Despite increased funding in the 2007/8 budget for the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, why are some private sector companies in the nuclear supply chain experiencing a business slowdown? According to the annual plan, commercial work at Sellafield SLC is not currently profitable and will make a net loss of 10.5%-29.0% in 2007/8. The work will generate annual income of £615.2 million (or £775.2 million with waste substitution) but the cost of operating these commercial facilities is £866.2 million, implying losses of £91.0 million to £251.0 million. Perhaps to help compensate for these losses, the NDA appears to have accelerated its waste substitution programme to raise an extra £160 million income.
Nuclear Engineering International 5th June 2007 http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?sectioncode=76&storyCode=2044778
The UK is set to become home to some 800 tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste after it emerged that the disaster-prone Thorp reprocessing plant may have to remain closed permanently. The Government has admitted that the spent nuclear fuel shipped in from overseas and currently stockpiled at Sellafield may have to remain in Britain. The £1.6bn plant is now largely obsolete, as reprocessing spent nuclear fuel is no longer considered viable. It has been closed since April 2005 after a major radioactive leak was discovered. Last week, the DTI released a consultation into changing the way Thorp operates. Included in the unannounced document was a warning that the planned re-opening – last scheduled for this summer after repeated delays – would now not take place until “around the autumn”. It added that “further delay” is possible because of another technical problem, and that the “worst case” scenario would mean the plant not becoming fully operational until around 2010 or 2011. Thorp had been due to close permanently in 2010 when its reprocessing contracts run out. No new contracts are planned. If Thorp were to be mothballed before this date, the document says the Government would consider transferring the remaining spent fuel to another reprocessing plant or keeping it in the UK. The consultation recommends that rather than wait for Thorp to re-open, the owners of the fuel waiting to be reprocessed should be given material that has already been treated at the plant, even though the fuel belongs to other customers.
Independent on Sunday 17th June 2007 http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article2664296.ece
Britain’s nuclear watchdog last month allowed a faulty nuclear reactor to start up even though it had not been fitted with an important safety system, startling internal documents seen by The Independent on Sunday reveal. The documents also show that the Nuclear Installation Inspectorate (NII) judged that the reactor, at Oldbury nuclear power station in Gloucestershire, was not safe enough to operate for the next 18 months, but allowed it to go onstream until November anyway.
Independent on Sunday 17th June 2007 http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2666418.ece
North Korea has signalled it is prepared to discuss the shutdown of its nuclear reactors with UN inspectors.
View London 16th June 2007 http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/news/north-korea-letter-positive-on-nuclear-shutdown-18182388.html
Guardian website 16th June 2007 http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6714717,00.html
CNN 16th June 2007 http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/06/16/nkorea.iaea/index.html
The US has welcomed North Korea’s decision to invite International Atomic Energy Agency monitors to discuss shutting down a key nuclear reactor.
BBC 16th June 2007 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6760579.stm
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and the European Union’s foreign policy chief may meet again in the next few days for talks on Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.
Reuters 17th June 2007 http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKDAH72289520070617
In the wake of the 2006 pre-Budget report, in which Gordon Brown set out the Government’s aim to make all new homes “zero-carbon” by 2016, housing minister Yvette Cooper gave her stamp of approval last week to the first British house to achieve a “zero carbon” status. It could save the owners £800 a year in bills. The two-bed property uses renewable-energy technology, solar panelling and state-of-the-art insulation to keep the environmental impact to an absolute minimum. It also includes a biomass boiler and a wind-catcher to ensure ventilation during the summer months.
Independent on Sunday 17th June 2007 http://money.independent.co.uk/personal_finance/invest_save/article2664431.ece
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