Following concerns raised earlier this year about the direction currently being taken by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the announcement this week in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s E-Bulletin of 27th August that the Office for Nuclear Regulation has joined the newly convened ‘N-Group’raises major doubts about the Regulator’s independence from the industry it is tasked with policing. According to the E-Bulletin announcement, the N-Group sees the NDA joining together with other industry voices which include the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) and the Nuclear Institute (Ni) as well as ONR. The NDA describes the idea of the new Group as creating ‘a dialogue between the member organisations to identify shared priorities and areas where we can collaborate for mutual benefit and for the benefit of the industry (emphasis added) and the UK as a whole’. CORE’s spokesman Martin Forwood commented today: ‘In terms of regulating the safety of nuclear facilities without fear or favour, it is beyond belief that ONR should think it suitable or sensible for a supposedly independent regulator to sit on this newly formed Group whose dialogue is for the benefit of the nuclear industry. If ONR is to retain any shred of public confidence in its ability to independently perform its vital safety and security role, it must abandon its membership of this overtly pro-nuclear N Group immediately’.
CORE 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Anglesey nuclear station on track to start generation in first half of 2020s. The reactor design planned for Wylfa Newydd took a further step forward today and remains on target for approval by 2017. Hitachi-GE has moved one step closer to British deployment of the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR), following confirmation from the nuclear regulators that they will move to Step 3 of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA). The UK ABWR will be deployed by Horizon Nuclear Power at their two sites at Wylfa, and Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire. General Manager, Licensing, Hitachi Europe Ltd. for Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ken Sato said: “Progression to Step 3 shows the significant and sustained progress we have made. “We are delighted to have met this important milestone and be on schedule for completion of the GDA by the end of 2017.
Daily Post 28th Aug 2014 read more »
CHINESE nuclear power giants are homing in on Bradwell as the location for their first UK atomic plant. Asian corporations are understood to have chosen the Dengie, from a shortlist of locations, for a 3,000-megawatt station sitting beside the partly-decommissioned Magnox plant. The latest development has further divided opinions on the nuclear question in the district, leaving councillors hopeful but environmentalists fearing “catastrophic” consequences for Essex. “I think it’s outrageous that we entertain the idea of massive Chinese investment into nuclear energy picking on a site that is clearly unacceptable,” said Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) chairman Professor Andrew Blowers. “It makes no sense.” A spokesman for EDF, which owns the Bradwell land, said nothing had been officially announced, but that Essex was “top of the list”. It was originally earmarked because of the county’s infrastructure, as it has already housed a power station for more than 50 years with a skilled workforce living nearby. Prof Blowers said the news had come as a surprise because Whitehall officials told him a new Bradwell was “below the horizon. The risks remain blatant and enormous,” he said. “I am not immediately suggesting it will blow up or be the victim of a terrorist attack, but we don’t know what the consequences are going to be.” Chelmsford, Braintree and Southend would all have to be evacuated in the case of a meltdown, according to Prof Blowers, who has designed a map based on the 2011 Fukushima meltdown evacuations in Japan. Along with Val Mainwood, the co-ordinator of Bradwell for Renewable Energy (BRARE), he argues the plant would damage the local fishing economy in Maldon and contaminate an estuary, that earlier this year earned marine conservation zone status. “It’s just the most inappropriate idea to put a nuclear power plant in Bradwell. It’s a vanity project from what I can see,” said Ms Mainwood, a 68-year-old grandmother from Wivenhoe. “It leaves the whole area in turmoil and uncertainty. Will people want to live here and will business want to set up if they know there is a Chinese nuclear plant here?”
Essex Chronicle 29th Aug 2014 read more »
While the press and social media is full of the latest craze the ultimate ice bucket challenge goes on unnoticed. This ice bucket challenge happens over 4 million times a day with gallon buckets of water being chucked over nuclear waste at Sellafield. The water is the best, coolest and freshest there is. It comes from Britain’s Favourite View, Wastwater. A lake held in perpetual slavery to the nuclear industry, echoing the fate of the people of Cumbria. The domestic water for people in West Cumbria is increasingly being sourced by United Utilities from bore holes while Sellafield has exclusive rights to the pristine cool fresh water of Wastwater.
