BRITAIN’S nuclear plants are at risk from a terrorist strike by unmanned drone aircraft. Such an attack could kill tens of thousands of people, a Government adviser has warned. But authorities are “burying their heads in the sand,” according to John Large. His call for an urgent security overhaul comes as fi gures showed nuclear power plants suffered 37 security breaches last year – the highest numberalso been breached a dozen times since 2011, including by at least one drone. Islamic State terrorists have already recruited chemical weapons specialists and counterterrorism experts say they are intent on building a “dirty bomb”. Last night Mr Large, a nuclear engineer who has carried out work for Britain’s Atomic Energy Authority, demanded a major exercise to test the resilience of the nation’s power stations against acts of terrorism. Mr Large, who has advised the French government after a growing number of mysterious unmanned flights over that country’s nuclear plants, said drones also pose a risk to the UK’s 16 operational reactors.
Express 22nd Feb 2015 read more »
THE first nuclear power station to be built in the UK for 30 years has hit another delay on its long route to construction. EDF Energy, the French energy company behind the Hinkley Point C nuclear project, has admitted it will not meet the March 2015 deadline for the final investment decision on the £16billion project.
This is the West County 20th Feb 2015 read more »
Austria’s proposed legal action against the European Commission over its approval of the UK’s plans to subsidise the construction and operation of the 3.3 GW Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant threatens to delay a cornerstone of the UK’s energy policy – and could open up opportunities for gas-fired power. Some argue the action has merit. “The support to the construction and operation of the Hinkley C project is of an unprecedented nature and scale and, in a way, one may say that a taboo has been lifted,” Marianne Clayton, a state aid lawyer and partner at Clayton & Segura, told Interfax. The EU’s environmental and energy aid guidelines for 2014-2020, adopted in July 2014, did not include rules for subsidies for nuclear energy – which are assessed on a case-by-case basis by the commission’s Directorate General for Competition. But Austria sees Hinkley Point as a precedent, according to Mark Johnston, senior adviser at the European Policy Centre. “If the Hinkley decision stands it will be copied elsewhere, including in states neighbouring Austria – Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and perhaps others. The ECJ verdict will be a test case for all of Europe,” Johnston told Interfax.
Natural Gas Daily 20th Feb 2015 read more »
On Wednesday the House of Lords under the Chair of Baroness Verma will be discussing in Grand Committee in the Moses Room at 3.45pm the plan to push through legislation that will remove our right, and the right of Cumbria County Council, to object to burying radioactive waste underground. This would potentially be at levels where fresh water circulates. They hope to do this by 2016 by adding geological disposal facilities (GDFs) to the list of NSIPs (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects). NSIP forces through the government’s plans for New Nuclear by denying communities the voice usually afforded to them via public inquiries.
Radiation Free Lakeland 21st Feb 2015 read more »
Letter: The decision to extend the evacuation zone around Sellafield has gone some way in persuading me that perhaps the decades of neglect and inertia involving the A595 is not just based on simple ‘cock-up’ theory but is deliberate – i.e. a shadowy ‘conspiracy’ on that part of the establishment responsible for Disaster Planning. Part of a long-standing scheme to contain and isolate a potential crisis area (if it is true, as we are told, that Sellafield is the most hazardous nuclear site in the Western world). Essentially there are but two routes out of the area – both via the existing bottle-necked A595 – either north or south. Uncontrolled panic evacuation is not an option, but when it does – if it does – happen, then the beleagured population of West Cumbria can be strictly contained (so as not to spread alarm and despondency throughout Northwest England and Southwest Scotland) by a few simple road blocks set up by the police – as we witnessed a few short years ago when Derrick Bird rampaged through the area. I would wager that such a containment plan already exists. Do not place any bets on the A595 being widened, improved or up-graded in the next decade or two.
Whitehaven News 19th Feb 2015 read more »
With shadow chancellor Ed Balls’ recent comment, suggesting how people should keep their household accounts, a question springs to mind. When Sellafield received a £700,000 fine for illegal dumping in 2013 andlost a subsequent appeal, did anybody actually wonder if the fine was ever paid? Where did the money actually came from and where it went? Is there a publicly available audit trail? We have been following the problems, at what was the only working GDF (Geological Disposal Facility) in the world, at the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) in Carlsbad, New Mexico. A year ago, a drum containing waste packed inorganic cat litter, leaked, contaminating nearly two dozen WIPP workers with low levels of radiation. WIPP isn’t expected to start reopening until next year and getting the facility back in operation is projected to cost a half-billion dollars.
