ITALY, which last week decided to embrace nuclear power two decades after a public referendum banned nuclear power and deactivated all its reactors, could be just the first of several European countries to reverse its stance on nuclear power, a leading industry group has said. Ian Hore-Lacey, spokesman for the London-based World Nuclear Association, said: “Italy has had the most dramatic, the most public turnaround, but the sentiments against nuclear are reversing very quickly all across Europe.” When asked which nations were likely to join Britain and France as major producers of nuclear power, he replied: “Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Germany and more.”
Scotland on Sunday 25th May 2008 more >>
Robot submarines are to be used to sweep particles of plutonium and other radioactive materials from the seabed near one of Britain’s biggest nuclear plants in one of the most delicate clean-up operations ever in this country. Each submersible will be fitted with a Geiger counter and will crisscross the sea floor to pinpoint every deadly speck close to Dounreay on Scotland’s north coast before lifting each particle and returning it to land for safe storage.
Observer 25th May 2008 more >>
Wind turbines are replacing pitheads in providing Wales with power, as its valleys turn green again. With energy prices scaling record heights, the principality is preparing to lead Britain out of the carbon age. Wales will this week become the first country in the world formally to report on the growth of its “ecological footprint” – the measure of its impact on the planet’s resources. Wales aims for renewables, including tidal power from the Severn Barrage, to provide all its electricity by 2020; by comparison, Westminster’s target for the country as a whole – which it is not expected to meet – is just 40 per cent. Already, 90 per cent of the energy used by the Welsh Assembly Government’s buildings comes from renewables, as does nine-tenths of the electricity used by the NHS in the principality. The Welsh administration – a coalition between Labour and Plaid Cymru – says it “sees no need for nuclear new-build in Wales” in direct defiance of Gordon Brown’s determination to press ahead with it nationwide. Wales wants all new buildings to be carbon neutral by 2011, years ahead of nationwide targets.
Independent on Sunday 25th May 2008 more >>
Work on Britain’s Trident nuclear warhead programme was suspended for much of the last year due to wide-ranging safety fears, it has been disclosed. Following suspension of work at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield in Berkshire last July, when flooding increased the risk of fire at the plant, concerns about on-site safety became so acute that a decision was taken in the autumn to stop all live nuclear work on missile warheads. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) insisted last year that AWE had to improve safety otherwise it would not issue a new licence for live work on nuclear warheads. In an official report the watchdog said it was concerned the risk of an accident at Burghfield was not ‘as low as reasonably practicable’ in a quarter of its inspection targets. The plant’s operator then took the unprecedented decision to halt work until last month.
Observer 25th May 2008 more >>
A mission to find the lost wreck of the Titanic was actually a cover story for inspecting the wrecks of two nuclear submarines, the man who discovered the famous liner has revealed.
Mail Online 24th May 2008 more >>
SCOTTISH AND Southern Energy will demonstrate its independent strengths on Thursday as market operators speculate on a further round of industry consolidation to follow the current auction for control of British Energy. The Perth group’s shares soared in heavy turnover last week on rumours that the German RWE or another of its Continental rivals could be tempted to swoop as part of a global rationalisation drive that has also seen the American NRG Energy group post a multi-billion dollar bid for Calpine Corporation. But SSE’s chief executive Ian Marchant is determined to show that his group is already a clear winner from current turbulent energy markets, with news of a lift in earnings before interest and tax from £1.18 billion to about £1.3bn, and could reward shareholders with another double-digit rise in dividend payments.
Sunday Herald 25th May 2008 more >>