A safety review of the UK’s nuclear industry, to be released on Wednesday, is expected to give a broad all-clear to current reactors and future plans. Chief nuclear installations inspector Mike Weightman is expected to raise issues that should be explored further but will not affect new-build plans.
BBC 18th May 2011 more >>
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, requested a report from Mike Weightman after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on 11 March which led to unprecedented events at Fukushima Dai-ichi. The Secretary of State requested an interim report, outlining the chief inspector’s initial conclusions and recommendations by the middle of May, with the full comprehensive report by the middle of September. A press briefing will be held on Wednesday, where Mike Weightman will explain the findings of his interim report. The interim report and key messages will be available from Wednesday on ONR’s webpages.
HSE 17th May 2011 more >>
The NFLA has published a Policy Briefing which considers the 14th Annual Report of the independent Government committee COMARE (the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment). The briefing provides a critique of this report with comments of the independent consultant in the environment, Dr Ian Fairlie. Dr Fairlies analysis of the report identifies a number of areas of concern. In the conclusions to his assessment of the COMARE report Dr Fairlie argues the data in the COMARE Report indicates a 22% increase in various types of leukaemias and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. COMAREs Report is regrettable as it may mislead members of the public into thinking there are no increases in leukaemias near UK nuclear power stations when in fact this may not be the case.
NFLA Press Release 16th May 2011 more >>
NFLA Policy Briefing No.82 16th May 2011 more >>
At the High Court in Leeds on 12th May Rory Walker challenged the Government’s insane push for cancer factories. Judge McCombe refused to allow the case to go ahead because in his esteemed opinion it is perfectly OK for the Secretary of State, Chris Huhne to be both cheerleader for new build and the person authorised to rubber stamp the safety. Following new “fast tracking” of the planning system at no other point will the safety of new reactors be under scrutiny. Rory was granted legal aid – but the Legal Services Commission has asked for £16,000 towards court costs if the case does eventually go ahead to “prove that there is public support for his case” This money was raised in a short space of time from ordinary people – not big NGOs – but the Judge had the brass neck to say that health detriment from new build was “of no public interest.” He also looked over towards us in the public gallery and said that the case being brought with legal aid was “unattractive” Hmmm. The Secretary of State’s defence lawyer declared on Thursday in court that the “best evidence suggests that there is no increase in cancers near nuclear power stations – that is the end of it” I suppose the “best evidence” is the recently published government COMARE report which did not include Sellafield ! And the real evidence of increased childhood leukemias (every week in the Cumbrian papers another “story” of another child’s “brave fight”) and other radiation linked diseases is nothing more than an inconvenient truth to be airbrushed out of history.
101 uses for Nuclear Power 17th May 2011 more >>
Climate vs Nukes
Activists debated whether nuclear power has any place in the fight against climate change at a meeting organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change last week. Stephen Tindale, former executive director of Greenpeace and a recent convert to nuclear power, put the case for. Nuclear power is pretty nasty, and Fukushima has demonstrated that again, he said. But it is less nasty than coal. Darren Johnson of the Green Party put the case against nuclear.Not only is nuclear power too dangerous, its too costly and its too slow. He pointed out that even if a new nuclear reactor was built every ten days for the next 40 years, nuclear would still only provide a tenth of the worlds energy by 2050. If we are to get serious about tackling climate change we need a real transformation of our economy.
Socialist Worker 21st May 2011 more >>
Over the last several days, evidence has emerged indicating that the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was far more dire than previously recognized. The main evidence is extensiverather than partialmelting of the nuclear fuel in three reactors in the hours after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Despite that bad news, however, today plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co. pledged it would still meet the target set 17 April to stabilize the situation by January 2012 so 100,000 residents evacuated from around the plant can return to their homes and the decade-long process of demolishing the reactors can get started.
Science Mag 17th May 2011 more >>
A roadmap for stabilizing the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex underwent a significant revision Tuesday, as the discovery of severe damage to the three most troubled units forced a change in strategy. But plant operator Tepco, maintained its original projection that damaged reactors will be brought to a safe shutdown in a six to nine month period.
Nikkei 17th May 2011 more >>
BBC 17th May 2011 more >>
Tepco insisted on Tuesday it would bring stricken reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant under control by January 2012, despite evidence that the complex is more seriously damaged than previously thought. But Tepco’s roadmap has looked increasingly unworkable recently, after it said uranium fuel rods in three reactors had been left exposed and had melted hours after the earthquake on 11 March. On Friday, the company revealed fuel in the No 1 reactor had partially melted and fallen to the bottom of the pressurised vessel which holds the reactor core together. Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at Tepco, said reactors Nos 2 and 3 were likely to have suffered similar problems.
Guardian 17th May 2011 more >>
Seven/Eleven Japan, with over 13,200 stores nationwide, is among the many forward-looking companies helping set the pace for change within the nation’s energy policy. The convenience store chain plans to spend over $123 million to switch to energy efficient LED lighting at about 6000 outlets in Tokyo, and will install solar panels on roofs of 1,000 stores around the country over the next few months. This would not only save 125KW a day per store but also benefit manufacturers of LED lighting and solar cell panels a win-win for all. Renewable energy experts agree that the ongoing nuclear crisis, while tragic, could be a remarkable opportunity to move away from the country’s focus on nuclear power development and imported fossil fuels toward solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and other natural domestic sources.
