The scale of safety problems inside Britain’s nuclear power stations has been revealed for the first time in a secret report obtained by the Observer that shows more than 1,750 leaks, breakdowns or other “events” over the past seven years. The damning document, written by the government’s chief nuclear inspector, Mike Weightman, and released under the Freedom of Information Act, raises serious questions about the dangers of expanding the industry with a new generation of atomic plants. And it came as the managers of the UK’s biggest plant, Sellafield, admitted they had finally halted a radioactive leak many believe has been going on for 50 years. The report discloses that between 2001-08 there were 1,767 safety incidents across Britain’s nuclear plants. The HSE wants to streamline the assessment of new reactor designs by waiving certain aspects through a series of “exclusions”. A recent consultation document circulated by Kevin Allars, director of new nuclear build generic design assessment at the HSE, suggests allowing reactor designs to be agreed with certain “exclusions” and “conditions” that could be revisited later.
Observer 21st June 2009 more >>
robedwards.com (different version) 21st June 2009 more >>
The sale of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the Government-owned nuclear clean-up business, has attracted 13 bids. A source close to the auction said that bids were submitted last month, with the shortlisted parties expected to be informed early next month. However, the bids are thought to be around the 30m-40m mark, when adviser Greenhill had hoped for closer to 50m. The bidders include: Amec, the Ftse-100 engineer; VT Group, the defence and support services company; Serco, the aviation-to-local government services giant; Finmeccanica, the Italian conglomerate; and Babcock International, the quoted defence-to-rail services outfit.
Independent on Sunday 21st June 2009 more >>
THE BOSS of the £6 million Studsvik recycling plant at Lillyhall has left the company. It was announced that Studsvik UK president Mark Lyons, right, was leaving after an audit with “immediate effect”. A statement said that an internal audit found income from projects, mostly in 2008, to be overstated by about £1m.illion, primarily attributable to 2008. The amount will impact results for the second quarter.”
Times & Star 19th June 2009 more >>
The likely cost of electricity for a new generation of nuclear reactors would be 12-20 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh), considerably more expensive than the average cost of increased use of energy efficiency and renewable energies at 6 cents per kilowatt hour, according to a major new study by economist Dr. Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School. The report finds that it would cost $1.9 trillion to $4.1 trillion more over the life of 100 new nuclear reactors than it would to generate the same electricity from a combination of more energy efficiency and renewables.
Vermont Law School 18th June 2009 more >>
THE SOLWAY Firth is at the centre of 500 million proposals to build a mile-long dam between England and Scotland fitted with energy-generating turbines. The proposed tidal barrage, subject of a 60,000-100,000 feasibility study commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Northwest Regional Development Agency (NRDA), would stretch over the River Solway from Annan in Dumfries & Galloway to Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria.
Sunday Herald 21st June 2009 more >>
Scientists, campaigners and celebrities are piling pressure on the Scottish government to toughen its plans to tackle climate change. First minister Alex Salmond, and other political leaders are being told by 13 top climate experts that the current aim to reduce emissions 34% by 2020 is “wholly inadequate”. The target must be raised to at least 42% to help save the planet, they say. The scientists’ dramatic plea, to be delivered tomorrow, is the latest in an extraordinary global groundswell of voices putting mounting pressure on ministers and MSPs to strengthen their climate change bill, due for its final debate in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.
Sunday Herald 21st June 2009 more >>
Russia is ready to dramatically cut its nuclear stockpiles in a new arms pact with the United States if Washington meets Russia’s concerns over missile defence, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday.
FT 20th June 2009 more >>
The threat of a recession-driven 10 per cent cut in the defence budget next year has raised more doubts over whether Britain can afford to spend £20 billion on replacing the Trident nuclear deterrent. The Ministry of Defence’s big equipment projects are going to be re-examined in a review after the next general election, whoever is in power, with the Conservatives talking about possible 10 per cent cuts across Whitehall.
Times 20th June 2009 more >>