Hundreds of UK companies have been invited to a summit in London next month to test the appetite for participating in a £16bn nuclear building programme. The conference, organised by French energy giant EDF, is designed to open up its proposed development project to UK companies that want to help to build four nuclear plants. It is understood that 300 firms will be told next month how they can join the programme. Meanwhile, EDF is preparing to sell land adjacent to its nuclear plants at Dungeness, Kent, and Heysham, Lancashire. It is looking for about £100m for each site from rival energy companies. The firm has been forced to sell the land because the Government does not want it to operate a nuclear monopoly.
This is Money 3rd May 2009 more >>
EDF, France’s state-controlled utility, is weighing the benefits of selling its regulated electricity distribution business in the UK as it seeks disposals to help it cut the debt built up after a year of costly foreign acquisitions. The question of whether EDF, which will spearhead Britain’s nuclear revival after its recent 15bn takeover of British Energy, should sell the country’s largest distribution network was raised at a recent board meeting. No decision has been made. However, the reflection is part of a wider strategic review of the nuclear power operator’s industrial future as it faces unprecedented investment requirements in France and abroad.
FT 4th May 2009 more >>
Pakistan is continuing to expand its nuclear bomb-making facilities despite growing international concern that advancing Islamist extremists could overrun one or more of its atomic weapons plants or seize sufficient radioactive material to make a dirty bomb, US nuclear experts and former officials say. David Albright, previously a senior weapons inspector for the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency in Iraq, said commercial satellite photos showed two plutonium-producing reactors were nearing completion at Khushab, about 160 miles south-west of the capital, Islamabad.
Guardian 4th May 2009 more >>
A ghost from the nuclear industry’s early years has reappeared. It is not public apprehension about safety or disposal issues this time, but the staggering cost of building nuclear reactors. A wave of new reactors now in the works is intended to solve at least part of the nation’s energy problems as it attempts to shift away from fossil fuels. But cost is likely to plague every upcoming nuclear project. This month in Missouri the first of the next generation reactors was put on hold because of the $6 billion price tag.
Associated Press 3rd May 2009 more >>
The Tories may cut the number of Trident submarines from four to three.
Press and Journal 4th May 2009 more >>
Independent 4th May 2009 more >>
Herald 4th May 2009 more >>
Telegraph 4th May 2009 more >>
Mainstream opinion has moved beyond arguments about where Trident is based to whether we need it at all. Stephen Byers, the Blairite former minister, last week questioned why we were spening £20 billion on baby Trident when national debt is at an all-time high.
Sunday Times 3rd May 2009 more >>
Work on HMS Astute, billed as the first of a new generation of nuclear submarine, stopped at Barrow-in-Furness last month when a fire broke out in the conning tower as 20 people were working on board. Now it has emerged that there are problems with the vessel’s propulsion system, a fault which engineers have been unable to rectify because of the fire.
Telegraph 4th May 2009 more >>