British companies could receive added protection from foreign takeovers under new government proposals – just months after Theresa May cast doubt on a nuclear-power-station deal with China. The proposals have been presented as being “in the interests of national security.” May suspended progress on a nuclear-power plant being built in Somerset, in which the Chinese had a central role. China General Nuclear (CGN) agreed to take a 33-percent stake in £18-billion ($23.8-billion) Hinkley Point C project, alongside French firm EDF. However, progress on the project was paused by May in one of her early acts as Prime Minister in order to allow closer examination of the details. CGN was “delighted” that Theresa May eventually agreed to the partnership, but the new proposals seem to indicate that something got her spooked. Business Secretary Greg Clark said the new rules will allow state intervention in the case of businesses that involve “the advanced technology sector,” and companies that “design or manufacture military and dual-use products.” Although Clark did not mention China by name, the country’s growing pre-eminence in those sectors is widely recognized. “It is right that every so often the Government reviews its mergers regime to close loopholes where they arise and this is what these proposals do in the area of national security,” Clark said, ahead of a consultation on the plans. “No part of the economy is off-limits to foreign investment and the UK will continue to be a vociferous advocate for free trade and a magnet for global talent.”

Russia Today 18th Oct 2017 read more »

Ian Holcroft joins Murphy at the start of November from the Hinkley nuclear power station project where he has been leading the procurement for Bylor, a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues TP.

Construction Index 19th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2017


The Layers on the edge of Saxmundham has been enjoyed and used by residents for more than a century for recreation, as venue for the Suffolk Show, a camp for troops in the Second World War, farmland, and as a haven for wildlife. But now Hopkins Homes has proposed building up to 225 houses on the 50-acre site, plus a £4.35million primary school and country park, while a consultant’s report has suggested The Layers could be developed as an accommodation campus for construction workers for Sizewell C. The Leave The Layers Alone campaign, launched to fight plans for the site stretching from South Entrance alongside and partly straddling the B1121, next to the rail line, as far as Benhall Green, said either option would “destroy the historic landscape forever and place a potentially catastrophic burden on Saxmundham’s oldest and most fragile neighbourhoods” around the town centre and conservation area.

East Anglian Daily Times 17th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2017

Energy Policy – Scotland

Letter Jack Ponton: I await with interest the business plan for Ms Sturgeon’s national energy company which will provide Scottish consumers with energy at ‘nearly the cost price’. Ms Sturgeon definitely talks about energy , ‘renewable of course’. One wonders if, like Mr Miliband, when drawing up the UK’s renewables targets, she is confusing ‘energy’ with ‘electricity’? Two thirds of domestic energy consumption is gas. There is no way in which the quantity consumed in Scotland could be produced by the only renewable process, anaerobic digestion. This was originally intended as a means of converting organic waste, but in practice has relied on crops specially grown as feedstock. There is only enough arable land in Scotland to provide enough of this to supply gas for 130,000 of our 2.4 million households, and most of this land is required to grow food. It is also probably the most expensive source of fuel gas. If Ms Sturgeon wants cheaper, though not renewable, gas it would have to be imported, probably ‘fracked’ gas, and perhaps from England, as fracking is banned in Scotland. So only one third of most household bills might be alleviated. Currently consented wind developments are certainly now sufficient to provide all Scotland’s electricity renewably, but only when the wind is blowing. When it isn’t we now have to import electricity from England. It is also unclear how this “green” company could avoid selling nuclear-generated electricity from Torness and Hunterston, or indeed from England or France. Electricity on the grid is not labelled by its source. The wholesale cost of electricity is less than half of what consumers pay. Contrary to popular belief, no one is making much money right now selling electricity. It may surprise those whose electricity bills have just increased to hear that wholesale prices are at a near record low.

Times19th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2017


Do you have relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the Nuclear Safeguards Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament? If so, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.

Parliament 18th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2017


Activists in Niger urged President Mahamadou Issoufou to negotiate with Areva SA after the French company said it will cut 200 jobs at one of its uranium mines in the West African nation to adjust to lower prices for the nuclear fuel. “It’s absolutely untrue that the only solution is to lay off staff,” said Al-Moustapha Alhacen, head of Aghirin’man, a non-governmental organization in the northern Nigerien desert town of Arlit, about 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) from the capital, Niamey. “Areva must accept to negotiate.”

Bloomberg 17th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2017


A Valleys manufacturing firm is playing a crucial role in the long-term operation to make safe the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Pontypool-based Flamgard Calidair has developed innovative fire and shut off dampers to the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement, a €1.5bn multinational engineering project which is due to be installed before Christmas.

Wales Online 18th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2017

US – radwaste

The mining of salt from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico is expected to resume in the coming weeks. Mining of Panel 8 was halted in 2014 following separate fire and radiological events that suspended waste emplacement operations at the facility.

