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nuclear: 50/75 of 411
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Another Chernobyl? The Centrale Nucléaire de Tihange in Belgium was closed down a year ago after the discovery of 16,000 cracks in its reactor vessel. Now the government wants to start it up again. Photo: grotevriendelijkereus via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Nuclear renaissance? Failing industry is running flat out to stand still

Dr Jim Green

30th January 2016

Despite the endless rhetoric about a 'nuclear renaissance', there are fewer power reactors today than there were a decade ago, writes Jim Green. The one country with a really big nuclear build program is China, but no one expects it to meet its targets. And with over 200 reactor shut-downs due by 2040, the industry will have to run very hard indeed just to stay put. more...
The future is clean, inexpensive and renewable - if only the government can get over its nuclear obsession. Westmill Solar Park, with wind turbines behind. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Government's nuclear fixation could ruin us all

Caroline Lucas MP

28th January 2016

EDF's unfolding fiasco over the Hinkley C nuclear power station proves that nuclear power can come only at enormous financial cost to consumers and taxpayers, writes Caroline Lucas - and even then, investors are scared off by the risks. The government must get over its nuclear obsession and seize our renewable future. more...
Hinkley C as it would look, if ever built: 'like building a cathedral inside a cathedral', says one nuclear engineer. Artwork: EDF.

Unable to raise Hinkley C nuclear cash, EDF turns to French government

Oliver Tickell

26th January 2016

Just as EDF was due to make its 'final investment decision' on Hinkley C, writes Oliver Tickell, another delay. In spite of incredibly generous subsidies, the company is unable to finance it. Its last hope is to persuade the French state to take a 10% stake in the doomed project. more...
Now many members of EDF's board and most employees are agreed with this protestor in wanting EDF to drop its doomed Hinkley C project. Site blockade in October 2012. Photo: GLOBAL 2000 via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

EDF's Hinkley C decision 'on a knife edge' as problems crowd in

Oliver Tickell

26th January 2016

The EDF board is meeting tomorrow to reach its 'final investment decision' on Hinkley C. It was meant to be a rubber stamp but now it's anything but, as EDF's share price sinks to a new low, unions and employee directors harden their opposition to the project, and projects in France, Finland and China run way over time and cost with severe technical problems and safety concerns. more...
The Pacific Egret, with its small naval cannon visible, left and right, on its rear deck. Left, its companioin vessel, the Pacific Heron. Photo: Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment via Facebook.

Too much of a bad thing? World awash with waste plutonium

Paul Brown

24th January 2016

As worldwide stocks of plutonium increase, lightly-armed British ships are about to carry an initial 330kg of the nuclear bomb metal for 'safekeeping' in the US, writes Paul Brown. But it's only the tip of a global 'plutonium mountain' of hundreds of tonnes nuclear power's most hazardous waste product. more...
Chart 1: Electrical power by source, June 2015. Image: Grant Wilson / energy-charts.org.

2015: Renewable power breaks British records

Grant Wilson, University of Sheffield

18th January 2016

Wind, solar and hydro together generated 14.6% of Britain's electrical energy in 2015, the highest ever, writes Grant Wilson. They also peaked at 22% of electricity over the week of Christmas - another British record. more...
The Trident missile bearing nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard 'vents off' as she leaves HMNB Clyde in Scotland. Photo: Defence Images via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Trident, nuclear submarines and the UK's nuclear power imperative

Andy Stirling & Phil Johnstone

15th January 2016

The UK's nuclear power programme is driven by military demands, write Andy Stirling & Phil Johnstone - but not in the way you might think. The most essential need is not for plutonium or tritium, but for a nuclear industrial sector to design, build and maintain the reactors that power nuclear submarines. Without them, the Trident missile system would have no military credibility. more...
EPR nuclear plant under construction at Olkiluoto in Finland in 2009 - the year it was due for completion. It may finally be ready in 2018 - or then, it may not. Photo: kallerna via Wkimedia (Public Domain).

