Radiation and Health
Response to Wade Allison from Dr Ian Fairlie: there is no safe dose of radiation: no matter how low it is, a small risk remains. The linear no-threshold (LNT) theory is used by all the world’s radiation authorities – the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, the International Commission on Radiological Protection, the Health Protection Agency, etc – to estimate risks at low doses. It presumes that risks decline proportionately as you lower the dose all the way down to zero, and that the only dose with no effect is zero mSv. And, yes, there is evidence that exposures to residents near nuclear facilities cause them harm. For example, a recent German government study found large increases in leukaemia (220%) and embryonal cancer (160%) among children living near all German nuclear reactors. Its results are supported by many other worldwide studies into child leukaemias near nuclear reactors.
Guardian 20th Jan 2010 more >>
THE Government’s nuclear energy strategy is based on a ‘dodgy dossier’ just as ‘misleading’ as the one that took Britain to war in Iraq, a South Lakeland campaigner against atomic power claims. Marianne Birkby, of Radiation Free Lakeland, said the public was being ‘hoodwinked’ by ministers who are failing to take proper account of independent scientific advice. “They are pushing for nuclear build at any cost without letting the public see the evidence,” said Ms Birkby, who has been invited to give oral evidence at a Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry on nuclear power next Wednesday (January 27).
Westmorland Gazette 18th Jan 2010 more >>
The South Lakes anti-nuclear group says there are a growing number of voices opposing the new nuclear build, including Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Manchester-based Nuclear Free Local Authorities Secretariat. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities have written to the Select Committee Inquiry over concerns that the ‘expression of interest in the geological disposal’ of high level nuclear waste by Cumbrian councils is a sham – they say Cumbrians could be forced to accept more than one high level waste dump. They also say nuclear power makes climate change far worse.
NW Evening Mail 19th Jan 2010 more >>
Letter from Roger Helmer MEP: Nuclear may have been expensive when oil was $10 a barrel. Today, nuclear is just about the cheapest mainstream generating technology – and that’s after we’ve allowed for waste disposal and decommissioning old nuclear sites. That’s why French electricity customers (80% nuclear) are getting their power so much cheaper than British consumers (less than 20% nuclear).
Derby Telegraph 20th Jan 2010 more >>
Written evidence submission from the independent group of nuclear experts is a damning indictment of the government’s assertion that it has made “effective arrangements” to manage the problem of nuclear waste disposal. The 34-page document concludes that current government policy is “not fit for purpose”.
Professional Engineering Jan 2010 more >>
’It is ironic that we have been civilized for only about 10,000 years, yet we face the task of protecting high-level radwastes, a dangerous and “massive source of potentially valuable energy,” in perpetuity. We face the task of storing radionuclides such as plutonium, which has a half-life of 24,000 years, but remains dangerous for more than 250,000 years. We have been separated from the apes for only about 5 million years, yet we face the task of safeguarding iodine-129, which has a half-life of 16 million years but remains dangerous for more than 160 million years. We in the United States have been a nation for only about 200 years, yet we face the task of storing technetium-99 having a half-life of 200,000 years. Given the short span of our experience in handling these materials, how can we deal adequately with long-lived radioactive waste?’
Nuclear Reaction 18th Jan 2010 more >>
The first shipment of highly radioactive waste from the UK is leaving the Sellafield nuclear complex later, destined for Japan. The waste is a by-product of nuclear fuel spent by Japanese reactors that was sent to the UK for reprocessing during the 1980s and 1990s. Over the next decade, high-level waste will also be returned to European countries.
BBC 20th Jan 2010 more >>
Areva Chief Executive Anne Lauvergeon on Monday blamed the French nuclear power company’s humiliating loss of a multibillion-dollar reactor contract on a South Korean rival’s willingness to “do anything” to win. In her first public comments since the United Arab Emirates last month picked a South Korean consortium over Areva for the prized deal, Lauvergeon was quoted in Le Monde as saying the strong euro hurt Areva by inflating the costs for its reactors. She also blamed poor coordination among the French energy companies who bid alongside it, including Electricite de France SA, Total SA and GDF Suez SA. She said the strengthening of the euro against the dollar caused a 15 percent increase in the cost of Areva’s bid between the start of the bidding process two years ago and now. Areva offered four of its third-generation EPR reactors for $30 billion, while the winning South Korean bid was for $20 billion.
Business Week 18th Jan 2010 more >>
In terms of public relations, the French nuclear industry is currently shooting itself in the foot with an unseemly power struggle that seriously risks undermining its reputation at home and on the important export markets. The French are still smarting over their humiliating defeat in the multibillion- dollar competition to supply nuclear reactors to Abu Dhabi. The French consortium, which included Areva, EDF, GDF-Suez and Total, lost out to the South Koreans. The French companies are blaming each other for the costly fiasco. But even before the loss of the Abu Dhabi contract, the country’s two state-controlled nuclear groups were engaged in a fierce power struggle. Soon after his appointment in November as chairman of EDF, Henri Proglio called for a shake-up of the French nuclear sector. He argued that the creation of Areva through the combination of the French nuclear fuels group Cogema and the engineering company Framatome had been a mistake. In the same breath he suggested that it would be natural for EDF to lead the country’s nuclear industry.
FT 20th Jan 2010 more >>
Hostilities are not limited to EDF and Areva. GDF-Suez, the nuclear operator in which the state has a 36 per cent stake, is struggling for a role in operating and exporting the EPR against fierce lobbying from EDF. Then there is the personal animosity between the boss of Areva and Patrick Kron, head of nuclear turbine supplier Alstom, not to mention that between EDF’s boss Henri Proglio and GDF-Suez’s Gerard Mestrallet and Ms Lauvergeon.
