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Boris Johnson’s splashy style still avoids the costs, lack of financial commitments for nuclear power development

Garden bridges, routemaster buses, oven-ready Brexit deals…Prime
Minister Boris Johnson is no stranger to eye-catching pledges and, in
fairness, he occasionally achieves them. His latest media-friendly
commitment for “big new bets” on nuclear is typical Johnsonian
politics: brash, bold and intentionally vague.

This is reflected in the UK’s nuclear strategy – which is powered by enthusiasm but weakened by
a lack of details. On the one hand, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has
brought in the Regulatory Asset Base (RAB) model to power the construction
of projects with public money.

The government has also encouraged
Rolls-Royce’s plan to build small modular reactors (SMRs) across the
country, and has approved plans for light water reactor Sizewell C, while
the much-delayed Hinkley Point C is expected to open in 2026.

However – there remains no specific target for the UK’s nuclear capacity – and
the financial commitments remain threadbare. Its net zero ten-point plan
published last October only includes up to £385m for an Advanced Nuclear
Fund, and £170m for research and development on next-gen technology such
as Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs) that could unlock hydrogen and
synthetic fuels. For context, Hinkley Point C is estimated to have cost
£23bn. The hesitancy from the Chancellor raises a key question: is bulking
up nuclear power to ensure supply security even a feasible goal?

 City AM 22nd March 2022

March 24, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free Local Authorities says that UK’s new nuclear power will be 20 years too late

The energy crisis is now, new nuclear will be (at least) twenty years too
late. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities were dismayed to hear that the
door of Number 10 will today once more be held open for guests from the
nuclear power industry as Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosts a roundtable
with prospective commercial partners, ahead of a new energy statement later
this week.

Following Johnson’s proclamation that he will look to ‘place
big new bets on nuclear’ and with one cabinet member allegedly describing
the Prime Minister as ‘really gung ho for nuclear’, the participants
are likely to meet with a firm ally. Government resolve will also be
bolstered by the publication last week by the All-Party Parliamentary Group
on Nuclear Energy of a ‘roadmap’ to make sites, money and a pared-down
regulatory environment available to the nuclear industry to enable the
development of a further 15 Gigawatts of new nuclear generating capacity by
2035 and 30 GW by 2050.

The NFLA believes that this hyperbole ignores the
reality that any new nuclear projects will take too long, cost too much and
have too many uncertainties to provide a meaningful solution to the energy
and climate crisis that Britain faces now. NFLA 21st March 2022https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/the-energy-crisis-is-now-new-nuclear-will-be-at-least-twenty-years-too-late/

March 24, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK’s Green Party calls for big effort on energy efficiency and renewables – nuclear is an ”expensive distraction”

Nuclear power is a distraction from cleaner, cheaper solutions, say
Greens. Responding to the announcement by the government that it plans for
the UK to get 25% of its electricity from nuclear power, co-leader of the
Green Party, Adrian Ramsay, responded: “Nuclear energy is an expensive
distraction at a time when we face the dual challenges of spiralling energy
costs and concerns over energy security.

“Our focus needs to be on
developing renewable energy technologies and a big push on energy
efficiency. Both are cleaner and cheaper solutions that can be delivered
far quicker than nuclear ever can. “That’s why we are calling for a
£250 billion investment plan for a nationwide home retrofit scheme and
renewables in tomorrow’s Spring statement.

 Green Party 22nd March 2022

https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2022/03/22/nuclear-power-is-a-distraction-from-cleaner-cheaper-solutions-say-greens/

March 24, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Greenpeace scathing about Boris Johnson’s plan for nuclear power.

 In response to reports that the Prime Minister wants to generate 25% of
the UK’s electricity from nuclear power, Dr Doug Parr, Chief Scientist
for Greenpeace UK, said –“Aside from the still-unresolved hazards
particular to nuclear power, the Prime Minister’s plan for 25% of power
from nuclear suggests some short memories – both Thatcher and Blair had big
plans for nuclear which ran into the sand because the technology was
expensive, slow, and prone to mishaps.

