The European Commission will promote underground storage as the safest option for storing nuclear waste, according to a leaked proposal which has already irked environmentalists.
The draft directive seeks to set up an EU framework for managing used fuel and radioactive waste which is generated by nuclear power plants but also medicine and industry, among others. The proposal, seen by EurActiv, will be unveiled by EU Energy Commissioner G nther Oettinger next Wednesday (3 November). The problem should be addressed urgently in order not to burden future generations with nuclear waste disposal and associated risks, like lack of financing for storage or terrorist threats, the EU executive says. The proposal, seen by EurActiv, argues that deep geological disposal is “the safest and most sustainable option” for the final management of high-level waste. This is a matter of worldwide scientific consensus, the Commission claims, urging member states to implement disposal.
EurActiv 27th Oct 2010 more >>
Green MEPs say the commission’s draft proposals on a nuclear waste directive contains “serious and alarming gaps.” Parliament’s Greens/EFA group, which has seen a draft copy, says it fails to address “fundamental” issues, including the cost of dealing with spent nuclear waste “in 30 to 40 years’ time.” Speaking at a breakfast briefing in parliament on Tuesday, group co-leader Rebecca Harms said the draft also fails to provide both an “accurate definition” of radioactive waste and a “true picture” of how each member state handles such waste. Harms said such “glaring omissions” from the commission’s proposals “give cause for real concern.” She cited the case of a salt mine where 126,000 barrels filled with radioactive waste will have to be retrieved from the salt mine Asse in Lower Saxony. It is feared the unprecedented recovery of the waste from a depth of several hundred metres will cost billions of euros.
The Parliament 26th Oct 2010 more >>
Electricite de France SA has run into further setbacks in the construction of its nuclear reactor at Flamanville, delaying the start of operations by more than three years, Le Figaro reported, citing unidentified people. The first commercial production of electricity at the site will now not take place before 2015, according to the daily newspaper.
Bloomberg 27th Oct 2010 more >>
Constellation Energy has settled its dispute with French utility giant Electricite de France , selling its half of a joint venture to develop new nuclear power plants and dropping its threat to exercise an option to force EDF to buy a dozen aging fossil fuel plants.
Washington Post 27th Oct 2010 more >>
Reuters 27th Oct 2010 more >>
National Infrastructure Plan
The Government is looking for the private sector to provide £160bn of the total investment in its National Infrastructure Plan over the next five years. It wants companies and investors to target a wide range of energy, transport, water and waste, broadband and digital projects after announcing “pump priming” investment of £40bn in the key areas in last week’s Spending Review. A large slice of this funding is destined for the heavily subsidised renewable energy business while the Government will get the estimated £70bn to be spent by electricity generators in building new nuclear power plants for “free” because there is no subsidy.
Telegraph 26th Oct 2010 more >>
The myth of nuclear power keeps persevering. Lobbyists and politicians will not tire of praising nuclear power as a reliable, secure and unbeatable energy. Newest Myth: Nuclear power is the necessary bridging technology to the solar age. With papers by Professor Steve Thomas, Anthony Froggatt and others.
Heinrich Boll Foundation 23rd Aug 2010 more >>
George Kerevan: DAVID Cameron, in his speech to the CBI on Monday, promised more jobs in “green tech”. But while the UK focuses on wind power, our competitors are touting a new generation of nuclear power plants. What are their chances of success? Currently, there are some 436 civilian nuclear power plants in operation, in over 30 countries, producing 15 per cent of the world’s electricity. Nuclear electricity has obvious advantages: a proven technology, minimal CO2 emissions.
Scotsman 27th Oct 2010 more >>
North West Wales ahead of the game in skills for Nuclear Energy Sector Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, affirmed today that on-going investment in specialist skills training ensures North West Wales is well placed to take advantage of any potential investment in the nuclear energy sector. In response to the announcement that Wylfa is one of the preferred locations for a new generation of nuclear power stations, she said North West Wales is already well ahead of the game in delivering skills training to ensure the nuclear sector in the region has the workforce to meet future demand.
