EDF, the French nuclear power group, has become embroiled in a controversy over its industrial ties with China, sparking renewed speculation about the future of the company’s chief executive, Henri Proglio. France’s government – which owns 84 per cent of EDF, the world’s biggest generator of atomic-powered electricity by output – confirmed this week that it was opening an audit investigation into the French nuclear industry’s relations with foreign partners, including between EDF and CGNPC, the Chinese nuclear power group. While EDF stressed that the probe by the Inspection Générale des Finances was industry-wide, the audit body’s examination of a failed alliance that Mr Proglio tried to broker in 2011 between EDF and CGNPC has led to rumours that he is being targeted by the government. EDF has a longstanding relationship with China and is building two reactors there, but there are concerns in France about technology transfer. The audit body is planning to examine a proposed 2011 deal between EDF and CGNPC to share nuclear expertise, which was blocked by the French prime minister because it excluded Areva, the French reactor maker. It could also look at a recent tripartite deal between EDF, Areva and China to explore the development of a new 1,000-megawatt reactor.
FT 28th Dec 2012 more »
ENVIRONMENTALISTS are calling for the abandonment of nuclear energy projects, including Sizewell C, in favour of “cheaper, safer and more efficient” renewable technologies. The Green Party said that serious investment in energy-saving measures and renewables should take priority over nuclear development like the new twin reactor planned for the Suffolk coast. In response, French utilities company EDF reaffirmed its commitment to the project near Leiston, which it said is necessary in order to maintain security of energy supply, while helping to meet the UK’s climate change targets. Rupert Read, Green Party MEP candidate also labelled the Government’s electricity price guarantee a “massive subsidy”, footed by customers for nuclear energy generation. An EDF spokesman said the company did not require any subsidies, adding: “We believe that the Government’s market reform proposals will provide the investment framework that is crucial for the low carbon investment that the country needs, while avoiding the need for subsidies, and will keep costs down for consumers.”
East Anglian Daily Times 28th Dec 2012 more »
Letter: It is the matter of omitting crucial pieces of information to which I respond to the article by John Clarke, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. There is one theme running through Mr Clarke’s article and is repeated by other NDA officials: it is that there are no current proposals for Ennerdale. This is probably true. However, Mr Clarke omits information known to NDA. At the community meeting in Ennerdale Bridge on December 10, Dr Dearlove confirmed that the Ennerdale fell contained a rock volume that had the potential to host a geological waste facility (albeit, in Dr Dearlove’s own words, a “not particularly promising” one). At the same meeting Mr Alun Ellis, NDA Director, confirmed that if the decision-making bodies (DMBs) proceeded to Stage 4, then the potentially suitable rock volume of Ennerdale fell would be selected by the NDA for further investigation. Perhaps in future, Mr Clarke will be less selective about what he says and include this important admission by Mr Ellis.
Whitehaven News 28th Dec 2012 more »
Considering spent fuel, disposal concepts require a century or so of storage above ground to decay down the rate of heat emission before burial. If the HAW is not reprocessed, a probable UK nuclear programme of (say) 20-40 GW(E) would in that period produce thousands of spent elements containing of the order of 1000 tonnes of plutonium for long storage. Reprocessing would split the spent fuel into vitrified fission products (VFP) and plutonium; the latter could easily be handled for deep disposal. However, if the plutonium is recycled in a reactor, it could provide useful power: also, its quality becomes much lower in Pu239, so safer to dispose.
Whitehaven News 28th Dec 2012 more »
Radiation Free Lakeland have been passed a letter addressed to Santa from HM Government. The letter has been leaked by brave whistleblower, Vixen the Reindeer. Dear Santa, We have been working VERY hard again this year to convince Cumbrians that ‘Managing Radioactive Waste Safely’ means mining a MEGA hole to dump nuclear waste in. Please Santa, we need this solution in order to build bigger and better nuclear plants that would produce hotter waste. Please Santa, keep campaigners saying ‘bury it under London’ and ‘burn the plutonium’ and please muffle and marginalise those who want to contain the waste on site and STOP the production of more and more waste. We have continued to make sure that all the movers and shakers in Cumbria are ON MESSAGE, SILENT or making MEANINGLESS noises about the BRAND of Cumbria. Please Santa, keep the GEOLOGICAL DUMP on track and convince Cumbrians that this is a huge OPPORTUNITY. yours sincerely, Baroness Verma on behalf of HM. Govnt.
