Even before the Fukushima disaster, the long-awaited nuclear renaissance in the West seemed to be running out of steam. There were two main factors behind this failure; the new Generation III+ reactors produced to take account of the lessons of Chernobyl that would spearhead the revival were not living up to their promises, and, more importantly, banks were proving unwilling to provide finance. The US and UK governments seem oblivious to the idea that Fukushima might have any implications for new build plants. The incentives in terms of loan guarantees in the US and long-term Power Purchase Agreements at non-market prices in the UK are still in place. Government commitment appears undiminished. Yet turning a blind eye to Fukushima is clearly not sustainable. The hope that the disaster can be written off as having relevance only to earthquake and tsunami prone countries with Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactors is no more credible than the hope that Chernobyl would have relevance only to a particular Soviet design operated in an inexplicable way. In the UK, despite the political rhetoric that a new nuclear program would receive no public subsidies, what is now likely to be on offer are Feed-in-Tariffs and longterm Contracts for Differences. These effectively ensure that all power from nuclear plants is guaranteed to be sold at a predictable price set outside the market. EDF is the most likely developer in the UK. Whether it will go ahead with an EPR in the UK is likely to depend on whether the design can survive the problems at Olkiluoto and Flamanville and on how fully the CfDs are guaranteed to cover costs. Since the terms of these contracts will be regarded as commercially sensitive, the public will never know what it has signed up to. But, if construction goes ahead, it can be assumed strong cost-recovery guarantees are in place. How the European Commission will view such contracts, which are blatantly unfair state aid and therefore presumably illegal, remains to be seen.
Commodities Now 30th Jan 2012 more >>
Rosyth has said an overwhelming no to nuclear waste from redundant submarines being stored locally. The majority of people living in communities surrounding the dockyard who have taken part in a Fife Council consultation exercise dubbed the Rosyth Referendum have rejected the idea. With the Ministry of Defence’s nationwide consultation exercise on what happens to Britain’s fleet of decommissioned submarines drawing to a close in a matter of weeks, Fife Council decided to hold a local survey. Local SNP councillor Douglas Chapman told The Courier: ”We have taken account of extensive local views and opinions on this issue and we are currently agreeing a council position which would recommend that these submarines and all their nuclear waste be moved out of Rosyth permanently.
Dundee Courier 30th Jan 2012 more >>
A formal complaint about subsidies for nuclear power has been sent to the European Commission by lawyers acting for the UK based Energy Fair group, with several other environmental groups and environmentalists. If it is upheld, it unlikely that any new nuclear power stations will be built in the UK or elsewhere in the EU. The complaint may be followed by legal action in the courts or actions by politicians to reduce or remove subsidies for nuclear power.
Nuclear Engineering International 30th Jan 2012 more >>
The race to win the main £1.2bn civils package for Hinkley Point C is down to three consortia of industry giants. The Enquirer understands that a decision is due within weeks on a winner between bids involving Balfour Beatty, Laing ORourke and Costain. Balfour is working with Vinci on its bid, ORourke alongside Bouygues and Costain with Sir Robert McAlpine and Hochtief. The huge civils contract will employ at least 1,500 construction workers and take more than three years with a start on site due early 2013.
Construction Enquirer 30th Jan 2012 more >>
ACE 30th Jan 2012 more >>
Campaigners fighting a proposed line of giant pylons across the Somerset countryside are celebrating news that National Grid has scrapped a similar plan in Lincolnshire.
Wells People 30th Jan 2012 more >>
Developers of the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station should contribute a share of profits to the community in the same way as wind farms, an influential House of Commons Committee has been told. Sedgemoor District Councils corporate director, Bob Brown, appeared before MPs on the Science and Technology Select Committee to call for a Community Benefit Contribution scheme for districts hosting nuclear power stations.
Western Daily Press 31st Jan 2012 more >>
EDF Energy is currently seeking nearly 70 recruits nationally to join its highly successful advanced nuclear apprenticeship scheme in 2012. Dungeness B power station staff staged an initial Apprentice Information Day at the power station in November 2011 – which attracted over 80 potential recruits.