Welsh Country 26th Oct 2010 more >>
Happy days, by contrast, for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority which, amid the general retrenchment, will have its budget protected. The money will continue to flow: around £3bn a year. That calls for a celebration. But then some would say the authority has already had one, for last month it held a two-day conference at the five-star Lowry Hotel in Manchester. The conference cost £52,000 – that’s £500 for each delegate. Exactly the sort of expenditure we must protect.
Guardian 27th Oct 2010 more >>
Ed Miliband – whose partner, Justine Thornton, an environmental lawyer, did stuff on renewables for the German energy giant E.ON, one of the biggest players in the nuclear industry. Meanwhile, developing Labour’s brave new policy on waste is Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland. He was once a PR man for Sellafield.
Guardian 27th Oct 2010 more >>
The two companies that manage the sites of the UK’s magnesium oxide reactors, Magnox North and Magnox South, are merging. Magnox North manages Oldbury 1 and 2 and Wylfa A1 and A2 on behalf of the UK government agency the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The two companies together manage another eight sites of shut down reactors.
Both companies are subsidiaries of site licence company Magnox Electric. The sole shareholder and so-called parent body organisation of that firm is Reactor Sites Management Company, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based decommissioning firm EnergySolutions. “The reintegration of Magnox North and South is part of our work to meet the NDA’s challenge to reduce support and overhead costs,” a spokesman told Nuclear Engineering International. Pending regulatory approval, the company is looking to relicence by the end of the year.
Nuclear Engineering International 26th Oct 2010 more >>
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) today announced its next-generation reactor model, the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR), has passed a crucial safety review performed by an advisory committee for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Completion of this review clears a key hurdle in the company’s bid for design certification of the ESBWR, which now begins the federal rulemaking process. This sets the stage for final NRC certification by the fall of 2011.
Market Watch 26th Oct 2010 more >>
With Britain at an energy crossroads, a new BBC Four series, the Secret Life of the National Grid, tells the story of how the grid has shaped not only British politics but our landscape and our lives.
BBC 26th Oct 2010 more >>
Moody’s has warned that the impact of the German nuclear tax might yet force a downgrade of the companies’ credit ratings. The key issue is not the additional costs – the companies can cope with that in the long-run by mitigating taxes and changing their production mix – rather it is the short-term squeeze on their financial flexibility.
FT Blog 26th Oct 2010 more >>
A consortium has been officially launched in order to help Japan gain orders for nuclear power plants from so-called emerging nuclear countries. The consortium comprises nine electric utilities and three nuclear engineering companies.
World Nuclear News 26th Oct 2010 more >>
Iran began loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear power plant today, moving closer to starting up the facility. The Iranian authorities see the completion of the Bushehr plant, built with the help of Russia, as a show of defiance against UN security council sanctions against its nuclear programme.
Guardian 27th Oct 2010 more >>
Independent 27th Oct 2010 more >>
Reuters 26th Oct 2010 more >>
The Saudi government on Monday approved plans to establish a pact with Russia on peaceful nuclear cooperation, a government spokesman said. It authorised the head of the new King Abdullah City for Nuclear and Renewable Energies to draft a pact with Moscow on nuclear cooperation.
Middle East Online 26th Oct 2010 more >>
Bill Kidd MSP writes for ePolitix.com ahead of his debate in the Scottish Parliament on making Scotland a nuclear weapons-free zone (NWFZ).
ePolitix 26th Oct 2010 more >>
Letter: Ruth Marr is rather alarmist (Letters, October 25). She said we were told the submarine HMS Astute was not nuclear armed, but had it been so armed the consequences would be too horrible to contemplate. And according to Michael Hamilton, Astute got away with it this time (Letters, October 26). Got away with what?
Herald 27th Oct 2010 more >>
Britain’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarine has returned to base after running aground off the Scottish coast. The Ministry of Defence now faces a repair bill expected to run into millions. It was confirmed the MoD would carry out a “full and thorough” investigation into what happened to HMS Astute, which made its way back to the Faslane base on the Clyde.
Glasgow Evening Times 26th Oct 2010 more >>