Toshiba announced on Friday it was reviewing its nuclear activities in response to a financial crisis, leaving a question mark over the future of Moorside. “This is an anxiety but it’s one to which there is a solution, albeit probably at the cost of a little bit of time,” said Tim Yeo, who chaired the Energy and Climate Change Committee from 2010-2015 and is now chairman of the trade group New Nuclear Watch Europe. “I think what it will throw up is the possibility of bringing a new partner into the NuGen consortium”, he added. South Korean utility Kepco was reported to be close to investing in the project in October, and in December the Times reported that representatives from the company had met with business and energy secretary Greg Clark. “They’ve been a bit discouraged, I think, by the reception they’ve had in the UK,” said Yeo. “But my understanding is they are now talking to Toshiba about taking a stake … I think there’s no doubt that Kepco, with the full backing of the Korean government, is interested.” He said Kepco’s involvement could delay the project if it insisted on using its own reactor technology as it would have to go through the lengthy Generic Design Assessment process. “That would set the programme back a bit,” he added.
Utility Week 31st Jan 2017 read more »
The future of a new Cumbrian power plant is in doubt, after one of the key players admitted it is reviewing its involvement. A spokesman for Toshiba – which holds a 60 per cent stake in Moorside developer NuGen, alongside ENGIE of France – told the News & Star it is re-examining all of its nuclear projects outside Japan. This includes the proposed nuclear new build at Moorside, near Sellafield.
Carlisle News & Star 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Insider Media 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Construction Enquirer 1st Feb 2017 read more »
ITV 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Struggling electronics and machinery giant Toshiba Corp. is considering selling U.S. subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Co. as one of its options in an ongoing review of its overseas nuclear operations, sources have said. Toshiba is expected to suffer a loss of up to ¥680 billion from its U.S. nuclear plant business. Against this background, Toshiba aims to eliminate risks of incurring further losses in the future by selling Westinghouse or lowering its equity stake in the unit that builds nuclear power plants, the sources explained. As it appears difficult for Toshiba to find a buyer of Westinghouse, which is reeling under heavy losses, the parent company is considering various options, including selling some of the unit’s profitable segments, such as nuclear fuel business. Toshiba bought Westinghouse for some ¥490 billion in 2006. Toshiba will announce on Feb. 14 a precise amount of its nuclear business loss and corrective measures, and its earnings for April to December last year.
Japan Times 31st Jan 2017 read more »
In a recent post we (Emma Bateman and myself) talked about mains water usage at Sizewell nuclear power plant. This has created some confusing (not least amongst people working from EDF) which this post is intended to clear up. Below is a very simplified diagram of the water flow in a pressurised water reactor (PWR).
Peter Lux 31st Jan 2017 read more »
NFLA submit response to Sizewell C new nuclear local consultation agreeing with local Councils and groups that this is an inadequate exercise from EDF Energy.
NFLA 31st Jan 2017 read more »
[Machine translation] The Chinese group CNNC will not participate in the capital increase of Areva. The requirements of the French State were unacceptable to the Chinese nuclear specialist. A small diplomatic crisis between the two countries. It is a small earthquake in Franco-Chinese relations. CNNC, a Chinese nuclear specialist, will not participate in the capital increase of Areva, according to several sources close to the French group. “The Chinese were not ready to enter the capital on the conditions set by the French state,” said one of them. Friday will be held the general meeting of shareholders which will ratify a capital increase of 5 billion euros of which 500 million will be contributed by the Japanese groups Mitsubishi and JNFL. The government will pay the balance of 4.5 billion euros. Contacted, Areva and Bercy did not wish to comment. For two months, discussions had strained between the two parties. The French government imposed strong governance requirements on all investors. First source of conflict: he refused to have their representative on Areva’s board of directors. Only an independent director was granted. “The reality is that Bercy did not want Chinese on the board,” a CNNC resident said, asking that their administrator be French and resident in France. Second obstacle: France wanted Chinese and Japanese investors to hold the same stake in Areva, ie 10%. Opposite, CNNC asked to be the first shareholder behind the French state. A very strong point of tension when we know the abysmal diplomatic relations that exist between the two countries. In December, the Japanese had accepted all the demands of France, putting a little more pressure on their Chinese opponents. But despite long negotiations, Bercy did not yield. “The Chinese were asking too much,” said a relative of Areva. In mid-January, Areva’s president, Philippe Varin, and its managing director, Philippe Knoche, traveled to China to try to find an ultimate understanding. They returned empty-handed.
