When it comes to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the only way is Essex. Bradwell-on-Sea has been identified as a possible site to dump radioactive waste. “Everybody was aghast when a local representative from the NDA stated that the possibility was being looked into,” Brian Beale, a district councillor for Maldon, told the Essex Chronicle. “To say this could happen when it had always been understood that Bradwell was not intended to be a site for waste, created uproar.” Nuclear materials are already being stored at Bradwell, a former nuclear power station that closed in 2002 and is being decommissioned. The operating company, Magnox Electric, was fined £250,000 in 2009 for presiding over a radioactive leak that had gone undetected for 14 years. An NDA report has proposed that around 280 yellow boxes of intermediate level waste could be brought from other sites to be stored there until 2040 when a permanent repository should be built. The report also mentions Berkeley, in Gloucestershire, Trawsfynydd, in Gwynedd, and Hinkley Point, in Somerset, for possible storage. The government has long promised that the thorny question of how to store existing waste from Britain’s old nuclear plants must be settled before new power plants such as the one proposed by EDF for Hinkley are constructed.
Guardian 16th June 2013 read more »
Britain ‘should not rely on French for new nuclear power plants’. The chief executive of Urenco, the enriched-uranium supplier put up for sale for £9bn, has rounded on the Government for allowing Britain’s nuclear industry to become reliant on foreign companies. Helmut Engelbrecht said that he was disappointed to see a country that had made a commitment to nuclear power in the 1950s fail to have developed a skilled industry of its own. Britain now found itself reliant on the likes of France’s EDF to build the next generation of nuclear plants. Plans for the £14bn Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset, the first reactor for a generation, remain in doubt. EDF and the Government are deadlocked in negotiations over the “strike price” – the amount that consumers will pay for electricity from the plant for up to 40 years.
Telegraph 16th June 2013 read more »
July promises to be a busy month in Whitehall Place, the home of the UK’s Energy and Climate Change Department. Unfortunately, however, despite the prospect of a flurry of activity it seems as if all key decisions will still be left on hold. The Department has said that it will publish the first part of the British Geological Survey report on shale gas prospects in the UK in July. It will also publish some form of shadow, indicative pricing framework for the various forms of energy under the Electricity Market Reform proposals. In addition to these two planned announcements the Department will be under real pressure to conclude the negotiations with EDF on new nuclear. Month after month goes by and nothing happens. Every month lost increases the costs and delays the moment any new nuclear will come on-stream – or, if the price really is too high, the moment at which the hard decision is taken to say no and to go for an alternative source of supply.
FT 15th July 2013 read more »
The French energy giant EDF is set for a showdown with British unions over pay for more than 5,000 workers at its money-spinning power stations, in a dispute that could lead to strikes. The GMB, Unite and Prospect unions are angry that crane drivers, radiation monitors, engineers and safety experts have been offered only a 2 per cent increase at EDF’s nuclear stations and thermal power plants. In the latest sign that unions are baring their teeth after years of real-term pay cuts across British business, there could be a vote on industrial action as early as next month.
Independent 17th June 2013 read more »
The Urenco chief executive is an enthusiast, a man who really knows his nukes. Which is lucky because German national Engelbrecht, 60, is dealing with some seriously dangerous stuff. He runs one of the world’s biggest suppliers of enriched uranium – the heavy metal that sustains a continuous fission reaction in nuclear power plants. Urenco is possibly the biggest company you’ve never heard of. But that’s about to change. It has been put up for sale, with a price tag of £9bn, by its three one-third shareholders – the British and Dutch governments and a private combo representing Germany, namely the RWE and E.ON utility companies. Operating four enrichment plants – one each at home, the other in New Mexico – Urenco has 31pc of the market, supplying around 50 customers in 18 countries. Net income rose 12pc to €402m (£341m) on €1.6bn sales last year, with the company’s centrifugal technology proving almost as sparky at generating cash as power: some €1.19bn. All that from 1,600 staff.
Telegraph 16th June 2013 read more »
The best way to generate more competition in the gas and electricity industry is to have fewer, big players – a top consultant claims today. Ministers were told they have got it wrong on policy for the energy sector and customer bills may even fall if the “Big Six” were whittled down to a “Big Four”.
Telegraph 17th June 2013 read more »
EDF Energy, Britain’s largest nuclear power producer, stopped its 610-megawatt (MW) Heysham 1-2 nuclear unit on Monday for planned refuelling, the company said.
