EDF Energy is considering keeping two UK nuclear power stations that are scheduled to close in 2016 open for another decade. Hunterston B in North Ayrshire and Hinkley Point B in Somerset are the first two of the French-owned companys eight UK nuclear reactors due to close, with all but one due to stop generating by 2023. The planned closures have been a key driver for the Governments overhaul of the energy sector, which aims for a new generation of nuclear plants by 2025 to help meet demand. But with EDFs own plans for new nuclear plants at Hinkley Point and Sizewell in Suffolk delayed and uncertain, and the Horizon venture that planned to put two more plants up for sale, any reprieve in closure dates is likely to be welcomed by ministers.
Telegraph 9th Sept 2012 more >>
Does it matter that the power Britain relies on to make the country glow and hum no longer belongs to Britain? After all, the lights still shine. The phones still charge. The future of Britains energy supply now hinges on state-owned French companies based in Paris: Electricité de France, better known as EDF, and Areva, maker of nuclear power stations. Will EDF and Areva build a fleet of new nuclear reactors in Britain or wont they, and if they do, how much will it cost the British and French public?
London Review of Books 13th Sept 2012 more >>
It is one of the marvels of our time that the nuclear industry managed to resurrect itself from its ruins at the end of the last century, when it crumbled under its costs, inefficiencies, and mega-accidents. Chernobyl released hundreds of times the radioactivity of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs combined, contaminating more than 40% of Europe and the entire Northern Hemisphere. But along came the nuclear lobby to breathe new life into the industry, passing off as clean this energy source that polluted half the globe. The fresh look at nuclear paved the way to a nuclear Renaissance in the United States that Fukushima has by no means brought to a halt. That mainstream media have been powerful advocates for nuclear power comes as no surprise. The media are saturated with a skilled, intensive, and effective advocacy campaign by the nuclear industry, resulting in disinformation and wholly counterfactual accounts widely believed by otherwise sensible people, states the 2010-2011 World Nuclear Industry Status Report by Worldwatch Institute. What is less well understood is the nature of the evidence that gives the nuclear industry its mandate, Cold War science which, with its reassurances about low-dose radiation risk, is being used to quiet alarms about Fukushima and to stonewall new evidence that would call a halt to the industry. More than 40 studies have turned up clusters of childhood leukemia in the vicinity of nuclear facilities, reckons Ian Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment and a former member of the Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters (an investigatory commission established by the U.K. government but disbanded in 2004). Fairlie describes this as a mass of evidence difficult to contradictyet it continues to be contradicted, on the basis of the Hiroshima studies. Generally when a cancer cluster is detected in the neighborhood of a reactor, the matter gets referred to a government committee that dismisses the findings on the grounds that radioactive emissions from facilities are too low to produce a cancer effecttoo low, according to RERF risk estimates.
The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 10, Issue 1 No 3, January 2, 2012 more >>
What will be your key priorities as Welsh Secretary? A Wylfa B is at the very top of the agenda and the Wales Office is working very hard on ensuring we get it. Ive been in discussion for some time with the Department for Energy and Climate Change over Wylfa. Im paying a visit there next week. Its very important that overseas investors should know that the British Government is squarely behind the project and I will also be entertaining some of those investors in the Wales Office. Youre talking about a £10 billion project easily the biggest piece of infrastructure that North Wales has seen for a very long time. And it is that sort of effort that the Wales Office can undertake that can make all the difference.
Daily Post 7th Sept 2012 more >>
THE police force responsible for guarding Britains nuclear power plants says it is up to Special Branch (SB) to inform it if there are any threats to plants such as aliens stealing all the nuclear waste. The Civil Nuclear Police Authority (CNPA) were asked by Iain Cambridge what continegency plans it had in place in the event of an alien attack. Mr Cambrige was concerned about aliens stealing all the nuclear waste from power plants, aliens landing near a power plant or aliens threatening to destroy all nuclear establishments. He asked the CNPA if there were any plans for such scenarios. In response the CNPA said Special Branch was responsible for alerting the force to any threats.
Londonderry Sentinel 8th Sept 2012 more >>
George Osborne’s attempt to backtrack on green policies by supporting a new “dash for gas” ran into trouble after the incoming head of the government’s climate change committee said future economic growth would be impossible without more renewable energy. The comments from John Gummer, who has been chosen to chair the independent climate change committee, came amid growing signs that the chancellor is leading a headlong government retreat from David Cameron’s much-vaunted commitment to lead “the greenest government ever”. Suspicions were raised last week that the prime minister had accepted the need to downgrade green policies, which many Tory MPs see as too expensive in a recession, when he promoted climate sceptics in his reshuffle. He switched Owen Paterson, who has made clear that he is opposed to windfarms, to environment secretary, and made another green sceptic, John Hayes, energy minister.
Guardian/Observer 8th Sept 2012 more >>
An over-reliance on gas-fired power stations risks making it impossible for Britain to meet targets on cutting carbon emissions, the new head of the independent climate change watchdog has warned. The intervention by Lord Deben, who as John Gummer was a secretary of state for the environment in the Major government in the 1990s, comes as the coalition’s green credentials are again thrown into doubt by claims that climate sceptics were promoted in the reshuffle and steps towards major expansion in airport capacity are being taken.
Independent on Sunday 9th Sept 2012 more >>
David Cameron reshuffled his cabinet last week, putting Owen Paterson in charge of the green brief. Here the Observer’s science editor explains why he has grave misgivings – for the country and for the planet as a whole. Pressed last week by journalists to deny or admit you are a climate change sceptic, you hid behind a feeble Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs press release that merely acknowledged that you were responsible for exploring issues such as climate change. It was an unimpressive start. I would like to think that things can only get better. Given a pause for reflection about the wider issues, that could happen. I hope you do get the bigger picture. If you do not, then the nation will have wasted further precious time when it could be taking decisive action to counter climate change. And time is a commodity that is already in dangerously short supply.
Observer 9th Sept 2012 more >>
China’s green energy industry has long been seen as a world-beater. But domestic pressures are mounting on its renewables firms as growth slows; and analysts are warning that Chinese companies could respond by accelerating their expansion overseas, stoking a rising east-west tension in the race towards a low-carbon economy. The European commission has just followed up US trade action against China by announcing its own investigation into allegations that Bejing firms are “dumping” cheap solar panels in European markets. But Chinese green companies are being hit at home by logjams on the power grid, the wider national economic downturn and increased competition of their own.
Observer 9th Sept 2012 more >>