Wylfa

The company behind Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey has denied its owner is trying to distance itself from the scheme. When operational, the £10bn nuclear plant is expected to create 850 permanent jobs and should start generating power by 2025. Reports in Japan suggest owner Hitachi will suspend the project if new investors fail to come forward. But Horizon – a subsidiary it has charged with delivering Wylfa – said it was confident it would proceed. A spokesman for Horizon told BBC Wales’ Newyddion 9 that parent company Hitachi had made it clear from the start that new investors would be required to complete the Wylfa Newydd scheme. “It’s not Hitachi’s intention – and never has been – to completely sell Horizon,” he added. “We’re very confident that we will attract the investment required for this project.”

BBC 28th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 June 2017

Hinkley

EDF Energy boss insists a new generation of nuclear plant in the UK will deliver declining costs, others express doubt. EDF Energy’s outgoing chief executive Vincent de Rivaz has promised the firm will “earn” the right to operate a new generation of nuclear plant in the UK. To do this, de Rivaz acknowledged, “we must offer the best value for money for taxpayers and we will make it happen”. EDF’s boss of 16 years made his comments at Utility Week’s Energy Summit in London where he expressed his pride in having secured a deal for the construction of Hinkley Point C. He insisted “Hinkley Point C is making the industrial strategy happen”. He also said the project is “delivering its construction milestones to plan” and that an update on the project’s progress overall will be published “shortly”.

Utility Week 29th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 June 2017

Flamanville

A NEW nuclear reactor at Flamanville – less than 30 miles from Jersey – is fit for purpose despite weak spots in its steel structure, France’s nuclear regulator has said. In 2015 Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire [nuclear safety authority] raised concerns over ‘excessive levels’ of carbon within the reactor vessel, warning that it could lead to weaknesses within the structure. It was the latest setback for the project, which has been plagued by delays and has seen construction costs soar from 3.3 billion euros to 10.5 billion euros. The reactor – Flamanville-3 – was due to be operational by 2012 but has still not yet come into service. The go-ahead came in the form of a provisional ruling by the ASN. A final ruling will be given in October. ‘The ASN considers that there are sufficient safety margins in order to start up the reactor,’ ASN director Pierre-Franck Chevet told Reuters on Wednesday. And although the regulator has given the reactor its approval, it said the utility firm will have to replace the reactor cover by 2024 at the latest.

Jersey Evening Post 29th June 2017 read more »

[Machine Translation] While acknowledging its weaknesses, the nuclear gendarme should authorize the entry into service of the Flamanville EPR reactor at the end of next year. In return, EDF will have to multiply the controls, some of which are impossible to achieve. And change the lid of the reactor vessel “as soon as possible”. The conference room of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) was full on Wednesday afternoon. After months of suspense, the regulator of the nuclear park was to return its “position” about the future of the flagship of the tricolor atomic industry: the Flamanville EPR. In a few minutes, the case is dispatched. What do you expect from the ASN? Work will continue in Flamanville. If all goes well, the third reactor is expected to start at the end of 2018. Prudente, EDF has ordered, from April, a Japanese blacksmith a new tank lid. In Pierre-Franck Chevet’s opinion, the machine should be ready to install in 2024, six years after the reactor is commissioned! Cost: a hundred million euros. A drop of water, compared to the 10.5 billion already engulfed by EDF in the largest construction site in France.

Journal de l’environement 28th June 2017 read more »

[Machine translation] Green light for the EPR tank: an “aberrant” and “irresponsible” decision for Greenpeace. The Nuclear Safety Authority announced on Wednesday, through its president, that the tank of the EPR had sufficient guarantees to put into operation the third generation nuclear reactor. Yannick Rousselet, of Greenpeace, strongly reacted on our antenna to this decision. “It is often considered that the ASN (Nuclear Safety Authority) is doing its job very well, but unfortunately this time it was under considerable pressure, it is obvious that the decision should be only of safety. Seen a discussion of carpet dealers because it is the future of the nucélaire industry is at stake, “lamented this Wednesday evening on our antenna Yannick Rousselet, specialist in nuclear issues at Greenpeace France.

France Info 29th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 June 2017

Taishan

[Machine Translation] The manufacturing defects encountered in France also exist on the two reactors of Taishan, in the south-east of China. The decision of the nuclear safety authority prompts China to emulate it. Barely the problem of Flamanville settled, the looks turn to China. The CGN industrialist built in Taishan, in the south-east of the country, two EPRs with EDF. These two tanks were manufactured in France, in the factory of Le Creusot, like those of Flamanville. And obviously have the same manufacturing defects. “The same parts are concerned and have been manufactured with the same process, explained the ASN president, Pierre-Franck Chevet, but it is the responsibility of the Chinese to decide. For two years, they have been associated with all the tests and works of the French authority. On Monday and Tuesday, the representatives of the Chinese authority and the industrialist CGN were in Paris to follow the conclusions on the Flamanville EPR. They will have to decide whether they also impose changes to the lids of the Taishan EPRs. These two reactors must start between the end of 2017 and the end of 2018.

