The head of the public body overseeing the clean-up of Britain’s toxic atomic legacy has admitted having “real disappointments” over the performance of the private consortium in charge of the Sellafield nuclear site. John Clarke, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said he had expected “to be further along than we are” at Sellafield. However, he insisted the past four and a half years had not been a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.
FT 17th June 2013 read more »
Sellafield Ltd has cited a technological problem with some new equipment as the reason behind its incorrect disposal of radioactive waste, which cost it £772,635 in fines and costs at Carlisle Crown Court on Friday (14 June).
Safety & Health Practitioner 17th June 2013 read more »
The FSA has published its responses to comments on the recent consultation on Radioactivity in Food Monitoring which closed on the 6 March 2013. The result of this consultation was discussed at the open meeting of the Food Standards Agency Board on the 4 June 2013. At this meeting, it was agreed to adopt our preferred option as set out in the consultation for an optimised programme which will continue to ensure we have the evidence to maintain consumer safety. The programme will be kept under regular review and the FSA will maintain a contingency so that precautionary action, including ad hoc monitoring, can be undertaken wherever there is the potential for levels of artificial radioactivity in food which could impact food safety. It was also agreed that the FSA would no longer financially support monitoring in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man as supporting these programmes would not be consistent with the risked based approach being applied to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, the FSA is happy to work with the Crown Dependency governments to enable access to our contractor’s laboratories under parallel commercial agreements between these states and the laboratory.
FSA 17th June 2013 read more »
The agency responsible for cleaning up old nuclear power stations denies it hasn’t consulted enough about proposals to bring atomic waste from other plants into Essex. In a strategy document published last month, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has outlined a number of options for the disposal of Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) from nuclea plants across the country. Of the eight options put forward, six entail bringing nuclear waste from either the Dungeness A or Sizewell A sites and storing it at facilities at Bradwell-on-Sea. The suggestion is that the ILW, which can include metal items such as fuel cladding and reactor components, and sludges from the treatment of radioactive liquid effluents, be stored in ductile cast iron containers known as “yellow boxes”. The NDA says the proposals are part of a strategy of reducing costs by consolidating its nuclear waste storage sites. But local opposition groups and councillors say the proposals fly in the face of a pledge that nuclear waste would never be brought into Bradwell from outside. They also complain there has been little time for the community to respond to the plans. At anti-nuclear campaign group Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), secretary Varrie Blowers said she is concerned the plans are “the thin edge of the wedge”.
East Anglian Daily Times 18th June 2013 read more »
It has been proposed that Hitachi Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) be built at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. The UK Parliament has been informed that “…the ABWR reactors in both Japan and Taiwan were built on time and to budget.” First of all let us have a look at the power plants in Japan. I have not looked into the statement about whether they were built ‘on time and to budget’. However, it is clear from the data from the International Atomic Energy Agency that they do not work correctly: They were producing less than 50% of the energy they were expected to. According to the GE Hitachi Specification they should have a greater than 90% Capacity Factor. The ABWR at Longmen in Taiwan is still under construction and is over budget and subject to large delays. There are also serious concerns over the safety of the plant both from the risk of earthquakes and Tsunami as well as poor construction and design.
Peter Lux 17th June 2013 read more »
You may be wondering if you should see the new pro-nuke movie, “Pandora’s Promise.” I think it’s safe to say that the answer is a resounding “no.” Indeed, the most stunning thing I’ve read about the movie comes from someone who is generally positive about it, NY Times blogger Andy Revkin: The film also avoids discussing the high costs and logistical and policy hurdles to adding substantially to the country’s, or world’s, existing fleets of operating nuclear plants. The scale and costs required to cut into coal use using any technology — nuclear, wind, solar or otherwise — is incredibly daunting. Huh? Doing a movie about nuclear power without discussing the high costs, would be like doing a movie comparing the US healthcare system to that of other countries … without discussing the high costs!!!
Climate Progress 17th June 2013 read more »
Nuclear proponents are launching a full-court press for fresh investment in the technology. The release of the new film Pandora’s Promise, another editorial from ardent nuclear champions Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute, and Paul Blustein’s recent piece in Quartz, “Everything you thought you knew about the risks of nuclear energy is wrong,” are part of an effort to put a new shine on a technology that once offered, but failed to deliver, electricity “too cheap to meter.” All of these actors are purportedly motivated to support nuclear power on climate grounds, emphasizing the technology’s extraordinarily small physical footprint, its ability to generate massive amounts of electricity, and its lack of carbon emissions (after the plants are built). And they are probably right that the risks of radiation have been historically overblown as “junk science” wormed its way into popular culture. But the anti-nuclear crowd (and I, too, used to count myself among them) is probably right for the wrong reasons. Missing from the entire debate about nuclear is the most important fact of all: Nuclear is dying due to poor economics, and the debate is already over as far as the market is concerned. Shellenberger and Nordhaus have backed up their arguments with junk accounting on nuclear energy’s costs. This is where the discussion must depart from mere boosterism and descend into the deep, dark world of energy economics—a subject that Blustein did not even address.
