Sizewell

Campaigners fighting proposals for new-build nuclear power plants have dismissed the need for Sizewell C – and called on the Government to reassess future electricity usage and generation. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) group, which represents 40 councils across the country, believes renewable energy alternatives, with energy efficiency and energy storage, are more effective options. The group points to the recent scrapping of the Sellafield Moorside development, and the decision to halt the Wylfa B and Oldbury B projects as evidence of the state of the new-build programme. NFLA steering committee and English Forum chairman David Blackburn said: “In our submission, NFLA shows in detail why the Government’s ongoing support for new nuclear is flawed and that there is no need for such reactors at a time when the renewable sector is rapidly moving forward. Sizewell C also has some serious issues over the waste it would produce remaining on site for many decades, and the serious accident scenarios international agencies have developed suggesting much more alarming consequences than EDF foresee. “If the local councils in Suffolk are not particularly impressed with EDF’s current proposals, then there is indeed much work for it to do. NFLA see no ‘need’ for new nuclear at a time of major changes to future energy use.”

East Anglian Daily Times 24th March 2019 read more »

A Suffolk artist believes the go-ahead for Sizewell C would be an “enormous and dangerous gamble” with the county’s air quality – which could impact the lives of thousands of people. At a recent exhibition in Woodbridge, Fran Crowe, whose art often reflects her deep concerns over the environment, invited people to donate air to those in need of better air quality and produced boxes of Sizewell Scud to help people imagine the air they will be breathing during construction of the nuclear power plant. She says the work – which also includes an air raid kit including an air calculator – is tongue-in-cheek but seriously researched. Despite the sea air and open countryside, she has found air quality in Suffolk poor over the past 20 years of living here – her son and partner now suffer from asthma and she has suffered from chronic bronchitis. In her concerns about Sizewell C, she highlights the huge amount of extra traffic there will be if a road-led strategy is adopted for delivery of materials – including up to 1,500 lorries a day, 5,000 car journeys to and from park and ride sites and the buses to transport workers, plus travel for campus-based employees.

East Anglian Daily Times 24th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 25 March 2019

Utilities

Just over a year after buying First Utility, Royal Dutch Shell has rebranded the British household energy supplier and is switching all its customers to renewable electricity as the oil and gas giant seeks to expand its low-carbon business. The move by the Anglo-Dutch company poses a challenge for Britain’s long-standing retail power suppliers whose profit margins have come under growing pressure due to intense competition and the regulator’s price cap. First Utility, which has around 710,000 energy customers, has been rebranded as Shell Energy and joins a handful of energy brands such as Bulb and Octopus Energy that offer all customers 100 percent renewable electricity.

Reuters 24th March 2019 read more »

Times 25th March 2019 read more »

Telegraph 24th March 2019 read more »

On Sunday, Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, announced that its First Utility retail power business would be rebranded as Shell Energy, with 700,000 households switched to renewable power. Customers will be offered not only cleaner electricity but discounts on fast-charging for their electric vehicles as well as broadband and smart-home technologies. Shell has floated the idea that by the 2030s it could be the largest power company in the world. Meanwhile, Enel, the Italian electricity group that by some measures holds that title today, last week highlighted the rapid growth in its network of electric car-charging points. By the end of 2018 it had installed 49,000 worldwide, up 63 per cent during the year, chief executive Francesco Starace said as he announced annual earnings. The competition to provide the best offerings is given an additional edge by a clash of cultures. People who work in the high-stakes world of oil and gas have traditionally looked down on the humdrum plodders of the electricity sector, described by one gas executive as “useless”. The next decade will reveal whether that confidence is justified. On the oil side of the energy industry, pressure from investors is forcing companies to look at ways to curb greenhouse gas emissions, while the rise of electric vehicles is threatening to put a brake on the growth in demand for crude. Vitol, the world’s largest independent energy trader, said last Tuesday it expected oil demand to peak within 15 years, and intended to focus on cleaner fuels and power trading in the coming years. Total, the French oil and gas group, has a similar message. “We really think as an energy company,” Philippe Sauquet, its president of gas, renewables and power, said at the recent CERAWeek conference in Houston.

FT 25th March 2019 read more »

Octopus Energy has launched a dedicated green, flexible electricity supply service for transport operators looking to ensure their electric vehicle (EV) fleets are charged up during the cheapest times of the day using 100 per cent renewable energy. The firm claims the ‘Electric Juice’ tariff, a collaboration between its business energy and electric vehicles arms, is the first of its kind in the UK, and comes after consultation with more than 20 EV charge points companies last year. It is based on the company’s Agile Octopus time-of-use tariff, which launched last year to enable customers to take advantage of half-hourly changes in the price of electricity, with the price higher during times of peak demand for electricity, and cheapest when demand is low. Octopus Energy has estimated that tariffs which vary based on time of day can save customers up to £229 compared with standard tariffs, and recently partnered with Amazon’s Alexa device to improve customer access to up-to-date changes in prices on the tariff. Electric Juice comprises a range of four tariff options, which can be tailored to suit different businesses’ needs, the company said. It includes a six-monthly review to assess whether companies are on the most appropriate tariff structure, it added.

