An ambitious plan to rid Britain of its civil plutonium stockpile the biggest in the world has come a step closer with the submission of a feasibility study for building revolutionary nuclear reactors to “burn” the waste at Sellafield in Cumbria. The plan envisages the construction of twin nuclear “fast reactors” at Sellafield that can dispose of the plutonium directly as fuel to generate electricity while ridding the country of a nuclear-waste headache that has dogged governments for half a century. Critics say that fast reactors are still at the research stage of development and are not yet ready to be deployed for such a critical task. The American company behind the proposal, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, still has a long way to go to convince experts that it can deliver reactors that can work as promised, as well as being delivered on time and to budget. The NDA has consistently said that its “preferred option” to deal with the plutonium waste is to first convert it to mixed oxide (Mox) fuel and then burn it in conventional, pressurised-water reactors. However, the authority is keeping other “credible options” open, including fast reactors. GE Hitachi said it had received US government approval to export its fast-reactor technology and could build the twin reactors without incurring upfront costs to the British taxpayer, which would be hugely popular with the UK Government.
Independent 20th Aug 2012 more >>
Chinese companies competing for one of the UKs biggest nuclear projects are unlikely to end up with a majority stake in any winning consortium in an attempt to allay concerns about Beijing gaining control of the Horizon reactor programme. Several people familiar with the sale process said UK officials had signalled a preference for the two competing consortiums Chinese partners to be minority investors in the project. Restricting their stakes could be difficult, however, particularly as the billions of pounds in funding needed to build the plant will most probably come from Chinese-backed lenders. It has always been understood that the Chinese could not have more than 50 per cent, for reasons of public acceptance and political acceptance, said one person familiar with deliberations at the UK energy department.
FT 19th Aug 2012 more >>
The negotiations concerning the sale of the Horizon nuclear project to a Chinese-backed consortium are not the first time the UK has turned east to help keep the lights on. Chinese investment in the UK has grown sharply in recent years, with deals in the water and electricity markets as well as North Sea oil and gas. But the attempt to buy into Britains nuclear programme marks a significant change of gear. Not only will this be the first investment into new build projects in the UK as opposed to takeovers of existing assets it is also in a controversial sector. For China, the project provides an opportunity to showcase its expertise in an OECD country. If you can be at the top table in the UK, thats a great selling point around the world, said one of the people close to the Horizon project.
FT 19th Aug 2012 more >>
Will the lights go out? The very question gives politicians sleepless nights, alarms business and bewilders the householder. Could Britain, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, really be plunged into darkness? The good news it that experts believe its unlikely. But the question dogs the Government all the same – because its policy to ensure the lights stay on seems to be in such disarray. The Government is attempting to achieve the biggest overhaul of our energy infrastructure for decades, as Energy Secretary Ed Davey told investors earlier this month. A combination of legally binding climate targets, ageing infrastructure, and rising demand means an unprecedented £110bn of investment in new power plants is needed this decade alone. But plans for a new generation of nuclear plants are hanging by a thread, the Government is riven with infighting over the price worth paying for wind farms, and there is controversy over a new dash for gas. Policies to encourage the £110bn investment have been derided as unworkable and pressure is mounting on ministers. Hitting all those targets translates to plans for as much as 16GW of new nuclear power by 2025, as well as a lot more renewables – as much as 18GW of offshore wind by 2020, from less than 2GW now. The scale of the challenge should not be underestimated. New nuclear plans are looking at best shaky and only one consortium anywhere near to building a plant there are concerns about the high subsidies it may demand. It is not clear if the policies will even be finalised in time for the consortium to make an investment decision this year as planned.
Telegraph 19th Aug 2012 more >>
Join us in Carlisle on Saturday 25th August from 10.30am Radiation Free Lakeland will be providing the only chance for the public to vote whether or not they want a nuke dump under Cumbria. Before the point of no return and the most promising site is chosen.
Radiation Free Lakeland 19th Aug 2012 more >>
Two environmental groups have withdrawn their application for a Federal Court review of permits allowing Bruce Power to ship radioactive waste on the Great Lakes. The Sierra Club Canada and the Canadian Environmental Law Association pulled the application due to federal changes to the environmental approvals process in the budget and because the permits issued by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission had expired, said the Sierra Club’s executive director John Bennett. Bruce Power wanted to ship the first 16 of 32 old massive generators removed during refurbishing of the nuclear power plant near Kincardine to a recycling company in Sweden via the Great Lakes.
Sun News 17th Aug 2012 more >>
It will take Germany’s No. 2 utility RWE until 2015 to get its old strength back after the country’s exit from nuclear power, the chief executive told a German newspaper.Germany’s big utility companies are only just emerging from a downturn caused by the government’s decision last year to shut all nuclear power stations in the country by 2022.
Reuters 19th Aug 2012 more >>
Gundersen: Theres some good science out about rapid mutations in insects. Insects are relatively radiation resistant compared to human beings.So, yeah, it is frightening.And of course, if its in the human gene poll, it will be 2 or 3 generations before it completely manifests itself.The butterflies already have a couple generations and already its starting to manifest itself.So we wont see the results on the human gene pool for 30, 60, or 90 years In fact its a very real, terrible consequence.
ENE News 14th Aug 2012 more >>
SNP activists gathering next weekend will be told continued membership of Nato will prevent Scotland getting rid of nuclear weapons. The party leadership is facing a full-scale rebellion at National Conference in October and next weekend’s meeting of the CND group within the party is turning into a rallying point for dissent on the issue. A strategy document for the meeting in Glasgow seen by The Herald cites the examples of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium all of which have voted to remove nuclear weapons from their soil, only to be thwarted by Nato. The paper argues the policy change of the SNP to back continued membership of Nato could cost the SNP its vision of Scotland as a “young, vibrant and peaceful proposition”.
Herald 20th Aug 2012 more >>