A group of Lords has expressed serious doubts over whether the government can deliver its aim of a long-term competitive market for generators of both renewable and non-renewable electricity under the draft Energy Bill.
E2B Pulse 16th Aug 2012 more >>
Few subjects spark such a strong reaction as the mention of nuclear power. Some see it as a dangerous threat, others hail it as the answer to our growing need for renewable energy. We asked Gwen Parry Jones, nuclear physicist and EDF champion for women in the nuclear industry, to answer our most pressing questions about nuclear energy.
Marie Claire 21st Aug 2012 more >>
A WATCHDOG that monitors safety in the nuclear industry is taking enforcement against the company decommissioning Sizewell A power station. It follows an incident in September last year when 13,000 litres of treated pond water leaked from a waste treatment plant, known as an active effluent treatment plant (AETP). The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is now taking enforcement action against Magnox Ltd, which is the licensee for the decommissioning of the site. The watchdog has also written to the station director to set out the actions it expects to see happen. These include completing a long-term review of the vulnerabilities at Sizewell A’s AETP and providing a copy of this review to the ONR; drawing up improvements to ensure that the risk is minimised to levels that are as low as reasonably practicable; and providing the ONR with a commitment to share learning from this event with the rest of the Magnox fleet of reactors. The watchdog also wants to see a suitably-prioritised and timed plan in which it will make the changes, and it has asked to be kept up to date with progress at appropriate intervals.
Lowestoft Journal 17th Aug 2012 more >>
Energy bosses have unveiled plans to give the public access to part of Hartlepool’s nuclear power station. French-based owner EDF has asked Hartlepool Council to allow a visitor centre to be built at the site, which opened in 1983. The company says it expects up to 10,000 visitors a year to the complex, if planning permission is granted.
BBC 21st Aug 2012 more >>
A project to bury tonnes of radioactive waste from Dounreay in massive underground vaults has completed its first phase.
STV 20th Aug 2012 more >>
ANTI-NUCLEAR protesters will take to the streets of Cumbria this weekend to demonstrate against a proposed nuclear dump in the county. Radiation Free Lakeland (RFL) will be conducting an opinion survey on the streets of Carlisle on Saturday, asking people whether they are in favour, or not, of the search for a repository site in Cumbria.
NW Evening Mail 21st Aug 2012 more >>
Campaigners against West Cumbria volunteering to host a nuclear dump say it would be disastrous for the National Parks image and tourist industry. They have conducted a survey of more than 500 visitors in Keswick, which found that 89% of people thought a dump would have an impact on the image of the National Park, and all of these thought it would be negative. Campaigners from Friends of the Earth, Save Our Lake District Dont Dump Cumbria! and Radiation Free Lakeland interviewed 562 visitors between July 25th and August 13th, without saying who they were until each interview was over. They asked whether the presence of a nuclear dump either next to the National Park or underneath it would affect the Lake Districts image, and if so in what way.
Radiation Free Lakeland 21st Aug 2012 more >>
In 1994, not long after the Cold War ended, the National Academy of Science came to a decision about surplus plutonium in thousands of nuclear warheads that were no longer needed. The existence of large excess stocks of these materials poses a clear and present danger to national and international security, declared a panel of advisers, referring to how easy it could be for illicit agents to convert weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear weapons. The warning is still valid but has yet to be addressed. The suggested solutions involved irradiating the plutonium into the form of a mixed plutonium oxide, or MOX, in a nuclear reactor; or blending it into nuclear wastes for permanent immobilization, a solution that is used in France but not in America. The current plan has no firm commitment for an end user after a commercial partner backed out, although weapons officials express optimism about preliminary talks with nuclear power officials at the Tennessee Valley Authority. Critics say the MOX approach adds to the time the plutonium would be vulnerable and at risk for falling into the wrong hands.
Sante Fe New Mexican 19th Aug 2012 more >>
Workers at Areva’s Somair uranium mine in Niger started an open-ended strike on Monday over labour conditions, a union official said.”Our strike is open ended and will continue until the management improves our living and working conditions,” spokesman Mounkaila Abass told a local television broadcaster.
