Plans by E.ON and RWE to build new nuclear reactors in Britain are in limbo because of the backlash against nuclear power in Germany after the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdown, The Times has learnt. Bankers and industry sources also said that the cash-strapped RWE would struggle to fund its share of the multibillion-pound programme even if it went ahead. Horizon, the British new-build joint venture set up by the two German companies, had been due to award the contract to build its first reactors on Anglesey early this year. Work is still under way to assess competing bids from two consortiums, fronted by the reactor groups Areva and Westinghouse, to build them. But a decision is now not expected this year, according to several sources. One source close to RWEs supervisory board, whose approval is necessary for strategic moves, said that the contract would not be awarded in the next three to six months, at the earliest. The source said that taking such steps to build new reactors overseas while the industry was under a cloud in Germany would be seen domestically as politically provocative. there is fierce lobbying going on behind the scenes directed at Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister, who is drawing up a White Paper to reform the electricity market. RWE is furious about the Governments carbon tax, which has made its task of convincing the board in Germany to back new- build plans more difficult. Putting a floor under the price of carbon to support nuclear power also penalises coal plants, which RWE relies on to generate much of its electricity. It will also result in a windfall for its competitor EDF Energy, which owns British Energy, the nuclear generator.
Times 25th May 2011 more >>
THE accident at the Fukushima power plant in Japan has led to much discussion about the future of nuclear power. I believe one important lesson of the accident has been overlooked. Nuclear power is often touted as a solution to climate change, but Fukushima serves as a warning that far from solving the climate problem, nuclear power may be highly vulnerable to it. Of course, the emergency in Japan was caused by an earthquake and tsunami. But the effects of climate change could cause very similar problems. Two facts that everyone should now know about nuclear power are that it needs access to large volumes of water to cool the reactor and a supply of energy to move the water.
New Scientist 24th May 2011 more >>
The UK Government coalition agreement was clear no public subsidies for new reactors. The Government is planning to force consumers to subsidise nuclear power, driving an extra million into fuel poverty, whilst failing to implement a comprehensive energy efficiency programme. Any limit on liability on the costs of nuclear accidents eases the burden on nuclear operators. Paying for commercial insurance could add around half a euro to the cost of a unit of electricity, making new reactors unviable. And offering new nuclear operators a fixed unit price for the cost of spent fuel management and disposal represents a subsidy of around £427 million per reactor.
No2nuclearpower briefing 24th May 2011 more >>
Professor Sir John Beddington, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) will appear before the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on Tuesday 24 May. He will be questioned about setting departmental science budgets and the appointments of chief scientific advisers. He will then be joined by Professor David MacKay, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, and they will be quizzed on the UK nuclear research and development capabilities.
Lords Select Committee 24th May 2011 more >>
Low-level radioactive gas and effluent could be released into the sea under proposals for decommissioning a West nuclear power station. The proposals, by Magnox, the company which manages the decommissioning of Hinkley Point A in Somerset, are still being developed. The effluent and hydrogen gas would be byproducts of a process to reduce the bulk of some intermediate level nuclear waste by dissolving it in acid. Outer fins from Magnox fuel casings would be among the material to be reduced. The sludge which remained after processing would be stored on site before finally being stored at a national site which has yet to be established. The effluent would be treated by existing site water treatment plant before being discharged into the sea.
This is Somerset 24th May 2011 more >>
Burnham-on-sea.com 23rd May 2011 more >>
THE owner of Hartlepool Power Station has welcomed the interim report into the implications of events at Fukushima, and pledged to implement all its recommendations. EDF Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz praised the high quality of Dr Mike Weightmans work as he welcomed the interim conclusions that the UK nuclear power industry has reacted responsibly and appropriately to events in Japan, displaying a leadership for safety and a strong safety culture.
