Britain’s nuclear industry is under threat from cyber-attacks, terrorism and state-sponsored espionage, regulators have warned. Buried in the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s 2016-20 strategic plan are bleak references to the growing threat of attack on Britain’s 15 operational reactors, which account for nearly a fifth of the country’s electricity. The Independent has established this is the first time that the ONR has explicitly acknowledged the growing terrorist threat to the nuclear industry. The document states: “The threat of terrorism in the nuclear sector will continue to be managed proportionately and effectively through national and international capabilities. The capabilities of potential adversaries to operate in cyberspace will continue to grow.” At the top of a list of the industry’s corporate risks, the ONR writes: “Failure to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of sensitive information and assets from both known and emerging security threats to the UK nuclear infrastructure (eg, cyber-attacks, terrorist activity, state-sponsored espionage).” The news comes at a sensitive time, with French giant EDF weighing up whether to risk its balance sheet on building a £24.5bn reactor at Hinkley Point on the Somerset coast. John Large, the nuclear expert who warned in a 2014 report for the French authorities that reactors are highly vulnerable to drone attacks, said the admission was “a step forward”, but warned: “It might be too late. The problem is that the plants were designed in the 1950s and 1960s and those designs ignored terrorism. That’s one of the problems they [the nuclear industry] face.
Independent 26th March 2016 read more »
Terrorists have the ‘means, knowledge and information’ to create a nuclear bomb, the head of the UN atomic watchdog has warned in the wake of the Brussels attacks. The warnings of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano come just days before world leaders meet for an important summit against ‘nuclear terrorism’. ‘Terrorism is spreading and the possibility of using nuclear material cannot be excluded,’ Mr Amano told AFP. ‘Member states need to have sustained interest in strengthening nuclear security.
Daily Mail 26th March 2016 read more »
“Nuclear terrorism” has become an alarming possibility and countries are not doing enough to prevent it, the head of the UN atomic watchdog warned yesterday. In the wake of claims the Brussels attackers had planned to set off a radioactive ‘dirty bomb’, Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said: “Terrorism is spreading and the possibility of using nuclear material cannot be excluded.
Telegraph 25th March 2016 read more »
The Brussels attacks suicide bombers were plotting to build a dirty bomb and target a nuclear power plant, it’s been claimed. Brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, who were behind the deadly attacks at the airport and metro station, were reportedly planning a bomb to scatter radioactive material in a populated area. The terrorists had also planted a hidden camera in front of the home of a director at the Belgian nuclear power plant, according to reports.
Mirror 25th March 2016 read more »
Belgian authorities have stepped up security at nuclear sites but safety officials said there was no concrete element to suggest a specific threat against the country’s reactors or plants. Four access passes authorising people to enter Belgian nuclear sites were revoked from workers with access to the Tihange nuclear power station in Huy last week. But this was before the 22 March attacks on Brussels airport and metro, and was part of a routine and ongoing monitoring of staff, not linked to the terrorist threat, the agency said. After Tuesday’s attacks, the nation was put on high alert. All non-essential staff were sent home from nuclear plants at Tihange and Doel and military presence was increased at the sites. Earlier this month, the government had deployed 140 soldiers to guard nuclear sites.
Guardian 25th March 2016 read more »
The entry badges of some workers at Belgium’s nuclear sites have been withdrawn amid reports the suicide bombers who attacked Brussels may have originally planned to target a nuclear power plant.
LBC 25th March 2016 read more »
The terror attacks in Brussels are raising new questions about the security of nuclear plants.
CBS 25th March 2016 read more »
A maintenance check found a fan supplying air to a reactor building had malfunctioned and was extracting air from contamination controlled areas. A survey found no significant contamination, but there were trace amounts of radioactive isotope Cobalt-60 (Co-60), which has resulted in a warning letter from Natural Resources Wales.
Daily Post 25th March 2016 read more »
The lack of an Emergency Towing Vessel on the west coast at a time when shipments of “weapons useable” materials from Scrabster to Barrow have started was raised at a meeting of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group on 16 march 2016.
HANT 23rd March 2016 read more »
HANT continues to highlight the risks of transport of “exotics” – which are “weapons useable” materials with the news from CORE (Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment” that the first of current shipments arrived in Barrow from Scrabster on 14 March 2016 The NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) refused to confirm or deny that this shipment had taken place There is no ETV (Emergency Towing Vessel) based on the west coast to respond to any accident with a ship carrying nucleaer materials.
HANT 21st March 2016 read more »
Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (HANT) is concerned about a press release dated 14/3/16 issued by CORE (Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment) stating that the 29 year old nuclear cargo ship MV Oceanic Pintail arrived in Barrow-in-Furness on 14 March 2016 with a cargo of “exotic fuels” – unirradiated plutonium / highly enriched uranium originating from Dounreay and shipped from Scrabster.
HANT 16th March 2016 read more »
Low wholesale electricity prices of £35 a megawatt are putting a further strain on the company, according to sources. “In the absence of power price recovery, we forecast declining earnings per share, a tight balance sheet and a precarious dividend,” RBC Capital said. One city source said the group’s investment in around two gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy under a former Government subsidy programme means it is heavily exposed to falling wholesale prices. SSE’s fleet of onshore wind farms is supported through an older Government scheme which does not set a guaranteed minimum price for the generated power, unlike the new competitive regime. This means that as more renewables join the national grid, the older wind farms become steadily less profitable.
Telegraph 25th March 2016 read more »
Desolation of Chernobyl 30 years on: Haunting pictures show town devastated by 1986 nuclear disaster.
Independent 25th March 2016 read more »
INVESTIGATION. The majority of French nuclear reactors have operated recently with outdated emergency equipment and exceptional series of incidents occurred on emergency power generators of the nuclear fleet in 2010. Second part of our investigation into the vulnerability of backup resources french nuclear fleet EDF in collaboration with the nuclear Gazette .
Le Journal de L’Energie 25th March 2016 read more »
After years of impressive cost reduction and technological advances, extinguishing the scepticism of many more doubters than you might sometimes believe, Germany’s concept of ‘Energiewende’ (‘energy transition’) now faces its hardest task in scaling up – making it a global concept. Several of the speakers at last week’s Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue conference, hosted by the federal foreign office and backed by the German government, talked about the successes of the Energiewende that have included taking the country to a world-leading position for PV, with over 40GW of installations, the technical feasibility of going much further than that – and what the energy transition could teach the rest of the planet
Solar Portal 24th March 2016 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News: Premier Inns installs PV on 88 hotels; Government kills off Berwickshire solar housing solar scheme; Telford factory saving £50k per year with PV.
Microgen Scotland 25th March 2016 read more »
Russia has waded into Britain’s EU referendum debate to accuse the energy secretary, Amber Rudd, of making misleading comments when she claimed that the EU provided protection against being bullied by Vladimir Putin over Russian gas exports. Rudd had warned in a speech on Thursday that the breakup of the EU single market for energy would give Russia more influence over the continent, arguing that a united European bloc had “the power to force Putin’s hand”. The Russian embassy in London released a statement on Friday describing Rudd’s comments as “surprising and disappointing” and accusing her of dragging Russia into a “domestic quarrel”. “It misrepresents the situation and defies the logic of this business as it applies to Britain,” said the statement.
Guardian 25th March 2016 read more »