Renew On Line (UK) 54
Extracts from NATTA's journal
|Welcome Archives Bulletin|
13. Nuclear Power
We’d need lots to make any
has written a paper for the journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
in which he calls for a nuclear programme
“whose scale dwarfs the space and military programmes”. A recent MIT report on the ‘Future of Nuclear
Power’, pointed out that to increase nuclear powers’ share from its
present 17% of world electricity just to 19% by 2050 would require a
near-trebling of nuclear capacity-
1,000-1,500 large nuclear plants would have to be built
worldwide. Where would they go? For
If the US Department of Energy (DOE) pursues its present
design, the nation’s proposed high-level waste repository at Yucca Mountain is likely to leak. This
is the conclusion reported in an article by Dr. Paul Craig, a former
member of the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. “Rush to Judgment
at Yucca Mountain” is a cover story of the June 2004 issue of Science
for Democratic Action, the interesting journal published by the US Institute
for Energy and Environmental Research. Dr. Craig draws parallels between
the mistakes made by NASA leading up to the Challenger and
* The US Dept
of Energy is struggling to get the necessary permits for this huge
project- against stiff opposition, including from the State of
Nuclear undermines Finnish renewables
The objectors noted that, in May 2002, after parliament
had given a go ahead to build the reactor, the nuclear lobby started
a campaign to hamper the carbon emissions trade in the EU, and some
politicians even demanded that
More dangerous than we thought?
The health impacts of radioactive matter which enters the body could be worse than thought, according the Report of the Government appointed expert Committee (CERRIE) on the risks of internal radiation. The chairman of the committee, Prof. Dudley Goodhead, said the main finding of the report was that we had to be particularly careful in judging the risks of radioactive sources inside the body. “The uncertainties are real; they cannot be avoided and we must deal with them”.
Radioactive matter ingested via food, or inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, can lodge in the body and irradiate areas continuously, eventually leading to cancers. Depending on the radionuclide, the Committee found great uncertainties existed in the internal radiation doses they gave. They could be much greater than current estimates according to the Committee. In some cases, several orders of magnitude greater. Although this uncertainty stretches both ways i.e. both up and down of the main estimate, the public and many members of the Committee are more concerned about the former possibility. The main conclusion is that the Government may need to adopt a more precautionary approach when deciding nuclear policy, and industry regulators may need to be more cautious in deciding what levels of exposures are acceptable. Previously it had been hard to explain the cancer clusters around some nuclear plants- the estimated doses from the emissions were too low. But many members of the Committee considered that the new understanding of the very large uncertainties in dose estimates from these emissions changed this. So the report could have major implications for the nuclear industry- it may have to revise exposure levels for workers and the public. That could increase industry costs significantly and make some types of nuclear operation unviable, reprocessing in particular.
* A minority report by two dissenting members of the Committee claimed that the impacts were in fact even worse.
For the main report see: http://www.cerrie.org
The UK Atomic Energy Authority says that the cost of cleaning up nuclear research and fuel management sites like those at Harwell, Windscale and Dounreay is likely to reduce from the £6.3 bn originally estimated to £4.8bn, due to the availability of new remote control technology developed initially for the offshore oil industry. That could reduce the cost of cleaning up Dounreay from £3.7bn to £2.7bn, and speed up the process so that it could be completed by 2036 rather than 2063 as originally thought. But developments like this, although welcome, are still hardly going to make much of a dent in the overall £48bn decomissioning and clean up programme, including BNFL and BE’s reactors and associated waste facilities.
but security costs rise… Providing security against terrorism (including armed police), now costs BNFL £50m p.a.- which is the same as the total amount just allocated to the new wave and tidal development fund.