Hinkley

Somerset County Council has promised to push for more rail services in Bridgwater in light of the Hinkley Point development. Mr Chapple said that the extra services would compliment the expected growth from the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, which is currently being constructed.

Somerset Live 18th July 2018 read more »

Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger says Hinkley C is already proving good value for money. BRITAIN’S latest nuclear power station is already providing a multi-billion boost for the economy though only in its early stages of construction, a new report has revealed. So far Hinkley Point C, near Bridgwater, has been responsible for around £15 million of investment into education, skills and employment initiatives both locally and regionally. And figures released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show millions more are being pumped into areas such as accommodation and housing, economic development, tourism, health, transport and the environment.

Bridgwater Mercury 19th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 July 2018

Brexit

The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has written to the Minister for Business and Industry, Richard Harrington MP, following an evidence session with the Office for Nuclear Regulation which considered their efforts to prepare for Brexit. The Committee has written to BEIS’ Minister for Business and Industry to ask for further clarity on the ONR’s future funding arrangements, and to request regular updates between now and the point of withdrawal to ensure the ONR’s preparation remains on track. The Committee also asks for an update on negotiations regarding the intended Nuclear Cooperation Agreements with the USA, Canada, Japan and Australia.

House of Lords 19th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 July 2018

NDA

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College hosted the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) National Stakeholder Summit. More than 200 people with a common interest in the NDA gathered at the Berkeley campus from July 10-11. Senior NDA officials made presentations, to industry and government experts and participants took part in interactive sessions and workshops to understand more about the issues affecting the nuclear decommissioning sector. Those in attendance including the scientist, author and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili OBE.

Gloucestershire Gazette 20th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 July 2018

Nuclear Free

The five winners of the 2018 Nuclear-Free Future Award, representing often unsung grassroots activists and innovators who oppose all aspects of nuclear power and nuclear weapons, and who have found alternative paths forward, were announced today. The Nuclear-Free Future Award offers three cash prizes and two honorary awards and is held annually in different cities around the world. The 2018 Award ceremony will take place on October 24, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria, and is celebrating its 20th year. The event, which is open to the public, also includes an international Think Nuclear-Free Symposium the next day, where the winners further expound on their work. Winners are voted on by an international jury panel. Jeffrey Lee of Australia, Karipbek Kuyukov of Kazakhstan and Linda Walker of the United Kingdom, are the recipients of cash awards in the amount of $10,000 each in the categories of Resistance, Education and Solutions respectively. The winners of the two honorary Lifetime Achievement Awards are French activist couple, Didier and Paulette Anger, long-time opponents of the French nuclear power and weapons sectors, and Peter Weish of Austria, the driving force behind his country’s nuclear power opposition movement.

Common Dreams 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 July 2018

Energy Policy

Dave Elliott: There have been blasts of sense on UK energy policy from the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), the government’s advisory body, and also from its advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC), in relation to the relative prospects for nuclear and renewables. In its new National Infrastructure Assessment, the NIC said the government “should not agree support for more than one nuclear power station beyond Hinkley Point C before 2025”, since their cost seemed unlikely to fall, while renewables were getting cheaper and could prove a safer investment. The CCC, in an annual progress report, although more circumspect on nuclear, said, while Hinkley was going ahead, “limited progress has been made with other new nuclear projects”, and concluded that “if new nuclear projects were not to come forward, it is likely that renewables would be able to be deployed on shorter timescales and at lower cost”. The NIC says “highly renewable, clean, and low-cost energy and waste systems increasingly appear to be achievable”. It notes that its modelling “has shown that a highly renewable generation mix is a low-cost option for the energy system. The cost would be comparable to building further nuclear power plants after Hinkley Point C, and cheaper than implementing CCS with the existing system. The electricity system should be running off 50% renewable generation by 2030, as part of a transition to a highly renewable generation mix”. That’s a pretty good package, at least for starters. Though Richard Black, from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, claimed that, if the nuclear programme is slowed as NIC suggests, even with a 50% renewable contribution by 2030, the UK will miss its non-fossil energy target. So it would need more than 50% renewables. That depends on what happens to power demand. If the “decarbonisation by electrification” programme is slowed (not so many heat pumps), then power demand would no doubt continue to fall, as it has been over recent years. So there would be less need for new nuclear or extra renewables. But there would then be a need for green gas or green heat networks, or both. Biogas from farm and home waste anaerobic digestion is one obvious source in either case, but may be limited, so a bit of solar heat and geothermal heat fed into heat networks would also be useful. As well as biomass used in combined heat and power (CHP) plants.

