Letter from Billy Bragg, Julie Christie, Emily Eavis, Dave Elliott, Caroline Lucas Michael Meacher and Steve Thomas: We are disturbed to discover that the energy company Electricit de France (EDF) is already proposing to start major preparation work at Hinkley Point in Somerset even before it has permission to build a new nuclear power station. The work, covering more than 400 acres, will involve the removal of most hedges and trees, rerouting underground streams, closure of all rights of way, and the excavation of more than 2.3m cubic metres of soil and rocks. This would be enough to fill Wembley stadium twice over. It will effectively mean preparing the foundations for the proposed twin reactors. Nuclear power has many downsides, not least the fact that radioactive waste will be stored at Hinkley Point for up to 100 years after these new reactors have stopped operating. But EDF should not be allowed to justify this precipitate action by saying that “national need for nuclear” demands it move forward with its plans as fast as possible. There is no reason why we cannot keep the lights on in Britain by a stronger commitment to energy saving, by a continuing (but decreasing) use of cleaner fossil fuels, and through a major expansion of renewable energy sources. If Spain can already meet 35% of its electricity demand from renewables (Spain helps out France in green power surge, 29 December), then Britain, with abundant wind and water resources, could do even better. Nuclear power, with all its attendant risks, should not be part of the mix.
Guardian 5th Feb 2011 more >>
A spooky meditation on the impossibility of communicating with the distant future, Danish director Michael Madsen’s “Into Eternity” is more like a troubling dream, or outtakes from an abandoned David Lynch project, than a conventional documentary. Ostensibly, “Into Eternity” is a movie about Onkalo (the Finnish word for “hiding place”), an immense underground facility currently under construction in Finland that is meant to be the world’s first permanent repository for nuclear waste. If it is completed and then sealed up as planned, sometime in the 22nd century, it will comprise more than three miles of tunnels extending at least 500 meters down into the ancient Finnish bedrock.
Salon 4th Feb 2011 more >>
The chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it’s time for the public to comment on a new reactor design that would power an expansion of a nuclear plant in eastern Georgia. Chairman Gregory Jaczko has voted in favor of submitting the proposed rules for the Westinghouse Electric Co.’s AP1000 reactor for public comment. His vote was cast Jan. 30 and publicly released this week.
Bloomberg 4th Feb 2011 more >>
EDF Energy shut down Britain’s 1,260-megawatt Sizewell B nuclear power plant early on Tuesday for an unplanned outage, a spokesman for the UK arm of France’s EDF said.
Business Electricity 1st Feb 2011 more >>
East Anglian Daily Times 4th Feb 2011 more >>
Protesters locked together and dressed as fish are blocking the entrance to Sizewell nuclear station in Suffolk.
Glasgow Wired 2nd Feb 2011 more >>
Sellafield (New Reactor)
Nugeneration Ltd, the consortium behind plans for a new nuclear power station at Sellafield, has pledged to make a “strong and lasting commitment” to west Cumbria. Known as NuGen, the group is a partnership between energy giants Iberdrola, GDF Suez and Scottish & Southern Energy. It has secured a £70 million option to buy nearly 500 acres of land at Sellafield on which to build a new reactor. And, subject to final investment decisions, the consortium wants to start building a new reactor in 2015, which would be commissioned in 2023.
Cumberland News 4th Feb 2011 more >>
Energy Market Reforms
Mike Childs, head of the climate change campaign at FoE, warned renewable targets require a “very substantial change”, as currently levels of deployment are very low. He added that, although the government is currently carrying out a consultation into the energy market, “at the moment, the proposals don’t look as though they will give sufficient confidence to investors in renewable energy to put the money into the technologies and into deployment”.
Low Carbon Economy 2nd Feb 2011 more >>
As revolutionary fervor sweeps across the Middle East and the Obama administration takes steps to recalibrate decades of U.S. foreign policy toward the region, it must not neglect the issue of nuclear nonproliferation. The region’s present instability, historic precedent, and inadequate safeguards make the rapidly increasing trend of nuclear deal-making with Arab autocrats a dangerous road to tread. Unlike democratic transitions, which Washington is morally obligated to support but which are largely beyond its control, regional nonproliferation is an issue on which the administration has leverage, and on which it must step up its efforts to exert influence.
