Andy Blowers: A Geological Disposal Facility for Nuclear Waste – If not Sellafield then where? In the wake of the publication of the Implementing Geological Disposal White Paper, Blowers looks at political and policy developments in the search for a site for the geological disposal of higher-activity nuclear waste, and argues that the White Paper leaves the way open for further procrastination
Town & Country Planning 21st December 2014 read more »
New Reactor Types
We need to implement nuclear fission, but with a twist. Instead of using uranium, we should seek to use thorium with a reactor, which in turn would potentially solve the waste management issues surrounding our current use of nuclear power. Secondly, we need to make use of fusion, a method that holds the key to the future of mankind’s energy need. Together, these methods can lead the revolution into a new era. Thorium nuclear power is not a new concept; a lot of research took place into its feasibility in the 1950s. However, uranium was chosen instead of thorium because uranium-fuelled reactors can create weaponised fuel for nuclear weapons, whilst the thorium-fuelled ones cannot. That was a battle which was won by the US Armed Forces, and thorium research was then sent to collect dust in the archives of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Thereafter, only a small dedicated core of scientists that continued research into the field. Thankfully, this has now changed: Indians and Chinese have started to pay a lot of attention to thorium as a nuclear fuel and realised its potential. We are falling behind – and at a rapid pace.
Conservative Home 21st Dec 2014 read more »
Nuclear power stations in the UK are highly vulnerable to a drone attack, a British nuclear expert has warned. Nuclear engineer and government adviser John Large said existing power plants are not designed to withstand an attack of “near-cyborg technology” and stressed that the potential security threat is of serious concern, according to The Independent.
IB Times 21st Dec 2014 read more »
Daily Mail 21st Dec 2014 read more »
An unidentified drone has been spotted hovering over a Belgian Nuclear power plant, prompting an investigation. The Doel nuclear plant has just been repaired and reopened after an incident considered to be sabotage caused millions in damages. “We can confirm that the East Flanders prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into a drone flight over the Doel nuclear plant,” a spokesman for the investigation told Belga news agency.
Russia Today 22nd Dec 2014 read more »
The third international conference on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons has ended with a pledge to press for the abolition of nuclear weapons at next year’s Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. More than 150 governments were represented at the conference, which took place in Vienna on December 8 and 9. Delegations from four of the nine countries with nuclear weapons – the USA, UK, India and Pakistan – attended and delegates from 45 governments explicitly called for further multilateral negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons.
Nuclear Information Service 20th Dec 2014 read more »
In documents developed by Los Alamos atomic weapons centre in New Mexico, nuclear missiles are cited as our only defence against the growing threat of meteors and asteroids. Last week, scientists at the centre, explained how the threat of an asteroid impact is far greater than had been previously acknowledged. Experts said that further research is required in order to determine the best method to destroy or deflect them.
Express 21st Dec 2014 read more »
IB Times 21st Dec 2014 read more »
South Korea’s nuclear plant operator is to conduct drills testing its ability to withstand a cyber-attack, after a data leak and threats from a hacker. Last week, designs and manuals of plant equipment owned by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co (KHNP) were put online by an unknown individual or group. A threat was made that unless three reactors were closed by Christmas, people should “stay away” from them. KHNP said the leaked data did not undermine the safety of the reactors. KHNP, the sole nuclear operator in Korea, is part of the state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. In a statement, the operator said it would conduct a series of large-scale drills at four nuclear power plant complexes on Monday and Tuesday.
BBC 22nd Dec 2014 read more »
ITV 22nd Dec 2014 read more »
Seoul prosecutors have launched an investigation into a leak of non-critical data at South Korea’s nuclear power operator, the prosecutors’ office said on Sunday, as worries mount about nuclear safety and potential cyberattacks from North Korea. An official with the prosecutors’ office confirmed media reports that they had traced the location of an IP address linked to the leak and had dispatched investigators to the site.
Reuters 21st Dec 2014 read more »
Computer systems at South Korea’s nuclear plant operator have been hacked, but only non-critical data has been lost and there is no risk to the safety of nuclear installations, the company and the government said on Monday.
Irish Times 22nd Dec 2014 read more »
US – Radwaste
A government report on radioactive waste storage at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, which was released Tuesday, has prompted a call for the Department of Energy to take corrective action within the next three months. The call to action was prompted by the Government Accountability Office report that says the condition of 177 radioactive waste tanks at the facility is deteriorating faster than previously expected. Problems have been detected in both the older single-walled tanks and the newer double-walled tanks, the federal watchdog agency reported. Some of the tanks were constructed more than seventy years ago. Put into use in the 1940s, they long ago surpassed their original life expectancy, The New York Times reported. The GAO report says that 14 of the single-shell tanks – the older model tanks – are currently experiencing water intrusion from rain or ground water and that one of them is leaking at a rate of 640 gallons per year, which is a faster rate then previously realized.
Nuclear Street 18th Dec 2014 read more »
Politics may tip the balance as Russia’s Rosatom Corp. and France’s Areva SA (AREVA) prepare to battle it out for South Africa’s planned nuclear-energy project that could cost $100 billion. “Geopolitical and industrial relations between South Africa and the nuclear-vendor countries will play an important role,” Des Muller, the head of Johannesburg-based building company Group Five Ltd.’s nuclear construction division, said in an e-mailed response to questions Dec. 17. “It does with all major infrastructure projects and more so on nuclear infrastructures where reliance on nuclear safety and construction knowhow is paramount.”
Bloomberg 22nd Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
SolarAid has made a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to building the alliance to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020. We’re already driving several initiatives to unite the off-grid lighting sector and our goal is to encourage multiple organisations to enter the market.
Solar Aid (accessed) 22nd Dec 2014 read more »
“Cut your customers’ energy use, year on year” should be the simple and sole focus of the next energy saving obligation the Government sets for energy suppliers from 2017. This approach will reduce costs on fuel bills and increase the effectiveness of other vital energy policy measures, while helping energy suppliers adjust commercially to the low carbon, low energy demand future which is the central goal of UK energy policy. This is the principal conclusion of a new independent study by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), funded by energy supplier SSE. The report (including Policy Makers’ Summary) is now available to download on CSE’s website. The ‘Average Customer Consumption Reduction Obligation’ (ACCRO) is proposed as the replacement for the current Energy Company Obligation (ECO), the latest in a long line of increasingly complex and costly domestic energy saving obligations imposed on energy suppliers by successive governments over the last 20 years.
CSE 21st Dec 2014 read more »