ELECTRICITY company National Grid has announced a new consultation on its plans to connect Cumbria’s proposed nuclear new build to the electricity network. It will hold 30 public events in both Cumbria and Lancashire, starting with one in Rampside Village Hall on Tuesday November 1 to discuss the £2.8bn project. These events will see the firm explain the technologies which will be used to connect the grid to NuGen’s planned development at Moorside, near Sellafield. The company has been working on these plans for six years of work and say they have tried to find a balance between protecting landscapes and passing costs onto bill payers.
NW Evening Mail 16th Oct 2016 read more »
Weʼre raising £2,000 to Stop Moorside: Save Cumbria (and Europe) from “the Biggest Nuclear Development in Europe” In Cumbria the nuclear industry tell us that we have one month to “have our say” on the design of the proposed new reactors. Meanwhile in between Blackpool and Preston is the Springfields site which produces nuclear fuel from uranium hexaflouride. The Springfields site is gearing up to produce “high burn” fuel for the proposed new reactors. The reactors would be AP1000’s – there is no secondary containment on these reactors, just a big water tank on top which would drizzle down “passive cooling’ in the event of an accident. With your help we would like to commission a report into the dodgy reactor design. These Westinghouse Toshiba AP1000 reactors should not be built anywhere…and the plan is to build them on greenfields and floodplain next to Sellafield! Join the Resistance and Stop Moorside. All donations big or small will be so helpful …together we can Stop Moorside. If you cannot donate, then spread the word, sign the Stop Moorside petition at 38Degrees and most of all RESIST!
Just Giving 17th Oct 2016 read more »
David Lowry: This week will see the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Calder Hall nuclear production facility at Sellafield on 17 October 1956. Indeed, the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven, a short distance along the coast from Sellafield in Cumbria is holding month long celebration exhibition of the Calder Hall plant. Calder Hall was opened by the young Queen Elizabeth on 17 October 1956, but it was never a ‘commercial’ civil nuclear plant. Her script writer penned the following for Her Majesty to say from the podium: “This new power, which has proved itself to be such a terrifying weapon of destruction, is harnessed for the first time for the common good of our community.” It was hailed as an “epoch-making” event by then Lord Privy Seal, Richard Butler. It was, however, a gross deception of the public. In fact it was clearly stated at the time of the plant’s opening, in a remarkable little book entitled Calder Hall: The Story of Britainís First Atomic Power Station, written by Kenneth Jay, and published in October 1956 by the Government’s Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell to mark Calder’s commissioning.
Radiation Free Lakeland 17th Oct 2016 read more »
Jobs are under threat at Wylfa Newydd developer Horizon Nuclear Power as they consult with workers on a restructure. Horizon, which eventually plans to employ more than 800 workers at Wylfa Newydd, said it was making changes to staffing to make sure they had the “right skills” to take the project forward. While they said “some people” would be leaving the company the overall number of permanent staff should remain the same.
Wales Online 16th Oct 2016 read more »
THE Government’s decision to go ahead with Hinkley Point C is “potentially very significant” for specialist manufacturer Redhall Group. The Wakefield-headquartered group has submitted a number of tenders for the project and it expects the successful bidders for some of the work will be informed in mid-2017. It said: “Government support for Hinkley Point C is also an indication that its nuclear energy strategy may lead to the development of further nuclear power stations providing work to manufacturing businesses over a significant future period.”
Business Desk 17th Oct 2016 read more »
The second and final shipment of high-level waste (HLW) from the UK to Switzerland has been completed. The waste resulted from the reprocessing and recycling of used nuclear fuel from Swiss nuclear power plants at Sellafield. The consignment – comprising four flasks, each containing 28 containers of HLW in the form of vitrified residues – was delivered to the central Zwilag interim waste management facility at Würenlingen on 13 October, International Nuclear Services (INS) announced today. INS – a subsidiary of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority – said the flasks were loaded on to the specialist nuclear transport vessel Oceanic Pintail and sailed from Barrow on 7 October. The vessel shipped them to the port of Cherbourg in northern France, from where they were transported by rail to Switzerland. INS said it contracted with its historical partner Areva to safely manage the overland transport in France.