Physics World 18th July 2018 read more »

Ignore the National Infrastructure Commission = cutting carbon without the help of nuclear is a risky business, argues Tom Greatrex of the Nuclear Industry Association. In the few weeks, we have seen the Nuclear Sector Deal, the strategy on zero emission vehicle technology, the European Court dismissal of Austria’s challenge to Hinkley Point C, a Brexit White Paper, National Grid’s latest future energy scenarios and the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) Assessment. All are, in and of themselves, important contributions to the ongoing debate as we shift towards a low carbon future power mix, and the distinction between electricity and energy continues to diminish. When government published its Nuclear Sector Deal with the nuclear industry – one of the first of a number of sector deals that will form part of the government’s developing industrial strategy – it did so on the basis of an agreement that understood the inherent value of a baseload low carbon source of generation that also provides highly skilled jobs, often in remote parts of the UK. In 2016, the value of civil nuclear to the UK economy was £6.4bn – equivalent to the aerospace manufacturing sector.

Business Green 19th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 July 2018

Radwaste

A scaled test assembly that simulates a dry cask storage container for used nuclear fuel has been constructed by researchers at the USA’s Sandia National Laboratories. It will be used to study how fuel temperatures change during storage and how the fuel’s peak temperatures affect the integrity of the metal cladding surround the fuel. The inaccessibility of the interior of an actual storage cask and the high radioactivity of the used fuel make it difficult to monitor the temperature, Sandia said. During a three-year project for the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a team at Sandia designed and constructed a dry cask simulator for boiling water reactor assemblies. Everything inside the cask was built to closely simulate the way it would be for a utility storing used nuclear fuel. However, instead of actual used fuel, the simulator features electrical heaters shaped like fuel rods.

World Nuclear News 19th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 July 2018

Utilities

Big six energy giant SSE has blamed Britain’s calm and balmy weather for an £80m hit to its profits as it prepares to siphon off its household supply arm to avoid the Government’s cap on prices. SSE’s shareholders voted through plans to back out of the household energy market at the company’s annual meeting on Thursday afternoon, just hours after MPs backed new legislation to set energy tariff caps.

Telegraph 19th July 2018 read more »

SSE saw more than £330 million wiped off its stock market worth last night after it warned its full-year results could be hit by the impact of lower wind-farm output and high wholesale gas prices in the first quarter. Shares in Perth-based SSE, one of Scotland’s biggest companies by market value, dropped 2.35 per cent after it revealed an £80m hit to first-quarter operating profits compared with forecasts.

Herald 20th July 2018 read more »

The energy bills for up to 11 million households should fall this winter after a price cap was approved by parliament. Approval of the legislation moves the ball into the court of Ofgem, the regulator, which is preparing to consult in the coming weeks on the level of the cap. The government decided to introduce a cap on standard variable tariffs, the price-plans customers end up on by default, after it was learnt that they were overpaying by £1.4 billion a year. It will apply to those who are not covered by existing caps, which limit prices for 5 million vulnerable households.

Times 20th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 July 2018

Fukushima

Fukushima’s nuclear signature found in California wine. The Japanese nuclear disaster bathed north America in a radioactive cloud. Now pharmacologists have found the telltale signature in California wine made at the time.

Technology Review 19th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 July 2018

Chernobyl

Reduced colonization by soil invertebrates to irradiated decomposing wood in Chernobyl.

Science of the Total Environment (accessed) 19th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 July 2018

Renewables

The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Scheme, an incentive scheme that has driven the growth of small and mid-sized renewable generation projects across the UK since 2011, is set to close next year under new plans set out by the government. A consultation launched today by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) sets out plans to end the FiT, which pays domestic and commercial green energy generators and exporters for electricity they produce for the grid. The success of the scheme has exceeded all expectation, driven in early years by generous subsidies and later by rapidly falling technology costs leading to unprecedented deployment. In total, the FiT has delivered around 6GW of clean energy capacity over 800,000 installations. But critics have also argued the scheme has eaten into budgets for clean energy subsidies funded via energy bills, leading to higher ‘green levies’ while delivering emissions reductions at a higher cost than larger scale projects. The government argues that as renewables costs have fallen the sector no longer needs such a generous subsidy regime. It decided in 2015 to close the FiT to new generation tariffs from March 2019, leaving only the export tariff running. It is now proposing to fold that closure into the winding down of the entire scheme by March 2019.

