Construction at Hinkley Point C will boost the South-west construction market by £500m over the next two years, according to data shared exclusively with Construction News. Forecaster Hewes & Associates predicts that work at Hinkley will add between £400m and £500m to industry activity in the region during 2017 and 2018. Bouygues Travaux Publics and Laing O’Rourke this month signed the multi-billion-pound contracts to build the facilities that will house Hinkley Point C’s two EPR nuclear reactors. Works at the Somerset site will help the South-west to become the UK’s fastest-growing region in terms of construction activity in 2018, with output set to grow by 2 per cent in 2017 and 1.3 per cent in 2018, according to the forecasts. This means the South-west will make up 7.4 per cent of the UK’s total construction output by 2018 – up from 6.9 per cent in 2016.
Construction News 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Suffolk people are all too well aware of the dynamic nature of our coast. We all recall major flooding events, cliff falls that threaten houses, and the shingle and dunes on our beaches that are constantly changing. With global warming the seas are predicted to rise and storm surges will become more frequent. As our climate changes, can nuclear power at Sizewell remain safe for the very long timescales involved? An illustrated presentation, based on the latest research. Venue: Market Hall, Saxmundham IP17 1AF. Date & time: 7.30pm on Thursday 26 January.
FoE Suffolk Coastal 16th Jan 2017 read more »
Plans for a £2.8bn cable tunnel under Morecambe Bay are nearly ready to go to the Planning Inspectorate following completion of public consultation. National Grid is planning a 22km-long, five-metre diameter tunnel to link the proposed Moorside nuclear power station to the National Grid network. Morgan Sindall Professional Services (MSPS) and its sister business Underground Professional Services (UnPS) are near to completing the front end engineering design (FEED) for what is considered to be one of the most technically challenging projects of its type ever proposed.
The Construction Index 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Jeremy Corbyn used his quiet visit to the Copeland by-election to tell Labour members he would give his backing for plans to develop nuclear energy plants. The party leader made the day trip to the constituency – which includes the Sellafield plant – yesterday to explain his support for new nuclear power as part of Britain’s “energy mix”. The dash to West Cumbria came after the Tories printed thousands of leaflets in which they highlighted Corbyn’s previous statements critical of nuclear power. Corbyn has indicated he is open to new nuclear power stations but stopped short of backing proposals for a new plant at Moorside, near Sellafield, which could create 21,000 jobs.
Labour List 16th Jan 2017 read more »
Labour activists in Cumbria have pleaded with Jeremy Corbyn to strongly support nuclear power amid fears that the issue is the party’s ‘Achilles heel’ in the Copeland by-election. The Labour leader was made aware of the concerns as he met local members during a trip to the Lakeland constituency on Sunday, HuffPost UK can reveal. With 20,000 jobs relying on a planned new nuclear plant near Sellafield, both trade union members and activists raised fears that Corbyn’s personal anti-nuclear views could gift the Tories the tight marginal seat.
Huffington Post 16th Jan 2017 read more »
British nuclear regulators are expected to take five years to complete their generic design assessment of China’s HPR1000, or Hualong One, reactor. If the design is passed, it will be used at Bradwell in Essex, one of a number of third generation reactors planned for the UK over the next 10 years. The reactor will be built by General Nuclear Services (GNS), a joint venture between EDF and China General Nuclear (CGN). Under the strategic investment agreement the two signed in October, CGN agreed to take a 33.5% stake in EDF’s Hinkley Point project in Somerset, as well as jointly developing plants at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell. The companies have been working together on nuclear projects in China for more than 30 years. Hinkley and Sizewell will use EDF’s EPR reactor but Bradwell will use the Hualong One design. The reactor is a third-generation design, originally based on French technology. It has an output of 1,150MW and a design life of 60 years.
