Solar vs Coal
The former colliery town of Stanley in Co Durham has become the first to offer in-home batteries and solar panels for free, in the latest sign of the huge shifts rocking the household energy market. The programme is a joint scheme between the town council and a startup called North Star Solar, and will be offered to all the town’s 35,000 households. It is expected to be followed by others aiming to cut the “big six” energy suppliers out of their traditional market by turning homes into mini power stations. Large utilities such as British Gas and SSE have long dominated the market by operating huge coal- and gas-fired stations whose output they sell to homeowners. Leaps in battery and solar technology, accompanied by huge drops in their production costs, means models such as Stanley’s can now be launched without subsidy for the first time. Solar costs have plunged by 70% in five years, while battery prices have more than halved. North Star’s chief executive, Paul Massara, the former boss of Npower, said the combination of rooftop panels, a lithium battery and energy-efficient LED light bulbs would immediately cut power bills by 20%. The catch is that the council or homeowner must agree to a 23-year contract to allow the company to recoup its initial investment, plus make a return. The electricity rate is fixed annually and rises with inflation.
Sunday Times 12th June 2016 read more »
A skills shortage that has plagued the Trident nuclear weapons programme for a decade is posing a threat to safety, according to a new report from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The latest annual report from the MoD’s internal watchdog, the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR), warns that a persistent shortfall of suitably qualified and experienced nuclear engineers is “the principal threat to the delivery of nuclear safety”. The MoD stresses that measures are being taken to try and plug the gaps. But experts have told The Ferret that the pressures on nuclear staffing are going to get worse in the next few years with the scheduled replacement of Trident and the proposed expansion of civil nuclear power.
The Ferret 9th June 2016 read more »
Mutant Daisys is campaigning for mandatory distribution of Potassium Iodide tablets for all residents living within a 30 Kilometre radius of every Nuclear power station within the United Kingdom. Once we have achieved this goal we want to expand the catchment area further to incorporate all residents living with a 30 Kilometer radius of every Nuclear power station in the world.
Mutant Daisys 26th May 2016 read more »
France’s state-owned nuclear businesses are focused on winning the lucrative South African nuclear tender despite recent financial difficulties. The French will bid as EDF/Areva – nuclear technology company Areva sold its reactor business to the state-owned energy utility EDF earlier this year. French nuclear envoy Pascal Colombani this week criticised rumours of EDF bankruptcy. He said EDF was on a solid financial footing and ready to compete for the nuclear contract.
City Press 10th June 2016 read more »
Like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, everyone who was in Fukushima at the time of the disaster has a story, but unlike Hiroshima and Nagasaki many are struggling to find their voice. The disaster is still fresh in the minds of the survivors. Many wish to speak out about their exposure to the radiation, or the dangers of nuclear power, but don’t know what to say, or how to describe what they went through. The following voices each depict a different aspect of the disaster and show how Fukushima has been diversely affected. In the next few months I will finish editing the videos I have filmed in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima for my blogumentary that will be viewable on YouTube and Facebook at “Hibakusha: The Nuclear Family.”
National Geographic 9th June 2016 read more »
Japan needs to review its current method for screening nuclear plant safety, seismologist and former senior regulator Kunihiko Shimazaki said in a recent interview. The current method risks underestimating the magnitude of possible earthquakes that may hit nuclear plants, Shimazaki, former acting chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said. “A review is needed” for the method to calculate the design basis quakes that is currently adopted in the NRA’s screening procedures, he said. Shimazaki said that he has confirmed the need for such a review after examining data on powerful quakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture and other areas in Kyushu in April.
Japan Times 12th June 2016 read more »
A reactor at Belgium’s Tihange nuclear power plant has shut down automatically following an abnormality on Friday, the plant operator said. The causes behind the incident are being investigated. There has been no radiation leak, according to the operator. The Tihange plant is one of Belgium’s two large-scale nuclear power stations, and is located some 100km (62 miles) from the capital city of Brussels. Earlier this year, work was interrupted at another Belgian nuclear plant, Doel, which is 40 years old. A similar safety mechanism shut its reactor down just three days after it had been re-launched. In April, Germany asked Belgium to take two of its nuclear reactors at both Tihange and Doel offline, citing safety concerns. Brussels said it took its neighbor’s concerns “seriously,” but promised that its reactors met the strictest safety standards.
Russia Today 10th June 2016 read more »
Beginning in 2020, the government of Finland plans on burying over 5,000 tons of nuclear waste over 1,000 feet below the Earth. It’s the first national attempt to permanently bury nuclear waste. Nuclear power is increasingly becoming the dominant power source in Finland, it’s estimated that by 2025 it will power 60 percent of the country’s electric needs. It’s government is one of the few in the world which is actively expanding its nuclear capacity, although recent attempts at constructing new plants have been met with complications.
Popular Mechanics 10th June 2016 read more »
A pioneering project to establish the UK’s largest micro-algae manufacturing facility in remote Ardnamurchan has received a £500,000 cash boost. The £2million project could see a new industry flourish while also ensuring it is powered by local sources of renewable energy. The Algal Solutions for Local Energy Economy (Aslee) project has been awarded the cash from the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund to fund the first year of feasibility studies. The pilot project will allow the group behind the scheme to research the effects of intermittency of electrical supply on algae production. This fits the wider theme of the project’s funders, to determine new uses for renewable energy in remote areas such as the Ardnamurchan peninsula that are “grid constrained” – where it is difficult to bring in revenue by supplying energy to the grid.
Press and Journal 9th June 2016 read more »