Evening Gazette 24th May 2011 more >>
A DECISION on whether a company can dump nuclear waste at a site in Kings Cliffe has been delayed. Augean hopes to secure permission to dump low level waste at its East Northants Resource Management Facility in the village. Local government minister Eric Pickles was due to make a decision on the plans today (Tuesday) but campaigners have since heard that his announcement has been deferred until Wednesday. Northampton County Council refused to grant planning permission and Augean bosses failed to overturn the decision at a planning inquiry in November. The community then took part in a referendum on the plans last month where 98 per cent of people voted against them.
Rutland and Stamford Mercury 24th May 2011 more >>
Electricite de France SA, Europes biggest power producer, will focus development on nuclear energy even after the disaster in Japan threatens to delay new projects and tighten safety rules. EDF should be a world reference for nuclear energy as the state-run utility enters a period of uncertainty following the accident, Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio told an annual shareholders meeting in Paris today. Safe nuclear generation is possible.
Bloomberg 24th May 2011 more >>
Utility EDF said it would invest in gas and renewable energies while forging ahead with its core nuclear power business, as the former French monopoly vies to be the world’s biggest provider of electricity by 2020.
Reuters 24th May 2011 more >>
TOSHIBA said yesterday it may not reach its target of 39 orders for nuclear reactors until two to three years later than expected, and that it would increase focus on renewables as the crisis rumbles on at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Despite the setback, Toshiba said it aims to more than double its operating profit to 500bn yen (£3.7bn) by the year to March 2014.
City AM 25th May 2011 more >>
Business Green 24th May 2011 more >>
BBC 24th May 2011 more >>
In a new report from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd (DTTL), suggests the recent natural disasters that led to a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan will have far-reaching impacts on the global nuclear power industry. The report, titled Empowering ideas 2011: A look at 10 of the emerging issues in the power and utilities sector,, offers insights into issues and trends in the coming year and identifies opportunities. This includes the high growth of unconventional gas and challenges related to the security of energy supplies.
The Engineer 24th May 2011 more >>
In a belated acknowledgment of the severity of Japans nuclear disaster, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said Tuesday that three of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plants reactors most likely suffered fuel meltdowns in the early days of the crisis.
New York Times 24th May 2011 more >>
Worls Socialist Web 25th May 2011 more >>
Guardian 24th May 2011 more >>
Experts from the Vienna headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday to study the nuclear situation in Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear plant, IAEA said in a statement. The IAEA mission consists of a team of nuclear experts from 12 countries who will prepare a report for the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety at IAEA headquarters in Vienna on 20 to 24 June, it said.
IB Times 25th May 2011 more >>
Few days pass without news that makes us wonder if the government is telling the truth about the disastrous nuclear accident triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake. On May 23, the Lower House special committee on reconstruction from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami asked about the government’s suspected involvement in the decision to temporarily suspend the injection of seawater into a crippled reactor the day after the accident broke out at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The government said it was a voluntary decision by the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). But the answers from government officials to the questions failed to dispel suspicions that the prime minister’s office influenced the company’s decision. It is easy to imagine the utter confusion within the government and TEPCO at that time. Efforts to uncover what actually happened should be made carefully. That is all the more reason why it is essential to get an independent entity to look into the nuclear crisis in an inquiry clearly separated from policy debate on recovery and rebuilding in the devastated areas.
Asahi 25th May 2011 more >>
The nuclear crisis triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami has made it difficult for Japan to build new atomic power plants, Prime Minister Naoto Kan suggested in an interview with the Financial Times citing the experience of the United States after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. Kan was quoted Tuesday by a Japanese government official as telling the British newspaper that Japan will depend less on nuclear energy and focus more on natural energy and energy-saving efforts in light of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi complex.
Japan Today 25th May 2011 more >>
More than 160 nuclear and civil engineers over the age of 60 are planning to set up a Skilled Veterans Corps to assist restoring control over crucial cooling functions at the tsunami-hit nuclear power plant. Decades of professional engineering expertise combined with a desire to protect younger workers from radiation exposure have united the elderly workers in a desire to help fix the plant. The idea was masterminded by Yasuteru Yamada, 72, a retired engineer formerly working in plant construction, who was alarmed by reports of young subcontractors, some unskilled in this field, undertaking the high-risk work.