Over the past several years, the Middle East has become something of a nuclear bazaar. A.Q. Khan and his network may be out of business, but legal nuclear cooperation deals are on the upswing. Suppliers such as France, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and the United States are eagerly competing to ink deals with, and provide nuclear aid to, more than a dozen Middle Eastern states, including Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia — many of the same regimes now facing threats of internal upheaval.
Huffington Post 4th Feb 2011 more >>
Canada’s nuclear regulator approved a controversial plan Friday for 16 decommissioned nuclear reactors to be shipped across the Great Lakes for recycling. The long-awaited decision by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission was given the OK despite building international protest about the shipment, which essentially will see 1,600 tonnes of radioactive waste be transported across the lakes for the first time. Bruce Power plans to transport the generators, which each weigh more than 100 tonnes, through the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway and across the Atlantic Ocean to Studsvik’s recycling plant near Nykoping, Sweden, which has the capacity to safely break down 90 per cent of the metals.
Canada.com 4th Feb 2011 more >>
Energy Northwest in Richland, Wash., is considering the use of MOX fuel at its Columbia Generating Station nuclear reactor and could begin testing experimental lead “pins” of MOX as early as 2013, according to a proposal shared with the U.S. Energy Department.
Augusta Chronicle 3rd Feb 2011 more >>
The Government remains “gravely concerned” over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the Foreign Office has said. Junior Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hardline Islamist regime had taken “a significant step towards weapons grade enrichment”.
Express 5th Feb 2011 more >>
Using the enrichment capacity Iran now has at Natanz, and assuming the main enrichment plant there was reconfigured to turn low enriched uranium (LEU) into weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU), the ISIS report’s editor, Mark Fitzpatrick, judges it would take a little over a year and seven months to make enough HEU for an initial bomb. Six more months would be needed to turn that HEU into metal and fashion it into a weapon. So, two years one month, if the centrifuges all worked as they are supposed to (quite a big if).
Guardian Blog 4th Feb 2011 more >>
Japan should develop nuclear weapons to defend itself against China and North Korea, according to the outspoken governor of Tokyo.
Telegraph 5th Feb 2011 more >>
Letter from High Commission: Your editorial about “Pakistan’s nuclear bombs” has conveniently ignored the ground realities in south Asia. Without indulging in a numbers game on nukes, which is a figment of the imagination of those who believe in sensationalism, Pakistan maintains minimum credible deterrence capability in order to ensure strategic balance in the region. Needless to say that Pakistan possesses foolproof safety measures for its nuclear assets, which have been acknowledged by our friends. Therefore, casting doubts about the safety of Pakistan’s strategic assets is meant only to create paranoia and to criticise Pakistan unnecessarily.
Guardian 5th Feb 2011 more >>
Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week. Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.
Telegraph 5th Feb 2011 more >>
Daily Mail 5th Feb 2011 more >>
An anti-nuclear campaigner has been jailed for not paying court fines imposed as a result of her activism. Sylvia Boyes, from Keighley, had been campaigning at the Faslane and Coulport nuclear bases near Glasgow, Scotland. The pensioner was jailed for 14 days by magistrates in Bingley yesterday for not paying fines totalling £1,159.
Telegraph & Argus 4th Feb 2011 more >>
Renewable sources could potentially accommodate the world’s transport, domestic and commercial energy needs by 2050, WWF has claimed. In its energy report, the organisation predicts technological advancements mean energy demand will be down 15 percent on 2005 levels by 2050, and this demand could be met by renewable sources. It compared the global effort needed to move away from fossil fuels as being similar to that used to deal with the economic crisis and claimed the financial benefits could be as much as €4 trillion (£3.4 trillion) in savings.
Low Carbon Economy 3rd Feb 2011 more >>
Business Green 3rd Feb 2011 more >>
Micro Power News this week includes news of a Lancashire Council’s £10m solar plans; claims by British Gas that household gas consumption has fallen by 22% because of insulation; a £7.5m renewable installation plan by a Cumbrian Housing Association; and a report which shows global investment in PV technology could double to $70bn by 2015.
Microgen Scotland 4th Feb 2011 more >>