EDF expects to make a decision on whether or not to give the green light to its £16bn Hinkley Point new nuclear plant project in the first quarter of 2015, the firm’s boss has revealed. Speaking at a Nuclear Industry Association conference in London last week, Vincent De Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said he “hoped” to make a final investment decision on the plant before the end of March next year.
Building 10th Dec 2014 read more »
A NEW office development expected to capitalise on demand from the Hinkley Point nuclear plant has been granted approval by the local authority.
Bristol Post 10th Dec 2014 read more »
James Durie, right, executive director of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative at Business West, said: “With Hinkley now moving forward we are working hand in glove with Somerset Chamber and EDF, the main contractors, to make sure all businesses in Bristol and the West of England area including our 18,000 members are aware of the opportunities that Hinkley brings.
South West Business 11th Dec 2014 read more »
A new generation of nuclear power stations in Britain moved a step closer as the government announced it had signed an agreement with NuGen to promote financing for plants at Moorside, near Sellafield in Cumbria. The company, which is a consortium formed by French utility GDF Suez and Japan’s Toshiba, wants to build three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors with a combined output of 3.4GW by the end of 2026. The first reactor may be connected to the grid by the end of 2024. The agreement with the government establishes a process to enable access to the UK Guarantee Scheme, which was introduced in 2012 to accelerate investments in major infrastructure projects. The scheme was brought in to avoid delays to investment in infrastructure projects that may have stalled because of adverse credit conditions. It works by providing a sovereign-backed guarantee for up to £40 billion to help projects access finance.
Professional Engineer 10th dec 2014 read more »
Nuclear energy companies are increasingly being asked to shoulder some of the cost of building new plants, as governments try to spread the risk involved in developing nuclear power. Europe’s largest new nuclear power project, Moorside in northwest England, is being developed by NuGeneration Ltd., a joint venture between Japan’sToshiba Corp. and French utility GDF Suez. In June, Toshiba bought a 60% stake in NuGen from GDF Suez and Spanish utility Iberdrola for GBP102 million ($160 million). Toshiba plans to have its U.S. unit, Westinghouse Electric Co., provide up to three reactors at Moorside, which is expected to cost around GBP10 billion. Meanwhile, Hitachi Ltd., also from Japan, is in talks with Lithuania about developing that country’s first nuclear power plant, and is considering taking an equity stake, said Takashi Masui, general manager of Hitachi’s Europe Nuclear Energy Development Division. Hitachi has already invested in one project. It bought 100% of Horizon Nuclear Power in the U.K. for GBP696 million in 2012 from two German power companies. Horizon plans to build two or three reactors each at two sites in western England through Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd., a joint venture between Hitachi and General Electric Co. “It used to be simple–we got an order and built [a reactor]. Nowadays, plant manufacturers can’t avoid accepting the growing need to be equity investors,” Mr. Masui said.
Nasdaq 9th Dec 2014 read more »
Nuclear Consulting Group new website: The website aims to provide clear and independent information and analysis of the range of nuclear new build issues, and ask questions that need to be answered, including: how will significant ‘what if’ issues — such as nuclear fuel supply and manufacture, vulnerability to attack, accident and incident, rad-waste, radiation risk, decommissioning, reactor siting, nuclear costs and liabilities — be taken into account?
Nuclear Consulting Group (accessed) 11th Dec 2014 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today a report which provides a cogent analysis on the extent of the unreliability of the UK‟s aging nuclear power stations. The report was commissioned by the NFLA to understand the extent of unplanned shutdowns in the period 2012 – 2014, and whether the optimistic claims that the nuclear industry can plug generating gaps in other sectors of the electricity sector is realisable. The report finds that: In the three years 2012 – 2014, at least 62 unplanned shutdowns have occurred. Poor performances are not evenly spread: the worst performers were Dungeness „A‟ & „B‟, Heysham 1 & 2, Torness 1 & 2, and Sizewell. Some reactors had no reported unplanned outages – Heysham B2 and Hunterston B1. At its lowest point, towards the end of November 2014, less than half (43%) of UK nuclear electricity capacity was available due to shutdowns. UK nuclear reactors have such poor operating records that EDF declines to report their performances to nuclear industry publications, unlike most other reactors world-wide Unplanned shutdowns cause serious problems for electricity supply regulation and planning. A major likely reason for poor performance is that most reactors are over 30 years old and past their sell-by dates, some by considerable margins. The NFLA report concludes that the National Grid is being overly optimistic in its assessment that nuclear power will provide the reliability over the winter period to cover the UK‟s electricity needs.
