An "intolerable risk" is being posed by hazardous waste stored in run-down buildings at Sellafield nuclear plant, says the National Audit Office (NAO). For 50 years, the operators of the Cumbria installation failed to develop a long-term plan for waste, and costs of plant-decommissioning has also spiralled out of control. The plant is the UK’s largest and most hazardous nuclear site, storing enough high and intermediate level radioactive waste to fill 27 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The NAO report states however, that owners of the station do not know how long it will take to build storage and treatment centres for the hazardous material or how much the final bill for decommissioning the plant is likely to be.
BBC 7th Nov 2012 more >>
Cost of safely storing radioactive material at Sellafield has increased by more than £900m in 10 months, says audit office. Plans to replace the ageing nuclear waste facilities in Cumbria have suffered severe delays, auditors said. Twelve out of 14 of the major projects launched last year to build facilities to store material safely are over budget, they have concluded. The findings have been described as "dire" by MPs. It is the first official audit of the Cumbrian site since a consortium of private companies was brought in to oversee safety in 2008. Margaret Hodge, who chairs parliament’s public accounts committee, urged the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to "get a grip" on the spiralling costs. "My concern is that unless the authority holds Sellafield Limited [the company responsible for the site] to a clear and rigorously benchmarked plan, timetables will continue to slip and costs spiral.
Guardian 7th Nov 2012 more >>
SELLAFIELD’S delayed plans to replace ageing nuclear waste facilities pose “significant risks” to the population and face “considerable” uncertainty, a public spending watchdog warned today.
NW Evening Mail 7th Nov 2012 more >>
Hazardous waste being stored in run-down buildings at Sellafield nuclear plant is posing "intolerable risks to people and the environment", a watchdog has warned. For more than 50 years, the owners of the Cumbrian nuclear power station have failed to plan how to dispose of radioactive waste, according to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO). The public spending watchdog said some of the older facilities have "deteriorated so much that their contents pose significant risks to people and the environment".
Sky News 7th Nov 2012 more >>
Rumours that costs of Sellafield’s already delayed Evaporator D project had risen above the £400M figure were admitted by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) at a meeting of the West Cumbria Sites Stakeholder Group (WCSSG) yesterday 6th November. In response to a question from CORE (Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment), the NDA confirmed that the cost of the project had now risen to £643M. Sellafield Ltd also confirmed the Evaporator is not now expected to be completed on site until early 2016 – two years later than projected. Allowing for a further period of two years for the active commissioning of the new facility, Evaporator D is unlikely to be in full operation until 2018 at the earliest – after the two reprocessing plant have closed.
CORE 7th Nov 2012 more >>
A report today by the National Audit Office highlights the considerable challenge faced by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in taking forward the clean-up of Sellafield, the UK’s largest and most hazardous nuclear site. To date the performance of some of the major projects at Sellafield has been poor. However, the Authority is taking appropriate steps with Sellafield Limited to improve this. It is too early to judge whether the Authority’s appointment of Nuclear Management Partners Limited as the ‘parent body’ of Sellafield Limited is delivering value for money.
National Audit Office 7th Nov 2012 more >>
Sellafield’s plans to replace ageing nuclear waste facilities posing "significant risks" to the population face "considerable" uncertainty, a public spending watchdog warns. Owners of the Cumbrian nuclear power station do not know how long it will take to build storage and treatment centres for the hazardous material or how much the final bill will be, according to the National Audit Office.
Independent 7th Nov 2012 more >>
Sellafield has suffered from decades of neglect, saddling taxpayers with a century-long clean-up job with a £67bn price tag,” said Margaret Hodge, an MP who chairs the Commons public accounts committee. “Projects of this length and ambition are ripe for dithering and delay. I am dismayed to discover the clean-up of Sellafield is no different,” she added. Ruth Balogh, of West Cumbria and North Lakes Friends of the Earth, said: “The UK’s failure to deal with highly hazardous nuclear waste at Sellafield is a national scandal that poses a significant risk to local people and the environment. The government has completely ignored the urgent need for interim measures to deal with this radioactive waste.”
FT 7th Nov 2012 more >>
Times 7th Nov 2012 more >>
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “The Government has made cleaning up and decommissioning the nuclear legacy a priority and is maintaining funding at some £3 billion a year, even at a time when it faces difficult spending decisions. This enables the NDA to continue to make progress on decommissioning, with the focus being on tackling the highest hazards at Sellafield. Substantial progress is being made in tackling the unique and complex challenges at Sellafield. A new plan has been developed for the site which provides the basis for improved performance going forward and removes unrealistic assumptions. Cost savings of over £425 million have been generated and a further £1 billion of previously planned investment avoided. Last year was the site’s best year for reprocessing operations in seven years and real progress is being seen in tackling a number of high hazard facilities.”
