energy

Radiation hotspot in Kashiwa following the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. Photo: Abasaa via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

Fukushima court ruling holds 'reckless' Tepco and government liable

Shaun Burnie
Asia Times
| 20th March 2017
A Japanese court has found the government and Tepco culpable for the Fukushima nuclear disaster for failing to act on clear warnings of the dangers of seismic shocks, writes Shaun Burnie. The ruling is sending a shockwave through Japan's 'nuclear village' and may end all prospects of any mass restart of reactors.

Read Article

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) photograph of a plutonium-americium 'hot particle', the width of a human hair, found in the Esk estuary mud flats near Sellafield, producing about 150,000 Bq of alpha radiation and 500,000 Bq of beta radiation. Photo: Cu

Killer 'hot particle': Sellafield coast 'like Chernobyl and Fukushima exclusion zones'

Chris Busby
| 20th March 2017
The discovery of a tiny but deadly radioactive 'hot particle' in mud from the Esk estuary near Sellafield has highlighted the dangers the nuclear site poses to residents and visitors, writes Chris Busby. Independent measures of radiation show far higher levels that those of regulators, similar to readings in the Chernobyl and Fukushima exclusion zones. Local villages should be evacuated.

Read Article

EDF's 4x900MW Nuclear power plant at Dampierre-en-Burly, commissioned in 1980, will soon turn from a money machine into a monstrous financial drain. Photo: Pymouss via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

EDF facing bankruptcy as decommissioning time for France's ageing nuclear fleet nears

Paul Dorfman
| 16th March 2017
Soon EDF will have to start the biggest, most complex and costliest nuclear decommissioning and radioactive waste management programme on earth, writes Paul Dorfman. But whereas Germany has set aside €38 billion to decommission 17 nuclear reactors, France has set aside only €23 billion to decommission its 58 reactors. When the real costs come in, they could easily bankrupt the company.

Read Article

Fukushima: the third IAEA mission to review Japan's plans and work to decommission the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, February 2015, Tokyo, Japan. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Terminal decline? Fukushima anniversary marks nuclear industry's deepening crisis

Jim Green
Nuclear Monitor
| 10th March 2017
With the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster falling tomorrow, nuclear lobbyists are arguing over solutions to the existential crisis facing nuclear power, writes Jim Green. Some favour a multinational consolidation of large conventional reactor designs, while others back technological innovation and 'small modular reactors'. But in truth, both approaches are doomed to failure.

Read Article

IAEA technicians examine Unit 4 of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, the only one of four reactors to be stabilised - because it was  defuelled at the time of the earthquake and tsunami. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Fukushima catastrophe unfolds ... key facts and figures for an unhappy sixth anniversary

L'ACROnique de Fukushima
Hervé Courtois
| 10th March 2017
The 2011 Fukushima catastrophe is an ongoing disaster whose end only gets more remote as time passes. The government is desperate to get evacuees back into their homes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but the problems on the ground, and in the breached reactor vessels, are only getting more serious and costly, as unbelievable volumes of radiation contaminate land, air and ocean.

Read Article

Druridge Bay, Northumberland - just the place for an opencast coal mine? Photo: SAGT via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The end is nigh for coal - the UK must stop digging!

Deniz Kemal
| 6th March 2017
The UK Government is planning a coal-free energy future by 2025, writes Deniz Kemal. But it has failed to take the first step to make it happen: give clear guidance to local planners to block new coal mines on climate change grounds - like one application going to public inquiry this summer for a huge opencast mine on the Northumberland coast.

Read Article

Wind and solar power at work on the Westmill Cooperative Open Day 2015. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Budget 2017 - wind and solar are essential to combat climate change!

Ervin Bossanyi
| 1st March 2017
David Cameron's Conservative government did its best to kill off the UK's lowest-cost renewable energy technologies, onshore wind and solar. But in next week's budget, the Chancellor can put that right. Renewables are low carbon, quick to deploy, have low environmental impacts, and enjoy high public support, writes Ervin Bossanyi. It's time to give them a break!

Read Article

The nuclear dream is turning into a nightmare! EDF's Cattenom 5.5 GW nuclear plant in Lorraine, France, built on the border with Luxembourg. Photo: Matthieu Nioufs via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

'Picking losers' - UK must not risk taxpayers' billions on failed nuclear dream

David Toke
| 27th February 2017
With the world's leading nuclear corporations facing bankruptcy due to ever escalating costs, 'unconstructable' reactor designs and financing risks, there's an easy way to finance the UK's new nuclear power stations, writes David Toke: pin the cost onto taxpayers. As for schools, hospitals, pensions, housing, social care and other public services, who needs 'em?

Read Article

EURATOM was once a symbol of Europe's nuclear future. But it's true role may be to supervise the sector's decline. Photo: Euratom Inspectors inspecting URENCO, Almelo, Netherlands, 13 October 2015. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The nuclear fallout from 'Brexatom': threat, opportunity, or plain bonkers?

Pete Roche
| 24th February 2017
The UK's inability to import radio-isotopes for cancer therapy is just the latest outcome of the UK's decision to leave EURATOM to hit the headlines, writes Pete Roche. It may also put a brake on the UK's plans to build new nuclear plants, and import and export nuclear fuel and wastes. The UK's exit from the treaty, as a strongly pro-nuclear state, could also mark an EU-wide anti-nuclear swing.

