Torness – Emergency Planning
SIXTY years ago the advice came from Civil Defence films in which men with clipped BBC accents advised us of the need to “duck and cover”. Today the protocol for dealing with a potential nuclear disaster is more concerned with getting the right cancer-fighting drugs to those living closest to power stations. A new survival manual has been despatched to all 220 households within the 3km blast radius of Torness Nuclear Power Station in East Lothian – the region’s only nuclear plant. Should the worst occur, warnings will be issued to homes via automated telephone messages, police loudspeakers and local broadcasts while residents are told to remain indoors and take anti-radiation tablets issued periodically by energy bosses. Caches of the potassium iodate pills – deployed to protect against thyroid cancer – are understood to be stockpiled across East Lothian, but questions are now being asked about whether the precautions are far-reaching enough. Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan two years ago, campaigners have lobbied to increase the precautionary danger zone from around 15km to 30km – which would take in a 25,000-strong population from the towns of Dunbar, Haddington and North Berwick. Ward councillor Paul McLennan said he would raise the issue with Health Secretary Alex Neil. He said: “I’m concerned about it because there is no way these tablets could be distributed to people living 15 or 30km from Torness in the event of an emergency. I know people in the immediate area are supplied with the tablets and are renewed every so often.” Chas Booth, Green councillor for Leith and a member of the Torness Local Liaison Committee said he was “astonished” Scottish authorities had failed to “learn the lessons from Fukushima and Chernobyl”.
Edinburgh Evening News 20th May 2013 read more »
Nuclear waste clean-up operations at Sellafield could be taken back into state hands after a series of failings by private companies managing the site, as their £22bn contract comes up for review. The National Audit Office (NAO) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have both criticised delays and cost overruns at Sellafield, which was fined £700,000 last week after “significant management and operational failings” allowed radioactive waste to be sent to a landfill site. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is now reviewing whether to renew the contract with the consortium, Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), ahead of a “break” point in March 2014. The NDA said it was considering three options, including stripping the consortium of the contract and taking Sellafield back into the NDA’s hands, a move that would require ministerial approval. It is understood to be drawing up plans for how the site would be run if it opted to do so.
Telegraph 20th June 2013 read more »
THE consortium running Sellafield has put a new man in charge of a number of its key nuclear activities. Ian Hudson, who lives in Whitehaven, has been appointed general manager for Nuclear Management Partners (NMP). And one of his main roles will be to spearhead NMP’s commitments to deliver economic benefits for West Cumbria. He replaces Graham McKendry, who has held the general manager’s job for only nine months after switching from Sellafield where he was an executive director the Westlakes Science Park base. The change comes at a critical time for NMP as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has to decide whether to renew its contract as parent body organisation responsible for Sellafield.
Whitehaven News 20th June 2013 read more »
The United Kingdom released a report “Sellafield MOX Plant – Lessons Learned Review” issued in July 2012. The release was made under a Freedom of Information Act. According to the review, “the actual performance of the plant was very poor.” With the “projected annual throughput of 120te HM … SMP actually manufactured 13.8te HM of MOX fuel during its operating life.” Also, the review noted that “SMP had very significant gaps both in its design and operating capability. This meant that the plant as built was not fit for purpose and struggled from the start with a wide range of operational problems.” In addition, “the SMP culture (as part of the Sellafield site) was not well suited to a precision manufacturing production facility and for much of its operating life there was an unwillingness to face up to the scale of the problems facing the plant.” The report estimated “aggregate net total loss for the full plant lifecycle of around £2.2BN.”
Fissile Materials 20th June 2013 read more »
The overarching conclusion of this submission is that Britain gets poor value from the elaborate web of energy market subsidies it operates subsidising the past rather than the future, old technologies rather than new, the unsustainable rather than the sustainable, and a closed cartel in preference to a more open energy democracy. The current subsidy framework acts as a roadblock to market transformation, rather than a pathway to it.
Alan Simpson (accessed) 21st June 2013 read more »
Transcription of a lecture by Steve Wing, Three Mile Island epidemiologist, at the March 11-12 New York symposium sponsored by the Helen Caldicott Foundation.
Fukushima Voices 19th June 2013 read more »
A £7m college in Cumbria to teach people the skills needed for future nuclear and energy projects has been officially opened. Britain’s Energy Coast Construction Skills Centre at Lillyhall, Workington, will help up to 600 students gain vital skills for the nuclear industry.
