EDF, the French utility, is trying to link up with a Chinese company to build new nuclear reactors in the UK, amid growing concern about the rising cost of nuclear energy. However, any deal to bring large-scale Chinese investment into UK infrastructure, particularly the politically sensitive nuclear industry, could prove controversial. Insiders said EDF had been speaking to state-controlled Chinese companies about sharing the financial burden of its project to build up to four reactors at Hinkley Point, in Somerset. EDF said in July it was looking to cut its 80 per cent stake in the consortium building Hinkley Point and attract new partners. Centrica, owner of British Gas, has the remaining 20 per cent. EDF said the Hinkley Point project was advancing well, and had achieved a level of maturity to make it attractive to potential new investors. It went on to say that it was too early to say anything about the outcome of talks. One state-owned Chinese entity, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp, already has strong links with the French nuclear industry. It is in a consortium with Areva, the French state-controlled reactor manufacturer, that is bidding for Horizon, the RWE-Eon joint venture. CGNPC and Areva are also building reactors together in China.
FT 3rd Sept 2012 more >>
EDF has been holding talks with China about sharing the soaring cost of building £10bn worth of new reactors at Hinkley Point, Somerset. The move underlines growing pressure on the French company’s internal finances and has reignited a fractious debate about Communist state-run businesses playing a critical role in sensitive western energy infrastructure. The overtures to Beijing’s state corporations as well as approaches to Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds come as EDF faces growing investment demands in France and the UK that have sent debt levels rocketing to 39.7bn (£30bn). Mark Pritchard, a Conservative MP and member of the parliamentary joint national security committee, said any Chinese involvement in EDF’s new nuclear plans would raise concerns on a number of fronts and could even require a direct UK government involvement through some kind of golden share.
Guardian 2nd Sept 2012 more >>
Consequenses in Norway after a hypothetical accident in Leningrad: report describes different hypothetical accident scenarios at the Leningrad nuclear power plant for old and new reactors. For a hypothetical catastrophic accident at an old RBMK reactor, combined with a meteorological worst case scenario, the consequences in Norway could be considerable. Foodstuffs in many regions would be contaminated above the food intervention levels for radioactive cesium in Norway. The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) has conducted a collaborative project to evaluate possible consequences for Norway from a hypothetical accident at the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (LNPP), Russia, as part of the work performed under the Norwegian Nuclear Action Plan. The report on a hypothetical accident at reactors in Leningrad shows that the whole east coast of the UK, and Shetland in particular, would be in danger of radioactive contamination.
Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority 30th Aug 2012 more >>
A joint Norwegian-Russian mission left Kirkenes on 29. August to visit areas in the Kara Sea where spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste have been dumped. The purpose of the mission is to obtain new information about radioactive pollution and the condition of the dumped items. The mission will last approximately one month and the aim is to investigate the Stepovogo Bay east of Novaja Semlja. The bay was investigated in 1993 by a Norwegian-Russian mission, and in 2004 by a Russian mission. In the 1990s there was three Norwegian-Russian missions to the dumping sites in the Kara Sea. At the time, they found low levels of radioactive pollution, but concluded that there are risks of future leaks.
NRPA 30th Aug 2012 more >>
Torness nuclear power station is set to open its doors to the public for the first time since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US in 2001. A new visitor centre will be opened by operator EDF Energy at the East Lothian site later this year, offering guided tours and hands-on displays. Scotlands other nuclear power station, Hunterston B, near West Kilbride, in North Ayrshire, opened to the public yesterday.
Edinburgh Evening News 1st Sept 2012 more >>
Our most important obligation to the many harmed by the Fukushima disaster is to eradicate nuclear weapons and phase out nuclear power, says Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, Co-President of IPPNW International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War after a visit to Fukushima. Thirty physicians, medical students and scholars from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Israel, India, New Zealand and Australia visited Fukushima yesterday for an investigative tour.
IPPNW 29th Aug 2012 more >>
The world is failing to draw a “clear red line” for Iran over its nuclear programme, Israel’s prime minister said on Sunday after a new UN report found Tehran had doubled its capacity at a nuclear site.
AFP 2nd Sept 2012 more >>
THE Scottish Government has come under fire for its “feeble, inadequate and namby-pamby” approach to tackling fuel poverty by the leading expert who first coined the phrase. Dr Brenda Boardman criticised the Government for failing to back up its “weasel words” with actions as it emerged 800,000 Scots families are now in fuel poverty. Over the next few years tens of thousands more are expected to be dragged into fuel poverty, the term used when a household has to spend more than 10% of its income on energy bills. Dr Boardman, whose 1991 book Fuel Poverty first used the term, hit out ahead of a meeting in Edinburgh today on the Government’s strategy to improve the energy efficiency of the country’s housing stock. She said: “Much of this strategy is sensible and good, but there is no guarantee of funding and it is too reliant on feeble proposals like loft insulation. It is a start but it’s not enough, and these measures would be absolutely inadequate to solving the problem. “The regulations and minimum standards are all good, but the public needs to know what it is going to cost and who pays, rather than this approach where we tiptoe around this. “Who is going to foot the bills? It has to be property owners. Landlords have to be responsible. They are the key.” Today’s meeting at the Chartered Institute of Housing marks the culmination of a consultation on a sustainable-housing strategy to tackle both fuel poverty and climate change. It has been organised by the Existing Homes Alliance Scotland, a coalition of groups calling for the current housing stock to be upgraded. It includes environmental, housing, and consumer groups, and the building industry. It has backed the overall objectives of the Government’s strategy, but wants targets raised on the basis of five-year milestones, and new minimum standards for private-sector housing at the point of sale or rental. Elizabeth Leighton of WWF Scotland, which is in the alliance, said: “The Scottish Government has a real opportunity through its strategy to address the dual problems of climate change and fuel poverty, while at the same time winning thousands of jobs. We welcome the ambitions set out in the strategy – but fear it will not be backed up by enough funding to do the job.
Herald 3rd Sept 2012 more >>
The Government’s £3bn flagship scheme to encourage private sector money into low carbon technology and green initiatives is on the hunt for projects with which to formally launch in October.
Independent 3rd Sept 2012 more >>