NFLA Press Release 9th Dec 2014 read more »
NFLA Briefing 9th Dec 2014 read more »
BEFORE a highly complex technology is introduced into the public domain, it is rigorously tested for possible failure. The tests are conducted under real-life conditions without endangering the public and the environment. An exception is a nuclear reactor. The unforeseeable consequences that might arise from the malfunction or accident of a reactor cannot be tested under realistic conditions without jeopardising human lives. As a substitute for real tests, computer simulations are done to gain more precise ideas about the possibility of reactor accidents and their effects on humans and their surroundings. The fraternity of nuclear scientists who so cheerfully play roulette with nuclear reactors defends the results of the simulations as evidence that reactors are a safe bet. They create the impression in the minds of laymen that their extremely risky projects have been carefully thought out in every detail and are inspired by the spirit of greatest responsibility. A large section of the scientific community, on the other hand, believes that the predictions spitted out by a computer are “about as reliable as tomorrow’s weather forecast.” They argue that by building nuclear power plants in populated areas, the whole world becomes an experimental laboratory with human beings as guinea pigs.
Daily Star 4th Dec 2014 read more »
The 2011 meltdowns at Fukushima might have falsified long-standing expert assertions that nuclear power is ‘safe’, yet it has failed to do so. This paper looks at why. It explores two core tenets of post-Fukushima nuclear discourse: that nuclear meltdowns will not occur; and that nuclear accidents are ‘tolerable’. In each case, it outlines how accounts of the disaster shield the credibility of the wider nuclear industry; and it then explains why these accounts are misleading. In doing so, it offers a critical perspective on the public discourse around technological risk and disaster. It concludes with a brief discussion of the sociology of denial.
LSE (accessed) 11th Dec 2014 read more »
Regulatory uncertainty could be undermined and investment in new nuclear plants suffer if plans by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) to add boric acid to a list of restricted chemicals are approved, the European power industry association Eurelectric has warned. Eurelectric said it is concerned that boric acid – which is used in many nuclear power reactors and has no substitute – could be subject to unnecessary restrictions if it is added to ECHA’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (Reach) authorisation list.
Nucnet 9th Dec 2014 read more »
France is backing research on how to track and destroy drones as the mystery of who is behind a series of illegal flights over atomic sites remains unsolved. The French National Research Agency will start a tender later this month for systems to “detect and even neutralize”drones, according to a statement from the Secretariat for Defense and National Security, which advises the president and prime minister. Areva SA (AREVA), Electricite de France SA and Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives confirmed some 20 incidents since the middle of September of remote-controlled drone-like objects violating protected zones around their nuclear installations. The government vowed to put an end to the flights, which haven’t inflicted damage. No one has publicly claimed responsibility.
Bloomberg 9th Dec 2014 read more »
North Korea is likely to have 20 nuclear warheads by 2016 and can be expected to carry out a number of new test detonations as it seeks to miniaturise the devices, according to a leading US nuclear scientist. Siegfried Hecker, the former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US and now a professor at Stanford University, has expressed his concerns about Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities during meetings with senior South Korean government officials.
Telegraph 11th Dec 2014 read more »
After 44 states called for a prohibition on nuclear weapons at a conference in Vienna on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, Austria delivered the “Austrian pledge” in which it committed to work to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” and pledged “to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal”. “All states committed to nuclear disarmament must join the Austrian pledge to work towards a treaty to ban nuclear weapons”, said Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
ICAN 9th Dec 2014 read more »
Nearly 25 years after the end of the Cold War there are still estimated to be 16,300 nuclear weapons at 98 sites in 14 countries. Rather than disarm, nuclear armed states continue to spend a fortune maintaining and modernising their arsenals – an international conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons learned this week. More than 150 governments were represented at the conference in Vienna on December 8 and 9, including, for the first time, delegations from four of the nine countries with nuclear weapons: the US, UK, India and Pakistan. They heard Pope Francis condemn in a statement that the money spent on nuclear weapons was “squandering the wealth of nations”. Delegates from 44 of the countries called at the event’s end for a prohibition on nuclear weapons. The Austrian government pledged to work to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons”.
