French engineering group Areva was expected to table a bid, along with the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, for the much-vaunted Horizon joint venture but did not make a final offer by a deadline on Friday, it was reported on Tuesday night. Areva and its Chinese partner were seen as one of the most credible bidders for the programme, which could see up to six nuclear reactors built in Britain. A spokesman for Areva refused to comment on the reports. The withdrawal of the Franco-Chinese consortium narrows the field down to a two-horse race between a group led by Hitachi of Japan and Westinghouse Electric, which is owned by Toshiba. Horizon owns two vacant reactor sites, in Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. A winner is due to be announced within the next few weeks. The decision by Areva and China Guangdong not to table a final bid is expected to raise fresh questions over who will be able to bank-roll the UKs plans for new nuclear reactors. It was widely believed that only Chinese energy companies had the funds to meet the estimated £30bn needed to build six reactors on the Horizon sites.
Telegraph 3rd Oct 2012 more >>
A Franco-Chinese consortium has walked away from the race to build Britains new generation of reactors in a setback to the governments hopes of ushering in a revival of nuclear power. In a further blow to the flagship government initiative another consortium failed to secure the anticipated backing of a Chinese state company for its bid. The lack of participation by the Beijing-backed groups raises questions about how to finance the UKs nuclear revival. Some industry experts believe only Chinese companies have the financial firepower to shoulder the immense cost of building new reactors. Areva said in July it was teaming up with China Guangdong to table a bid. But in the end, only two bids were submitted by last Fridays deadline one by Hitachi, which has teamed up with SNC-Lavalin, Canadas largest engineering group, and one by Westinghouse. The winner is expected to be announced within the next three weeks.
FT 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
The UK government said it was confident Horizon would find new backers. That optimism appeared justified this summer, when several potential suitors emerged, backed by deep-pocketed Chinese investors. But initial hopes for the sale have not been realised. Areva did not, in the end, submit a bid. And Westinghouse decided to go it alone, without Chinese backing at least for now. The result is more uncertainty for a nuclear programme that has long been squeezed between grand ambitions and crushing financial realities. The Chinese could come into Horizon at a later stage, but it would have been more reassuring for the government if they were there from the start, analysts say. Nuclear vendors remain enthusiastic about the UK. But the question remains: who will provide the capital for the UKs grand nuclear ambitions? Some analysts say the government has not provided investors with enough certainty. The UK wants nuclear, but the elements necessary to enable that investment are not in place, says Chris Gadomski, nuclear analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Some think it is too early to write off the involvement of Chinese state-backed energy groups. Their interest in the UK remains undiminished, says one person familiar with the Horizon talks, even though they have decided to stay on the sidelines for now.
FT 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
FRENCH nuclear group Areva and China’s Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation have walked away from the six gigawatt Horizon new nuclear project, according to reports.A bid from the Franco-Chinese consortium for the Horizon nuclear joint venture did not materialise by last Friday’s deadline, the Financial Times said. The newspaper said China may still invest in Horizon at a later date along with other nuclear project.
Business Desk 3rd Oct 2012 more >>
One of the favourite bidders for a multi-billion pound project to build a new generation of nuclear reactors in Britain has pulled out of the race. French engineering group Areva was expected to table a bid, along with the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, for the much-vaunted Horizon joint venture but did not make a final offer by a deadline on Friday, it was reported on Tuesday night. Areva and its Chinese partner were seen as one of the most credible bidders for the programme, which could see up to six nuclear reactors built in Britain. A spokesman for Areva refused to comment on the reports. The withdrawal of the Franco-Chinese consortium narrows the field down to a two-horse race between a group led by Hitachi of Japan and Westinghouse Electric, which is owned by Toshiba, The Telegraph reports.
Share Cast 3rd Oct 2012 more >>
The three governments in Cumbria County, England that have been working with the UK government to consider hosting an underground nuclear waste repository have asked for more time to decide whether to proceed with the process. Allerdale Borough Council, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council have issued a joint statement asking for three more months, until January 2013, to consider the matter. The councils were due to vote October 11 on whether to proceed to the next stage of the UK governments Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) process. The MRWS process is designed to seek a voluntary host for the UK governments large stockpiles of waste including intermediate and high-level waste, spent nuclear fuel and plutonium. With a voluntary host community, the government would then proceed to search for a geologically suitable site within Cumbria County, which is already home to the Sellafield chemical and nuclear waste complex.
i-Nuclear 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Three Cumbria councils have blocked plans to allow tests for a possible underground nuclear waste dump. Copeland and Allerdale have been earmarked as potential sites to store high-level radioactive waste. But Allerdale Borough Council, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council have deferred tests into the sites until January 2013.
BBC 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
ITV 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Plans on dealing with Britains nuclear waste were dealt a blow after three councils deferred a decision on hosting an underground dump for the most radioactive material, asking for further safeguards from the government. Cumbria county council, Allerdale borough council and Copeland borough council have postponed until January 2013 a decision, which had been expected next week, on whether to allow detailed studies and investigations.
FT 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
NW Evening Mail 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
The secretive police unit that infamously employed Mark Kennedy to infiltrate environmental protest groups has been trying to neuter anti-nuclear campaigners. The National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) has been gathering intelligence on activists to manage the risk they pose to government plans to build new nuclear power stations. The unit masterminded Kennedys seven-year double life as an undercover police officer posing as an environmental activist. His unmasking in 2011 led to the collapse of a court case against demonstrators he had infiltrated, and a raft of official inquiries. Now a document released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change reveals that the NPOIU briefed a meeting about activism and nuclear new build in Whitehall in June 2011. Present were government officials, three nuclear companies EDF Energy, Horizon and NuGeneration and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, a specialist force for guarding nuclear power sites.
