Prime Minister Theresa May is being urged to ditch the £18.5bn nuclear project at Hinkley Point, Somerset, altogether after the latest allegations against its Chinese developer. China General Nuclear Power (CGN), which is funding a third of the cost of the plant, has been accused of stealing nuclear secrets from the US. Paul Dorfman, a senior research fellow at University College London, told The Guardian the news added to “endless concern and discussion” among security experts and said a nuclear deal with China “is beginning to look like an Anglo-Sino bridge too far”. “No other OECD country would let China into its critical nuclear infrastructure, given its history of nuclear weapon proliferation,” he said. Dorfman also said May has already taken the “diplomatic hit” by announcing an 11th-hour delay to the project, which has prompted thinly-veiled threats from China over £100bn of inward investment into the UK. Cover for abandoning the project – and preserving relations with China – could be provided by citing the untested French reactor technology, which is “over-cost and over-time where it’s being built in Finland and France”, he added.
The Week 12th Aug 2016 read more »
Ten advisers and civil servants working in DECC, the former UK energy department, were seconded from EDF or had other links to the company, writes Joe Sandler Clarke. This may help to explain the ‘preferential treatment’ EDF has received over the 3.2GW nuclear power station it wants to build at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Ecologist 12th Aug 2016 read more »
Alternatives to Hinkley
Solar and wind power will be cheaper than new nuclear electricity before the Hinkley Point power station could open, according to the government’s own projections. Electricity from onshore wind turbines and large-scale solar farms is expected to cost about £50 to £75 per megawatt-hour in 2025, while new nuclear is projected to cost £85 to £125/MWh. In 2013, when the government agreed to pay £92.50/MWh for Hinkley Point’s power, solar and wind power were forecast to be more expensive than nuclear, or about the same price. The change in the forecast was revealed in a National Audit Office report last month. It said wind and solar’s “levelised cost”, which compares the cost of energy sources, had become substantially cheaper. “Forecasts for wind and solar in 2025 have decreased . . . while for nuclear it has increased,” it said.
Times 12th Aug 2016 read more »
What’s missing is a fresh discussion on what to do instead of large projects like Hinkley. This requires a challenge to the mindset that’s led the UK to paint itself into a corner. There’s long been a culture of big is better when the UK considers energy – find the next big gas field or build another big power station and the problem is sorted. Locally produced solar and wind energy is now more common. We have all seen how prices for panels and turbines have tumbled with forecasts that costs for solar and onshore wind will fall a further 41% and 60% by 2040 respectively. The UK needs to get over the idea that huge megaprojects are the solution to everything. Instead, it should think of a new mix between smaller and larger, be more joined up in considering consumption as well as supply and think more decentralised than central. That expands the industries, companies, institutions and government departments involved. That calls for an industrial strategy focused on energy.
Reaction 12th Aug 2016 read more »
Highlands Against Nuclear Transport is extremely concerned about the grounding of the semi-submersible rig Transocean Winner at Dalmore in the Western Isles whilst under tow from Norway to Malta for eventual decommissioning in Turkey HANT is concerned for several reasons : i) The passage should never have been undertaken when storm force winds had been forecast for several days ii) The company providing the towing tug appears to have broken international maritime law by not having an ocean-going master and crew on the rig whilst under tow which could have taken several actions such as lowering one of the vessel’s 8 anchors or reconnect the tow iii) A single tow of this kind should not have been attempted without a backup vessel in attendance in case of breakdowns or the tow line parting iv) That 280 metric tonnes of diesel oil were bring carried on the rig and that this is now leaking and will cause environmental damage and risks to tourism, fishing and aquaculture which form an important part of the Western Isles economy v) That the recommendations of the Donaldson report after the grounding of the Braer on Shetland in 1993 should now be fully implemented with at least 2 Emergency Towing Vessels based around Scotland’s coast This maritime disaster once again highlights the need for an Emergency Towing Vessel based in Stornoway which HANT has campaigned for since 2013 with support from many politicians, KIMO (local authorities international environmental organisation), NFLA (Nuclear Free Local Authorities) and Friends of the Earth Scotland. The outcome of an incident similar to this involving a ship carrying nuclear waste from scrabster to barrow would be even more catastrophic. That is why HANT has called for all shipments of nuclear waste on this route through the Minches to be halted as it is unnecessary and all nuclear waste can and should be stored at Dounreay. HANT calls on the British Government to : i) Implement every recommendation made by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch which will follow this disaster; ii) Immediately inform the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority that all shipments of nuclear waste from Scrabster to Barrow must now be halted.