Telegraph 7th Nov 2012 more >>
The U.K. government is prepared to walk away from a deal with Electricite de France SA over plans to build the first nuclear plant in the country since the 1980s if the power price demanded by the utility is too high. The government would “absolutely” refuse a deal that placed too great a burden on consumers, Energy Minister John Hayes said today in London. He held talks yesterday with Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive officer of EDF’s local unit. Britain and EDF are negotiating the terms of a contract that would guarantee the price of power generated at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Bloomberg 6th Nov 2012 more >>
Mr Hayes on Tuesday told a select committee hearing that the Government has a bottom line it will not abandon, after MPs asked if the Coalition is prepared to say “that’s too much for the consumer”. “Absolutely,” he said. “There’s absolutely no doubt”. Phillip Lee, a Tory MP, has argued that the model looked like it was “structured to pay an annuity to the French taxpayer for the next 40 years”. Yesterday’s hearing also saw Mr Hayes offer reassurances on the progress of the Energy Bill, which is intended to bring forward investment in new power plants and had been due to be published this month.
Telegraph 6th Nov 2012 more >>
The Energy and Climate Change Committee will hold the fourth public evidence session on ‘Building New Nuclear’ at 9.30 am on Tuesday 6 November, in the Grimond Room, Portcullis House.
Parliament 6th Nov 2012 more >>
Another study has been published showing that when it comes to energy costs, renewable energy comes out the clear winner over nuclear power – even if talking about offshore wind. And that’s even with stripping out all subsidies. In fact, according to new calculations by the Energy Fair group, nuclear power is about £40/MWh more expensive than offshore wind. Nuclear costs “at least” £200/MWh it says, while the cost of offshore wind power is £140/MWh. "This confirms that nuclear power is entirely uneconomic," says Dr Gerry Wolff of Energy Fair.
Renewable Energy Focus 6th Nov 2012 more >>
The Carbon Trust has said that subsidies should be made available for the building of new nuclear power stations. James Smith, chairman of the trust, said a “limited amount of subsidy” should be made available by the government for nuclear new build. “Some form of limited intervention is necessary,” he said. He also called for widespread backing of the new energy bill, which is due its second reading in parliament before Christmas. Smith was speaking at Hitachi, The Economist and Autodesk’s Infrastructure Summit in London.
Professional Engineering 6th Nov 2012 more >>
FUEL removal from site is on standby at Oldbury Power Station due to problems at a Cumbrian recycling plant. The 50-year-old reprocessing facility in Sellafield was shut down for maintenance back in August but the work lasted longer than expected. This has meant that fuel retrieved from Oldbury’s reactors was not transported as planned to the station over the summer. Yet, Oldbury manager Mike Heaton reassured the nuclear plant’s stakeholders at a meeting on Wednesday, October 24 that as far as he and his team were concerned this would not delay the decommissioning process.
Gloucestershire Gazette 6th Nov 2012 more >>
"COMPLETELY misguided" is how environmentalist Jonathan Porritt describes a multi-million pound deal to build six new nuclear reactors in the UK. Mr Porritt, who lives in Cheltenham, has spoken out after Japanese firm Hitachi brokered a £700 million deal to build the six new nuclear power reactors, and David Cameron’s declared the bid as a "multi-billion pound vote of confidence."
Gloucestershire Echo 6th Nov 2012 more >>
BUSINESS leaders have welcomed the £700 million takeover of county based Horizon Nuclear Power and the huge jobs boost it will give Gloucestershire and beyond. Experts says the international nuclear power station developer will create up to 12,000 jobs in the country – with around half of those expected to be in Gloucestershire.
Gloucestershire Echo 6th Nov 2012 more >>
Energy Secretary Ed Davey has dismissed the suggestion that the geology of west Cumbria is unsuited to a nuclear-waste repository. Mr Davey was responding to a question from fellow Liberal Democrat Tim Farron, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, during a Commons debate on energy and climate change last week. Mr Farron asked: “Given the recent earth tremors in west Cumbria, one of which reached nearly four on the Richter scale a year or so ago, does he not agree that it would be the worst geological site in the UK on which to store nuclear waste?” Mr Davey replied: “That is certainly not what our scientists and analysts are saying. I know that there is a debate about the geological disposal facility in west Cumbria. “I am reassured that the local authorities are going about the decision on whether to host such a facility in a sensible and authoritative way. “I am sure that they will support the proposal, which is an important step forward for new nuclear.”
