THE WORLD’S NUCLEAR NEWS AGENCY
UK Gives Green Light To New Nuclear Plants
10 Jan (NucNet): The British government has given the go-ahead
for the possible construction of a new generation of nuclear
power plants in the UK.
Energy Secretary John Hutton said he is inviting energy companies
to bring forward plans to build and operate new nuclear power
“Giving the go ahead today that new nuclear power should
play a role in providing the UK with clean, secure and affordable
energy is in our country’s vital long term interest,” said
Mr Hutton, who announced the decision in parliament.
In a White Paper (policy document) on nuclear energy published
to coincide with the announcement, the government says new nuclear
power plants should have a role to play in the UK’s future
energy mix alongside other low carbon sources.
The White Paper says energy companies should be allowed the
option of investing in new nuclear power plants, and the government
should take “active steps” to facilitate this.
Those steps include carrying out a strategic siting assessment
and simplifying the planning process for new nuclear build.
The government also said it would bring forward legislation
to ensure that the framework for funding decommissioning and
waste management liabilities is clear and properly ensures that
each nuclear operator meets its costs.
Proposed new energy legislation also published today contains
clauses to ensure adequate funding provision is made by potential
developers of new nuclear units for the full costs of decommissioning
and their full share of waste management costs.
In the White Paper, prime minister Gordon Brown says nuclear
is a “tried and trusted technology” and “more
than ever before has a key role to play”.
In May 2007 the government launched a consultation to examine
nuclear energy. Today’s White Paper is a response to that
The White Paper and other documents related to today’s
announcement can be downloaded from the government’s nuclear
energy website (nuclearpower2007.direct.gov.uk).
Davos Report Proposes ‘Nuclear Fuel Insurance Fund’
24 Jan (NucNet): Proposals
for financial markets to support an international ‘nuclear fuel insurance fund’,
which would guarantee supplies and discourage the spread of
facilities, are included in a new report to the World Economic
Forum (WEF) meeting* in Davos, Switzerland.
The report, ‘Global Risks 2008’, says that as “a
non-carbon-based energy source… nuclear technology has
a number of attractions in an era of uncertainty”.
However, the report warns that some countries considering domestic
nuclear energy programmes “fear that they could be blocked
in the future by the six states which currently produce enriched
uranium on a commercial basis: France, Germany, the Netherlands,
Russia, the UK and the US”.
This could encourage more states to build enrichment facilities,
a move which would “shatter” the international structures
governing nuclear technologies and lead to increased risks of
The report says an innovative concept known as ‘insure
to assure’ has been proposed by a joint team from the Wharton
Business School and Harvard’s Kennedy School. The proposed
solution – complementary to the efforts of the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and others – would create a
partnership between financial industries and governments to create
the world’s first international nuclear fuel insurance
Premiums collected from member countries would be deposited
in a mutual insurance company (MIC), which would use some of
the money to build a cash reserve and to purchase supply options.
Residual funds would go to a consortium of insurers and re-insurers
that would provide layered financial protection to all participating
“IAEA member governments would serve as a financial backstop
for the consortium. In the event of a fuel disruption, the MIC
would exercise its options and work with fuel suppliers, energy
producers and transporters to arrange timely fuel delivery or
alternative electricity purchases off the energy grid (if available),” the
report says. The insurance consortium would compensate member
countries and others involved in replacing fuel for any loss
of efficiency as contractually agreed.
According to the report, a number of “stakeholders” are
now studying the proposals which would “bring together
two worlds that rarely talk to one another: the worlds of international
security and international finance”.
EU’s Solana Backs ‘World Nuclear Fuel Bank’ Proposals
31 Jan (NucNet): The EU’s foreign policy chief has reiterated
calls for an international nuclear fuel bank to discourage countries
from building their own enrichment facilities.
Javier Solana, the EU’s high representative for the Common
Foreign and Security Policy and Secretary-General of the Council
of the European Union, told members of the European Parliament
yesterday: “We need to find ways of reassuring countries
that they can get nuclear fuel without developing their own enrichment
Mr Solana’s comments came as the European Parliament debated
nuclear activities in Iran. Politically, he said Iran had “elements
of democracy that are not visible in other Middle East countries”.
While this was an imperfect democracy, it was better than nothing,
therefore “we should engage with its parliamentarians".
“None of us have a problem with an Iranian civil programme,
in fact, we are offering to help… but we need to ensure
that their intentions are purely peaceful,” he added.
Mr Solana called for an international enrichment centre to be
established when he addressed a conference in Madrid last year.
He is among a number of world leaders and top diplomats who have
expressed interest in the idea.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s director-general,
Mohamed ElBaradei, has proposed multilateral management and control
of the nuclear fuel cycle, with the IAEA acting as facilitator
and guarantor of a fuel bank.