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Nuclear: 1/25 of 222
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'So can you build this bloody power station or can't you?' Cameron gets tough with EDF workers on a visit to the Hinkley Point C site. Photo: Department of Energy and Climate Change via Flickr.

Hinkley C hit by surprise treble whammy - is it all over for EDF?

Doug Parr /

20th November 2014

EDF has already moved heavy earth moving gear onto the Hinkley C nuclear power station construction site, writes Doug Parr - but that doesn't mean it's a done deal. On the contrary, a host of intractable problems are coming home to roost, and the increasingly troubled project is looking shakier than ever. more...
At 7.40 am on 2nd May 2012 a Greenpeace activist flew over the Bugey power station on a yellow paraglider. But this time, it's something different! Photo: Greenpeace video / Youtube.

Mystery drones are buzzing around French nuclear plants - should we be worried?

Daniel Salisbury & Christopher Hobbs

20th November 2014

With unidentified drones regularly overflying French nuclear power plants, Daniel Salisbury and Christopher Hobbs warn that despite the dismissive responses of nuclear operators, they have cause for concern: the drones may be unable to cause serious damage in themselves, but they compromise site security and open the way to future attacks. more...
'Don't shoot me - I'm only the Senate Leader!' US Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

China leads the world in green energy - despite US Senate Leader 'do nothing' claims

John Mathews and Hao Tan

18th November 2014

The Leader of the US Senate says that under the China-US climate deal, China can 'do nothing at all for 16 years'. John Mathews and Hao Tan examine the claim - and find it's the very reverse of the truth. China is leading the world in greening its energy supply, and has committed to add a massive 1.3GW of renewable power capacity every week for 15 years. Now Mitch - beat that! more...
IAEA experts examine recovery work on top of Unit 4 of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 17 April 2013. Photo Credit: Greg Webb / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr.

Fukushima 40-year, £11bn cleanup progresses - but the worst is yet to come

Justin McCurry / the Guardian

14th November 2014

The clean up at Fukushima faces enormous challenges, writes Justin McCurry. First, managing 500,000 tonnes of contaminated water stored onsite. Next, removing molten fuel from reactors 1, 2 and 3, a task so hazardous that it's been put off until 2025. Even robots have been unable to enter the reactor buildings - and no one knows where the molten fuel has gone. more...
Sole of shoe at 'Highway of Death' in Iraq, where DU munitions were used to destroy tanks and other vehicles of Saddam Hussein's retreating army in Gulf War I. Photo: Christiaan Briggs via Flickr.

UN Resolution warns nuclear WMD states: end is nigh for DU munitions

John LaForge

10th November 2014

Only four countries opposed a UN Resolution on 'depleted uranium' munitions: the USA, UK, France and Israel, all nuclear WMD states whose use of DU leaves battle fields contaminated with toxic, radioactive residues for millennia into the future. The overwhelming support for the Resolution puts the WMD states on notice - DU munitions are no longer acceptable. more...
Polaris Nuclear Sub from Honor House advertisement published in the November 1967 issue of Workbasket magazine. Photo: clotho98 via Flickr.

The world's first 'Nuclear Proliferation Treaty'

David Lowry

13th November 2014

Last week Parliament had its first ever chance to debate a shadowy treaty dating back to 1958, under which the UK exported to the USA enough plutonium for over 1,000 nuclear warheads, writes David Lowry. But the core question remains unanswered - how can the treaty be reconciled with our sovereign obligations to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation? more...
A welcoming committee at Christmas Island - site of the UK's Grapple X and Grapple Y bomb tests. But do these children, or their parents, know about the long term legacy of uranium pollution? Photo: Philip via Flickr.

The 'forgotten' uranium isotope - secrets of the nuclear bomb tests revealed

Chris Busby

4th November 2014

Papers reluctantly released by the UK Government in the bomb test veterans' legal case for compensation reveal what it has long denied, writes Chris Busby - that bomb fallout is rich in uranium, and that most of its radioactivity is concentrated in the 'forgotten' but highly active isotope U-234, explaining much of the substantial, long term damage to veterans' health. more...
Sellafield - the B30 pond, possibly 2006.

The Ecologist places leaked Sellafield fuel pond photos in public domain

The Ecologist

31st October 2014

The full set of photos of Sellafield's highly dilapidated and dangerous B29 and B30 cooling ponds as leaked to us are placed in the public domain. more...
Hurricane Sandy brought this blackout to Lower Manhattan in October 2012. Unless Britain's nuclear power stations perform implausibly well this winter, we could well be sharing the experience. Photo: Reeve Jolliffe via Flickr.

