A fire involving low-level waste has been reported at the decommissioned Dounreay nuclear plant. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it had been informed of the incident on Wednesday by Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, which is managing the decommissioning of the site. The fire at the equipment maintenance and decontamination facility was put out by the on-site fire brigade. A Sepa spokesman said: “Currently there is no evidence that there has been any release of activity to the environment.”
STV 13th March 2014 read more »
AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after bosses at Sellafield implemented a “controlled shutdown” at its reprocessing plant. Sellafield Limited say Magnox plant was closed down on February 23 because of what officials say was an “anomaly in the chemical process”. The facility deals with fuel from Britain’s early nuclear reactors. An initial probe has suggested the problem was a blockage of a chemical agent in part of the system. Senior managers at Sellafield say that there was no risk to workers or the public. Two investigations into other incidents on the site are ongoing, they said. In early February, thousands of Sellafield staff were told to stay away from the site because an “elevated level of radiation” was detected overnight by a perimeter alarm.
Whitehaven News 13th March 2014 read more »
Protesters have warned about potential dangers at Heysham Power Station if there are storm surges on the coast in the future. Former Garstang resident Mo Kelly lead the peaceful protest outside the nuclear power station at the weekend. The architect, sister to Garstang’s parish priest Fr David Elder, was joined by more than 60 adults and children in a vigil outside the southernmost tip of the station. The group gathered to mark the third anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan and to highlight the need for vigilance at nuclear plants to ensure there is adequate protection against rising sea levels and storm surges.
Garstang Courier 13th March 2014 read more »
THE Welsh Government has confirmed that it is looking at options to retain nuclear decommissioning jobs at Trawsfynydd beyond 2016. Trawsfynydd nuclear power station is scheduled to enter a critical phase in its decommissioning in December 2016, after which the site would be left until 2021. Snowdonia Enterprise Zone board chairman John Idris Jones has warned that this could lead to the 700-plus workforce leaving the area to find work elsewhere. He has recommended moving straight to the next phase of decommissioning to retain hundreds of skilled jobs, while more work is done to attract other industries to the area.
Cambrian News 13th March 2014 read more »
Preston MP Mark Hendrick hosted a discussion in the House of Commons over the future of nuclear energy in the UK. The Labour member, together with fellow MP Albert Owen, brought together a top-level panel including Energy Minister Michael Fallon to discuss the industry in front of an audience from both Parliament and nuclear businesses. “The event was very successful and we saw a constructive engagement,” said Mr Hendrick. “The Minister went away with a great understanding of the industry and also MP’s concerns. I will be following this event up with a discussion document to circulate to both my parliamentary colleagues and industry representatives.” Other speakers included Labour’s energy spokesman Tom Greatrex and Paul Harris an executive from Nuclear Rolls Royce.
Lancashire Evening Post 13th March 2014 read more »
Household energy bills could rise by more than £600 a year within six years to help power companies keep the lights on, the consumer group Which? has claimed. The watchdog has written privately to the Treasury before next week’s Budget to warn of rising costs. The group predicted that energy companies would need to spend £118 billion on new infrastructure between now and 2020. This would include building power stations, replacing grids and erecting wind farms as part of a drive to sustain the power supply and cut down on carbon emissions. Which? believes this cost will inevitably be passed on to consumers, adding the equivalent of £640 a year to household bills.
Telegraph 13th March 2014 read more »
One of Britain’s largest energy companies has been urged to cut customers’ bills after profits from supplying electricity and gas jumped by 26 per cent last year.
Times 13th March 2014 read more »
RWE has posted its first loss since World War II. Everyone – not only proponents of renewables – now claims that the firm’s management failed to see how renewables would affect its bottom line. That’s true, but even if they had, what should they have done? More importantly, what should they do now? First, investing in renewables was never in the interest of energy corporations. The reason why Germany succeeded in ramping up renewables is because they understood this and came up with a policy that would allow others to make these investments – citizens, energy co-ops, municipals, etc. Second, no one expected PV to grow this fast. The sudden boom of PV has been much more disruptive than the more gradual growth of wind and biomass. I didn’t see this coming, Peter Terium didn’t, and the German Environmental Ministry didn’t. I’d wager that none of the people complaining about RWE’s shortsightedness can paste in a link in the comments below demonstrating that they knew we would be where we are today five years ago. What should RWE do? I don’t know, and I don’t see too many good suggestions out there elsewhere – but go ahead, put yours in the comments below. Maybe we need to be open to the idea that large power corporations were needed for central-station power plants, but that their role in a renewable future will be much smaller. At the moment, even the proposal to have them leverage their size to set up an enabling infrastructure – such as charging stations for electric cars – seems unlikely. The firms don’t even have the liquidity anymore.
