Hinkley

A court in Paris has ordered French utility EDF to release a risk analysis report to the group’s works council (CEE) concerning its Hinkley Point C nuclear project. The appeals court in Paris said the firm must communicate the report within a month and must consult the CEE regarding the project within two months. In 2016, EDF refused to release all documents required by the council for it to be able to issue its advice on the project, triggering CEE’s legal action. The CEE say EDF failure to give elected representatives of the staff objective, precise and complete information on the technical and financial issues raised by the Hinkley project meant they had not been able “to give a reasoned opinion on this project“. Commenting on the news, Steve Thomas Emeritus Professor of Energy Policy at Greenwich University and author of ‘Time to Cancel Hinkley?’ said: “Some senior EDF management and some EDF trade unions have long been concerned about EDF’s participation in the Hinkley Point C project. The 3-year old report the EDF Central Works Council (CCE) has won access to will show that EDF is well aware of these risks. The continuing delays and cost overruns (more than 3 times over budget and 8 years late) at Hinkley’s reference plant, Flamanville, significantly worse than when the report was written, illustrate graphically the scale of the risk. The Works Council see Hinkley as a financially risky project that will divert EDF’s scarce finances away from the strategically more important task of upgrading and life-extending EDF’s fleet of 58 reactors, many of which are at or near the end of the 40-year design life.” Stop Hinkley spokesperson, Roy Pumfrey says: “Even the long standing nuclear advocate, former International Energy Agency boss, Nobuaki Tanaka, says nuclear power can’t compete with renewables. He says it’s ‘ridiculously expensive’ and ‘utterly uncompetitive’ Electricity consumers would almost certainly still be able to make savings if the project were halted now and the south-west were given the chance to develop sustainable energy industries. Full construction start is still a year or more away so not too late to stop it.”

N2NP 19th Sept 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 September 2018

New Nuclear

Decades of deceit have been thrown overboard with the new nuclear sales pitch, argues JIM GREEN. The new sales pitch openly links nuclear power to weapons and argues that weapons programs will be jeopardised unless greater subsidies are provided for the civil nuclear industry. In 2015, Nuclear Monitor published a detailed analysis of the many ways nuclear industry insiders and lobbyists trivialise and deny the connections between nuclear power – and the broader nuclear fuel cycle – and nuclear weapons proliferation. Since then, the arguments have been turned upside down with prominent industry insiders and lobbyists openly acknowledging power-weapons connections. This remarkable about-turn has clear origins in the crisis facing nuclear power and the perceived need to secure increased subsidies to prevent reactors closing and to build new ones.

Ecologist 20th Sept 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 September 2018

NDA

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has joined forces with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency to share expertise in nuclear decommissioning and radioactive waste management. The NDA – which is responsible for cleaning up and decommissioning 17 sites in the UK including Sellafield in Cumbria – has signed an agreement that will see skills, knowledge, research, information and technology exchanged with the JAEA, Japan’s research and development institute for nuclear energy. JAEA’s work includes undertaking research and development work to support the decommissioning and environmental restoration of TEPCO’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power station. It is also aiding the decommissioning of the Monju fast breeder reactor and the Tokai Reprocessing Plant.

Whitehaven News 20th Sept 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 September 2018

US

Two nuclear reactors are under construction at Vogtle’s nuclear power plant in Georgia, and they are a lonely pair in a stagnating US nuclear industry. Now, leaders of municipalities and utilities that are on the hook to buy electricity from Vogtle’s new reactors are saying they want the project stopped to save their customers from having to shoulder the cost burden. The three major owners of the construction project are expected to vote on whether to keep it or cut losses in the coming days.

Ars Technica 20th Sept 2018 read more »

The two-unit coastal Brunswick nuclear power station in South Port, NC was powered down to zero power shortly in advance of the September 14th arrival Hurricane Florence with Category 1 winds (sustained < 75 mph), storm surge and torrential rainfall. Operators maintained the Brunswick units in “hot standby” (reactor cooling water at 212O F and capable of steam powering onsite turbines for emergency electricity) to provide an added measure of power supply for reactor safety and cooling systems in the event of loss of offsite power and backup emergency diesel generators. However, throughout the storm, Duke Energy reported that the nuclear power station was in “stable” condition and never lost offsite electricity power from the grid providing primary power to safety systems and cooling. A low-level emergency was declared September 15th when the reactor site was completely surrounded by rising flood waters making it inaccessible by road. Two shifts of workers were already housed onsite and supplied in advance for the storm’s duration. Offsite access by road to the Brunswick units was restored on September 18th and the “Unusual event” emergency was terminated. The continued flooding has damaged many of the bridges and roads within the ten-mile radius that encompasses the radiological evacuation planning zone for the Brunswick nuclear power station. As the flooding recedes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will assess the damage to the infrastructure and will provide its recommendation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) before Brunswick is allowed to restart.

Beyond Nuclear 20th Sept 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 September 2018

Finland

The Finnish government today approved the extension of the operating licences for the Olkiluoto-1 and -2 nuclear power plants until 2038, owner-operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj said in a statement. The government decision follows a regulatory decision in May 2018 that concluded the plants are safe, their operation conforms with the law, and TVO has the expertise and resources to operate the units. The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, or Stuk, also said the nuclear waste management procedures put in place by TVO are “sufficient and appropriate”. The two units supply about one sixth of electricity demand in Finland, TVO said. After the completion of the Olkiluoto-3 EPR, scheduled for commercial operation in September 2019, electricity produced the three-unit Olkiluoto station will supply for around 30% of national demand.