EDF may sell €3bn stake in UK nuclear to fund Hinkley C

Terry Macalister / the Guardian & Oliver Tickell

8th January 2016

The cash-strapped French energy giant EDF may sell off profitable stakes in its in its eight existing UK nuclear reactors to raise money for the Hinkley Point C project. But with no example of the EPR design planned for Hinkley even near completion, it may all prove a risk too far. more...
Giant poster announcing the construction of the Yangjiang nuclear complex in China. Photo: panoramio via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

Nuclear power too slow for China's low carbon switch

Zhang Chun / China Dialogue

5th January 2015

Nuclear advocates take hope from China's plan for 58GW of new nuclear capacity, writes Zhang Chun. But nuclear's share of China's power supply is in long term decline, and the target is likely to be missed as faster, cheaper, nimbler renewables surge ahead. more...
The Uentrop nuclear plant in Germany cost €2 billion to build, but was closed in 1989 after just 423 days of operation following irreparable technical failures. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

After 60 years of nuclear power, the industry survives only on stupendous subsidies

Pete Dolack

4th January 2016

Almost 60 years since the world's first commercial nuclear power station began to deliver power to the UK's grid, the industry remains as far from being able to cover its costs as ever, writes Pete Dolack. But while unfunded liabilities increase year by year, governments are still willing to commit their taxpayers' billions to new nuclear plants with no hope of ever being viable. more...
Reactor at Qinshan: many experts doubt nuclear power can make a significant contribution to China's future electricity needs. Photo: Atomic Energy of Canada Limited via Wikimedia Commons.

COP21 leaves nuclear dream adrift

Paul Brown

1st January 2015

Charlatans, or planetary saviours? Post-Paris views on the nuclear industry suggest few experts believe it will bring closer a world rid of fossil fuels, writes Paul Brown. Despite the best efforts of nuclear lobbyists, no revival is due any time soon. more...
Pre-1988 dumping of low and intermediate level nuclear waste at the Drigg site in Cumbria. Photo: via EA (2005).

Cumbria flooding: Environment Agency issues alert on Drigg nuclear waste site

Marianne Birkby

31st December 2015

Following this month's intense rainfall in the north of England an Environment Agency alert has highlighted the flood risk to the crumbling nuclear waste dump adjoining Sellafield in Cumbria, writes Marianne Birkby - a dump which remains in use despite its condemnation by the EA in 2005 due to its likely destruction by rising seas. Now it really is time to close the gate on Drigg! more...

nuclear: 50/75 of 411
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Solar panels on the GLA building at Tower Hill, London. Photo: James Cridland via Flickr (CC BY).

Today's solar cut: government turns its back on the future

Doug Parr / Greenpeace Energydesk

17th December 2015

The government's decision to cut support for domestic solar by 64% reflects antiquated thinking, writes Doug Parr. Just as the rest of Europe is shifting to ever-cheaper renewable, low carbon, decentralised, participatory, employment generating energy systems, the UK is stuck in a the dirty past of nuclear and fossil fuels. more...
'Stop nuclear energy! - demonstration on the Champs de Mars, Paris, in front of the Eiffel Tower. Photo: GLOBAL 2000 via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Nuclear lobbyists' epic COP21 fail. Our next job? Keep their hands off climate funds

Jim Green

16th December 2015

The nuclear industry has had a disappointing COP21, writes Jim Green. Lobbyists were there en masse desperately trying to get pro-nuclear wording into the Paris Agreement, and they failed. The word does not occur even once in the entire document. But we must prepare for the next battle: keeping nuclear power out of the $100 billion a year Green Climate Fund. more...
The La Rance tidal power station near Saint-Malo in France has been producing an average 62MW of power since 1966. Photo: Stephanemartin via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

Finally, Amber Rudd must drop her nuclear obsession

Paul Flynn MP

16th December 2015

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd's plan to deliver the UK's emissions reductions promised in COP21 rely on nuclear power as the main 'low carbon' energy source, writes Paul Flynn. But the high cost of nuclear, and the ruinous track record of current technologies, show that this path leads only to massive failure at public expense. more...
Nothing wrong with nuclear fusion - but let's just keep it gravitationally contained, and 150 million kilometres away! A solar tower in Nevada, USA, harnessing the power of the sun. Photo: Rick Bolin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Nuclear fusion is great - gravitationally contained, and 150 million km away

Linda Pentz Gunter

9th December 2015

ITER, the elusive and multi-million dollar fusion fantasy, was yet another nuclear chimera introduced at the Paris COP21 climate talks as a 'solution' to our climate crisis, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But the idea is pure fantasy: long before it can be made to work, if it ever can, it will have been made obsolete by harnessing the power of our giant fusion reactor in the sky: the Sun. more...
Exactly what kind of breakthrough does the club of billionaires have in mind? Photo: vintage ad for Union Carbide by James Vaughan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Is Gates's 'Breakthrough Energy Coalition' a nuclear spearhead?

