Clients are worried that unstable industrial relations could derail the Governments £50bn new nuclear power station construction programme. The Enquirer understands that energy giants like EDF are becoming increasingly concerned over the number of strikes that have hit power jobs. Contractors are being quizzed over their industrial relations policies with some leading calls for a revolution in pay and conditions agreements. Industrial relations in the engineering construction sector have traditionally been governed by the Naeci Blue Book agreement. But some nuclear experts are now wondering whether a different approach should be taken.
Construction Enquirer 17th Aug 2011 more >>
Letter from George Regan: I read with much interest and alarm your excellently researched study on what may actually have happened at the Fukushima nuclear facility in March. The possibility that critical circulation plants split as a result of the earthquake and were damaged before the tsunami wave struck would seem to contradict the comments made in the IAEA’s initial findings and the UK’s Chief Nuclear Inspector’s interim report on nuclear safety. Covering up records is not a new issue in the nuclear industry, and to hear that the Tokyo Electric Power Company had not done essential repairs, as requested by the nuclear regulator, and radiation alarms were going off shortly after the earthquake hit and before the tsunami, gives credence to the view that the full truth on this tragic incident has not yet been established. I urge the UK Chief Nuclear Inspector, Mike Weightman, to take these reports very seriously and incorporate consideration of them in his final nuclear safety report to the Government. The report should also be delayed until more is known of these reports from Japan, while all the approvals being given to EDF for a new reactor at Hinkley Point C should also be suspended. There are some very awkward truths from your report into what really happened at Fukushima. They must be heeded in the UK or we could be the next ones to pay the price.
Independent 18th Aug 2011 more >>
The new chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association has said the UK has the skills to build the first wave of new reactors, but warned that the construction industry needs to invest in its capability for future projects.
Construction News 18th Aug 2011 more >>
Nuclear power output by 12:30 London time was about 200 MW lower versus Tuesday at 6.3 GW as the Wylfa-1 and 2 nuclear units, which have 450 MW total capacity, were taken offline for planned maintenance.
Platts 17th Aug 2011 more >>
Letter: I found myself rubbing my eyes in abject disbelief as I read Mark Lynas state that nuclear power is almost completely benign environmentally. While Fukushima was the straw that broke the camels back for the Germans, it was actually the chronic prevarication by government and industry alike on what to do with nuclear waste that had moved opinion against the technology.
Telegraph Weekly 17th Aug 2011 more >>
Power transmission companies want to be able to charge households an extra £13 per year on their energy bills by 2021 to cover the cost of connecting wind farms and other new generation to the national grid.
Telegraph 17th Aug 2011 more >>
Public criticism goes with the territory for Britains big six utilities. Yet analysts believe these companies are now under siege as politicians go beyond routine condemnation of bill increases to float ideas that, if implemented, would effectively destroy their integrated business model. The political climate has turned against the largest utilities at the very moment when the government wants them to start investing 200bn on renewing the countrys energy infrastructure. Few doubt, however, that many of their troubles are self-inflicted. Ofgem, the industry regulator, is currently investigating four of the six utilities for allegedly mis-selling energy accounts on the doorstep. Meg Hillier, the shadow energy secretary, said perhaps the utilities should be compelled to auction 100 per cent of their electricity to boost competition. Analysts believe the climate of political opinion has swung decisively against the utilities. Political pressure is increasing, and thats a function of the general fact that domestic consumers are stretched by inflation, a lack of pay increases, the recession and a series of energy bill increases, said David Hunter, an energy analyst at M&C Energy Group, a consultancy. If the established companies were forced to auction all their electricity, they would simply break up, said Mark Powell, a partner for power and utilities at KPMG. He argued that they would probably choose to keep their power stations, where margins are greatest, while selling their less profitable supply businesses. Mr Powell believes this hostile climate could risk the UKs reputation as an investment destination. The industry is being used as a political football when the reality is that we need them to invest hundreds of billions of pounds, he said. The sensible course, he says, would be to re-examine the 200bn of proposed investment to cut out unaffordable items. More could be done to enhance competition, perhaps by making full use of smart meters, which would make it easier to change supplier.
