Horizon Nuclear Power, the joint venture between E.ON and RWE to build nuclear power plants in the UK, has said it will choose its preferred reactor design by the end of 2011. Alan Raymant, chief operating officer for Horizon, said the company will pick either Areva’s European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) or Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor design by the end of the year, reports Reuters. Horizon plans to build up to 6000 MW in new nuclear capacity at sites in Wylfa on Anglesey and Oldbury near Bristol, with the first reactor expected to start around 2020. Raymont said Horizon would begin preplanning work at Wylfa in early 2012. He said the company hoped to make its site licence application in the second half of 2013. Meanwhile, NuGeneration, a nuclear power consortium between Spain’s Iberdrola French GDF Suez and Britain’s Scottish and Southern Energy, is planning to make a final investment decision in 2015/16 on whether to build 3600 MW of new nuclear capacity in Britain, its chief controlling officer Rafael Jimenez said.
Power Gen Worldwide 17th June 2011 more >>
Italy has recently voted to join Germany and Switzerland in rejecting atomic power. With this in mind, UK solar developer, EOS Energy, has called for Britain to join the migration. It isnt only the Fukushima factor, said Lee Summers, director of EOS Energy, There is a worldwide shift in attitudes towards nuclear generation. Climate change, safety, political security and the falling costs of renewable technologies are all affecting public opinion. Solar electricity generation will be cheaper than fossil fuel generation within the decade and will not pose any of the safety issues involved with nuclear reactors, said Summers. With huge costs being added to nuclear due to stringent future safety methods, the Department of Energy should be planning for Britains low carbon future in a similar way to Germany. By ditching nuclear early, Germany and Italy are giving their industries a huge opportunity to dominate renewable technologies for the next 20 years, he said.
Connecting Industry 17th June 2011 more >>
A lot of wind critics assert that wind power isn’t reliable. The wind power video here, however, does a great job of pointing out the differences between wind power variability and variability of traditional power sources, among other things. Paul Gipe of Wind-Works also recently got into this topic, in more detail, as compared to nuclear power: Critics of wind energy often charge that wind energy is too “unreliable” to generate a large portion of a nation’s electricity and suggest that base load needs “reliable” sources of generation such as nuclear power. While wind is a “variable” resource, that is, the wind doesn’t always blow and when it does it doesn’t always blow at the same strength, wind is far more reliable than the critics charge. In fact, wind is fairly predictable on long time horizons, especially from one year to the next. In contrast, nuclear power is “reliable” until it isn’t as the units at the Fukushima nuclear power plant so dramatically demonstrate.
IB Times 17th June 2011 more >>
A NUCLEAR core reactor was built in West Norfolk this week well sort of. A scaled-down version of a reactor was created in a simulated environment at the National Construction College, in Bircham Newton, during a pilot week of a national programme to train the nuclear engineers of the future. A group of 25 engineering students from the Imperial College London took part in the pilot.
Lynn News 17th June 2011 more >>
ANTI-nuclear campaigners have hit out at plans to haul consignments of spent nuclear fuel by rail from Caithness to Cumbria. The prospect has emerged as a result of Dounreays site licensed company making clear it favours sending breeder fuel from the DFR dome-shaped reactor to the giant reprocessing plant at Sellafield. If DSRLs plans get the nod from its government paymasters and industry regulators, monthly train loads of the highly radioactive cargo would travel through Scotland and the north-west of England. Thurso has been ruled out as a terminal, with the most likely railhead being the freight-handling base at Georgemas. Friends of the Earth Scotland has condemned the proposal as ill-conceived and risky, calling for the fuel to be put into secure, long-term stores at Dounreay. Alex Anderson, DSRLs fuels programme manager, confirmed Sellafield is its current preferred option. But he said the proposal is to go out to public consultation, with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority expected to make a final decision in the autumn.
John O Groat Journal 17th June 2011 more >>
If a new nuclear power station comes to Wylfa, a new road infrastructure will need to be built to allow HGVs to take equipment and building materials to the site. Horizon spokesman, Leon Flexman, said: We are due to embark on work for the second stage transport studies, which will take place over the next few months.