Energy Post 10th March 2014 read more »
The general drift of UK electricity policy since 2006 has been for more central planning and fewer decisions made in a competitive market. If you are a market economy-leaning type, as we at Policy Exchange are, this is worrying. The last Labour government, the coalition, the Committee on Climate Change, green NGOs and Ofgem, as well as many academics, have broadly accepted the general thrust of more state planning. While there have been some positive signs in recent months (the decision not to subsidise gas storage, the push for earlier auctions in renewable energy allocations), these are small exceptions to the wider trend. We are now looking at a power system where most of the decisions are made by government. I have compiled a list of arguments that have driven policy choices over the last few years. These tenets have led to feed-in tariffs (FiTs), renewable obligation certificates (ROCs), electricity market reform (EMR) and contracts for difference (CFDs). They have even led to some policies which do not yet have acronyms, such as the Capacity Mechanism. I disagree, to some extent at least, with most of the arguments. Many are held by much more esteemed voices than I, and I am always open to my mind being changed, but so far I remain unconvinced:
Business Green 13th March 2014 read more »
A partnership has been announced between Amec and Exelon Nuclear Partners (ENP) to provide consultancy and support services to nuclear power projects around the world. International engineering and project management company Amec said that it was collaborating with ENP – a division of the USA’s largest nuclear generator Exelon – to “explore opportunities in new markets across the international energy sector.” The partnership, focusing on “nuclear new build and existing reactor marketplaces,” will provide engineering, consultancy, project management and operations support services.
World Nuclear News 13th March 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
As radiation spewed from Japan’s nuclear disaster three years ago, the top U.S. atomic energy regulator issued a 50-mile evacuation warning for any Americans in the area, a response some found extreme. Gregory Jaczko, who stepped down as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2012, still believes he was right, and says the events at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant show that nuclear power should be phased out in Japan and worldwide.
Fox News 13th March 2014 read more »
US – Radwaste
A radiation leak has raised questions about the safety of the United States’ only deep nuclear-waste repository, and has given fresh voice to scientists calling for more research into underground waste storage. On 14 February, radioactive plutonium and americium leaked out of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico, where thousands of drums of contaminated material from the US nuclear-weapons program are stored in salt beds more than half a kilometer below the surface. The health and environmental impacts seem to be minor, but 13 employees have tested positive for low-level contamination. The Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractors are still working on a plan to re-enter the WIPP and find out what caused the leak.
Scientific American 4th March 2014 read more »
Former GCHQ boss Sir David Omand has warned that the SNP’s defence and security plans would cast “a dark shadow” over a newly independent Scotland. He said that the SNP’s anti-nuclear stance would be likely to upset the United States if an independent Scotland wanted to be part of Nato. The SNP’s demand that all nuclear weapons be removed by the end of the first parliament following independence would also create “huge practical problems”. He added: “I find it hard not to conclude that would cast a very dark shadow over all the negotiations on intelligence and security.”
Independent 13th March 2014 read more »
Britain is not making contingency plans to move its nuclear forces out of Scotland because the Westminster government does not think independence is a realistic prospect, despite the nation facing a referendum on the issue in September. UK defence secretary Philip Hammond was asked about such plans while on a visit to a shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness near the English-Scottish border, to which he said there were none.
IB Times 13th March 2014 read more »
Reuters 13th March 2014 read more »
Failings exposed last spring at a US nuclear missile base, reflecting what one officer called “rot” in the ranks, were worse than originally reported, according to air force documents obtained by the Associated Press.
Guardian 13th March 2014 read more »
Prime Minister David Cameron took up his regular place on a Wednesday before massed MPs in Parliament on 12 March, and once more denounced North Korea and Iran for their respective possession and alleged aspiration towards nuclear weapons. But he wasn’t addressing the UK Parliament, but Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset. Critically observing Israel’s national security concerns, he bluntly warned of: “The threat of a nuclear- armed Iran and perhaps the greatest challenge of all, the poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism. And to people who try to say that Israel is the cause of these problems. I say that fundamentally misunderstands what these problems are about. But for some reason, possibly he ran out of time, he did not manage to mention Israel itself is heavily nuclear-armed, with as many as 200 deadly warheads, and has been since the 1960s.
Dr David Lowry 13th March 2014 read more »
Combined heat and power, also known as co-generation, is a well-established technology at the utility and industrial scale. Now, some manufacturers see potential for home-scaled combined heat and power systems.
Sourceable 13th March 2014 read more »
Renewables – Ireland
Promoting community ownership – as in Germany – would both have allowed local people to benefit and given them a stake in the plans. But by adopting the greedy, arrogant approach of the British wind industry Irish politicians and companies have not just sabotaged their scheme, but raised a anti-turbine movement which will now go looking for further victories.
Telegraph 11th March 2014 read more »
David Cameron’s cuts to green schemes will mean more than 400,000 badly insulated households miss out on help to reduce their bills, official figures show. The government was accused by Labour of trying to “bury the truth” as ministers have repeatedly insisted that households would not lose out on energy-saving measures as a result of changes announced in December.
Guardian 13th March 2014 read more »
Times 14th March 2014 read more »
The UK should designate “frack-free zones” to protect the countryside from shale gas extraction because of the risk of polluting rivers and fragmenting many of Britain’s most valuable wildlife sites, according to a major study conducted for six countryside groups.
Guardian 13th March 2014 read more »
What if Bloomberg, Branson and Grantham came together to buy out the coal industry, close and clean up the mines, retrain workers and accelerate the expansion of renewable energy?
Guardian 11th March 2014 read more »