Reuters 21st August 2012 more >>
Extracting uranium from seawater is closer to becoming an economic reality which could guarantee the future of nuclear power, scientists said today. The world’s oceans hold at least four billion tons of the precious metal. But for the past four decades, the goal of mining seawater for uranium has remained a dream because of the technical difficulties and high cost. Today, a report presented to a scientific meeting showed that fast progress is being made towards turning the oceans into a uranium reservoir. Improvements to the extraction technology have almost halved production costs from around 560 dollars (£355) per pound of uranium to 300 dollars (£190).
Independent 22nd Aug 2012 more >>
BHP Billiton will take a $346m hit after deciding to not go ahead with a planned $20bn expansion of its Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine in South Australia. Reporting a 21 per cent decline in annual profit after tax, Marius Kloppers, chief executive, blamed the decision not to go ahead with plans to expand the mine on subdued commodity prices and cost pressures.
FT 22nd Aug 2012 more >>
James Fisher & Sons is continuing with Britain’s long- established maritime tradition and its broad range of technical skills means its services are in demand, helping push first-half profits up by more than a fifth. Fisher provides specialist equipment and support for oil tankers, ship-to-ship transfer and submarine rescue, as well as running an oil tanker business in the UK. It also offers engineering, manufacturing and technical services to the nuclear industry.
Telegraph 22nd Aug 2012 more >>
The Japanese government is likely to decide to eliminate all nuclear power over the next two decades in a new long-term energy plan that comes amid strong public opposition to atomic energy and ahead of national elections expected in the next few months, said government officials familiar with policy discussions. Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-plant accident in March 2011, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda set up a council to recommend a long-term energy strategy based on three scenarios: phasing out nuclear power completely by 2030, reducing dependence to 15%, or keeping it at current levels of about 20% to 25%. All the scenarios aim to increase the use of renewable energy to at least 20% from the current 10%. The government is expected to announce a final decision in September, ahead of general elections for parliament expected by the end of the year.
Wall St Journal 21st Aug 2012 more >>
Evidence emerged last week that butterflies in Japan have suffered physiological and genetic damage caused by radiation released from the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Once again we see another animal species paying the price for nuclear power. In May last year, two months after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami destroyed three of the Fukushima reactors, scientists and researchers in Japan collected and examined pale grass blue butterflies, a common species in Japan. Their findings are disturbing. Some of the butterflies collected showed mild abnormalities. Other butterflies bred from the collected specimens had more severe abnormalities that they then passed on to the next generation. These abnormalities included malformed eyes, wings and antennae.
Greenpeace 21st Aug 2012 more >>
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Wednesday met a delegation of anti-nuclear protesters at his official residence. Noda met with representatives from a loosely structured network of groups opposed to nuclear energy in Japan known as the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes. The group has been staging demonstrations outside the prime ministers residence since Noda authorized the restart of two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. Before the meeting, Noda told reporters that he hoped to convince the group of Japans need to utilize nuclear power in the short term as it works out a viable long-term energy policy, according to TV Asahi.
Japan Today 22nd Aug 2012 more >>
Radioactive cesium measuring 258 times the amount that Japan’s government deems safe for consumption has been found in fish near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Tuesday. The Tokyo Electric Power Co. found 25,800 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in two greenlings in the sea within 20 kilometers of the plant on August 1 a record for the thousands of Fukushima-area fish caught and tested since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to a nuclear disaster at the plant, Kyodo reported.
CNN 21st Aug 2012 more >>
Gundersen: I think plutonium being reported around Fukushima is raw, unoxidized pieces of nuclear rods that were blown out from Unit 3s spent fuel pool.
ENE News 22nd Aug 2012 more >>
New satellite images show that North Korea has completed a key step in the construction of a light-water reactor at its main nuclear complex, although it could take several more years before it is fully operational. Allison Puccioni at Jane’s Defence Weekly said images from the GeoEye-1 satellite showed a dome had been hoisted atop the reactor building. “The emplacement of the dome is a significant development
Independent 22nd Aug 2012 more >>
Scotsman 22nd Aug 2012 more >>
Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, is expected to embark on his first state visit from Sunday, attending an international meeting in Iran.
Telegraph 22nd Aug 2012 more >>
Israel is planning a military strike against Irans nuclear programme before November, security sources in Israel have claimed. British officials say prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has begun a process of sounding out his voters to gauge support for airstrikes and build a case for military action.