Cumbria Trust 21st Feb 2015 read more »
US – radwaste
The federal Department of Energy is taking the position that any state fines it pays for a radioactive leak at the nation’s nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad will come from money appropriated to clean up decades’ worth of contamination from nuclear weapons work in New Mexico. “Any fines and penalties assessed on the EM (environmental management) program would be provided by cleanup dollars, resulting in reduced funding for cleanup activities,” says a 2016 budget year summary presented earlier this month by DOE’s Office of Environmental Management.
Albuquerque Journal 21st Feb 2015 read more »
The U.S. Department of Energy seems to have forgotten one very significant fact: New Mexico has willingly played host to the nation’s only underground, permanent nuclear waste dump for nearly 16 years. And not only that, the state had expressed interest in expanding it until federal contractors through sloppy oversight allowed a major permit violation to occur. A year ago on Valentine’s Day, radiation from a drum containing mixed radioactive waste in the 2,150-foot deep underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad made its way into surface air, contaminating nearly two dozen workers with low levels of radiation and indefinitely shutting down the repository, built at a cost of about $2 billion. WIPP says there were no serious health impacts.
Albuquerque Journal 22nd Feb 2015 read more »
Cumbria Trust 22nd Feb 2015 read more »
Four of the UK government’s top Trident officials held a meeting to discuss “maritime programme shaping” just three days before the independence referendum on 18 September, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). A list of meetings disclosed under freedom of information law also reveals that two days later on the eve of the referendum, one of the officials met with a senior policy advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street. The revelations have been seized on by the Scottish National Party (SNP) as evidence that Westminster did consider the fate of the Trident nuclear weapons system in the event of a Yes vote – something that the MoD has always denied. SNP policy was to rid Scotland of Trident as soon as possible after independence.
Sunday Herald 22nd Feb 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
A businessman who installed solar panels on the roof of his salon to improve his carbon footprint, has been told his business rates may now increase due to his investment.
Lancashire Evening Post 21st Feb 2015 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Plans to build the world’s first ‘tidal lagoon’ in Swansea Bay have suffered a setback after influential consumer charity Citizens Advice said the project was “appalling value for money” and should not receive subsidies. Ministers are preparing to begin formal bilateral negotiations with developers over the proposed green energy scheme – a £1bn, six-mile sea wall with turbines to harness the power of the tide, which has already been included in the National Infrastructure Plan. Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay is thought to be seeking a guaranteed subsidised price of about £168 for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity it generates over a 35-year period – almost four times the current market price of power. But Citizens Advice has said that the plan would “squander” billpayers’ cash, leaving them paying a higher price for electricity than from any other major UK green project to date. New offshore wind farms are offered about £140/MWh while onshore wind gets about £90/MWh, both for 15-year periods.
Telegraph 21st Feb 2015 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Fears that offshore wind farm subsidies awarded without competition were too generous set to be confirmed as result of competitive auction comes in cheaper. They were hailed by the Government as “a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom”: five big new offshore wind farm projects, awarded £12 billion in subsidy contracts less than a year ago. But this week, evidence is expected to emerge that the prices handed to the projects were too generous – saddling consumers with millions of pounds in needlessly high energy bill levies for 15 years to come. The National Audit Office, Competition and Markets Authority and Public Accounts Committee have already warned that ministers may have signed consumers up to a bad deal because the contracts were awarded last April without proper competition. On Thursday, ministers are expected to prove the point when they announce subsidies for another big offshore wind farm that was subject to competition – and that senior wind industry figures say will inevitably be cheaper as a result.
Telegraph 21st Feb 2015 read more »
Ed Miliband: he general election means 2015 is a critical year for Britain. It is also a critical year for the world on climate change. Within months of Britain voting, the UN is holding a summit in Paris to agree a binding global agreement to tackle climate change. But there is a real danger that this great chance to achieve action is going to slip by, without the world even noticing. That might suit some politicians at home but it will be a disaster for our country and the world. Over recent months the EU, the US and, most importantly, China, have all made substantial commitments to cut the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. They represent important progress but we need to challenge every country to be as ambitious as possible. Because even if agreement can be achieved, it may not be enough to address the scale of the challenge we face. This would make it all the more likely that we will not do what is necessary to meet our obligations to future generations.
Observer 21st Feb 2015 read more »
One of Britain’s leading environmental entrepreneurs, Jeremy Leggett, is setting up a “club” of companies that will reserve five per cent of their profits for causes that fight climate change and alleviate global poverty. Mr Leggett, who has advised the World Economic Forum on green energy, said that he has already had unsolicited emails of interest from a dozen companies, including some of the biggest in the US, interested in the 5 per cent For-Climate-and-Development Club, which will be launched later this year.
Independent 22nd Feb 2015 read more »