10 February 2017

Moorside

Energy secretary Greg Clark said today that he will be “personally vigorous” in ensuring that the multi-billion-pound Moorside project goes ahead, adding that it is of “huge importance to the country”. Mr Clark, on a campaign visit to West Cumbria, was speaking amid speculation that the three-reactor plant planned for land next to Sellafield is in some doubt after Japanese giant Toshiba – which owns a 60 per cent share in the NuGen consortium – suggested that it could walk away from nuclear projects.

Whitehaven News 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Heysham

ONE of the nuclear reactors at Heysham 1 power station in Lancashire has been taken out of service for a major maintenance programme which started on Monday, February 6. Around 1,000 extra workers will join the site’s 700-strong team during the eight-week period, providing a boost to the local economy. The team will carry out more than 12,000 separate pieces of work – each carefully planned during the last two years of preparation. Richard Bradfield, station director at Heysham 1, said: “We spend many months planning for this intense period of work for the station. But we, and our contractors and other specialists, are ready.

Lancaster and Morecambe Citizen 8th Feb 2017 read more »

The Visitor 9th Feb 2017 read more »

SMRs

SMRs are a ‘distraction’ from security of supply. Former energy minister warns nuclear small-modular reactors could distract government from the imperative of replacing outgoing plant. Small-modular reactors (SMRs) risk becoming a “distraction” from what should be the government’s main priority of replacing old coal and nuclear plants in the 2020s, Sir Ed Davey has told Utility Week. SMRs are unlikely to be ready for deployment until the early 2030s, leaving “a serious question mark” over their value to policy makers, the former energy secretary said. “To get this technology off the ground and running and deployed most people I have spoken to, either on or off the record, say we’ll be looking at the early 2030s,” said Davey. “So many things are going to have changed by then there has to be a really serious question mark over whether these things will have any value at all to us given the decisions we’re going to have to take before then.” Davey said he has no issue with the government doing research to gain more evidence but said this shouldn’t be a priority. He said the main focus for research should instead be the storage technologies which will enable greater deployment of intermittent renewable generation. “The advance in storage is massive and its being deployed now,” he added.

Utility Week 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Moves to revolutionise the nuclear power industry are moving forward with successful testing of a safety system. Dorset-based Ultra Electronics is making a system to protect the small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) being developed by leading US company NuScale Power. It is hoped they will make nuclear power easier and more practical to generate, and therefore more widespread. Earlier this month Ultra gave representatives from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission a successful demonstration of its safety hardware, which stabilises or shuts reactors during dangerous situations such as power cuts or overheating.

Daily Mail 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Euratom

Britain’s decision to leave the Europe Union is raising risks for 66,000 workers in the nuclear power industry and threatening to disrupt the flow of atomic fuel across international borders. The government in deciding to quit the EU also plans to pull out of the continent’s 60-year-old nuclear safety and research organization, according to a Feb. 2 policy paper from Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration. Industry officials say leaving the European Atomic Community, or Euratom, would require the U.K. to spend years replicating rules and international agreements needed to trade radioactive materials with other nations. Just as bankers have made London a global financial hub, nuclear workers have turned the U.K. into a central cog servicing the world’s flow of atomic materials. Membership in Euratom has helped Britain become a leading manufacturer of reactor fuel and a key participant in EU-led nuclear research projects. Leaving Euratom will require the industry to create new ways of doing business — which is not straightforward. Keeping U.K. nuclear-industry workers employed after Euratom will require new deals with non-EU countries including Australia, Canada, Japan and the U.S., according to Persbo, who called the impending negotiations “tricky business” for the international uranium trade.