Time 18th May 2011 more >>
The United Nations atomic agency announced today that it will send a team of international experts on a fact-finding mission to Japan to assess nuclear safety in the wake of the damage caused by Marchs devastating earthquake and tsunami. The mission which will visit Japan from 24 May to 2 June will comprise nearly 20 experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the wider international community, the IAEA said in a statement issued from its headquarters in Vienna. Mike Weightman, the chief inspector of nuclear installations in the United Kingdom, will chair the mission, which will report to the IAEA-organized Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety that is scheduled to begin in Vienna on 20 June.
Click Green 17th May 2011 more >>
ITN 17th May 2011 more >>
Electricity supply from nuclear plants, already down by almost 20 percent following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, will drop further during peak summer demand as operators shut reactors for maintenance. Six reactors are scheduled to be offline for checks and maintenance by the end of August. Chubu Electric Power Co. last week shut two reactors out of fear of a natural disaster causing a crisis similar to the one at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The planned shutdowns mean 75 percent of Japan’s nuclear power capacity will be idled or damaged by August when air conditioning demand surges as temperatures can rise to as high as 40 degrees.
Japan Times 18th May 2011 more >>
The reaction of emergency authorities to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami showed Japan at its best. The growing squabble over paying the bill, however, shows its institutions at their worst. The Democratic Party of Japan, which took office less than two years ago vowing to confront bureaucracy-led protectionism and conformity, is in danger of flunking its first real test. After a long consultation with Japan Inc on how to settle claims arising from the nuclear crisis, the DPJ has emerged with a fudge. The state plans to issue special bonds of an indeterminate amount to fund a new organisation to pay compensation. Then it will let Tokyo Electric Power Company repay that organisation over time. To keep lenders lending to Tepco throughout this long process, the government may buy preferred stock, while setting up yet another body to ensure the utility is run correctly. Rather than making haircuts on existing unsecured loans to Tepco an explicit condition of this support, however, the government is relying on vague moral suasion, urging co-operation from every stakeholder.
FT 17th May 2011 more >>
None of Germany’s 17 nuclear plants is protected from a crash by a heavy plane, a commission concluded on Tuesday after weeks of safety checks. But it did not recommend that any should be taken offline immediately. The government said it wants to postpone a shutdown until alternative sources of energy are found.
Der Spiegel 17th May 2011 more >>
The German government on Tuesday signalled it will set harsh safety requirements for the countrys 17 nuclear power stations as it searches for ways to bring forward the final phase-out of the power source from 2036. A review by the German nuclear safety commission following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan declared all plants robust, but warned the seven oldest had no protection against jet airliners crashing into them. The remaining ten plants were built to withstand an accidental or terrorist strike from a medium-sized aircraft though none could withstand a similar disaster involving the biggest passenger planes, the commission said.
FT 17th May 2011 more >>
Dutch municipally owned utility Delta is to own 70% of the Netherlands’ Borssele nuclear power plant after reaching an agreement over plant ownership with RWE Group of Germany. RWE will own 30%.
World Nuclear News 17th May 2011 more >>
German group RWE, Europe’s fifth-largest utility, said on Tuesday it agreed to end a legal row with Dutch generator Delta over the ownership of the sole nuclear power plant in the Netherlands. The deal offers a nuclear foothold for RWE in the Netherlands at a time when a big question mark hangs over its aspirations in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel has reversed a decision to extend the life of nuclear plants.
Reuters 17th May 2011 more >>
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday “the burden remains on Iran” to show it is serious about tackling the international community’s concerns over its nuclear ambitions. Clinton’s remarks highlighted the continued deadlock after Iran said the ball was in the court of the six major powers that have been working to resolve concerns over Tehran’s nuclear program.
EU Business 17th May 2011 more >>
The new Chashma nuclear power plant unit-1 (CHASNUPP-2), located in Pakistan, has started operations. The 330MW power plant, which is placed near Chashma Barrage, was co-developed by China National Nuclear Corporation and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.
Energy Business Review 12th May 2011 more >>
NEW investment has helped bring a small company a stage closer to the prospect of its world-changing technology making nuclear power safer, pollution-free energy commonplace, as well as the end to shortages in equipment for treating major diseases such as cancer. Tokamak Solutions (TS) is currently designing machines, based on fusion science, which are capable of tackling the worlds most urgent, universal energy problems, such as how to dispose of toxic nuclear waste, in simpler and more cost-effective ways than are currently available.
Express 18th May 2011 more >>
Chris Huhne has confirmed that the government will enshrine aggressive emission cuts in law, promising to halve output by 2025 and put the UK on course for a 60 per cent decrease by 2030. As widely expected, the Energy and Climate Change minister unveiled the UK’s fourth carbon budget in the House of Commons today, accepting the recommendations of the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
Business Green 17th May 2011 more >>
Independent 18th May 2011 more >>
It is of course easy for governments to set themselves tests far into the future. Mr Huhne will not be the climate change minister in 2027, when yesterday’s target must be met. The greater test of this government’s green credentials is what is being done now. Emissions fell heavily in 2009, because of recession. Any economic recovery now would probably push them back up. There are very difficult decisions ahead on energy supplies, and in particular nuclear. If petrol prices stay high, the government will face more pressure to drive them back down.
Guardian 18th May 2011 more >>