Tony Roulstone MA CEng FIMechE MIET is delivering a lecture tomorrow entitled Fukushima new wine in old wineskins? Taking place at IMechE, central London, the free lecture is based on the premise that events at Fukushima have cast doubts over the inevitability of a nuclear renaissance. The events publicity material states: The scale of the accident, involving multiple reactors and the way it ran across the global news for weeks has challenged the idea that the nuclear industry has learned the lessons and is now a safe-and-sound means of generating electricity. Roulstones talk will focus of what went wrong at Fukushima and the response from Japanese authorities, moving on to consider whether the effects of the accident might be felt more by old reactors such as those at Fukushima, or newer ones such as those planned to be built in the UK.
The Engineer 23rd May 2011 more >>
Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, has warned that an energy policy founded on nuclear will saddle future generations with a costly debt. Speaking during a special European Greens press briefing on the implications of the Committee for Climate Change’s Renewable Energy Review, the Green MEP argued that the Whitehall preference of nuclear energy places the UK in grave danger of missing out on the economic and environmental benefits that the renewable sector has to offer. Lambert, who is currently involved in new European legislation on nuclear waste management said:
News on news 23rd May 2011 more >>
Senior IChemE members have welcomed a new interim report about the implications of the nuclear crisis in Japan and its impact on the UK nuclear industry. The report, conducted by Michael Weightman, HM chief inspector of nuclear installations, says that there is no need to restrict UK nuclear power following incidents earlier this year at the Fukushima site. Weightman describes the threat of earthquakes and tsunamis like those experienced in Japan as far beyond the most extreme natural events likely to be experienced in the UK but does call for revaluation of existing plant safety systems. The report says that there is no need to change the present siting strategies for new nuclear power stations in the UK but for those sites with a flooding risk, detailed consideration may require changes to plant layout and the provision of particular protection against flooding. Bill Harper, Chair of IChemEs nuclear technology subject group says: The interim report is a substantial and authoritative piece of work, especially impressive given the short timescales.
Process and Control Today 23rd May 2011 more >>
Electricity Market Reform
The government will introduce a carbon floor price of £16 per tonne from 2013, with the aim of encouraging low-carbon forms of electricity generation, particularly nuclear power. However, the first new reactor will not come into service until 2018. As for why the government was introducing this measure five years earlier, Mr Cridland said: The answer is because we need the revenues to bring down the deficit … We need to start the carbon floor price late and low. Instead were starting it high and early.
FT 23rd May 2011 more >>
Plans being developed to deal with nuclear waste at Hinkley Point A in west Somerset will see radioactive gas and liquid released into the sea. The power station began decommissioning in 2001 and is working on a system to put “intermediate” waste in vats of acid to reduce it down. Magnox, the company that manages the site, said there would be no risk to public health or the environment. But a nuclear expert questioned the controls in place at Hinkley Point. Magnox said the process of dissolving materials in acid would give off gas and produce liquid that was radioactive, however those releases would be very low and cause no harm.
BBC 23rd May 2011 more >>
THE Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan will not stop the progression of new nuclear power stations in the UK, including a proposed second plant at Oldbury. An interim report into the events at the Japanese nuclear plant has made 25 recommendations that existing and future nuclear power plants need to consider, and has said stations can continue to operate.
Gloucestershire Gazette 23rd May 2011 more >>
The operator of a damaged nuclear power station in north-eastern Japan said Tuesday a partial fuel meltdown was believed to have taken place at two more reactors at the plant. The latest update suggested that three of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant were believed to have suffered fuel meltdowns after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant.
Monsters and Critics 24th May 2011 more >>
BBC 24th May 2011 more >>
The government has discovered thousands of cases of workers at nuclear power plants outside Fukushima Prefecture suffering from internal exposure to radiation after they visited the prefecture, the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.
Mainichi 21st May 2011 more >>
Japan is considering a plan that would make it compulsory for all new buildings and houses to come fitted with solar panels by 2030, a business daily said Sunday. The plan, expected to be unveiled at the upcoming G8 Summit in France, aims to show Japan’s resolve to encourage technological innovation and promote the wider use of renewable energy, the Nikkei daily said.
AFP 22nd May 2011 more >>
Outraged Japanese parents have held a rowdy demonstration outside the Education Ministry in Tokyo, to protest against the government’s decision to weaken nuclear safety standards in schools. Under the new guidelines, Japanese children can now be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously permissible. The government argues the new rules are essential to keeping schools in the Fukushima region from being forced to close.
ABC 24th May 2011 more >>
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has asked the state audit office to perform a detailed study on nuclear plant costs including those for decommissioning and waste storage. In a letter published Sunday, Fillon asked the Cour des Comptes to complete the report by January 31, 2012. The study on long-term costs associated with nuclear power would supplement a separate report by the nuclear regulator ASN on the safety of plants following Japan’s Fukushima disaster, which is to be completed by the end of this year, Fillon said.
Platts 23rd May 2011 more >>
Critics of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission received fresh ammunition on Thursday when the agency revealed that many of the nation’s aging nuclear power plants would be ill-equipped to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters. The revelation stood in direct contrast to repeated statements made by the agency — and by the nuclear power industry — in the days and weeks following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. It suffered a partial meltdown, resulting in a massive release of radiation that is still not under control.
Huffington Post 13th May 2011 more >>
Phasing out nuclear power in the next decade could boost competitiveness and reap enormous pay-offs for the economy, Germanys environment minister has claimed in a powerful snub to critics. Energy generators and industry more widely have warned of price surges and the potential deindustrialisation of Europes largest economy.
FT 23rd May 2011 more >>
Germany could face widespread winter blackouts following Angela Merkel’s “knee-jerk” decision to decommission the country’s nuclear power stations, according to German power grid operators. The warning from four energy providers came after the German chancellor suggested she agreed with a proposal to shut down all of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants by 2022.
Guadian 23rd May 2011 more >>
Around 25,000 people joined Switzerland’s biggest anti-nuclear demonstration in a generation on Sunday, waving banners emblazoned with “No thanks to nuclear” and “The future is renewable.”
Morning Star 23rd May 2011 more >>
VETERANS of nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s have been offered hope after the Supreme Court set aside a full day to hear an appeal against a legal setback to their battle for compensation.
Hemel Today 23rd May 2011 more >>
Green Investment Bank
The UK’s green investment bank will be investing in UK low-carbon infrastructure projects within a year, and is expected to have assisted in injecting £15bn into the green economy within four years, Nick Clegg told a City of London audience on Monday. Green investors, businesses and campaigners welcomed the announcements, which met most of the criteria they had set out for a fully functioning green bank. Ed Matthew, director of Transform UK, a green campaigning organisation, said: “Confirmation of legislation and full, independent borrowing powers is a major step forward. It is absolutely critical to ensure the bank is an enduring institution, operationally independent and able to maximise its leverage from the capital markets. It will give a real boost to investor confidence in the institution.” In a further boost to green campaigners, the bank may be used to help finance the green deal scheme, by which householders will have access to loans to carry out energy efficiency refurbishment, paying back the loans in instalments through their energy bills. Campaigners had warned that the green deal would not work if private sector providers were able to charge commercial rates of interest on the loans, as the interest payments would outweigh the savings on energy bills.
Guardian 23rd May 2011 more >>