The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, today said: “An enormous legacy of nuclear waste has been allowed to build up on the Sellafield site. Over decades, successive governments have failed to get to grips with this critical problem, to the point where the total lifetime cost of decommissioning the site has now reached £67.5 billion, and there’s no indication of when that cost will stop rising. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority believes that its decommissioning plan is credible but it has not been sufficiently tested and uncertainties remain – not least around what precisely is in the waste that lies in the legacy ponds and silos.
Parliament 4th Feb 2013
Britain is storing an “extraordinary accumulation of hazardous nuclear waste” in “outdated facilities” which will cost nearly £70bn to clean up, MPs have warned the Government. Almost all of the major nuclear-decommissioning projects at the Sellafield complex in Cumbria are behind schedule and many of them are over-budget according to a Parliamentary inquiry into Britain’s “failing” nuclear-reprocessing industry. The findings will reinforce concerns that the Government’s strategy for dealing with nuclear waste is unravelling following the refusal last week of Cumbria County Council to allow the drilling of a deep underground repository for high-level waste in the Lake District. In a highly critical report the influential Public Accounts Committee said that of the 14 major projects at Sellafield, 12 are behind schedule and five of them are costing more than anticipated, yet the private companies running the plant are being paid handsomely without taking on any risk.
Independent 4th Feb 2013
Belfast Telegraph 4th Feb 2013
The reputation of the nuclear industry faces further damage this week with the publication of a highly critical report on Monday on the management of the Sellafield plant in Cumbria, days before a court action over the illegal dumping of nuclear waste. Further criticism will be heaped on those managing Sellafield when a court case opens on Thursday that will look into claims the nuclear operator breached environmental permits in 2010 by dumping four bags of radioactive waste in a landfill at nearby Lillyhall without authorisation. Workington magistrates court, Cumbria, will consider nine charges, although the law has since changed to make it easier for Sellafield to dispose of certain low-level waste materials at Lilyhall. EDF and other companies interested in building atomic power stations know that any bad publicity around the industry will undermine already-shaky public confidence.
Guardian 4th Feb 2013
The cost of cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear waste site has reached £67.5bn with no sign of when the cost will stop rising, according to a report. The Public Accounts Committee’s report said deadlines to clean the Cumbria site had been missed, leaving crucial decommissioning projects over budget. It suggested successive governments have failed to “get to grips” with the hoards of waste stored at the site. Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the committee, said an “enormous legacy” of nuclear waste had been allowed to build up at the plant. “Over decades, successive governments have failed to get to grips with this critical problem, to the point where the total lifetime cost of decommissioning the site has now reached £67.5 billion, and there’s no indication of when that cost will stop rising,” she said. “Furthermore, now that Cumbria County Council has ruled out West Cumbria as the site of the proposed geological disposal facility, a solution to the problem of long-term storage of the waste is as far away as ever.”
BBC 4th Feb 2013
Last year’s damning National Audit Office (NAO) report on Sellafield and the competence of its owners the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) – and the subsequent criticisms of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) following its visit to the site – had little positive to say about Sellafield apart from ‘other activities on the site have improved, notably the increase in the amount of spent nuclear fuel reprocessed each year’ Having noted that this reference to the site’s commercial operations (which were not part of the NAO report’s remit) bore no resemblance to the ‘facts on the ground’, CORE launched its investigation into how those operations had performed against annual targets and against original plant design specifications. The tabulated results of the investigation (available on request to CORE) reveal that in the 13-year period between financial years 2000/01 and 2012/13 the site missed 83% of commercial targets and that, since the NDA took ownership of Sellafield in 2005, the failure rate has risen to 94%.
CORE 4th Feb 2013
The ‘enormous legacy’ of nuclear waste at Sellafield has so far cost the taxpayer £67.5billion, with no sign of an end to the mammoth bill, a report by MPs has said. MPs tasked with scrutinising government spend said the authority dealing with the country’s nuclear legacy had not been able to show what value it was getting for the taxpayer. The public accounts committee’s report said deadlines for cleaning up Sellafield had been missed, while total lifetime costs for decommissioning the site continued to rise each year, reaching £67.5bn.
Metro 4th Feb 2013
The Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) report on Nuclear Decommissioning Authority revealed that the expenses to remove the hazardous radioactive waste have so far reached £67.5bn ($106bn, €77.8bn). Taxpayers are now spending £1.5bn per year on Sellafield. The spending watchdog added that the deadlines to clean the Cumbria site had been missed, and the country’s crucial decommissioning projects are over budget at present.
IB Times 4th Feb 2013
Successive governments stand accused of neglecting the UK’s “enormous’’ legacy of hazardous radioactive waste as research shows the £67.5bn cost of decommissioning the Sellafield nuclear site is continuing to rise.
FT 4th Feb 2013
Centrica is believed to be ready to pull out of plans to build nuclear power stations in Britain – clearing the way for Chinese investors to step in. The expected exit would mean the government’s push for a new generation of nuclear power stations would proceed without any big British company involved. Centrica’s place is expected to be taken by the state-owned Chinese group China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp.
FT 3rd Feb 2013
Two local councils in West Cumbria have written to the prime minister asking for a meeting to discuss options to proceed with plans to host a nuclear waste storage site in Cumbria, in a bid to circumvent a decision by the county council to scrap the plans. The move comes after Cumbria County Council voted against taking forward plans for a long-term nuclear waste storage facility in the county last week. The vote was a major blow to the government’s nuclear new build programme, as it left the UK without a site under consideration for the storage of nuclear waste from its proposed new generation of nuclear power plants.