Linda Pentz Gunter

6th December 2015

Last week a new billionaires club strode into COP21 in Paris promising big money for 'clean energy': the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. But most of its members are nuclear obsessives, writes Linda Pentz Gunter, from Bill Gates to Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson. And what the the world needs is not 'patient investment' into nuclear research, but impatient investment into renewables deployment. more...
Forsmark Horizontal silo, Sweden's final repository for radioactive operational waste, located at the Forsmark nuclear power plant in Sweden. Photo: Fred Dawson LRPS via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear radiation, Kierkegaard, and the philosophy of denial

Chris Busby

8th January 2016

As the evidence of the extreme harm to health inflicted by nuclear radiation mounts, the denialists are resorting to ever greater extremes, writes Chris Busby. On the one hand, advancing the absurd claim that ionising radition is not merely harmless, but health-enhancing. On the other, closing down the experiment that would have provided the strongest evidence yet. more...
With lithium-air batteries, this Tesla EV could travel from Boston to Washington DC, or from London to Edinburgh, on a single charge. Photo: Niall Kennedy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Li-air battery could make oil obsolete in ten years

The Ecologist

23rd November 2015

Sooner than it takes to build a nuclear power station, lithium-air batteries could be helping wind and solar to make coal, oil and nuclear obsolete, say Cambridge scientists. Five times lighter and five times cheaper than current lithium batteries, Li-air would open the way to our 100% renewable future. more...
Fools' gold? The Hinkley Point nuclear complex in Somerset, UK. Photo: TempusVolat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Luxembourg joins Hinkley C nuclear challenge

Oliver Tickell

20th November 2015

Luxembourg will join Austria's legal challenge to the UK's support package for the Hinkley C nuclear power station. Meanwhile EDF has laid off 65 engineers working on the project in Paris, and the EU Commission has initiated proceedings against Hungary over its Paks II nuclear project with Rosatom. more...
Nuclear power plant at Ohi, Japan. It may be gleaming and impressive looking, but the plant stands near several active seismic faults and lacks adequate protection against earthquakes. Photo: Kansai Electric Power Co. via IAEA Imagebank on Flickr (CC BY-S

Don't nuke the climate! James Hansen's nuclear fantasies exposed

Dr Jim Green

20th November 2015

NASA scientist James Hansen is heading to COP21 in Paris to berate climate campaigners for failing to support 'safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power', writes Jim Green. But they would gladly support nuclear power if only it really was safe and environment friendly. In fact, it's a very dangerous and hugely expensive distraction from the real climate solutions. more...
Photo: Rachel Melton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Lights out? Amber Rudd's disastrous absence of an energy strategy

Oliver Tickell

18th November 2015

Amber Rudd's speech today exposes her total failure to assemble a coherent energy strategy, writes Oliver Tickell. It reveals the increasingly certain failure to meet EU renewable energy targets, proposes a new tax on wind and solar generation, and leaves the country facing the real prospect of lights going out in the next decade. The one hard policy? To maximise oil and gas recovery. more...
Jeremy Corbyn addresses the crowd at the 'Vote Out Trident' CND protest outside the Ministry of Defence,  London, 13 April 2015. Photo: RonF / The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Jeremy Corbyn is right to reject Trident

Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (Ret'd)

9th November 2015

Jeremy Corbyn came under attack yesterday for his refusal to countenance the use of nuclear weapons, writes Commander Robert Green. But his stance is honourable and both legally and strategically correct - especially with his opposition to renewing the Trident nuclear missile system. more...
Xioa Yan Kou Farm, China. Photo: Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

From China to Europe, nuclear is losing the energy race to renewables

Paul Dorfman

10th November 2015

The UK-China plan for new nuclear build in England defy the evolving reality of 21st century power networks, writes Paul Dorfman. In China itself, the nuclear dream is hitting construction problems and delays, while wind and solar blossom at ever falling cost. But the phenomenon is global. Despite some governments' nuclear obduracy, renewables are winning the race hands down. more...
The UK's nuclear deal with China comes with a quid pro quo: the City of London's lucrative access to Chinese financial markets, exemplified by the glistening towers of Shanghai's Pudong District. Photo: Allan Watt via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

UK's nuclear deal with China is a boon for bankers - and no one else

Jeffrey Henderson, University of Bristol

6th November 2015

The UK's nuclear deal with China makes no sense, writes Jeffrey Henderson - unless you factor in the simultaneous agreement to forge lucrative links between UK and Chinese financial markets. Lucrative, that is, for the City institutions whose interests the British government so assiduously represents. As for the rest of us, our task is simple: to bear the ever-growing cost. more...

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