SONE Newsletter 288 – July 2023

Posted by Peter Havercan on 4 July 2023 in Newsletters

Tagged with: Battery fires, Bruno Le Maire, China, Emmanuel Macron, France, MSR, Madi Hilly, Renewables, Sizewell, Thorium, TikTok.

This month

Guest Editor

Wade is very busy this month, so I have been invited to become a guest editor for this edition. As the web site manager, I usually just collate the words of others. This is my first foray into writing a whole newsletter.

Peter Havercan
SONE Webmaster

Approval of the Sizewell C nuclear plant was lawful

The Hon. Mr Justice Holgate has ruled in the High Court that approval of the Sizewell C project was in line with Government energy policy, which aimed to achieve “diversity of methods of generation and security of supply”. The ruling was in response to the campaign group “Together Against Sizewell C”, who had argued that the government had failed to assess the environmental impact of the project, and had unlawfully failed to consider alternative solutions for meeting Britain’s emissions targets other than nuclear power.
UK approval of Sizewell C nuclear plant lawful, court rules.

France confirms its commitment to Nuclear Energy

Meanwhile, across the Channel, the French Government has once again confirmed its committent to nuclear energy. The French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has stated that nuclear power is “an absolute red line” in a speech to the the annual conference of the French Electricity Union.

This contrasts with a weakening of French resolve a few years ago, when first François Hollande, and later Emmanuel Macron, had promised to reduce the share of nuclear energy production to 50% by 2035.

But France has also recently being excluded from the EU’s ‘Friends of Renewables’ meeting of energy ministers in Luxembourg, because of its delay in the adoption of the EU’s “Renewable Energy Directive”.

However, France later accepted the directive, after the commission stated that

The Commission acknowledges that other sources of fossil-free energy than renewable energy contribute to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 for Member States who decide to rely on such sources of energy.

And Sweden have decided to change their target from “100% renewables” to “100% fossil-free”, opening up the possibility of nuclear energy providing some of the doubled electricity demand by 2040.

Did coal have to bail out solar?

A Daily Telegraph headline claimed that “Britain fires up coal plant as solar panels suffer in hot weather”. But did the grid really have to start burning coal because solar panels couldn’t cope? A Euronews article claims otherwise: Do solar panels break in heatwaves? Experts explain why UK return to coal wasn’t due to wilting tech, but it fails to explain exactly why it became necessary to start up the coal burners.

In another blow to the Renewables bandwagon, it also appears that Britain’s offshore wind industry is “running out of puff”.

Fatal battery fires in USA and UK

A fire that killed four people in an New York City bicycle store has been blamed on lithium-ion batteries. The city’s Chief Fire Marshal Dan Flynn has said that there have been 108 fires and 13 fatalities related to lithium-ion batteries in New York City in 2023.

CNN ran a feature article on lithium-ion fires in March, following a huge fire in the Bronx that was attended by 200 firefighters, and which injured seven people.

In Cambridge, a mother and two children were killed in a fire that was probably caused by an electric bike whose battery was being charged.

Siemens Energy’s profits have tumbled

The share price of Siemens Energy slumped by 37% on 23rd June, due to concerns about their wind turbines. The company at risk is actually Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, described as the renewables arm of the Siemens Corporation.

China authorises a new Thorium Molten Salt Reactor

Chinese authorities have officially given approval to commission a working thorium-based molten salt nuclear reactor. The “Thorium Molten Salt Reactor - Liquid Fuel 1” (TMSR-LF1), is being built at the Hongshagang Industrial Cluster, Wuwei City, Gansu Province. It is an experimental liquid fluoride thorium reactor that uses a fuel salt mixture of lithium, beryllium, zirconium, uranium, and thorium fluorides. It runs on a combination of thorium and uranium-235, enriched at 19.75 percent by weight, and can operate at a maximum temperature of 650C for up to 10 years. The liquid fuel design is based on the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment conducted at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960s.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said in a statement on June 7:

The thorium-fuelled molten salt experimental reactor operation application and related technical documents were reviewed, and it was considered that the application met the relevant safety requirements, and it was decided to issue the two MWt liquid fuel thorium-based molten salt experimental reactor an operating license

No babies were harmed

Madi Hilly, founder of the Campaign for a Green Nuclear Deal, posted a picture of her pregnant self beside a concrete nuclear waste container. It was to demonstrate her confidence that waste containers are perfectly safe, but her tweet received an ignorant response from Patrick Hölscher. The pro-nuclear Twitter community immediately sprang to Madi’s defence, with a plethora of tweets defending her, and pointing out the illogicality of Hölscher’s criticisms. For instance, Mark Cojuangco:

The tweet was later reported by Newsweek: Pregnant woman poses with “nuclear waste” to prove point about radiation.

A new platform for Nuclear videos

Generation Atomic have produced over a hundred videos promoting nuclear energy on TikTok at Here is an example:

@generationatomic Nuclear’s Most Common Oppositions 🙅🏼‍♀️ #opposition #nuclear #nuclearpower #nuclearenergy #carbonfree #power #energy #nuclearpowerplant #cleanenergy #generationatomic ♬ original sound - Generation Atomic

SONE is now on Facebook!

We recently created a page for SONE on Facebook.

We also have a presence on Mastodon, the federated platform for people fleeing from Elon Musk’s outbursts on Twitter.

These are the four social media platforms where we are now represented:

The usefulness of these platforms is only as good as the engagement that people make with them. It is a “virtuous circle” where more engagement produces more publicity, which produces more engagement. SONE members are actively encouraged to interact with these platforms as much as possible.

The SONE Jubilee essay competitions continue

A POWERFUL VISION - To stimulate the imagination of the current generation, SONE is offering two prizes, each of £1000, to mark the 25th anniversary of its foundation.

The essay competitions for school children and young professionals, which are being held to celebrate SONE’s 25th anniversary, are proceeding apace. The closing date is 31st August. Please continue to promote these competitions as much as you are able.

Our Honorary Secretary Wade Allison gave a lecture to the Global Warming Policy Foundation in a committee room at the House of Lords. This is the first time that SONE has been invited to speak within the Palace of Westminster. The speech covered the fifth energy revolution, the energy of life, the laws of thermodynamics, the Nocebo Effect, and radiophobia, among many other topics:


Our Chairman Neville Chamberlain has also been busy this month, and has produced two articles.