World Nuclear News 17th Oct 2016 read more »
WORK on the new £15m National College for Nuclear at Lillyhall, Workington, started this week.
In Cumbria 18th Oct 2016 read more »
Carlisle News and Star 18th Oct 2016 read more »
Whitehaven News 18th Oct 2016 read more »
It might not seem important right now, as shockwaves from the Brexit earthquake continue to reverberate, but falling surface sea temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean may be about to unleash some unwelcome trouble for Theresa May’s new government. If meteorologists are to be believed, the La Nina weather pattern this year is likely to lead to an unusually cold and windless winter across northern Europe. Why does this matter? Because since the last La Nina cycle hit in 2010-11, Britain, Germany and other western European countries have become increasingly dependent on intermittent wind power for their electricity supplies. Back in 2010, Britain produced only 6.5 per cent of its electricity from wind and other renewables, such as solar. Last year, that figure had risen to 24.7 per cent, not far behind Germany, Europe’s green energy leader, with 33 per cent. Three big coal plants have closed this year. In addition, the nation’s main gas storage facility at Rough, a depleted gasfield 30 miles off the Yorkshire coast, is also largely out of action. And across the Channel, problems with the French nuclear fleet are adding to the squeeze on the Continent’s electr icity supplies. More than 20 of 58 France’s nuclear reactors, which generate 75 per cent of French electricity, are shut for maintenance. Another is producing at reduced capacity. Together, these outages represent about 36 per cent of nuclear capacity. Most of those reactors are supposed to resume production by the end of the year, but there are no guarantees. Ample supplies of French nuclear electricity may simply not be available to help to fill any shortfalls in the UK electricity system this winter. Last week, National Grid insisted that Britain could muddle through what it called a “tight but manageable” situation. It may be right, but preventing the risk of blackouts is likely to prove expensive. With coal-fired capacity reduced to a handful of plants, the buffer of surplus generation may fall to zero at times, most likely in mid-January, when demand hits an annual peak. That will force National Grid to draw on emergency back-up supplies, an option used only when wholesale power prices spiral to £3,000 per megawatt hour, or nearly 100 times present levels. National Grid has also awarded contracts to businesses and factories agreeing to cut demand at short notice. Milder temperatures means lower demand and the forecasters may turn out to be wrong. On the other hand, a prolonged spell of cold, windless weather could cause real problems. While blackouts for domestic users are unlikely, it is very likely that industrial users on interruptible contracts will be forced to cut electricity use. The squeeze is also likely to trigger price spikes, which ultimately will be paid for by consumers through their bills. Without new investment in extra power plants, these problems are unlikely to disappear soon. Mrs May may be up to her eyeballs in negotiations over Brexit, but her job doesn’t end there. Without swift action to resolve them, she may find some urgent and unwanted new problems clogging up the Downing Street in-tray.
Times 17th Oct 2016 read more »
Green energy subsidies that will cost every household £110 a year by 2020 are poor value for money and £17 more expensive than planned after the Government bust its budget, according to a damning National Audit Office report. Ministers agreed in 2011 that the subsidies for projects such as wind and solar farms, which are funded by levies on consumer energy bills, should not exceed £7.6bn by 2020-21. However, they admitted last summer that they were on track to overshoot that and spend £9.1bn. An NAO report finds a series of failings in the way ministers handled the budget and says they didn’t spot the overspend until far too late because they were using out of date assumptions. A Treasury board that was supposed to oversee the spending did not meet for almost two years until last summer and ministers failed to learn the lessons of previous overspending. As well as busting the budget, the subsidies that have been allocated did not secure “best value for money” and may have been £300m a year too generous.
