A recommendation has been made to the government on whether a new nuclear power plant should be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The view of the Planning Inspectorate has however not yet been made public. A final decision over whether the power plant should be built will be made by the Secretary of State. The government is expected to announce its decision within the next three months. In November, the design for the plant was approved by the government.
BBC 19th Dec 2012 more »
Britain must decide by March 19 whether to allow EDF Energy to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in South West England, the planning agency said after making its recommendation on the project.The Planning Inspectorate declined to say what recommendation it made about the 3,260 megawatt (MW) plant to Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey on Wednesday. It said on its website that Davey now has three months to issue a decision, and more information will be published once a decision has been made.
Reuters 19th Dec 2012 more »
Four anti-nuclear protesters who chained themselves together outside the Hinkley power plant have been fined a hundred pounds each today after they pleaded guilty to ‘obstructing the highway’. They blocked the main access road last month and caused large tailbacks in protest at plans to extend the Bridgwater site.
ITV 19th Dec 2012 more »
Energy Bill 2nd Reading Debate.
UK Parliament 19th Dec 2012 more »
The Energy Bill has been presented by the Government and the press as a bitterly fought compromise between the Tories and LibDems in which the latter have secured an extra £7.6bn at today’s prices to support nuclear and renewables up to 2020, while the former have secured the dropping of the target to decarbonise the electricity supply by 2030. That is the picture presented to the public. It is however a profound misrepresentation both of the bill’s contents and of the nature of Britain’s current energy problems. There are two key mechanisms in the bill which are not even mentioned, but which contain the essence of what this bill is in reality all about. The first is the awkwardly titled Contracts for Difference. Under this the government would agree a ‘strike price’ with an electricity generator (EDF) , offering a guaranteed payment for each MWh of electricity. If the market price is below this, the government commits to make up the difference. This gives nuclear generators a built-in guarantee that they will get the necessary return on their investment – and nuclear plants don’t come cheap at £8bn a time – courtesy of the taxpayer.
Michael Meacher 18th Dec 2012 more »
Doug Parr: Scenarios for an imagined future have become key to the debate over UK energy. For every set of policy positions there is a matching scenario – but how useful are they? High renewables scenarios don’t just involve swapping in one form of generation for another, they mean utilising an entirely different set of tools for our energy future. There is a good argument that better efficiency would markedly reduce the need for base-load and backup, and that Demand Side Response (DSR) – which uses, amongst other things, smart grids to reduce electricity demand at key times – could make a huge difference to both grid and backup requirements. And many scenarios ignore the reported potential of technologies that contribute little today but are (or could be) on ambitious deployment trajectories, contributing significantly post 2020, for example geothermal power or wave and tidal. Government also seems to think that CCS will come through and be deployed widely, although it has a level of faith and dependence on the technology that seems unwise.
Energy Desk 19th Dec 2012 more »
As Dounreay rail transports to Sellafield begin, NFLA notes an increase in accidents involving rail transports containing radioactive materials.
NFLA Press Release 19th Nov 2012 more »
Should we be concerned about low level radiation. Talk by Dr Ian Fairlie at Kings Cliffe on 27th November 2012.
You Tube 17th Dec 2012 more »
Graphite waste poses a challenge because it contains isotopes that are itching to get out into the environment. Carbon-14, which is formed from the activation of graphite-based carbon-13 or interstitial nitrogen-14, has a half-life of more than 5,700 years. Meanwhile chlorine-36, which is created from residual traces of the chlorine formerly used to purify graphite during manufacturing, has a 301,000-year half-life. In the UK graphite is problematic because there is rather a lot of it: more than 79,000m3, to be precise. Plus the isotopes it contains are particularly adept at getting into the food chain. Carbon-14, in particular, has such a strong affinity for living tissues and Chlorine-36 is soluble and potentially hazardous because of the possibility that it might contaminate groundwater. The current default strategy for dealing with it is to bury it in a geological disposal facility (GDF), once one has been created. But it is estimated it would already take up a third of the space potentially available, so there is an understandable desire to look for alternative options. In February 2011 the NDA identified three main ones. The first is to condition graphite waste so it can be disposed of in a low-level waste repository. The second is to remove most of the contamination, potentially through gasification followed by sequestration or radionuclide immobilisation, or reuse the graphite where possible. And the third is to create one or more separate disposal facilities for graphite, which the NDA says should be“including a near-surface disposal option and may include a pre-treatment step.” James Penfold, principal consultant at Quintessa, a UK consultancy covering nuclear decommissioning, says that no matter what form of disposal is chosen, the isotopes “will ultimately get out. “It is a question of trying to manage the containment as long as possible and ensure environments into which it is released minimise the pathway back to humans.”