Read Article

The Amazonian manatee, considered 'vulnerable' by the IUCN, is among the species at risk if oil drilling goes ahead. Photo: susy freitas via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

BP, Total oil drilling would endanger newly discovered Amazon coral reef

Lawrence Carter
Energydesk
| 23rd February 2017
A unique and pristine coral reef in the mouth of the Amazon is threatened by oil drilling planned by oil giants Total and BP, say the scientists who recently explored it. But the oil companies are determined to press ahead despite the risks, writes Lawrence Carter, and Brazil's environment ministry is set to give its approval.

Read Article

Artwork: Shea Huening via Flickr (CC BY-ND). See also full version with this article.

Appropriate civilization versus 'new despotism': one month into the Trump Presidency

Jeremy Leggett
| 22nd February 2017
Believers in the possibility of a better civilization, one rooted in increasing co-operation and harmony, find ourselves in a world where demagogues are empowered to bring about the polar opposite, writes Jeremy Leggett. A new despotism rooted in isolationist nationalism and conflict is gaining strength. The battle is not lost: but first we must understand the dangers.

Read Article

Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayu with her son, Moisés Daniel. Photo: Bianca Bauer via Coal Action Network.

RWE npower, Colombian coal is killing our children! Close Aberthaw!

Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayu
| 16th February 2017
The coal power station at Aberthaw is not just polluting much of South Wales with its filthy emissions. It could also be seriously damaging the health of children in Colombia with coal dust from BHP Billiton's massive Cerrejón coal mine. In this open letter, Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayu implores RWE npower to shut down its stinking, obsolete and illegal power station.

Read Article

The Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, next to which the 3-reactor Moorside nuclear project is planned. Photo: Bellona Foundation via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Keep UK taxpayers off the hook for Moorside nuclear black hole!

Doug Parr
Greenpeace Energydesk
| 14th February 2017
The main company due to build UK's 'flagship' nuclear power project at Moorside in Cumbria is on the ropes, writes Doug Parr, thanks to its multi-billion dollar nuclear losses on in the US. The obvious solution, (almost) all our politicians insist, is to ignore cheaper, faster, cleaner renewables, and make the taxpayer pick up the cost of yet another nuclear white elephant.

Read Article

Red state Iowa is very big on wind - showing there is no contradiction between conservative politics and clean energy! Photo: the 145-turbine Century Windfarm near Blairsburg, Iowa, by brian.abeling via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Carbon dividends - the conservative solution to climate change

Climate Leadership Council
| 9th February 2017
A new carbon 'tax and dividend' climate strategy would strengthen our economy, reduce regulation, help working class Americans, shrink government, promote national security, and reduce emissions, write eight senior US conservative politicians, financiers and academics. Now Republican control of all branches of the US government makes it an opportunity not to miss!

Read Article

Artist's impression of the Moorside nuclear complex, built on a green field site next to the Sellafield nuclear complex. Image: Nugen.

Not just Toshiba - the global nuclear industry is in crisis everywhere

Jim Green
| 3rd February 2017
Global nuclear power capacity grew slightly in 2016, writes Jim Green, but it was more a dead cat bounce than the promised 'nuclear renaissance'. The collapse of Toshiba, the direct result of its failing nuclear ventures, is indicative of the crisis faced by nuclear contractors and utilities worldwide. Another sign of the industry's poor outlook: no major commodity had a worse 2016 than uranium.

Read Article

Could your household gas come from wildflower rich meadows, like this Culm Grassland at Knowstone Moor, Devon? Photo: Col Ford and Natasha de Vere via Flickr (CC BY).

It beats fracking - but can we believe Ecotricity's vision of 'green gas from grass'?

Almuth Ernsting
| 27th January 2017
Just imagine: gas for your cooking and heating made by composting home-grown British grass, writes Almuth Ernsting. What's not to like? Well, it would need almost all the UK's grassland to match our gas demand, leaving cows and sheep to starve or forcing them into sheds to eat foreign-grown feeds. And methane leakage could easily wipe out any climate benefit.

Read Article

Decarbonising the UK economy

Joe Ware
| 26th January 2017
Ultimately the UK Government's new industrial strategy has the potential to use government investment to shift the country in the right direction for the environment. But we need more than just ‘public money,' we need the public's money too writes JOE WARE

Read Article

Will Obama's clean energy legacy outlast this Alaskan glacier? Chances are it may. President Obama stops for a break in Kenai Fjords National Park with Exit Glacier in the background. Photo: Pete Souza / The White House (Public Domain).

Obama's clean energy legacy - how long can it last?

Mark Barteau
University of Michigan
| 20th January 2017
President Trump comes into office determined to discard huge swathes of his predecessor's legacy on day one, writes Mark Barteau. But he will struggle to undo Obama's clean energy regulations. It's not just that they are legally robust, it's also that energy markets in the US and the wider world have shifted firmly, and irreversibly, towards efficiency and renewables. Sorry, Mr Trump.

Read Article

The disastrous Okiluoto 3 EPR reactor under construction in Finland. The project is taking twice as long to complete, and costing twice as much, as promised. Photo: BBC World Service via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Time and money run out for nuclear revival

Paul Brown
| 17th January 2017
The nuclear industry faces an uncertain future as the reactor building boom is struck by unexpected costs, serious technical problems, and long, expensive delays, writes Paul Brown. Meanwhile renewables like wind and solar are offering investors an enviable combination of falling cost, low risk, fast build times, predictable returns and minimal long term liabilities.

Read Article