Auditors question government handling of Hinkley Point C. Public spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) has questioned the government’s decision to remove the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station from its Major Projects Portfolio.

New Civil Engineer 19th Oct 2018 read more »

Monitoring of the UK’s biggest and riskiest projects has improved, but the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (the Authority) and government departments need to do more to increase transparency about what benefits are delivered to ensure taxpayers secure maximum value, according to today’s report by the National Audit Office (NAO). In 2016 the Authority introduced a process for deciding when projects should leave the Portfolio, addressing concerns raised by the NAO and the Committee of Public Accounts in 20163. Although it has increased transparency about whether projects have delivered their objectives, this is not happening consistently, meaning the government can’t be sure projects are leaving when they should. The NAO has raised concerns about whether accountability is diluted at the point at which projects leave the Portfolio. For example, some projects delivered by a third party and which have a limited departmental role have been removed from the Portfolio before they have completed, such as the project to enable investment in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, which left when the department responsible identified investors and signed a construction contract. Yet, the department remains the project sponsor, responsible for continuing oversight of the developer and has risks to manage. The NAO recommends that the Authority and HM Treasury require all projects to have a business case which is kept up to date to reflect any changes to a project’s scope, and work together to deliver intended benefits, keep costs within budget and select the right projects for future funding. Government departments should also manage the delivery of major projects until it is clear what benefits they have achieved and publish evaluations on projects when they complete to help departments learn lessons.

NAO 19th Oct 2018 read more »

IF you feel that your community is impacted by the Hinkley Point C (HPC) project and could benefit from the community funds available, then a drop-in day at Cannington Village Hall next week could help.

Somerset County Gazette 17th Oct 2018 read more »

Last week, contractors finished depositing mud at ‘Cardiff Grounds’ not far off the Vale coast. The mud had been dredged from near the Hinkley Point site in Somerset and a campaign was launched against disposal, demanding that it be suspended until further testing on the mud could be carried out. EDF Energy needed the mud and sediment to be removed so it can drill six vertical shafts for the cooling system for the new nuclear power station. Last Friday an EDF Energy spokesman announced: “Hinkley Point C contractors have now completed the licensed work to dredge and deposit mud in the Severn estuary. “This mud is no different to mud found anywhere else up and down the coast. It has been thoroughly tested by a UK Government agency whose experts confirmed it poses no threat to human health or the environment.”

Glamorgan Gem 17th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2018


Letter David Lowry: The article by Westminster Energy Minister Claire Perry to mark Green GB week is hypocritical, especially as in the same week fracking was allowed to restart in Lancashire. She talks about windfarms and solar farms in Anglesey, but makes no mention of the massively expensive (£20 billion-plus) new nuclear plant on Ynys Mon at Wylfa Newydd, which the Westminster government’s new financing plans mean electricity bill-payers in Wales will have to subsidise in advance. Also, in south Wales, people living near the coastline from Newport to Swansea have had their health put in danger by the dumping of radioactively contaminated mud from just off the Hinkley Point nuclear plant in Somerset. The mud has been dredged to make channels for barges bringing equipment and building materials to build the new £25bn reactor at Hinkley C. I find it extraordinary that such a dangerous policy has been permitted by the Welsh Labour Government, to assist the economically illiterate nuclear policies of the Conservative Westminster government, whose policies are almost entirely economically hostile to Wales. As a Welsh person from Neath watching from afar, these absurd energy decisions are incomprehensible.

Wales Online 19th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2018


EDF’s much-postponed plan for a reactor in Normandy of the same kind as those earmarked for Britain has come in for stinging criticism from France’s nuclear watchdog. A senior official at the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire implicitly accused the French state electrician of delaying the disclosure that at least 33 welds at the European Pressurised Reactor that is under construction in Flamanville were substandard and needed to be repaired at a cost of €400 million. EDF says that the teething troubles it has encountered at Flamanville will help to smooth the construction of two EPRs at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Times 19th Oct 2018 read more »

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) fears that the site of the EPR nuclear reactor in Flamanville (Channel) has other problems “very difficult” , in addition to that of welds, said Thursday, October 18 the head of the EPR pole of the ASN of Normandy. “I do not hide from you that ( … ) we can imagine that there may indeed be other difficulties elsewhere. We are looking at whether the welds will remain, or not, the only very difficult topic ” of this project, said Eric Zelnio at a meeting of the Local Information Committee (CLI) on the Flamanville nuclear site. This is the reason why the ASN “is about to formulate to EDF a request to extend to other equipment on the reactor” the requested quality review of the weld problem. The nuclear policeman also asks the group to “work on the kinetics of these dysfunctions, known for some for some years, ” continued Zelnio. “We have the feeling that there has been a significant lapse of time between detection, reaction and information,” added the pole leader, also regretting “the fact that some operations were not suspended” in the wake of these detections.