Global Construction Review 16th Jan 2017 read more »
The GMB Union is balloting members for strike action over the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s plans to make savings of £660m. The proposals affect 11,000 workers at 19 sites including Sellafield, Direct Rail Services in Carlisle, the Low Level Waste Repository at Drigg, and International Nuclear Services at Westlakes near Whitehaven. Clive Lewis, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, says that the changes are unnecessary. He said: “These workers have already been forced on to far less generous schemes, and now the Government is coming after them again. “This is a cynical attempt by the Government to save money by picking the pockets of British workers, and we are completely behind their fight for fairness.
In Cumbria 17th Jan 2017 read more »
The advanced nuclear reactor industry in North America includes more than 50 companies and labs, which collectively have attracted some $1.3 billion in private capital, as well as government grants and other assistance. Proponents of advanced nuclear reactors say that they are essential to help humans stop heating the planet with carbon dioxide emissions, and that they can do so without the safety, security, and cost concerns posed by older nuclear technology. Detractors say the advanced nuclear industry will never take off, and particularly not without government action that puts a price on carbon dioxide emissions, helping low- and no-carbon energy sources compete economically with fossil fuels. The author interviews company leaders, academics, scientists, and regulators to determine which companies are most likely to succeed.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 22nd Dec 2016 read more »
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has welcomed the acceptance for regulatory review of its early site permit application for the Clinch River site in Tennessee as a milestone towards the potential use of small modular reactors (SMRs) in its operating fleet.
World Nuclear News 16th Jan 2017 read more »
The Scottish government is expected to make a statement this week on the transportation of radioactive material from a Highlands airport. Highly-enriched uranium was transferred from Dounreay, near Thurso, to the US via Wick John O’Groats Airport in 2016. The transfers were made following a deal agreed by UK and US governments. The airport, 30 miles from Dounreay, is run by Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (Hial), a public corporation owned by Scottish ministers. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority provided Hial with funding to upgrade the airport in preparation for the US flights. Further flights of the material, in exchange for a type of uranium from the US used to diagnose cancer, are expected in the future. Highlands Scottish Greens MSP John Finnie has raised concerns about the suitability of Wick John O’Groats Airport to the Scottish government. The MSP does not believe the airport to be suitable for the large aircraft involved. Mr Finnie has also asked what role Hial played in negotiations about the flights and also what extra costs Police Scotland has incurred in helping to provide security for the flights. The government is expected to release a response to his questions on Tuesday. Most of the radioactive materials held there, such as fuel, are being moved to other locations, including Sellafield in Cumbria where it will be reprocessed or stored. These shipments are being made by rail. Other material has been returned to nuclear sites overseas.
BBC 16th Jan 2017 read more »
Press & Journal 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Alexey V Yablokov (1933-2017) was a scientific giant of the post-Chernobyl age, writes Chris Busby. It was he who brought together the work of dissident Soviet scientists and revealed to the world, in English language, the true health impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. His hard work and dedication underlies the continuing opposition to the nuclear industry today.
Ecologist 16th Jan 2017 read more »
France’s nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), has approved the restart of nine of the 12 reactors affected by the carbon concentration anomaly in the steam generator channel heads manufactured by Japan Casting and Forging Corporation (JCFC). The approval, which followed ASN’s examination of the results of inspections and technical demonstrations provided by EDF for the 900 MWe reactors, was announced on 12 January.
World Nuclear News 16th Jan 2017 read more »
Saudi Arabia will “within weeks” start issuing tenders for a big solar and wind power programme that envisages investment worth $30bn-$50bn by 2030, the country’s oil minister said on Monday. The oil-rich kingdom was also in the early stages of feasibility and design proposals for the country’s first commercial nuclear power stations, with capacity of 2.8 gigawatts, added Khalid al-Falih. “There will be significant investment in nuclear energy,” he said at a renewable energy event in Abu Dhabi. Mr Falih gave no further details on the programme’s timeframe and cost. The pledge marks the first solid indication of the kingdom’s commitment to developing nuclear energy, after it recently signed co-operation agreements with Russia, France and South K orea on feasibility work. Fleshing out his previously announced ambition to turn Saudi Arabia into a “solar powerhouse”, Mr Falih said that the country was targeting renewable power projects with a capacity of 10GW by 2023.