HANT 11th Aug 2016 read more »
It’s one of the more unlikely tales in the history of Scottish energy. But, more than 45 years ago, plans were launched for an £85million nuclear power plant in a north-east village. Today’s edition of Your Life magazine chronicles how atomic energy became linked with Stake Ness in Boyndie. Writing in April 1970, the Press and Journal writer, Cuthbert Graham, claimed the “universal reaction” in the area was that the development was the “best thing that could have happened.” He makes reference to William Reid, a tenant farmer of Upper Dallachy, who smiled at the prospect of the “profound upheaval” and “change” which would land on his doorstep. Once the two reactor and generator units had been created, a new road network was expected to materialise to serve the farming community. The possibility of a nuclear power plant at Stake Ness was still being discussed as late as September 1983.
Press & Journal 13th Aug 2016 read more »
On this day in 1957, Scotland s first nuclear power station, at Dounreay, went critical .
Scotsman 13th Aug 2016 read more »
For all Japan’s talk of 43 ‘operable’ nuclear reactors, only two are actually running, writes Jim Green, as renewables and a 12% fall in demand eat into the power market. And while Japan’s ‘nuclear village’ defends safety standards, the IAEA, tasked with promoting nuclear power worldwide, has expressed deep concerns over the country’s weak and ‘fragmented’ safety regulation.
Ecologist 12th Aug 2016 read more »
Shikoku Electric Power Company announced today that it had initiated the process to restart unit 3 of its Ikata nuclear power plant in Japan’s Ehime prefecture. It becomes the fifth Japanese reactor to resume operation under new safety standards introduced following the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
World Nuclear News 12th Aug 2016 read more »
On August 6, in the coastal city of Lianyungang in Jiangsu province, thousands of localstook to the streets in opposition to a proposed Sino-French nuclear reprocessing plant, prompted by environmental and health concerns. This is another of the large “not-in-my-backyard” protests that have influenced China’s environmental governance in recent years. The project is a joint venture between French firm Areva and the China National Nuclear Corporation designed to reprocess spent fuel from Chinese reactors, extracting valuable uranium and plutonium. Back in 2013 chinadialogue looked at the pros and cons of the project. Lianyungang was decided to be the most eligible location for the plant, but the scale of the protests has created uncertainty over its future.
China Dialogue 12th Aug 2016 read more »
US – plutonium
The U.S. Government Accountability Office is raising questions about whether a project underway at Los Alamos National Laboratory can meet a mandate to ramp up production of plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons – a key part of the federal government’s effort to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal over the next two decades. The GAO, in a report released this week, says the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees LANL, has not defined how the multi-billion-dollar plans will achieve the goal established by the Department of Defense and Congress of producing 50 to 80 “pits” – the grapefruit-sized plutonium cores of nuclear weapons – by 2030. NNSA’s own analysis shows the LANL project “may not support those (production) rates,” says the report by the GAO, a independent agency that works with Congress.
Albuquerque Journal 12th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Following an updated estimate of installed capacity from National Grid, Sheffield Solar have implemented the revised figures in the PV_Live results. Since historic installed capacity is now better reported, we’re able to re-run the PV_Live calculation retrospectively and produce more accurate historic results. According to this latest update, there is 11.1 GW of PV installed on the UK electricity network!
Sheffield Solar Live 10th Aug 2016 read more »
Clean energy firm SolarWindow is a South Carolina-based start-up pushing the boundaries of organic solar cell technology in a bid to create a transparent photovoltaic coating which can be added onto ordinary glass panels. The firm’s process involves applying a paper thin layer of the its specially developed coating to an ordinary piece of window glass. This carbon-based coating, which becomes more or less transparent when applied to the glass, is in fact made up of several separate layers of materials, including a central active polymer layer capable of producing electricity.
Business Green 12th Aug 2016 read more »