Lecture titles do not normally stick in the mind, but one has stayed with me for more than 30 years. The lion of nuclear fission has been tamed,” it ran. “It remains to clear up what he leaves in his cage.” A generation has passed since the talk was delivered – by Ned Franklin, perhaps the best atomic industry chief of the day – and the nuclear-waste mess is still festering. Indeed, after this week, there is little chance of it being cleaned up in the foreseeable future, causing it to threaten the health of the beast that produced it. If even Cumbria – with 10,000 jobs relying on Sellafield – does not want it, who will, even if their geology is suitable? (London clay is particularly promising. What price putting it beneath Westminster?) And since almost all the most hazardous waste is already stored at Sellafield, transporting it elsewhere would create new dangers. It is hard to be optimistic. Drilling 5km-deep boreholes at the Cumbrian complex might help – the geology is much more stable that far down – but they could only take a bit of the nastier stuff. Perhaps a shallow, interim repository could be established, as has been done in Sweden. Certainly, Sellafield’s dodgy and dangerous waste storage should be vastly improved – one good thing that might come out of the debacle. But a permanent solution seems as far away as it was a generation ago. Some lion, some leftovers.
Telegraph 1st Feb 2013
For the second time in 14 years the hunt for a long-term solution to Britain’s nuclear waste stockpile seems to have foundered in Cumbria. Copeland Council – the Cumbrian district that includes Sellafield – did vote to enter what was called Stage 4 of the search for a site. As the junior planning authority, that acceptance is trumped by the county council’s rejection. But now there is talk of Copeland going it alone. The council leader has written a joint letter to the government with her counterpart in neighbouring Allerdale. Councillor Elaine Woodburn wants an urgent meeting with the government to discuss whether there may still be a way of continuing to look at West Cumbria as a potential site for an underground store.
BBC 1st Feb 2013
Politicians have hinted that the veto of plans for an underground nuclear waste site in west Cumbria may have brought the county to a political crossroads that could result in a merger of Copeland and Allerdale councils. Some senior Cumbrian councillors are now openly speculating about a possible new unitary authority. The MP for Copeland Jamie Reed has reacted by hinting that the two west Cumbrian councils, which both backed further investigations to see if the area’s geology was suitable for an underground repository, may well join forces. Meanwhile, Allerdale and Copeland council leaders have written a letter to the Energy Secretary Ed Davy, seeking an urgent meeting.
Carlisle News & Star 1st Feb 2013
Councillor Alan Smith, leader of Allerdale council, said: “Both Allerdale and Copeland need to sit down and find a way forward because we have still got the problem of the waste at Sellafield. “It’s a question of whether we can pick up the ball and run with it to find out whether the geology is safe. “This is the same situation we were in 20 years ago with Nirex. Nothing’s happening except the degeneration of the silos where the waste is stored. I don’t think it’s right to say ‘let’s wait another 20 years’.”
Times and Star 1st Feb 2013
An MP has vowed to fight for a change in the law to bring the debate over whether Cumbria should be home to a nuclear waste store back to the table. The move comes after the original consultation was left dead in the water when Cumbria County Council voted not to go to the next stage. Allerdale and Copeland councils, however, wanted to find out whether the area might be suitable for a nuclear waste repository. Copeland MP Jamie Reed said: “I’m considering producing a Private Members’ Bill. Next week I will be able to announce the creation of an all-party parliamentary group on radioactive waste to monitor this policy area. “The next step for Government will be to consult on a new process and I think all this could be done fairly quickly.”
Carlisle News Star 1st Feb 2013
Correspondence between Elaine Woodburn and campaigners.
Radiation Free Lakeland 1st Feb 2013
The United States, the world’s biggest nuclear waste producer, will soon seek approval of its communities to build repositories for disposal of toxic waste in their area. Implementing the proposal, however, seems difficult because getting approval from communities for disposal sites has been a contentious issue across the globe. So far, no country has managed to build such a repository. A strategy document released by the US Department of Energy on January 10 states that a protocol will be prepared to seek communities’ consent.
Rediff News 1st Feb 2013
Inspections are now underway for cracks on Sizewell B’s nuclear reactor in Suffolk after defects were found on a similar reactor in Belgium last year.
New Civil Engineer 1st Feb 2013
ARTHOUSE film makers have discovered the latest star of the silver screen – a decommissioning nuclear power station. Trawsfynydd nuclear plant has been filmed for a Tate Britain video art project exploring architecture that has now lost its function.
Daily Post 2nd Feb 2013
Nuclear power generators will see their competitiveness tested after the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee voted that operators will have to pay for all safety upgrades recommended from recent nuclear stress tests. The ruling also includes responsibility for all costs for which they are liable in the case of a potential accident. The safety improvements for nuclear power plants in Europe could cost the industry up to $33bn, industry observers have warned. The ITRE committee’s decision reinforces the European Commission and nuclear authorities’ assessments on the need for safety improvement of nuclear reactors in Europe, which followed “stress tests” after Fukushima. However, smaller or older plants could come under greater threat of closure and industry observers told ICIS.com that the safety upgrade recommended by nuclear stress tests could raise nuclear operating costs by around 1 per cent.
Power Engineering 31st Jan 2013
VETERANS of Britain’s nuclear bomb tests 50 years ago have met survivors who fled radioactive fallout after the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. Hundreds of square miles of the Japanese port province of Fukushima were contaminated when reactors at a nuclear power plant exploded nearly two years ago. Ex-RAF man Archie Ross, of Castle Gresley, who witnessed six nuclear bomb tests on Christmas Island between 1957 and 1958, said thousands of servicemen who were contaminated were told that the radiation had not affected them and could not be given compensation. The 79-year-old has been an advocate for the rights of nuclear test veterans.