Carlisle News and Star 6th Nov 2012 more >>
No subsidies for nuclear power demo 14th November.
Stop Nuclear Power 6th Nov 2012 more >>
South Korea’s main nuclear power supervisor extended an investigation into forged safety certificates for reactor components to three more facilities on Tuesday, a day after shutting down two reactors.
Reuters 6th Nov 2012 more >>
The chief executive of South Korea’s state power company has tendered his resignation, a government official said on Wednesday, after a scandal over uncertified components forced the shutdown of two nuclear reactors. The country’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy said on Monday that it had closed two nuclear reactors after it emerged that the safety certificates for more than 7,600 items, procured by the plants over the past nine years, had been forged.
FT 7th Nov 2012 more >>
Most of the forged safety certificates submitted by eight firms under investigation for falsifying documents for equipment used in two South Korean nuclear reactors, purported to come from certifying body UCI, were from unnamed parties, South Korean officials said on Wednesday.
Reuters 7th Nov 2012 more >>
The United States has many pressing nuclear waste problems, but the worst may be the leftovers from the manufacturing of nuclear weapons. Unlike the wastes from civilian reactors, the military wastes are liquids and sludges stored in underground tanks in environmentally sensitive areas. Scores of tanks have leaked some of the material into the dirt. And there is no debate about how the wastes might be repurposed; they have already been scavenged for useful materials like uranium and plutonium.
New York Times 6th Nov 2012 more >>
Germany’s solar power production has risen by more than 50 per cent over the first nine months of 2012, say the nation’s utilities, amid a boom in installations of photovoltaic panels. As Reuters reported last month, Germany’s solar market continued to grow strongly in the month of September – with nearly 1GW of new solar power generating capacity installed, despite tariff cuts – putting Europe’s biggest economy on track for a new installation record this year.
Renew Economy 7th Nov 2012 more >>
Fukushima update 2nd to 5th November.
Greenpeace 6th Nov 2012 more >>
India and Canada have finalised the terms for their nuclear deal, paving the way for Canadian firms to export uranium to India. Once implemented, the deal is likely to provide a boost to India’s plans to increase its nuclear capacity to meet growing energy demands. The deal was agreed in 2010, but there had been differences over supervision of the use of uranium in India.
BBC 7th Nov 2012 more >>
The UN’s nuclear chief claimed today that Iran was failing to co-operate with inspectors into the country’s nuclear programme. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Yukiya Amano told the general assembly that the IAEA had "credible information that Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device." He called for Iran to provide "clarification" on its claims that the programme was intended for purely peaceful purposes.
Morning Star 6th Nov 2012 more >>
Iran said on Tuesday it would go to a proposed international conference in December on creating a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, but there was little hope of progress even if the meeting goes ahead given deep-rooted regional animosities.
Trust 6th Nov 2012 more >>
David Cameron is using his Middle East tour to remind Gulf States about the tremendous threat Iran’s nuclear ambitions pose to the region. This was something he touched on yesterday in Abu Dhabi during a questions and answers session with students, but expect it to form a very substantial part of his discussions with the Saudis today.
Spectator 6th Nov 2012 more >>
Pakistan’s nuclear program is a source of national pride and identity. But with concerns growing over the security of its nuclear weapons – especially the threat of theft by terrorists – can Pakistan still maintain the growth of its nuclear program, without provoking action from the U.S. and, most notably, India?
Economy Watch 7th Nov 2012 more >>
The cost of operating and maintaining wind farms is falling by an average of 11 per cent a year, according to new global figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The research firm yesterday released the first issue of its Wind Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Price Index, based on confidential cost data from 38 large wind farm operators around the world. It found that average operations and maintenance costs fell from €30,900 per MW in 2008 to €19,200 this year, a drop of 38 per cent over the period or 11 per cent a year.
Business Green 2nd Nov 2012 more >>
There are now 280 independent commercial-scale renewable energy projects operating in Scotland, delivering 750MW capacity – equivalent to a conventional thermal power plant. That is the conclusion of a new report from SmartestEnergy, which also highlighted how the country’s renewable energy projects are increasingly generating income for local communities.
Business Green 6th Nov 2012 more >>
Global credit risk agency Moody’s has today released a potentially explosive new report warning that the credit quality of European thermal power plants will continue to be damaged as a result of the Continent’s switch towards renewable energy. The report, entitled European Utilities: Wind and Solar Power Will Continue to Erode Thermal Generators’ Credit Quality, warns that the rapid increase in renewable energy capacity in many European markets could seriously damage the financial prospects of coal and gas-fuelled power plants in the near to medium term.
Business Green 6th Nov 2012 more >>