UK faces serious winter blackout risk - National Grid's rosy nuclear forecast fails reality test

Chris Goodall

31st October 2014

The National Grid's forecast for UK power supply this winter relies on overstating the availability of increasingly unreliable nuclear power stations, writes Chris Goodall. Realistic estimates of nuclear, gas and coal power station availability shrink the 'safety margin' to zero. more...
The B30 pond showing a full loading with fuel rods. Photo: unknown.

Leaked Sellafield photos reveal 'massive radioactive release' threat

Oliver Tickell

27th October 2014

Dilapidated nuclear waste storage ponds abandoned 40 years ago containing hundreds of tonnes of fuel rods pose an immediate danger to public safety, photographs sent to The Ecologist reveal. The fuel and sludge in the ponds could spontaneously ignite if exposed to air, spreading intense radiation over a wide area. more...
Yucca Mountain, the site of the US's 'cancelled' repository for high level nuclear waste. Photo: White House via Wikimedia Commons.

Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump is all too 'undead'

John LaForge

1st November 2014

The Yucca Mountain radioactive dump may have been officially 'cancelled', writes John LaForge, and with very good reason. But like all those zombies out for Hallowe'en last night, it's not dead yet, as US nuclear regulators declare that the site perfectly meets nuclear waste storage requirements. more...
Hinkley C is 'unconstructable', says a distinguished nuclear engineer - 'like building a cathedral within a cathedral'. Artist's impression of the completed nuclear power station by EDF.

'Unconstructable' Hinkley C could end UK's nuclear dream

Chris Goodall

30th October 2014

Opponents of nuclear power hold up the planned Hinkley C as an examplar of waste and idiocy that could cost the UK over £30 billion in subsidies. Chris Goodall agrees - and fears that an impending fiasco with the 'unconstructable' and commercially disastrous EPR design may kill off the UK's nuclear aspirations for a generation. more...

Nuclear: 1/25 of 222
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An artist's impression of the Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Image: EDF Energy media library.

NAO investigates Hinkley C nuclear subsidies

Terry Macalister / The Guardian

17th October 2014

Hinkley C's subsidy package may have won European Commission approval - but now it faces a National Audit Office 'value for money' investigation, following a demand from a powerful Parliamentary committee. more...
Owen Paterson meets Hillary Clinton. Photo: from owenpaterson.org.

Keeping the lights on

Owen Paterson

16th October 2014

Last night's speech on Britain's energy choices by former environment secretary Owen Paterson's caused widespread outrage long before it was delivered. But what exactly did he say on the night? Read on, and be surprised to discover that it makes excellent sense - in parts. more...
Picture found in Honkawa Elementary School in 2013 of the Hiroshima atom bomb cloud, believed to have been taken about 30 seconds after detonation of about 10km (6 miles) east of the hypocentre. Photo: Honkawa Elementary School / Wikimedia Commons.

The ICRP's radiation risk model is bogus science

Chris Busby

22nd October 2014

The world has been the victim of a monstrous scientific error that has understated the dangers of radiation, writes Chris Busby. Following the Hiroshima nuclear bomb, investigators used 'controls' who had been exposed to high levels of 'black rain' fallout to understate the health impacts of radiation. This bogus science still underlies risk models today. more...
The UK's first bomb test: Operation Hurricane. The plutonium implosion device was exploded at sea at the Montebello Islands, West Australia, on 3rd October 1952. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Bomb test veterans' grandchildren suffer health impacts

Chris Busby

16th October 2014

A scientific paper published this week shows that the severe health damage caused to UK bomb test veterans persists through the generations, writes Chris Busby. Their children and grandchildren are almost ten times more likely to suffer from congenital malformations than controls - and the only common cause is historic radiation exposure.
more...
Greenpeace demonstration in Olkiluoto, Finland. Photo: Greenpeace Finland via Flickr.