BFM TV 29th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 June 2017

Moorside

One of the best-known Cumbrians in the nuclear industry says the county’s new build development is an enormous opportunity. Dr Dame Sue Ion, who is originally from Carlisle and is the former chairwoman of the Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board, made the comments at a conference on nuclear new builds in London today. She spoke about the need to look at modular building processes in the industry, pointing out it may be able to find relevant expertise in the shipbuilding industry, which could cross over.

Whitehaven News 28th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 June 2017

Plutonium Transports

[Machine Translation] Next week, MOX fuel should be loaded at Cherbourg on the Pacific Egret or Pacific Heron to Japan and the Takahama nuclear power plant. The MOX contains 10% plutonium and 90% uranium. This journey through the seas of the world of dangerous fissile materials induces tensions and risks throughout the journey. The problem of safe havens in case of damage or fire is still unresolved. The ability of Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd.’s small ships to withstand North Korean cyclones, tsunamis and missiles is not demonstrated. But it is the business as usual that continues for Areva and for a French nuclear industry without guard crazy besides being penniless. Perpetuating small business as in the good old days before Fukushima means avoiding questioning the reprocessing plant for irradiated fuel and plutonium mining in La Hague, which the Nuclear Safety Authority and the unions say Since 2 years that it is in a worrying state in terms of safety. Areva’s transports always give the marines of the whole world the opportunity of exercises for the most underwater. Our first advice is therefore aimed at fishermen and especially trawlers. They must deviate widely from the convoy to eliminate any risk of hook with a submarine, hypothesis more and more plausible to explain the sinking of the Bugaled Breizh in January 2004, a few days before the departure of Cherbourg of a cargo of waste Nuclear activities to Japan.

Robin Des Bois 29th June 2017 read more »

(From earlier in the month) With today’s restart of the Takahama 3 reactor in Fukui Prefecture, Greenpeace revealed that the nuclear operator Kansai Electric and the French nuclear company AREVA are planning a secret plutonium fuel shipment from France to the Takahama plant. Plutonium fuel (MOX) reduces the safety of the reactor, increasing both the risk of a severe accident and its radiological consequences. The shipment is scheduled to depart Cherbourg France on 7 July.

Greenpeace Japan 6th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 June 2017

Energy Costs

The tumbling cost of offshore wind power could mean that it turns out to be 25 per cent cheaper than energy from Hinkley Point nuclear plant when subsidies are awarded to new projects this year, the industry regulator has suggested. Developers behind a series of proposed offshore wind farms are vying to secure government contracts that will guarantee a price for the electricity they generate for 15 years. Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said he hoped the winning projects would emerge at a price of “£70 or less” per megawatt-hour (MWh). That would compare with £92.50/MWh that was last year awarded to Hinkley Point for a 35-year contract, fuelling debate about the merits of the project and future nuclear plants. The difference between the guaranteed price and wholesale price, currently £43/MWh, will be subsidised by consumers through energy bills, with payouts for Hinkley forecast to hit £30 billion. Just a few years ago offshore wind was one of the most expensive technologies in the market. In 2014 the government awarded some projects a price of £150/MWh. Technological advances, including bigger, more efficient turbines, economies of scale in manufacturing and the introduction of a competitive “reverse auction” process to award subsidies to the cheapest projects have helped to bring costs down rapidly.

Times 30th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 June 2017

Companies

Amec Foster Wheeler, the engineering group in the midst of a £2.2bn takeover by its UK rival Wood Group, has dropped plans to sell its European nuclear business. London-listed Amec had put its nuclear services unit up for sale before agreeing the deal with Wood in March. On Thursday, Amec said that the disposal plan had been revised to exclude the European portion of the nuclear business, in consultation with Wood’s board. Sale of North American nuclear operations would go ahead, Amec said, with an aim to complete a deal later this year. The Financial Times reported last month that Wood was keen for Amec to maintain its nuclear capabilities, which range from decommissioning work at old nuclear power plants to services for the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet. Amec said there had been “a high level of interest and a number of attractive bids” for the nuclear business. North American nuclear operations produced revenues of £83m and trading profit of £1m in 2016, the group said. The FT reported in March that SNC-Lavalin of Canada was among companies interested in Amec’s nuclear unit.

