A record number of radioactive hotspots have been found contaminating public beaches near the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, according to a report by the site’s operator. As many as 383 radioactive particles and stones were detected and removed from seven beaches in 2010-11, bringing the total retrieved since 2006 to 1,233. Although Sellafield insists that the health risks for beach users are “very low”, there are concerns that some potentially dangerous particles may remain undetected and that contamination keeps being found. Anti-nuclear campaigners have called for beaches to be closed, or for signs to be erected warning the public of the pollution. But the government’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) has said “no special precautionary actions are required at this time to limit access to, or use of, beaches”. But it also pointed to a series of “uncertainties” in the beach monitoring that could lead to its risk assessment being reviewed. The latest equipment might miss tiny specks that could be inhaled, it said, as well as buried alpha radioactivity that “could give rise to a significant risk to health if ingested”. A local environmental group expressed concern that in some areas, particles seemed to reappear after they had been cleaned up. “This warrants closure of the beaches or at least the erection of warning signs for parents and others of the health dangers posed,” said Janine Allis-Smith,
Guardian 4th July 2012 more >>
A JUDGE has ended a custody battle in which a father claimed his son was being put at risk by living on the West Cumbrian coastline. The legal tug-of-love broke out after the mans partner took their son and moved to West Cumbria, where the father fears the boy will visit beaches contaminated with radioactive particles from the Sellafield power station. Earlier this year, a family judge rejected the fathers claims the power station was a risk, and ordered that the two-year-old continue living with his mother and visit the father on weekends.
Whitehaven News 28th June 2012 more >>
Copeland Council may well be thrilled by the Quality Coast Awards to 4 of its beaches and celebrate with nice new shiny beach safety and Tourist Information Boards. These sentiments are shared neither by CORE nor by a father in a recent custody battle who claimed his son was being put at risk by visiting these West Cumbrian beaches contaminated by radioactive particles from Sellafield. Although the signs show visitors the usual water safety code, there is no mention of the insidious and unavoidable risk of encountering a radioactive particle in the sand. This omission is compounded by the Environment Agencys announcement to the West Cumbria Sites Stakeholder group meeting on the 2nd February this year that, for reasons unknown, areas of beach already cleared have been repopulated by radioactive particles in a matter of days. The meeting was told by CORE that In terms of the public going onto the beach and being told that while we remove umpteen thousand particles and pebbles, they should really take that with a pinch of salt because they are continuously returning. Adding to these attempts to down play the radioactive state of the beaches, the official monitoring of the coast has been deliberately abandoned at the specific request of some local authorities – during the peak periods of school and public Bank Holidays for fear of alarming the tourists.
CORE Press Release 4th July 2012 more >>
The EU needs to have very clear rules on what energies can be incentivized in order to avoid distorting the EU’s internal energy market, the European Commission’s top energy bureaucrat said. Philip Lowe, director-general of the EC’s energy department, told an industry seminar in Brussels: “We have to look at all the ways low carbon technologies are being incentivized,” Under EU state aid rules, governments are allowed to subsidize renewable generation technologies to accelerate their development and take up. “The aim was to get the costs down,” said Lowe. “Not all renewables need the same support as in the past.” But he was also cautious on potential government support for nuclear. “There is no infant technology argument for nuclear, but there is a security of supply issue,” Lowe said. He refused to give an opinion on whether the planned electricity market reforms in the UK, which involve measures to support low carbon generation including nuclear, would break EU state aid rules. “There is a problem in the UK and its security of supply for the future,” Lowe said. “The UK government has to sort it out and the [EC’s competition department] will have to examine it.” “There is nothing in any EU treaty that stops a member state from intervening in a market provided it is proportionate and transitory,” he added.
Platts 21st June 2012 more >>
I had a wry smile at the recent EDF/Yougov poll on nuclear power and the Governments energy market reforms. Heres what the EDF press plug stated about one of the surveys findings: The survey also found more people support government proposals to reform the energy market than oppose them. Over a third of Britons (35%) backed the plans, with 18% against. ..and heres the question the figures arose from. With current nuclear and coal power stations due to close between now and 2020, it has been estimated the UKs energy sector needs around £200 billion of investment to bridge this gap. The Governments energy reform plans will set a fixed price for electricity generated in an effort to encourage investment in low-carbon energy (nuclear, wind and solar) where the upfront costs are high. While household bills will rise, the Government says that the reforms will mean that prices will be more stable and lead to lower rises in the future. To what extent do you support or oppose these measures? Im astonished that 18% held out after that loosening up.
