Two top secret British ‘ghost ships’ carrying enough plutonium for a huge nuclear arsenal wend their way through the world’s oceans –guarded against terrorists by 50 commandos. It may sound like a tantalising target for a villain in a James Bond film, but what is potentially the most dangerous secret mission in history is deadly reality. Two vast container ships – the Pacific Heron and the Pacific Egret – left Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, last month on the first leg of their incredible journey. Their mission is to sail to Japan to collect 331kg of plutonium – enough to make 80 nuclear warheads – which was leased by the UK to a Japanese research facility. The ships are almost certainly shadowed by a Royal Navy submarine and surface vessels and are heavily armed with 20mm cannon. They are sailing across the Atlantic before passing through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific on their way to Japan.
Daily Mail 7th Feb 2016 read more »
Two armed transport vessels on a secret mission to retrieve weapons-grade plutonium in Japan and transport it to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina have been located in the Panama Canal. The spotting of the ships confirms their route to Japan and that their mission is plutonium transport, according to the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch, whose personnel have tracked such ships for more than 20 years.
Savannah River Watch 6th Feb 2016 read more »
[machine translation] Nuclear: these projects which threaten EDF. EDF must renovate its aging plants, rush to the aid of Areva, and finally build two EPRs in Britain. All this weighs on prices. But another cloud will soon seal a little EDF accounts: the dismantling of nuclear power plants. Cheap electricity in France is already the past! In the coming years, EDF will have to increase these prices by 30 to 50% to meet the enormous challenges: 1.The company shall primarily finance the renovation of existing nuclear fleet. A slate estimated at € 55 billion. 2. It will participate in Areva bailout having acquired its capital, ie € 2.7 billion. 3.Finally two EPR construction (European Pressurized Reactor) is announced in Britain. A bill estimated at € 18 billion. And it will add the dismantling of nuclear power park will also weigh heavily on the accounts. The problem is that no one can reasonably quantify the cost of such future projects. Cigéo was initially estimated at € 15 billion. It is now estimated at 32! Since 2006, EDF is supposed provision of money to anticipate these expenses, but more control bodies, including the Court of Auditors, believe that these provisions are undervalued. And according to Yves Marignac, director of the NGO antinuclear Wise. When will dismantle fifty eight reactors currently in service if the cost of these projects was undervalued, will come a day when EDF can no longer cope. then we will be in a scenario where the liabilities will be taken over by the state, while assets should be privatized to generate cash. The industrial and financial wall dismantling endangers the very survival of the company. Meanwhile, addition, we are already paying. The government slows the increases requested by EDF for they are politically risky. But even in small doses, they will eventually prevail, and our bill explode
France Culture 5th Feb 2016 read more »
[machine translation] Areva could leave the Hinkley Point project – EDF/ Areva insisted that the capital increase to be “significant”, facing financing needs until valued at 7 billion euros in 2017 and partially covered by disposals. Areva announced Wednesday that the French State, its principal shareholder, would participate in a capital increase of € 5 billion as part of the restructuring of the nuclear group in difficulty, “intended to restore the balance sheet position of the group.”
Canal Togo 5th Feb 2016 read more »
The following letter of objection to NuGen’s 40 (or more) offshore “exploratory” boreholes which would churn up the biggest nuclear dump in the world has been sent to the Marine Management Organisation. The nuclear industry seemingly has been able to bypass local democracy and cut straight to the chase. The only chance the public gets to object is now in what the Marine Management Organisation laughingly calls a “public consultation.” The public however cannot easily find the information or the tools to object. But here is our strong objection. Please ask your local representatives if there has been any democratic vote or debate on this and if not why not! In contrast the wind turbines off Walney were hugely debated by local councillors, one of the concerns being (quite rightly) the churning up of radioactive silts.
Radiation Free Lakeland 6th Feb 2016 read more »
Pipe Sleeve Corrosion “Substantial Safety Hazard” for V.C. Summer-Vogtle AP1000 Nuclear Power Stations Under Construction. These nuclear power stations are still under construction and, yet, are already suffering from dangerous corrosion, presumably due to substandard steel. Radiation in operating reactors speeds up corrosion. This is part of a laundry list of defects reported at these sites, since the beginning of last September (see US NRC list below). Were they found because CB&I just “bailed out” and sold its nuclear construction business to Westinghouse (now a Toshiba subsidiary)?
Mining Awareness 5th Feb 2016 read more »
WORKERS in Trawsfynydd nuclear power plant are at risk of having their rights undermined by central Government according to the local MP. Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Liz Saville Roberts has called for workers in the nuclear decommissioning industry, including those at the Magnox plant in Trawsfynydd, to be made exempt from the government’s controversial Enterprise Bill, which was debated in Parliament last week (2 February). The much-maligned Bill provides for regulations to restrict redundancy payments for public sector workers.
