Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond looks set to continue with his strategy of establishing Scotland as the “Saudi Arabia of renewable energy”, after the Scottish National Party (SNP) emerged as the big winner of yesterday’s national assembly and local elections. The Green Party was also expecting “a really positive set of results” after making gains in a number of key English councils and becoming the largest party on Brighton Council.
Business Green 6th May 2011 more >>
The SNP’S ambitious plans to generate 100% of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020 have been given a major boost after a new report claimed the UK could capture a quarter of the entire global marine energy market.
Dundee Courier 4th May 2011 more >>
Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused Alex Salmond of misleading voters in Dundee and Fife with “false promises” about the potential benefits of renewable energy.
Dundee Courier 29th April 2011 more >>
If Alex Salmond wins he will have to face some very difficult questions about nuclear power for a start. The SNP has promised to deliver 100% renewable energy by 2020. Well, it may have to be achieved much earlier than that if some of the commentary on the Fukushima Daiichi disaster is to be believed. Already there are doubts about the future of the UKs nuclear programme, but what is likely to be even more problematic is the forthcoming safety review of our existing, ageing nuclear plants. The SNP has rather glossed over the fact that its ambitious renewables promises depend on Torness nuclear power station, built in 1978, soldiering on for a good few years yet or until someone finds a way of harnessing the Pentland Firth tides or scrubbing CO2 out of coal. So, an energy crisis looms. But hey, look on the bright side: the way the Scottish economy is going, there probably wont be much need for electricity.
Herald 5th May 2011 more >>
The chances that David Cameron will fulfil his promise to lead the “greenest government ever” are “vanishingly remote”, Friends of the Earth has warned. Jonathon Porritt, former chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, warned that policies which would have enabled the Government to deliver its green pledges are being delayed, watered down or abandoned.
Independent 7th May 2011 more >>
Nuclear power plants have been cleared of causing childhood cancers by experts from the government’s advisory committee, which says experts should now be looking for other reasons, perhaps infections or even viruses, to explain leukaemia clusters in their vicinity. The 14th report (pdf) from COMARE, the committee on medical aspects of radiation in the environment, reviewed again all childhood leukaemia cases reported around 13 nuclear power plants in the UK. It was a response to a request last year from the department of health and devolved authorities as the UK prepares to build the most ambitious new fleet of nuclear reactors in Europe.
Guardian 6th May 2011 more >>
COMARE 14th Report 6th May 2011 more >>
An exhaustive investigation into the incidence of childhood cancer in Britain over a period of 35 years has failed to find any increased risk of leukaemia among children living near nuclear power stations. The independent committee of scientists that carried out the study investigated 13 nuclear power plants across Britain and failed to find one that has a statistically significant “cluster” of childhood cancers among families living near by.
Independent 7th May 2011 more >>
Nature 6th May 2011 more >>
The arrest this week of five men allegedly taking pictures of the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria has highlighted the terrorist threat to the world’s biggest civilian stockpile of plutonium. Next week the Government will end its public consultation on what should be done with the UK’s civilian plutonium stockpile in “temporary” storage at Sellafield. (Why we have it is another question). The Government has already made clear that its preferred option is to turn the plutonium into Mox – the strategy is deeply flawed, and based on several myths and artful omissions of inconvenient truths. DECC has concluded it would be cheaper and safer to turn the plutonium into Mox fuel. DECC’s report does not of course talk about taxpayer subsidies. The “s” word is banned when civil servants are trying to sell a particular nuclear policy to the public. But anyone familiar with nuclear economics will point out that Mox fuel is considerably more expensive than ordinary uranium fuel dug out of the ground. To get any power company to burn Mox rather than uranium would entail a taxpayer subsidy but you won’t find that in DECC’s report.DECC doesn’t mention is that the insane economics of Mox fuel production has meant that Britain has been transporting highly dangerous plutonium dioxide powder, technically owned by Japan, to a Mox plant in France. UK taxpayers are effectively helping to pay a French company to process Japanese plutonium into Mox fuel, thus subsidising the risky international trade in highly radioactive substances that are attractive targets for terrorists. Another myth is that spent Mox fuel is much the same as uranium spent fuel when it comes to disposal. Not so. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that spent Mox fuel takes about seven times as much disposal space compared to spent uranium fuel again not mentioned in DECC’s report. A final myth is that just because we’ve cocked up with one Mox plant at Sellafield, it doesn’t mean we will make the same mistakes with a second, especially if we bring in the French who already have a working Mox plant. Tell that to the Americans who are involved with the French in building their own Mox plant, which is reportedly costing five times as much as anticipated and hopelessly behind schedule. Strange, the DECC report fails to mention this too.
Independent 6th May 2011 more >>
A Sellafield worker was flown to hospital after being seriously injured in a crash on the west Cumbrian nuclear site. He was involved in what Sellafield Ltd described as a road traffic accident at 2.30pm yesterday. It happened on the Windscale part of the site near the pile chimneys.
Carlisle News and Star 6th May 2011 more >>
HUNDREDS of workers were evacuated when a fire broke out at a nuclear power station. The blaze happened in the Trawsfynydd plant in Gwynedd, which is being decommissioned. Around 220 staff and dozens more contractors had to go to mustering points after the alarm was activated in the buildings Ponds Complex. The ponds were used to contain water to cool reactors before the station stopped producing electricity in 1991, and are currently being scraped by robots to remove contaminated concrete. The fire was caused by an isolator, which controls electrical supplies, overheating and igniting some rubbish in a plastic bin.
