Energy Consumption

The UK was the only country in the EU to reduce its electricity consumption last year, with power use growing or stable across the rest of the bloc’s 28 member states. Britain’s appetite for power has been waning for more than a decade as industrial activity declined and businesses and households opted for more energy efficient lighting and appliances. But an analysis of official figures by campaign group Sandbag found the fall between 2016 and 2017 was one of the biggest in several years, marking a striking divergence with the rest of Europe. The UK’s power consumption fell nearly 2% from 355 terawatt hours to 348 tWh, while it rose across the EU as a whole by 0.7% from 3,239 to 3,262 tWh. The growing disparity between the UK and EU has puzzled experts. The gap cannot be explained away solely by shrinking industrial production in Britain or slower economic growth in 2017, of 1.8% versus a forecast of 2.3% for the EU. Simon Evans, the policy editor at analysts CarbonBrief, said: “This is one of the least-reported and most significant stories in the UK power sector. Since 2005, the UK has saved the equivalent of two-and-a-half Hinkley Point Cs [a nuclear power station], a trend that started several years before the financial crisis.” Sandbag also found that for the first time across the EU, renewable sources of power, excluding hydro, overtook coal. Together, wind, solar and biomass accounted for 20.9% of the union’s electricity mix in 2017, up from 9.7% in 2010. “This is incredible progress, considering just five years ago, coal generation was more than twice that of wind, solar and biomass,” the report said.

Guardian 30th Jan 2018 read more »

The UK is winning the race to clean up the energy system by taking a lead on rolling out renewable energy projects and cutting coal-fired power faster than its EU peers. A fresh report, to be published in Brussels today, shows that the UK is leading the way on support for wind and solar power, alongside Germany. But unlike Germany, the UK is also scrapping high-carbon coal-fired power in favour of cleaner alternatives at a quicker rate than almost anywhere else in the EU while German policy makers dither on plans to limit their own carbon emissions. The findings, published by a German think tank and a Brussels-based campaign group, pours cold water on claims that Brexit may dent the UK’s ‘green’ credentials by removing the EU’s clean energy and climate change targets. Britain is close to its 2020 target to generate 30pc of its electricity from renewables but it is not yet halfway towards the target of 12pc in heat and 10pc in transport. Ministers are preparing to tackle its renewable heat and transport targets through its Clean Growth Strategy which prioritises a push towards electric vehicles, energy efficient homes, and low-carbon heating. The UK will wipe out coal use by 2025, so the emerging fleet of electric vehicles to hit British roads will be powered by cleaner generation.

Telegraph 30th Jan 2017 read more »

Posted: 31 January 2018

Radwaste

‘Ireland won’t be Britian’s nuclear dumping ground’ – Newry and Armagh MLA. Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Energy, Environment and Climate Change Cathal Boylan has slammed British Government plans that would potentially see a nuclear waste disposal facility sited in Northern Ireland.

Newry Times 30th Jan 2018 read more »

Today Five Years Ago – The Dump Was Ditched! On this day in Carlisle Cumbria County Council voted NO to the proposed Geological ‘Disposal’ Facility for intermediate and high level nuclear wastes. Government however is desperate to be seen to have a “final plan” for nuclear wastes. This is so that they can make more, ever hotter, with dangerous new fuel burnt in new nuclear reactors. So like Terminator they are back. This time they have changed the law to exclude the voices of those pesky people who may not want to have heat generating nuclear wastes percolating up between their toes – or their children’s toes – or their children’s children’s toes. Our good friends and colleagues over at Toxic Coast have written the following and we think it is a brilliant expose of the desperate mafia like corruption at the heart of the government’s nuclear ambitions…….

Radiation Free Lakeland 30th Jan 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 January 2018

Brexit

Brexit could cause energy shortages and higher gas and electricity bills, says Lords committee. Around 40 per cent of the UK’s gas supply now comes from Norwegian and other European pipelines while around 5-6% of electricity comes from France, Holland and Ireland. The UK faces energy shortages and hikes to household gas and electricity bills after Brexit if the transition is not managed well, a House of Lords committee warned on Monday. Multiple bodies told the EU Energy and Environment sub-committee that the UK has become increasingly reliant on energy imports. Around 40 per cent of the UK’s gas supply now comes from Norwegian and other European pipelines while around 5-6 per cent of electricity comes from France, Holland and Ireland. Frictionless trade in energy with European partners could be put at risk after the UK’s departure from the single market the committee warned.

Independent 29th Jan 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 January 2018

Flamanville

[Machine Translation] ASN anticipates a new delay for the Flamanville EPR. The commissioning of the Flamanville EPR (Manche) in due time – end of 2018 according to EDF – will be “tense”, said Pierre-Franck Chevet, President of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), when his wishes to the press, Monday 29 January. “The schedule will be what it will be, because the commissioning is subject to our authorization and we must have all the elements. We will say yes when we feel that we will be able to say yes. […] This will be the schedule of security that will be required, “he insisted. This important work yet to be carried out could thwart the timetable presented by EDF on January 9th, fuel loading and start-up of the reactor at the end of 2018. The operator had indicated to the press that the cold tests had been completed on January 6 and had gone well, and that hot tests were to begin next July. Critical deadlines also for the Fessenheim nuclear power plant, the closure of which is subject to the entry into service of the EPR.