Greenpeace 9th Dec 2014 read more »
Molly Scott-Cato MEP: The corridors of Brussels are buzzing with talk about the Juncker investment plan and questions about how it will be funded. Meanwhile, across in Frankfurt the questions are about how soon the European Central Bank (ECB) will move to full quantitative easing (QE) and how wide will be the choice of assets they will buy in return for their direct money creation. A green investment strategy would link these two controversies by proposing direct money creation on condition that money makes itself useful, rather than being sucked into the balances of financial institutions. The Green Group in the European Parliament propose that the ECB create a direct purchase scheme for specific Green Investment Bonds to be issued by the European Investment Bank (EIB). These bonds would make finance available to Green SMEs across the Union with priority going to those who can effect the greatest energy reductions most rapidly. In the UK the home insulation sector would be an obvious favourite. They would also make money available to pay for green infrastructure that requires long-term financing for a modest rate of return but with high societal and environmental returns. Building high-quality, low-energy, social housing would be a good example.
Business Green 10th Dec 2014 read more »
This government has failed to adequately address many environmental challenges and risks leaving the UK lagging far behind the US, Germany, and China in the global clean tech race, but it has also laid some of the foundations necessary for the next phase of decarbonisation. However, this rose-tinted assessment took an almighty battering this weekend with the publication of Green Alliance’s latest analysis of the Treasury’s infrastructure pipeline. It showed for the first time since these figures were released in 2012 investment in fossil fuel infrastructure will outstrip clean energy spending this year. For anyone who cares about clean energy (which according to separate government polls constitutes about two thirds of the population), the data makes for depressing reading: the share of expected infrastructure spending on fossil fuel energy this year has increased from the eight per cent that was originally expected to 61 per cent; spending on low carbon energy has been revised down from £24.9bn to £9.8bn; projected spending on renewables for the period from 2015 to 2020 has been revised down by £9.3bn; projected spending on roads for the same period has soared from £1.6bn to £32.7bn, pushing the share of transport spending on roads and airports up from eight per cent to 36 per cent. As Green Alliance’s Matthew Spencer observed yesterday, “a series of short term decisions is unpicking long term plans to modernise our economy”. “We find ourselves with an National Infrastructure Plan seriously at odds with our national interest, one that could reverse the modernisation of our economy,” he added.
Business Green 9th Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
The government today granted planning consent for one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, approving plans for the 1.2GW Hornsea offshore wind farm off the coast of Yorkshire. The Department of Energy and Climate Change said the Hornsea Project One development would see three offshore wind farms developed, providing 2,500 local jobs and ultimately generating power for more than 800,000 homes. The project sits in the Hornsea Zone and could pave the way for further development of an area that could ultimately deliver 4GW of offshore wind capacity. Final investment and technical decisions are yet to be made, although the project was one of eight renewable energy projects to be awarded an early Contract for Difference (CfD) by the government this April, which guarantees the developers a price for the electricity they provide to the grid and boosts the chances of the project being fast-tracked.
Business Green 10th Dec 2014 read more »
Scottish Energy News 11th Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – small wind
Orenda Energy Solutions – the Livingston-based designer and manufacturer of the Skye 51kW small/medium ‘tilting tower’ wind turbine – is to offer a package of ‘peace of mind’ measures to investors and the farming and rural community for its ground-breaking turbine. Central to these offerings is a complete performance guarantee against its published Annual Energy Production (AEP), plus all-risk insurance – including loss of income. Orenda is also extending its current five year parts and labour warranty guarantee to seven years – measures designed to maximise return on investment in the face of reduced FiT payments.
Scottish Energy News 11th Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
Why do we need to turn to solar energy for generating electricity? Indeed, there are various reasons to discuss. In this article I will show you some of the most important reasons why we should go solar today.
Omnik SolarEnergy 11th Dec 2014 read more »
Experts have published a short guide to climate science to help people challenge claims about global warming made by the “ill-informed pub bore or the family know-it-all. Climate scientists at the Royal Society have produced the guide with 20 short questions and answers addressing some of the most common assertions which they say are made by people who dismiss the scientific basis of climate change. It include questions over how scientists know recent climate change is largely caused by human activities, the role the sun plays in warming and whether “disaster scenarios” like the Gulf Stream switching off are a cause for concern. It also addresses issues raised by sceptics such as why Arctic sea ice is melting but Antarctic ice is not, and whether the slowdown in warming means that climate change is no longer happening.
Herald 11th Dec 2014 read more »
Britain’s energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey, has said companies should be required to disclose their investments in fossil fuels, bringing firmly into the mainstream the idea that climate risk will affect the value of such holdings. The minister’s call for changes in the financial rules came on the sidelines of UN negotiations in Lima where leaders are working to draft a deal on fight climate change. Davey said it was time to recognise that as economies moved away from fossil fuels as part of that deal, coal, oil and gas were no longer presumed to be a safe financial bet.
Guardian 11th Dec 2014 read more »