The UK’s nuclear regulator has identified five key areas of supply chain management where improvements are needed ahead of acceleration in both construction and manufacturing for the Hinkley Point C EPR project in Somerset, England. The Office for Nuclear Regulation has rated an overall inspection finding as ‘amber’. This means that some arrangements are below standard and the ONR is seeking improvements. The five key areas include issues such as improvement programmes, lessons learned, self-assessment and quality assurance. The ONR said the inspection of the supply chain for Hinkley Point C was instigated in the context of the records falsification issues that emerged in 2016 at Areva’s Le Creusot forge facility. The facility, now operated by Framatome, is a supplier of key components to the Hinkley Point C project. The falsification issues became apparent after the French nuclear safety regulator, ASN, confirmed that major technical and organisational shortcomings had occurred at the Le Creusot.

Nucnet 16th March 2018 read more »

Britain’s need for new gas-fired power generation will be reduced as long as Electricite de France SA delivers its Hinkley Point nuclear project on time. The U.K.’s first new atomic plant in more than a generation plus continued subsidies for offshore wind means the government can reduce the electricity supply it secures at an annual auction, according to a report by Aurora Energy research. This scenario could threaten plans by Drax Plc, SSE Plc, RWE AG and Eggborough Power Ltd. to build new gas stations. The government started its capacity market to ensure back-up electricity by making it attractive to build new generation units and keep existing stations open. So far, power prices at the auctions have been too low to encourage construction. Barclays Plc estimates that new gas-fired stations, known as CCGTs, will need payments of as high as 28 pounds ($39) a kilowatt. That’s three times higher than the price in the latest auction.

Bloomberg 15th March 2018 read more »

Redhall subsidiary Jordan Manufacturing has signed three contracts with Balfour Beatty for the supply of specialist manufactured metal products for the marine works at Hinkley Point C. However, having previously been named preferred bidder, the delay in reaching contract signing has delivered a knock to Redhall’s finances, the company has warned.

Construction Index 15th March 2018 read more »

A PLAN to use a 4×4 minibus on Exmoor to cut pollution and increase visitor numbers has been refused a £38,970 grant because there was no evidence that the Hinkley Point C development is negatively affecting tourism. West Somerset’s cabinet members received a report by Lisa Redston, Hinkley community and housing impact lead, at their meeting last Wednesday (March 7). And they agreed to back the Hinkley Planning Obligation’s Board’s (POB) decision not to fund Minehead community transport group ATWest’s Moor Rover service.

West Somerset Free Press 14th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018

Sizewell & Bradwell

Business leaders and politicians from the East of England have been given an insight into the potential boost to the region’s economy if proposals for new nuclear power stations in Suffolk and Essex go ahead.

East Anglian daily Times 15th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018


The Belgian Government this week received two recommendations: that geological disposal was the best way to dispose of the country’s most radioactive waste, and that the best way to determine where the waste was geologically disposed would be through a collective national discussion and decision. The recommendations come from ONDRAF, Belgium’s nuclear waste management organisation, as they published their latest updated estimates of the costs of dismantling Belgium’s nuclear facilities and safely disposing of the different types of radioactive waste.

