Changes to Suffolk’s emergency plan for Sizewell nuclear power station after the Fukushima disaster in Japan have been called “totally inadequate”. Suffolk Resilience Forum, made up of local councils and groups, is reviewing incident plans for nearby residents. An inner emergency zone is to be extended from 1.5 miles (2.4km) to 2.3 miles (4km) with an outer precautionary area of 9 miles (15km). Shut Down Sizewell campaigners said the danger zone should be 18 miles (30km).
BBC 7th Jan 2012 more »
THE entire population of a Suffolk town will be issued with “standby” supplies of anti-radiation pills if proposals put out to public consultation today are approved. People living and working in Leiston, as well as schools, would also be given annual calendars setting out the procedures for use in the event of a major release of radioactivity from the Sizewell nuclear site. The official emergency planning zone around the Sizewell site currently covers a radius of just 2.4 kilometres, an area with a total population of just 600 people and including only a small part of Leiston. However, proposals being put forward today by the Suffolk Resilience Forum, which includes the county’s emergency services and local authorities, suggests the zone should be increased to a 4km radius – in line with current international guidelines but far short of the 20km radius being demanded by local critics of the nuclear industry.
Bury Mercury 7th Jan 2012 more »
An influential group of “progressive Conservatives” will today call on the party to “redefine the green agenda” and make it a central plank of its pitch to the country ahead of the 2015 election. Today’s mid-term review of the coalition’s performance is unlikely to yield any major new green policy commitments, with sources at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirming the update from David Cameron and Nick Clegg will largely focus on the delivery of existing environmental plans, such as the Energy Bill, the Green Deal and the Renewable Heat Incentive. However, the 2020 Group of Tory modernisers will today publish a new strategy document arguing that a reinvigoration of David Cameron’s modernisation agenda that embraces new thinking on the expansion of the green economy offers the best path to a Conservative majority at the next election.
Business Green 7th Jan 2013 more »
As we struggle with today’s crises, we should be asking whether we are responding in ways that exacerbate our long-term problems. The path marked out by the deficit hawks and austerity advocates both weakens the economy today and undermines future prospects. The irony is that, with insufficient aggregate demand the major source of global weakness today, there is an alternative: invest in our future, in ways that help us to address simultaneously the problems of global warming, global inequality and poverty, and the necessity of structural change.
Guardian 7th Jan 2013 more »
Lovegrove’s appointment may herald a steadier new era at Decc but its greatest significance is its signalling the definitive end of an era for David Cameron. The prime minister, whose husky hugging is long forgotten, is now undeniably pandering to the right wing of his party who see climate change as communist conspiracy and wind turbines as the conspirator’s Trojan horses.
Guardan 7th Jan 2013 more »
A former investment banker has been chosen to run the energy department, despite originally missing out on the job to a climate change expert who was eventually vetoed by the prime minister. Stephen Lovegrove, who will take up his new post as permanent secretary in February, is well known among business figures who have had dealings with him in his present post in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Mr Lovegrove is a senior BIS official and chief executive of a body in the department called the shareholder executive, which looks after government stakes in groups such as Royal Mail and oversaw the sale of the government’s holding in British Energy. Before that, he spent 10 years at Deutsche Bank where he was head of the European media team.
FT 7th Jan 2013 more »
MIDLANDS powers sytems giant Rolls-Royce has bought PKMJ Technical Services, a nuclear engineering services business in the United States, for an undisclosed sum. The firms says the acquisition of will accelerate its growth in the important nuclear services market. Rolls-Royce already has significant expertise in developing techniques and solutions to manage, enhance and extend the lifetime of nuclear power plants.
Business Desk 8th Jan 2013 more »
News in November that Hitachi had bought Horizon Nuclear Power from RWE npower and E.ON UK and stated its plans to build four further nuclear power stations in the UK has given the Global Manufacturing Festival, which begins in 100-days, new impetus for engineering companies. Now in its third year, the Sheffield-based Festival links small and medium sized companies to large, multinational manufacturers in four core sectors of industry: aerospace, offshore wind and renewable energy, medical components and nuclear components.
The Manufacturer 7th Jan 2013 more »
America’s Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory recently ¬discovered its computer systems contained some Chinese-made network switches and has replaced at least two components due to national security concerns. A letter from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, dated 5 November, 2012, states that the research facility had installed devices made by H3C Technologies, based in Hangzhou, China.
Scotsman 8th Jan 2013 more »
Reuters 7th Jan 2013 more »
Since the end of World War II, France’s nuclear program has been a part of that country’s quest for relevance on the world stage—at first in military terms and later in regard to civilian nuclear power. In recent decades, in fact, France has been held up, worldwide, as the example of effective use of fission to produce electricity. State-controlled utility Électricité de France SA provides three-quarters of the country’s electricity via nuclear power plants; another majority-state-owned firm, Areva SA, builds nuclear reactors and provides various nuclear technologies around the world. In some ways, nuclear power has become central to the very idea of a strong and economically independent France. Following the multiple core meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in 2011, many countries took a hard look at shrinking their nuclear power programs, and several—notably, Germany—decided to leave the nuclear sector altogether. But because of its huge investment in the nuclear path, France is a special case. A diminishment in its support for nuclear power would have profound global ramifications, and so far, France has not followed Germany down the phase-out path. The future of the French civilian nuclear power effort is, however, in question, for many complex reasons laid out in this special issue of the Bulletin,“A French nuclear exit?”
