Britain is on the brink of the “biggest nuclear renaissance since the 1950s”, the Government has claimed, despite fears over the recent disaster in Japan and questions over radioactive waste. Addressing a nuclear industry association conference in London, Charles Hendry will also hit back at criticism that Government officials conferred with the nuclear industry over how to deal with the public relations fall-out from the crisis at Japan’s tsunami-hit Fukushima reactor. According to emails released under Freedom of Information, one official warned the disaster threatened to “set the nuclear industry back globally” and said it was vital not to let anti-nuclear campaigners use it to gain a publicity coup. There is also renewed concern about nuclear following an explosion at a French nuclear power station. The blaze at the Tricastin plant in Drôme in the Rhône valley came just two days after the authorities found 32 safety concerns at the plant. Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem Energy and Climate Change minister, faces a rebellion from his own party over the issue. A large group of backbenchers are gearing up to rebel against a key section of the governments finance bill which focuses on the so called ‘hidden subsidies’ like the carbon floor price.
Telegraph 4th July 2011 more >>
In his speech to the Nuclear Industry Association, seen by the Financial Times, Mr Hendry will say: The UK has everything to gain from becoming the number one destination to invest in new nuclear. Nuclear is the cheapest low-carbon source of electricity around, so it can keep bills down and the lights on. A dozen new reactors are set to be constructed at eight sites in England and Wales, with the first due to be completed in 2018. The total cost of the programme, the most ambitious in Europe, is forecast to be at least £50bn.
FT 5th July 2011 more >>
Energy minister Charles Hendry will speak ahead of a discussion on final investment whilst Mark Higson, head of the Office for Nuclear Development will discuss policy timeline for nuclear. The issue of community engagement will be chaired by Dr. Tim Stone with a panel including community leaders from Hinkley, Sellafield and Anglesey.
Also in attendance in a morning session on July 6 is Dr Mike Weightman discussing the recommendations of his interim report to the UK government on the crisis at Fukushima, and his role leading the IAEAs investigation into the incident.
The Engineer 4th July 2011 more >>
Monbiot: Nuclear operators worldwide have been repeatedly exposed as a bunch of arm-twisting, corner-cutting scumbags.In this respect they are, of course, distinguished from the rest of the energy industry, which is run by collectives of self-abnegating monks whose only purpose is to spread a little happiness. How they ended up sharing the names and addresses of some of the nuclear companies is a mystery that defies explanation. The front-page story in Friday’s Guardian quoted “former government environmental adviser” Tom Burke saying the following about the government’s relationship with the nuclear companies. “They are too close to industry, concealing problems, rather than revealing and dealing with them.” What the article did not tell us is that Burke currently works for Rio Tinto, one of the world’s biggest coal-mining corporations. It has, of course, always refrained from colluding with governments. All the big energy companies whether they invest in coal, oil, gas, nuclear, wind or solar power manipulate politicians, bully regulators and bamboozle the public. Their overweening power causes many kinds of harm; among them is the damage it has done to the case for nuclear technology. Strip away the interests and the arguments are strong.
Guardian 4th July 2011 more >>
Electricity Market Reform
A vote will happen in parliament either late tonight or tomorrow on government plans to hand out a whopping £1billion in new subsidies for the nuclear industry. The money will come from energy consumer pockets and will go to EDF and Centrica for doing absolutely nothing new at all. Our volunteers have been meeting with their MPs across the country with a very simple request – keep your promises. All major parties stood at the general election promising not to allow new subsidies, and yet billions in hidden subsidies are planned by the Conservative lead coalition – obsessed with bailing out this badly damaged industry. On the weekend the Guardian reported that the fault lines in the coalition over new nuclear power are widening by the day. The Lib Dems need to resist the frantic arm twisting of the Conservatives and show some of that ‘muscular liberalism’ promised by Nick Clegg. Every pound spent propping up the nuclear industry is a pound not invested in building our own home grown renewable energy sector powered by the wind, sun and waves. MPs should think twice about new hand outs for nuclear power, particularly after last week’s expose, also in the Guardian.
IB Times 5th July 2011 more >>
Greenpeace Blog 4th July 2011 more >>
HOUSEHOLDERS face a new price increase on their energy bills as part of Government plans to encourage investment in nuclear and wind power. The Electricity Market Reform White Paper, expected later this month, will give an incentive to suppliers to fund clean energy generation rather than go for the cheapest options. The funding mechanism favoured by ministers is thought to be a “contract for difference that refunds suppliers the difference between a green benchmark and the real electricity price. The difference will be paid for by a levy on household bills.
