The majority stakeholder of a major nuclear power project in the UK is forming a “contingency plan” should Scotland vote ‘yes’ to independence this week. The chief executive of Toshiba-owned nuclear reactor developer Westinghouse, Danny Roderick, told Construction News he was watching the debate unfold with “disbelief” as the gap tightened between the two camps. Mr Roderick was speaking at a media briefing following the news that NuGen had re-commenced site assessment work this month at its site in West Cumbria. Westinghouse manages and operates the Springfield nuclear fuel manufacturing facility in Preston, Lancashire, which currently supplies AGR fuel to Torness and Hunterston power stations in Scotland. The chief executive said he was “anxiously awaiting” a ruling from the European Commission on whether the deal signed under the government’s contracts for difference will meet state aid approval. The decision had been expected this summer but has since been delayed until next month. The CEO said Westinghouse would be waiting to see if the Hinkley plant was given approval before being able to move forward with its NuGen plant, Mr Roderick said. Westinghouse is hoping to make a final investment decision in 2018, with a view to complete the project by 2025.
Construction News 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Friends of the Earth
Why nuclear is a big distraction from the real changes Friends of the Earth is helping to drive. Last Wednesday was weird. And the rest of last week continued in that vein. That morning I was shaving, before heading into London for work, when suddenly my ears pricked up at an 8 o’clock bulletin on the Today programme. The announcer declared: “The leading environmental group Friends of the Earth has revealed it’s no longer opposed to nuclear power in principle. It’s a significant change in an organisation that has constantly fought nuclear on safety grounds since it was founded in 1969. The group says, however, that it still opposes the building of new nuclear power stations in the UK but now it’s because the process is too long and costs too much.” The report ended with the words: “It’s a huge and controversial shift”. I almost dropped my razor. I’d been interviewed for a report earlier that morning on nuclear power’s role in the energy system and keeping the lights on. However, as Director of Policy and Campaigns at Friends of the Earth, this supposed significant change was news to me. It was also news to our supporters, some of whom contacted us, as they understood from the report that this “huge and controversial shift” indicated we’d become pro-nuclear.
FoE 15th Sept 2014 read more »
People can now have their say on plans for the construction of a new nuclear power station in Wales. Horizon Nuclear Power has set up a 10-week consultation period, starting on 29th September, for the proposed Wylfa Newydd power station on Anglesey, which would have a minimum generating capacity of up to 2.7GW. The company believes the consultation is a major step in the planning process and is the first time people will be able to view its proposals in detail.
Energy Live News 15th Sept 2014 read more »
A new joint venture company has been awarded a contract worth up to around £5.5 billion to manage 12 UK nuclear sites and their decommissioning programmes. The Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP) expects to save the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which owns the sites, more than £1.5 billion over the 14-year duration of its contract. Kevin Thomas, CFP Chairman said the company hopes to deliver the extensive decommissioning programme “safely, on schedule and within budget”.
Energy Live News 16th Sept 2014 read more »
A “yes” vote for Scottish independence will “slam the brakes” on investment in wind farms north of the border, leaving Alex Salmond’s green energy ambitions in tatters, experts have warned. The Scottish National Party set a target in 2011 of generating the equivalent of 100pc of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The construction of a series of giant wind farms off the Scottish coast is central to its plans. But analysis published on Monday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance warns that investment in such projects will stall if Scotland votes for independence, as current subsidy schemes are ripped up and companies await the outcome of what could be years of negotiations over how the projects will be financed. Billions of pounds in subsidies for renewable energy projects across the UK are currently shared by all bill-payers, but Ed Davey, the energy secretary, has warned that this will not continue if Scotland votes for independence.
Telegraph 15th Sept 2014 read more »
A ‘yes vote’ in Scotland’s imminent referendum on independence from the UK could hinder short term investment in renewable energy totaling $12 billion (£7.3 billion), according to analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. A report published just days before Scotland will go to the polls has found that the uncertainty surrounding the future shape of the power market in the event of independence could lead investors to delay decisions on Scottish investment. BNEF figures show that Scotland has 4.7GW of commissioned wind farms, another 900MW financed or under construction, with a further 5.7GW permitted and 11.3GW at early stages. “The permitted category alone could be equivalent to more than $12bn of investment,” BNEF said. The report explained that a Scottish break-away would be “complex, involving tough bargaining, and would be likely to extend over a period of many months, if not longer”.
Utility Week 15th Sept 2014 read more »
The breakaway of Scotland from the UK would damage renewable energy investment in the short term, according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
Wind Power Monthly 15th Sept 2014 read more »
They say that five sieverts of radiation is enough to kill you, so I was curious to see the reading on my Russian-made dosimeter as our tour van passed into the exclusion zone—the vast, quarantined wilderness that surrounds Chernobyl. Thick stands of pines and birches crowded the roadside as our guide reminded us of the ground rules: Don’t pick the mushrooms, which concentrate radionuclides, or risk letting the contaminants into your body by eating or smoking outdoors. A few minutes later we passed the first of the abandoned villages and pulled over to admire a small band of wild Przewalski’s horses.
National Geographic October 2014 read more »
Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori says he supports the revised Fennovoima application for a new nuclear plant, but not that for Olkiluoto 4. The Fennovoima approval is dependent on an increased level of domestic ownership. He said this could eventually mean that neither project moves forward.