BBC 20th June 2013 read more »
Crucial research and development work has begun on two multi-million pound civil nuclear technology research programmes at Sheffield Forgemasters. Lead by Forgemasters’ research and development division, Sheffield Forgemasters RD26 Ltd and in collaboration with partners from industry and academia, the projects will enable the company to develop innovative forging techniques, advanced casting processes and material refinements for the next generation of civil nuclear power components.
BDaily 20th June 2013 read more »
Neil Longfellow has been appointed Costain’s sector director for nuclear, hydrocarbons and chemicals. He takes up the role next month and will be based in Manchester. Longfellow was formerly vice-president of operations, european fuels with Westinghouse Electric company, a £400m revenue business manufacturing fresh nuclear fuel for reactors across Europe. Before that he was director of Thorp Reprocessing and MOX fuel manufacturing and deputy managing director of Sellafield.
Construction Enquirer 20th June 2013 read more »
Manufacturing companies can now apply to join a new support programme to help them compete for work in the civil nuclear industry. The £76m civil nuclear Sharing in Growth programme aims to develop the UK manufacturing supply chain and help UK companies win work in nuclear programmes – including new build, operations and decommissioning – at home and overseas. It is part-funded by government through the Regional Growth Fund, and led by the Nuclear AMRC with support from Rolls-Royce and other industry leaders.
Manufacturer 20th June 2013 read more »
Simpler bills ‘by summer’ in radical energy reforms. Regulator tells energy companies to cut the number of tariffs and switch customers to cheaper deals under wide-ranging reforms.
Telegraph 21`st June 2013 read more »
A television advertisement targeting U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for his support of the MOX project and the Savannah River Site began running today. The 30-second commercial, funded by Friends of the Earth, points toward Graham’s advocacy of the project in less-than-flattering terms.
Aiken Standard 20th June 2013 read more »
Video of FoE Commercial.
You Tube 19th June 2013 read more »
Developing a disposition method for plutonium from dismantled U.S. nuclear weapons is important, but the Department of Energy’s current plan to make experimental fuel with this weapons’ plutonium is costly, dangerous and on the verge of collapse. It’s also siphoning dollars away from other nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear weapons cleanup priorities. Please join us to learn about the Mixed Oxide Plutonium Fuel Program (MOX) and what can be done to keep this failing program from gobbling more dollars while increasing nuclear dangers.
WAND 17th June 2013 read more »
The European Commission has proposed a new directive that it says will “significantly reduce the risks” of operating nuclear power plants. The EU executive body is proposing the introduction of mandatory EU-wide reviews of nuclear safety every six years as well as a requirement for increased transparency for information about nuclear safety from regulators and nuclear power plant operators.
Modern Power Systems 20th June 2013 read more »
Nuclear power generation suffered its biggest ever one-year fall through 2012 as the bulk of the Japanese fleet remained offline for a full calendar year. Data from the International Atomic Energy Agency showed that nuclear power plants around the world produced a total of 2346 TWh in 2012 – some 7% fewer than in 2011. The figures illustrate the effects of a full year of mostly-suspended operation in Japan, the loss of eight units in Germany as well as other operational issues around the world.
World Nuclear 20th June 2013 read more »
“Energiewende” may not be a household word in the United States today, but U.S. citizens and policymakers are likely to hear more about it. It’s the name of Germany’s ambitious energy transformation, which aims to move the country to at least 80 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050. Germany already gets nearly 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, up from just under 7 percent thirteen years ago. That is no small feat. Germany is a manufacturing powerhouse: It’s the world’s fifth largest economy and third largest exporter. Germany’s commitment to renewables has helped create jobs and drive economic opportunities. Since 2004, clean energy investments grew by 122 percent. Jobs in the renewable energy sector have more than doubled to around 380,000 jobs in the same timeframe.For U.S. policymakers looking to expedite a clean energy transition, the Energiewende should be a welcome addition to the conversation. It’s economically and ecologically responsible, and it’s proven to be politically popular. It’s certainly worth taking a closer look.
Bloomberg 15th May 2013 read more »
It’s been two years since a devastating magnitude 9 earthquake hit Tōhoku, Japan in March 2011, of which a resulting tsunami erupted and seriously impacted the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Japan is now grappling after it found out that the groundwater at the nuclear plant contained above average levels of a radioactive substance called strontium-90.