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists January/February 2013 more »
France has been held up, worldwide, as the forerunner in using nuclear fission to produce electricity. However, a third of the nation’s nuclear reactors will need replacing in the next decade, and public opinion has shifted toward reducing reliance on nuclear power. In a special issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE four articles explore whether France has the means or desire to unplug from nuclear power.
Eurek Alert 7th Jan 2013 more »
South Korea has no option but to expand its nuclear power plant programme despite growing public concern over safety in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011 and a series of scares that closed two reactors last year.
Reuters 8th Jan 2013 more »
Despite general public opposition, and as evidence of the difficulties that rural communities (where most of the nuclear power plants are located, and which heavily rely on the employment provided by the power plants) are facing in the current economic climate, 54% of residents local to a reactor said that they would allow it to be restarted if the government could guarantee its safety. Only 18% said that they would not allow the reactor to be restarted, and 28% did not make a decision.
Oil Price 7th Jan 2013 more »
The Japanese government is considering reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods from Korea, Vietnam and other Asian countries, the Tokyo Shimbun reported Sunday. Japan is the only country in the world that has no nuclear weapons but the facilities to reprocess spent nuclear fuel rods capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium.
Energy Tribune 7th Jan 2013 more »
Letter: I do not believe the MoD spokesman’s statement that “we are … not making plans to move the nuclear deterrent from HM Naval Base Clyde”. It is clear from the recent joint CND and Scottish CND report Trident: Nowhere to Go (2012) that the MoD will have to consider alternative sites for Trident, based on previous studies it carried out for Polaris. It looks as if the MoD is resurrecting the Falmouth option. Private Eye has revealed that George Osborne is urging Cornwall county council to spend £60m (a third from the government) to dredge a deep channel, more than a mile long, out of Falmouth harbour on the pretext that it would be used by large liners, when there is no demand for such a use.
Guardian 7th Jan 2013 more »
Letter: A mishap could kill up to 11,000 people in Plymouth? Never mind that the existing Faslane base, not far upwind of Scotland’s densely populated central belt, would see off most of the Scottish population if it went bang. Could be a natty way to solve the devolution problem.
Guardian 7th Jan 2013 more »
Kate Hudson: Looks like the government must be more concerned about the future siting of Trident than they have been letting on. So far they have been pretty blasé about the potential impact of a Scottish independence vote on Britain’s nuclear weapons system. While the SNP has made it clear that a pro-independence vote would mean the ejection of Trident from Scotland, the MoD has generally fallen back on the argument that the Scots are too sensible to vote for separation. Failing that, the fall-back assumption in many minds seems to have been that they can just be moved to the naval dockyard at Devonport in Plymouth, where the subs currently undergo regular servicing. But now, thanks to a Freedom of Information request by Scottish CND, the MOD has admitted that they are not permitted, on safety grounds, to berth Trident submarines at Devonport if they have warheads onboard. This surely increases the chance that Scottish independence would have to lead to British nuclear disarmament. If Devonport is out as an alternative site, because a nuclear accident would have horrendous consequences for the city of Plymouth, relocation really does seem dead in the water.
CND 7th Jan 2013 more »
UK renewable energy policy policy has taken an interesting turn which illustrates a point of interest beyond geeky energy matters, because it’s a case where campaigners need to get the “debate” or “issue” re-defined. Analysis by of a new UK Government Renewables “Road Map” (ie a general policy direction) by ENDS Report shows that solar power is now forecast to supply 20 gigawatts of solar pv by 2020, not the 2.6GW it said up to 2011. ENDS magazine is most excited that “The new document contains a ten-page chapter on solar, double the length of those dedicated to other renewables, as well as the statement vastly increasing the level of ambition”. All good but it’s even more important than that. ENDS notes that the UK has an EU target to get 15% of its energy from renewables by 2020, and had achieved 3.8% in 2011. It notes: “If the amount of solar on the system in 2020 is now expected to be up to 20GW rather than 2.6GW, this suggests other renewables need to give way as otherwise far more renewables will be built than needed”. Which is ‘the point’ – that’s what’s “needed” for the existing target. It’s not what the target should be. Climate and energy campaigners need to redraw and to popularise the political debate about energy and climate, beyond meeting targets drawn up when large-scale renewables were a novelty, and instead reframe them as about politicians doing as much as is technically and economically possible to create renewable industry infrastructure.
Three Worlds 3rd Jan 2013 more »