Alan Whitehead MP 4th July 2012 more >>
The UK Office for Nuclear Regulation has published revised site licensing guidance, which will be used to review the application by NNB Genco for a site license to build two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point. NNB Genco is the consortium of EDF and Centrica that has applied for a site license for Hinkley Point C. The Licensing Nuclear Installations document replaces The licensing of nuclear installations issued in March 2007. The revised document takes account of the governments National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation (2009) and recent changes in legislation, including the Energy Act (2008) and the Planning Act (2008), ONR said. It also sets out the factors that the regulator may take into account when reviewing a license application, and refers to relevant technical assessment guidance.
i-Nuclear 4th July 2012 more >>
One of Cumbrias most determined campaigners against windfarms is cautiously backing plans to bury nuclear waste in the county. Kyle Blue, chairman of Orton parish council, was a leading light in the fight against proposals for 28 wind turbines at Whinash, near Tebay, turned down in 2006 following a public inquiry. He was approached recently by Radiation Free Lakeland, which is calling on parish councils to come out against proposals for a nuclear-waste repository in west Cumbria. But Orton declined to back the lobby.
Carlisle News and Star 4th July 2012 more >>
Radiation Free Lakeland 4th July 2012 more >>
NDA plans for re-use of plutonium briefing.
CORE 3rd July 2012 more >>
Leader of Sedgemoor District Council: Should the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point go ahead, the surrounding communities will change forever. The planning system obliges developers to mitigate the “direct impact” of their project: road congestion, noise, smells and an influx of thousands of construction workers. For at least eight years, towns around Hinkley Point C will become the biggest building site in the country. But there is also the more intangible, holistic impact. A development of this size (far bigger than encountered previously) will make Hinkley Point C the defining characteristic of these communities for the next 60 years. Quality of life and environmental and psychological well-being will be intrinsically linked to their selection as “nuclear” communities. New roads for the developer’s trucks, or new housing for site workers, cannot possibly address this.
Utility Week 6th June 2012 more >>
EU red tape has left Wylfa contractors in the cold as maintenance deals have been handed to a multi-national firm from South Wales. Anglesey companies that have worked at the nuclear plant for up to 40 years have now lost their contracts.
Daily Post 4th July 2012 more >>
TWO of the community groups opposed to a Sizewell C nuclear power station have decided to boycott a meeting with local authority representatives as a matter of principle.
East Anglian Daily Times 4th July 2012 more >>
Contractors Balfour Beatty and Costain have been appointed to a £250m framework for construction work by nuclear site manager Magnox. The contractors will provide engineering, design, enabling and construction across Magnoxs ten sites for the next ten years. Much of the work centres around Magnoxs decommissioning of its reactors which include Hinkley Point A in Somerset, Chaplecross and Sizewell A.
Building 4th July 2012 more >>
Construction News 4th July 2012 more >>
Construction Enquirer 4th July 2012 more >>
A controversial uranium-enrichment technology is on the cusp of making it cheaper to create fuel for nuclear power plants. But some non-proliferation experts are concerned that the efficiency of the laser-based technology will smooth the path for bomb-makers too.
Nature 4th July 2012 more >>
New French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault reaffirmed the government’s commitment to nuclear closures in a speech to the national assembly yesterday. Ayrault said the government is committed to President Francois Hollande’s pre-election pledge to reduce nuclear generation from 75pc of total power generation to 50pc by 2025. The government will launch a massive energy programme that will involve the substantial development of renewables generation capacity and investment in renewable energy technologies, which Ayrault said will support economic recovery. Details of which plants will be closed and under what timeframe have not yet been announced. It remains to be seen whether or not Hollande will carry through his pre-election pledge to close France’s oldest nuclear unit, the 1,800MW Fessenheim plant, within the next five years.
Argus Media 4th July 2012 more >>
GDF Suez (GZS) and Belgian energy firm Electrabel issued an statement Wednesday in response to the Belgian government plans to stick to a 2025 target date to exit nuclear power. According to Belgian media, two reactors, Doel 1 and Doel 2, will be shut down in April 2016. A third plant, Tihange, will be overhauled as of 2015 and kept running until 2025 in order to secure the country’s electricity supplies. GDF Suez and Electrabel said the Belgian government does not respect the nuclear agreement signed in October 2009 between the companies and the State, which foresees the lifespan of the three reactors extended for 10 years.
Fox Business 4th July 2012 more >>
Reuters 4th July 2012 more >>
Palestinian officials raised the prospect of exhuming Yasser Arafat’s body yesterday after a Swiss laboratory said it had discovered an “unexplained” level of the radioactive element polonium on personal belongings of the late President.
Independent 5th July 2012 more >>
The crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant was “a profoundly man-made disaster”, a Japanese parliamentary panel has said in a report. The disaster “could and should have been foreseen and prevented” and its effects “mitigated by a more effective human response”, it said. The report catalogued serious deficiencies in both the government and plant operator Tepco’s response. It also blamed cultural conventions and a reluctance to question authority. In the panel’s final report, its chairman said a multitude of errors and wilful negligence had left the plant unprepared for the earthquake and tsunami. “Although triggered by these cataclysmic events, the subsequent accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant cannot be regarded as a natural disaster,” it said. “It was a profoundly man-made disaster – that could and should have been foreseen and prevented.”