Reporterre 30th Jan 2018 read more »

[Machine translation] Flamanville: ASN cautious on EPR start-up schedule. The Nuclear Safety Authority was cautious on Monday on the timing of the start of the future EPR Flamanville (Channel) by EDF, theoretically expected at the end of the year. “It will be tense” and “it will be the safety calendar that will be required,” said the president of ASN Pierre-Franck Chevet on the occasion of his wishes to the press. “When we know more about what is missing, etc. it will be said, for now it’s tense, “he repeated. The electrician EDF plans to start the Flamanville EPR at the end of 2018, for commercial commissioning in 2019. But he must first obtain the green light from the ASN. The application for authorization has two phases: the partial commissioning at the moment when the fuel arrives on the site, then an authorization for the introduction of the fuel into the tank.

Liberation 30th Jan 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 January 2018

Fukushima

Nine years before the 2011 meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. turned down a request from the government’s nuclear watchdog for it to conduct a simulation of powerful tsunami that could hit the plant, a court document showed on Tuesday.

Japan Times 30th Jan 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 January 2018

Finland

Finland’s Pyhäjoki nuclear plant takes our pension money. While four million elderly Russians live below the poverty line, the country’s pension fund pays for Rosatom-backed nuclear plant in northern-Finland. «Deeply unfair,» says Oleg Bodrov from the closed town of Sosnovy Bor near St. Petersburg. Reactor design, construction, uranium supplies and important financier. Russia has a core role in what will be Finland’s northernmost nuclear power plant. Located in Pyhäjoki south of Oulu, construction work has already started. Though, the plant still lack building permit. What happens in Finland is even more controversial than how the nuclear industry behave home in Russia, says Oleg Bodrov, a prominent expert on Russia’s nuclear complex. Bodrov chairs the Public Council of the South Coast of the Gulf of Finland, an environmental network with the majority of members from the St. Petersburg area. According to Russian law, no-one can start construction work without having the final permit for building a nuclear power plant, Bodrov explains and shakes his head over what happens in Finland. Huge trucks are already moving excavated soil and rock at the site where the nuclear power company Fennovoima prepares the ground near the Gulf of Bothnia. Buildings are raised. As previously reported, the permit is delayed by Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), and is likely not to be ready before the end of 2018.

Barents Observer 29th Jan 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 January 2018

South Africa

South Africa’s power utility Eskom cannot afford a nuclear power station expansion, acting Eskom chief financial officer Calib Cassim said on Tuesday during the release of its financial results. South Africa’s government has said it will push ahead with its nuclear expansion plan but will now do so at a slower pace due to weak economic growth. With the only nuclear power station on the continent, South Africa is seeking to expand its nuclear, wind, solar and coal power capacity.

Reuters 30th Jan 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 January 2018

France

French utility EDF has proposed to start shutting down some reactors from 2029 onwards as part of France’s long-term energy plan which aims to reduce the share of atomic power in its electricity mix, said the head of EDF’s nuclear power arm. The government has started discussions with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and energy specialists and companies over France’s future energy mix, and the first draft of the “multi-annual energy plan” (PPE) is expected by the end of June. Philippe Sasseigne – who heads up the nuclear power part of EDF – told journalists that as part of that discussion, the company was proposing to shut down more reactors from 2029. EDF, which operates France’s 58 nuclear reactors, will halt its Fessenhiem nuclear plant once it starts production at the Flamanville 3 nuclear reactor under construction.

Reuters 30th Jan 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 January 2018

Russia

When Norway assesses potential nuclear risks in Northern Russia, it counts among them not just decades of intentionally scuttled radioactive trash – including two entire nuclear submarines – but also vessels transporting spent nuclear fuel throughout the Arctic, specifically from Andreyeva Bay. These considerations were part of a seminar held at the Arctic Frontiers forum last week in Tromsø, Norway, which tallied up ongoing threats of nuclear environmental contamination in Northwest Russia. For decades, Norway, along with numerous other donor nations, has invested millions of dollars in improving the safety and security of Northwest Russia’s vast Cold War nuclear legacy sites. According to Øyvind Selnæs, a senior adviser with the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, Norway expects to see a spike in the number of ships passing through the Arctic carrying nuclear fuel and materials as Russia seeks to build new nuclear icebreakers to guide traffic along the Northern Sea Route. He also forecasted an increase the number vessels carrying spent nuclear fuel. “It took many years and huge funds of international assistance to start exporting SNF from the former naval base in the Murmansk region – Andreeva Bay,” Selnaes said.” Last year, this process began, and it will take several years. Risks associated with the maritime transportation sector will now increase. ”

Bellona 30th Jan 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 January 2018

Local Energy

‘Business as usual’ says Bristol Energy after reports of £8.4m loss. Bristol City Council-owned energy company Bristol Energy is reportedly running at an £8.4 million loss – despite there being £17.3 million of taxpayer’s money invested in it by the authority. Local press reports claim the council rejected Bristol Energy’s latest draft business plan, as it was not satisfied.

Utility Week 30th Jan 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 January 2018