Generic Design Assessment
The latest progress report from UK nuclear safety regulators has made the best-case completion of the Generic Design Assessment process seem unlikely. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said detailed examination of the Areva EPR and Westinghouse AP1000 was well underway and making reasonable progress with a rapidly increasing workrate. However, it is facing a deadline of June 2011 when it is meant to issue the most meaningful design acceptance certificates that it can for the reactors. While most plant systems and features have posed no substantial problem, there remain some that could potentially have to be dealt with under separate processes which extend the overall GDA effort beyond June 2011. Regulators remain confident that Areva will be able to demonstrate sufficient independence of safety and operational control and instrumentation in the EPR, saying the company has proposed changes that are expected to lead to an “acceptable position”. For AP1000 there remains a regulatory issue requiring more evidence that civil structures are sufficiently robust and Westinghouse has “a considerable amount of work to do” on the safety case for the control and instrumentation system.
World Nuclear News 23rd June 2010 more >>
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The head of Lancashire’s biggest nuclear operator has said it remains on course to secure a licence for its reactor design in next year. Mike Tynan, chief executive of Westinghouse UK, said that the latest update into the licensing process for its AP1000 reactor threw up “no show-stopper” problems.
Both the AP1000 and its rival, the French-built EPR reactor, are expected to have secured a licence to build in the UK by June 2011.
Lancashire Evening Post 23rd June 2010 more >>
The Treasury promised to deliver wide-ranging energy reforms and publish proposals detailing how it would “reform the climate change levy in order to provide more certainty and support to the carbon price”. It offered no indication on the level at which it would set the carbon price, which is designed to stimulate investment in nuclear and renewable energy, but said that it intended to deliver the required legislation as part of next year’s finance bill.
Business Green 23rd June 2010 more >>
Tuesday’s Budget saw the Government adopt Ofgem’s estimate that the UK must spend £200bn on its power stations and energy infrastructure if it is to keep the lights on with secure, diverse and low carbon sources of energy. At the moment there is not a level playing field, with expensive and inefficient wind power favoured by the renewable obligations regime which discriminates against nuclear. This must be reversed because we need much more nuclear in our energy mix to ensure diversity and security but also the reliability that wind simply can’t offer. And it needs to be done quickly.
Telegraph 24th June 2010 more >>
Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary, warned last night that the threat to gas supplies from the political row between Russia and Belarus highlighted once again the desperate need for Britain to build up a low-carbon energy policy and domestic energy security through new wind farms – and possibly nuclear reactors. The minister sidestepped the question of whether decommissioning work would inevitably be slowed down at sites such as Sellafield, where 1,200 jobs are said by unions to be at risk. It was important to continue with these operations as fast as possible, he argued, without giving details of where the cuts would fall. The budget announcements also included a commitment to a green investment bank, which would help with funding renewable projects, and promises to change the climate change levy so that a floor can be put under the price of carbon.
Guardian 24th June 2010 more >>
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has announced 60 posts will go at its headquarters on the Westlakes Science Park, near Whitehaven. The agency has begun a 30-day consultation with staff and it says it hopes the bulk of the redundancies will be voluntary. The NDA is looking to shed 90 jobs in total: a 30 per cent reduction in its near 300-strong workforce.
NW Evening Mail 23rd June 2010 more >>
BBC 23rd June 2010 more >>
Carlisle News and Star 23rd June 2010 more >>
Whitehaven News 23rd June 2010 more >>
Britain’s nuclear clean-up agency is set to cut a third of its staff and tens of millions of pounds from its £2.7 billion annual budget. Stephen Henwood, chairman of the Nuclear Decomissioning Authority, said the workforce would be cut from 296 to 206 by stripping out unneccessary positions and duplication. Staff at the West Cumbria headquarters were told of the decision yesterday by Tony Fountain, the chief executive.
Times 23rd June 2010 more >>
ENERGY Secretary Chris Huhne last night admitted there was little he could do stop new nuclear power stations like Wylfa B being built. His Liberal Democrat party is opposed to any more reactors. But despite being the man ultimately responsible for signing them off, he said the “overwhelming majority” of Labour and Conservative MPs backed the plans and if private firms could fund them he had “no doubt” they would go ahead. Speaking at a Westminster briefing the Secretary of State insisted the government would now ensure “all of the facilitation needed” would happen.
Daily Post 19th June 2010 more >>
EDF Energy’s Heysham nuclear reactor 2-7 in Britain reduced production on Wednesday morning for planned refuelling, a spokeswoman said.
Yahoo 23rd June 2010 more >>
Safety at the Dounreay nuclear plant continues to improve, according to the bosses of the company leading the clean-up of the Caithness complex. In their annual report, the directors of Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) said no time was lost through accidents between March 2009-10.
They said the low dosages of radiation workers were exposed to also underlined the priority given to safety. Two workers were exposed to radiation last July.
BBC 23rd June 2010 more >>
Vietnam has announced plans to build eight nuclear power plants by 2030 as the rapidly developing country strives to meet rising energy demand. Each plant to be built in central Vietnam will have at least four reactors with a total output of up to 16,000 megawatts over the next two decades.
Morning Star 23rd June 2010 more >>
Iran claimed to have increased the production of a more highly enriched form of uranium on Wednesday, making what appeared to be a new gesture of retaliation against the United Nations’ decision to impose more sanctions. Ali-Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, announced that some 17kg of uranium had been enriched to 20 per cent purity. If confirmed, this would add to fears that Iran is getting closer to acquiring the means to develop a nuclear weapon, which would need uranium enriched to the level of 90 per cent.
FT 24th June 2010 more >>
Letter David Purves: Scotland is burdened with the huge cost of updating the Tridentnuclear missile system. This is a first-strike weapon which targets defenceless civilians in unspecified countries thought to be a possible military threat. Perhaps we should know which countries are supposed to be being deterred from attacking us.
Scotsman 24th June 2010 more >>
Chris Huhne will promise today to put a £90bn domestic energy efficiency programme at the heart of the government’s agenda saying that thousands of jobs will be created as 14m houses are given a complete overhaul to drastically cut energy demand, reduce power bills and lower carbon emissions. New legislation to enable the mass retro-fitting of homes will allow energy companies, local authorities and even high street stores to spend as much as £6,500 insulating millions of Britain’s most energy-wasteful homes. The money spent would be claimed back from savings made in bills with householders not having to pay anything directly.
Guardian 24th June 2010 more >>
Britain’s hydro-power plant capacity may treble by 2020 as electricity producers make use of government incentives for renewable energy, the Environment Agency said yesterday.
The number of hydro-electric power plants in Britain is likely to rise from 400 today to 1,200 by 2020. The agency has already approved 29 hydro-power generation licences in Britain this year and is analysing another 166 applications. It said it had identified about 4,000 locations that could accommodate hydroelectric power plants. Britain’s installed pumped storage and simple hydro-electric capacity is about 4,000MW, roughly that of four large nuclear power stations.
Independent 24th June 2010 more >>