Moorside

Multibillion-pound plans to build a nuclear plant at Moorside in Cumbria are likely to be abandoned within months unless a buyer is found. The Nugen venture, owned by Toshiba, is considering plans to shut down with the loss of 100 jobs after a sale to Kepco stalled. The decision would be a blow to government hopes for a series of new plants to help to keep the lights on once existing reactors close. Moorside, which is next to the Sellafield waste site, is one of five proposed plants vying to follow EDF’s Hinkley Point project that is under construction in Somerset. Nugen was founded in 2009. Toshiba bought into the venture in 2014 with plans to deploy reactors made by Westinghouse Electric Company, its subsidiary. The Japanese conglomerate was thrown into crisis last year when Westinghouse’s costs overran on reacto rs in the United States. Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy protection and was sold off, while Toshiba was forced to take full control of Nugen when Engie, the French utility company, quit. Nugen appeared to be saved when Toshiba announced that Kepco had been appointed the preferred bidder to buy the venture. The South Korean state-controlled company hoped to use its own reactors at the site. Talks have since stalled, amid leadership changes in South Korea and uncertainty over the financial support on offer from the British government. Ministers do not want to repeat the funding model used for Hinkley Point, which was criticised as too expensive. They said the government may invest directly in the next project, Hitachi’s Wylfa plant on Anglesey, but would go back to the drawing board for other projects. Toshiba confirmed that it had cancelled the preferred-bidder status, meaning that it would consider other buyers.

Times 31st July 2018 read more »

In response to the news that the NuGeneration consortium behind the proposed Moorside nuclear plant have decided to lay off most of their staff in the UK, Kate Blagojevic, Head of Energy at Greenpeace UK, said -“The government’s appointed experts, the National Infrastructure Committee, have already made it clear that the UK shouldn’t continue with the proposed Moorside nuclear power station, it’s an outdated technology which just isn’t needed in a modern, smart grid when there are cheaper, cleaner and safer alternatives which are proven to do the job. The government urgently needs to provide reliable support for these renewable industries that can deliver low cost energy, as the foundation stone of our ability to deliver essential emissions cuts from cars and heating our homes.”

Greenpeace 30th July 2018 read more »

All staff at risk of redundancy at Moorside nuclear plant. The future of Cumbria’s Moorside Nuclear Power station is in doubt after all UK employees were put on notice of redundancy.

New Civil Engineer 31st July 2018 read more »

Bill Esterson MP, Labour’s Shadow Small Business Minister, commenting on the planned Moorside nuclear power station, said: “Labour has been consistent in its support for Moorside and has called on the Government to take a public stake to ensure that this vital power station is finally built; guaranteeing the creation of thousands of highly-skilled and well-paid jobs that communities in Cumbria need and deserve. “The Government has so far refused to heed Labour’s calls to step in and underwrite the company’s investment if the project is at risk of collapsing. “Labour supports new nuclear as part of the UK’s energy mix to keep the lights on and tackle climate change.”

Labour Party 30th July 2018 read more »

Delays to the planned sale of Toshiba’s NuGen nuclear project in Britain have prompted a review of the roles of 60 direct employees, who are mainly based in Manchester, raising further doubts over its future.

Reuters 30th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 July 2018

Wylfa

Arup denies conflict of interest in Wylfa nuclear role. Wylfa technical consultant Arup has denied a conflict of interest after it emerged that it was advising both Hitachi and the government on the £15bn power station deal.

New Civil Engineer 31st July 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 July 2018

Radwaste

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee publish a report on the Draft National Policy Statement for Geological Disposal Infrastructure. The inquiry examines the objectives and scope of the guidance for those considering applications and the framework for granting development consents. It also considers how it fits in with the Government’s Industrial Strategy and emphasis on regional growth. Overall, the report finds that the draft NPS is fit for purpose and contains adequate guidance and details needed for the developer, the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State to put forward and make recommendations on development consent orders. The report welcomes the fact that the NPS and the separate but relevant ‘Working With Communities’ policy incorporate some of the key lessons from previous unsuccessful attempts to find a suitable location for a Geological Disposal Infrastructure (‘GDI’). The Committee makes a number of recommendations aimed at improving the engagement of and benefits to prospective host communities and, subject to these caveats, supports the case for the final NPS to be brought before Parliament for approval.

Parliament 31st July 2018 read more »

Nuclear waste could be stored under some of the most beautiful parts of the country prompting a row with rural campaigners. A committee of MPs has controversially given the green light to Government plans which could see nuclear waste buried deep in vaults beneath England’s national parks. The decision was condemned by campaigners who it put “our treasured landscapes under the threat of inappropriate and major development”. England has 10 national parks covering nearly 5,000 square miles. Each has its own authority which has two statutory duties – to conserve its countryside and wildlife, and to allow people to enjoy them. The Government has launched a search for an area to site an underground radioactive waste facility and set out the framework for making planning decisions on the proposal in England. MPs on the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee backed the Government’s approach and decided against calling for national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty to be excluded. The cross-party group said “in our view it is right for safety matters to prevail over environmental concerns in this case”. It added that existing planning safeguards would prevent “intrusive developments and environmental damage”. The Government’s approach to “geological disposal infrastructure” was set out in a draft national policy statement in January.