FT 20th Jan 2010 more >>
French state-controlled utility Electricite de France SA (EDF.FR) is maintaining its schedule for the construction of the EPR-type reactor at Flamanville, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday, following reports the building site is running behind schedule.
ADVFN 19th Jan 2010 more >>
Work has begun on a new £1.5 million nuclear test centre in west Cumbria. Carlisle-based Kier Construction has started the contract to design and build the centre for James Fisher Nuclear Services (JFNS) in Egremont. The project, at the Bridge End Industrial Estate in in the town, will feature a 1,000sq metre rig hall, which will rise to a height of 21-metres.
Cumberland News 19th Jan 2010 more >>
PEOPLE are being reminded that time is running out to book their seats for a key debate on the future of nuclear power. Hartlepool Borough Council is holding a Question Time-style event next week to give people the chance to quiz a panel of experts over proposals to build a new nuclear power station in the town. The event is being held at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience, on Tuesday, January 26, from 6pm.
Hartlepool Mail 19th Jan 2010 more >>
It could be argued that Anglesey is due a future jobs bonanza via the proposed giant windfarm that will be built in the Irish Sea and the new nuclear power station at Wylfa. However, these are both some years away from their start date and if action is not forthcoming soon from WAG, there won’t be any workers left on Anglesey to benefit from the new jobs that will be created as a result of these projects.
Dylan Jones-Evans 19th Jan 2010 more >>
STUDENTS hoping to work in the nuclear industry will be able to study at an Anglesey college. Coleg Menai’s Llangefni site has been approved by the National Skills Academy to ensure the nuclear sector has a skilled workforce to meet future demands.
Daily Post 19th Jan 2010 more >>
A public debate on the future of nuclear energy in Scotland yesterday heard how a lack of nuclear power could leave Scotland with an energy gap if an alternative is not found. Representatives of the SNP, Labour, Greens and the Conservatives gave their views before the audience was invited to take part in a question-and-answer session. At the debate at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University, SNP MP for Angus Mike Weir said: “The reasons why I oppose new nuclear energy are many and varied. The cost is huge and rising. Millions have been invested in original projects, which never met their proposed plans. There is no site or facility to receive waste and it will be many years before such a facility is available. If there was, it would have to be monitored for thousands of years.”
Press and Journal 19th Jan 2010 more >>
As the UAE prepares to adopt nuclear energy, it can draw pointers from Finland’s troubled Olkiluoto plant. What should have been a relatively low-cost and swiftly built project is late, over budget and mired in disputes. Finland’s new nuclear plant at Olkiluoto should have been generating revenue and a major slice of the country’s electricity by now. Instead, the project has become a multibillion-euro money pit that serves as a cautionary tale for incoming members of the nuclear energy club, including the UAE.
The National 16th Jan 2010 more >>
Germany has been looking for a permanent storage site for its nuclear waste for over 30 years. The history of the Gorleben salt dome, a potential nuclear repository, is one full of deception and political maneuvering. And if opponents to the plans have their way, the search might even have to start again from scratch.
Der Spiegel 15th Jan 2010 more >>
Germany’s government wants to reach an agreement with utilities by the autumn on extending the life spans of some nuclear plants, Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle said on Tuesday. The minister also said he believed this would be possible and that the framework for the extensions had to be cleared up before parliament’s summer recess.
Interactive Investor 19th Jan 2010 more >>
Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency it does not accept the terms of a deal to ease concerns about its nuclear programme, diplomats say. For months, the Iranian government has criticised the offer to ship low-enriched uranium abroad in return for fuel, but never responded formally.
BBC 20th Jan 2010 more >>
Telegraph 20th Jan 2010 more >>
On December 14, The Times announced that it had obtained documents about Iran’s nuclear programme that revealed “a four-year plan to test a neutron initiator. This is the component of a nuclear weapon that triggers the explosion”. These expression of certainty about the obvious credibility of the document suggested we were here reading, not journalism, but propaganda, as did the use of the future simple tense in the following passage: “a nuclear-armed Iran +will+ feel little constraint in supporting its terrorist proxies, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, with money and materiel”.
Media Lens 19th Jan 2010 more >>
SOUTH Korea’s aspiration to be a major provider of nuclear power technology has gained traction from its first export sale. The UAE has bought four APR1400 reactors plus full scope of works and services from a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Company and the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power. Following the announcement of the deal late last year, the country’s Ministry of Knowledge reported to President Lee Myung-bak that it expects South Korea to build at least 80 power reactors in other countries by 2030.
Chemical Engineer 19th Jan 2010 more >>
Enel and its partner, France’s EDF, will invest as much as 18 billion euros ($25.8 billion) to build four nuclear plants in Italy.
Bloomberg 19th Jan 2010 more >>
WHEN news spread in December 2007 that an ageing nuclear reactor in Canada might shut down for much longer than its scheduled two weeks, the world caught its breath. The reactor, at Chalk River in Ontario, is the world’s biggest supplier of radioactive isotopes for medical use, and diagnostic tests for cancer and heart disease were put on hold while radiologists scrambled to find alternative supplies. It was called a crisis. All the while, lay people couldn’t help but wonder: did no one foresee this? Did no one think that this half-century-old reactor might someday need to be replaced?
New Scientist 19th Jan 2010 more >>
The prospects for multi-lateral nuclear disarmament and for strengthening nuclear non-proliferation will be debated in the House of Lords this Thursday, 21 January.
UK Parliament 19th Jan 2010 more >>