Britain’s 17 defunct nuclear submarines seven of which are moored at the Rosyth naval dockyard in Fife would have been dumped at sea under plans drawn up by the Ministry of Defence. A secret MoD briefing found in the UK National Archives reveals the ministry’s “technical preference” was to dispose of the radioactive hulks at sea without dismantling them. Dumping in this way, however, would raise “many environmental and other issues”, it said. Since Britain’s first nuclear submarine, HMS Dreadnought, was taken out of service 30 years ago, the MoD has been trying to work out how to get rid of its reactor. Over the decades it has been joined at Rosyth by six other retired nuclear submarines, while another 10 have been tied up at the Devonport naval base at Plymouth in the south of England.
Sunday Herald 19th Aug 2012 more >>
The great Indian electricity grid failure hailed as the worst blackout in history, has brought several issues to light, which could have and should have been confronted earlier. Indias self-proclaimed nuclear renaissance foresees itself meeting 25% of its own energy needs through nuclear energy by 2050. This Indian nuclear renaissance certainly has its own problems. However, what must be noted is that even if the Department of Atomic Energy accomplishes the miracle of meeting its own target of electricity production (which it so far has never done), the absence of a regulatory authority or an Automatic Demand Management System in the power grid can still plunge the nation into darkness and literally blackout Indias energy future.
Open Democracy 18th Aug 2012 more >>
David Cameron has ordered ministers to consider backing a £30bn project to harness the tidal power of the Severn estuary, as the Government scrambles to find big infrastructure projects that could help kick-start growth. The Prime Minister has asked Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, and Oliver Letwin, the Tory policy chief, to look in detail at a new proposal for a barrage which, supporters claim, could limit the environmental impact on world-famous wildlife habitats. Conservationists say that, in theory, the ideas proposed by the consortium could alleviate some of the environmental impact. They include having a barrage with a lower head, holding back less of the tidal range, creating a smaller lake and therefore limiting the damage to the banks of the estuary. The turbines would also operate more slowly and under less pressure, which could reduce the impact on fish. And power would be generated on both the ebb and flow of the tide. Kate Jennings, head of protected areas at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said the charity remains “sceptical about the ability to deliver a development on the scale of a barrage without having unacceptable impacts on the Severn”. But she welcomed the fact that the consortium is “at least trying to build in environmental considerations”.
Independent 19th Aug 2012 more >>
DAVID CAMERON has revived a multi-billion-pound scheme to build a barrage across the Severn estuary that could provide 5% of Britains electricity needs and create tens of thousands of jobs. The prime minister has instructed officials to study proposals championed by Peter Hain, the Labour MP who resigned as shadow Welsh secretary to promote the barrage. Cameron has seized on the £30 billion development, which is likely to anger conservationists, because it has the potential to create 20,000 jobs during construction and help kick-start the economy with no upfront cost to the taxpayer. It would also help Britain meet its renewable energy pledges. An earlier plan for the 11- mile tidal power barrage, which would stretch from the Glamorgan coast to Somerset, was rejected last year by Chris Huhne, the former energy secretary, on the grounds that it would be too expensive for the taxpayer. Hain presented the scheme to Cameron at a meeting in Downing Street on July 30 along with the consortium that has drawn up the plans. He told the prime minister that overseas sovereign wealth funds are prepared to fund the project as long as the government supports it and makes time for a bill to go through parliament. Other sources said the largest portions of funding would come from Kuwait and Qatar.
Sunday Times 19th Aug 2012 more >>