IB Times 20th June 2013 read more »
Romania has approved a decision to sell a 10% stake in its state-owned nuclear power plant operator. The Romanian Government reportedly hopes to get up to RON350 million (£66m) from the sale, with local media reporting a price range of RON11.2 (£2.1) to RON15 (£2.8) per share has been set for the initial public offering of Nuclearelectrica.
Energy Live News 20th June 2013 read more »
Neither Iran’s election, nor sanctions nor military threats are likely to divert it from the path it is on to getting nuclear weapons.
Economist 22nd June 2013 read more »
An Iran with the bomb would blow up what is left of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and inject nuclear weapons into the regional civil war between Sunni and Shia. Black humour among westerners has it that there are already bombs painted with the Saudi flag in Pakistan’s considerable stockpile. On the other hand, a US or an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would ignite a conflagration more dangerous than any yet seen in a region sitting on the edge of meltdown. It would not work. At best it would delay the programme, and it would probably cement the authority of the ayatollahs.
FT 20th June 2013 read more »
Keeping Turkey’s nuclear energy newbuild plan on track is growing in importance as the fastest growing economy in Europe faces anti-government uprising on its streets and a parallel rising demand for clean, domestic-generated energy.
Nuclear Insider 19th June 2013 read more »
Yesterday, an article compared the cost of German solar to the cost of Finland’s new nuclear plant, and it led to a bit of commotion on Twitter. In our latest installment of “Do the math!”, we show how the author makes a compelling case for the British to cut their current offer for a new nuclear plant by a third. By 2030, lots of really cheap solar will have replaced the old expensive stuff in Germany, but if you build a nuclear plant now, you will be stuck with it (at 15 cents per kWh) until mid-century. Nuclear does not ramp down well, so it is not compatible with intermittent wind and solar. If you are waiting until solar gets cheap to build it, you need to get rid of nuclear now.
Renewables International 16th May 2013 read more »
George Monbiot: Solar power works well at low latitudes, but not in the UK, which is far from the equator. Wind and nuclear power remain our most viable sources of low-carbon electricity. Summer solstice. At dawn. What better time could there be for resolving a duel, albeit one not fought with flintlocks? The time is of my choosing, as the other party, though he accepted the challenge, would not agree terms. It is appropriate in another sense too, as this is the day with the longest hours of sunlight and therefore – for I honour the sporting tradition – it offers my opponent the best shot. Three years ago, in the course of our debate about the best means of generating electricity, I bet Â£100 against a claim made by Jeremy Leggett, chairman of the company SolarCentury. He had asserted that domestic solar power in Britain would achieve grid parity by 2013. This means that it would cost householders no more than conventional electricity. I’m interested in this question because I want to see carbon emissions cut as quickly and effectively as possible. If public money is used to back the wrong technologies, that represents a wasted opportunity. It is easy to become enthusiastic about domestic solar power, because it is produced on a small scale, gives people a satisfying sense of self-reliance, and is unobtrusive, unlike most other forms of generation.
Guardian 21st June 2013 read more »
The US example isn’t quite as clear-cut as it might at first seem. Here’s four reasons why: The switch from coal to gas isn’t the whole story. A report from Bloomberg new energy finance identified three trends cutting US emissions – increased energy efficiency, more power from renewables and cheaper natural gas. The decline in gas consumption in the United States meant it exported more coal. As a result, coal prices went down in the European Union and coal consumption went up. This pushed up emissions, particularly in the UK and Germany. There’s no guarantee that the trend in the USA will continue in the long term. Last month the IEA warned that US emissions could just as easily go up again if the market changes and there are no policies to block a move back towards coal. ‘Fugitive emissions’ of methane could put a spanner in the works. During the process of extracting shale gas – fracking – gas can leak out. Methane is approximately 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas over a 100 year timescale. According to academics at Cornell university, fugitive emissions may mean shale gas releases more emissions than coal. But the question is hotly contested – many other academics disagree.
Carbon Brief 20th June 2013 read more »
The biomass plant planned for Dundee’s waterfront has divided opinion in the city. The renewable energy project has attracted nearly 2,000 complaints with fears over a number of points including pollution, local transport and noise. After Dundee City Council released a report addressing concerns, the Evening Telegraph takes a look at the key issues surrounding the plans.
Evening Telegraph 19th June 2013 read more »