News

Hinkley

Environment minister Denis Naughten has asked the UK to consult Ireland on the potential effects of a nuclear power station on England’s west coast, 250km from Rosslare. The Irish government has stopped short of calling for a full environmental impact assessment (EIA) of Hinkley Point C, the first new nuclear station in the UK in more than 20 years, however. Were such a study held, the Irish public could comment on the plans. The environment department said it was a “matter for the UK to decide” whether work on Hinkley C should be put on hold while potentially affected countries such as Ireland are consulted, as recommended by a United Nations committee. The UK has been criticised at the UN for not consulting neighbouring countries under the terms of the 1991 Espoo Convention, which requires European and some central Asian countries to talk to each other about large projects that pose an environmental threat across borders. Apart from Ireland, Norway has also asked to be consulted. According to German media reports, so have Germany and the Netherlands. An Taisce lost a UK court challenge in 2013 to the legality of Hinkley’s planning permission on the basis that Britain had failed to consult the Irish public on potential trans-boundary effects. An appeal in 2014 also failed. A British government spokeswoman said the country’s environment agency and nuclear regulator had assessed the station design for safety, security and environmental impact before granting approval. “The project will continue to be subject to robust regulation from these bodies and we’re confident it will have no significant adverse effect on the environment of any other country,” she said.

Sunday Times 26th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 March 2017

Toshiba

Toshiba has decided to press the big red button in its attempts to reorganise its nuclear power business, seeking Chapter 11 protection for troubled Westinghouse Electric. Reported Friday by Reuters, a filing would blow out the cost of restructuring the business to US$9 billion (1 trillion yen). According to Nikkei, the company will meet with utilities and other stakeholders as early as Monday afternoon, US time, to discuss its Chapter 11 plans. The final decision will be made at a Westinghouse board meeting Tuesday morning.

The Register 27th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 March 2017

Urenco

Urenco Ltd.’s Chief Executive Officer Thomas Haeberle said he’s cautiously optimistic that new rules can be negotiated to guarantee the flow of nuclear materials in and out of the U.K. after the nation leaves the bloc. “We are making the U.K. government, which is also our shareholder, aware of the requirements our business needs to fulfill in the context of Brexit and of leaving Euratom,” said Haeberle, referring to the European Atomic Community, a part of the EU’s bedrock agreement signed on March 25, 1957. Just as bankers have made London a global financial hub, nuclear workers have turned Britain into a central cog servicing the world’s flow of atomic materials. Urenco, the world’s second-biggest maker of reactor fuel, runs a factory in Capenhurst and oversees its global distribution network from Stoke Poges outside of London. Owned by the U.K. and Dutch governments as well as German utilities EON SE and RWE AG, Urenco has set up a working group that “deals with all the risks and the possible mitigations,” Haeberle said. He spoke with Bloomberg a week before the EU celebrates Euratom’s 60th anniversary, his first interview since becoming CEO in January 2016. Euratom’s main function is to safeguard nuclear fuel, making sure it isn’t diverted to make weapons. The U.K. will lose that service once it departs the EU. Nuclear fuel suppliers and power plants need certification from Euratom or whatever system succeeds it to buy material on the open market.

Energy Voice 26th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 March 2017

Magnox

Babcock International Group PLC on Monday said it has agreed with the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to bring to an end its Magnox decommissioning contract at the end of August 2019. This means the contract will have been operated by Cavendish Fluor Partnership, in which Babcock has a 65% stake, for a full five years. Babcock said that this will result in the removal of around GBP800 million from its GBP20 billion order book, and will mark an annual step down in revenue of around GBP100 million – less than 2% of its turnover – from its financial year 2020/2021. It said it expects to replace this revenue over that timeframe. Babcock said it does not expect end of the contract to have “any negative financial impacts” over the next three years, nor to change the financial guidance it will give in May with its results for the financial year to the end of March. Babcock said that it had become apparent that the work that needed to be done at the twelve Magnox sites was “now materially different in volume” from what was specified in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s tender, which puts the contract at risk of a legal challenge.

London South East 27th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 March 2017

Energy Supplies

National Grid is gearing up for summer with the start of a scheme which pays companies to use more electricity when wind and solar power surges past demand. For the power system operator the return of longer, brighter days during British Summer Time flips the winter-time challenge of securing enough supply to meet demand. Instead, it will face periods when grid demand falls and there is more wind and solar power than Britain needs. The boom in solar panels in recent years, fuelled by subsidies, has far exceeded expectations. These panels feed the power they produce directly into homes or the local electricity grid, cutting demand on the national system to what is expected to be a record low this year. From Monday the so-called ‘demand turn up’ scheme will pay six successful businesses who were selected through an auction and are able to commit to using more power when there is an excess in the system. A National Grid spokesman said its figures show it will save consumers £500,000 over the summer.