Telegraph 17th Oct 2016 read more »
Times 18th Oct 2016 read more »
Guardian 18th Oct 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 18th Oct 2016 read more »
Letter Dr Robert Gross: Jonathan Ford’s comparison point is wrong and he has the price of low carbon power wrong (“UK’s climate policy must be based on an evolutionary strategy”, Inside Business, October 10). The wholesale price of UK power is indeed about half the price being offered to Hinkley Point. But the wholesale price is too low to build any form of new power station – gas, nuclear, coal or renewable. The UK is running on its legacy of existing power stations at the moment, which keeps prices down. Our growing fleet of wind and solar farms also pushes down wholesale prices, while receiving a top-up payment for renewable energy. New gas power stations can get a capacity payment for reliability – also on top of wholesale price. Wholesale prices thus reflect short-run marginal costs, not the full costs of a new power station. The comparison for new low-carbon power is not a wholesale price that is too low to build anything, but most likely a new gas power station. The wholesale price might be £45 per unit of power, a new gas station is likely to be about £60-£70 per MWh and Hinkley will get £93.50. These are our comparison points. Even so, Mr Ford is right that the Hinkley deal looks expensive. Low carbon can be much, much cheaper. Wind farms can win contracts at $60-$80/MWh, according to the International Energy Agency. Solar recently won a contract at just $35 in Mexico. The UK is obviously less sunny than Mexico but no less windy than anywhere else. Costs are coming down because renewable energy technology is improving, but it is important to ensure the lowest price. One way is to use auctions, and avoid the complex negotiations that have beset the Hinkley deal. The offshore wind costs Mr Ford cites are for plants built before the UK introduced a system of auctions that dramatically reduced prices for both onshore and offshore wind. The climate debate is complex. Wholesale power prices or the imputed carbon price of a particular (and expensive) project tell us very little about long-term costs of decarbonisation. Its therefore essential to get the full facts, both for new low-carbon energy sources and for the fossil fuels we compare them with.
FT 17th Oct 2016 read more »
Independent supplier Ecotricity is increasing its energy prices by an average of 5.7 per cent for dual-fuel customers. Electricity prices will rise by 7.8 per cent whilst gas prices increase by 3.8 per cent for customers with the green supplier from 14 November. The average increase of 5.7 per cent adds around £1 per week to customer’s bills, according to Ecotricity. The company blamed the rise on cost increases from the grid operators and policy from government.
Utility Week 17th Oct 2016 read more »
A myth about Chinese state firms is that their closeness to Beijing means they have little incentive to stray beyond the Middle Kingdom. That’s far from the case. Britain’s utilities hold special allure for Chinese overseas expansion, as demonstrated first by the Hinkley Point nuclear deal, and now the interest in National Grid’s asset sales.Despite the Brexit vote that hammered the pound and investment returns, National Grid is finding no shortage of foreign bidders in the sale of its gas-distribution networks. In the fray along with Macquarie, Allianz and the Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing are the acquisitive Shanghai conglomerate Fosun and, interestingly, China Resources Gas, a state company that to date has been mainly domestic.
Bloomberg 17th Oct 2016 read more »
French state-controlled nuclear group Areva is investigating 6,000 nuclear component manufacturing files from the 1965-2013 period for documentation irregularities, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday. In May, French nuclear regulator ASN said it had been informed by Areva that its investigation had found evidence of irregularities in about 400 components produced since 1965, of which some 50 are believed to be in use in French nuclear plants. The source said that following this discovery, Areva had investigated a sample of all manufacturing files for 9,000 components – of which 6,000 nuclear components – since 1965. Since it had discovered irregularities in the documentation of some of these samples, it has decided to investigate all of its nuclear component manufacturing documentation, the source said. The investigation will take several months.
Reuters 13th Oct 2016 read more »
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has commenced the $12.8bn refurbishment work at the 3,500MW Darlington nuclear generating station located in Clarington, Canada. Commissioned in early 1990’s, the Darlington station generates electricity required to meet approximately 20% of the province’s electricity needs. The 10-year refurbishment project involves removal, replacement and repairing of critical components which include the fuel channels, calandria tubes and feeders, steam generators, turbine generators, fuel handling systems and other ancillary plant equipment in each of the four reactors at the power plant. Each of the four reactors of the Darlington station will be taken out of service to allow for the replacement of fuel channels, feeder pipes, calandria tubes and end fittings.