World Nuclear News 18th Oct 2017 read more »

In the event of a dirty bomb or a nuclear meltdown, emergency responders can safely tolerate radiation levels equivalent to thousands of chest X-rays, the Environmental Protection Agency said in new guidelines that ease off on established safety levels. The EPA’s determination sets a level ten times the drinking water standard for radiation recommended under President Barack Obama. It could lead to the administration of President Donald Trump weakening radiation safety levels, watchdog groups critical of the move say. “It’s really a huge amount of radiation they are saying is safe,” said Daniel Hirsch, the retired director of the University of California, Santa Cruz’s program on environmental and nuclear policy. “The position taken could readily unravel all radiation protection rules.”

Bloomberg 16th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2017


The Biennial General Meeting (BGM) of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) kicked off in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang, on Monday, bringing together some 500 nuclear industry experts and leaders from around the world – but the government kept the meeting’s profile very low. The biennial event, held at the Hico Convention Center in Korea’s cultural capital some 340 kilometers (211 miles) southeast of Seoul, has the theme “Leading Nuclear Safety in a Changing World” and will run for six days. Speakers include Zhang Tao, president of China National Nuclear Power, Agneta Rising, director general of the World Nuclear Association and Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of EDF, the French electricity utility. On the first day of the event, speeches delivered in panel discussions were not provided to the press. Not a single placard was hung at the Hico building promoting the event. Entrance to the convention center was closely regulated. No press was allowed inside, not even a photographer, one security personnel said. The secretive nature of the proceeding was surprising given the biennial event is often called the “Nuclear Power Olympics” for the scope of expertise and ideas presented. News reports said state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) was deliberately avoiding publicity because of the Moon Jae-in government’s attempt to wean Korea off nuclear power.

Korea Joongang Daily 17th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2017


A data falsification scandal hit Japan’s Kobe Steel in recent weeks. The company admitted widespread falsification of data related to quality control in metals products provided to various customers. Kobe cited a set of copper pipes provided to TEPCO for Fukushima Daiichi as being among of the questionable parts. TEPCO claimed the parts were never actually used. Another report cited the non used pipes were actually delivered to Fukushima Daini.

Fukuleaks 17th Oct 2017 read more »

Robots have become central to the cleaning-up operation at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, six years after the tsunami that triggered the nuclear meltdown. It is estimated that around 600 tonnes of toxic fuel may have leaked out of the reactor during the incident. The Tokyo Electric Power Company is using a variety of robots to explore areas too dangerous for people to go near. BBC Click was given rare access to the site to see how the decontamination work was progressing.

BBC 18th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2017


Power-to-gas (P2G)—the conversion of electrical power into gaseous energy carriers—is a quickly improving and potentially disruptive energy conversion technology. It offers many of the same services of other energy storage technologies and has the added ability to be stored for long periods in the form of a useful commodity fuel product, hydrogen. The hydrogen economy has had false starts before thanks in part to high costs and infrastructure challenges. P2G is primed for significant growth in coming years as demand for clean hydrogen grows, electrolyzer capital costs fall, and cheap renewable energy bathes the grid. P2G provides a variety of services to the electric grid for renewables integration. While these services can also be provided by most grid-tied storage technologies, P2G has unique attributes that can give it an edge. Seasonal energy storage—of interest in places like California where a record 80 GWh of renewable power was curtailed in the windy and sunny month of March—is an application well-suited for P2G, since long-term storage capacity can be scaled up by adding low tech tanks. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine’s Advanced Power and Energy Program found that hydrogen energy storage systems can have lower capital costs than lithium-ion batteries for discharge durations of more than about 20 hours—a duration easily exceeded in the months-long seasonal storage arena. Electrolyzers can also ramp production up or down on command and maintain that new state for a nearly indefinite period, functioning as a demand response (DR) resource. For example, within seconds, a 10-MW electrolyzer operating at a steady 5 MW can look like a load (by ramping to 10 MW) or a generator (by dropping to 0 MW). ITM Power, an electrolyzer vendor, identifies three value streams in the example of electrolyzers operating on the UK’s National Grid: Electric utilities are gradually beginning to recognize the value P2G can bring to their grid; Navigant Research sees European utilities leading deployment, with Asia Pacific and North American counterparts following. Gas utilities, which are beginning to recognize hydrogen as a potentially significant fuel of the low carbon future, should direct renewable gas research and programs accordingly. A longer-term vision of companies like Engie and others is to generate hydrogen where cheap renewables exist, and export it to demand centers. Ultimately, though, hydrogen end-users could play the most important role in driving P2G in the coming decade. From consumer FCVs to oil refineries, end-users are starting to recognize that generating hydrogen from renewables can be a win-win for markets across the globe.

Renewable Energy World 13th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 October 2017