Telegraph 26th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 March 2017

Norway

Early this month, Bellona’s General Director and nuclear physicist Nils Bøhmer wrote a short work-a-day analysis of a small leak of radioactive iodine 131 that occurred back in October at Norway’s Halden research reactor, and posted it on the organization’s website. The next day, Bøhmer awoke to find himself portrayed as a lone hero thwarting a pan-European conspiracy to hush up a Fukushima-level radiation emergency. His report soared up the ratings in Google, eclipsing all but three other returns for a search on “Halden Reactor.” The phone started ringing. Facebook exploded. Comment requests flooded the inbox of Ellen Viseth, Bellona’s press officer. Outside, according to reports still bubbling on the Internet, a radioactive cloud darkened the skies over Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain. Someone had sabotaged the web-based European Radiological Data Exchange Platform to make sure no one knew about it. The Norwegians were shredding readings on the leak, and the International Atomic Energy Agency was helping them by flat-lining their own suspiciously peaking radiation graphs.

Bellona 27th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 March 2017

Renewables – solar

Letter Paul Barwell, CEO, Solar Trade Association; Andrew McCornick, President, NFU Scotland; Lang Banks, Director, WWF Scotland; Dr Richard Dixon, Director, Friends of the Earth Scotland and others. Scotland’s bold ambitions for renewable energy in the draft Scottish Energy Strategy are warmly welcome. Confidence among investors in UK renewables has been damaged by regressive policy change emanating from Westminster, particularly for the most affordable clean technologies; wind and solar. It is therefore more important than ever that the Scottish Government uses all the powers at its disposal to help restore jobs and vitality to these important industries, while delivering the cheapest clean power for the Scottish people. Rooftop solar provides an exceptionally cost-effective, popular, community-based solution with the potential for a staggering 40GW of rooftop capacity across Scotland. However, solar deployment on Scottish rooftops lags far behind both national and European deployment. One of the reasons for this is the particularly harsh tax treatment of rooftop solar on Scot tish businesses and public sector buildings, including schools and hospitals. Indeed business rates in Scotland for these larger solar roofs are currently 10 times those south of the Border (although Westminster threatens similar treatment) and these taxes do not apply in Europe. This is an own goal that needlessly puts the Scottish solar industry at a competitive disadvantage and denies Scottish business an important opportunity to invest for energy and carbon savings. The Scottish Government has the power to lay simple secondary legislation to exempt rooftop solar cells and panels from business rates and it should not hesitate to do so. The abrupt loss of national support for solar means the economics is now fragile, but decisive action on business rates would go a very long way to enabling new solar jobs and solar rooftops to blossom across Scotland. We urge ministers to now use their powers.

Herald 27th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 March 2017

Renewables – fuel cells

IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer announced it has completed installation of its fifth biogas-powered fuel cell system in California – and in the country – at its East Palo Alto location in the San Francisco Bay Area. Furthering the Swedish retailer’s investment in fuel cell technology, this project complements the company’s focus on other renewable energies such as solar and wind. With the East Palo Alto fuel cell system installed, commissioned and operational, IKEA is on track to generate 1.5 MW in total of energy via fuel cells, supplementing onsite solar arrays atop all these stores.

Esolar 16th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 March 2017

Energy Efficiency

Scarborough Hospital’s new low-carbon energy centre, which includes a combined heat and power (CHP) unit, is set to deliver savings of more than £9m and almost 32,000 tonnes of carbon reduction.

Edie 24th March 2017 read more »

Development company Lendlease is to pioneer ultra-energy-efficient homes in central London, monitoring the residents over several years to see how new technology could change the housing market. The 15 Futurehome buildings at Lendlease’s huge regeneration project at Elephant and Castle, which are the first to be built in zone one of the capital, will be sold this spring. The developer wants to monitor residents with a view to creating more green buildings in the future.

Telegraph 26th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 March 2017

Energy Storage

A German coal mine will be converted into giant “battery station” to store enough renewable energy to power some 400,000 homes. The Prosper-Haniel pit in the state of North Rhine Westphalia near the Dutch border, has produced the fossil fuel for almost half a century. But now it will find a new purpose as a 200 megawatt pumped-storage hydroelectric reservoir.

Independent 25th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 March 2017