YLE 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Finland’s economy minister has rejected an application from power utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) to extend the permit for a new nuclear reactor in the west of the country, throwing the project into doubt. Minister Jan Vapaavuori instead conditionally backed another nuclear project, Finnish-Russian company Fennovoima’s plan to build a new plant in Pyhajoki, in northern Finland, in a move that is likely to mean the country’s five-party government will lose a small coalition partner, the Greens. Finland had approved both new reactors in 2010 as part of efforts to increase its self-sufficiency in power generation and reduce electricity prices, but the projects have both since faced troubles, prompting reviews of their permits. TVO had requested a five-year extension to the Olkiluoto 4 reactor project because it was dealing with delays and overruns at its predecessor, Olkiluoto 3, and it did not want to build two projects worth billions of euros at the same time. Olkiluoto 3, built by an Areva-Siemens consortium and set to be the country’s fifth reactor, is not expected to come onstream until late 2018 – almost a decade later than originally planned.
Reuters 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Electricite de France SA, the world’s biggest nuclear power generator, is struggling to keep up with the maintenance requirements of its aging reactors, according to the regulator. The state-controlled utility, whose 58 reactors generate three-quarters of French power, has embarked on a round of repairs and safety improvements to meet tougher standards afterJapan’s Fukushima meltdown and increasing demands of old plants. “There are delays and complications and some could affect safety,” Pierre-Franck Chevet, head of the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, said in an interview in Paris.
Bloomberg 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Ukrainian Defence Minister Valeriy Heletey warned on Sunday night that his country could restart its own nuclear programme. The minister said that the programme would be revived if Kiev does not receive satisfactory military support against what he alleged was a nuclear threat from Russia. “If we fail to defend Ukraine today, if the world does not help us, we will have to get back to the creation of such weapons which will defend us from Russia,” he threatened.
Morning Star 16th Sept 2014 read more »
A U.N. nuclear agency investigation into suspected atomic bomb research by Iran will not be an “endless process”, its chief said on Monday, pressuring Tehran to step up cooperation with the long-stalled probe.Three weeks after Iran failed to meet a deadline for providing requested information to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Director General Yukiya Amano said Tehran needed to do much more to address the IAEA’s concerns.In line with the findings of a confidential IAEA report earlier this month, he said Iran had not carried out two of the five transparency steps it had agreed to implement by Aug. 25.
Reuters 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Nearly 70 years after the U.S. conducted the world’s first atomic-bomb test here in the New Mexico desert, federal researchers are slated to visit the state this month to begin studying whether some residents developed cancer due to the blast. As part of the long anticipated project, set to start Sept. 25, investigators with the National Cancer Institute will interview people who lived in the state around the time of the 1945 Trinity test and assess the effects of consuming food, milk and water that may have been contaminated by the explosion. For years, residents of the rural, heavily Hispanic villages near the test site have claimed that a mysterious wave of cancer has swept through this dusty stretch of south-central New Mexico, decimating families and prompting calls for the government to determine whether radiation exposure played a role.
Wall St Journal 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Renewables – Wind
Gordon MacDougall, UK and Ireland managing director for RES, explains why the company has helped set up a new campaign to promote British wind energy. Eight wind power companies will today launch a campaign aimed at dispelling myths around onshore wind power, specifically to convince MPs that it is the cheapest and one of the most popular forms of renewable energy. BusinessGreen talked to Gordon MacDougall, UK and Ireland managing director for RES, one of the companies behind the British Wind Campaign about his ambitions
Business Green 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Renewables – AD
Biomethane industry executives have called for urgent Government intervention to boost supply of the renewable natural gas, which can be used by businesses as a transport fuel. Speakers at last week’s UK Biomethane & Gas Vehicle conference noted that the market and demand for biomethane has grown exponentially, and now vastly outstrips supply. “Party manifestos need to address this concern and not just through targeted incentives which support biomethane production, but also through a ban on food waste to landfill, the proper facilitation of separate waste collections and bioenergy sustainability criteria that recognise all the benefits of anaerobic digestion,” said Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ABDA) chief executive Charlotte Morton.
Edie 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
In its report entitled REthinking Energy 2014, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) produces a very useful set of overviews, essentially showing that renewable energy will continue to become less expensive up to 2020. For photovoltaics, the organization has produced a few especially interesting charts.
Renew Economy 16th Sept 2014 read more »
The Government must now consider new incentives to encourage energy efficiency after its Green Deal initiative has failed to attract enough potential customers in its first 18 months. A report from the Energy & Climate Change Committee (ECC) has been published warning that the Government’s flagship Green Deal initiative ‘must not fall on deaf ears.’
Edie 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Leaks from faulty shale gas and oil wells have contaminated water supplies, but fracking itself is not to blame, according to new research. Fracking involves drilling a well deep underground and then pumping water, sand and chemicals down it at high pressure to fracture the rocks, enabling shale gas or oil trapped within them to flow out. Critics of the controversial process have often claimed that it pollutes water supplies, citing examples of contamination at shale gas sites in the US.
Telegraph 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Naomi Klein is back, writing about capitalism, only this time the fate of the entire planet is at stake. With her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate, Klein hopes to set off the kind of powerful mass movement that could – finally – produce the radical changes needed to avoid a global warming catastrophe and fix capitalism at the same time. She argues that we have all been thinking about the climate crisis the wrong way around: it’s about capitalism – not carbon – the extreme anti-regulatory version that has seized global economies since the 1980s and has set us on a course of destruction and deepening inequality.
Guardian 14th Sept 2014 read more »
It’s easy to see why 96–97% of climate scientists and their peer-reviewed research agree that humans are the main cause of global warming. That’s what the scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows. While it’s possible to find one or two flawed papers arguing to the contrary, the balance of evidence is tilted heavily to the side of human-caused global warming. It’s about as settled as science gets. In fact, it’s about as settled as the fact that smoking causes cancer, chlorofluorocarbons cause ozone depletion, sulfur dioxide causes acid rain, and DDT is toxic. Although the science is inconvenient for certain industries and the political think tanks they fund (like the Marshall Institute and TPPF), these effects all pose dangers to public health. Climate change perhaps most of all.
Guardian 15th Sept 2014 read more »