Sheffield Forgemasters and the Government have called a truce in a war of words over contracts going to British companies. The Brightside steelmaker and the department for Business, Innovation and Skills have issued a joint statement that agrees ‘Forgemasters cannot produce ‘ultra-large’ forgings. But it can produce 80 per cent of forgings for projects like the planned nuclear power station Hinkley Point C. The unusual move comes after the firm said it had been ‘snubbed’ in favour of foreign firms for contracts at the site.
Yorkshire Post 5th Feb 2016 read more »
ONE of Somerset’s biggest employers celebrates 40 years of low carbon energy production today (Friday, February 5) – just as a major maintenance programme gets into full swing. Hinkley Point B, near Bridgwater, was the first advanced gas-cooled reactor in the country to begin commercially generating electricity to the National Grid on February 5, 1976. During its 40 years of operation, Hinkley Point B has generated enough low carbon electricity to power around 60 million homes.
Chard and Ilminster 5th Feb 2016 read more »
The two Barrow-based nuclear ships Pacific Heron and Pacific Egret, armed with naval canon and carrying security crew, were located transiting the Panama Canal from the Atlantic in the early hours of this morning 6th February. On exiting the Canal, the ships are expected to reach Japan around 29th February where they are likely to load a consignment of 331 kg of plutonium from the Tokai Research Establishment. Since sailing from Barrow docks on 19th January, the ships’ voyage has been cloaked in a level of secrecy that was raised to new levels last night on their approach to the Canal when the Canal Authorities appear to have bowed to requests/orders to turn off all the webcams during the ships’ transit. The webcams normally operate 24/7 at a handful of locations. With both ships travelling unladen, this extra covert action by officialdom stands as testament to the dangers of nuclear materials transport and the unsavoury nature of global nuclear trade – as does the special dispensation afforded to the ships that allowed them to jump the queue of cargo ships that routinely forms in the anchorage outside the Canal entrance. With the two ships riding shotgun for each other and with the use of the Panama Canal ruled out by the US Department of Energy, this cargo of prime terrorist material is expected to be transported from Japan round the notoriously unpredictable Cape Horn for safeguarding at the Savannah River nuclear complex in South Carolina under the US-led Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI).
CORE 6th Feb 2016 read more »
DUNFERMLINE and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman has urged the UK Government to give Holyrood advance notification when nuclear material is transported through the streets of Scotland. Currently, the Ministry of Defence does not inform the Scottish Government or local authorities of the movements.
Dunfermline Press 5th Feb 2016 read more »
BRITISH security was thrown into question yesterday after it was claimed that UK nuclear weapons can NEVER be entirely safe from being targeted in a cyber attack. There is evidence hackers have attempted to compromise radio communications used to send launch approval messages, according to the paper for think tank the European Leadership Network (ELN). The admission came as an expert the organisation that it will never be possible to say UK nuclear weapons are protected from viscous hackers.
Express 6th Feb 2016 read more »
Boston Standard 5th Feb 2016 read more »
The Ministry of Defence Police say they do not have enough officers to keep watch over British missile sites and submarine bases. They revealed a shortfall of hundreds of constables, and say officers are working themselves to the bone to keep facilities protected. Despite a recruitment drive, the department only managed to expand its workforce by five officers in an entire year because so many quit.
Express 5th Feb 2016 read more »
Analysis of passive safety systems in nuclear reactors has identified a number of intrinsic difficulties that need further research, France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) has said. In a report published today IRSN says the intrinsic difficulties particularly concern the assessment of performance and reliability of such systems. The report says further research is needed to properly assess the performance and reliability of passive safety systems to be implemented in new reactor designs. The report says assessing the performance of passive safety systems requires a very good understanding of the physical phenomena underlying their operation, as well as the necessary simulation capabilities for such phenomena. It says assessing reliability calls for specific development approaches in order to properly evaluate the reliability of passive safety systems, with particular emphasis on assessing the failure probabilities of thermal-hydraulic mechanisms used by these systems. IRSN said certain reactor designs proposed by nuclear power plant designers make more extensive use of passive safety systems to bring the reactor to a safe shutdown state and maintain this state for a long period of time – 72 hours for Westinghouse AP1000 reactors – without human intervention and with limited reliance on support functions.