Rob Edwards 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Spinwatch 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Protesters from all over the UK will be joined by the new Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, on a mass trespass demonstration at Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Hundreds are expected to converge at a weekend protest camp before many attempt to scale the fence surrounding land earmarked for the controversial Hinkley C power plant in Somerset. The Stop New Nuclear Alliance says arrests are expected. The government is refusing to acknowledge that its new nuclear strategy is dangerous, expensive and unnecessary, so were being forced to raise our game, says spokesperson Nancy Birch. On Saturday 6th October, hundreds of protesters will help to wheel symbolic barrels of radioactive waste through the streets of nearby Bridgwater. The march aims to highlight the stockpile of used nuclear fuel that will be stored at Hinkley Point if the new power station gets the green light.
Stop New Nuclear 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
The NuGen consortium planning to build a nuclear power plant at Sellafield has scotched press reports that one of its members is pulling out. The Sunday Times claimed that Iberdrola had told partner GDF Suez that it is withdrawing, leaving the £5bn Moorside project in serious doubt. The newspaper said it was unlikely GDF Suez would proceed on its own. Any collapse of nuclear new-build proposals would be a devastating blow for west Cumbria because hopes for thousands of new jobs ride on the scheme going ahead.
Carlisle News and Star 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Cumberland News 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Inquiries have got under way after Reactor 1 at the Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey was stopped due to a problem with refuelling work. Operators Magnox said it was investigating to identify the nature and cause of the issue on Sunday with the reactor which powers two turbines. There was no estimated return-to-service date he added. Recently the plant was given permission move fuel from Reactor 2 to Reactor 1 to continue generating electricity. It will therefore be able to produce electricity until the fuel runs out or September 2014, whichever comes first.
BBC 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
A national skills academy for the nuclear sector has been established by Semta and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham. The academy will help manufacturers looking to win contracts in the industry by supporting the development of staff.
Professional Engineering 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Europe’s nuclear reactors need investment of 10-25 billion euros, a draft European Commission report said, following a safety review designed to ensure a disaster like Japan’s Fukushima cannot happen. The Commission is expected to finalize the stress test report by Thursday and it will be debated by EU ministers later this month. After that, the Commission intends in 2013 to propose new laws, including on insurance and liability to “improve the situation of potential victims in the event of a nuclear accident”, the draft seen by Reuters said.
Reuters 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Euractiv 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Hundreds of defects have been found throughout Europes nuclear reactors and mostly in France, according to a EU stress test report leaked to the German and French media.
EU Observer 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Hundreds of problems have been found at European nuclear plants that would cost 25bn euros (£20bn) to fix, says a leaked draft report.
BBC 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Even with newer stricter standards for radioactive materials in food, only about 1 percent of food samples tested by the central and local governments in the past six months have failed to clear the screening, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed on Sept. 30. The spread of (radioactive) contamination is receding, a health ministry official concluded. The new permissible standards for radioactive contamination stipulate that the upper limit of radioactive cesium in food is 100 becquerels per kilogram. The corresponding figure for baby food and milk is 50 becquerels, while drinking water is 10 becquerels.
Asahi Shimbun 30th Sept 2012 more >>
You know a business has an image problem when a major shareholder says it should be mercilessly beaten “like a dog that has fallen in the water”. That, however, is the sad fate that has befallen Tokyo Electric Power, a once-proud utility now internationally infamous as the operator of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. At a seminar to promote renewable energy last month, Naoki Inose, vice-governor of the Tokyo metropolitan government – Tepco’s biggest shareholder until it was nationalised in June – argued fiercely for the utility’s regional dominance to be broken. Beating a drowning dog would usually seem cruel, but breaking up Tepco would actually be a mercy killing.
FT 3rd Oct 2012 more >>
The power consortium Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) and the French-German nuclear contractor Areva-Siemens have lodged compensation claims, each blaming the other for delays in a long-running battle the overdue Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor project. The Finnish public power consortium Teollisuuden Voima TVO has upped a compensation claim against the French-German nuclear contractor Areva-Siemens from 1.4 billion euros to 1.8 billion. TVO claims the money is compensation for construction delays on the Olkiluoto 3 reactor in southwest Finland. The reactor was to have been completed in 2009, but Areva now estimates that it will be ready for firing up in 2015. TVO has said it’s more likely to be operational one year later — and far over budget. Areva-Siemens has also lodged a counter claim against TVO for 1.9 billion euros.
YLE 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Iran would enrich uranium up to 60 percent purity if negotiations with major powers over its nuclear programme fail, an Iranian lawmaker said on Tuesday, in comments that may add to Western alarm about Iranian intentions. Mansour Haqiqatpour, deputy head of parliament’s Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, said 60 percent enrichment would be to yield fuel for nuclear submarines, which often require uranium refined to high levels. But it would also take Iran another significant step closer to the 90 percent enrichment level needed to make atomic bombs.
Reuters 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
A SENIOR North Korean minister has lashed out at the United States, warning that its “hostile” policy has left tensions so high that “a spark of fire could set off a thermonuclear war” in the peninsula.
Express 2nd Oct 2012 more >>
Bad news for star power. The world’s largest laser has missed a deadline that was key to its goal of producing safe, clean energy via nuclear fusion, the same process that powers the sun. The 192-beam laser forms the heart of the US National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, the world’s leading laboratory for laser fusion research. But the lab has still not succeeded in creating a nuclear fusion reaction that makes more energy than it consumes, a milestone known as ignition. The US Congress, which funds NIF, had said the lab must do so by 30 September.
New Scientist 2nd Oct 2012 more >>