The Ecologist


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Abandoned, and going nowhere: Japan's the Monju 'fast' nuclear reactor. Photo: Nuclear Fuel and Power Reactor Development Corporation (PNC) / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Japan abandons Monju fast reactor: the slow death of a nuclear dream

Dr Jim Green

6th October 2016

'Fast breeder' reactors are promoted by nuclear enthusiasts as the clean, green energy technology of the future, writes Jim Green. But all the evidence tells us they are a catastrophic failure: complex, expensive, unreliable and accident-prone. Is Japan's decision to abandon its Monju reactor the latest nail in the coffin of a dead technology? Or the final stake through its rotten heart? more...
Wall to wall solar panels on industrial buildings in Birmingham, UK, where the Aurora report was published this week. Photo: h080 via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Cheap as chips! 'Negligible' cost of integrating big solar into UK grid

Oliver Tickell

4th October 2016

A new study shows that the cost of 'integrating' the variable power output of large scale solar PV is surprisingly affordable, writes Oliver Tickell, at just a few pence per unit. Costs will fall further as more wind power, batteries and ever-cheaper solar drive the transition to a 100% renewable power system. more...
Among the 28 EDF nuclear power stations at risk: Sizewell B in Suffolk, England. Photo: Simon James via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Sizewell B and 27 other EDF nuclear plants 'at risk of catastrophic failure'

Oliver Tickell

29th September 2016

A new report finds that 28 nuclear reactors, 18 of them EDF plants in France and one at Sizewell in the UK, are at risk of failure 'including core meltdown' due to flaws in safety-critical components in reactor vessels and steam generators, writes Oliver Tickell. The news comes as EDF credit is downgraded due to a growing cash flow crisis and its decision to press on with Hinkley C. more...
Aerial view of the completed Hinkley C project. Artists impression by EDF Energy.

Nuclear and fracking: the economic and moral bankruptcy of UK energy policy

Peter Strachan & Alex Russell

27th September 2016

With its choice of Hinkley Point C - a £100 billion nuclear boondoggle - its enthusiastic support for expensive and environmentally harmful fracking, and its relentless attack on renewable energy, the UK government's energy policy is both morally and economically bankrupt, write Peter Strachan & Alex Russell. It must urgently reconsider this folly and embrace the renewable energy transition. more...
During April 14 - 23, 2014, WIPP recovery teams made multiple trips into the WIPP underground, eventually reaching Panel 7, Room 7 - the suspected location of the radiological event. Photo: WIPP.

WIPP nuclear waste accident will cost US taxpayers $2 billion

Dr Jim Green

20th September 2016

The clean-up after the February 2014 explosion at the world's only deep underground repository for nuclear waste in New Mexico, USA, is massively over budget, writes Jim Green - and full operations won't resume until at least 2021. The fundamental cause of the problems: high level radioactive waste, poor regulation, rigid deadlines and corporate profit make a dangerous mix. more...
Hinkley C - it now looks as if the UK may not be saddled with this monstrous white elephant after all. Image: EDF.

Hinkley C nuclear go-ahead: May caves in to pressure from France and China

Oliver Tickell

15th September 2016

The French and the Chinese may be celebrating the UK's decision to press ahead with the Hinkley C 'nuclear white elephant', writes Oliver Tickell. But the deal is a disaster for the UK, committing us to overpriced power for decades to come, and to a dirty, dangerous, insecure dead end technology. Just one silver lining: major economic, legal and technical hurdles mean it still may never be built. more...
All adrift: Hinkley Point on a sea of mist. Photo: Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Dear Theresa: Let it go! Six powerful reasons to dump Hinkley C

Scientists for Global Responsibility

7th September 2016

Theresa May's first big decision as PM was to duck out of a signing ceremony and review the Hinkley C nuclear project. But she will soon have to reach her decision. In this open letter Scientists for Global Responsibility set out six compelling reasons for her to let the whole monstrous white elephant go. more...
The derelict B30 pond at Sellafield, used for the storage of intensely radioactive waste, in 2006. Photo: unknown / Public Domain.

