NPT

The fifty years of NPT have reaffirmed that the universal mechanism to fight with nuclear proliferation and achieving the objective of disarmament is not adequate for two reasons: first, the international mechanism of non-proliferation has failed to deal with the few potential proliferators; secondly, strategic and security concerns of NWS and NNWS has undermined the Articles I, II, IV, VI and X of the treaty. In spite of the fact that until the 1980s worldwide measures to counteract atomic multiplication were generally more effective, yet in the subsequent years the NPT was not much successful to counter the aspirants of nuclear capability such as North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria. Due to inadequate mechanism and weaknesses of the treaty, now nine states possess nuclear weapon capability and approximately 30 states have the technical ability to acquire it that is viewed as serious threat to the NPT.

Eurasia Review 30th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 1 August 2018

US

New nuclear plants are “ridiculously expensive” and “uncompetitive” compared to solar power, longtime nuclear industry advocate Nobuo Tanaka explained recently. Tanaka is also the former head of the International Energy Agency. At the same time, existing U.S. nuclear power plants are “bleeding cash,” as Bloomberg has repeatedly documented. Saving them would require a subsidy of at least $5 billion a year, according to a July 19 analysis by the Brattle Group. But every time conservatives in Congress have had the chance to vote for the only sustainable way of saving nuclear power — by putting a price on carbon pollution that could make it more competitive — they overwhelmingly oppose it. Conservatives in the Senate killed the cap-and-trade climate bill that passed the U.S. House back in 2009 — a bill that would have dramatically improved the economics of nuclear relative to fossil fuel plants. A rising price on carbon dioxide emissions would instantly help the economics of emissions-free nuclear power compared to one of its biggest competitors: natural gas. Studies have shown that the nuclear fleet could be preserved with a CO2 price averaging just $20/ton. The bottom line is that economics has killed nuclear power. So those who support nuclear power as a climate solution need to understand that nuclear’s only long-term hope is a price for carbon pollution that is significant and steadily rising — something that we don’t have because conservatives in Congress have steadfastly opposed it for decades.

Think Progress 30th July 2018 read more »

A portion of the vast Washington state site where the U.S. government created much of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal will be scrubbed free of radiation and other pollution under a final plan reached by the U.S. Department of Energy and federal and state regulators. The plan announced Monday would spend $200 million to finish the cleanup of nearly 8 square miles (20 square kilometers) of the 586-square-mile (1,500-square-kilometer) Hanford Nuclear Reservation, where plutonium was made for nuclear weapons during World War II and the Cold War. The land involved in the plan contains three of Hanford’s nine plutonium reactors. The decision means the land will be returned “to productive reuse for the benefit of the health and livelihood of surrounding communities,” said Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Wheeler has been running the agency since the recent resignation of EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. The plan calls for removal, treatment, and disposal of contaminated soil and debris. Groundwater will be cleaned up to drinking water standards and waste sites cleaned up to “suitable for residential use” levels, according to the agreement. There are no plans to build any houses on the site, which has been closed to the public since World War II. The plan covers just a small portion of Hanford, which is the subject of a long and complicated cleanup that costs the U.S. government some $2 billion a year and is expected to last for many decades. Hanford is located near Richland, Washington.

Daily Mail 31st July 2018 read more »

Shareholders of SCANA agreed Tuesday to sell the South Carolina utility to Virginia-based Dominion Energy, which has agreed to swallow billions of dollars in debt from the company’s failed nuclear construction project and other operations. The deal gives Dominion – already one of the nation’s largest utility companies – more of a foothold in South Carolina. The Richmond company already operates a pair of solar farms in the state, as well as gas pipelines purchased from SCANA in years past. SCANA has about 1.6 million electric and natural gas residential and business accounts in the Carolinas. The combined company would operate in 18 states, providing energy to about 6.5 million regulated customer accounts.