Noodls 30th Jan 2012 more >>
Anyone who thought EU renewable energy targets were tough would do well to look at Scotlands ambitions. The EU expects its members to generate 20 per cent of their energy needs from renewables by 2020. Organisers of a conference taking place this week believe Scotland can generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of its annual electricity demand from renewables by 2020, with most of that supply coming from offshore wind over the next decade and beyond. This, of course, opens up numerous business opportunities and the conference, taking place in Aberdeen, is expected to give attendees an idea of what they need to do in order to profit from offshore wind.
Engineer 30th Jan 2012 more >>
A £900,000 initiative is being launched to support rapid growth in the developing offshore wind supply chain. The expert support programme aims to help hundreds of Scottish firms capture a share of future investment in the emerging industry. The initiative is being announced by Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson at Scotland’s largest offshore wind conference in Aberdeen.
BBC 31st Jan 2012 more >>
Scotsman 31st Jan 2012 more >>
Fuel poverty activists gained access to the headquarters of British Gas and occupied a room near the office of its managing director, Phil Bentley, for six hours to protest “profiteering” by energy suppliers.
Telegraph 30th Jan 2012 more >>
Nuclear energy will fuel the roaring economies of China and India, although in the latter, popular protests are slowing expansion. In Tamil Nadu, civic groups such as the National Alliance of People’s Movements and the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy have opposed commissioning the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) that was built with Russian assistance.
Japan Times 29th Jan 2012 more >>
Westinghouse has signed an exclusive memorandum of understanding with Czech Republic construction firm Metrostav, as part of a planned bid to sell two AP1000 reactors to Czech utility CEZ, Westinghouse announced January 30. Westinghouse/Metrostav will join two other bidders Frances Areva and Russias Atomstroyexport in bidding for the two new reactors CEZ wants to build at Temelin. The new reactors, Temelin-3 and -4, would join Temelin-1 and -2, two Russian VVER-320 reactors currently operating at the site. Atomstroyexport is working with Czech engineering and construction firm Skoda on its bid. The deadline for bids for the project that is meant to include fuel supply along with the two reactors is set for July 2.
i-Nuclear 30th Jan 2012 more >>
World Nuclear News 30th Jan 2012 more >>
The International Atomic Agency (IAEA) has cleared stress test results submitted for two of Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power’s Ohi nuclear power reactors, although it stopped short of making any recommendation for a restart of the power stations.
Argus Media 31st Jan 2012 more >>
Guardian 31st Jan 2012 more >>
In his first policy speech since taking office, Japans prime minister Yoshihiko Noda said that Japans dependence on nuclear power must be reduced to the maximum extent. Noda did not go as far as the countrys previous prime minister Naoto Kan, whose calls for Japan to become a nuclear-free society last summer were met with fierce criticism.
Nuclear Engineering International 30th Jan 2012 more >>
Iran’s Foreign Minister yesterday offered to extend the three-day visit of UN nuclear inspectors and said he was optimistic their findings would help ease tensions despite international claims Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons.
Independent 31st Jan 2012 more >>
Telegraph 30th Jan 2012 more >>
UN atomic watchdog officials began a visit to Iran on Sunday to discuss Tehran’s suspect nuclear drive, as Iranian lawmakers held off on retaliatory action against a looming EU oil embargo.
Middle East Online 30th Jan 2012 more >>
Government ministers are toying with the idea of moving Trident to National Trust sites or foreign country locations if Scotland goes independent, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has found. The Nowhere to Go report commissioned by CND claimed over the weekend that the MoD was looking at alternative sites for Trident such as the 2012 Olympic sailing venues at Weymouth and Portland, National Trust land and other densely populated areas. Scotland’s forthcoming independence vote has left British ministers in a muddle over what to do about the Trident nuclear subs currently based in Scotland.
Morning Star 30th Jan 2012 more >>
NOBEL laureate and eminent scientist Joseph Rotblat was a man of inexhaustible energy, optimism and dedication. In this new biography, author and radiation oncologist Andrew Brown faithfully captures his character. Keeper of the Nuclear Conscience chronicles Rotblat’s journey from his beginnings in a prosperous Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland, before the first world war, to his rapid rise from electrician to internationally prominent nuclear physicist, and ultimately his committed opposition to nuclear weapons.
New Scientist 30th Jan 2012 more >>