Quartz 17th June 2013 read more »
Ofgem said British Gas had paid £10m into a trust for vulnerable customers to settle a fierce row over pricing. The donation is almost level with the record £10.5m fine Scottish & Southern Energy paid in April for “prolonged and extensive” mis-selling on the doorsteps of homes across the country. British Gas was expected to announce its “donation” at the end of last week but it only came to light when sources contacted The Daily Telegraph on Monday morning. The regulator claimed that during 2006 and 2011, British Gas failed to “round down” the calorific value, a charge that covers the heat or thermal energy in the gas a customer uses.
Telegraph 18th June 2013 read more »
Ontario could play host to three separate nuclear waste disposal sites, according to information filed at recent hearings. Two of the proposed sites have already been publicly discussed, although the simultaneous search is causing confusion in the area near the Bruce nuclear station on Lake Huron. One is to store high-level waste — spent nuclear fuel. A second would hold low- and intermediate-level waste from operating nuclear reactors. But now it seems a third site is possible — one to store waste from reactors that have been taken out of service and dismantled. That waste is called “decommissioning waste.”
Toronto Star 17th June 2013 read more »
Iran is making “steady progress” in expanding its nuclear program and international sanctions do not seem to be slowing it down, the U.N. nuclear agency chief told Reuters on Monday.
Reuters 17th June 2013 read more »
Iran’s newly-elected president has promised to follow a ‘path of moderation’ and bring more openness over the country’s nuclear programme, but sided with the hard-line Islamic establishment that refuses to consider halting uranium enrichment.
Daily Mail 17th June 2013 read more »
Independent 17th June 2013 read more »
Telegraph 17th June 2013 read more »
Barack Obama has said at the G8 Summit that the US and Russia have a responsibility to lead on curbing nuclear proliferation. The US President also said that his discussion with Vladimir Putin on North Korea and Iran was productive, and that he hoped to move forward on discussions with Iran over its nuclear program after the recent election.
ITV 17th June 2013 read more »
Beginning in 2004 the Jordanian government began studying the Kingdom’s options to meet its rising energy needs, with nuclear power as one of the possibilities. Three years later King Abdullah II stated that Jordan was “looking at nuclear power for peaceful and energy purposes” and by the end of 2007 the government issued a revised and updated National Master Strategy of Energy, which called for six percent of Jordan’s electrical output to come from nuclear power by 2020. What may ultimately doom Jordan’s nuclear ambitions, however, is a resource even more scarce in the Kingdom than uranium – water. Jordan’s Minister of Water Hazem Nasser has noted, “We live in a chronic water problem. And we are now at the edge of moving from a chronic water problem into a water crisis.”
Oil Price 17th June 2013 read more »
South Korea LNG imports rose by 32.1pc on the year to 2.92mn t in May, boosted by higher natural gas demand following a string of nuclear power plant closures. The country’s LNG demand does not typically spike significantly in the summer, unlike in the peak winter demand season, but the reduction in nuclear generation capacity since November has pushed imports up.
Argus Media 17th June 2013 read more »
A continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent would be impossible with just two submarines, the Defence Secretary has said, amid reports this will be the recommendation of a Liberal Democrat review into Trident alternatives. Philip Hammond told MPs that the number of submarines required when the existing Vangard-class are retired and replaced by 2028 is to be determined. Press reports about the forthcoming research into the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent have suggested the Liberal Democrats are to endorse a two-submarine system.
Herald 18th June 2013 read more »
Every British wind farm job is subsidised to the tune of £100,00 per year, according to the the Sunday Telegraph. In a story the paper says reveals the “true cost of wind farms”, the paper says its analysis undermines the wind industry’s claim to generate both energy and economic growth. Carbon Brief examines the claims. The RO has been criticised before as an inefficient mechanism for supporting renewable energy. But in an attempt to create a media-friendly top-line figure, the Sunday Telegraph appears to have relied on high-end estimates for how much it costs – and a somewhat pared down estimate for the number of jobs generated. The calculation is also rather simplistic, and ignores any other benefits wind power brings to society. For example, wind turbines generate power for the National Grid, providing just over five per cent of the country’s electricity in 2012. Generating power from an alternative source – for example gas or coal – could also cost the country money. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in April, the UK government’s subsidies to fossil fuels actually increased by £500 million between 2010 and 2011 to £4.3 billion of support. Finally, generating electricity from wind power reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The Sunday Telegraph doesn’t seem that convinced that reducing emissions is a good idea, however – arguing somewhat grudgingly that it might be a good idea “in an ideal world”.
Carbon Brief 17th June 2013 read more »