The company that runs the Thorp nuclear reprocessing plant admitted that it may have to close for a number of years owing to a series of technical problems. The huge £1.8bn plant at Sellafield imports spent nuclear fuel from around the world and returns it to countries as new reactor fuel. But a series of catastrophic technical failures with associated equipment means Thorp could be mothballed at a cost of millions of pounds. Under strict orders from the government’s safety watchdog, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, the plant’s operators, Sellafield Ltd, is expected to have little option but to mothball the reprocessing plant for at least four years.
Guardian 19th May 2009 more >>
Specialist engineering consultancy RVA Group is supporting British Energy in its periodic reassessment of the assets and liabilities of its nuclear power plants. British Energy, now part of French giant EDF Energy, is working to review, develop and optimise existing plans on its stations in a Nuclear Liabilities Review Project, with the results to be submitted to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in 2011. UK-based RVA has been appointed to assess a range of structures within the ‘non-controlled’ areas of stations at Hartlepool, Heysham 1, Heysham 2 and Dungeness B.
Nuclear Engineering International 18th May 2009 more >>
Aluminium smelter Angelsey Aluminium Metals is looking into developing a large biomass power plant at its Penrhos Works site near Holyhead. Owned by metals firms Rio Tinto and Kaiser Aluminium, the company’s current energy deal with the Wylfa nuclear power station runs out in September, so a temporary contract would be needed to bridge the gap before a biomass power station could be built. If this is not secured, the future of the entire company would be in doubt.
New Energy Focus 18th May 2009 more >>
FIRE fighters were called to Wylfa nuclear power station this morning after a blaze in the turbine hall.
Daily Post 18th May 2009 more >>
Bidding for £315m worth of decommissioning contracts will begin next month following the news that planning permission has been granted for a £100m intermediate level waste facility and a £215m low level waste facility.
Contract Journal 18th May 2009 more >>
Magic circle firm Freshfields advised energy company E.ON on its successful bid for nuclear development sites in Oldbury and Wylfa. E.ON, alongside joint venture partner RWE, acquired the land at a Nuclear Decommissioning Authority auction, where three sites were sold for a total of £387m. City firm CMS Cameron McKenna advised RWE and south-west firm Burges Salmon advised the authority.
Law Gazette 18th May 2009 more >>
Radioactive waste has leaked from Britain’s nuclear submarines nine times in the past 12 years, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted. Two of the leaks – including one at Devonport near Plymouth two months ago – had not been revealed until today. Confirmation of the leaks raises new questions about the MoD’s safety record, which has been coming under increasing scrutiny since HMS Vanguard, a British submarine armed with Trident nuclear missiles, collided with a nuclear-armed French submarine, Le Triomphant, under the Atlantic in February. Last month, the Guardian reported a series of safety breaches at the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine base at Faslane near Glasgow. Documents released to Channel Four News under freedom of information legislation disclosed three leaks of radioactivity from nuclear submarines into the Firth of Clyde in 2004, 2007 and 2008. A further four leaks have been previously reported: two at Devonport in 2005 and 2008 and two at sea in 1997 and 2000. Now the MoD has told the Guardian about another two inadvertent releases of radioactivity, both of which were hitherto unknown.
Guardian 18th May 2009 more >>
RobEdwards.com 18th May 2009 more >>
The committee preparing for next year’s United Nations-backed conference of States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty today agreed on a president and an agenda for the May 2010 meeting in New York.
eGov Monitor 18th May 2009 more >>
US President Barack Obama said after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that he would assess whether Iran was serious about nuclear talks by the end of this year.
Africasia 18th May 2009 more >>
MEMBERS of the US Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
Scotsman 19th May 2009 more >>
Analysts say that the outcome of the Indian elections confirms people’s support for the 2005 deal between the United States and India on civilian nuclear cooperation.
Nature 18th May 2009 more >>
A new industry is swiftly taking shape around what is expected to be the Arab world’s first independent civil nuclear power programme, according to an engineering, safety and risk management consultancy.
NDT News 18th May 2009 more >>
Vast stockpiles of nuclear weapons amassed during the Cold War could become the catalyst for a thaw in relations this week between the United States and Russia. U.S. President Barack Obama and Kremlin chief Dmitry Medvedev last month agreed to pursue a deal on cutting nuclear weapons that would replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), which expires in December.
Reuters 18th May 2009 more >>
Australia plans to build one of the world’s largest solar power station networks, in partnership with the private sector, as part of its commitment to source 20 per cent of its needs from renewable energy by 2020. Kevin Rudd, the prime minister, said the government would invest up to A$1.4bn ($1bn, 775m, 700m) in solar energy out of the A$4.7bn Canberra has promised to spend on clean energy initiatives over the next decade. Australia’s plans mean it will join a global race to construct the world’s biggest solar plant. Earlier this year Southern California Edison, the US utility, signed up with a solar energy company to build a network of plants that would produce 1.3GW of energy, more than Australia envisages but which may take longer to finish.
FT 19th May 2009 more >>
Italy, a growing market for renewable energy, is on the road to becoming the first country to achieve “grid parity” – the Holy Grail of solar power, where costs of producing photovoltaic energy finally fall below retail electricity prices. At the same time, however, the photovoltaic industry is warning of the dangers of a speculative bubble unleashed by the attraction of the highest incentives in Europe but with no long-term clarity over the level of new tariffs to be set after 2010. Analysts say the collapse of the Spanish market, a victim of the credit crunch and property slump, is also driving investors towards Italy in spite of its difficult reputation for business.
FT 19th May 2009 more >>