Sellafield exposed: the nonsense of nuclear fuel reprocessing

Ian Fairlie

6th September 2016

Last night's BBC Panorama programme did a good job at lifting the lid on Britain's ongoing nuclear disaster that is Sellafield, writes Ian Fairlie. But it failed to expose the full scandal of the UK's 'reprocessing' of spent fuel into 140 tonnes of plutonium, enough to build 20,000 nuclear bombs - while leaving £100s of billions of maintenance and cleanup costs to future generations. more...
If the unions were so bothered about jobs, they should be supporting renewables, not nuclear. But could it be that those are the 'wrong kind of jobs' - not unionised ones? Photo: Centre for Alternative Technology ( via Flickr (CC BY).

If it's jobs they want, Labour and the unions must back renewables, not Hinkley C!

Ian Fairlie

30th August 2016

Four of Britain's major unions are big supporters of nuclear power, writes Ian Fairlie - all because of the jobs. Now Labour's shadow energy minister has joined them in backing Hinkley C - even though renewable energy is a far better job-creator than nuclear, and already employs three times more people. more...

New study suggests pro-nuclear countries are making much slower progress on climate targets

James Hakner

24th August, 2016

With the UK's Hinkley Point deal hanging in the balance, a new study casts fresh doubts over future of nuclear energy in Europe, writes JAMES HAKNER more...
Dry casks for storing irradiated nuclear fuel at the Diablo Canyon plant in Avila, California. The plant is scheduled to close within a decade, but taxpayers will pay to keep spent fuel stored on-site until a federal repository is ready to take it. Photo:

No more taxpayer subsidies for our failing nuclear reactors!

Peter Bradford, Vermont Law School

25th August 2016

New York state recently set a terrible example by approving a $7.6 billion bailout of failing nuclear power plants, writes PETER BRADFORD. But other states aren't following. including California and Nebraska, where a host of highly competitive clean energy technologies are filling in the power shortfall left by nuclear closures, at much lower cost. It's time to let old nuclear reactors die. more...
View south from the mine site to Narsaq below. Photo: Bill Williams.

Greenland Inuit oppose open-pit uranium mine on Arctic mountain-top

Bill Williams

17th August 2018

A collapse in the price of uranium has not yet stopped Australian mining company GME from trying to press ahead with a massive open-pit uranium mine on an Arctic mountain in southern Greenland, writes Bill Williams - just returned from the small coastal town of Narsaq where local people and Inuit campaigners are driving the growing resistance to the ruinous project. more...

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EDF's corporate HQ in La Defense, Paris, France. Photo: Olivier Durand via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Hinkley C: government's 'revolving door' to EDF execs

Joe Sandler Clarke

12th August 2016

Ten advisers and civil servants working in DECC, the former UK energy department, were seconded from EDF or had other links to the company, writes Joe Sandler Clarke. This may help to explain the 'preferential treatment' EDF has received over the 3.2GW nuclear power station it wants to build at Hinkley Point in Somerset. more...
Hinkley C - it now looks as if the UK may not be saddled with this monstrous white elephant after all. Image: EDF.

Hinkley Point, Greg Clark and the fate of Britain's energy future


9th August, 2016

The government's surprise delay in signing the contract with EDF to build the Hinkley C nuclear power station has opened up a the space for a forward-looking UK energy policy, writes Jonathon Porritt - one that moves us into the world of low cost renewables, and smart new technologies vital to the global clean energy transition. But is Business & Energy Greg Clark for real? Don't rule it out! more...

Uranium from Russia, with love

Nick Meynen

4th August, 2016

Uranium mining is a dirty business that we didn't clean up but sourced out to less demanding countries, so why isn't this being discussed in any debate about nuclear energy asks NICK MEYNEN more...
R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant near Ontario, NY - one of those to get the Governor Cuomo 'clean energy' subsidy. Photo courtesy of ©Exelon Nuclear via Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

$7.6 billion 'clean energy' bailout for New York nuclear plants

Karl Grossman

3rd August 2016

New York has approved a massive $7.6 billion subsidy to keep four ageing upstate plants open on the false promise that they provide 'clean and renewable energy', writes Karl Grossman. Campaigners for genuine clean energy fear that other pro-nuclear states may follow NY Governor Cuomo's dubious lead. more...
The three-unit Ikata nuclear power plant in the south of Japan.Its 890MW unit 3 is the only reactor in Japan that has a chance of restarting in 2016. Photo: ja:User:Newsliner via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Japan's big 'nuclear restart' overtaken by conservation and renewables

Jim Green

12th August 2016

For all Japan's talk of 43 'operable' nuclear reactors, only two are actually running, writes Jim Green, as renewables and a 12% fall in demand eat into the power market. And while Japan's 'nuclear village' defends safety standards, the IAEA, tasked with promoting nuclear power worldwide, has expressed deep concerns over the country's weak and 'fragmented' safety regulation. more...