Le Monde 18th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2018

Energy Policy – Scotland

Gina Hanrahan, Head of Policy, WWF Scotland: CLIMATE change is no longer someone else’s problem. Scotland has experienced a year of extremes – from the Beast from the East, to this summer’s heatwave and the challenges it posed for farmers, vulnerable people and wildlife. And that’s just with 1C of warming. The international climate science report which hit the headlines last week explores what happens when we go further. The report, compiled by leading climate scientists and signed off by 195 governments, was prepared in response to the Paris Agreement, where governments committed to limit warming to well below 2C and to make efforts to limit it to 1.5C. When we talk about half a degree here or there it sounds deeply abstract and inconsequential. But the latest report shows that half a degree really matters, much like it does to the human body, where small shifts can mean the difference between a healthy temperature and a life-threatening fever. Limiting warming to 1.5C means 1.3 billion fewer people exposed to extreme heatwaves, and 60 million fewer people to droughts. It means the chance to protect up to 30 per cent of coral reefs versus the near certainty of destroying all of them – an ecosystem on which a billion people depend. With a new Climate Change Bill before Parliament, Scotland now has an opportunity to reassert its leadership in the climate change arena. However, in its current form the bill does not go far enough. It doesn’t increase short-term ambition, though the IPCC report gives renewed urgency to the next decade, and it doesn’t go far enough in its long-term target. In 2050, the bill aims for 90 per cent emissions reduction, equivalent to carbon neutrality. However, the new IPCC report tells us that the whole world needs to be carbon neutral by this point. It would be wrong if Scotland just aimed for the global average effort- we have abundant renewable resources, an innovation tradition and huge carbon storage potential. Instead Scotland should aim to eliminate its contribution to climate change entirely by 2050 by going for greenhouse gas neutr ality. This isn’t just about the energy system but also enabling change in the land use and farming sectors. We will still have some emissions from food production and industry but they can be balanced with emissions soaked up from the atmosphere by trees, peatlands and other options. It’s welcome that the Scottish Government has asked its advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, for fresh advice on what targets to set, expected in spring. It is likely that Scotland will be encouraged to aim higher.

Herald 19th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2018


The tropical beaches of India probably bring to mind sun-dappled palms, fiery fish curries and dreadlocked backpackers, but they also hold a surprising secret. Their sands are rich in thorium – often hailed as a cleaner, safer alternative to conventional nuclear fuels. The country has long been eager to exploit its estimated 300,000 to 850,000 tonnes of thorium – quite probably the world’s largest reserves – but progress has been slow. Their effort is coming back into focus amid renewed interest in the technology. Last year Dutch scientists fired up the first new experimental thorium reactor in decades, start-ups are promoting the technology in the West and last year China pledged to spend $3.3bn to develop reactors that could eventually run on thorium.

BBC 18th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2018

New Reactor Types

David Schumacher’s new documentary, The New Fire, is unusual. It doesn’t try to rehash all the old arguments. Instead, Schumacher profiles young people working to invent better versions of nuclear power plants. There’s the couple with a simple reactor design who started the company, Oklo. And there’s the Bill Gates-backed TerraPower, which doesn’t require the uranium enrichment that can be used to make bombs.

Grist 18th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2018


THE DUKE of Cambridge visited one of the hottest places in the Solar System today when he met scientists at a potentially world-changing energy project. The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) at Culham Science Centre, near Abingdon, welcomed The Duke to mark the end of construction of MAST Upgrade, a nuclear fusion experiment.

Oxford Mail 18th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2018


Representatives from more than 20 countries and regions have gathered in Beijing for a seminar on international efforts to fight nuclear terrorism and how to deal with threats to use nuclear devices at large public events, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Thursday. The seminar, held from Tuesday to Friday, serves as the latest efforts by China to implement the consensus reached during the Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington DC in 2016, Lu said at a daily briefing on Thursday. The event was hosted under China’s cooperation with the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), said Lu.

Global Times 18th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2018


Japan’s Toshiba Corp and IHI Corp have decided to dissolve their joint venture that make turbines for nuclear power plants due to weakened demand following the Fukushima disaster.

Reuters 19th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2018


In a move that has sparked outrage from local residents and dire health warnings from environmentalists, the Japanese government is reportedly planning to release 1.09 million tons of water from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean despite evidence that it contains “radioactive material well above legally permitted levels.” While both the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco)—the company that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant—have claimed that radioactive material in the water has been reduced to indetectable amounts and that only “safe levels of tritium” remain, documents obtained by the London-based Telegraph suggest that the cleaning system being used to decontaminate the water “has consistently failed to eliminate a cocktail of other radioactive elements, including iodine, ruthenium, rhodium, antimony, tellurium, cobalt, and strontium.”

Common Dreams 18th Oct 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2018