BBC 5th July 2012 more >>
Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear on the ongoing crisis at Fukushima – an accident that it is still out of control. Kansai has suppressed fact that Oi has an earthquake fault underneath.
Russia Today 4th July 2012 more >>
Japan ended two months without nuclear power on Thursday when the No. 3 unit at Kansai Electric Power Co’s Ohi plant became the first reactor to resume supplying electricity to the grid since a nationwide safety shutdown after the Fukushima disaster.
Reuters 5th July 2012 more >>
Belfast Telegraph 5th July 2012 more >>
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for the first time Wednesday hinted it might mothball a second nuclear plant located 10 kilometers away. During a rare media tour of the Fukushima Daini plant, the new chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. said he “accepted” that there’s a lot of local opposition to the facility, which was damaged by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami but didn’t suffer the meltdowns of its neighbor, Daiichi.
Wall St Journal 4th July 2012 more >>
Tokyo Electric Power shy away from the question of whether Dainis reactors will ever be turned back on. Nothing is decided yet, Naomi Hirose, Tepco president since last week, told journalists after a tour of the Daini plant on Wednesday. Such caution reflects the deep suspicion of the nuclear sector in Japan, where citizens were long assured that its atomic plants could withstand any disaster the seismologically unstable archipelago might throw at them.
FT 4th July 2012 more >>
Japan’s top utility Tokyo Electric Power Co aims to gradually restart the nuclear reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant starting from April 2013, to curb fossil fuel costs.
Reuters 5th July 2012 more >>
Even as Japan begins cranking up its nuclear reactors again, Tokyo has launched a scheme it hopes will spark a green-energy revolution and put the country at the leading edge of renewables. New rules oblige utilities to buy all electricity produced from renewable sources, including solar, wind and geothermal power, at above-market rates for the next two decades, in a bid to stoke “green” power investment. Advocates say the rush by suppliers to capitalise on the scheme could nearly double demand for solar cells this year alone, spurring economies of scale for panel producers and ultimately bringing down the cost of renewable energy.
My Sinchew 4th July 2012 more >>
Letter: Will the Christian Churches have the courage and integrity to recognise that in the oncoming referendum, there is only one choice which will bring an end to Trident, and that is independence? All the Unionist parties support the present deployment of Trident. Therefore, a vote for Unionism is a vote for Trident.
Herald 5th July 2012 more >>
First Minister Carwyn Jones has been rebuked by a Labour backbencher after suggesting the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet would be welcome in Wales. Cardiff West AM Mark Drakeford said he was “utterly opposed” to the siting of nuclear missiles in Wales. It comes after Mr Jones raised the prospect of the Trident weapons system leaving its Scottish base and coming to Milford Haven. AMs were taking part in a Plaid Cymru-tabled debate in the Welsh assembly.
BBC 4th July 2012 more >>
Wind power firms warn they may take the government to court if they get caught in a political row over subsidies. After conducting technical studies, the energy department proposed a subsidy cut of 10% for power from onshore wind. But the chancellor is under pressure from back-benchers to scrap subsidies, and is said to favour a 25% cut. The industry body, Renewable UK, says it may take legal action if the government makes a decision that overrides its own technical evidence. “It’s really important this process is seen to be evidence-based and rational,” said Gordon Edge of Renewable UK. “The government took technical guidance on this issue. If at this point the government says we are going to do less for onshore wind than it proposed that will be seen as nakedly political.” Mr Edge told BBC News he believed that the industry might have a c ase for judicial review if the cut exceeded 10%. The government has previously lost in the courts over policies on solar and nuclear.
BBC 5th July 2012 more >>
Solarcentury has announced that the installation of Londons largest solar array is half way complete today as the 2,200th solar module was installed on the roof of Blackfriars station. Network Rail has included the ambitious solar array as part of its redevelopment of the historic station, where it will be rebuilt on top Blackfriars rail bridge in order to provide more space for passengers and longer, more frequent trains. It is estimated that 4,400 modules will be capable of generating half of the stations energy requirements, some 900,000kWh of electricity per year, stopping the emission of over 500 tonnes of CO2 every year.
Solar Power Portal 5th July 2012 more >>
Jeremy Leggett: George Monbiot says We were wrong about peak oil. There’s enough to fry us all. The many misunderstandings he relays begin with the title. There is more than enough potential oil resource below ground to create the climate disaster he refers to. Peak oil is not about that. It is about when global production falls never again to reach past levels: a disaster, if the descent hits an oil-dependent global economy years ahead of expectations. This descent depends on flow rates in oilfields, not the amount of oil left. What worries those who believe the global oil peak is imminent is the evidence that the oil industry will not be able to maintain growing flow rates for much longer.
Guardian 4th July 2012 more >>