NUCLEAR safety inspectors are calling for a re-examination of tests on the pressure vessel heart of the Sizewell B reactor following the discovery of cracks in a similar reactor in Belgium. Inspectors in various countries have ordered a series of safety checks in light of the Belgian discovery because collapse of a nuclear pressure vessel could lead to catastrophe. The Sizewell B vessel was manufactured in France in the 1980s and was exhaustively tested before and after delivery. The vessel involved in the safety scare at Doel in Belgium the first of a series of that countrys nuclear plants to be subjected to new tests was not from the same manufacturer. Cracks found in the welded steel vessel have been identified as existing after manufacture, not as a result of operation. But the flaws were not discovered at the time, partly due to more sophisticated modern testing equipment. As a precaution in the UK, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is now calling on EDF Energy to re-examine data on all the tests that were carried out on the Sizewell B vessel before and after it was installed.
East Anglian Daily Times 8th Sept 2012 more >>
DOUNREAYS operators have unveiled plans to carry out the worlds deepest nuclear clean-up. Babcock Dounreay Partnership (BDP) are next month to lodge a planning application to retrieve radioactive waste from a vertical shaft 65 metres deep and a vault nine metres into the ground at the site. The water-filled shaft and silo were used to dispose of radioactive waste from some of Britains earliest experiments with nuclear energy. An estimated 1500 tonnes of radioactive waste was consigned to the two facilities between 1957 and 1998. Their clean-out is a key part of the site closure contract awarded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to the partnership earlier this year. BDP aims to complete both jobs by 2021, several years earlier than previous forecasts and at less cost to the NDA through innovation in areas such as waste packaging.
John O Groat Journal 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Plans for Europes deepest nuclear clean-up are to go on public display ahead of an application for permission to start construction work in 2013. The plans will show how radioactive waste is to be retrieved from two underground facilities a vertical shaft 65 metres deep and a nearby vault set nine metres into the ground as part of the closure of the Dounreay site.
DSRL 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Foreign reactor operators who sent their spent fuel to Dounreay in the 1990s for reprocessing have begun taking back their waste. The first of 123 drums containing waste from the BR2 research reactor at Mol, Belgium, arrived safely in Belgium yesterday. Belgian authorities are planning a further 20 transports to complete the repatriation of all 123 drums. The operators of BR2, which produces isotopes for nuclear medicine, sent 240 spent fuel elements to Dounreay in the 1990s.
DSRL 4th Sept 2012 more >>
Many countries have taken concrete steps to improve safety at nuclear power plants to help prevent extreme natural hazards such as earthquakes from causing another Fukushima-style disaster, the chairman of an expert meeting said on Friday.Speaking after a four-day conference at the Vienna headquarters of the United Nations’ atomic agency, Antonio Godoy, an Argentinean seismic expert, said the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan had prompted real change in the industry.
Reuters 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Two photographers from Happisburgh embarked on a six-day trip in August to capture the devastation of the 1986 Cher4nobyl disaster, opening their eyes and hearts to what happened in Ukraine.
Eastern Daily Press 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Eric Pickles makes an unlikely eco-warrior. So it speaks volumes about this week’s Cabinet reshuffle that his survival is the only thing that pleased environmentalists. Both they and climate sceptics agree that it has radically changed policy, finally strangling those huskies and ditching the green agenda which David Cameron embraced to help make his party (nearly) electable. To be honest, I have yet to be entirely convinced. But even the perception of such a massive U-turn is likely to cause trouble in the Coalition – since the Lib Dems are belatedly ramping up their green activism – and with the Mayor of London over Heathrow. And it seems bound to do financial damage, by undermining one of the few rapidly growing areas of the economy. None of the Coalitions green policies apart from Heathrow has yet changed substantially. Mr Barker insisted at a private meeting on Thursday that the green agenda is here to stay.
Telegraph 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Faslane and its surrounds could be economically devastated if Trident were removed. Would an SNP government really be able to keep that promise?
Guardian 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Fukushima crisis update 31st Aug to 6th Sept.
Greenpeace 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Homes and offices in Glasgow could be warmed by water pumped from far underground after geologists surveyed a vast network of old mine shafts beneath the Scottish city. The British Geological Survey (BGS) mapped the mine workings to help developers identify pools of warm, subterranean water that could be used as a source of heat for homes and businesses. At the British Science Festival in Aberdeen on Thursday, BGS scientists unveiled 3D maps that showed groundwater could be tapped from a flooded network of disused coalmines. “The mine workings are hugely extensive. Perhaps 50% of the Glasgow conurbation sits above them,” said Diarmad Campbell of the BGS. Rather than circulating the water through new, dedicated boreholes to draw o ut heat from surrounding rocks, heat could be extracted directly from water in the mine system. The groundwater would be cooled, depositing the heat extracted from it at the surface, before being returned underground. Already demonstrated locally in a successful housing project, the new survey – produced with Glasgow City Council – shows where the heating technique could be used. The flooded mines could provide up to 40% of Glasgow’s heating requirements, and similar levels could be reached in other UK locations that overlie mine workings.
Guardian 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Planning consent has been granted for a 36-turbine wind farm on the Western Isles. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing approved the proposals for a site less than a mile west of Stornoway, on Lewis. Lewis Wind Power – a joint venture involving Amec, EDF Energy and the Stornoway Trust – had originally wanted to install 42 turbines. But it reduced the scale of its plans following concerns about the impact on species like the golden eagle. Fears had also been voiced about the effect on the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area. RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) withdrew their objections after the number of turbines was reduced. The Western Isles’ local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has welcomed Mr Ewing’s decision.
BBC 7th Sept 2012 more >>
Scotsman 8th Sept 2012 more >>
Herald 8th Sept 2012 more >>
Micro Power news this week dominated by local authority action Glasgow looking at using Geothermal Energy from old mines, Cornwall building a solar park, West Lothian and Rossendale in Lancashire announcing solar plans.
Microgen Scotland 7thSept 2012 more >>