The operator of Sellafield has signed an innovative agreement to send nuclear waste to Sweden for treatment. The move will help to reduce pressure on space in the UK to store nuclear waste but has been criticised by environmentalists and politicians. Under the deal with Studsvik, a nuclear technology supplier, reactive steel from Sellafield, the world’s largest nuclear plant, is shipped to Sweden. Studsvik separates the steel from the waste, and ships both back to the UK. However, David Lowry, a nuclear expert, said: “The two-way movement of radioactive material could be an attraction for terrorists.” It also increased the risk of a nuclear spillage into the sea.
Telegraph 9th May 2007
The chief executive of National Grid, the UK energy group, has called for a change in the way energy markets are regulated to encourage suppliers to sell less gas and electricity. In an interview with the Financial Times, Steve Holliday said efforts to cut carbon emissions through energy efficiency would fail without major regulatory incentives. “Energy companies have clearly been motivated by selling units of energy,” he said. “You’ve got to turn this completely on its head.”
FT 9th May 2007
The US nuclear industry has been in decline for most of the past three decades but, thanks to strong backing from the Bush government, 2007 could mark the start of a renaissance. US energy companies are looking at building more than 30 new nuclear reactors across the country. If any of these projects get off the ground they will represent the first new construction of reactors since the 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. This was the country’s worst nuclear accident and, combined with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine in 1986, undermined public confidence in nuclear safety and led to the cancellation of dozens of reactor projects. Public opposition to nuclear power is still strong in certain regions, such as California and New England. But concerns about energy security and climate change mean that nuclear power is a cause politicians feel increasingly comfortable promoting.
FT 8th May 2007
Gordon Brown plans to implement a radical shake-up in Britain’s cumbersome planning system early in his premiership, introducing legislation into parliament this autumn, according to Whitehall -insiders. A planning white paper detailing the proposed reforms, due to be published later this month, is expected to be followed by a bill within months. The need to improve the UK’s planning system – a longstanding business bugbear – has been given momentum by the government’s plans to build nuclear power stations.
FT 8th May 2007
Depleted uranium, which is used in armour-piercing ammunition, causes widespread damage to DNA which could lead to lung cancer, according to a study of the metal’s effects on human lung cells. The study adds to growing evidence that DU causes health problems on battlefields long after hostilities have ceased.
Guardian 8th May 2007
There’s a warm glow in the boardrooms of uranium mining companies. Spiralling prices are expected to reach £50 a pound by the middle of the year, from £35 only a few months ago. Some reports say the price for a pound of the stuff also known as yellowcake could be £80 in a year or two.
Guardian 8th May 2007
Response from David Lowry: James Randerson is right to argue for the importance of experimentation and the gathering of empirical data in order to take forward scientific discovery (Don’t punish the scientists, April 25). But, as the researcher who dug out the National Archives papers – dating from the early 50s to mid 60s – on the scientific experiments on human “volunteers”, on which your sister paper the Observer based its story on April 22, I am not as sanguine as Randerson in believing these experiments were purely conducted for the benign purpose of future protection of the health of the workforce handling radioactive materials.
Guardian 8th May 2007
Romanian utility Nuclearelectrica has revealed that, on May 6, 2007, unit two of its Cernavoda nuclear power plant achieved first criticality. The existing Cernavoda plant is the only nuclear facility in Romania and produces between 10% and 12% of the country’s electricity. The plant uses CANDU reactor technology, which is comprised of a pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR).
Energy Business Review 9th May 2007
A demolition date has been set to bring down the landmark cooling towers of the Chapelcross nuclear power station. The four famous stacks at the plant, near Annan, are set to be blown up in a controlled explosion at 0900 BST on Sunday 20 May.
BBC 8th May 2007
HINKLEY Point B power station has been given a clean bill of health and licensed for the next ten years, despite the continuing safety concerns of anti-nuclear campaigners. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate has given permission for the 30 year-old reactor to run for another ten years after it passed a safety review.
Somerset County Gazette 8th May 2007
Iran accepted an agenda compromise towards the end of a UN non-proliferation conference that saved the meeting from collapse and opened the door to talks on compliance with nuclear rules. The two-week conference had been deadlocked since opening on April 30 as Iran, which the US charges is secretly developing the nuclear bomb and which is under UN sanctions for its nuclear work, objected to an agenda item that called for full compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Interactive Investor 8th May 2007
Gulf Arab states need between 12 and 15 years to establish their proposed peaceful nuclear programme, Kuwait’s foreign minister said in remarks published on Tuesday. “From the moment the decision was taken, it could take between 12 and 15 years to complete the establishment of the nuclear plant,” Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah said in comments published in Al-Qabas daily.
Middle East Online 8th May 2007
Although the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate says the country’s nuclear power plants have never been safer, there is cause for concern. Its report on 2006 activities says Switzerland’s five reactors are safe but the management of their waste is not. The inspectorate said no serious incidents were recorded in any of the five power plants during 2006 but waste management leaves something to be desired.
Engineer Live 9th May 2007