A decision by the UK government on whether to construct a new mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel plant to replace the existing one at the Sellafield nuclear complex is expected to be made before the end of 2011. A cost-benefit analysis of a new MOX plant has been commissioned, Lord Jonathan Marland, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) parliamentary undersecretary of state, told the House of Lords Grand Committee. It comes as the country prepares to face other questions concerning the back-end of the fuel cycle. As well as the fate of the 100 tonnes of civil plutonium in the UK and its potential inclusion in MOX fuel, discussion continues over the future of Thorp. In short, the country’s entire strategy on the back-end of the fuel cycle is up for review. A document released in March 2010 highlighted that Thorp would require refurbishment or replacement to handle the complete inventory of used nuclear fuel it was built to process – all that coming from the fleet of Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors as well as international contracts. Some 6600 tonnes of AGR fuel remains outstanding, with options for storing it unclear until a permanent repository is available in about 2075.
Your Nuclear News 17th Jan 2011 more >>
Green Investment Bank
Green MP Caroline Lucas said funding for new nuclear reactors made a mockery of the idea of the Green Investment Bank. The government’s Green Investment Bank could fund the building of new nuclear reactors, it has emerged.
Stop Oldbury 16th Jan 2011 more >>
A FAMILIAR face has returned to Oldbury to take up the helm at the power station. Phil Sprague, 51, started as Oldbury site director on January 4 and will see the station through its final years as a generating power plant before decommissioning begins. Phil, who has lived in Coaley for 17 years, is no stranger to Oldbury, having worked at the station for two years until 2008 as decommissioning manager, later becoming business manager.
Gloucestershire Gazette 16th Jan 2011 more >>
At the next West Cumbria partnership meeting on 19th Jan 2011 there will be a presentation from Professor Andy Blowers (former member of CoRWM) summarising the work done by CoRWM on the ethical dimensions of MRWS, followed by discussion.
West Cumbria MRWS Partnership Jan 2011 more >>
Prof Andy Blowers has been asked to speak to the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership on the ethics of geological disposal. The meeting will take place on wednesday at the Hundith HillHotel, Cockermouth – 9.30am – 4pm. To a layperson with no degree in anything the ethics of the geological disposal of high level nuclear waste seems to be rather like discussing the ethics of slavery. Maybe it is ok if the slaves volunteer? How can we be sure that future generations of slaves will willingly volunteer?
Northern Indymedia 16th Jan 2011 more >>
THREATENED cutbacks to policing at Devonport Naval Base have sparked fears over security at the nuclear site. Ministry of Defence Police, who guard the facility, are “very concerned” about staffing cuts as a result of military spending being slashed, MPs have been told at Westminster. The MoD has confirmed a review is under way which will look at “the potential for making sensible and prudent cost reduction savings”. Officials in the department insist nothing would be done to risk safety and security.
Plymouth Herald 17th Jan 2011 more >>
Egypt will issue a tender for its nuclear power plants in about two weeks time and bidding companies will be given six months to present their offers, its minister of electricity and energy said on Sunday.
Reuters 16th Jan 2011 more >>
Iran’s nuclear programme is the most likely source of a major global conflict. So it is highly significant that the outgoing head of Mossad recently told the Israeli parliament that technical problems meant that Iran might not be able to make a bomb until 2015.
Spectator 16th Jan 2011 more >>
Iran has been developing contacts in more than 30 countries to acquire technology, equipment and raw materials needed to build a nuclear bomb, a Norwegian newspaper said on Sunday, citing U.S. diplomatic cables.
Yahoo 16th Jan 2011 more >>
Russian nuclear officials have warned of another Chernobyl-style nuclear disaster at Iran’s controversial Bushehr reactor because of the damage caused by the Stuxnet virus, according to the latest Western intelligence reports.
Telegraph 17th Jan 2011 more >>
The chances of a military strike against Iran this year are receding because of the success of a joint Israeli-US cyberattack on the country’s nuclear facilities, according to officials and analysts with knowledge of the clandestine operation. The New York Times reported today that Israel, with US help, had set up a model of the Iranian nuclear process at Dimona, the Israeli nuclear arms development centre in the Negev desert, to test a sophisticated destructive programme. A computer worm, Stuxnet, was known last year to have been inserted into the Iranian nuclear operation and Iran admitted its programme had been delayed.
Guardian 17th Jan 2011 more >>
Spain is insisting that the United States removes tens of thousands of cubic metres of earth still contaminated by plutonium from unexploded US air force nuclear bombs that accidentally fell in the 1960s.
Guardian 17th Jan 2011 more >>
Drinking water could be contaminated by a new form of gas extraction that involves injecting a cocktail of chemicals deep under the English countryside, a study has found. Exploration for shale gas began last summer on farmland a few miles from Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Energy companies believe there are also significant deposits in the Sussex Weald, Central England and Highland Scotland. The study, by the Tyndall Centre at Manchester University, recommends a moratorium on shale gas exploitation until the results are known of a US federal investigation into the safety of the extraction process.
Several communities in the US have had their water supplies poisoned by shale gas companies. Some residents of Pennsylvania can set fire to their methane-laced drinking water.
Times 17th Jan 2011 more >>