Energy Business Review 17th Oct 2016 read more »
An engineer accused of stealing nuclear secrets for China is swimming in hidden cash he could use to flee the U.S., making it too risky to allow him to go free pending trial, a judge has ruled. Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan rebuffed a full-court press by the defense team for Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho — including promises of a $3 million bond and a private security firm — to win Ho’s freedom pending trial in the nation’s first case in which the Chinese government is accused of using an agent to buy American nuclear know-how.
Know News 12th Oct 2016 read more »
Prosecutors in Bulgaria have charge two former directors of the state electricity firm NEK with causing financial damage by signing a nuclear deal which could cost business more than $86million. It comes after the country cancelled its €10billion Belene project four years ago after failing to find foreign investors. The deal would have been with Russian company Atomstroyexport. As a result of cancelling the project, NEK now owes the firm $695million in compensation.
Energy Voice 17th Oct 2016 read more »
The election of an anti-nuclear governor in a region north of Tokyo further challenges Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energy policy and could mean Japan continues to rely on coal-fired electricity, undermining its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Ryuichi Yoneyama, a political outsider, became governor of Niigata prefecture on Sunday on the basis of his vow to keep a nuclear power plant located there shut. The plant, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station, is the world’s largest and its restart was crucial to owner Tokyo Electric Power Co’s rebound from the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Japan’s nuclear industry is still reeling from court orders halting two reactors earlier this year. Yoneyama’s election also means Japan will keep using record levels of carbon-emitting coal to produce electricity despite committing to cut emissions under the Paris climate change accord signed last year. This latest setback for nuclear power leaves Abe’s energy policy to boost nuclear usage while also raising the amount of renewable energy to meet emissions targets nearly in tatters. And, more than five years after Fukushima, the path to restarting Japan’s 40 idled nuclear plants seems no more clearer.
Reuters 17th Oct 2016 read more »
Letter NFLA: I read with incredulity your article that said nuclear weapon road convoys from the atomic weapons facilities in Aldermaston and Burghfield could be travelling through up to 10 council areas in Mid and South Wales, including my own, Merthyr Tydfil. Given that the 25-strong road convoys are travelling up to the west coast of Scotland to the Trident bases at Coulport and Faslane, I find it very strange, if not bizarre, that they could make such a huge diversion and go past the likes of Cardiff, Bridgend, Neath and Swansea. In total, as a recently published report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has shown, nuclear weapons could be transported through the areas of 122 councils. This report has found 180 safety incidents involving such convoys since 2000. Thousands of people could be affected in the event of a major accident or malicious incident affecting such a convoy. And yet my own emergency planning officers and those in the nine other Welsh councils will never be told when the convoys go through their area and as such are not truly prepared for dealing with the consequences of a major accident. The public of Wales, England and Scotland are being put at risk by such road movements. I find it staggering that South Wales councils could be placed on a route between Berkshire and west Scotland, and would love to know the Ministry of Defence’s reasoning for this. The best solution, of course, to this is to work to get rid of the world’s stock of nuclear weapons and to cancel Trident replacement. Without that, we all remain at risk.
Western Mail 15 October 2016 read more »
A nuclear fusion world record has been set in the US, marking another step on the long road towards the unlocking of limitless clean energy. A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created the highest plasma pressure ever recorded, using its Alcator C-Mod tokamak reactor. High pressures and extreme temperatures are vital in forcing atoms together to release huge amounts of energy. Nuclear fusion powers the sun and has long been touted as the ultimate solution to powering the world while halting climate change. But, as fusion sceptics often say, the reality has stubbornly remained a dec ade or two away for many years. Now MIT scientists have increased the record plasma pressure to more than two atmospheres, a 16% increase on the previous record set in 2005, at a temperature of 35 million C and lasting for two seconds. The breakthrough was presented at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s fusion summit in Japan on Monday.