Radiation Free Lakeland 28th Dec 2012 more »
Finnish Posiva on Friday asked for government permit to construct a final repository for used nuclear fuel, planned to be the first site in the world to start burying capsulated nuclear waste.Posiva, owned by Finnish utilities Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), plans to bury used nuclear fuel around 400 metres deep in Onkalo bedrock on Olkiluoto island, some 230 km northwest of Helsinki. The spent nuclear fuel is planned to be buried for at least 100,000 years in encased capsules of copper and cast iron and surrounded by buffers of bentonite clay, that swells if it gets in contact with water. The clay will prevent the spread of radioactive material into the bedrock.
Reuters 28th Dec 2012 more »
Fukushima update 21st to 28th Dec.
Greenpeace 28th Dec 2012 more »
Japan’s new government said on Friday it hoped to stick to a three year deadline to decide whether to restart all nuclear reactors after safety checks, despite the country’s newly formed nuclear regulator saying the deadline was impossible to meet.Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, who is also responsible for energy policy, said reactors would be restarted as units received the all-clear from the atomic regulator.
Reuters 27th Dec 2012 more »
Reuters 28th Dec 2012 more »
Japan How is an atomic-powered island nation riddled with fault lines supposed to handle its nuclear waste? Part of the answer was supposed to come from this windswept village along Japan’s northern coast. By hosting a high-tech facility that would convert spent fuel into a plutonium-uranium mix designed for the next generation of reactors, Rokkasho was supposed to provide fuel while minimizing nuclear waste storage problems. Those ambitions are falling apart because years of attempts to build a “fast breeder” reactor, which would use the reprocessed fuel, appear to be ending in failure. But Japan still intends to reprocess spent fuel at Rokkasho. It sees few other options, even though it will mean extracting plutonium that could be used to make nuclear weapons.
Charlotte Observer 28th Dec 2012 more »
North Korea has repaired flood damage at its nuclear test facility and could conduct a quick atomic explosion if it chose, though water streaming out of a test tunnel may cause problems, analysis of recent satellite photos indicates. Washington and others are bracing for the possibility that if punished for a successful long-range rocket launch on Dec. 12 that the U.N. considers a cover for a banned ballistic missile test, North Korea’s next step might be its third nuclear test.
Fox News 28th Dec 2012 more »
Barack Obama prepares to start his second presidential term next month, one foreign policy issue looms larger than most. His challenge is to craft a deal with Iran that can finally lay to rest the world’s fears that Tehran is driving forward with its nuclear programme in order to build a bomb. In the next few months, the crisis in Syria – and the risk that the country’s civil war will end in the triumph of jihadism – will command the headlines. But on Syria, Mr Obama has chosen to be a spectator. On the Iranian nuclear programme, the US is still de facto the lead negotiator. While Tehran remains the source of the problem, the Obama administration must decide what tactics and strategy to employ in order to ensure that this decade-long diplomatic tussle ends without the resort to war.
FT 28th Dec 2012 more »
State-owned power utility in Brazil, Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras has signed an agreement with state-owned bank Caixa Economica Federal, to secure a BRL3.8bn ($1.9bn) loan, for the construction of 1,270MW Angra III nuclear plant in the country. Eletrobras will use the loan to partly finance the development of the third thermonuclear plant at the company’s Angra dos Reis power station situated about 100km west of Rio de Janeiro. Guaranteed by the federal government, the 20-year loan will be paid back for an interest rate of 6.5%, reported Reuters.
Energy Business Review 28th Dec 2012 more »
Quebec’s sole nuclear power plant will cease production at 10:30 p.m. today after 29 years of generating electricity. For the next 18 months, a team of 485 workers will decommission the Gentilly-2 power plant, located near Bécancour, Que., about 150 kilometres northeast of Montreal.
CBC 28th Dec 2012 more »
Top green energy stories of 2012: 155MW plant in Ghana being developed by a British company is expected to create hundreds of jobs, increase electricity capacity and cut emissions.
Guardian 28th Dec 2012 more »