FT 16th Jan 2017 read more »
Iran has complied with a deadline set by its landmark nuclear deal with world powers by removing hundreds of centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium, from a site buried deep inside a mountain, the U.N. atomic agency said on Monday. The deal reached between six powers and Iran in 2015 stated that no more enrichment would take place at the Fordow site near the holy city of Qom for 15 years, but that Iran could keep just over 1,000 centrifuges there for other uses. Monday’s announcement by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be welcome news to many diplomats who are wondering how U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, a vocal critic of the deal, would handle any problems that might arise.
Reuters 16th Jan 2017 read more »
An engineer working as an operative for the Chinese government in a bid to use American know-how to beef up China’s nuclear program pleaded guilty Friday in the first-of-its-kind prosecution in the nation. Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho confessed Friday in U.S. District Court in the nation’s first case of nuclear espionage involving China. In a plea deal struck by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Atchley Jr. and Ho’s defense team, Ho is being allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge and will be sentenced under a terrorism statute dubbed the Freedom Act of 2015. The maximum sentence is 20 years. To keep that deal, Ho must tell the government everything he knows about China and its nuclear program. Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan set a May 17 sentencing hearing. Ho’s plea is considered key to gathering intelligence on the inner workings of China’s nuclear program – both the one used to power homes and the one to make war – in a case in which the Chinese government refuses to even acknowledge the indictment of its own nuclear power company. Ho, his firm Energy Technology International, and Chinese nuclear power plant China General Nuclear Power were indicted in April in an alleged plot to lure nuclear experts in the U.S. into providing information to allow China to develop and produce nuclear material based on American technology and below the radar of the U.S. government. It is the first such case in the nation brought under a provision of law that regulates the sharing of U.S. nuclear technology with certain countries deemed too untrustworthy to see it. Those countries include China. Although the technology is used for nuclear-power generation, the by-product of that process can be used to produce nuclear weapons. The investigation began at the behest of the Tennessee Valley Authority Office of the Inspector General, which contacted the FBI with concerns about one of TVA’s senior executives, engineer Ching Huey, who later admitted he was paid by Ho and, by extension, the Chinese government, to supply information about nuclear power production and even traveled to China on the Chinese government’s dime. Huey agreed to cooperate in the probe. He has since struck a plea deal.
Knox News 6th Jan 2017 read more »
Amec has won a £35million deal with the UK Ministry of Defence to supply research and technology (R&T) services. The work, for the MOD’s Naval Nuclear Propulsion Programme (NNPP), is worth approximately £35m over five years. The contract win has secured 70 jobs at Amec’s bases in Warrington and Dorchester. Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said:“Long-term investment in innovative research and technology like this is absolutely essential to ensuring that Britain’s nuclear programme remains cutting-edge.
Energy Voice 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Ikea has said it won’t spend a single penny of its mammoth £524m (€600m) green fund in Britain until the government makes it easier to invest in renewable energy. In a rare attack on government policy, the Swedish flatpack giant declared it would have to go elsewhere to finance projects, including wind farms, due to the UK’s “political context”. Joanna Yarrow, Ikea UK’s head of sustainability told The Huffington Post UK that the furniture firm invested €1.5 billion in renewable energy across the world in the last two decades, but that as things stand, an additional half a billion pounds to be spent by 2020 would not come to Britain.
Huffington Post 16th Jan 2017 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Letter Richard Black: Lex is surely correct in backing the Hendry Review’s conclusion that the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project should go ahead. The cost of its electricity looks steep in the immediate term; but unlike the Hinkley C nuclear power station the price paid will not rise in step with inflation, and as a first-of-its-kind project it will naturally be costlier than mature technologies. Costs will fall through learning and competition. However, both the government and the Hendry Review are missing a big trick in assuming that tidal lagoons should be financed through contracts for difference. These pay a fixed price per unit of electricity generated. In doing so, they fail to incentivise a key property of tidal lagoons – the ability to store water for a few hours and use it to generate at times of high demand. The logical contract for Swansea Bay would incentivise delivery of power at the time it is needed, as a smart rather than a blunt instrument. It presents an ideal opportunity to pilot the flexibility market that will need to sit alongside the existing markets for power, capacity and ancillary services if the smart-grid vision is to bec ome reality. There is still time for ministers to turn the blades and make it happen.