Daily Mail 31st July 2018 read more »

Posted: 1 August 2018

Japan

The Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) has revised its guidelines for the use of plutonium for the first time in 15 years to clearly state that it will endeavor to reduce the country’s stockpiles of the material that can be used to produce nuclear arms. As part of these efforts, a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the Aomori Prefecture village of Rokkasho, currently under construction, will be mandated to extract only the necessary amount of plutonium from spent nuclear fuel that can be consumed at nuclear power plants. The amended guidelines require electric power companies to join hands in consuming plutonium at Japanese nuclear plants that can use the substance as fuel in an effort to steadily decrease the country’s stockpiles.

Mainichi 31st July 2018 read more »

Posted: 1 August 2018

Saudi Arabia

French firm wins Saudi nuclear deal. Assystem will provide consultancy services for Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear power plant.

Middle East Business 1st Aug 2018 read more »

Posted: 1 August 2018

Ireland – solar

Ireland kicks off grant scheme for domestic solar plus storage installations. Homeowners in Ireland can now access grants worth hundreds of euros to fund the installation of solar and energy storage systems as the government launches its first micro-generation scheme for the technology. This pilot scheme offers €700 (~£625) per kWp of solar installed up to 2kWp, at which point any installation up to 4kWp must include a battery storage system for which a fixed €1,000 (~£892) grant is now also available. Just days after securing approval for a national large scale Renewable Energy Support Scheme, the minister for communications, climate action and environment Denis Naughten explained that a typical three-bed semi-detached home would spend about €1,800 on a solar panel system and save approximately €220 per year on their bills.

Solar Power Portal 31st July 2018 read more »

Energy Live News 31st July 2018 read more »

Posted: 1 August 2018

Feed-in Tariffs

Dave Elliott: The UK government has confirmed that its Feed-In Tariff (FiT) support system for small renewable energy projects will end next spring. That will hit consumers who have installed PV solar and used the FiT system payments to offset the investment costs, which were quite large initially, but have now fallen as PV has matured and got cheaper. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) now says that “consumers should not be expected to support sectors indefinitely and that as costs fall, so too should support”. So the whole FIT system will be closed to new applicants. Nevertheless, the FiT system resulted in a PV boom across the EU, with the result being escalating pass-through cost to consumers. So the FiTs were cut back, as in the UK, and, across the EU, they are being abandoned in favour of competitive auction approaches. However, not everyone thinks that is a good idea. Now that PV is cheap, FiTs could be a way to help small projects to finally reach full market competitiveness, via low interim export tariffs and low consumer pass-through costs. But few expect BEIS to agree.

Physics World 1st Aug 2018 read more »

Posted: 1 August 2018

Renewables – solar

Solar consumption is set to increase at B&Q’s Swindon distribution centre under plans by owner Kingfisher to add energy storage to make better use of the electricity generated by the site’s rooftop solar array. Currently, around 35% of generation from the centre’s 552 solar panels is exported to the grid. However the addition of a 756kW battery system will mean that 40% of the power generated by the solar panels can be stored and released back to the building to provide power during periods of peak pricing, or support overnight operations. Kingfisher says the Samsung batteries, to be installed by Solarcentury, will reduce the site’s grid power consumption by 31% with some days seeing zero grid energy used on site.

Solar Portal 31st July 2018 read more »

Independent Lancashire brewery Moorhouse’s says it will be able to produce one million pints of solar-powered beer each year after installing a 50kWp system on its main roof. The 169-panel installation was completed at the brewery in Burnley two weeks ago by Energy Gain UK and is expected to produce 42,000kWh of electricity per annum, all of which will be used on site. Following another record breaking summer, which saw solar overtake gas as the country’s number one form of energy for a short period at the end of June, Moorhouse’s managing director Lee Williams said the business was ready to play its part in boosting sustainability.