This initiative will result in lots
of time, effort and ministerial bandwidth being spent on things that
don’t deliver whilst the real solutions to our energy and climate crisis
languish with inadequate support.” Greenpeace 22nd March 2022https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/press-centre/

March 24, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Greens firm on Scotland’s opposition to nuclear power.

THE Greens have hit back at claims the Scottish Government should rethink
its opposition to building new nuclear power stations. Greg Hands, the UK
energy minister, insisted in an interview this morning he hoped the war in
Ukraine had given Scotland a “pretext” to get behind nuclear power and be
part of its development.

 The National 21st March 2022

https://www.thenational.scot/news/20008191.greens-say-no-building-new-nuclear-power-stations/

March 24, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nato countries set to give Ukraine kit to protect against nuclear and chemical attacks

Nato countries set to give Ukraine kit to protect against nuclear and chemical attacks

Secretary general says equipment would be ‘to protect against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats’, Guardian,  Dan Sabbagh in Brussels and Andrew Roth, 23 Mar 22,

Nato countries are expected to agree at Thursday’s emergency summit of the western military alliance to provide special kit to protect Ukraine against any chemical, biological or nuclear attacks launched by Russia…….

The Nato chief declined to spell out exactly what would be supplied, though it is likely to include gas masks and protective suits. But his statement reflects heightened uncertainty across alliance members about Russian intentions as the invasion of Ukraine has stalled on multiple fronts.,…………………….. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/23/nato-countries-to-give-ukraine-kit-to-protect-against-chemical-and-nuclear-attacks

March 24, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Kremlin says Russia could use nuclear weapons, if its existence were threatened.

Russia could use nuclear weapons if existence threatened: Kremlin
Kremlin spokesperson says Russia has a ‘concept of domestic security’ that outlines when nuclear weapons can be used.  
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said in an interview that Russia would only use nuclear weapons if its very existence were threatened.

Peskov’s comment came as CNN interviewer Christiane Amanpour pushed him on whether he was “convinced or confident” that President Vladimir Putin would not use the nuclear option in the Ukrainian context……….  https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/22/russia-only-to-use-nuclear-weapons-if-existence-threatened

March 24, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Energy efficiency and renewables – faster, safer, than nuclear power, to move away from Russian fuel, and combat climate change.

 A recent paper by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change says reducing
our oil and gas consumption could be an important tool to help Europe
through the medium-term challenge of moving away from Russian energy.

There is a need to address energy demand now, according to Prof Nick Eyre,
director of the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions at Oxford
University, both as a result of the Ukraine crisis and to tackle climate
change.

Reducing demand and decarbonising our energy systems is something
we should be doing anyway for climate reasons, said Eyre, in order to meet
our targets for net zero. “This energy security and price crisis is
another prompt to do this,” he said. “It will be expensive – but a
windfall tax on companies who, at best, have had a pretty dubious
relationship with Russia, would help pay for it.”

Eyre said collective
action was needed, driven by government, who should bring forward immediate
detailed policies on decarbonising domestic heating in the UK. Domestic
heating produces about 14% of UK emissions, and decarbonising the way homes
are heated – meaning more efficient homes and the electrification of most
heating systems – would cost an estimated £200bn over the next 30 years,
according to the Institute for Government. Between now and 2050, emissions
from residential buildings need to fall to zero at a rate of 3.4% a year
based on current emission levels, according to the Department for Business,
Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Eyre believes any new energy supply policy
– expected to be announced by Boris Johnson in the coming days – will
make no sense if it does not include energy reduction measures and the
bringing forward of detailed plans to decarbonise our homes.

“If it’s
all about building nuclear power stations, this would take 10 years, so
it’s not a very sensible strategy,” said Eyre. “Energy efficiency and
renewable energy can provide what we need more quickly and less
dangerously.” Molly Scott Cato, former Green MEP and professor of
economics at the University of Roehampton, says the UK government should
launch a massive, nationwide, and publicly funded home insulation programme
backed up by information campaigns about how to use energy efficiently,
including reducing the thermostat settings on central heating systems and
introducing a 55mph speed limit on the national road network to cut energy
demand.