Derby Telegraph 2nd Feb 2013
Spain’s monthly wind-power output exceeded 6 terawatt-hours for the first time this month, enough to light most households, the nation’s wind lobby group said. The milestone was passed yesterday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. local time, the Spanish Wind Energy Association said today in an e-mailed statement, citing data from Red Electrica de Espana, the grid operator. “Since Nov. 1, wind has been the top technology in the electrical system,” the lobby group said in a blog posting. “The last time any technology exceeded 6 terawatt-hours of monthly generation was in 2010, when it was combined-cycle gas turbines.”
Bloomberg 30th Jan 2013
French grid operator Electricité Réseau Distribution France (ErDF) has announced 3,126MW of PV capacity had been installed in France by the end of last year.
PV Tech 28th Jan 2013
Germany installed 7.6GW of PV capacity in 2012 beating its annual record set in the previous year which saw the country install 7.5GW, according to data from the German Federal Network Agency.
PV Tech 1st Feb 2013
After the shutdown of eight nuclear power stations in March 2011, imports of nuclear power in Germany has not increased. To, concludes a study published today by the Öko-Institut on behalf of Greenpeace. The study refuted the allegation brought forward many times, the nuclear phase-out in Germany would be thwarted by more nuclear power imports. “No one can do more with the false claim mood, foreign nuclear’ve replaced the German,” says Niklas Schinerl, energy expert at Greenpeace . The figures show: The current exchange with the Czech Republic – a country with a significant proportion of nuclear power did not change much. Although flowed from France in 2011, a little more power to Germany, but to the extent of only one percent of Germany’s electricity generation, and without requiring the production of French nuclear power plants would have increased. The bulk of the imports from France was forwarded to neighboring countries such as Switzerland. Already in 2012 gave France to Germany less power than before the nuclear phase.
Greenpeace Germany 31st Jan 2013
Report in English.
Oko Institute 31st Jan 2013
North Korea has concealed the entrance to an underground nuclear site to prevent satellite monitoring, according to South Korean intelligence sources. Imagery of the Punggye-ri nuclear test facility in North Hamgyong Province seen by the South Korean officials suggests that covers have been placed over a tunnel entrance. There is widespread international concern at North Korea’s threat to attempt a nuclear detonation – its third since 2006.
Sky News 1st Feb 2013
Telegraph 1st Feb 2013
The European Union voiced “serious concern” Friday over Iran’s decision to install more modern equipment at its Natanz nuclear plant, saying it would be in “clear violation” of its international obligations.
EU Business 1st Feb 2013
America’s carbon dioxide emissions last year fell to their lowest levels since 1994, according to a new report. Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 13% in the past five years, because of new energy-saving technologies and a doubling in the take-up of renewable energy, the report compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) said. The reduction in climate pollution – even as Congress failed to act on climate change – brings America more than halfway towards Barack Obama’s target of cutting emissions by 17% from 2005 levels over the next decade, the Bloomberg analysts said. By the end of last year, America’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions had fallen 10.7% from the 2005 baselines. As described by Bloomberg, the US is in the throes of a major shift in energy production. Coal fell to just 18.1% of America’s energy mix last year, down from 22.5% in 2007. Oil use also declined. The explosion of natural gas production, thanks to fracking, filled much of the gap. America got 31% of its electricity from gas-fired power plants last year. But the report found steadily expanding installation of wind, solar, hydro and geothermal energy. Renewables represented the largest single source of new growth last year, reaching $44bn in 2012, the report said, the report said.
Guardian 1st Feb 2013
Power supplier Good Energy is planning a 47MW combined wind and solar farm in Cornwall that could supply around 20,000 homes, with those in the immediate area bagging a 20% discount on their tariff. The Wiltshire-based company said its proposed facility on land owned by six farms near Week St Mary in North Cornwall could include up to 14 wind turbines and 75 acres of solar panels.
Re-news 1st Feb 2013
The Port of Workington has had solar power panels installed as part of a multi-million pound regeneration programme. Cumbrian renewable energy firm Sundog Energy has carried out the work at the flagship port. The new roof-top solar system forms part of the Cumbria County Council-owned port’s ongoing £5.7 million regeneration, jointly funded by Britain’s Energy Coast, Nuclear Management Partners and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Martin Cotterell, founder and technical director of Sundog Energy, said: “With payback for a system like this expected in little over seven years and a projected IRR of around 15%, solar PV is a really compelling proposition for any business at this time.”
News & Star 29th Jan 2013
Catherine Mitchel reviews Dieter Helm’s book: It is an important time for climate and energy policy decision-making in the UK, and Dieter Helm’s book The Carbon Crunch: How we’re getting climate change wrong – and how to fix it purports to provide the ‘right’ answers. His book is divided into three parts: Why should we worry about climate change? Why is so little being achieved? What should be done? There is no doubt that this is a timely book; it has stimulated welcome debate; and some of its arguments make sense and are interesting. Ultimately, however, it presents simplistic policy solutions which are either unrealistic and/or based on narrow analyses which undermine their credibility.
IGov 29th Jan 2013
The Warm Homes Campaign 2013 will aim to raise awareness of the problem of fuel poverty and the solutions available to those who are struggling to heat their homes affordably. It will run throughout the UK, organised by fuel poverty charities National Energy Action and Energy Action Scotland, and supported by the Home Heat Helpline.
NEA 1st Feb 2013
You Tube (accessed) 1st Feb 2013