GDF Watch 16th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018


Seven years after an earthquake off Japan’s eastern coast led to three meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, the aftershocks are still being felt across the world. The latest came last Saturday when E.ON and RWE announced a huge shakeup of the German energy industry, following meetings that ran into the early hours. Under a complex asset and shares swap, E.ON will be reshaped to focus on supplying energy to customers and managing energy grids. The company will leave renewables. RWE will focus on power generation and energy trading, complementing its existing coal and gas power stations with a new portfolio of windfarms that will make it Europe’s third-biggest renewable energy producer. The major change comes two years after both groups split their green and fossil-fuel energy businesses, a result of the plan by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to phase out nuclear by 2022, and also the Energiewende, Germany’s speeded-up transition to renewables after Fukushima. Coming so soon after 2016’s drastic overhaul, last week’s shakeup raises the question of what a successful energy utility looks like in Europe today. How do companies adapt to a world where the rapid growth of renewables pushes down wholesale prices, and the electrification of cars begins to be felt on power grids? Peter Atherton, an analyst at Cornwall Insight, said the deal showed that E.ON and RWE did not get their reorganisation right two years ago. It marks a decisive break with the old, traditional model of a vertically integrated energy company that generates energy, transports it and sells it. The changing nature of power generation in Europe has been felt most keenly in Germany because of the Energiewende, but industry-watchers say the same pattern is driving companies to transform themselves across the continent. In the UK, British Gas owner Centrica is halfway through a sometimes painful reinvention of itself as a customer-centric energy company, divesting its old, large power stations to focus on selling services such as smart heating systems, as well as gas and electricity. The UK’s second-biggest energy firm, SSE, is moving in the opposite direction. It is getting out of domestic energy supply, banking instead on regulated networks and renewable power generation, where prices are guaranteed. The picture is further complicated by the entrance of big oil, which is taking serious steps to diversify out of oil and gas and into the world of energy utilities. Norway’s Statoil last week rebranded itself as Equinor to reflect its transformation into a “broad energy” company that deploys windfarms as well as oil rigs. Shell recently bought the UK’s biggest independent household energy supplier, First Utility, and has also acquired firms in electric car infrastructure. That puts it in direct competition with E.ON, which promised to roll out charging points faster as a result of the asset swap.

Guardian 16th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018

Energy Policy – Scotland

Caroline Rance FoE Scotland – The Scottish Government’s recent Climate Change Plan was a much-anticipated document. It sets out how the Government intend to meet our climate targets over the next 10-15 years, cutting emissions across all areas of Scottish life, in how we produce our electricity, grow our food, how we travel, and how we heat our homes and businesses. The Plan contained some welcome measures, including important steps forward in tackling transport emissions. Halting the sale of new fossil-fuelled cars and vans in Scotland by 2032 and introducing low-emission z ones in our cities will cut climate emissions and help clean up our air pollution problem. We are also pleased to see that the Government’s Plan relies less on future technological fixes than it did previously, no longer relying on carbon capture and storage – a technology that hasn’t yet been proven to work at scale. However, the main move forward came not from government action, but a leg up from new science. Experts now understand that Scotland’s forests are able to soak up more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than previously thought – balancing out some of our emissions. This is welcome news, but instead of using these steps forward from transport and science to increase action overall, the Government used these gains to do less in other areas. A draft Plan was produced 12 months ago and it is hard to see what progress has been made in that time, despite recommendations from MSPs across Parliamentary Committees. One of the problem areas is agriculture , which has actually committed to cutting its emissions by 25 per cent less than was proposed in the draft. Many of the proposals to help spur greener farming are under-developed, lacking in targets or requiring further consultation. We see farmers ready to take action but they are not receiving the political and financial support they require. Overall the policy choices in the final plan could mean nearly one million more tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere by 2030 compared to the draft. This is seriously short-sighted at a time when we know we need to be ramping up our climate action, not going backwards on it.

The National 17th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018

Emergency Planning

Countries have made preparations for responding to nuclear and radiological emergencies, but too little has been done to prepare for the lifting of those emergencies, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It has now released a guide providing advice on the transition to a normal state following an emergency. Released last week, the publication – Safety Guide on Arrangements for the Termination of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency – discusses arrangements to be made at the preparedness stage, as part of overall emergency preparedness. It offers guidance and recommendations for “the termination of a nuclear or radiological emergency and the subsequent transition from the emergency exposure situation to either a planned exposure situation or an existing exposure situation”.

World Nuclear News 16th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018


Russia Hacks Into U.S. Power Plants, But Nuclear Reactors Should Be Impervious. he Internet. They cannot be hacked. According to an alert from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team yesterday, Russia has hacked into many of our government entities and domestic companies in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and critical manufacturing sectors – essentially most of what makes our country go.

Forbes 16th March 2018 read more »

Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation officially confirmed that Russian hackers have been targeting US nuclear power plants and other critical facilities since at least 2016. Regardless, the US nuclear industry has been pressuring the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to relax its cyber security standards. Below is a statement by Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The Department of Homeland Security alert is a stark reminder that nuclear power plants are tempting targets for cyber attackers. Although the systems that control the most critical safety equipment at US nuclear plants are analog-based and largely immune to cyber attacks, many other plant systems with important safety and security functions are digital and could be compromised. For instance, electronic locks, alarms, closed-circuit television cameras, and communications equipment essential for plant security could be disabled or reprogrammed. And some plants have equipment, such as cranes that move highly radioactive spent fuel, that utilize computer-based control systems that could be manipulated to cause an accident.