Holyhead & Anglesey Mail 15th June 2011 more >>
Alex Salmond can say as often as he likes that we are heading for self-sufficiency from renewable sources wave and wind power by 2020, but hardly anyone accepts what he says. The majority of experts don’t just not believe him, they mostly think he’s taken leave of his senses. Even those heavily involved in the renewables industry do not think we can achieve generating all of our power and light from their technology in as few as nine years. Worse, in fact much worse, is the fact that while Mr Salmond and John Swinney, his Finance Minister, berate power companies for racking up hefty price increases which impact heavily on domestic consumers especially the old and the poor they choose to ignore that part of the reason for the increases is the massive subsidy each of us has to shell out for the development of these new power sources.
Telegraph 15th June 2011 more >>
Carlisle Cathedral is built to inspire awe. Last time I went there was Chernobyl Day to ask Bishop Newcome (aka Nuke’m) for a rethink on his outspoken support for new build and a deep nuclear dump in Cumbria. A few of us supporters of a radiation free lakeland went in to the Cathedral. When I opened my mouth to deliver a brilliant speech to the Bishop’s right hand man, a tiny mouse squeak came out “please give this important letter to the Bishop etc..” As soon as I got out of the Cathedral my voice was back to normal! Thats not important but what is important is that the Bishop has now replied to our letter saying: I am not prepared at this stage to withdraw my support for new build and geological disposal. That Angel of Light sat above Carlisle Cathedral must be laughing his fiery socks off! How many more lives will be snuffed out before The Bishop “withdraws his support” ?
101 Uses for Nuclear Power 16th June 2011 more >>
EDF’s Hinkley Point B power station near Bridgwater, in Somerset, had an atlantic grey seal, dubbed Celia by workers, in its cooling water intake chamber last week. The seal, which was eventually removed in a specially built cradle, spent five days eating fish and swimming in the tank under the watchful eye of station staff.
Edie 17th June 2011 more >>
Areva SA Chief Executive Officer Anne Lauvergeon was denied a third term after the French government replaced her weeks before her contract expires, denting the career of one Frances most high-profile executives. Lauvergeon, 51, will be succeeded at the worlds largest maker of nuclear plants by Luc Oursel, Arevas head of marketing and projects, President Nicolas Sarkozys government said late yesterday. Lauvergeon this week repeated her desire to extend her tenure to a third term.
Bloomberg 17th June 2011 more >>
Anne Lauvergeon has spent years listening to people predicting her demise as head of Areva, Frances nuclear champion. On Thursday she could no longer say, like Mark Twain, that the reports were greatly exaggerated. Henri Proglio, EDFs executive chairman, has made no secret of his disdain for Ms Lauvergeon, and the two have been engaged in an unseemly public relations war for several years. Mr Oursel is more diplomatic, according to one person who has known him for several years. However, he is much less charismatic, he says, and risks being stamped on by the clannish and forceful Mr Proglio, who is determined to see EDF unchallenged as the leader of Frances nuclear industry
FT 17th June 2011 more >>
“Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind,” Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera. Gundersen, a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US, says the Fukushima nuclear plant likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed. “Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed,” he said, “You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively.”
Common Dreams 16th June 2011 more >>
Local governments that host nuclear power plants are refusing to agree to the resumption of operations of reactors that have completed their routine inspections. Nuclear power plants are required to undergo inspections every 13 months. At this rate, all plants will stop operations by next spring. We should end our dependence on nuclear power plants for electricity as soon as possible. But without adequate preparations for alternative power sources, halting nuclear power plant operations will likely have a serious impact on everyday life and economic activities.
Asahi 18th June 2011 more >>
Tokyo Electric Power Co. halted an operation to clean highly contaminated waste water at a crippled Japanese nuclear plant due to higher-than-expected radiation levels. The embattled operator of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi facility said it had suspended the procedure just hours after it started because a new part was needed, adding that it did not know when it would resume. Part of the system that absorbs radioactive caesium had reached its processing capacity and needed to be replaced far earlier than expected, TEPCO officials said.