Telegraph 31st July 2018 read more »

Ruth Bradshaw at the Campaign for National Parks said: “Our national parks are precious national assets with, at least theoretically, the highest level of protection through the planning system. The proposed nuclear storage facility is completely contrary to the purposes of national parks.” Emma Marrington at the Campaign to Protect Rural England said: “Where such major development takes place we destroy beautiful landscapes and ruin our opportunity to pass on a beautiful piece of countryside to the next generation.” “Radioactive byproducts are yet another reason the government must stop building dirty, dangerous and expensive nuclear power stations,” said Lucas. “The future is in clean, renewable energy like wind and solar.” Greenpeace UK’s Kate Blagojevic said: “It’s mystifying why the UK, alone among major western nations, insists on propping up this obsolete 20th-century technology.” In the 1980s and 1990s the UK spent £400m examining a proposed GDF site near Sellafield that was eventually abandoned due to the highly complex and fractured nature of the geology.

Guardian 31st July 2018 read more »

Independent 31st July 2018 read more »

Herald 30th July 2018 read more »

MPs have given the green light to plans which could see nuclear waste buried deep in vaults beneath national parks.

Energy Voice 31st July 2018 read more »

NDA radioactive waste strategy will apply to all radioactive waste generated within the NDA Group, including materials that may become waste at some point in the future. This consultation closes at midday on 31 October 2018. The NDA is seeking views on this single radioactive waste strategy that will apply to all radioactive waste generated within the NDA Group, including materials that may become waste at some point in the future.

NDA 30th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 July 2018

Springfields

There has been a virtual media black out on this in the US. Similarly here in the UK Westinghouse enjoys a cloak of secrecy over its operations so much so that many of those opposing fracking on the Fylde are unaware that the UKS nuclear fuel manufacturing plant (the first in the world) is slap bang in the middle of Cuadrilla’s fracking operations. Despite this the UKs nuclear fuel plant has enjoyed almost complete anonymity during fracking protests with the exception of grass roots nuclear campaigners and brave enlightened fracking campaigners pointing out the insanity of fracking near to nuclear installations.

Radiation Free Lakeland 30th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 July 2018

Nuclear Power

The heatwave across Europe in late July required some nuclear plants to reduce electricity after cooling water was affected by high temperatures. Plants in Finland, Sweden, Germany, France and Switzerland have been affected. While air temperatures have been above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) in many parts, water temperatures have reached 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23.8 degrees Celsius) or more. The Loviisa nuclear plant, which produced 10% of Finland’s power in 2017, began reducing its output on 25 July, according to chief of operations, Timo Eurasto. He said customers were not affected, because other power plants were satisfying electricity demand. Loviisa previously reduced output in 2010 and 2011, due to warm water, but Eurasto said the current heatwave has been more severe. Reactors in Sweden and Germany also reduced production because of cooling problems, Reuters reported. A spokesperson for Sweden’s nuclear energy regulator said the Forsmark had cut energy production “by a few percentage points”.

Nuclear Engineering International 30th July 2018 read more »

The nuclear industry has highlighted its role in the UK’s future energy mix, as new government figures showed that low-carbon electricity produced in 2017 rose above the 50% mark for total power generated. The owners of Suffolk nuclear power station Sizewell B and the proposed Sizewell C plant pointed out that nuclear energy had been a reliable source of power during periods of high demand and low wind. The 50.1% percentage share, up from 45.6% the previous year, consists of 21% nuclear, 14.8% onshore and offshore wind, 3.4% solar and 2.3% hydro. Trade association the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) said nuclear power remained “the highest single source of low carbon power delivering reliable, secure and always available power to the grid whatever the weather”.