Building 4th Feb 2013
Workers at Sellafield have branded the decision to withdraw from hosting an underground nuclear store “short-sighted and insulting”. Craig Dobson, the secretary of the Sellafield Workers’ Campaign (SWC), said he was deeply disappointed with the county council’s decision to withdraw from the process. He hit out at council members who voted against continuing the search for somewhere to site a proposed repository to hold nuclear waste yet “had the audacity to say they support the nuclear industry and Sellafield”.
Carlisle News and Star 3rd Feb 2013
The Wainwright Society recognises that the provision of a nuclear waste repository is a matter of national concern and a major challenge for the 21st century but it is not the remit of the Society to comment on the arguments for or against the need for such a facility. However, if a nuclear waste repository was to be constructed in West Cumbria, the Society would be very concerned if it was proposed to site the facility either wholly or partly within the Lake District National Park. It is the Society’s contention that if such a project was contemplated, the resulting damage to the landscape during the investigation and construction stages, continuing for many years, would be highly likely to result in lasting, permanent damage to the upland landscape. The Society would also view with alarm any development that could harm the rich diversity of the flora and fauna of the fells and valleys of western Lakeland.
Wainwright Society (accessed) 4th Feb 2013
Magnox Ltd, the site licence company (the Licensee) that operates and maintains Wylfa Power Station, has requested ONR approval of an amended operating rule to remove limits and conditions from Secondary Dry Store Cell 5 as required by Licence Condition 23(5) of nuclear site licence 58A.
ONR 3rd Feb 2013
EDF Energy took offline two UK nuclear reactors for refuelling since Saturday, it said, removing around 1,160 megawatts (MW) of nuclear power generating capacity from the national network.EDF disconnected its 600 MW Heysham 1-2 reactor on February 4 at 0100 GMT, it said on Monday, in line with earlier guidance. Meanwhile, the 550 MW Dungeness B22 reactor was shutdown on Saturday, EDF said in a market note circulated on Sunday.
Reuters 4th Feb 2013
Despite only having a population of 2,600, Wildpoldsried produces 321 percent more energy than it needs – and it’s generating 4.0 million Euro (US $5.7 million) in annual revenue by selling it back to the national grid. It is no surprise to learn that small businesses have developed in the village specifically to provide services to the renewable energy installations. Over the years the village’s green goals have been so successful that they have even crafted a mission statement. The village council hopes that it will inspire citizens to do their part for the environment and create green jobs and businesses for the local area.
Inhabitat (accessed) 4th Feb 2013
One of Chu’s big initiatives was the SunShot program – launched just over two years ago with the aim of taking the cost of utility scale PV down to $1/W by 2020, at which price it would deliver energy at a levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of around $60/MWh, cheaper than coal, and cheaper than gas, even with the shale and fracking boom.“When we first discussed this goal, industry did not take it seriously,” Chu writes in his letter. “Today, they tell me that our input challenged them to rethink their road maps and now agree that it is an achievable goal.”
Renew Economy 4th Feb 2013
The economic viability of solar power is advancing rapidly. It’s actually already more then competitive within certain markets, and the price of solar panels saw a precipitous decline over the last four years.In fact, solar technology has been advancing so rapidly that analysts have had trouble keeping their models up to date.
Climate Progress 3rd Feb 2013
Nuclear negotiations between major world powers and Iran will resume in Kazakhstan in three weeks after a break of eight months, the Iranian foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said on Sunday.
Guardian 3rd Feb 2013
Herald 4th Feb 2013
Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, has chaired a high-level meeting discussing a looming “great turn” in military capability, according to state media, fuelling expectations of an imminent nuclear test.
Telegraph 3rd Feb 2013
BRITAIN’S Nuclear Industry Association and the Korea Atomic Industrial Forum have signed a Memorandum of Understanding promising close co-operation in future activities between the two countries.
NW Evening Mail 3rd Feb 2013
Haruki Madarame, the former chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission, has been questioned by police over the disaster which unfolded at the nuclear power plant in northeastern Fukushima two years ago. No individuals have been charged in relation to the crisis, which took place after a 9.0-magnititude earthquake triggered a tsunami, swamping the plant and sparking a series of meltdowns. Mr Madarame, who was responsible for providing technical information to the government at the time, appeared voluntarily before prosecutors to be questioned about the disaster. The questioning followed Fukushima residents filing a criminal complaint against him, with charges reportedly relating to suspicion of professional negligence resulting in deaths and injuries as a result of the disaster.
Telegraph 4th Feb 2013
Scotland’s government says it would now be better off independent, forcing pro-union party members of the foreign affairs committee to tackle such thorny topics as the fate of the UK’s Scotland-based nuclear missile submarines and whether a diminished “rump UK” could maintain global influence.
FT 3rd Feb 2013
THE growing problem of fuel poverty was top of the agenda when we met recently with the Scottish and UK governments, the big six energy companies, Ofgem and several consumer groups and charities. We shared experiences of supporting vulnerable consumers who struggle to pay for their energy and discussed the various programmes, projects and schemes available to cut energy use and thus reduce bills. But for all the talking, there were disappointingly few outcomes. That’s not to say that those around the table had anything but the best of intentions. Yet we have a situation where more than a third of the Scottish population are in fuel poverty and where hundreds of thousands are forced to choose between heating and eating.
Scotsman 3rd Feb 2013