FT 29th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 June 2017

Energy Policy

The Government has been strongly criticised for its lack of action on climate change by its own independent advisers, who warned that global warming was “happening, not waiting” and it was “neither justifiable nor wise to delay further”. While the UK has been at the forefront of the world’s efforts to combat the risks from the rising temperatures, the Committee on Climate Change – chaired by former Conservative Cabinet Minister John Gummer, now Lord Deben – said there was now a “risk of stalling” just when the economy was poised to take advantage of the shift to a low-carbon economy. A new Clean Growth Plan setting out how Britain will cut carbon emissions in the late 2020s and early 2030s was now “urgently needed”. Such a plan was legally required to be published as soon as possible after the Government announced new targets last year, but is not now expected until September. One leading environmentalist said the CCC’s report raised a “very serious red flag” about Ministers’ inaction, while the Government admitted “there is a need to do more”. Claire Perry, the newly appointed Climate Change Minister, told Parliament this week that she wanted the Clean Growth Plan to be “as ambitious, robust and clear” as possible, describing the document as “vitally important”. The CCC’s report said many existing Government policies were “running out” and new ones were needed. It recommended a string of different measures including policies to boost electric vehicle ownership, which the report said should make up around 60 per cent of new car and van sales by 2030. To achieve those targets, the Government needed to provide some financial support, preferential tax rates and ensure the “effective roll-out of charging infrastructure”. Other measures included helping to develop a carbon capture and storage system, looking for ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere, having a contingency plan to delays to planned project – “for example of new nuclear power plants” – and the tight regulation of fracking operations to ensure a rapid response to leaks.

Independent 29th June 2017 read more »

The government must reverse its opposition to new building regulations that ensure homes, hospitals and schools do not overheat as the number of deadly heatwaves rises, according to its official climate change advisers. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommended the new regulations in 2015 but ministers rejected the advice, citing a commitment to “reduce net regulation on homebuilders”. Without action, the number of people dying as a result of heat is expected to more than triple to 7,000 a year by 2040, the CCC warns in its annual report on the UK’s pr ogress on tackling global warming. Earlier in June, Britain experienced its longest period with temperatures above 30C since 1976. Heatwaves are known killers in the UK and the number of hot days is rising. On the hottest day of the year in 2016 there were almost 400 extra deaths, while a heatwave in 2006 led to 680 people dying and another in 2003 contributed to the deaths of about 2,000 people.

Guardian 29th June 2017 read more »

Climate Change Committee 29th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 June 2017

Energy Policy – Scotland

RENEWABLE electricity generation in Scotland has reached a record high. A new UK government report shows that generation was up by 13 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year. There was also a 16 per cent increase in capacity with more than half of all gross electricity consumption in Scotland coming from renewables. Scotland’s total installed renewable capacity – the amount of renewable electricity the country is capable of producing – now stands at 9.3GW, which is four times what it was just a decade ago. The renewable electricity sector also supports 26,000 jobs and has a turnover of £5 billion which is set to grow further as new capacity comes on stream. Acting director of WWF Scotland Dr Sam Gardner said: “It’s fantastic news that Scotland’s renewable electricity generation is at an all-time high and re-affirms the vital role it plays in powering the country. The renewable electricity sector continues to play a vital role at the heart of Scotland’s economy, delivering jobs and attracting investment.” However, he added: “If we are to replicate these benefits in the wider economy the Energy Strategy from the Scottish Government should make clear the steps it plans to take to remove fossil fuels from the heat and transport sectors. “The Scottish Government now needs to set out clear policies for how it will replicate its amazing progress on renewable electricity in the heat and transport sectors to ensure we hit the 50 per cent target by 2030.”

The National 30th June 2017 read more »

Third Force News 29th June 2017 read more »

Roseanna Cunningham: SCOTLAND’S status as an international climate change leader will be reinforced through proposals set out in a consultation launched today, which will look to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 90 per cent by 2050. By setting out this long-term approach in our proposed Climate Change Bill we are showing that we remain resolutely committed to the fight against climate change. Our targets may be challenging but they also mark a new level of ambition in our work to build a prosperous low carbon economy, and a fairer, healthier Scotland. The proposals make provision for a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target to be set as soon as a credible and costed pathway can be demonstrated and also include a consultation on a number of technical amendments which have been designed to improve the transparency of the targets. This publication arrives against a backdrop of recent figures which showed Scotland met its annual greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for the second consecutive year and is comfortably on track to meet its 2020 target. The statistics also highlighted that we continue to outperform the UK as a whole in delivering long-term reductions.

Herald 30th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 June 2017