Ipswich Star 30th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 July 2018

Energy Policy

“The government is coasting on climate change”. That is the characteristically combative assessment from Environmental Audit Committee chair Mary Creagh when faced with the government’s response to the Committee’s recent report on green finance. Many green business leaders and campaigners would privately concur, as grumbling over the government’s self-confessed ‘policy gap’ between current measures and what is required to meet medium term carbon budgets grows in volume. Ministers may have won deserved plaudits for last year’s Clean Growth Strategy and its commitment to making decarbonisation a key part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, but patience is starting to wear thin over the failure to fast track many of the new policies and investments that have been promised over the past 12 months. However, is such criticism fair, especially when the same government only last week reported record levels of renewables and low carbon power in the UK’s electricity mix, alongside record low energy consumption and confirmation of a new wave of financial support for renewables mega-projects? The UK may have an internationally impressive decarbonisation record, but it is still easy to construct a case for the prosecution. As Creagh notes, the country has made “progress in clean energy over the last decade, but there has been an alarming collapse in investment in the last year”. Specifically, figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) revealed UK clean energy investment fell 56 per cent in 2017, as controversial reforms to onshore wind, solar, and microgeneration subsidies, as well as cuts to energy efficiency funding, took effect. The government’s response today seeks to downplay concerns about an investment slowdown, arguing that “investments are cyclical in nature and figures are distorted by the movements of individual large projects”. It adds that “investment figures also do not show the whole picture as we are getting more for less: as costs of renewables come down, it costs less to deliver the same or more power generation”. Rejection of the EAC’s calls for a new delivery plan to urgently close the decarbonisation policy gap, coupled with the gnawing sense that the government is struggling to prioritise anything beyond its Brexit in-tray, will only fuel fears this huge global opportunity is not being fast-tracked. The challenge for the government is that with clean energy investment having fallen so sharply, the clock ticking on the UK’s decarbonisation targets, and so many new policies in the TBC column, the next wave of measures will have to be genuinely ambitious if accusations of complacency aren’t going to stick.

Business Green 30th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 July 2018

Energy Demand

Andrew Warren, the British Energy Efficiency Federation: So much for ‘predict and provide’ – UK energy use keeps on falling. He argues falling energy use should spark a reappraisal in the government’s future assumptions and policy priorities.

Business Green 31st July 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 July 2018

National Grid

The energy regulator is pressing ahead with plans to save households £5 billion by slashing profits for companies such as National Grid and SSE that run Britain’s gas and electricity networks. Ofgem also said that it was limiting the returns that National Grid, the FTSE 100 utility group, could make building the £650 million power line to connect the new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. National Grid has protested that the proposed returns for the 34-mile link to the Somerset facility are too low and yesterday reiterated that it was considering “all options” over the Hinkley Point decision. It has not ruled out appealing to the Competition and Markets Authority. The companies that operate and maintain Britain’s gas pipeline and electricity cable networks get their revenues from charges on consumer energy bills, accounting for about a quarter of a typical annual household payment. Ofgem sets the amount that they can charge through price controls, based on its assessments of their likely costs and fair return on investment.

Times 31st July 2018 read more »

The energy regulator is standing by its plan to tighten the screws on energy networks while delivering a fresh blow to National Grid’s future earnings. Despite outcry from the industry Ofgem will stick to its plan to slash the returns regulated energy firms can make from transmitting power from the high voltage national grid to smaller, regional networks. It will also force National Grid to dramatically cut the costs of work to connect the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant to the grid, signalling a tough road ahead for those taking on major power connection projects.

Telegraph 30th July 2018 read more »

National Grid given go-ahead for Hinkley nuclear project. Regulator Ofgem will, however, set the revenue the grid operator can earn from the transmission upgrade.

Energy Live News 30th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 July 2018

Campaigning

Environmentalists have won the battle of a generation: after years of campaigning, they have largely persuaded the world that man-made climate change is real and that fossil fuels are to blame. Remaining sceptics – chief among them US president Donald Trump – are outnumbered even in their own countries. Instead, most governments, energy companies, investors and others are beginning the pivot towards supporting low-carbon energy sources. That poses a fresh challenge for environmentalists: though transition is under way, scientists say only more action than is planned will avoid the catastrophic effects of unabated global warming. Campaigners are divided on the tactics to achieve this. At one end are grassroots groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, which are well known for protests that aim to obstruct polluters and mobilise public opinion. They have no plans to abandon such tactics, even as one-time foes including oil majors slowly begin to address their contribution to climate change. This month, Greenpeace protesters dangled from a Canadian bridge for 38 hours to block an oil sands tanker. “Those bold statements are needed more than ever,” says Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, “because we’re in a climate crisis and it’s very clear that the pace of change is not adequate enough.” There is also a new breed of campaigners who prefer to exert pressure inside boardrooms. These groups, including activist shareholders, investors and analysts, say there is a pragmatic case against continued investment in coal, oil and gas. Among them is Carbon Tracker Initiative, an early pioneer in arguing the risks and rewards for investors. Founded nine years ago by sustainable investment analyst Mark Campanale with philanthropic funding, the think-tank spent several years telling investors that many of their fossil fuel assets would become “unburnable” in a low-carbon economy.

FT 31st July 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 July 2018

Spain

Spain’s concentrated solar power association, Protermosolar has published a report that models a plan to achieve 85 per cent renewable energy by 2030 using a combination of wind, solar PV, and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies. The association believes would also reduce emissions by 92% by cutting coal and nuclear out of the electricity system altogether. The report was developed in response to a similar report published by a “Committee of Experts” commissioned by the former conservative Spanish Government designed to inform the country’s Energy Transition and Climate Change Law, which minimised the role of renewable energy in favour of keeping coal and nuclear and scaling up combined-cycle gas generation.

Renew Economy 31st July 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 July 2018