Daily Post 6th May 2011 more >>
Wales Online 6th May 2011 more >>
An investigation is under way after a fire broke out at the Trawsfynydd nuclear site in Snowdonia.
BBC 6th May 2011 more >>
The fact that tsunamis can happen in the UK, and the idea that Britain’s coast is shrinking, is certainly relevant to the debate over nuclear power and the disposal of long-lasting nuclear waste, in my opinion. Take a look at the map of British nuclear power sites: they are all on the coast.
Guardian 5th May 2011 more >>
STAFF at Hartlepools nuclear power station are remaining vigilant after five men were arrested at another plant on terrorism charges. Officials at the power station say security is their highest priority and are always reviewing the measures they have in place. Five men in their 20s from London were held after being arrested close to the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria on Monday. Western countries are also bracing themselves for possible reprisal attacks following the killing of Osama bin Laden by American special forces.
Peterlee Mail 6th May 2011 more >>
German utility RWE and Spanish rival Iberdrola earlier this year discussed a merger to form Europes largest electricity generator, but dropped the 60bn ($86bn) deal over worries about shareholder and government reactions. People involved with the talks, which happened in January and February, told the Financial Times that both companies had been convinced of the strategic fit, which would have created a big energy player with interests in renewables, fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
FT 7th May 2011 more >>
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on Friday that Chubu Electric Power Co should halt all operations at its Hamaoka nuclear plant in central Japan, due to worries a strong earthquake could cause another nuclear crisis.
Reuters 6th May 2011 more >>
ENS 6th May 2011 more >>
Prime Minister Naoto Kan has stunned Japan’s power industry by asking for the closure of the country’s most controversial atomic plant, eight weeks after a huge earthquake and tsunami triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Mr Kan said the authorities in Japan have long accepted the high probability of a major jolt underneath the Hamaoka complex, about 200km south-west of Tokyo. “This is a decision made for the safety of the Japanese people when I consider the special conditions of the Hamaoka plant,” he told reporters.
Independent 7th May 2011 more >>
Belfast Telegraph 7th May 2011 more >>
FT 6th May 2011 more >>
BBC 6th May 2011 more >>
The International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday radioactive substances leaked into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan are expected to reach the west coast of the United States and Canada within one or two years.
Kyodo News 6th May 2011 more >>
The operator of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Friday started increasing the amount of water being injected into the No. 1 reactor in an effort to stably cool the damaged nuclear fuel inside. Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to fill the reactor’s primary containment vessel with water to a level above the fuel over the next 20 days or so, and start operating by June an air-cooling device aimed at reducing the temperature of water circulating around the reactor, company officials said.
Kyodo News 6th May 2011 more >>
A group of 16 pro-nuclear scientists led by a former president of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan (AESJ) and former members of the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) of Japan held a press conference on April 1. In it, they said that the amount of radioactive material stored in the reactors at the Fukushima plant far exceeds that which was stored at Chernobyl, and that even if we are to avoid immediate dangers, the Fukushima plant would require close monitoring for many years to come. These remarks, which were coming not from anti-nuclear activists but from pro-nuclear experts, were evidence that nuclear energy proponents were finally acknowledging the seriousness of the current situation.
Maininchi 6th May 2011 more >>
Cherbourg (Manche) – Cherbourg (Manche) – Sixteen Greenpeace activists mounted on cranes at the site Monday of the EPR in Flamanville (Manche) were placed under court supervision and will be judged on June 16 with 26 other activists chained to the gates of the site, prosecutors said Wednesday.
20 Minutes 4th May 2011 more >>
The public’s growing opposition to nuclear power after March’s Fukushima Daiichi incident in Japan, as well as the competitive market for natural gas, will prompt developers to abandon plans to build new nuclear plants in the US, analysts say. Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) expects new nuclear plants that are under consideration to face tough barriers following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March that severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in the country’s northeast. We believe local opposition (to nuclear) and low natural gas prices will induce utilities to pursue alternative sources of generation, S&P credit analyst Dimitri Nikas said during a conference call this week on nuclear power’s future.
Argus Media 6th May 2011 more >>
Six potential locations for a repository for Denmark’s low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste have been identified in a study submitted to the country’s government. Denmark never implemented a commercial nuclear power program but operated a total of three scientific research reactors over the period from the late-1950s up to 2000, as well as associated fuel fabrication facilities. All three reactors DR-1, DR-2 and DR-3 were located at the Risø National Laboratory north of Roskilde on the island of Zeeland. Most of the used fuel from the reactors has been returned to the USA, but the country still has a sizeable amount of low and intermediate level radioactive waste which is being stored at Risø pending the selection and construction of a final repository.
World Nuclear News 6th May 2011 more >>
Guangdong Nuclear Power Group will start commercial operations of a 1-gigawatt nuclear power reactor on June 15, the company said on Friday.
IB Times 6th May 2011 more >>
Russia launched an urgent rescue mission yesterday after one of its atomic-powered icebreakers developed a nuclear leak in the frozen seas of the Arctic and was forced to abandon its mission. The Rosatomflot nuclear fleet said in a statement that an insignificant increase in activity had been detected on board its 21,000-tonne Taimyr icebreaker. But the incident was serious enough to force the vessel to abandon its mission and begin a five-day journey back to its home port in the northwestern city of Murmansk.
Times of Malta 6th May 2011 more >>
This week’s Micro Power News is now available: a building industry survey thinks the Green Deal will be underwhelming; as the consultation on solar subsidy cuts ends, more attacks on the Government’s crazy plans; a few solar farms move forward before the cuts are implemented.
Microgen Scotland 6th May 2011 more >>