Daily Mail 21st Aug 2012 more >>
Iran has unveiled plans to build a new airbase to defend its nuclear sites, as Israel hints it is edging closer to launching strikes to end or curtail its weapons programme.
Telegraph 21st Aug 2012 more >>
The United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday it would hold a new round of talks with Iran in Vienna later this week about a long-stalled investigation into suspected nuclear weapons research in the Islamic state. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a brief statement confirming the August 24 meeting after diplomats earlier on Tuesday told Reuters that they expected the meeting to take place on Friday in Vienna.
Reuters 21st Aug 2012 more >>
Britain’s nuclear defence is under threat because the Navy will not have enough people to properly man its submarines, it was warned today.
Daily Mail 21st Aug 2012 more >>
THE number of SNP MSPs preparing to vote against leadership proposals to stay in Nato is approaching double figures after another Holyrood politician joined the backlash. Glasgow Shettleston MSP John Mason, who initially said he would await the views of his constituency party before declaring, became the latest Nationalist to join the revolt. Yesterday Mr Mason said he was now “95% likely” to vote against the party hierarchy on the issue at the annual conference in October. “I think there is a serious concern about this issue,” said Mr Mason. Jamie Hepburn, the MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, has moved October’s anti-Nato amendment to the motion from Angus Robertson, the party’s defence spokesman. MSPs John Finnie, Sandra White, Jean Urquhart, Dave Thompson, Bob Doris, Marco Biagi, John Wilson and now Mr Mason oppose the move by Mr Robertson, who believes a pledge of continuing membership of Nato will be another reassuring pitch in appealing to Scots voters in the 2014 referendum, arguing that Norway is both a non-nuclear state and alliance member. But critics point out Norway has never been a nuclear state, putting it in a very different position from that which Scotland would find itself in with nuclear weapons already on its territory.
Herald 21st Aug 2012 more >>
LEADING independence campaigner Pat Kane has called the idea of Scotland seeking non-nuclear status within Nato “not a principled or honourable position”. Mr Kane’s comments come as the organisers of Saturday’s SNP CND conference in Glasgow revealed the event has generated so much interest that similar events are now planned across the country ahead of the party’s national conference in October. Bill Ramsay, SNP CND organiser, said Saturday’s event was drawing great interest from ordinary party members, councillors and parliamentarians.
Herald 22nd Aug 2012 more >>
The objections to windmills are many and most contain at least an element of truth. So why is current policy aimed at building many thousands more turbines by 2020? And will it really happen or will mounting political opposition curtail the plans? One key EU target underpins the drive for more wind farms: a legally binding goal for 15pc of the UKs total energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020. Thats a huge increase from just 3pc when it was set, in 2009. To achieve it, the Government is aiming for massive growth in renewable electricity, to 30pc of our usage, from just under 10pc now. Most of that rise is due to come from wind, as the most advanced and readily available renewable technology. The Government wants up to 13 gigawatts (GW) of onshore wind capacity by 2020, up from about 5GW installed today. It also wants as much as 18GW of offshore wind, about 10 times current operational capacity. The industry has a chicken and egg challenge, says Dr Edge. They say you can only have 18GW if you get to £100 per Mwh. But from our point of view, to get down to £100 per Mwh, we need to have confidence youre going to have 18GW. It remains to be seen how rigidly the Government will enforce this cost cut through reductions in the levels of subsidy from 2017. The 18GW ambition could be threatened if cost reduction proves even more challenging than thought.
Telegraph 21st Aug 2012 more >>
ENERGY Minister Fergus Ewing has launched new guidance for wind-farm planning applications, aimed at ensuring there is proper consultation on developments. The guidance is a result of the GP Wind Project, a Scottish Government project backed by European Union funding, which looked at the barriers involved in the development of wind energy and ways of reconciling renewable energy objectives with environmental concerns. The guidelines were developed in partnership with a wide range of interested parties, including the RSPB, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, SSE and ScottishPower Renewables. Mr Ewing also announced an onshore wind taskforce which will look at ways to improve the planning consent process for onshore wind.
Herald 22nd Aug 2012 more >>