Guardian 17th Oct 2016 read more »
The Manchester People’s Plan is a good idea, and even the exercise of completing the campaign’s brief questionnaire shows where it could lead. Do you focus investment on city transport grids or intercity ones? Do you want to spread new housing developments or put them in the town centres? Do you want a big local energy provider, or several small ones?
Guardian17th Oct 2016 read more »
An independent Scottish energy provider is being launched in Edinburgh today to exploit widespread lack of consumer trust in the UK’s ‘Big Six’ retail gas and electricity companies. Named Our Energy to emphasise the shift of market power from energy provider to consumer, it will be the first UK energy company to put profits and ownership into the hands of the customer. It will offer two tariffs – Green and Lean. Green will enable customers to choose exclusively from renewable energy providers while Lean will allow them to choose the cheapest rate available. The new UK energy firm will give a share of the profits, free shares and a say in the future of the business to its customers. Our Energy aims to raise £10,000 to cover initial costs of market entry, which includes obtaining a licence from OFGEM. It aims to be operational next year and to distribute profits to customers every year thereafter.
Scottish Energy News 18th Oct 2016 read more »
A “RADICAL” new energy firm aiming to challenge the “big six” will give 75 per cent of its profits back to customers, it is claimed. Headed by former executives from Gleneagles Hotel and Clydesdale Bank, as well as consultants who worked with EDF and Scottish Power, Our Energy aims to “put profits and ownership into the hands of the customer”. Peter Lederer, chair of Our Energy and ex-chair of Gleneagles, said: “It’s time to build an organisation that gives consumers control and the majority of profits. UK consumers have been at the mercy of the Big Six for too long.” A total of 95 per cent of UK households get their power from the same six companies – British Gas, Npower, SSE, Scottish Power, E.On and EDF. Our Energy, which is still in its formative stages, will allow a maximum of 30,000 people onto its books in its first year, giving them an ownership share within three years. Customers will be given a vote to determine the direction of the company, as well as shares which they can keep as long as they remain a customer, but cannot sell on.
National 18th Oct 2016 read more »
Herald 18th Oct 2016 read more »
The UK’s renewable energy industry has hit back at new economic analysis which finds that biomass power could be causing more carbon pollution than burning coal or natural gas, claiming it is “distorting the facts”. A study released today (17 October) by US-based environmental organisation the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) examines the ‘full system costs’ of wind and solar energy relative to biomass for replacing coal and meeting the UK’s clean energy targets for the period 2020-25. Considering the latest technology costs; the cost of ensuring reliability of supply, and carbon costs, the NRDC concludes that wind and solar power are likely to be less expensive than burning trees for biomass, and that many forms of biomass – such as that from forests – have been producing higher carbon emissions than coal and natural gas for decades.
Edie 17th Oct 2016 read more »
The first stage of the £320 million Heat Networks Investment project announced by the government last year has been launched with a £39 million pilot scheme. The pilot scheme is open to local authorities and other public sector bodies excluding central Government Departments, applying for any efficient heating and cooling network in England and Wales. Applicants can apply for grants or loans to support construction, expansion, refurbishment, and interconnection, including works to access recoverable heat and upgrade heating systems inside existing properties. Multiple criteria will be used to score and rank applications with respect to their carbon savings, customer impact and social net present value. The pilot was welcomed by the Association of Decentralised Energy (ADE), which called the funding “the right next step”. ADE’s director Dr Tim Rotheray said: “The launch of this pilot is a cornerstone for attracting up to £2 billion of capital investment for new heat network infrastructure. “More than 150 local authorities and a number of private sector property developers are working to deliver these infrastructure investments and build a foundation for a long-term district heating market in the UK.
Utility Week 17th Oct 2016 read more »
The Small Wind Co-op has launched its second share offering to fund the installation of farm-scale wind turbines in Scotland and Wales. The offer aims to raise £550,000 with a minimum investment of £100 and a protected average annual return of 6.5 per cent over 20 years. This follows a successful share offering this summer which raised over £1 million for the two small community-owned projects. The offering encourages local participation, giving priority to people living within 20 miles of the projects.
