Irish Green party politician Mark Dearey has called for a debate over plans to build a string of next generation nuclear power stations along Britain’s west coast amid concerns over possible design faults. Senator Dearey, speaking in the Irish parliament he called for a house debate and investigation by the nuclear safety watchdog the UK Nuclear Installations Inspectorate into “the assertion that this reactor design is fundamentally unsafe”. The minister spoke after French anti-nuclear campaigners claimed to have unearthed confidential documents leaked by an insider at French electricity company EDF showing tests on third-generation reactors show defects that could lead to “Chernobyl-type accident”.
Edie 23rd March 2010 more >>
Alistair Darling will place nuclear and wind power today at the heart of efforts to lead Britain into sustained growth as he sets out the choices voters face in the coming election. The Chancellor will use the Budget to try to “unlock private sector investment” to boost jobs and help to harness the energy sources of the future. He will seek to use government support for private companies as a key election dividing line, portraying Labour as safe custodians of a recovery that is as yet too fragile to trust to the Conservatives. One of the main thrusts of Mr Darling’s pre-election statement will be to promise a range of inducements where government will act as a catalyst for private sector projects.
Times 24th March 2010 more >>
Alistair Darling’s proposed eco-bank is meant to be big enough to make headline news on Budget day, but a capitalisation of £2bn (of which half is public money)? That’s a drop in the green ocean. In these days of throwaway nine-zero figures, £2bn will only buy two-thirds of a nuclear power station and we’re going to need ten of them. Then there’s the two giant wind turbines that will need to be installed off the UK’s coast every day for the next decade, a raft of gas-fired power stations to back them up and some hi-tech clean coal plants costing more than £1bn each that haven’t even been invented yet.
Telegraph 24th March 2010 more >>
The most recent example of Labour’s new found taste for market intervention came earlier this week with the announcement that Sheffield Forgemasters would be given an £80m government loan to build parts for Britain’s next generation of nuclear power stations. Forget the size of the loan for a moment. The significance is the government’s investment to help steer a traditional industry into a new market – new nuclear. So perhaps here is the most fertile – the most likely – ground for the chancellor to be seen to, as he put it, “lay the foundations for growth”. There has been speculation that Mr Darling will create a new £1bn fund for bio-tech and green-tech industries. The question is what will this industrial activism mean for East Anglia? The region is well placed to exploit the economic potential of green energy by virtue of the multi-million pound programme of offshore wind farm construction a few miles of the East Anglian coast? But regional and local authorities all the way up to the North East – dare I say with a higher proportion of Labour MPs – are making a similar case for support. However, a new nuclear power station, Sizewell C, looks likely at Leiston, with the potential to create thousands of jobs during the construction phase alone.
Eastern Daily Press 24th March 2010 more >>
Letter Dr Gerry Wolff: The suggestion that “40 new nuclear power stations” might be needed to meet climate targets (report, March 18) is out of step with several published reports. Research in Scientific American shows that renewables can meet 100 per cent of the world’s energy needs, not just electricity, and that it is technically feasible to do it by 2030. The US National Academy of Sciences published a report last year showing that wind power could supply more than 40 times current worldwide consumption of electricity, and more than five times total global use of energy in all forms. A consortium of blue-chip companies, the Desertec Industrial Initiative, has been formed to develop the colossal potential of solar and wind power in desert regions. It aims to supply 15 per cent of Europe’s electricity demand by 2050. Nuclear power is one of the most expensive ways of generating electricity.
Telegraph 24th March 2010 more >>
The Government’s sale of British Energy to France’s EDF was a good price but a bad deal, an influential committee of MPs will conclude this morning. The state received 4.4bn for its 36 per cent stake of the nuclear operator out of a total 12.5bn price tag thanks to peak energy prices at the time of the contract, says the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). But the deal has done little to address the danger of energy shortages from 2016 as demand rises and obsolete power stations are retired.
