On the eve of a vital vote on taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power, we’ve published the results of an exclusive opinion poll which shows that the majority of people – 46 per cent – oppose any future subsidy for the nuclear power industry – compared to less than a third who support it (32%). Liberal Democrat MPs stood at the last election on a manifesto pledge of opposing new nuclear power and ending public subsidy: these opinion poll findings will be a reminder of what the electorate expect. When asked how Lib Dem MPs should vote in any future bill on public subsidy for nuclear, 51 per cent said they wanted them to either vote against or abstain from any future parliamentary vote. Among Liberal Democrat voters, the expectation that their MPs should live up to their manifesto promises was even greater, with just under two thirds of respondents (63 per cent) saying they wanted Lib Dem MPs to either vote against or abstain. Three Liberal Democrat MPs -Stephen Williams, Roger Williams and Mike Crockart – will have the opportunity this week to stick with their election promises when an amendment to the Finance Bill is put before the Public Bill Committee on Tuesday that will rule out future taxpayer subsidy.
Greenpeace UK 6th June 2011 more >>
As Germany confirmed that it will shut down all of its nuclear reactors by 2022, Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, has called on the UK government to follow suit. She said: “Both the German and Swiss governments have now responded to public pressure and chosen to phase out nuclear power. This sends a strong message to politicians around the world that we simply do not need nuclear to power our future. However, it is also vital that fossil fuel use is not increased in response. Nuclear is a dangerous distraction from the real solutions we need for a low carbon economy – renewable energies and a nationwide energy efficiency programme.”
News on News 6th June 2011 more >>
Its the sheer cost of nuclear that may overwhelm any industry renaissance. The California Energy Commission (CEC), a public agency mandated with the task of periodically examining the costs of various electricity generation technologies that may be used in the state to meet demand. The 186-page report, 2010 Comparative Costs of California Central Station Electricity Generation, found that a 1,000 MW Pressurized Water Reactor would generate electricity in 2018 from as little as $0.17/kWh to as much as $0.34/kWh. The results of the CEC study are startling. Most renewable technologies today, even solar photovoltaics (solar PV), generate electricity for less than nuclear power in 2018. Only a municipal utility could generate nuclear electricity for less cost than than that of solar PV. In an unrelated study for the German Renewable Energy Association consultants in Leipzig found that nuclear reactors are effectively uninsurable. The 157 page report by Versicherungsforen Leipzig estimated that the premium necessary to insure a nuclear reactor from accident would cost from 0.14/kWh ($0.20/kWh) to a staggering 2.36/kWh ($3.40/kWh). Thus, the cost to insure a nuclear reactor at a minimum would cost as much as the electricity itself from a nuclear plant built in California in 2018.
Climate Progress 6th June 2011 more >>
Renewable Energy Focus 6th June 2011 more >>
The WNAs global nuclear stocks index has fallen by 12 per cent in US dollar terms since the Japan quake, compared with a fall of about 2 per cent in the US S&P 500 index. At a meeting of energy executives in New York on Monday, companies including American Electric Power and Duke Energy of the US as well as EDF, RWE, Enel and Tepco warned agitatedly that limiting nuclear use could bring countries significantly higher costs, less CO2 free emission capacity and risks to reliability in electricity supplies. Yet the industry also has to reassure people not just that the specific failures at Fukushima cannot happen again but also that systems and procedures will minimise the risk of a different crisis hitting another reactor somewhere else. Any solution is likely to involve companies submitting to a much higher level of scrutiny. Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford university, says: How could a sophisticated country like Japan put its back-up generators in the path of a large wave? The question is, what else hasnt been checked?” Worldwide reviews of nuclear safety have already begun to expose flaws in other countries. In the US, the governments Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted a rapid assessment that found that of 65 operating reactor sites, 12 had issues with some of its safety requirements, often connected to training. Dave Lochbaum, a former NRC instructor who is now with the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental group, says: The history of the industry is that it is very good at finding out what the problems are and what needs to be done. It is not very good at working out how to get that implemented.