Radiation Free Lakeland 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Berkeley nuclear site is currently undergoing decommissioning after 30 years of operational life. Intermediate-level waste such as fuel-element debris, miscellaneous contaminated items and ‘activated components’ must be retrieved from vaults and other locations on the site, processed and packaged in ductile cast iron containers, then stored prior to final disposal at a Geological Disposal Facility. The end client is Magnox Ltd, the contractor is Cavendish Nuclear Ltd, and the sub-contractor for two packages of advanced nuclear-waste handling systems is Barnsley-based Qualter Hall.
Machinery Market 30th Aug 2014 read more »
Four of Britain’s nuclear reactors were taken offline due to unexpected faults earlier this month. Owners EDF said it took the “conservative action” after finding a defect in one of the boilers, built in the 1980s. As nuclear plants are prone to breaking with age, a new report warns network operators across the world should be braced for more of the same. Britain is by no means a special case. Most of the EU’s 211 operational nuclear plants were built in the 1970s and 1980s and were designed to last around 40 years, so many are due to close. But with the EU committed to decarbonising its energy sector, and nuclear power able to act as a low carbon source providing electricity around the clock, policymakers face a choice: either spend billions eking out a few extra years of generation, or close the plants and build potentially expensive replacements. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 suggests that without swift measures, nuclear power in Europe could be entering its twilight years. It warns that unless policymakers make immediate plans to replace ageing plants, by the mid-2050s, nuclear power across the globe could become a thing of the past.
Carbon Brief 29th Aug 2014 read more »
After an unsuccessful try at selling floating nuclear power stations all over the world, including to Indonesia and Cape Verde, Rosatom, the main nuclear operator in Russia, is now trying to tie up a deal with China. Russia is currently finishing the construction of the Akademik Lomonosov, whose two adapted KLT-40 reactors run on 14,1% enriched uranium (just low enough to “make it unattractive for production of mass destruction weapons”). The reactors are to deliver 70 MW of electricity to the Siberian town of Vilyuchinsk. The reactor can be categorised as second generation. Not really the latest technology.
Greenpeace 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Doug Parr: Science in policy cannot rely on the opinions of a limited number of individuals – whatever their eminence – but needs good processes that gather and test evidence, including, crucially, what can be understood about the extent of uncertainty and ignorance, and clarity and justification for where contested values and judgements shape scientific advice. Advice also needs to be transparent and as far as possible, independent from key economic interests.
Guardian 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Arnie Gundersen: The untold story of March 11, 2011 is how close Japan came to three more spent fuel pool fires at Fukushima Daiichi and four meltdowns at Fukushima Daini. When the magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the Pacific coast caused a seismic shock wave that reverberated throughout northern Japan, the country’s nuclear plants shut down automatically, as planned, preventing any further nuclear chain reactions. Therein lies nuclear power’s fatal flaw, because an automatic shutdown does not stop the ongoing heat generated inside each nuclear reactor. Now, more than three years after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, shoreline cooling pumps throughout the world – including in Japan – remain unprotected from flooding or terrorist attacks. Japan is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. Is reopening its nuclear plants worth the risk to its people and their homeland? The simultaneous technological failure at 14 nuclear reactors due to a single natural phenomenon clearly shows that the nuclear engineers who envisioned and designed nuclear power failed to expect the unexpected. Unfortunately, the nuclear industry continues to push its message that nuclear power can be made safer. Fukushima, and before it Chernobyl, shows us that nuclear technology will always be able to destroy the fabric of a country in the blink of an eye.