Business Green 25th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 25 March 2019

Energy Policy

The UK is the best placed large country in the race to switch from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy sources, says the World Economic Forum (WEF). A study of 115 nations ranked the UK as eighth in its preparedness for the energy transition, and the only G7 nation in the top 10 of the WEF’s index. However, the UK’s success is being undermined by the largest greenhouse gas emitters – including the US, China, India and Russia – whose progress on energy transition has stalled. Despite the climate pact signed in Paris three years ago, the world’s energy systems have become less affordable and are no more environmentally sustainable than they were five years ago, warned the WEF.

Telegraph 25th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 25 March 2019

Uranium

Although, colonialism has come to an end in Africa, don’t be deceived, the former colonial powers activities and capabilities on the continent are very limited. They do not intend to give up their positions at key points for their national interests. Most indicative is France, whose energy, tied up at nuclear power plants, to a large extent depends on the uninterrupted supply of African uranium. Its largest exporter is the West African country Niger, in which the firms controlled by Areva, the state corporation and the leader of the nuclear industry in France, are the operators of the main uranium deposits in the country.

Modern Ghana 20th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 25 March 2019

SMRs

There could be hundreds of tiny nuclear reactors around the world by the end of the next decade and they may bring major economic benefits to the UK, a government-funded study has found. So-called micro nuclear reactors (MNRs) typically produce up to 30 megawatts of energy, around the same as ten wind turbines. A report commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) found that the fledgeling technology could tap into a 2,850 megawatt global market by around 2030. The small reactors are cheaper and more flexible than traditional nuclear sites, and more reliable than renewables such as wind or solar, which rely on the weather. They could provide energy for remote communities, military bases and desalination plants. However, the largest market would likely be as backup generators to regular nuclear plants, the report by Nuvia, WSP and Atomic Acquisitions, found. However the consultants warned that regulation and public concerns could hamper the technology’s future. The government has had to go back to the drawing board in recent months after both Hitachi and Toshiba pulled out of plans for nuclear reactors. It comes as wind power is becoming cheaper, and looks set to account for a third of Britain’s energy needs by 2030, according to government forecasts.

City AM 24th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 25 March 2019

Chernobyl

Three book reviewed.

New York Review of Books 4th April 2019 read more »

Posted: 25 March 2019

Three Mile Island

Residents around Three Mile Island were exposed to much more radiation from the nuclear disaster than was claimed by officials, a fact that was kept from researchers and the public for years. After the Three Mile Island reactor core melted and radioactivity was released to the surrounding population, researchers were not allowed to investigate health impacts of higher doses because the TMI Public Health Fund, established to pay for public health research related to the disaster, was under a research gag order issued by a court. If a researcher wanted to conduct a study using money from this Fund, they had to obey two main parameters set forth by Federal Judge Sylvia Rambo, who was in charge of the Fund.

Beyond Nuclear 24th March 2019 read more »

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the accident at Three Mile Island. The partial meltdown at TMI took place on March 28, 1979 and it remains the nation’s worst nuclear accident. And it left an indelible mark on Pennsylvania. Today, the plant is slated to be shut down, although lawmakers are working on solutions to keep the plant open. This month, PennLive and WITF have collaborated on stories examining the accident’s impact, the efforts to save TMI and what happens if the plant shuts down. Both news organizations have produced stories, photo galleries, videos, radio programs and podcasts exploring this signature event in Pennsylvania’s history.

Penn Live 24th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 25 March 2019

US

Too cheap to meter now needs a bailout? It wasn’t that long ago when Pennsylvania legislators proclaimed that the market was best suited to determine what energy technologies should move Pennsylvania forward. And it wasn’t that long ago that nuclear power generators, after receiving $9 billion from ratepayers, embraced the marketplace and deregulation. Now two nuclear corporations, Illinois-based Exelon Energy and Ohio-based First Energy no longer believe in the Pennsylvania marketplace. These corporations want to charge consumers a nuclear tax, and ship the profits to Illinois and Ohio. Not the good neighbor policy most of us had in mind.

Beyond Nuclear 24th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 25 March 2019

Saudi Arabia

Nick Butler: In normal circumstances, the decision by any country to improve the efficiency of its energy supplies by investing in new technology would barely be worthy of attention. But Saudi Arabia is not a normal country and the combination of the technology chosen — civil nuclear power — and concerns over the strategy of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made the Saudi move a cause of debate. The Saudi plans for nuclear development are not new. Eight years ago a target of building 16 reactors over 20 years was announced. The commitment has been regularly repeated since and updated to a new target of 17 gigawatts of capacity by 2032 or 2040 Dialogues were established with a number of the countries and companies capable of supplying the necessary reactors — including South Korea, Russia, France and China, as well as the US through General Electric and Westinghouse. Various pre-development studies were started. But no construction work has begun and Saudi’s growing electricity needs continue to be met almost entirely by oil and natural gas.

FT 25th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 25 March 2019

Japan

The economy ministry is weighing the introduction of a subsidy system paid to electricity producers who use nuclear plants to offset massive costs to meet tougher safety standards after the 2011 disaster. Officials said that those expenses have cut into the cost competitiveness of nuclear energy to such an extent that a subsidy system may have to be utilized, despite its longtime contention that nuclear energy is the most economical form of electricity generation. Given that the subsidies will end up being padded onto the electricity bills of households and businesses, it remains to be seen if the public will go along with shouldering the additional burden.

Asahi Shimbun 23rd March 2019 read more »

Posted: 25 March 2019