Nucnet 7th Jan 2016 read more »
The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) today published a list of events reported to the authority over 14 years and has concluded that “the total number has increased over recent years, but the number of those that are of nuclear safety significance has not”. The most significant nuclear safety event in the period covered by the report – between 1 April 2001 and 31 March 2015 – occurred about 10 years ago, with one event rated above the lowest level of significance on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) having occurred since 2009.
World Nuclear News 5th Feb 2016 read more »
ARE nations duty-bound to deal with their own nuclear waste, or do we need a transnational solution? It is a pertinent question. Germany, despite decisively ditching nuclear power five years ago, still can’t decide what to do with the leftovers. Anti-nuclear activists there are vowing to block the return of spent fuel from the country’s reactors, being reprocessed in France and the UK. They have also boycotted a parliamentary commission scheduled to report later this year on a final resting place for plutonium-rich waste, which needs keeping out of harm’s way for tens of thousands of years (see “Radioactive waste dogs Germany despite abandoning nuclear power“). Their campaign may succeed, but only temporarily by dodging the big issue and saddling other countries with German waste. Perhaps the real problem is narrow nationalism. Does it really make sense to insist that waste be disposed of within the country that produced it? Maybe a few international repositories would be better. Germany is entitled to abandon nuclear power, but it cannot duck its responsibility to clean up. With nuclear waste piling up in more than 30 nations, the quandary could be a useful opportunity for the nuclear family to sit down together and sort out the mess.
New Scientist 3rd Feb 2016 read more »
A new £19.5 million research centre for advanced engineering supporting industries including nuclear and renewable energy is to be built in Wales. The Advanced Engineering Materials Research Institute (AMERI) at TWI Technology Centre in Port Talbot has received £7.5 million of EU investment to kick-start the construction. It is expected to create 16 highly skilled jobs as well as train 20 PhD students while supporting engineering and manufacturing businesses through access to its testing facilities.
Energy Live News 5th Feb 2016 read more »
A Japanese volcano about 30 miles from a nuclear plant violently erupted last week, shooting ash nearly 2 km into the night sky. Fountains of lava spewed from the Sakurajima mountain, but there were no immediate report of damage and operations at the power station were not affected.
Mirror 5th Feb 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 5th Feb 2016 read more »
These images give a revealing insight into the panic that followed the disaster and how the entire area has become an extended wasteland.
Daily Record 6th Feb 2016 read more »
Chinese engineers have managed to create hydrogen gas that is three times hotter than the sun. The team were able to maintain 50 million°C for 102 seconds – a breakthrough that could someday make fusion power a reality. It follows news last week that Germany used 2 megawatts of microwave radiation to heat hydrogen gas to 80 million°C for a quarter of a second.
Daily Mail 6th Feb 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
It would be “utter madness” for the government to withdraw its support at this late stage from a £1bn revolutionary tidal energy scheme at Swansea Bay, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron will tell his party’s spring conference in Cardiff on Saturday. The planned project, awaiting a funding decision from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, would provide hundreds of jobs and much-needed low carbon power for over a century, he argues. Farron spoke out amid mounting speculation that ministers are growing cold on the tidal lagoon project, which was included in the Conservative manifesto but has been delayed by tortuous negotiations on subsidies.
Guardian 6th Feb 2016 read more »
Sheikh Yamani, a former Saudi oil minister, is famous for having pointed out that the stone age did not end because we ran out of stones. He was responding to a debate at the end of the last century about whether the world would run out of oil. He went on to say something else, now forgotten. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph in 2000 he said: “Thirty years from now there will be a huge amount of oil – and no buyers. Oil will be left in the ground.” We are half way there. So, was Yamani right? Few in today’s oil industry think so. In January, Exxon predicted that oil, gas, and coal will still meet 80% of the planet’s energy needs in 2040 and beyond. This view is shared throughout the industry and most of the energy commentariat. Reassurance is as abundant as oil. Global primary energy demand is projected to reach about 17 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (btoe) by 2035. Of this, about 13 btoe will come in roughly equal proportions from coal, oil and gas. Renewables and hydro will provide about 1.5 btoe each and nuclear 1.0 btoe. Expressing energy demand data as btoe handily allows you to compare each of the different energy sources on the same basis. Except that it doesn’t. Almost all of the renewable primary energy ends up providing consumers with useful energy services. This is not true for fossil fuels. Much of their primary energy ends up as waste heat.
Tom Burke 5th Feb 2016 read more »