Up to 50 nuclear power stations could be built under plans being looked at by the government. The remarkable figure – 10 times the number the government is openly discussing – is revealed in documents submitted to the Department of Energy and Climate Change by one of its own advisory bodies. The documents are likely to raise questions as to what extent the government’s energy policy is weighted in favour of nuclear and away from renewables such as wind turbines. It comes as Brussels begins an investigation into whether Britain is providing up to £17bn of potentially illegal public guarantees for the first nuclear power plant in a generation, Hinkley Point C in Somerset, which aims to provide 7% of the country’s electricity. In a submission to a consultation on geological waste disposal, the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management has said an upper limit of 75 gigawatts of nuclear power is “being examined” by the DECC in London.
Observer 21st Dec 2013 read more »
The latest disclosures from the Snowden files provoked exasperation at the European commission, with officials saying they intended to press the British and American governments for answers about the targeting of one its most senior officials. Reacting shortly after an EU summit had finished in Brussels, the commission said disclosures about the targeting of Joaquín Almunia, a vice-president with responsibility for competition policy, was “not the type of behaviour that we expect from strategic partners, let alone from our own member states”. A spokesman added: “This piece of news follows a series of other revelations which, as we clearly stated in the past, if proven true, are unacceptable and deserve our strongest condemnation.” In Britain, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the chair of the parliamentary committee that provides oversight of GCHQ, said he was “disturbed by these allegations.” He added he could be “examining them in due course as part of the intelligence and security committee’s wider investigation into the interception of communications.”
Guardian 20th Dec 2013 read more »
Responding to questions following allegations in newspapers this afternoon of surveillance by US and UK intelligence services of Vice-President Almunia, the spokeswoman of the European Commission Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen stated the following: “This piece of news follows a series of other revelations which, as we clearly stated in the past, if proven true, are unacceptable and deserve our strongest condemnation. This is not the type of behaviour that we expect from strategic partners, let alone from our own Member States. These issues are already being dealt with through the working groups created with the United States. The Commission has also recently adopted a communication with a number of measures which are needed to restore trust and confidence in the transatlantic relationship. We equally welcome the internal review process that the United States’ administration is conducting on its intelligence activities. We trust that this will lead to intelligence collection which is respectful of our democracies and the fundamental rights of our citizens. The Commission will raise these new allegations with US and UK authorities.”
European Commission 20th Dec 2013 read more »
BUDDING engineers are getting an insight into a potential career at Hartlepool power station thanks to the efforts of 15 mentors from the facility. The power station has linked up with Hartlepool Sixth Form College and English Martyrs Sixth Form College to offer a two-year mentoring scheme where pupils will find out more about a potential career with EDF Energy.
Hartlepool Mail 21st Dec 2013 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
TEPCO has found a record 1.9 million becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances at its No.2 reactor. Also radioactive cesium was detected in deeper groundwater at No.4 unit’s well, as fears grow of a new leak into the ocean. The level of beta ray-emitting radioactivity in groundwater around the crippled Fukushima reactor No. 2 reactor has been rising since November, NHK reported. Previous the highest level – 1.8 million becquerels (bq/liter), of beta-ray sources per liter – was registered at reactor No.1 on December 13. Meanwhile, TEPCO’s latest examination of deeper groundwater beneath the #4 reactor’s well has raised new concerns that there might be another source of radioactive substances leakage into the ocean.
Russia Today 21st Dec 2013 read more »
A woman crippled by genetic disease from her H-bomb test victim dad is campaigning to help other affected children and grandchildren. Shelly Grigg and the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association are fighting for ¬recognition for descendants of men poisoned by radiation fallout. Backed by the Sunday Mirror and 80 MPs, the campaigners also want the Government to recognise the sacrifice made by the thousands ordered to watch the explosions during the Cold War. Shelly’s Royal Engineer father Roy spent a year in the Pacific cleaning up areas of Christmas Island after the nuclear tests. He swept up irradiated sand, ate poisoned fish and swam in toxic lagoons. He died of aggressive bone cancer in 2001, aged 66. Now Shelly, 48, has been told crippling diseases she has suffered since her teens could be linked to radiation poisoning. She said: “I was diagnosed with ¬rheumatoid arthritis at 15. Then at 22 I had a massive growth on my knee removed. “In my 30s I got painful stomach lumps called lipomas. It’s Dercum’s disease and is very rare. In the support group I found six people whose fathers were at nuclear tests or worked in the nuclear industry. “My spine is crumbling. I’ve had discs in my neck replaced with metal.” About 22,000 men, most on national service, witnessed various nuclear tests between 1952 and 1967. Research recently found New Zealand test veterans had a rate of genetic ¬mutation three times that of Chernobyl survivors. The children of British veterans have 10 times the usual rate of birth defects while grandchildren have eight times the rate. Every nuclear power except the UK recognises its test veterans in some way, providing healthcare or compensation.
Mirror 22nd Dec 2013 read more »
Wind turbines, solar farms and tidal power – renewable energy is moving into the investment mainstream. The launch of several specialist funds and the advent of crowdfunding means private investors can invest in renewables from as little as £5.
Independent 21st Dec 2013 read more »
A SMALL company backed by the founders of Innocent Drinks plans to build a huge tidal-energy lagoon in Swansea Bay capable of powering 120,000 homes. Tidal Lagoon Power, which has been developing the project for three years and claims to have won overwhelming local support, will next month submit a 4,000-page planning application. Approval for the £850m scheme also hinges on securing the highest subsidies for any large-scale green energy project in Britain — 3.6 times the current wholesale power price.
Sunday Times 22nd Dec 2013 read more »
It’s official, and it comes from a DECC sponsored report. To get 12 % of our gas supply from fracked gas we’re going to need between 1400-2400 wells over a twenty year period, concentrated on about 30 and 120 well pads (depending on the number of wells per pad). This sounds like quite a few, although perhaps less than some had feared. But even with this number of wells, the report emphasises that water supply might be a problem in some parts of the country. And the waste water generated by the process may also cause quite a headache; as the AMEC strategic assessment report for DECC puts it, the treatment of waste water is likely to place ‘a substantial burden on existing wastewater treatment infrastructure capacity’.
Alan Whitehead MP 21st Dec 2013 read more »
Activists from around the country are trying to block shale exploration in the North West, amid claims they enjoy little local support Gathered under the banner of Frack Free Greater Manchester, militant activists last week pledged to do everything they could to disrupt the search for new sources of energy.
Telegraph 21st Dec 2013 read more »
The most recent figures on Scotland’s energy mix are a small step in the right direction, with renewables accounting for 29.8% of 2012 generation (don’t be misled by the consumption figures at the beginning there). The same data, however, shows that coal accounted for almost 25% of Scotland’s output. That figure will be significantly reduced for 2013, because Cockenzie closed in March of this year, a plant which amounted to about a third of Scotland’s coal-fired capacity. The remainder is almost entirely Longannet. It’s Scotland’s number one source of carbon emissions, and it’s a killer: literally. Stuttgart University did the sums for the years by which coal shortens lives, and Longannet’s annual toll was substantial.
Better Nation 20th Dec 2013 read more »