Cambrian News 6th Feb 2016 read more »
The closure and decommissioning of the last working Magnox nuclear reactor in the world has inspired an art exhibition. The nuclear plant at Wylfa on Anglesey was shut down in December. Over the two years leading up to the closure, the artist group X-10 has been creating responses to it in the form of video, photography, sound, sculpture and installation. The exhibition, Power in the Land, has opened in Powys and will tour Wales.
BBC 6th Feb 2016 read more »
Staff shortages at the police force responsible for guarding the UK’s nuclear weapons bases and other key military facilities are now so severe that the Ministry of Defence is considering whether to use serving soldiers to plug the gaps. A shortfall in the number of trained frontline officers serving with the MoD Police (MDP) has led to the option of deploying troops being given “serious consideration” by ministers, the head of the body representing rank-and-file officers told The Independent on Sunday.
Independent 7th Feb 2016 read more »
The European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have reaffirmed their co-operation in a range of nuclear activities. Senior officials met in Vienna last month to exchange views on enhancing collaboration in nuclear security, sustainable development and research and innovation. They agreed to strengthen their co-operation on nuclear safety, waste management and decommissioning as well as emergency preparedness and response. The EU reaffirmed its support for the IAEA’s activities related to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Energy Live News 7th Feb 2016 read more »
Chilling pictures show ghost town.
Mirror 6th Feb 2016 read more »
Sweden’s nuclear regulator has ordered tighter security measures including armed guards and perimeter dog patrols at its nuclear power plants because of the global security situation. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority said the country’s nuclear plants could implement the measures from now and they would have to be in place by Feb. 4 next year, at the latest. “If they do it sooner, it would be good,” a spokesman for the authority said. Sweden has nine nuclear reactors in operation at three power plants.
Reuters 5th Feb 2016 read more »
Radioactive material has leaked into the groundwater below a nuclear power plant north of New York City, prompting a state investigation on Saturday and condemnation from governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo ordered an investigation into “alarming levels of radioactivity” found at three monitoring wells at the Indian Point energy center in Buchanan, New York, about 40 miles north of Manhattan.
Guardian 6th Feb 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 6th Feb 2016 read more »
Reuters 6th Feb 2016 read more »
US – renewables
On the campaign trail, many candidates tend to portray the clean energy revolution as a pie-in-the-sky idea, with new investments needed in oil and gas drilling while we wait for a technological fix to solve our energy and global warming challenges. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, for example, has said that the next clean technology breakthrough and solution to global warming will happen through the work of “someone in a garage somewhere” who will “have an answer to this.” However, according to a new report published on Thursday, the U.S. is way past the garage phase. In fact, we are now in the midst of a far more rapid shift away from fossil fuels, such as coal, to renewables, including solar and wind power, than anyone has realized, including the candidates for president. In 2015, the majority of new power added to the electrical grid came from renewable sources, primarily wind and solar, according to a sustainable energy report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which is a division of Bloomberg LP that tracks energy trends around the world. “2015 clearly marked a turning point for american energy,” said Ethan Zindler, who leads the Americas division for BNEF, during a press conference. “We have entered a new era here in the United States.” Zindler pointed to the fact that natural gas has nearly overtaken coal as the biggest source of electrical power in the U.S., while wind and solar have increased by 57% above 2008 levels. Energy developers installed 16 gigawatts of clean energy in 2015, which comprised nearly 70% of all new generating capacity, the report says. This was the second year in a row that renewables overtook fossil fuels for the top spot on the energy growth list. Among renewables, wind led the pack, with 8.5 gigawatts of new electrical generation installed, while solar added 7.3 gigawatts of new generating capacity. The growth in solar was a 13% increase from 2014, BNEF said.
Mashable 4th Feb 2016 read more »
Once the fishing capital of the world, Grimsby’s fortunes took a turn for the worse in recent decades, leaving a depressed town with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. But now it is being reborn as the renewable energy capital of England, generating more electricity from solar, wind, biomass and landfill gas than anywhere else, and creating “new hope” in the area. It makes an astonishing 28 per cent of the electricity it uses from green sources – much of it from household solar panels and wind turbines, according to new research. This puts it way ahead of its closest rival – Doncaster, weighing in at a respectable 19 per cent – and makes London, at a minuscule 0.06 per cent, l ook pathetic. Birmingham doesn’t fare much better, at 1.4 per cent, or Manchester at 6.8 per cent, according to the Green Alliance think-tank. Although Grimsby might not seem the obvious choice for a green capital – Brighton, with the country’s sole Green Party MP, or technology-obsessed Cambridge may seem more likely candidates – there are plenty of reasons why the town is head and shoulders above the rest.
Independent 7th Feb 2016 read more »