Truth Out 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Earnings of Chinese nuclear equipment manufacturers slid during the first half of the year, a sign that the government’s resolve to rely more on nuclear power has yet to rejuvenate the industry. China First Heavy Industries, which in August announced the first successful domestic production of third-generation AP-1000 reactors, said revenue from nuclear equipment sales went down to 220 million yuan($35.81 million), a 37% decrease compared to the same period last year. The heavy machinery maker reported a total loss of 667 million yuan($108.6 million) from January to June, blaming the weak result on China’s slower economic growth and lower prices for its core products- also including steel and petrochemical equipment.
Forbes 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Westinghouse Electric Company said on Thursday it had filed an interdict in a South African court to reopen the bidding process for a contract awarded to French rival Areva to replace six steam generators at a nuclear power plant. But South Africa’s power utility Eskom said the matter was a done deal and Areva had won the contract to provide the generators to the Koeberg nuclear power plant.
Reuters 28th Aug 2014 read more »
Russia’s president, speaking at a pro-Kremlin youth camp at a lake near Moscow, said “it’s best not to mess with us,” adding “I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers”
Telegraph 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Huffington Post 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Daily Mail 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Nuclear tests are directly responsible for a surge in cancer cases in a western Indian village, residents have claimed. VIllagers in Loharki said the five nuclear tests carried out in Pokhran – 43 km away – in 1998 contaminated the local water supply, which in turn increased their exposure to cancer. “After those tests, cases of cancer have increased in our village,” Kesar Singh, one of the Loharki villagers, told Channel News Asia. “Before the nuclear tests, we never had any complaint of water becoming salty. Now, it doesn’t taste normal.” However authorities have dismissed the claim, arguing there is no scientific basis to support the allegations.
IB Times 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Earlier this year, the Scottish Government effectively designated land in Scotland as either being ‘wild’ or not. This gave clarity to developers, including community developers, as to what developments were likely to be consented in particular areas of Scotland. Objections are now being made to planning applications for onshore wind developments on the basis that they happen to be in the vicinity of land designated as wild in the map produced by Scottish Natural Heritage earlier this year. Not content with the designation of ‘wild’ land as being out of bounds to most developments, some pressure groups are now propounding the notion that developable land in Caithness and in the Great Glen which is not designated as ‘wild’ but which is close to the areas with the ‘wild’ descriptor should not be developed.
Community Energy Scotland 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Wind energy was one of the largest contributors to an increase in renewable electricity generation in 2013, but different regions of the globe are adopting wind power at different paces. Most of the leading countries with the highest percentages of wind energy in 2013 were located in Europe, according to a recent report from the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental think tank based in Washington, D.C. Denmark tops the list, generating one-third (33.8%) of its electricity from wind power. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, seeing as the country announced years ago its intent to get 50% of its electricity from wind power by the year 2020.
Highland Pro-Wind 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Two innovative renewable energy projects are moving forward in Scotland: Britain’s first tidal power array, and the world’s first deployment of two-bladed wind offshore turbines. The experimental technologies are hoped to achieve significant cost savings and unlock a huge offshore energy resource.
Ecologist 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Five potential sites for Fife Council’s wind power project have been identified. The sites were chosen after detailed studies of 25 areas of land which have a council building next to them. They are Pitreavie Playing Fields, Halbeath Park and Ride, Inverkeithing High School, Dalgety Bay Leisure Centre and Cotlands Park in Kennoway. A decision on whether planning applications can be lodged will be taken on 9 September. The council hope the turbines could generate up to £11.75m. Spokesman Chris Ewing said the project would help reduce carbon emissions and cut the council’s energy bills.
BBC 29th Aug 2014 read more »
For the first time, Pennsylvania has made public 243 cases of contamination of private drinking wells from oil and gas drilling operations. As the AP reports, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection posted details about the contamination cases online on Thursday. The cases occurred in 22 counties, with Susquehanna, Tioga, Lycoming, and Bradford counties having the most incidences of contamination.
Climate Progress 29th Aug 2014 read more »