Independent 24th Mar 2010 more >>
In an extremely critical report, the Public Accounts Committee attacked the Government’s failure to get a guarantee from EDF that it would build nuclear stations without subsidy when selling its 36pc stake in January 2009 for £4.4bn. The cross-party group of MPs, which holds government spending to account, criticised the “systemic weakness” at the heart of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and its approach to risk that could cause “serious liabilities to fall to the public purse”.
Telegraph 24th Mar 2010 more >>
National Policy Statements
A critical report on the Government’s attempt to rush through plans to build new nuclear power stations in West Cumbria and other UK sites is published today by the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change. The National Policy Statements (NPS) launched by Government for public consultation on 9th November 2009, already highly criticised by consultees for their complexity and the short timescale for consultation, have been similarly criticised by the Committee who noted a range of significant concerns about the Government’s consultation process and advised that the NPS ‘must be improved if they are to serve their purpose successfully’ .
CORE Press Release 23rd Mar 2010 more >>
The government’s consultation into the draft energy NPSs failed to adequately engage the public while the statements themselves contain significant flaws, a report has claimed today. The report, by the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, says the late publication of the NPSs constrained the time available for parliamentary scrutiny and public engagement, particularly in relation to greenfield nuclear sites. The Committee calls for a debate on an amendable motion, offering the possibility of a vote, preferably before the end of the current Parliament, or at the earliest opportunity in the next Parliament.
Planning 22nd March 2010 more >>
Government plans to hold Britain’s nuclear waste in storage for 160 years before burying it permanently underground were condemned as “bizarre” yesterday. Paddy Tipping, acting chairman of the Parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee, made the remarks as the cross-party group published a highly critical report on the Government’s handling of recent UK energy policy. He said that the Department for Energy and Climate Change had failed to consult MPs or the public properly on a range of matters, including the handling of spent nuclear fuel, and he called for a full parliamentary vote, preferably before the general election that is expected on May 6. Mr Tipping told The Times it was “rather odd” that Britain was pressing ahead with a fleet of new nuclear reactors the first of which is due to enter service in 2017 at Hinkley Point in Somerset with only a vague idea of what would happen to their waste. “It’s really not good planning is it?” he said. “There really needs to be greater debate about this.”
Times 23rd March 2010 more >>
UK lawmakers have heavily criticized the policy statements that the government had hoped would speed up planning decisions on new energy infrastructure. A report published Tuesday by the cross-party House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee calls for parliament to be given a vote on the statements, asks the government to review its projections of future power and gas supplies, and slams the lack of public consultation on the documents. The report may raise concern in the energy industry about the ability of the government to get its new infrastructure planning system in action, raising the possibility of further delay for new nuclear power plants and gas storage facilities.
Platts 23rd March 2010 more >>
There is of course another reason the London parties don’t want the SNP in the leaders debates. They know we offer an alternative to their cosy consensus. A consensus on cuts that will see the pain inflicted this year whether it is Gordon or David in Number 10. The wrong cuts at the wrong time – that is their foolish agenda. A cosy consensus on Trident. The extent of their disagreement is whether we have three new submarines or four new submarines. But we say – no nuclear submarines, no nuclear missiles, no weapons of mass destruction on the River Clyde. Theirs is a consensus on nuclear power. On nuclear dumping.
Independent 22nd March 2010 more >>
The risk of a dirty bomb blast at the London Olympics is a very real danger and intelligence chiefs are working flat out to prevent it, Lord West said. Gaps in the capabilities of the security services have been identified in the first counter-terrorism strategy to prevent a ‘dirty bomb’ attack in the UK.
Metro 23rd Mar 2010 more >>
The last of more than 10,000 drums of Magnox depleted uranium (MDU) has left a nuclear plant being decommissioned. Some 5,000 tonnes of the material was placed in interim storage at the Chapelcross site in Dumfries and Galloway during the 1970s and 1980s. It was identified by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as a “major hazard” at the plant. It has now been transferred to the Capenhurst facility in Cheshire in an operation costing £6.5m.
BBC 24th March 2010 more >>
Horizon is investigating heavy lorry routes on Anglesey.