Bloomberg 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Utilities

One of Britain’s small energy suppliers has been put up for sale after warning that competition from cut-price competitors threatens to stunt its growth. Flowgroup, an Aim-listed energy innovation and services company, has decided to “actively pursue” the disposal of Flow Energy, its household gas and electricity supply business, which has about 270,000 customer accounts. Flow Energy has grown rapidly since its launch in 2013 and is among the dozen largest challengers to the Big Six suppliers. Flowgroup’s chief executive is Tony Stiff, who founded Atlantic Electric and Gas, a small supplier that was bought out of administration by SSE in 2004. Flowgroup’s chairman is Clare Spottiswoode, the former director-general of Ofgas, the old gas industry watchdog. The company said Flow Energy’s margins had come under pressure as it had “p riced to compete with a range of new entrants offering reduced tariffs to customers to gain market share”. If the trend of cut-price new entrants continued, it warned its growth outlook for 2017 would be “more challenging”. Despite this, it said that the supplier was performing well and it had received approaches “expressing interest”.

Times 10th Feb 2017 read more »

New Nuclear

“Nuclear power generation technologies are now cost competitive with fossil fuels and innovation is gathering pace across the sector,” British consultancy Lloyd’s Register says in a report published today. The report, titled Technology Radar – a Nuclear Perspective, is based on the “insights and opinions of leaders across the sector”, as well as the views of almost 600 professionals and experts from utilities, distributors, operators and equipment manufacturers.

World Nuclear News 9th Feb 2017 read more »

France

An explosion occurred at French utility EDF’s Flamanville nuclear plant on Thursday in which there may have been some injuries but from which there was no nuclear risk, French newspaper Ouest France reported on its web site, citing local police. Officials at EDF’s Paris headquarters had no immediate comment and local officials at the plant in western France could not be immediately reached for comment.

Reuters 9th Feb 2017 read more »

An explosion and fire have occurred at the Flamanville nuclear plant on France’s northern coast but there is no nuclear risk, officials say. Several people may have been injured in the blast, which happened in a machine room around 10:00 (09:00 GMT), Ouest-France newspaper reports. A rescue vehicle has been sent to the site in Normandy, it says. Flamanville has two nuclear reactors. A third one under construction is the model for a new reactor in the UK.

BBC 9th Feb 2017 read more »

An explosion and fire at a French nuclear facility did not carry a nuclear risk, officials said. French authorities reported an explosion at the Flamanville nuclear power plant in Normandy after 10 am local time (9 am GMT) on Thursday. The blast, which caused several injuries, rocked the plant’s machine room but did not cause a radioactive leak, they said. Five people had been slightly injured after inhaling smoke from a fire that broke out after the explosion, the Daily Telegraph reported.“It is a significant technical event but it is not a nuclear accident,” Olivier Marmion, a senior regional official, told local media.

Huffington Post 9th Feb 2017 read more »

A fire led to a blast in the machine room of a nuclear power plant on France’s northwest coast on Thursday morning but there was no radiation leak or casualties, operator EDF said. The explosion happened at around 10am local time in the machine room of the EDF Flamanville nuclear plant near the port of Cherbourg and the Channel Islands. Medical and emergency teams were sent to the plant, but the regional authority said the incident is now “over”. Five people were slightly injured after inhaling smoke from a fire that broke out after the explosion.

Telegraph 9th Feb 2017 read more »

“Though any accident at a nuclear site must be taken seriously, I wouldn’t call this a nuclear accident as there was no release of radioactive material and the reactor was not affected,” said Prof Jim Smith, professor of environmental science at the University of Portsmouth. “There doesn’t appear to be any risk to the general public.” Mycle Schneider, a Paris-based nuclear consultant, said that fires in a nuclear plant were always “bad news” because of side effects such as the smoke, which apparently intoxicated the five people. “However, in this case, the fire had apparently been contained and rather quickly brought under control. I don’t think this was a major event at all.” Other nuclear experts noted that because of the design of the plant’s reactors, water passing through the turbine would not have gone through the reactor’s core, so it was unlikely there was a radioactive release. “There were no consequences for safety at the plant or for environmental safety,” EDF said in a statement.

Guardian 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Independent 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Times 10th Feb 2017 read more »

FT 10th Feb 2017 read more »

Jersey Met says an earthquake in the English Channel, of 2.6 magnitude, is not linked to an explosion at a French nuclear power plant station.

ITV 9th Feb 2017 read more »

An explosion has ripped through a machine room at the giant power station on the Norman coast at Flamanville this morning, injuring five workers but not resulting in any leakage of radioactivity, French authorities reassured.