Hinkley C will cost Britain dear - if it's ever built

Keith Barnham

15th October 2014

The UK Government promises that the Hinkley C 'EPR' nuclear reactor will lower electricity bills, but Keith Barnham shows that this is the very reverse of the truth. Our best hope is that it will never be built. Legal challenges aside, no sane investor will commit until one of the two EPR prototypes is working, which will be in 2016 at the earliest. more...
The Prostitute State

Nuclear power trumps democracy

Donnachadh McCarthy

9th October 2014

The UK's political mainstream has performed a complete U-Turn in policy on nuclear power, culminating yesterday in the European Commission's approval of a £15-20 billion subsidy package for the Hinckley C project. Donnachadh McCarthy delves into the nuclear industry's deep and far-reaching political links. more...
Hinkley Point B. Photo: Ken Grainger / geograph.org.uk via Wikimedia Commons.

Hinkley C gets the go-ahead - but will it prove a dodgy nuclear deal too far?

Paul Dorfman

8th October 2014

The outgoing European Commission has just given the UK's controversial Hinkley C nuclear project the go-ahead, writes Paul Dorfman - approving a deal that will cost the UK public tens of billions of pounds. But now the deal faces a legal challenge in the European Court of Justice. more...
This 62.5 MW Experimental Breeder Reactor (EBR-II) at the Argonne National Laboratory (USA) was built in 1965 and closed in 1994 due to its abysmal economics and proliferation concerns. The design is the basis of the PRISM and Integral Fast Reactors being

'New' reactor types are all nuclear pie in the sky

Jim Green

2nd October 2014

There's an Alice in Wonderland flavour to the nuclear power debate, writes Jim Green. Lobbyists are promoting all sorts of new reactor types - an implicit admission that existing reactors aren't up to the job. But the designs they are promoting have two severe problems. They don't exist. And they have no customers. more...
A radioactive emissions spike taking place during refueling from fugitive noble gas release at the Gundremmigen nuclear plant, Bavaria, Germany. Measured as kBq/m3 against time, in half-hourly intervals. Graph: Alfred Korblein.

Radioactive spikes from nuclear plants - a likely cause of childhood leukemia

Dr Ian Fairlie

29th September 2014

When nuclear reactors are refueled, a 12-hour spike in radioactive emissions exposes local people to levels of radioactivity up to 500 times greater than during normal operation, writes Ian Fairlie. The spikes may explain infant leukemia increases near nuclear plants - but operators provide no warnings and take no measures to reduce exposures. more...
Scheduled for completion in 2009, the Olkiluoto-3 nuclear plant is still under construction, and Areva is no longer projecting a completion date. Costs are running at roughly triple initial estimates. Photo: BBC World Service via Flickr.

Three in every four nuclear power builds worldwide are running late

Oliver Tickell

19th September 2014

A review of the 66 nuclear reactors 'under construction' worldwide shows that 49 are running behind schedule, including all five in the US and most in China. The long and unpredictable build times of nuclear plants, and the extra costs that ensue, are a compelling reason not to depend on the technology for either power or to mitigate climate change. more...
After a history of accidents at the site, the three ageing reactors at Mihama, Japan, are among those likely never to restart. Photo: Kansai Electric Power Co via IAEA Imagebank / Flickr.

Rocky road ahead for Japan's nuclear restart

Jim Green and Peer de Rijk / Nuclear Monitor

26th September 2014

Japan's government is trying to get its failing nuclear power industry up and running, write Jim Green and Peer de Rijk. But in the post-Fukushima world, it faces formidable obstacles. Experts believe most reactors will never restart - and Japan's stricken utilities may have to find $30 billion or more to finance their decommissioning. more...
Has the BBC forgotten its commitment to impartial journalism? Photo: BBC handbook 1963, by Gordon Joly via Flickr.

The BBC, Friends of the Earth and nuclear power

Neil Crumpton

16th September 2014

At first it looked like a journalistic coup, writes Neil Crumpton - the BBC's 'scoop' that FOE was no longer opposed to nuclear power. Except that FOE remains firmly anti-nuclear as it has been for decades. The spotlight must now be turned on the BBC itself, and its little-known but shocking links to the nuclear industry more...
San Onofre Beach State Park, California. In the background, a nuclear power station. Two of the three generating units are now closed. Photo: Luke Jones via Flickr.

Nuclear power - insanity at taxpayers' and consumers' expense

Ralph Nader

12th September 2014

Nuclear power exists for one reason only, writes Ralph Nader - government support. Without the taxpayer subsidies, accident liability waivers and exploited consumers, nuclear power wouldn't exist. And even with all the above, it can barely hold on. It's time to end the nuclear boondoggle for once and for all. more...

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