FT 6th June 2011 more >>
Areva hopes that by 2015, it can start planning construction of a facility for recycling nuclear waste in the United States, an executive for the French nuclear power company said on Monday. Jacques Besnainou, head of Areva’s North American unit, said the company was in discussions with several utilities about forming an alliance to advocate for a recycling center.
Reuters 6th June 2011 more >>
BUDDING engineers of the future took part in free, hands-on activities at The Royal Bath and West Show in Shepton Mallet this weekend. EDF Energy nuclear graduate trainees run interactive demonstrations and career talks for 8 to 16 year olds, as part of the festivals Imagineering Fair.
Jobs SW 6th June 2011 more >>
G20 energy ministers are set to meet in Paris to discuss nuclear safety in the wake Japan’s Fukushima disaster. The accident caused by March’s earthquake and tsunami has led to calls for tougher global safety measures. Some governments are now reconsidering their nuclear energy strategy.
BBC 7th June 2011 more >>
Two subcommittees of the USA’s Blue Ribbon Commission on the future of nuclear power set up by president Barack Obama have published draft reports to the commission. The disposal subcommittee has determined that the need for a disposal solution ‘inescapable’and a mined repository the most promising option despite internal differences about whether disposed fuel should be recoverable. The transportation and disposal subcommittee has recommended building consolidated interim waste storage facilities.
Nuclear Engineering International 6th June 2011 more >>
Bob Alvarez: Japan’s nuclear disaster should serve as a wake-up call for the United States. Now that many Americans have stopped paying attention to Japan’s nuclear catastrophe, shocking new details about its severity are finally coming to light. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently revealed that the cores of three of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station’s reactors started to melt within hours after the loss of offsite power, right after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Tokyo Electric Power has announced that the accident probably released more radioactivity into the environment than the Chernobyl debacle. That would make it the worst nuclear accident on record. Meanwhile, a nuclear waste advisor to the Japanese government reported that about 373 square miles near the power station — an area roughly 17 times the size of Manhattan — may now be uninhabitable. The Fukushima accident should be a wakeup call for the United States to address the hazards posed by our own dangerous spent fuel pools at nuclear reactors. They are a time bomb. America’s reactors have generated about 65,000 metric tons of spent fuel, of which 75 percent is stored in pools, according to Nuclear Energy Institute data. No other nation has generated this much radioactivity from either nuclear power or nuclear weapons production.
Huffington Post 6th June 2011 more >>
Shortcomings in US Emergency Plans: a link to this very straightforward and well done video by Arnie Gunderson of Fairewinds. This evokes weird parallels to what we learned in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: it was obvious more needed to be done to protect public safety, but no one was willing to do it. And in visit to New Orleans over the Christmas holidays, I learned the levees have not been made higher as the Army Corps of Engineers recommended. All that happened was the breaks in the levees were patched. Gunderson gives a straightforward account of theory v. probable practice in a nuclear accident.
Naked Capitalism 6th June 2011 more >>
Germany’s government formally approved a plan Monday to close all the country’s nuclear power plants by 2022. The plan was announced last month, after the government rethought Germany’s nuclear strategy in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown triggered by an earthquake and tsunami.
CNN 6th June 2011 more >>
Business Green 6th June 2011 more >>
The German government has brought forward the planned closure of some of the countrys nuclear power stations in the hope of winning legislative support from states and opposition parties for an atomic switch-off. After last week agreeing the outlines of a phase-out of all 17 nuclear plants by 2022, the German cabinet on Monday agreed draft legislation that will bring an unexpectedly abrupt end to three of these sites. Instead of closing by late 2021 as announced last week, the three plants will now shut down in 2015, 2017 and 2019 respectively.