Utility Week 17th Oct 2016 read more »
Renewables – Onshore Wind
Consent for the construction of a 22-turbine wind farm in the Highlands has been given by the Scottish government. More than 200 objections were lodged against Creag Riabhach wind farm near Altnaharra. However, Highland Council officers recommended that the planning application be approved. The wind farm will have a generating capacity of 72.6MW, enough to power 36,000 homes, with estimated savings of 66,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
BBC 17th Oct 2016 read more »
Scotsman 17th Oct 2016 read more »
Times 18th Oct 2016 read more »
More than 2GW of batteries have prequalified for the upcoming four-year ahead (T-4) capacity market auction, according to analysis by Aurora Energy Research. National Grid has published the register for the auction for delivery in 2020/21, which is due to take place later this year. It shows a total of 74.7GW of de-rated capacity has prequalified – 21.4GW of new build and 53.2GW of existing capacity. The procurement target for the auction is 52GW. The company with the largest prequalified battery portfolio, totalling more than 900MW of de-rated capacity, is Battery Energy Storage Services – a subsidiary of the renewable energy company RES. UK Energy Reserve has more than 200MW prequalified and NASU Energy Storage slightly less than that. A new 50MW pumped hydro storage plant being developed by Snowdonia Pumped Hydro (48MW de-rated) also prequalified, along with more than 2GW of new de-rated demand-side response capacity and the new 1GW Nemo Link interconnector to Belgium (770MW de-rated).
Utility Week 17th Oct 2016 read more »
Less than 60 per cent of homes across the UK meet basic standards of acceptability in terms of cleanliness, affordability and structural conditions, according to housing charity Shelter. The Living Home standard drawn up by the charity – which aims to be a kind of ‘living wage’ standard for housing – looks at a home’s affordability, security of tenure and structural condition to judge whether it meets basic requirements as a comfortable dwelling. Shelter surveyed almost 2,000 people across the country to see how their homes compare to the new standard. Alongside concerns over rising prices and short-term lets, the survey, released today, found almost one in five homes failed the test due to poor living conditions – including the inability to keep homes warm and free from mould and damp. It comes as campaigners step up their calls for energy efficiency to be classified as a ‘national infrastructure priority’ by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), the body set up last year by former Chancellor George Osborne to chart a long-term path for the country’s infrastructure investment. While the NIC will not assess new components of the built environment – such as new-build schools, hospitals – it will consider existing buildings, it confirmed this week.
Business Green 17th Oct 2016 read more »
Dozens of diesel farms stand to win millions of pounds in lucrative contracts to keep the UK’s lights on, sparking anger from environmental groups. National Grid, which operates the UK’s electricity network, said small power generators had bid for 15-year contracts starting in 2020-21, as part of the government’s capacity market reforms. The contracts, for firms that produce below 100MW, will see them paid to be on standby in case of a shortfall from power sources such as coal, gas or wind. Of the total 8.7GW of back-up power that firms have offered, 3.9GW – more than the generating capacity of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station – is from generators who say they will burn either gas or diesel. The companies could make up to £787m between them, depending on how many opt for diesel over gas and how many are successful in the final auction in December.
Guardian 17th Oct 2016 read more »
Britain is poised to fund a major expansion of dirty diesel power, after up to 246 proposed new projects with a combined capacity that could exceed Hinkley Point qualified for a Government subsidy scheme to help keep the lights on. If diesel projects are as successful as in previous years of the scheme, they could be in line for consumer-funded subsidies of £800m over 15 years, according to analysts at green think-tank Sandbag. Under the “capacity market”, owners of existing or proposed new power plants compete to secure subsidies in return for guaranteeing they will be available to generate when needed in future winters. But the scheme has so far sparked an unintended boom in small, highly polluting new diesel generators, which have been able to undercut the big, efficient gas new power stations that ministers hoped the scheme would support.
Telegraph 17th Oct 2016 read more »