plans to reduce carbon emissions while improving our security of energy supply. Completing the GDA assessment by its June 2011 deadline is seen as a crucial first step if a fleet of new nuclear power stations are to be ready as hoped by 2017. However, the GDA deadline is described as a “significant challenge” by the project’s leader in the latest progress report posted on the HSE website. Both designs, one by Areva, the French company, and one by the Japanese-owned Westinghouse, are still awaiting vital information from both the US and French security services relating to terrorist attacks using aircraft. The information is being delayed by security clearance procedures. A key analysis and assessment phase is late starting as a result.
Telegraph 17th Aug 2009 more >>
Sheffield Forgemasters has shipped the first of 18 heavy-duty components for China’s new-build nuclear power programme. The company sent the first 16 tonne reactor coolant pump casing on a 10,000km journey from its Brightside Lane site. The component was produced for Curtiss-Wright Flow Control Company on behalf of Westinghouse Electric Company, which is building six so-called AP1000 nuclear plants in China.
Utility Week 17th Aug 2009 more >>
Letter: We should be planning for an infinite amount of electrical power to be made available across the globe, allowing us to distil all the water people need for drinking, sanitation and irrigation. Therefore, we should be building a network of nuclear power stations in every country, and reprocessing its fuel so that it can be reused over and over a again. Intermittent wind and wave power are wasteful “mickey mouse” add-ons that won’t even close down a single power station. We will never save the people on this planet when we listen to those reacting like primitive tribesmen terrified of the unknown.
Scotsman 17th Aug 2009 more >>
For years the largest employer on the island of Anglesey has been the large aluminium plant near Holyhead, providing 540 jobs. Because aluminium production is unusually energy-intensive, the plant is also the largest electricity user in Wales. It has only been kept viable by a mutually beneficial deal with the nearby Wylfa nuclear power station, which has long been supplying the massive 250 megawatts of electricity needed to keep its smelting process in operation at a discount price. Last week, however, it was confirmed that the plant will close on September 30. The reason is that Wylfa recently passed into state ownership when it was acquired by the Government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The NDA’s lawyers therefore had to tell the aluminium plant’s owners that, under EU law, the discount deal now constituted “state aid”, and would no longer be legal.
Telegraph 16th Aug 2009 more >>
Finnish authorities dismissed talk Sunday that the Arctic Sea was bearing a cargo of nuclear material, as Russia and NATO joined forces in an international hunt for the missing vessel. Jukka Laaksonen, head of the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, said firefighters conducted radiation tests on the ship — last reported off Cape Verde — at a port in Finland before it began a voyage full of intrigue. But he dismissed as “stupid rumours” reports in British and Finnish newspapers that the ship could be carrying a “secret” nuclear cargo that could explain why it was attacked on the Baltic Sea before vanishing.
AFP 16th Aug 2009 more >>
Irish Sun 17th Aug 2009 more >>
The Arab League has called on European states to support its efforts to force Tel Aviv to open up its secretive nuclear programme to international inspections.
Morning Star 15th Aug 2009 more >>
North Korea has denounced joint South Korean and US military manoeuvres due to start tomorrow and said it would “wipe out” the countries with nuclear weapons if they threatened the communist state. South Korean and US forces’ joint computer simulation and communication drills come despite recent rare conciliatory moves by Pyongyang, which this month released two US journalists and a South Korean worker it had held captive. North Korea regularly denounces joint drills as a preparation for invasion and nuclear war.
Irish Times 17th Aug 2009 more >>
New gas plants should be subject to the same rules that force new coal plants to fit carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, according to leading energy bosses. Experts fear that the government’s new policy on CCS for coal power will lead to a boom in the construction of gas plants which do not have to bury their carbon emissions. Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said there was no point forcing only new coal plants to fit the expensive and largely untried technology. “We have to have a consistent rule applying to everyone. If you want to decarbonise electricity we need to do it [fit CCS to gas plants].’
Guardian 17th Aug 2009 more >>
French power group EDF will next month kick off the £4bn auction of its UK electricity distribution network, according to weekend press reports. EDF wants to sell the division to cut debt after its acquisition of nuclear power firm British Energy. Potential buyers include the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Cheung Kong Infrastructure, the group owned by Li Ka-shing, and three Canadian pension funds. Scottish & Southern, National Grid, investment group GIP and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure are also said to be holding talks about forming consortia.
Guardian 17th Aug 2009 more >>