The Nuclear Sieve: why Hinkley C is on hold (yet again)

Dr David Lowry

29th July, 2016

The huge marquee for VIP nuclear guests was already erected at the Hinkley site; champagne was already on ice; VIPs were en route to Somerset to party at the final breakthrough, when hundreds of thousands of contractual pages were due to be authorised with co-signatures of the contracting parties. Suddenly, everything was off. So what really happened asks DAVID LOWRY more...
The first steam generator being delivered to the Flamanville EPR, 15th March 2014. With the discovery of steel defects in the reactor vessel, it is now possible that the entire project will be abandoned. Photo: Greenpeace Cherbourg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA

Dump Hinkley! And invest in the UK's real energy future

Chris Goodall

28th July 2016

French energy giant EDF will today give the formal go-ahead for the Hinkley C nuclear power station in Somerset, writes Chris Goodall. But that's no reason for the UK to sign up to a disastrous deal that will cost us over £1 billion per year for 35 years - money that should be used to support the green technologies of the future. more...
North Korean nuclear reactor construction under way on 24th April 2008. Photo: Wapster / Google Maps via Flickr (CC BY).

What Theresa May forgot: North Korea used British technology to build its nuclear bombs

David Lowry

26th July 2016

When Theresa May proclaims in Parliament that we need the £200 billion Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, writes David Lowry, just bear this in mind. It is a threat that the UK, global nuclear proliferator in chief, created in the first place, providing both the reactor technology and vital centrifuge materials to make North Korea's nuclear dream come true. more...
Will it all come to nothing? Artist's impression of the planned Hinkley C nuclear power station. Image: EDF Energy.

EDF to postpone Hinkley C start until 2019 or beyond

David Toke

22nd July 2016

EDF's 'final investment decision' on the Hinkley C nuclear power station next week will be pure theatre, writes David Toke. The truth is that no concrete is to be poured until 2019 at the earliest. Meanwhile post-Brexit UK is running out of money to pay for it, and EDF is under investigation by the Financial Markets Authority for concealing information on Hinkley from investors. more...
Offshore wind turbine under construction at Burbo Bank, North Sea. Photo: The Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Offshore wind powers ahead as prices drop 30% below nuclear

Kieran Cooke

19th July 2016

The cost of offshore wind power in the North Sea is 30% lower than that of new nuclear, writes Kieran Cooke - helped along by low oil and steel prices, reduced maintenance and mass production. By 2030 the sector is expected to supply 7% of Europe's electricity. more...
Was it all a beautiful dream? View of the Hinkley Point C site as visualised by EDF.

Brexit curse hits nuclear power, new London runway

Paul Brown

29th June 2016

Following the vote to leave the EU, the UK's energy and climate change policy faces major challenges, writes Paul Brown, with new nuclear power and a third London runway at Heathrow runway looking like the first casualties. more...
Photo: hit thatswitch via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Higher fuel bills, less renewables, an end to nuclear power: Brexit's energy shakeout

Chris Goodall

28th June 2016

The economic impacts of the Brexit vote will very soon make themselves felt to British consumers, writes Chris Goodall - kicking off with higher fuel bills and pump prices. The good news is that nuclear power is now looking increasingly unaffordable. But renewables and green energy research are also likely to suffer, especially if under a right-wing Brexit government. more...
The twin EPR reactor complex at Taishan, China, showing the completed concrete domes sealing in the reactor vessels and heads. Photo: from drone video footage by China Free Press, HK.

EDF, CGN press ahead with 'unsafe' Chinese nuclear plant

Oliver Tickell

3rd June 2016

Twin nuclear reactors at Taishan in China have been sealed into their concrete domes despite fears that the reactor vessels have serious metallurgical defects. No safety test data has been released by the two companies in charge, EDF and CGN, to show that the reactors will not crack in operation, releasing radioactivity. more...


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