Sellafield

NDA has not systematically reviewed why major projects keep running into difficulties. Despite some progress, expected cost overruns stand at nearly £1 billion. BEIS still to make decision on future plutonium stockpile. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Sellafield Limited have recently met significant milestones with reducing risk at the high hazard facilities at Sellafield, the NDA’s largest and most hazardous site. The NDA and Sellafield Limited have also made progress with reducing delays and expected cost overruns with 14 major projects at Sellafield, which have a combined lifetime cost estimate of £6 billion. While we recognise that there has been progress since this Committee last reported, there is still a long way to go and the NDA cannot afford to be complacent. Most major projects at Sellafield are still significantly delayed, with expected combined cost overruns of £913 million. The NDA has not systematically reviewed why these projects keep running into difficulties, or analysed properly the constraints it says prevent them from making faster progress.

Public Accounts Committee 31st Oct 2018 read more »

Most major projects at the Sellafield nuclear site are still “significantly” delayed, with expected over-runs of £913 million, according to an official report. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it remained sceptical about the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) long-term strategy to decommission Sellafield until work was completed. The committee said the NDA had not systematically reviewed why projects kept running into difficulties, or analysed the constraints preventing it from making faster progress. The committee last examined progress at Sellafield in March 2015 and found that major programmes and projects were significantly behind schedule and over budget. Its latest report said progress had been made in reducing delays and expected cost over-runs with 14 major projects at the site in Cumbria, which have a combined lifetime cost estimate of £6 billion. The committee said progress had been made in the past few years, but added that there was a long way to go. Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, deputy chairman of the committee, said: “This report is critical of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s performance. The Government’s oversight of the NDA’s performance could and should be much better, particularly on projects at Sellafield that cost a considerable amount of public money. “This report follows the committee’s earlier report into the NDA’s Magnox contract. The NDA failed in both the procurement and management of this contract and cost the taxpayer £122 million.”

Isle of Wight County Press 31st Oct 2018 read more »

Sellafield nuclear decommissioning work ‘significantly’ delayed and nearly £1bn over budget, report reveals.

Independent 31st Oct 2018 read more »

Troubled Sellafield project hits nearly a billion in overruns. Most major projects at the Sellafield nuclear site are still “significantly” delayed, with expected over-runs of £913 million, according to an official.

Energy Voice 31st Oct 2018 read more »

Huffington Post 31st Oct 2018 read more »

The Sellafield Medium and Long Term Reseach Needs review sets where our R&D will be focussed, in the medium to longer term. The purpose of this document is to present the details of this review. Five science themes and 6 technology areas have been identified, which when combined form the science and technology work breakdown structure against which medium to longer term research needs have been captured. These processes and technologies need to be sufficiently underpinned by R&D and as our mission evolves, it is essential that the science and technology areas requiring R&D investment are aligned to the changing needs of the business.

Sellafield Ltd 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Thorp was one of the largest construction projects of its day, ranking alongside the Channel Tunnel and Disneyland Paris in sheer scale and ambition. Thousands of workers descended onto Cumbria to help tackle some of the most unique engineering challenges in the world.

Sellafield Ltd and NDA 26th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 October 2018

Dungeness

EDF Energy has extended outages at its Dungeness B-21 and B-22 nuclear reactors in Britain until late December and late January to replace pipework, it said on Tuesday. The two reactors have been offline for scheduled outages since late summer. Dungeness B-21 was scheduled to come back online on Nov. 19 but this has been extended to Dec. 24. Dungeness B-22 was due to come back online on Dec. 17 but this has been extended to Jan. 31, 2019. “The reason for the extension to these planned outages is so that we can replace a section of a steam pipe on unit 22 and carry out additional inspections on the remaining 480 metres of pipework on both of the units,” an EDF Energy spokesperson told Reuters. EDF Energy, part of French utility EDF, operates 15 nuclear reactors in Britain which provide around 20 percent of the country’s electricity. Currently there are six reactors offline on planned outages which have a combined capacity of around 3.2 gigawatts.

Reuters 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 October 2018

Wylfa

US-headquartered Black & Veatch has secured a framework position working on the 2.7GW Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station, supporting architect engineer Wood Group. The potential ten-year project marks a significant moment for the firm which has long-held ambitions to expand into the UK energy sector.

Environment Analyst 29th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 October 2018

Energy Policy

Environmental groups have criticised the lack of new funding and measures to tackle climate change and the spiralling decline of wildlife. In the Budget Philip Hammond announced schemes to encourage tree planting and to tax plastics, but critics said such actions fail to tackle the problems Britain and the planet as a whole faces. Many pointed out that the chancellor’s speech contained no references to climate change, despite coming in the wake of a major report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the devastating impacts of rising global temperatures.