Horizon Press Release 23rd Mar 2010 more >>
Greenpeace marks World Water Day by reminding us all of the places around the world where drinking water supplies have been put at risk by the nuclear industry.
Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 22nd Mar 2010 more >>
A computer modelling system able to accurately identify areas of high radiation has been used to complete an 18-month characterisation project at the Sellafield nuclear site. The N-Visage technology, funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and developed by REACT Engineering, was used by site engineers to predict potential sources of radiation in the plant’s shear cell, where fuel is sheared prior to being dissolved.
The Engineer 24th Mar 2010 more >>
Article IV of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) recognises the right of the parties to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Civil nuclear power enables developing countries to source the low-carbon energy they need to underpin sustainable development. Nuclear Power is a proven technology which generates low carbon electricity, is affordable, dependable, safe, and capable of increasing diversity of energy supplies. Nuclear power is thus an essential part of any global solution to the challenges of climate change and energy security.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office March 2010 more >>
A startup firm funded in part by Bill Gates is in talks with Toshiba about creating small, efficient, nuclear energy reactors that are fueled not by treacherous uranium-235 or plutonium-239, but by relatively benign uranium-238.
The Register 24th March 2010 more >>
Business Green 24th Mar 2010 more >>
BBC 23rd Mar 2010 more >>
On Wednesday night, in London, there is a rare chance to engage in dialogue with Israelis and Palestinians on the issue of ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons.With a US president who won the century-long battle for universal healthcare in one year, it would be rash to dismiss serious progress towards two of his other stated goals, the Middle East peace process and the abolition of nuclear weapons. On these issues, Bill Clinton’s officials were wont to say “we agree with you, but the time is not right”. Obama seems to follow Franklin Roosevelt’s line of “you’ve convinced me, now pressure me”.
Guardian 24th Mar 2010 more >>
Russia and China have quietly made clear to the Iranian government they want Tehran to change its approach to the nuclear issue and accept a U.N. atomic fuel offer, Western diplomats said on Tuesday.
Reuters 23rd Mar 2010 more >>
The Enel-EDF joint venture Sviluppo Nucleare Italia will propose three sites for potential new nuclear reactor construction by early next year, SNI CEO Francesco de Falco said Monday
Platts 22nd Mar 2010 more >>
The centre-right Swedish government unveiled legislation on 22 March to allow the construction of new nuclear reactors, in a bid to replace the ten ageing ones that still produce about 40% of the country’s electricity. The government’s push to overturn a 30-year-old ban on building new nuclear reactors will test how much green concerns over atomic power still resonate in a modern European country seeking cheap and carbon-free electricity. The context of the move is highly politicised with parliamentary elections due on 19 September.
World Business Council for Sustainable Development 23rd Mar 2010 more >>
Russia’s Volgodonsk nuclear power plant has increased its capacity to 2,000MW after the new 1,000MW unit 2 was brought on line on 18 March. The new unit will work at 35-50pc of capacity until the end of May and will increase its load to 100pc by the end of October, according to state-run nuclear power producer and plant owner Energoatom. Unit 1 of the Volgodonsk plant is operating at 86pc of capacity at present.
Argus Media 23rd Mar 2010 more >>
A public opinion poll in the USA shows that support for the use of nuclear power has reached a record high of over 60%. However, a separate poll of “opinion formers” in the USA and six European countries shows that, while support for nuclear is high, dealing with used nuclear fuel remains a concern.
World Nuclear News 23rd Mar 2010 more >>
Leaving aside the fact that the only way any wind farm would ever hit “full power” was if the UK was buffeted by high winds for an entire year, it is almost certainly the case that some wind farms have performed poorly, just as some nuclear and coal power plants have delivered very low levels of efficiency. But, equally some wind farms will have performed very well, far exceeding average outputs – that after all is how averages work. Why did the Sunday Times fail to offer a more balanced view, providing similarly in-depth information on the wind farms that are working well and delivering an increasing proportion of the UK’s energy mix?
Business Green 22nd March 2010 more >>