Union of Concerned Scientists 16th March 2018 read more »

For the first time, the Trump administration formally blamed Russia for a multi-pronged cyber attack campaign against critical infrastructure, nuclear power facilities and the U.S. energy grid.

Reuters 16th March 2018 read more »

Daily Mail 16th March 2018 read more »

A science advocacy group urged the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday to reject a longstanding industry request to limit cyber attack protections at nuclear plants, a day after the Trump administration publicly blamed Moscow for hacking into nuclear power and other energy infrastructure. The Nuclear Energy Institute industry group petitioned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in June 2014 to limit the scope of the agency’s cyber-protection safeguards to only systems with a direct impact on safety. The institute said in the petition that such limits would be “less burdensome” for operators of nuclear power plants while being “adequately protective” of public health and safety. The petition is “foolhardy at best and, at worse, downright dangerous,” said Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advisory group.

Reuters 16th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018


This month, seven years after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdowns and explosions that blanketed hundreds of square kilometres of northeastern Japan with radioactive debris, government officials and politicians spoke in hopeful terms about Fukushima’s prosperous future. Nevertheless, perhaps the single most important element of Fukushima’s future remains unspoken: the exclusion zone seems destined to host a repository for Japan’s most hazardous nuclear waste. No Japanese government official will admit this, at least not publicly. A secure repository for nuclear waste has remained a long-elusive goal on the archipelago. But, given that Japan possesses approximately 17,000 tonnes of spent fuel from nuclear power operations, such a development is vital. Most spent fuel rods are still stored precariously above ground, in pools, in a highly earthquake-prone nation.

Guardian 16th March 2018 read more »

March 11 marked the seventh anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami disaster that devastated Japan’s northeast coastal regions in 2011. While the resulting accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to cause a great deal of disruption within the country, it also poses ongoing challenges for Japan’s diplomacy. The Japanese government recently came under pressure in a United Nations human rights forum over the adequacy of its support for people who fled the disaster zone – and faced scrutiny about radiation levels in places where evacuees have returned. At the same time, Japanese diplomats have been waging a long battle to persuade other countries to ease import restrictions on food from the surrounding areas. The Fukushima prefectural government says that the number of evacuees peaked at 164,865 in 2012, the year after the disaster, but that figure has now fallen to about 50,000 with decontamination work progressing and the lifting of evacuation orders in a number of towns.

The Diplomat 14th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018


Once ignored, small band of protesters proven right about bungled nuclear project. Through the years, the activists’ message was simple: the nuclear project’s costs would spiral out of control; electricity customers would face higher bills; the reactors would produce power the state did not need; and the untested nuclear design could slow down completion of the project. Instead, the groups wanted utilities, including SCE&G, to spend money making homes more energy efficient, and developing solar and wind power, which, they say, are cheaper and better for the environment.

The State 16th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018


Waving placards reading “nuclear go zero”, and “abolish nuclear, save Taiwan”, they gathered outside the presidential office in Taipei on the same day Japan marked the seventh anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. Taiwan’s cabinet-level Atomic Energy Council recently decided to allow state-owned energy company Taipower to restart a reactor at a facility near Taipei, pending parliament’s final approval. The reactor has been offline since May 2016 after a glitch was found in its electrical system, which the company said had since been resolved. Anti-nuclear groups are now questioning whether Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will keep its promise to phase out nuclear energy. “It would be violating the spirit of creating a nuclear-free homeland by 2025 pledged by the DPP,” said Tsui Shu-hsin of the prospect of restarting the reactor. Tsui is the spokeswoman for the Nuclear Go Zero Action Platform, which organised the rally. Lawmaker Huang Kuo-chang, head of the opposition New Power Party, echoed the sentiment. “The government should move forward, not backwards and restarting the reactor would be a regression,” he told reporters at the rally.

South China Morning Post 11th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018