Nuclear Energy Insider 19th Dec 2012 more »
Enel wants more cash and more time to build two new units at the Mochovce nuclear plant in Slovakia, the country’s prime minister said, describing the Italian utility’s demands as “unacceptable”. Prime Minister Robert Fico, in power since April, said the Italian company wanted an extra 800 million euros ($1.1 billion) and expected construction work to go on for another 22 months. Mochovce, operated by Slovak power company Slovenske Elektrarne, was originally expected to start commercial operation of the first new reactor by the end of this year and the next one in 2013. Enel has a 66 percent stake in Slovenske Elektrarne, while the government holds the remaining 34 percent. In March Enel pushed back the start of the third Mochovce unit to the end of 2013, while the fourth unit was supposed to follow eight months later.
Reuters 19th Dec 2012 more »
A ceremony has been held to mark the official opening of Hungary’s national radioactive waste repository in Bataapati. During the ceremony, the first package of waste was placed in the initial storage chamber. Underground disposal vaults at Bataapati will eventually hold all the low-level and short-lived intermediate-level radioactive wastes (LILW) resulting from the operation and decommissioning of the Paks nuclear power plant. The small volume of long-lived ILW and high-level wastes will be managed separately.
World Nuclear News 18th Dec 2012 more »
The Fukushima Prefectural Government has tried to kill a proposal by a local assemblyperson to store local children’s milk teeth to examine their internal radiation exposure stemming from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it has been learned. In September 2011, Fukushima Prefectural Assembly member Junko Yaginuma asked the prefectural government if it should urge local residents to store baby teeth that came out after the March 2011 reactor meltdowns for future analysis of children’s strontium-90 exposure. Strontium-90, released in the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster, has biochemical features similar to calcium and can easily accumulate in bones and teeth.
Mainichi 19th Dec 2012 more »
Workers are nowhere close to determining the state of melted fuel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, a year after the government declared the damaged reactors were in a “cold shutdown” state. Storage tanks at the site are nearing capacity for radioactive water. A makeshift system is still being used to cool the nuclear fuel. And leaks of contaminated water and quake-induced collapses of plant facilities remain a threat. Although progress has been made in clearing rubble and reducing the amount of radioactive substances released from the plant, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka acknowledged that preparations to decommission the reactors are only slowly getting under way.
Asahi 18th Dec 2012 more »
Prominent commentators such as Matthew Kroenig, claim that, at the very least, a nuclear-armed Iran would prompt a ‘proliferation cascade’ in the Middle East. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons – whatever form that scenario may take – its regional rivals will follow suit. The argument here is seductive; it is easier to assume the worst than to hope for the best. The problem is, we find that the counter-argument is more compelling. Ultimately, many see a domino-effect as the logical response to Iranian nuclearisation. But when the stakes are this high, it is important to look at all sides of the debate. From another perspective, there is substantial evidence to suggest that regional proliferation is not a very likely outcome at all.
Guardian 19th Dec 2012 more »
The irony could hardly be richer. Big Pit, Wales’s national coal museum and a vivid, living reminder of the country’s most famous heavy industry, has announced the installation of 200 solar panels. About 6% of the museum’s energy will be generated thanks to the photovoltaic panels set up on the roof of its main museum building in Blaenafon, south Wales.
Guardian 19th Dec 2012 more »