Express 3rd July 2011 more >>
The publication of a long-awaited and fiercely-disputed report on the radiation risks of nuclear power stations was accelerated but then delayed at the insistence of the governments Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), internal emails reveal. DECC initially insisted that the Department of Health (DoH) publish the report as soon as possible to help combat a court challenge on nuclear power. The government was being sued by an anti-nuclear activist for failing to take account of radiation risks. On 10 March 2011 Peter McDonald, from DECCs Office for Nuclear Development emailed health officials urging publication. It is in no ones interest that the COMAREs latest report becomes an issue in any court proceedings particularly as some have tried to characterise the perceived delay in publication as some form of government conspiracy because the findings are politically inconvenient, he wrote. In the interests of transparency, the best possible thing is that the report is published as soon as possible and that, if anything, greater urgency is needed precisely because of the pending court action. But the day after his email, an earthquake and tsunami in Japan knocked out the Fukushima nuclear plants and their back-up safety systems, triggering the worlds worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl 25 years ago. As a result, DECC changed its tune. In an email on 14 March, a DoH official said a submission to ministers to publish the report on 21 March had been withdrawn. DECC have asked us to delay the publication of the COMARE report for a while given the current nuclear issues in Japan due to the earthquake, wrote the official, whose name has been blacked out.
RobEdwards.com 4th July 2011 more >>
MPs will tomorrow discuss a new law that would prevent controversial giant pylons being imposed on the West countryside just because they are cheaper. As the Daily Press has reported, there is huge opposition to a scheme to link the planned new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset with Avonmouth, Bristol, using a series of 152ft high pylons.
Western Daily Press 4th July 2011 more >>
A turbine at the Wylfa nuclear power station had to be turned off following an electrical fault, it has emerged. The incident at turbine three at the Anglesey plant happened on Sunday and investigations are continuing. The company said the other three turbines at the site are still producing electricity as normal.
BBC 4th July 2011 more >>
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a Northumberland beauty spot from nuclear development have welcomed news that it is not on a list of potential power station sites. Fears were first raised in 1979 that a nuclear power station could be built at picturesque Druridge Bay, prompting massive protests from the public and a 40,000 name petition against the proposal. The issue has come to the fore several times since as governments have explored potential sites for a new generation of UK nuclear plants to help meet energy demands. But in 2008, Druridge Bay appeared to have been ruled out when ministers said new power stations would be built near to existing nuclear sites.
Morpeth Herald 5th July 2011 more >>
In an effort by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to test security at the countrys nuclear power plants, mock raids are conducted yearly. Like something out of the movies, trained security personnel mimic real-life security breeches, targeting both plant personnel and key facility buildings for termination. In last years mock assaults, commandos were able to successfully damage or destroy critical targets at two of the 24 plants attacked according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Oil Price 4th July 2011 more >>
The mayor of a small town in Japan has signed off the restart of two nuclear reactors, in a decision that could help avert a complete shutdown of Japans nuclear power stations. The decision by the mayor of Genkai, a town in Saga prefecture in south-western Japan marks the first time the mayor of a reactor-hosting municipality has signed off on a restart since the March 11 tsunami.
FT 4th July 2011 more >>
How long will the disastrous consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan continue? A good estimate is about 4.5 billion years the half life of uranium-238. The March 11, 2011, meltdowns sounded alarms that environmentalists have rung for over half a century. There is also a deeper green meaning: the limits of economic growth have long since passed and we need to design a world with considerably less stuff. The industry claims that there is such a thing as a safe level of radiation and that nuclear production can be safe. Both are profoundly untrue. The myth of a safe level of radiation is spread by comparing radiation releases to background levels of radiation and talking about acceptable levels of radiation. The implication is that if radiation occurs in nature, it must be okay. Not really. Anyone who has walked through poison ivy can attest that substances which exist in nature may be toxic. Background radiation is similar, except much more severe. Since it can take generations for cancers and other diseases to show up, it is impossible to know the full damage of radioactive isotopes from Chernobyl and Fukushima. Perhaps out of ignorance and perhaps intentionally, nuclear preachers confuse internal and external radiation when they compare plant meltdowns to X-rays and CT scans. The latter pass through the body and do not leave radioactive particles in it. Nuclear meltdowns, in contrast, spew particles that are breathed or ingested with food or beverages and become internal emitters as they migrate to the thyroid, liver, bone and brain.
International Journal of Socialist Renewal 26th June 2011 more >>
Less than a month after the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, illustrated brochures elaborating on the process leading up to the hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant were distributed to members of the U.S. Congress and government officials in Washington. The color-print, A-4 size brochures, later to be called the “Fukushima Files,” were handed out by lobbyists from France’s nuclear power giant Areva SA in early April. The 33-page brochure underscored that General Electric Co. (GE)’s Mark I containment system was employed at the Fukushima plant, while containing speculation and describing fuel melting in the spent fuel storage pool, which never took place. On its last page, the brochure concluded that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) apparently had not released most of the information it held. The leaflet sent shockwaves around Tokyo and Washington, as well as GE officials, who were busy responding to the nuclear crisis. Areva lobbyists stressed that the accident was peculiar to Japan when they handed out the leaflets, hinting that similar accidents would never occur with nuclear plant systems provided by Areva.