 Guardian 23rd March 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/23/could-a-behavioural-change-campaign-save-energy-and-cut-russian-gas-imports

March 24, 2022 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear Information and Resource Servic calls upon the Biden administration to sanction the Russian nuclear industry

This week, the Energy Transition Coalition, an alliance of Ukrainian
environmental and climate organizations, appealed directly to President
Biden to expand US sanctions to Russia’s nuclear energy sector.

The US nuclear industry initially lobbied President Biden not to do so, but in
recent days they have shifted their stance, at least publicly. We will say
more soon about why expanding sanctions to Russia’s nuclear industry
neither entails significant hardships on people in the US nor necessitates
greater investment in domestic nuclear infrastructure.

But today we focus
on why NIRS stands in solidarity with our Ukrainian counterparts and we
call on President Biden to sanction the Russian nuclear industry.

NIRS 18th March 2022  https://www.nirs.org/nirs-joins-ukrainian-calls-for-sanctions-on-russian-nuclear-industry/

March 24, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s production for plutonium ”pits”will fall short of the goal.

NNSA Pick To Review Plutonium Pit Plan As Goal Appears Out Of Reach, March 22, 2022 The Biden administration’s pick to lead the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) military programs told lawmakers he would review the plan to increase production of plutonium pits at two NNSA locations, as it becomes increasingly evident the administration will likely fall short of the… (Subscribers only)    https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/budget-policy-operations/nnsa-pick-review-plutonium-pit-plan-goal-appears-out-reach

March 24, 2022 Posted by | - plutonium, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Wildfires caused by global warming ‘are accelerating global warming’

Wildfires caused by global warming ‘are accelerating global warming’

Wildfires blazed around the world last summer, burning land from California to Siberia – and the carbon released is accelerating global warming.

March 24, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Iran’s foreign minister says nuclear deal closer ‘than ever’

Iran’s foreign minister says nuclear deal closer ‘than ever’,  DUBAI, March 23 (Reuters) – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic and world powers are closer than ever to reviving a 2015 nuclear deal………..

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; editing by Michael Georgy, Toby Chopra, William Maclean https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/irans-foreign-minister-says-nuclear-deal-closer-than-ever-2022-03-23/

March 24, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Very low Arctic sea ice

 Arctic sea ice has reached its maximum extent for the year, peaking at
14.88m square kilometres (km2) on 25 February. It is the 10th smallest
winter peak in the 44-year satellite record. The provisional data from the
National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) shows that this year’s Arctic
maximum extent was recorded on 25 February – marking the third earliest
maximum in the satellite record. While the past six months have been fairly
uneventful in the Arctic in general, the Earth’s other pole has seen a
record-breaking melt season.

For the first time since the satellite record
began, the Antarctic extent fell below 2m km2 this year. Unusually, the
Arctic winter peak and the Antarctic summer minimum occurred on exactly the
same day.

 Carbon Brief 22nd March 2022

March 24, 2022 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, water | Leave a comment

Europeans stocking up on anti-radiation pills

People across Europe are stocking up on iodine tablets against the
backdrop of fears that the Russian invasion of Ukraine may “go
nuclear.” Following antagonistic comments from President Vladimir Putin,
people living in many former Eastern Bloc states, including Poland,
Bulgaria, and Czechia, have been flocking to pharmacists to stock their
cupboards with iodine tablets, Reuters reports. There have been similar
reports of iodine selling out in pharmacies in Finland, which shares a
border with Russia.

 IFL Science 22nd March 2022

https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/why-people-are-panic-buying-iodine-tablets-amid-fear-of-nuclear-war/

March 24, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, health | Leave a comment

British public in the dark about what ”Modular” nuclear reactors really means (hint -they’re like Lego pieces)

What does “modular” mean here? I haven’t the faintest. Isn’t it to
do with university courses? I’ve been quizzing friends and so far only
two even took a stab: one thought it might mean being able to have them
together, or not, or something. The other thought it might mean
“portable”. My guess is that the British population shares my
ignorance, but thinks you don’t say “small reactors” without
inserting “modular”. Obviously, we’ll have to ramp these modularities
up. On multiple occasions. Onwards, then, to my next small, modular item.

 Times 23rd March 2022

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/this-craze-for-modular-must-be-a-fission-thing-s35qx0ktq

March 24, 2022 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment