The Treasury is refusing to hand over nearly £7 billion from the sale of British Energy to the Energy Department, even though the cash pile is earning such meagre returns that future generations may be forced to pick up the nuclear generators huge decommissioning bill. The Nuclear Liabilities Fund was set up by the Government to cover the cost of decommissioning British Energys eight reactors. All of the states shares in the generator were sold by January 2009, producing £6.8 billion for the fund. But because three of the funds five trustees are appointed by the Government, and because DECC ultimately underwrites it, the fund is classified as a public sector body. That means the Treasury has been able to hoard the cash in the public sector account, despite protests from the energy department and the Public Accounts Committee. Leaving the money there helps to reduce the deficit, but brings in a return of only about 0.5 per cent. The nuclear funds chairman believes the trust should be able to make long-term higher return investments to match liabilities that will stretch beyond 100 years in a similar way to sovereign wealth funds. The funds total assets are £8.5 billion, just over double its current estimated decommissioning liabilities. But decommissioning costs have been above inflation for several years, and huge uncertainty remains over how much the work will cost in the decades ahead.
Times 23rd May 2011 more >>
Ant-nuclear campaigners have this week released a new study showing the effects of a hige tsunami hitting Hinkley Point power station.
Burnham-on-sea.com 21st May 2011 more >>
Letter: The opposition to MOX fuel overlooks the fact that we need to get rid of military plutonium from nuclear warheads. A significant proportion of US electricity is made from Russian warheads. The same technology can turn the Sellafield plutonium into carbon-free energy equivalent to 600 million tonnes of coal. But, given the record at Sellafield, maybe we should put the French in charge of the project. MOX may be more expensive than mined uranium, but this will not remain true if there is an expansion of nuclear energy. Peak oil will soon present us with the choice of expanding nuclear energy or facing a medieval standard of living.
Independent 23rd May 2011 more >>
The biggest drop in prices of uranium in two years may be ending as China and India plan atomic power developments that will more than double global production even after Japans nuclear disaster. The radioactive metal has slumped 8.7 percent this year, the most since 2009, after tumbling as much as 27 percent as governments reviewed nuclear plants following the Japanese crisis in March, according to prices from MF Global Holdings Inc. China and India will lead a 46 percent increase in consumption by the worlds five biggest atomic-power developers by 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Bloomberg 23rd May 2011 more >>
About 20,000 people took part in an anti-nuclear demonstration in north Switzerland on Sunday ahead of a government decision on the future of atomic energy in the country. “At least 20,000” protesters joined the march near the town of Doettingen and the Beznau nuclear power plant, Switzerland’s oldest, police and organisers said. “It’s the biggest demonstration in Switzerland against nuclear power since the Fukushima accident (in Japan),” spokeswoman for “Sortons du nuclaire” Maude Poirier told AFP. “These thousands of people who have come are sending a strong signal to the Swiss authorities.
AFP 22nd May 2011 more >>
Leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea agreed on weekend to facilitate joint programs on renewable energy and energy conservation to avoid excessive dependence on nuclear energy even as they recognize nuclear power as a very important option for many countries.
IB Times 23rd May 2011 more >>
Members of an International Atomic Energy Agency investigation team arrived Monday morning in Japan to conduct fact-finding and assess safety issues at the radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Nikkei 23rd May 2011 more >>
Since 2006, Watanabe has been traveling across the country surveying nuclear power stations built near fault lines. He describes his findings as follows: The length of an active fault line is a direct factor in the severity of an earthquake. When assessing a site for a new plant, power companies, in order to make the impact of potential earthquakes seem as low as possible, will (on paper) divide a fault line into two or more segments. The nuclear power industry even has its own technical term for it: value-cutting. It seems unthinkable, and yet its surprisingly common. Prime Minister Naoto Kan, with much fanfare, issued on May 6 an unprecedented request to Chubu Electric Power Co to shut down its nuclear power plant at Hamaoka, Shizuoka Prefecture. The request, though not legally binding, was complied with. How, under the circumstances, could Chubu Electric refuse? If Hamaoka is hit by an earthquake-tsunami event approaching in scale the one that in Fukushima Prefecture is making nonsense of decades of blithe official assurances that nuclear power is safe and seismologists rate at 87 percent the chance of a major quake occurring near Hamaoka within the next 30 years Tokyo itself, the heart and lungs of Japan, would suffer what much of Tohoku is now suffering.Its not just Hamaoka, says Watanabe, the Toyo University geologist who describes himself, incidentally, as not anti-nuclear. To keep running Japans nuclear power plants in their current condition is a terrifying prospect. To start with, all nuclear plants near active fault lines need to be shut down.
Japan Today 22nd May 2011 more >>
A secret report compiled by Iranian nuclear scientists delivered a stark warning that a future earthquake could have devastating consequences for Iran’s nuclear plant in the Gulf port of Bushehr. “The seismic danger to Iran and its implications for the reactor in Bushehr could be disastrous for Iran, similar to the disaster in Fukushima, Japan,” states the report, which was commissioned shortly after the Japanese reactor was crippled by the tsunami on March 11. But nuclear experts advising the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna report that Iran is pressing ahead with plans to start operating the reactor.
Telegraph 22nd May 2011 more >>
Securing investment, jobs and prospects for the next generation requires boldness. The Committee on Climate Changes recent Renewable Energy Market Review reflects a lack of commitment by the UK Government that could suffocate the renewables industry in its infancy. The CCC report says: The precise level of appropriate ambition will become clear over time. But we do not have the luxury of time, politically or environmentally. Someone needs to make long-term decisions on where we invest resources, talents and energy to halt climate change and keep the lights on. Last week, Denmarks Vestas announced 2000 jobs at its new UK offshore turbine blade factor, with the caveat: Policy uncertainty may kill it off … the likely scale of investment in the less mature renewable technologies (eg offshore wind, marine) during the 2020s is very uncertain [reflecting] the lack of policy co mmitment to providing support for new investments beyond 2020. If this Coalition Government fails to put its eggs in the renewables basket today it will rob the UK of the biggest job opportunities for decades. Only certainty will ensure we have the workforce capable of creating, growing and sustaining the sector.
Sunday Herald 22nd May 2011 more >>