Telegraph 25th May 2011 more >>
France’s EDF and Italy’s Enel are among companies in talks with Russia’s Rosatom on a stake in its planned nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad, Rosatom official said on Monday. Head of Rosatom’s marketing and business development department Alexei Kalinin said on the sidelines of the Nuclear Energy Congress in Warsaw that Rosatom will certainly maintain at least 51 percent stake in the power plant.
Reuters 23rd May 2011 more >>
A Syrian site bombed by Israel in 2007 was “very likely” to have been a nuclear reactor which should have been declared, the U.N. atomic agency said in a report, an assertion which may lead to Damascus being referred to the U.N. Security Council.
Telegraph 24th May 2011 more >>
BBC 24th May 2011 more >>
A report from the Institute for Policy Studies says that the spent nuclear fuel currently stored in pools at dozens of sites in the U.S. poses a danger and should be moved into dry storage as soon as possible. The report, authored by Robert Alvarez, who served as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration, says the problem is that too often the spent fuel pools are storing more fuel — and more highly radioactive fuel — than they were designed for. Alvarez also says there have been at least 10 incidents in the last decade in which the spent fuel pool lost a significant amount of water, and there are other cases in which the systems that keep the pools functioning as they should are under strain. Much of this, he says, is simply because most of the pools in the country are at capacity already.
IB Times 24th May 2011 more >>
The U.N. nuclear watchdog has received new information about possible military aspects to Iran’s atomic activities, adding to concerns Iran may be working to develop a nuclear-armed missile, the agency said in a report.
STV 24th May 2011 more >>
The Italian government has won a confidence vote on measures that include shelving plans to build new nuclear power plants. The prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has been an advocate of nuclear power, but he decided to scrap the construction of new nuclear plants amid mounting public concern after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima reactor. He has said the situation will be reassessed in one or two years’ time. The government hopes shelving its nuclear plans will avoid a referendum on the issue, which is due on June 12. It won the confidence vote on Tuesday by 313 votes to 291.
Guardian 24th May 2011 more >>
The former chairman of the nuclear operator British Energy, Sir Adrian Montague, has been appointed to direct the establishment of the Green Investment Bank. The institution will prioritise investment in offshore wind, energy efficiency and waste. However, Mr Cable said he envisaged the bank funding a range of projects in the future including rail developments and nuclear power. He said its purpose would be to “tackle risks which the private sector cannot adequately finance”.
Telegraph 25th May 2011 more >>
Flood defences and nuclear power are expected to receive funding from the green investment bank, according to detailed plans for the new institution set out on Tuesday by Vince Cable, the business secretary. Cable also announced that Sir Adrian Montague, a City of London grandee, would be the first de facto chairman of the bank, in the first formal step towards establishing the institution. He will initially be chair of an advisory group rather than a formal board for the bank, because the government must satisfy EU state aid rules before it can formally set up the bank. Sir Adrian is chairman of venture capital group 3i, and formerly worked for British Energy and Network Rail, as well as serving as chief executive of the Private Finance Initiative Taskforce at the Treasury.
Guardian 24th May 2011 more >>
History can repeat itself. Looks like the Lib Dems are set to run a replay of Whitehalls great Trident debate from 30 years ago a thrilling tale involving secret studies by civil servants, party leaders going behind the backs of their grass roots and an outgoing Labour prime minister ordering officials to help his Tory rival, Margaret Thatcher. Well, it may not be as exciting and devious this time round, but there are similarities. Nick Harvey, Lib Dem armed services minister, has told the Financial Times that he is asking military intelligence and the Cabinet Office for fresh advice on Trident. Under the coalition deal the Lib Dems can have a separate position to the Tories on the UK nuclear deterrent hence the review. Mr Harveys Tory boss, Liam Fox, backs Trident. The Lib Dem grass roots are against. It is all reminiscent of Labour in the 1970s.
FT 24th May 2011 more >>