Independent 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Environmental campaigners have condemned the chancellor’s budget plan to spend £60m on tree planting while £30bn is being pledged for roads. They highlighted the contrast between the money the government is vowing to spend on improving green spaces and how much it is putting towards infrastructure that they fear will encourage driving and damage the environment. Philip Hammond will announce in the budget that £60m will be spent on planting millions more trees across England, including a project to plant new street and urban trees set to receive £10m.

Independent 29th Oct 2018 read more »

Widespread disappointment for the UK renewable energy sector in the Chancellors 2018 Autumn Budget, across a number of clean energy technology sectors, provokes dismayed reactions from trade associations and condemnation from Greenpeace and the Green Party. The Autumn Budget announcement delivered in the House of Commons yesterday (Monday 29th October) by Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond was controversial for a number of reasons across a variety of sectors, but the UK renewable energy sector has expressed particular disappointment over the meagre pickings. Yet again, there was no visible support by the government for nationwide food waste collection aimed at driving forward biogas production from anaerobic digestion. The Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) in particular has repeatedly attempted to move the government on this issue, thus far without too much success. ADBA also commented on the need to replace the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in order to further support heat generation from renewable sources. The Solar Trade Association (STA) quickly expressed its bitter disappointment with the Autumn Budget Announcement shortly after its delivery yesterday. The announcement saw no progress on reasonable requests by the UK solar industry for fair tax treatment. This means that barriers to the uptake of solar and storage in the UK, which put clean energy at a competitive disadvantage compared to fossil fuels, remain in place, including business rates and capital allowance treatment. Tax disadvantages will therefore continue to hamper the progress of renewables and smart energy in Britain, just as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that the time left to act is fast running out.

Renewable Energy Magazine 30th Oct 2018 read more »

The UK renewables lobby has once again expressed its exasperation that clean energy failed to merit a mention within this year’s Budget, despite the government teasing an overhaul of tax benefits for on-site generators. Yesterday afternoon chancellor Philip Hammond delivered the 2018 Budget, but during his speech in the House of Commons failed to mention climate change or renewable energy at all. This was compounded by the complete omission of renewables from the Red Book documents despite clean growth being a central factor of the government’s industrial strategy.

Solar Power Portal 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Letter Green Alliance: Only a few weeks ago the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we have only 12 years to avert catastrophic global warming. Philip Hammond gave the government’s response in his budget on Monday: he did not mention climate change once. Actions, though, speak louder than words. The chancellor announced the freezing of fuel duty and pumped money into road-building. He replaced £2 billion a year of European Investment Bank lending, most of which goes to clean energy, with a fund a tenth of the size. There is to be continuing policy uncertainty for investors in renewables but a £3 billion tax break for the oil and gas industry.

Times 31st Oct 2018 read more »

Five things you might have missed from yesterday’s Budget. 1. Businesses get extra help for energy efficiency; 2. National Infrastructure Commission gets fresh remit to investigate climate challenges

Business Green 30th Oct 2018 read more »

The government has published the interim response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s flagship assessment of the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs. The government has published its interim response to the NIA. This sets out the governments track record of investment, and new steps taken at Budget in response to NIC priorities. The government will formally respond to the NIA in 2019, publishing a comprehensive National Infrastructure Strategy.

Treasury 29th Oct 2018 read more »

In reaction to the government’s interim response[1] to the National Infrastructure Assessment, Kate Blagojevic, Head of Energy at Greenpeace UK, said “The NIC made some clear, quantifiable recommendations based on extensive investigations about the future for our energy system, and it looks like the government is going to give them the brush off. For example, the NIC made it clear that it would run counter to economic logic to commit to building more than one new nuclear reactor after Hinkley C. For the government to reply with their stock response of listing what they are doing already is patronising and depressing. We paid experts to study these issues and make recommendations. If the government thinks those recommendations are wrong, they should at least explain why.”

Greenpeace 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 October 2018

New Nuclear

Letter Leonard S Hyman, Sleepy Hollow, NY, US: The view from Oxford certainly is different from here, a few miles downriver from one of America’s most historic nuclear power stations. Professors Anton van der Merwe and Wade Allison of that venerable university assert that nuclear power has been held back by two “tragic misconceptions”, and they are that “radioactivity is very dangerous” and that “renewables can meet our energy needs”. I would assert that they themselves may be labouring under the influence of another misconception, “that building nuclear reactors allows greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced rapidly at low cost”. They cite Ontario and France as examples, but Ontario has not put a nuclear reactor into service for close to two decades and France has struggled mightily to open its latest, extraordinarily expensive and overdue nuclear plant. Nuclear might have been a cheap way to go decades ago. Now it appears that building nuclear stations is one of the most expensive means available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Looking at nuclear power as cheap is itself a tragic misconception; it fails to compare the low costs of running old nuclear stations with the high costs of building and running new ones, and it muddies the waters for any discussion of nuclear power’s future. Whatever its faults or virtues, nuclear power’s development today has been stymied by economic factors first, and we need to face up to that.