ITV 9th Feb 2017 read more »

A FIRE at a nuclear power station in France run by the company behind Hinkley C has been dealt with by its employees, the firm said. EDF Energy said the fire broke out at 9.40am local time in a non-nuclear part of a turbine hall at Flamanville in northern France. The BBC has described the incident as an ‘explosion’. There were no casualties and the fire was under control before the fire service arrived, said EDF, adding the reactor in the area affected by the fire was switched off as a safeguard.

Somerset County Gazette 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Portsmouth News 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Somerset Live 9th Feb 2017 read more »

EMERGENCY communication procedures between Jersey and French authorities were put into action yesterday following an explosion at the Flamanville nuclear plant. The States police were contacted by the facility, which is 22 miles away on the Normandy coast, to inform the force that although there had been an incident, there was no nuclear threat. Mark James, the Island’s chief fire officer and emergency planning officer, said that notification systems ‘worked exactly as they were meant to work’. He said: ‘The police control room were first contacted by Flamanville at 10.52 am in a courtesy call to say that there had been an incident but that it was not nuclear. ‘Then at 11.15 am, we received another call with more information to say that the incident was under control and that five people were being treated for smoke inhalation. However, despite mechanisms between the nuclear plant and Jersey authorities working as they should, Mr James said that information could have been distributed to the public more quickly.

Jersey Evening Post 10th Feb 2017 read more »

Fukushima

Almost six years after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, the utility in charge of the plant is still having problems getting its message across. When Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. last week gave new radiation readings higher than any previously announced, it thrust the cleanup of the nuclear plant back in the spotlight, creating alarm in the process. “Radiation levels are soaring,” tech blog Gizmodo said. Fox anchor Lou Dobbs tweeted to his 1.1 million followers that the mainstream media was ignoring the “worsening disaster.” Even China’s Foreign Ministry issued a safety alert to tourists visiting the country. There was just one problem — there was no rise in the radiation readings at all. By putting a camera inside of the primary containment vessel of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 2 reactor, which experienced a meltdown in the 2011 disaster, Tepco collected data closer than ever before to what could be the source of radiation. As well as capturing images of what may be the melted fuel, Tepco was able to estimate radiation levels, arriving at a figure of about 530 sieverts an hour, the company said last week. On Thursday, it said it recorded a reading of 650 sieverts per hour, according to Kyodo News. The utility aims to send a robot into the vessel as soon as this month to confirm if has located the fuel.

Bloomberg 9th Feb 2017 read more »

A cleaning robot at Fukushima nuclear power plant has had to be pulled out before completing its mission after its camera experienced glitches. It’s believed the high-tech device was affected by high radiation as it examined the inside of the No. 2 reactor, one of three that suffered a meltdown in the combined 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Mirror 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Daily Mail 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Nuclear Convoys

‘I was preventing a major war crime’ pensioner who lay down in front of nuclear convoy walks free from court

Daily Record 10th Feb 2017 read more »

Renewables

Electric trains in the Netherlands have relied entirely on renewable energy since 1 January, and now the UK and Belgium are following in their tracks.

Climate News Network 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Renewable energy made up nearly 90 per cent of all new electricity generation in the European Union last year, as wind energy overtook coal to become the second largest form of power capacity. A report by industry body WindEurope revealed that 21.1 gigawatts of renewables out of the total of 24.5GW had been installed in 2016. In 2007, wind provided the sixth largest amount of power capacity but overtook fuel oil during that year. It went past nuclear in 2013, hydro in 2015 and has now eclipsed coal. Wind made up 51 per cent of all new power capacity last year, followed by solar panels (27 per cent), natural gas (13 per cent) and biomass (4.3 per cent), the report said. Germany installed the most windfarms over the period with 5.4GW – a massive 44 per cent of the EU total of nearly 12.5GW – followed by France (1.6GW), the Netherlands (0.9GW) and the UK (0.7GW). Solar generation has also risen dramatically from virtually nothing in 2007 to a total of about 100GW of installed capacity across the EU last year. However in the UK there are fears the solar industry could be killed off if a swingeing new business tax affecting rooftop solar schemes is introduced on top of a raft of cuts to subsidies and regulatory changes that have disadvantaged the sector.

