A key report on the safety of Britains nuclear reactors, prompted by the catastrophe at Japans Fukushima nuclear site in March, is due to be published this week. The study, by Mike Weightman, of the Office for Nuclear Regulation, is expected to make safety recommendations but say there is no need to close existing plants or block plans for up to eight new ones. EDF, the French-owned power utility, will be lodging a full planning application for the first of the proposed new plants this autumn. The plant, with two reactors, would be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Sunday Times 4th Sept 2011 more >>
One of Britains leading environmentalists has abandoned her opposition to nuclear energy and now says it could be the only viable answer to climate change. Baroness Worthington, who as former head of climate campaigns at Friends of the Earth led the battle to close nuclear power stations, now believes Britain must accept such technology to cut carbon emissions. This week she will host a reception in the House of Lords to launch the Weinberg Foundation, which will promote clean forms of nuclear energy. The switch will delight the nuclear industry but infuriate green groups. Worthington is just the latest of several high-profile environmentalists who are now supporting nuclear energy. Others include Stephen Tindale, the former director of Greenpeace, and George Monbiot, the author and blogger. She stresses, however, that her support for nuclear is not absolute. Her vision is for a new approach to nuclear energy based on a radioactive element called thorium rather than the uranium used in most modern reactors, because it produces far less waste and is much harder to use in nuclear weapons.
Sunday Times 4th Sept 2011 more >>
German energy giant RWE has appointed advisers for a strategic review of Urenco the nuclear power company it co-owns with the British and Dutch government. The move could press the UK Government to formalise its own strategy on disposal of the company, which is expected to net UK taxpayers 1bn. Urenco is one-third owned by the UK Government, with the rest split between the Dutch government and two German utilities, Eon and RWE. Last month RWE, which in the UK also owns NPower, said it was increasing its sell- off programme from 8bn (7bn) to 11bn in the next three years. The company, which has about 27.5bn of net debt, was put under further pressure by the German government’s decision to phase out nuclear energy in the aftermath of the Japanese power plant disaster RWE is also in final negotiations with Gazpr om over a potential split of its assets and operations, including Npower in the UK. The deadline for any agreement with Gazprom runs out on October 15. The UK energy company could be split up and sold to other buyers, such as Centrica, if no deal is agreed with Gazprom. The decision to look at Urenco follows RWE’s current strategy, said an insider, who added the asset remained “a very complex beast to sell”.
Telegraph 4th Sept 2011 more >>
WYLFA B construction workers will be spread across Anglesey with more than 4,000 rented and tourism beds needed requiring a massive house building project. Anglesey council commissioned consultants DTZ to undertake a study into workers accommodation for the building of Wylfa B, which at its peak will see 6,000 staff on the island.
Daily Post 3rd Sept 2011 more >>
Twenty-five years after a reactor at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded and melted down, its surroundings are well-explored territory, including the abandoned workers’ town of Pripyat, two kilometers (about a mile) from the plant. The guides who take visitors through the area know exactly where to go and, more important, what to avoid. The people who fled Futaba, the town nearest to the Fukushima plant, need only look to Pripyat, some 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) away, for a hint of what it will probably turn into: a ghost town forever looking as though it expects its 7,000-plus people to return any minute. In Futaba, unlike in Pripyat, you are in uncharted territory. There are no guides. The radioactive hot spots are uncharted, and behind every corner, danger may lurk that will not turn malignant for years, even decades. Radiation cannot be sensed like a hum or a smell. The sun shines and the wind blows, and only the beeping of your Geiger counter tells you something is wrong.
AP 3rd September 2011 more >>
Luciana Berger – shadow climate change minister: If we are going to get our economy working again we need to get serious about building a low carbon future by growing our green economy. Currently the government simply isnt doing enough to boost low carbon growth and we are all suffering as a result. This government has failed to produce a comprehensive strategy for low carbon growth. And too little is being done to support existing low carbon businesses and to encourage new start ups. More needs to be done to encourage Britains home owners and businesses to de-carbonise. Unfortunately, the governments finished proposals, called the Green Deal, are currently severely delayed in parliament, amid significant doubts about the schemes viability. As a result households up and down the country cannot expect help anytime soon. It is estimated more than $100 billion will be spent on renewables and clean energy across the globe next year. We need an urgent plan to ensure some of that investment comes to Britain rather than elsewhere. We need ministers that champion and support low carbon businesses, rather than destroying market certainty, leaving them high and dry. And finally we need action to stimulate demand for energy efficiency measures, to drive down energy costs and create jobs.
Left Foot Forward 3rd Sept 2011 more >>
More Scottish households are struggling to pay energy bills due to rising prices, according to an MSP. The SNP’s Jamie Hepburn has obtained figures which show bills have soared in recent years. The average household spent about 14% of income on gas and electricity in 2009, compared with 8% in 2004-5. Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said that further increases in prices since 2009 was putting even more pressure on family budgets. Mr Hepburn described the price increases as “scandalous” and called on the UK government to do more to help those in fuel poverty.
BBC 4th Sept 2011 more >>
David Clarke has a 23m plan for a fantasy power station. From the outside, it would look like any other coal or gas power plant. There would be one big difference, however it would not emit greenhouse gases. The project will see a plant capable of capturing up to 95% of carbon dioxide emissions built by the middle of 2015, said Clarke, boss of the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) a research lab in Loughborough backed by government and companies such as BP, Shell, Rolls-Royce, Eon and EDF. Clarke reckons ETI has mastered a technique called carbon capture and storage (CCS). He believes it can remove the carbon from power station emissions so we can go on burning coal and gas to create electricity. The carbon dioxide would be extr acted, piped away and then injected into the ground instead of being released into the atmosphere.
Sunday Times 4th Sept 2011 more >>