Nucnet 20th Sept 2018 read more »

World Nuclear News 20th Sept 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 September 2018

Nuclear Weapons

PEACE campaigners are urging Scots to force the hand of the country’s biggest institutions in a war against nuclear weapons as a bombshell report is launched. With data drawn from annual results, official statements and freedom of information reports, the paper reveals the extent to which major Scottish bodies help fund the making of nuclear weapons. Billed as a way to help “eliminate” the big-money devices, the document has been produced by the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in conjunction with similar organisations. It calls on bank customers, students and pension holders to press major institutions into divesting their funds from companies involved in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. These include Royal Bank of Scotland and the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme (SLGPS), the largest fund of its kind in the country. It also claims that success could help sink Trident, arguing: “If we can persuade Scottish financial institutions to divest from nuclear weapons producers, this will incentivise those companies to end their involvement with Trident and other nuclear weapons programmes.”

The National 20th Sept 2018 read more »

The demonstration on Saturday, September 22, will start at the Faslane peace camp, near the southern entrance to Faslane, at around 12 noon, before moving towards the north gate of the base. The Scottish CND is organising the event, which will feature international guests, one year on from the signing of a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) at the United Nations.

Helensburgh Advertiser 20th Sept 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 September 2018

Submarines

Government delayed scrapping potentially unsafe nuclear submarines in bid to cut costs, MPs told. Influential Commons committee tells Ministry of Defence to put a stop to postponements after expert admits possible ‘safety issue’. The government has delayed scrapping potentially unsafe nuclear submarines because of concerns over costs, a new report from an influential committee of MPs has revealed. 20 disused submarines are currently awaiting disposal, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), including nine that still contain nuclear fuel. But despite admitting to potential safety risks, the government will only begin dismantling the next vessel in the mid-2020s, while the total work needed to scrap the entire 20 submarines will not be completed until at least 2045.

Independent 21st Sept 2018 read more »

The Ministry of Defence is at serious risk of failing to run a working nuclear deterrent, parliament’s spending watchdog has concluded. A report by the public accounts committee found that past decisions delaying maintenance at the MoD’s 13 sites that support nuclear submarines had left the programme “not fit for purpose”. The Trident nuclear missile programme could also be adversely affected by Brexit because of the reliance on imported material from EU countries and difficulties bringing engineers from the continent, Friday’s report said. Defence chiefs must bridge a £2.9bn black hole and fill a skills gap if they are to maintain the current deterrent, according to the influential cross-party committee.

Guardian 21st Sept 2018 read more »

The infrastructure for supporting the Royal Navy’s fleet of nuclear submarines is no longer “fit for purpose”, MPs have warned. The Commons Public Accounts Committee said past decisions to delay maintenance at the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) 13 nuclear sites around the UK had created a “ticking time bomb”. The warning came after the National Audit Office disclosed earlier this year that the MoD’s “Nuclear Enterprise” programme was facing a £2.9 billion “affordability gap”.

Forces Network 21st Sept 2018 read more »

Facilities at the Westcountry dockyard vital for the maintenance of Britain’s fleet of Royal Navy nuclear submarines is no longer “fit for purpose”, MPs have warned. The Commons Public Accounts Committee said past decisions to delay maintenance at the Ministry of Defence’s 13 nuclear sites around the UK – including Devonport Dockyard – had created a “ticking time bomb”. The warning came after the National Audit Office disclosed earlier this year that the MoD’s “Nuclear Enterprise” programme was facing a £2.9 billion “affordability gap”.

Plymouth Live 21st Sept 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 September 2018

Renewables – solar

Japanese scientists have developed a sun-powered golden sandwich: an experimental solar panel that they claim could be up to 11 times more effective than most equipment on the

market so far. The new photovoltaic cell could harvest 85% of the energy of visible sunlight as it slams into a rooftop solar array. Right now, most such panels are rated at 15% efficient; some new versions claim to be able to exploit 20% of the light. Researchers at Hokkaido University report in the journal Nature Nanotechnology that their new source depends on a golden touch: they placed a film of semiconductor material just 30 nanometres, or 30 millionths of a millimetre thick, between two layers of gold film and gold nanoparticles a mere 100 nanometres thick.

Climate News Network 20th Sept 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 September 2018

Renewables – onshore wind

Four in 10 wind turbine appeals decided by the Scottish government successfully overturned the original decision, the BBC has found. Official figures show 250 wind turbine applications, which were refused by Scottish councils, have been decided by the Scottish government since 2002. In 104 cases (41.6%) the original decision was reversed. Campaign groups said government planners were overruling democratic decisions taken by councils. The Scottish government said the planning system was focused on early engagement with communities.

BBC 21st Sept 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 September 2018

Renewables – tidal

An Edinburgh-based tidal energy firm is to sit down with G7 ministers today to discuss the future of the offshore renewable energy sector. Nova Innovation, which recently received EU backing for its tidal turbine, will meet G7 energy ministers during a roundtable discussion on the best methods to capture energy from tides. The meeting involves the G7 countries’ Environment and Energy Ministers in Nova Scotia, Canada, on the theme of ‘working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy’. Simon Forrest, chief executive at Nova Innovation, said: “Tidal energy is an abundant global resource which is clean and – unlike other renewables – completely predictable. “Our projects are demonstrating that it is becoming economically viable to generate electricity from the tides. By providing a supportive policy environment for tidal deployments, the G7 countries can accelerate the transition to clean energy.

Energy Voice 21st Sept 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 September 2018