FT 18th Aug 2011 more >>
Ofgem has demanded an explanation from energy suppliers of how they apply price rises to customers accounts after allegations of overcharging. The energy regulator has written to all Britains energy suppliers asking them to explain how they allocate units when a customers bill straddles a price increase. The move comes in response to complaints by Times Money readers that gas and electricity companies have been cashing in on price rises to overcharge customers by millions of pounds.
The Times 18th Aug 2011 more >>
A nuclear power plant in northern Japan has become the first reactor in the country to resume full operations since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Tomari nuclear power plant’s reactor number three, in Japan’s northernmost Hokkaido island, restarted full commercial operations after receiving the official go ahead from central government. Close to 75 per cent of Japan’s 54 reactors are currently off line for safety checks since the Fukushima power plant was badly damaged in the earthquake and tsunami, triggering the on-going nuclear crisis. A wave of anti-nuclear sentiment has been gathering pace across many communities, particularly those hosting power plants, resulting in local authorities increasingly opposing a resumption of operations.
Telegraph 18th Aug 2011 more >>
Tokyo Electric Power Co has warned the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant may not achieve “cold shutdown” by January. Efforts to decontaminate highly radioactive water at the facility have been delayed by repeated breakdowns of caesium absorption instruments, which have caused water leakage and malfunctioning of pumps. This has threatened to delay the process of stabilising the stricken plant at the heart of the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.
Engineering & Technology Magazine 17th Aug 2011 more >>
Heres a summary of the latest news surrounding the ongoing crisis at Japans Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant 12th – 15th August.
Greenpeace International 17th Aug 2011 more >>
About 10 weeks ago, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan started acting differently less as a part of the system than as somebody intent on battling it. He first issued a vague promise to resign. He then undertook what amounted to a full character change, awakening as a reformer just as the country signaled its dissatisfaction with the job he was doing. As part of this change, he announced policies without consultation. He torched links with former supporters. He withdrew from the press, spending more time posting to his personal blog. He crusaded against nuclear power and ¬blasted those who sought to protect it.
Washington Post 18th Aug 2011 more >>
Many schools in Fukushima Prefecture are at a loss over what do to with their swimming pools, which can’t be used or drained because the water is tainted with radioactive materials from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, it has emerged.
Mainichi Daily 13th Aug 2011 more >>
Vietnams science and technology ministry has ordered a fresh study of the site where the countrys first nuclear power station is supposed to be built after scientists warned there was an earthquake and tsunami risk, a newspaper reported on Thursday.
Trust.org 18th Aug 2011 more >>
NUCLEAR test survivors met the Scottish Minister for veterans issues as they continued their fight for compensation. Ken McGinley and Robert Caldwell joined Jessie Munn, the widow of a veteran, and lawyer Neil Sampson to discuss their court actions with Keith Brown, the transport minister who was asked to take on the veterans cause as a former Marine who saw active service.
Herald 18th Aug 2011 more >>
ENERGY giant ScottishPower is to create 1,500 jobs in Scotland as it spends 3 billion upgrading electricity networks to boost use of renewable energy. The Spanish-owned firm said it needs the extra staff over the next ten years to upgrade about 500 miles of overhead power lines and carry out upgrades to the electricity grid links between England and Scotland. It plans to connect up to 11 gigawatts of renewable energy projects in the next decade, which it says would be capable of generating four times as much electricity as Longannet Power Station. ScottishPower said it would require a substantial number of new apprentices to carry out the work and hopes to train up young people into highly skilled jobs. Research has suggested four out of five energy industry employees are due to retire over the next 15 years and ScottishP ower said it wants a new generation of workers.
Scotsman 18th Aug 2011 more >>
Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, has confirmed it could build a factory in the UK within a year as soon as it has secured sufficient orders for its new offshore wind turbine. Speaking to BusinessGreen, chief executive Ditlev Engel said that having secured the option to develop a new factory at a 70-hectare site at Sheerness in Kent, the company was poised to green light the project as soon as sufficient orders are confirmed for its 7MW V164 turbine.
Guardian 18th Aug 2011 more >>
Vestas Wind Systems says the wind turbine market has stabilised after a rocky year and predicts that western governments will continue investing in green energy despite pressure on public finances. The upbeat remarks came as shares in the worlds largest turbine maker by market share rose by as much as 23 per cent on Wednesday after Vestas announced forecast-beating second-quarter results and reiterated bullish guidance for the full-year.
FT 18th Aug 2011 more >>