Mainichi 4th July 2011 more >>
Tepco battling the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years, climbed to a seven-week high after a senior government official said he knows nothing about a proposal to split the company and a rival utility got initial approval to restart reactors.
Bloomberg 4th July 2011 more >>
France’s oldest nuclear reactor, in Fessenheim, is fit to run 10 more years, providing plant operator Électricité de France SA carries out improvements, a decision that comes as France’s attachment to atomic energy comes under increasing scrutiny. Located on the Franco-German border, the Fessenheim plant has long been the center of heated debate between antinuclear protestors and pro-nuclear advocates. Following the nuclear disaster in Japan, many experts viewed the plant, which came online in 1977, as a litmus test for the French government’s view of nuclear energy.
Wall Street Journal 4th July 2011 more >>
Argus Media 4th July 2011 more >>
An explosion sparked a fire at a French nuclear power station on Saturday, just two days after the authorities found 32 safety concerns at the plant. The blaze at the Tricastin plant in Drome in the Rhone valley sent a thick cloud of black smoke into the sky. A mistral wind sent it south over a nearby motorway on one of the busiest travel days of the year as the French left for their summer holidays. EDF, which runs the power station, said the incident took place in an electric transformer situated in the non-nuclear part of the plant and had not resulted in any radiation leak or any other contamination. A statement issued by the energy giant raised further concerns as it omitted to mention the explosion only a fire and did not give the cause of the blaze.
Guardian 5th July 2011 more >>
The CDU, CSU and FDP, the social-democratic SPD and the Greens voted almost unanimously for the government bill. Only the Left Party voted against, but only criticised the law on the basis of a few details. The dispute in parliament was merely over the question of who should get the credit for the nuclear phase-out. Röttgen claimed credit for the government, while the SPD and the Greens maintained they were the real authors of the measure.
World Socialist Web 4th July 2011 more >>
Jordans economy has been heavily impacted by its need to import 96 percent of its energy needs, and so is pressing forward with a project to build the kingdoms first nuclear power plant. In 2010 energy imports cost Jordan 20 percent of its gross domestic product. The government has now received technical bids from three short-listed companies, which include Russias Atomstroi Export, Canadas AECL and a consortium formed between French firm AREVA and Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to build the kingdoms first 1,000 Megawatt Generation III reactor by the end of the decade.
Oil Price 5th July 2011 more >>
Finnish power firm Fennovoima has invited bids from nuclear reactor vendors Areva and Toshiba for the construction of a new nuclear power plant. The bids are requested for the delivery and construction of reactor and turbine islands. Fennovoima will decide the final model of delivery during the contract negotiations that will be carried out based on the delivered bids. Fennovoima was established in 2007 and the Finnish parliament granted the company a Decision-in-Principle exactly one year ago. The electricity produced in Fennovoimas nuclear power plant will be delivered at cost price for the 70 shareholders of the company. Fennovoima is a Finnish nuclear power company owned by Eon and a consortium of Finnish power and industrial companies.
New Civil Engineer 4th July 2011 more >>
World Nuclear News 4th July 2011 more >>
Bulgarian state-owned utility NEK and Russian state-owned engineering firm Atomstroyexport have agreed a further delay of three months to the project to build a new 2GW nuclear power plant at Belene in Bulgaria. NEK signed a construction tender with Atomstroyexport in 2009, but target dates for completing the financing arrangements and agreeing costs have been repeatedly delayed. The three-month delay will allow the contractors to further work on the technical design and increased security, the Bulgarian energy ministry said. UK bank HSBC, which is acting as consultant to the project, will continue to work on contract issues and attracting further potential international investors, the ministry said.
Argus Media 4th July 2011 more >>
Ecologist: Contrary to doubts over thorium nuclear power’s capability at scale, the technology is sound in theory and needs to put into practice argues Labour peer Bryony Worthington.
Guadrian 4th July 2011 more >>
For the survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Bikini in 1946 and the Marshall Islands this is a painful remembrance. For 12 years between 1946 and 1958 the US military, sanctioned by the newly formed UN, tested 67 nuclear weapons at Bikini and Enewatak Islands. The islanders had been evacuated to other atolls more than 100 miles away, but many were unsuitable so the relocated islanders faced repeated bouts of near starvation.
Guardian 4th July 2011 more >>
Hot rocks far below the surface of Scotland offer a means of generating limitless amounts of electricity, according to a new study. Ed Stephens, a geologist at St Andrews University in Fife, said the Cairngorms and East Lothian have the potential for geothermal systems. He said more research would be needed on how to exploit the resource and overcome expensive drilling costs.
BBC 4th July 2011 more >>