AFP 18th June 2011 more >>
Wall Street Journal 18th June 2011 more >>
Operators of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant have suspended an operation to clean contaminated water hours after it began due to a rapid rise in radiation. Some 110,000 tonnes of water have built up during efforts to cool reactors hit by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.
BBC 18th June 2011 more >>
Tepco, the operator of Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant, has said it is starting an operation to clean up the site’s radioactive water after several glitches and delays. Large and expanding pools of radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which is about 150 miles north-east of Tokyo, were in danger of spilling into the sea within a week unless action was taken, officials said.The company has pumped massive amounts of water to cool three reactors at the nuclear plant, which went into meltdown after the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March this year.
Guardian 17th June 2011 more >>
Three months after the March 11 earthquake that devastated northern Japan, the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant is far from over. Yet the worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown in the Ukraine has all but disappeared from the media, amid a concerted effort to play down its implications and cover up the underlying causes. Some 2,500 workers and engineers are still struggling to bring three crippled reactors to a state of cold shutdownoptimistically projected for early next year. The full extent of the damage still remains unknown, but the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO), finally acknowledged last month that the cores of all three reactors had undergone a serious meltdown. The exact location of the melted fuel and the extent of reactor containment breaches are unclear, posing the ongoing danger of further radiation leakage.
World Socialist Web 18th June 2011 more >>
The meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant has sent political aftershocks racing around the globe. More often than not, however, the shocks have been ideological, with no basis in science. The managers of Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), which operates the Fukushima reactors, have been justly criticised for using an old generation of poorly maintained generators. The Japanese, who perceive themselves as the world’s best engineers now feel humiliated. But the collective reaction in Japan has not been to repudiate nuclear energy. After all, the Fukushima accident has severely injured only a few people – probably fewer than a dozen workers are dangerously irradiated. Almost all of the thousands of Japanese victims were drowned by the tsunami wave, not wiped out by a nuclear meltdown.
Scotsman 18th June 2011 more >>
Three hundred miles southwest of Fukushima, at a nuclear reactor perched on the slopes of this rustic peninsula, engineers are engaged in another precarious struggle. The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor a long-troubled national project has been in a precarious state of shutdown since a 3.3-ton device crashed into the reactors inner vessel, cutting off access to the plutonium and uranium fuel rods at its core. Engineers have tried repeatedly since the accident last August to recover the device, which appears to have gotten stuck. They will make another attempt as early as next week. But critics warn that the recovery process is fraught with dangers because the plant uses large quantities of liquid sodium, a highly flammable substance, to cool the nuclear fuel.
New York Times 18th June 2011 more >>
CHINAS ambitious expansion of its nuclear sector is slowly grinding back into gear after its reactors were given a clean bill of health in recent safety tests. In a statement from the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Vice Environment Minister Li Ganjie said that the first wave of inspections, ordered in wake of the Fukushima disaster, had been completed. He said that all 13 of the countrys existing reactors were currently in operation, implying that they had passed whatever tests had been administered. Although information from the Fukushima nuclear accident is still being processed, the… consequences are very serious and have a very profound lesson, he said. The second phase of the plan will focus on the 28 reactors China has under construction, and is set to be completed by October. Li said that this was in line with progress in both the EU and US, and that none of the plants would be allowed to operate until they meet with government approval.
The Chemical Engineer 17th June 2011 more >>
A DOCUMENTARY described as horror film of the year will be screened next week in a Hebden Bridge pub. Lucy Walkers Countdown To Zero examines the ever-present nuclear threat, depicting it as the Sword of Damocles. The film features many stories of near-misses, accidental missile launches and the increasing ease with which nuclear material can fall into the wrong hands. It shows how the efforts of a previous generation to protect themselves from each other have created a potential disaster for the present generation. The film, described by The Guardian as the most frightening horror film of the year, will be shown at 6.30pm on Tuesday in The Stubbing Wharf pub.
Halifax Courier 17th June 2011 more >>