The cloud of radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl disaster dissipated fairly quickly, but the cloud of public mistrust that hangs over the nuclear industry has yet to disappear. The British government wants to build new nuclear power stations. That is the right choice but, unless public policy goes hand in hand with some public persuasion, it will not get very far.
FT 28th May 2007
Various letters: We hear constantly of how nuclear power is “clean” but, of course, it is not. Uranium still has to be mined and transported over long distances (often from Australia). Large power stations (likely terrorist targets these days) have to be built and, at the end of the power cycle, the still-dangerous waste is basically “swept under the carpet”. Of course, like all power stations, wind turbines consume energy in their production, but in operation they emit no toxins, acids or greenhouse gases.
Herald 28th May 2007
Letter: Nuclear energy should not even be on the agenda. Not only is it dirty, dangerous and expensive – it doesn’t provide a solution to climate change or the end of oil – but produces a deadly legacy of nuclear waste which we still don’t know how to deal with and creates a devastating target for terrorists.
Leicester Mercury 26th May 2007
Mr. ElBaradei, in a surprising remark, has invited the international community to accept the fact that Iran has now achieved nuclear know-how and can produce enriched uranium at industrial levels. Such remarks, from someone at ElBaradei’s position, are unconstructive and can not help in any way but to embolden the Iranian regime to continue its defiance.
Stop Fundamentalism Magazine 28th May 2007
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator and the European Union’s foreign policy chief are to meet this week in an effort to explore whether there’s room to resume negotiations over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.
Belfast Telegraph 27th May 2007
The United States and India plan to resume talks on a much-touted civilian nuclear cooperation agreement this week, the U.S. embassy said Sunday.
Guardian website 28th May 2007
Music fans are being asked to give their views on the future of a nuclear power station which is due to be decommissioned. Staff from Oldbury power station were at the Coleford Music Festival in the Forest of Dean to talk to visitors about what could happen to the site. It is part of a public consultation effort which began earlier this year. The South Gloucestershire installation is due to stop generating electricity at the end of 2008.
BBC 27th May 2007
The Duchess of Cornwall is to undertake that perennial royal engagement of launching a new vessel, although in this instance she’ll be plumbing new depths as she oversees the launch of Britain’s latest nuclear submarine at a major event in Cumbria. Camilla will be guest of honour at the famous shipyard in Barrow in the North West of England on June 8th to officially launch and name the 7,800-tonne Astute.
The Royalist 27th May 2007
The Swedish Competition Authority has written to the government calling for an end to co-ownership of nuclear stations. Instead, says the Authority, the principal owners should be allowed to operate one facility each. The move follows a study of the competitive situation in the Swedish electricity market and while the agency has found no evidence to suggest that the enterprises currently in joint ownership of Swedish nuclear power – Vattenfall, E.ON and Fortum – have breached competition law, there are risks associated with co-ownership, the agency points out.
Nuclear Engineering International 27th May 2007
Members of environmental watchdog Greenpeace staged a protest Monday at the building site of Finland’s fifth nuclear reactor, news reports said. The protest was aimed at highlighting alleged security flaws. Six activists chained themselves together overnight in front of the entrance at Olkiluoto, south-western Finland, where a reactor is being built by France’s Areva and Germany’s Siemens.
Earth Times 28th May 2007
Environmental policy is a hodge-podge of half-policies and will end up in a blind alley if the government does not rethink its response to climate change, a leading environmental campaigner will say today. In a debate at the Guardian Hay festival, Jeremy Leggett, a former Greenpeace campaigner and now chief executive of the environmental group Solar Century, will argue that last week’s energy white paper does not go far enough to tackle climate change because the government has failed to stand up to conservative institutions in Britain. The difference was exemplified last week, he said, in the government’s new energy white paper, which highlighted the need for nuclear power to balance the country’s future energy needs and targets to cut carbon emissions. It was a huge step backwards from the government’s 2003 vision for energy, which had followed intensive consultation with industry, he said. “It’s almost bewildering for someone who saw that process leading up to the 2003 energy white paper. They have managed to disconnect any meaningful policy platform from the rhetorical objectives.”
Guardian 28th May 2007
NOWHERE IS the new politics more apparent than in energy policy, but it’s not all sweetness and light. On Wednesday morning industry secretary Alistair Darling warned darkly on BBC radio that the lights would go out if the SNP maintained its antipathy to nuclear power. It was irresponsible, he said, to rule out a new nuclear generation when there was no evidence that renewables could fill the energy gap. But over the next seven hours, the lights went on at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). In interviews that afternoon, Darling discovered that the issue of nuclear generation was academic” as Torness would be around longer than Alex Salmond. So why the change in tone? Well, Scottish Labour decided it could no longer defy Scottish public opinion and the arithmetic of the Scottish parliament by doggedly demanding that there should be more nuclear power stations in Scotland when there is no demand for them. No new nuclear power stations are likely to be required here until at least 2033 if, as even the Greens now accept, the lives of Torness and Hunterston can be extended. That is plenty of time to bring on renewable energy.
Sunday Herald 27th May 2007