BFM TV 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Yahoo 31st Jan 2017 read more »
A £3m fund has been launched to help decommission Sellafield’s nuclear fuel reprocessing plants. Organisations can bid for a share of the cash to develop technology to help clean-up the Thorp and Magnox facilities. Reprocessing at Sellafield will cease at the end of the decade. The plants will then be decommissioned, although part of Thorp will remain operational as storage facility. The competiton, called Integrated Innovation for Nuclear Decommissioning, is being run by the Nuclear Decommissiong Authority (NDA) and Innovate UK. It will focus on the development of robots and remotely operated equipment. The goals are to reduce risks for workers, cut timescales and costs and identify solutions.
Sellafield Sites 30th Jan 2017 read more »
New Energy Minister’s visit to Somerset reaffirms importance of new nuclear projects to our future low carbon, sustainable energy mix. The importance of nuclear and the huge benefits to technical education and local jobs for the Bridgwater area were reaffirmed recently when Jesse Norman, the new Energy Minister, visited Hinkley Point and Cannington Court training centre, near Bridgwater, Somerset for the first time. During the visit the Minister toured the Hinkley Point B power station and the construction site for Hinkley Point C.
Wired Gov 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Midas Construction has started work on the southern hub of the National College for Nuclear. The National College for Nuclear (NCfN) is being developed to support the specialist training needs of the nuclear industry. The £6.2m southern hub is being built at Bridgwater & Taunton College’s Cannington Centre to support the training requirements of the nearby Hinkley Point power station. The northern hub of the NCfN is being built in Workington, Cumbria, near Sellafield.
Construction Index 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Britain’s second-biggest energy supplier SSE continued losing customers in the third quarter of its financial year, while still and wet weather meant output from its renewable energy plants fell 20 percent year on year, it said on Tuesday. The supplier maintained its full-year earnings per share and dividend guidance, however. SSE, which has frozen household energy prices this winter, said it lost another 50,000 customer accounts in the three months to Dec. 31, leaving a total of 8.08 million, in line with customer losses seen earlier in the year.
Reuters 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Big six energy company SSE was dealt a double blow in the final months of last year as customers flocked to rival suppliers and it struggled to keep up its renewable energy supply. Despite a difficult third quarter SSE said it would continue to deliver steadily rising dividends to its shareholders and remained on track to return to growth with earnings per share of 120p for the full year. Britain’s second biggest energy supplier, formerly known as Scottish and Southern, lost 50,000 customers in the nine months to December 31, leaving it with just over 8m households. The energy giant has been losing market share as independent rivals challenge it with cheaper offers
Telegraph 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Two of the Big Six energy providers are considering introducing a loyalty programme to alleviate the extra expense of standard tariffs. The move is aimed at the 10 million customers currently paying too much for energy but who are reluctant to switch. Both Npower and EDF Energy told MPs that they were considering starting reward programmes to help customers who stay with them. Npower said that could include a free boiler service for such customers. It follows pressure from the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, last month.
BBC 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Telegraph 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Big energy companies have been likened to domestic abusers for their treatment of loyal customers, in contentious comments by the chairman of the business, energy and industrial strategy select committee. Iain Wright was speaking after hearing evidence from consumer groups and the Competition and Markets Authority about poor customer service and high bills paid by customers on expensive standard variable tariffs. The committee heard evidence from suppliers including npower, which admitted that the big energy companies’ business models were based on customers on expensive sta ndard tariffs “effectively subsidising” discount deals, which would become more expensive if more customers switched to them.
Times 1st Feb 2017 read more »
For much of my life, I loved the idea of nuclear power. The science was so cool, futuristic and complicated, the power plants so vast and majestic. I devoured science-fiction novels like “Lucifer’s Hammer,” where a plucky nuclear entrepreneur restarts civilization after a comet almost wipes us out. I thought of accidents like Three Mile Island and even Chernobyl as stumbling blocks to a nuclear future. Then, in 2011, two things happened. First, a tsunami knocked out the nuclear reactor at Fukushima, forcing a mass evacuation and costing Japan hundreds of billions of dollars. Second, I learned that progress in solar power had been a lot faster and steadier than I had realized. I started taking a closer look at whether nuclear was really the future of energy. Now I’m pretty convinced that my youthful fantasies of a nuclear world won’t come true anytime soon. The biggest problem with nuclear isn’t safety — it’s cost. The economics of nuclear are almost certain to keep it a marginal part of the energy mix, especially in the U.S. Many energy sources involve relatively small upfront costs. To increase solar power, just build more panels. Fracking also has lower fixed costs than traditional oil drilling. But nuclear’s fixed costs are enormous. A new nuclear plant in the U.S. costs about $9 billion to build — more than 1,000 times as much as a new fracking well, and more than 3,000 times as much as the world’s biggest solar plant.