FT 6th June 2011 more >>
The closure schedule would be: Grafenrheinfeld in 2015; Gundremmingen B in 2017; Phillipsburg 2 in 2019, Grohnde, Gundremmingen C and Brokdorf in 2021; and finally Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim 2 in 2022.
Nuclear Engineering International 6th June 2011 more >>
Activists from the environmental organisation Greenpeace are blocking a train carrying a shipment of nuclear waste from the Borssele nuclear power plant destined for the French nuclear reprocessing plant near the town of La Hague. Greenpeace says 10 activists have chained themselves to the tracks. It is high time we put an end to nuclear energy, a spokesperson said. Nuclear energy is dangerous and totally unnecessary.
Radio Netherlands 7th June 2011 more >>
Shares in French nuclear firm Areva fall 1.1 percent, underperforming the STOXX Europe 600 utilities index’s .SX6P slight losses, on renewed worries over the outlook for the nuclear sector after France’s Green party says the closure of reactors providing most of the country’s power is a condition for forming a coalition with the Socialists.
Reuters 6th June 2011 more >>
Japan has started looking into the causes of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, with an independent panel of experts holding their first gathering Tuesday in Tokyo. The meeting of the panel, led by Yotaro Hatamura, a researcher on human error, marks the beginning of a comprehensive investigation and verification of the countrys worst radiation-leaking nuclear accident about three months after it was triggered by the March 11 megaquake and tsunami.
Japan Today 7th June 2011 more >>
The IAEA report doesn’t help to contain the nuclear crisis, but to reiterate what is already well known about the deficiency, inadequacy and inefficiency of TEPCO, along with the government nuclear agency, in dealing with the pressing nuclear disaster. What IAEA needs to provide is a sensible road to control and contain the nuclear crisis, which we haven’t seen yet. Under closer scrutiny, the report doesn’t address the poor crisis management that we are witnessing today at Fukushima power plant – unmanageable tons of radioactive water at the site, continuation of radiation leaks from the facilities, and the worsening of the nuclear crisis.
Mathaba 6th June 2011 more >>
The IAEA provided the following information on the status of nuclear safety in Japan: Overall, the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains very serious.
IB Times 6th June 2011 more >>
Shares of Tokyo Electric Power, operator of Japans Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, suffered a renewed sell-off after the president of the Tokyo Stock Exchange said the troubled utility should be allowed to go bankrupt. Tepco should be dealt with using the same court-sponsored process as was used with Japan Airlines, Atsushi Saito was quoted as saying in an interview with Asahi Judiciary, an online magazine published by the Asahi newspaper, Japans second-biggest daily newspaper by circulation. With political leadership, it would be possible. JAL filed for bankruptcy protection last year and is being restructured with financial support from the Japanese government. Tepcos stock plunged 28 per cent on Monday to Y207 after Mr Saitos comments, which were published on the Asahi Judiciary website on Friday. Tepco has lost 90 per cent of its market value since Fukushim a Daiichi was wrecked by Japans earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
FT 7th June 2011 more >>
Iran is only a matter of months from being able to create a nuclear weapon, according to experts. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 54, has long been pushing his country’s nuclear capabilities, and at the current rate of uranium enrichment the first bomb could be eight weeks away.
Daily Mail 7th June 2011 more >>
The International Atomic Energy Agency board is meeting amid pressure from the US and other nations to rebuke Syria over alleged illicit nuclear activity. The latest IAEA report concluded that a Syrian site destroyed in a 2007 raid was probably a nuclear reactor.
BBC 6th June 2011 more >>
The safety of the nuclear bombs and submarines on the Clyde is being increasingly jeopardised by the UK governments spending cuts, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) report has warned. The public, military personnel and the environment could be put at risk of accidental explosions, spillages or radiation leaks, according to a new assessment by the MoDs internal watchdog, the Defence Nuclear Environment and Safety Board.
Caledonian Mercury 6th June 2011 more >>
robedwards.com, 6 June 2011 more >>