Solar Portal 30th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 1 August 2018

Smart Meters

Increasing amounts of detailed energy use data captured through the smart meter rollout is prompting energy suppliers to explore a range of new business opportunities, according to research by Capgemini. Based on 50 interviews with the executives at the ‘Big Six’ and a number of ‘challenger’ energy suppliers, the study found a consensus across the sector that the market will be “completely turned on its head” by a host of digital transformations and the wider clean energy transition over the next five years. A raft of disruptions to the UK energy sector are expected in the coming years, with flexibility services, electric vehicles, battery storage, local generation, and increasing renewables capacity all expected to help decarbonise the industry and boost green business opportunities. But the pivotal driver for the impending transformation is the government’s smart meter rollout, according to 84 per cent of those interviewed. The government has set a goal to install a smart meter in every home and small business by 2020 in order to boost energy saving efforts and deliver richer energy data to suppliers. The long-trailed promise of an energy system that can automatically optimise peaks and troughs in clean power supply and demand, while helping customers cut costs as they generate power on site or charge their electric cars is finally on the cusp of becoming a reality.

Business Green 1st Aug 2018 read more »

Posted: 1 August 2018

Climate

More energy in the atmosphere – as a result of human-induced global warming – is leading to bigger storms, greater flooding and more severe heatwaves, writes Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland. A new report from the Met Office looks at UK weather in 2017 and how it has been changing over recent decades. It gives a clear picture of the impact that climate change is having on temperatures and rainfall, a message very much reinforced by this year’s heatwave here and around the world. Last year was the fifth warmest on record for the UK and nine out of 10 of the warmest years in the UK have been since 2002, with the last decade nearly one degree centigrade warmer than the 1961-1990 average. The last decade has also been 11 per cent wetter than the long-term average in Scotland. This summer has continued the trend of extreme weather, with a prolonged heatwave through May, June and July. This May was both the warmest and sunniest Scotland has ever recorded and 28 June saw the hottest day ever north of the border, at least unofficially. This weather has seen crops wilting in fields, trains running at reduced speed and water shortage warnings issued, with government help needed for people whose private water supplies had run dry. The European heatwave of 2003 killed 70,000 people across the continent and this week a new report from Westminster warned that these kind of temperatures could become the new norm, endangering the lives of 7,000 elderly or ill people in the UK every year by 2050. We need stronger ambition to reduce emissions from all nations, but in Scotland we have a particular opportunity with a draft climate change bill being debated in the autumn. Politicians from all parties need to use this opportunity to ramp up action throughout the next 10 years, moving us rapidly towards a fossil-free Scotland. As the summer heat fades from memory, we need to make sure our MSPs remember the climate emergency and act upon it with the urgency required.

Scotsman 1st Aug 2018 read more »

The deadliest place on the planet for extreme future heatwaves will be the north China plain, one of the most densely populated regions in the world and the most important food-producing area in the huge nation. New scientific research shows that humid heatwaves that kill even healthy people within hours will strike the area repeatedly towards the end of the century thanks to climate change, unless there are heavy cuts in carbon emissions.

Guardian 31st July 2018 read more »

Vast swathes of China could be left uninhabitable towards the end of the century due to heatwaves scorching the region, according to new research. As carbon emissions soar and farmland expands across the fertile North China Plain, this area could soon see the biggest climate change-induced loss of human life on Earth, says the study by the team at America’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Their research suggested that human activity will make deadly heatwaves across the region far more likely in the coming years and leave farming there impossible.

Independent 31st July 2018 read more »

Extreme weather is on the rise, with the UK hotter and wetter than it has been for decades. According to the latest figures from the Met Office, 2017 was the fifth hottest year on record – and nine of the 10 hottest years over the past century have taken place since 2002. The average temperature for the past decade was 0.8C higher than the 30-year period ending in 1990. Despite the recent drought – which was not included in the new analysis – UK summers have also been getting wetter, with a 20 per cent increase in rainfall compared to that baseline period. “Our climate is changing, globally and here in the UK. People may not recall 2017 as having been a particularly warm year, with a relatively wet summer and snow in December,” said Dr Mark McCarthy, manager of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre. “Despite this, when looking at the longer-term perspective 2017 was still more than 1C above the 1961-1990 baseline and ranks fifth warmest year overall for the UK.” Overall, the decade saw eight per cent more rainfall and six per cent more sunshine, showing that weather at both ends of the spectrum is getting more extreme.

Independent 31st July 2018 read more »

Carbon Brief 31st July 2018 read more »

Posted: 1 August 2018