Bloomberg 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Brexit Secretary David Davis has confirmed the UK’s intention to pull out of Euratom, the European nuclear research agency that predates the European Union and its predecessors, threatening the UK’s plans for new nuclear power plants and putting at risk the chances of it meeting its commitment to reduce carbon emissions. The plans were included in explanatory notes to the Brexit bill published by the government last week. They jeopardise Britain’s involvement in leading international projects, including ITER, a huge magnetic fusion device in France being developed by the European Union in conjunction with the US, India, China and Russia. An associated project, the Joint European Torus, is based in Oxfordshire.
Independent 31st Jan 2017 read more »
A video taken on Jan. 30 shows the bottom of the No. 2 reactor’s pressure vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Water used to cool the nuclear fuel is dripping, and possible melted fuel is seen strewn on grating for maintenance work. (Provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.) If confirmed, the first images of melted nuclear fuel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant show that Tokyo Electric Power Co. will have a much more difficult time decommissioning the battered facility. The condition of what is believed to be melted fuel inside the No. 2 reactor at the plant appears far worse than previously thought. Before the pictures were taken by a remote-controlled video camera on Jan. 30, TEPCO presumed that most of the nuclear fuel at the No. 2 reactor had remained within the reactor’s pressure vessel. That presumption was based on findings of a study conducted last year involving cosmic rays.
Fukushima is still news 31st Jan 2017 read more »
The European Union is on track to meet its goal for renewables to supply up 20 percent of its energy by 2020, the EU executive said in a report seen by Reuters, although Britain, Ireland and Luxembourg are lagging behind. In a stock take on the bloc’s climate targets, due to be published on Wednesday, the European Commission saw renewables accounting for 16.4 percent of overall consumption in 2015. However, it said EU nations will have to redouble efforts to meet steeper targets in coming years and were struggling to reduce emissions in the transport sector.
Reuters 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
MHI Vestas Offshore Wind — a joint venture between Vestas Wind Systems and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries — showed off its 9 MW turbine prototype in December 2016, an upgrade to its V164-8.0 MW version. The Goliath of wind turbines generated nearly 216,000 kWh over 24 hours during its December test, breaking the previous record for energy generation record for a commercially available offshore wind turbine. To put the numbers in perspective, that’s enough energy to power the average American household for roughly 20 years.
Digital Trends 30th Jan 2017 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Those who thought the appointment of Charles Hendry, the former energy minister, to review tidal lagoons was to hoof a difficult issue deep into the long grass will have been surprised at his conclusions. For the Hendry Review is a battle cry to action. It urges the government to give the green light for a tidal lagoon at Swansea as a first step towards the UK becoming the leader in a new global industry. The UK can, the report noted, be the first movers in a new technology well suited to the violent tides on our western coastline – that or we can allow others to lead. But can we afford tidal lagoons? The review was clear that the government should not underwrite construction but instead pay a subsidy on the energy generated, as with nuclear power.
Times 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Tesla Motors Inc. is making a huge bet that millions of small batteries can be strung together to help kick fossil fuels off the grid. The idea is a powerful one—one that’s been used to help justify the company’s $5 billion factory near Reno, Nev.—but batteries have so far only appeared in a handful of true, grid-scale pilot projects. That changes this week. Three massive battery storage plants—built by Tesla, AES Corp., and Altagas Ltd.—are all officially going live in southern California at about the same time. Any one of these projects would have been the largest battery storage facility ever built. Combined, they amount to 15 percent of the battery storage installed planet-wide last year.
Bloomberg 30th Jan 2017 read more »
The Scottish government has launched a public consultation on whether unconventional oil and gas extraction (UOG) should be allowed in the country. A moratorium on UOG, which includes hydraulic fracking, has been in place since January 2015. Since then, the government has been examining the evidence before deciding whether or not a full ban should be put in place. A final decision is expected to be made later this year.
BBC 31st Jan 2017 read more »
STV 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Holyrood 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Daily Record 31st Jan 2017 read more »
The National 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Herald 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Scotsman 1st Feb 2017 read more »
FRACKING could provide “important benefits” for the petrochemical sector, SNP ministers said yesterday as they launched a public consultation on the controversial gas technology. The Scottish Government singled out the Ineos refinery at Grangemouth as a potential beneficiary, as it already uses imported shale gas from America. Announcing a four-month consultation on whether to end the two-year-old moratorium on drilling for “unconventional oil and gas” north of the border, energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said the Scottish Government would make its final decision by the end of 2017. Opposition parties accused the government of dragging out the process until well beyond May’s council elections for fear of a voter backlash. Scottish Labour said the consultation had kicked fracking “into the long grass”. Environment spokesperson Claudia Beamish, who has introduced a member’s Bill to ban fracking, said: “Voters going to the polls in May still won’t know the SNP’s position on fracking.
Herald 1st Feb 2017 read more »