FT 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Renewables – wave
An embryonic industry trying to harness the UK’s waves to generate clean electricity has been dealt a significant blow by a warning that the technology is too costly. Wave power devices being tested in Cornwall and at Orkney are 10 times more expensive than other sources of low carbon power and need a radical rethink, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) said. The energy research body added that even if costs were cut aggressively, wave power would be unlikely to make a significant contribution to the UK’s energy demands in coming decades. The institute, which has a mission to accelerate low carbon technologies, said the UK’s marine energy strategy should instead prioritise support for tidal stream power, such as a project being tested in the Pentland Firth, which resembles underwater wind turbines. The ETI urged the government to agree a subsidy deal for Atlantis Resource’s MeyGen scheme, which is the world’s first large-scale tidal power project. Atlantis Resources hopes to ultimately expand the tidal array’s first four turbines to 269, which would generate even more power than the Swansea bay tidal lagoon backed by an independent review last week. Such lagoon projects are further advanced than wave energy projects but some way behind tidal stream power development, and require large levels of investment, the ETI said. Experts have previously described the UK’s wave power potential as huge and said it could generate a tenth of electricity needs. But despite being heralded six years ago by Scotland’s then first minister Alex Salmond as on the verge of commercial deployment, the fledgling sector has been dogg ed by delays and bankruptcies, such as the collapse of Scotland’s Pelamis Wave Power in 2014 and Aquamarine Power in 2015. RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive, Maf Smith, said: “The UK is right at the forefront of a global race to develop wave power on a commercial scale. It’s vital that we don’t lose our lead to other countries, who stand to benefit from the years of investment and progress we’ve made. The more we deploy, the cheaper the technology will become.”
Guardian 16th Jan 2017 read more »
The UK-government-backed Energy Technologies Institute has today published a new policy setting out its priorities for marine energy to compete with other low-carbon energy sources. And – in contrast to its Scottish quango-counterpart Wave Energy Scotland, the ETI is calling for subsea-based tidal energy to take priority over surface-based wave-energy. In effect, the ETI says Wave Energy Scotland is backing the wrong horse, and that, instead, the Atlantis Resources’ 398-MW subsea power station off Caithness is the way the industry should be going.
Scottish Energy News 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Renewables – small wind
Ecotricity, has sold more than £1 million of small windmills to Japan through its Britwind subsidiary, to become the country’s leading small wind exporter. Britwind launched in November 2014, producing windmills that are designed and made in Britain and has now shipped 130 small 5kW wind turbines to Japan in the past 18 months, with a further 30 windmills set to be dispatched by the end of March – an order totalling more than £1.3 million. This latest shipment will include the very first of Britwind’s new H15 windmills – a 15kW machine that can power the equivalent of 13 homes. A team from the company will show off the new windmill at Wind Expo 2017, Tokyo, which runs from 1-3 March 2017.
Ecotricity 16th Jan 2017 read more »
After racing for months, engineers here in California have brought three energy-storage sites close to completion to begin serving the Southern California electric grid within the next month. They are made up of thousands of oversize versions of the lithium-ion batteries now widely used in smartphones, laptop computers and other digital devices. One of the installations, at a San Diego Gas & Electric operations center surrounded by industrial parks in Escondido, Calif., 30 miles north of San Diego, will be the largest of its kind in the world, developers say. It represents the most crucial test yet of an energy-storage technology that many experts see as fundamental to a clean-energy future.
New York Times 14th Jan 2017 read more »