Independent 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Edie 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Renewables – solar

The Government has been accused of trying to kill off Britain’s solar energy industry just as it is about to become one of the cheapest suppliers of electricity – with no need for any kind of state subsidy. In fact, according to the Government’s own projections, only onshore windfarms could provide cheaper power within the next decade or so – and the Conservatives pledged in the party’s election manifesto to “halt their spread”. Amid ongoing concern about rising energy prices, the industry expressed disbelief that the Treasury is about to impose a swingeing business tax on firms with rooftop solar schemes, which c ould increase the bill by up to eight times. Domestic installations could also be hit by a VAT increase from five to 20 per cent. And large-scale solar has been excluded from Government auctions of contracts to supply electricity to the grid for the lowest guaranteed price, effectively a form of state subsidy. Representatives of the Solar Trade Association (STA) plan to meet Jane Ellison, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, on Thursday in a bid to persuade the Government to drop the business rate increase and to give the sector a “level playing field” with fossil fuels. At the same time, a group of children will deliver a letter to the Treasury appealing to scrap the business rate rise after they helped to raise funds to install panels on their state school, Eleanor Palmer Primary in Camden, London. Unlike private schools, exempt because of their charitable status, it will be forced to pay the new tax. It comes on top of cuts to subsidies and regulation changes since the Conservatives came to power in 2015, which have been blamed for causing the loss of more than 12,000 jobs. Speaking ahead of the meeting with Ms Ellison, Leonie Greene, of the STA, told The Independent: “The damage to solar jobs and the industry has been severe and put major investment by the British public in this vital industry at risk. “It is a massive own-goal to derail the solar industry after a success that has shaken up the entire UK energy sector for the benefit of consumers. “There is strong consensus amongst mainstream energy analysts globally that solar will dominate future power systems. Hampering the British solar industry now is akin to shackling mobile phone operators on the cusp of the telecoms boom – extremely unwise.

Independent 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Renewables – small hydro

Growing concern is being voiced about the substantial rise in rateable valuations faced by farmers and landowners who have installed small and mid-scale renewable projects, especially hydro electric schemes. And the fears expressed by Fort William farmer John Macdonald to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier in the week at the NFU Scotland AGM were yesterday echoed around the country. Macdonald told the First Minister that many of those who had installed such systems – often at vast expense – had done so in the belief that they were contributing to a low-carbon economy while also developing a new income stream for their businesses.

Scotsman 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Fossil Fuels

EU countries should close all of their coal plants by around 2030 if they wants to stick to the Paris Agreement on climate change. This is the conclusion of a new report by research non-profit Climate Analytics. The cheapest way to meet Paris targets is to replace EU coal power with renewables and energy efficiency, it says. This 2030 timeline is in line with planned phaseouts in the UK, Denmark, Finland and Portugal. The Netherlands and France are also discussing an end to coal. For Germanyand Poland, however, a 2030 phaseout would be a significant challenge.

Carbon Brief 9th Feb 2017 read more »

‘There are numerous alternatives to coal and their development is gaining momentum, many bringing benefits beyond emissions reductions, such as cleaner air, energy security, and distribution’. Every coal plant in the European Union should be closed by 2030 and every single one in the world should shut by 2050 in order to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a new report. Researchers at Climate Analytics founds replacing coal with renewable energy was the cheapest way to achieve the targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the scale of the task is daunting, as illustrated by an interactive map of Europe created by the CarbonBrief website. While some places like Scotland, where the last coal power station closed last year, and Ireland, which has just one, would be largely unaffected by this strategy, Germany and Poland, in particular, rely heavily on the fossil fuel. The report said: “A fast coal phase-out strategy in the European Union represents not only a necessity but also an opportunity when considering other policy goals beyond climate change.

Independent 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Guardian 9th Feb 2017 read more »

Edie 9th Feb 2017 read more »

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Published: 10 February 2017