Reuters 17th June 2013 read more »
If anyone doubts China’s economic importance lets just look at energy. According to the latest (and, as always, excellent) BP Statistical Review which has just been published, China is now by a clear margin the largest energy consumer in the world – with 21 per cent of total global demand in 2012 against 17 per cent in the US. China accounts for more than half of all global coal consumption, and almost 15 per cent of global oil imports. China’s use of natural gas is only just starting but the country already uses more than all but four countries worldwide. This importance can only grow. The consensus of all the major forecasters is that China will dominate the growth in global energy needs for the next two decades. As US imports decline still further, China’s import need (which could be affected if local shale gas is developed successfully) will be one of the dominant influences on world prices. Chinese energy companies are beginning to operate around the world and the country clearly has ambitions to venture into nuclear as well as oil and gas.
FT 17th June 2013 read more »
Cheap natural gas has not only made new nuclear plants unfeasible, an Exelon executive said in Chicago Thursday, but has undermined Exelon’s plans to upgrade its existing fleet. Five years ago the U.S. faced a shortage of natural gas, and with the prospect of a cap on carbon emissions, the world’s largest nuclear utility expected nuclear power to flourish. When the shale gas boom began around 2009, fueled by the proliferation of lateral drilling and hydraulic fracturing of deep shale deposits, Exelon put plans for new nuclear plants on hold and turned to a less-costly strategy of upgrading existing plants. In the last decade, Swaminathan said, Exelon has been able to create the equivalent of a new nuclear plant by increasing production at its existing 20 plants. But now, Swaminathan said, even upgrades look too costly compared to power generation from cheap natural gas. Exelon has shelved plans to upgrade its LaSalle plant in Illinois and Limerick plant in Pennsylvania, Swaminathan confirmed. But Swaminathan placed the blame on cheap natural gas, while the company’s official release pointed the finger at subsidized wind power.
Forbes 16th June 2013 read more »
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a push on Sunday for his country’s nuclear technologies at a summit in Warsaw with leaders of four ex-Communist European Union countries, as part of his bid to boost the Asian powerhouse’s exports.
Japan Today 17th June 2013 read more »
Areva, the Paris-based partner for the government in the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra, has asked the French government and banks for help on cost-sharing. The company is supposed to supply two reactors of 1,650 Mw each to the Nuclear Power Corporation for Jaitapur but the negotiations on cost have still to conclude in an agreement.
Business Standard 17th June 2013 read more »
THE surprise election of Hasan Rowhani as Iran’s new reformist-backed president has raised hopes that the deadlock can be broken in high-stakes nuclear talks with world powers.
Scotsman 17th June 2013 read more »
The White House has responded to an apparent overture by North Korea over nuclear talks, stating that it is open to discussions, but only if Pyongyang lives up to its “obligations to the world”.
Guardian 16th June 2013 read more »
Sky 16th June 2013 read more »
Defence ministers are to face questions this week over an emergency exercise that revealed how Scotland could be left to fend for itself after a catastrophic nuclear weapons accident. An internal report released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the police, fire and ambulance services faced “major difficulties” dealing with a mocked-up motorway pile-up involving a nuclear bomb convoy near Glasgow because they had no help from MoD weapons experts for more than five hours. At times the response was disorganised, the report said, and there were fierce disputes with ambulance staff over how to handle casualties at the crash site contaminated with radioactivity. One victim was declared dead as a result of “considerable delay”. The exercise was condemned as shambolic by the SNP’s Westminster leader and defence spokesman, Angus Robertson MP.
Herald 17th June 2013 read more »
Energy-saving improvements boost house prices by 14 per cent on average, with increases of up to 38 per cent in some parts of the country, the research based on 300,000 property sales in England between 1995 and 2011 claimed. Improving a house’s energy performance certificate (EPC) rating from the bottom band G up to E, or from band D to B, can add £16,000 to the sale price of an average property, the study from the Department of Energy and Climate Change said.
Telegraph 17th June 2013 read more »
Donald Trump, the US tycoon and combative presenter of the US version of The Apprentice reality television show, styles himself as the champion of entrepreneurs and small businesses. But according to the Carbon Trust, his opposition to a small offshore wind test site near his golf course in Scotland could cost SMEs in Britain dear. The Government is planning a huge expansion in offshore wind power. By 2030, up to 29gW of capacity — from 3.3gW today — needs to be built around the coast to meet green energy targets. These Round 3 wind farms will operate at depths never tried before and far from shore, using unproven giant turbines twice as tall as Big Ben. These manufacturers will only build the factories if they get enough turbine orders from wind farm developers. But one reason developers are reluctant to place orders is because these turbines have not been proved to withstand rough seas and strong winds. More special test sites such as the one in Aberdeenshire opposed by Mr Trump would help break this Catch-22.
Times 17th June 2013 read more »
Joss Garman reveals how a loophole in the government’s energy reform package is likely to mean much of our power comes from ageing coal plants for years to come.
Energy Desk 14th June 2013 read more »