FT 31st Oct 2018 read more »

Paul Dorfman: Given the human and environmental risks associated with rampant climate change, it is more important than ever to communicate facts rather than conjecture. While Financial Times readers may be used to competing academics taking ham-fisted swings at each other, here the stakes are too high to let it go. The reality is that professors Anton van der Merwe and Wade Allison ( Letters, October 29) are factually mistaken on all counts. First, nuclear new builds are universally acknowledged to be high-risk projects involving significant delay, vast cost escalation and investor risk, with construction proceeding only with huge public subsidy. Second, the overwhelming scientific consensus, the basis of all international radiation protection, is that there is no safe radiation dose, and “body counts” do little to throw light on the complex reality of radiation risk. By contrast, Prof Allison believes low doses of radiation might be good for you. Finally, the International Energy Agency states that 1tn watts of renewable power, equivalent to 1,000 large reactors and three times the world’s existing nuclear capacity, will be installed worldwide over the next five years. By 2023, renewables will account for a third of total electricity generation worldwide. In this context, nuclear power at the expense of more flexible, safe, productive, cost-effective and affordable technologies does seem rather foolish.

FT 30th Oct 2018 read more »

I have rarely, if ever, read such an egregiously inaccurate letter as that from Professors Anton van der Merwe and Wade Allison of the University of Oxford. What on earth has happened to scholarship at the august academia at Oxford? The authors put France on an energy pedestal, asserting it has already shown that “building nuclear reactors allows greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced very rapidly at low cost.” Just over last weekend it was reported that the French public is becoming increasingly less in favour of nuclear power, with over half (53%) of French people stating they now oppose nuclear energy, in a survey conducted by the pollster Odoxa, compared to 67% who said in another poll five years ago they supported nuclear power.

David Lowry’s Blog 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 October 2018

Radwaste

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Association for Environmentally Safe Disposal of Radioactive Materials (EDRAM) have pledged to strengthen cooperation and coordination on the development of “safe, effective and secure solutions” for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel.

World Nuclear News 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 October 2018

Fukushima

Tokyo Electric Power Co. quickly learned that Twitter users find nothing lovely, endearing or irresistibly cute about a damaged reactor building at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The utility apologized after coming under fire for posting a tweet carrying the hashtag “#kojo-moe” (love-factory) in Japanese along with a picture of the spent fuel pool on the top part of the No. 4 reactor building on Oct. 29. “Kojo” is a term for factory or industrial plant. “Moe” is a slang word used to describe something that melts one’s heart or is irresistibly pretty or cute. In recent years, the term “kojo-moe” has been used by factory enthusiasts for industrial structures considered beautiful, such as plants illuminated at night. It has also appeared in a number of photobooks of factories. Soon after TEPCO’s tweet was posted, the utility’s official account was bombarded with critical replies.

Asahi Shimbun 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 October 2018

Floating Nuclear

In an interview with High North News, Rosatom left unanswered a host of questions regarding the safety of its Floating Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) Akademik Lomonosov. The plant is scheduled to be towed to the Arctic port of Pevek and begin electricity generation by the end of 2019.

High North News 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 October 2018

Belgium

A forced shutdown of one nuclear reactor in the lead up to winter may be regarded as unfortunate. But the closure of six of the seven reactors responsible for supplying 40% of Belgium’s electricity is raising eyebrows, even in a country so prone to chaotic administration. An emergency “load shedding” plan has been updated, under which motorway lights will be switched off, industrial production suspended and rolling three-hour blackouts launched in homes nationwide should temperatures drop in the coming months and demand outstrip the now limited electricity supply. Residents have also been warned bills could increase, despite the suggestion that they might need to iron less and use just one pot to cook. The impending crisis stems from the discovery at the end of last month of “concrete degradation” at the Tihange nuclear power plant, west of Liege, forcing the closure of its three reactors. Unfortunately, three of the four reactors at Belgium’s second nuclear plant, in Doel, near Antwerp, are also out of action due to planned repairs.

Guardian 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 October 2018

France

France may keep the door open for new nuclear reactors in the 2020s if they prove to be cost-competitive, with a leaked government document setting a Eur60-70/MWh average cost range for the second generation EPR.

S&P Global 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Justice ordered Monday, October 29 new charges after the acquisition of mines in Namibia, South Africa and the Central African Republic by the French nuclear giant in 2007 for two billion euros. The Court of Appeal has confirmed the indictment of former senior officials of Areva for offense of obstruction.

RFI 30th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 31 October 2018