Business Green 19th July 2018 read more »

The green economy has widely condemned the government’s post-subsidy renewables vision, deriding it for a lack of clarity and the potential for it to have “worrying” and “truly bizarre” consequences. Earlier today the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published two key documents that have been more than a year in the making. Its consultation on the future of the feed-in tariff outlines how the department intents to manage the scheme’s closure next March, while a vision for the future of small-scale renewable generation in the UK was also released. The renewables lobby has responded almost unanimously, and it is not had received the proposals well. Chris Hewett, chief executive at the Solar Trade Association, said the government has been “frighteningly vague” on what follows the feed-in tariff once it closes on 31 March 2019. “There is real dismay that there is now a serious & needless policy gap between the end of FITs and the start of the new regime. We are therefore asking the government to work with us and with the industry as a matter of urgency to fill that gap and ensure a smooth transition next March,” he said. This lack of clarity was also picked up on by Scottish Renewables. The trade association’s senior policy manager Hannah Smith said: “Though we welcome the Call for Evidence into the future for small-scale low-carbon generation, the lack of clarity on support beyond the feed-in tariff is not welcome news.” One of the key announcements today has been the government’s plans to end the export tariff as well as the generation tariff as of 31 March 2019, meaning that all solar installations completed after that date will not receive any financial reimbursement for the excess power that is exported to the grid and used elsewhere. James Court, head of policy and external affairs at the Renewable Energy Association, slammed the situation as “truly bizarre”.

Solar Power Portal 19th July 2018 read more »

The government has confirmed it will close the small-scale feed-in tariff (FiT) on 31 March 2019 as planned and, crucially, close the export tariff to new installations at the same time. This afternoon the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy released two separate documents; a consultation on the closure of the FiT and a separate consultation on the ‘Future of small-scale low carbon generation’. Effectively seven months overdue, the two documents outline how the government intends to handle the closure of the feed-in tariff while requesting proposals on how the government may aid the market in a post-subsidy environment

Solar Power Portal 19th July 2018 read more »

Some small Scottish renewable firms were “forced into liquidation” yesterday by the UK Government’s decision to shutdown the Feed-in-Tariff scheme, according to an industry body.

Energy Voice 20th July 2018 read more »

The government have today released a consultation on the support framework for small scale renewable energy from March 2019. The main subsidy, feed in tariffs, will be scrapped, leading to thousands of job losses in the solar industry in particular. Investors and industry have been waiting for a year for clarity on the new policy framework as to how solar and onshore wind industries might be supported in the future. Doug Parr, Greenpeace Chief Scientist said: “It’s absolutely shocking that just weeks after the government’s main advisers on infrastructure and tackling climate change strongly recommended that the government back wind and solar industries because they are the cheapest and cleanest forms of power forthe UK, that government is hanging these industries out to dry. The government is not planning on financially or politically supporting them at all. Jobs will go, skills will be lost, investment will dry up, and opportunities will be squandered. This is a farcical situation compared to the billion pound government bail-out being considered for the Japanese nuclear company struggling to build a nuclear power station in Wales. It reveals another layer of the government’s nuclear obsession that lacks economic or environmental merit, which will see the UK struggle to meet its climate targets, and leaving our reputation for leadership on tackling climate change in tatters.”

Greenpeace 19th July 2018 read more »

The renewables industry and green groups have accused ministers of striking a major blow against household solar power after the government said a green energy subsidy scheme would end next year without a replacement. The closure of the feed-in tariff (FIT) to new applicants from next April marks the final chapter for the scheme, which has encouraged more than 800,000 households to install solar panels since it was launched in 2010. Solar installations had already largely dried up after the incentives were cut drastically in 2016, but renewables advocates had hoped a replacement would take its place. On Thursday, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy made clear there would be no extension or new alternative.

Guardian 19th July 2018 read more »

A DROP in wind power while solar soared proves Westminster must support a renewables mix, it is claimed – as subsidy support ends. Environmental charity WWF said the latest results from power giant SSE prove the need for a range of eco-energy schemes as conditions change. The Perth company revealed an £80 million fall in predicted first-quarter profits after hot, calm conditions saw consumer demand fall and wind turbines stay still. The report, issued on the same day as the company’s annual general meeting, came as Westminster’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed plans to end the feed-in tariff scheme, which was designed to encourage the adoption of proven low-carbon technologies.

The National 19th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 July 2018