China’s nuclear companies are looking into the possibility of owning a controlling stake in a UK nuclear project, a source at a Chinese State-owned nuclear company said during a recent three-day exhibition in Beijing, Nuclear Industry China 2014. “The site has not been chosen yet, but it will be one of the new stations owned by French power giant EDF (Electricite de France). What we want is to invest in a nuclear station with a better location, if possible,” the source from China General Nuclear Power Corp told China Daily on condition of anonymity. The British government gave the go-ahead to CGNPC and fellow nuclear heavyweight China National Nuclear Corp to invest in the $2.6 billion project to build Hinkley Point C in Somerset, southwest England, a two-reactor, 3.2-gigawatt station led by EDF. But the project was delayed when the European Commission started an investigation in December on whether the UK government had offered financial support for the project, which may be against European Union rules.
ECNS 18th April 2014 read more »
Two months after radiation leaked from the federal government’s half-mile deep nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico, officials said Thursday that crews have found contamination underground in the area where waste was most recently being stored. Tammy Reynolds, the U.S. Department of Energy’s deputy recovery manager, told a community meeting in Carlsbad that more trips need to be made into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to further investigate the accident, but officials hope to have more information next week. Crews on their fourth trip into the mine on Wednesday made it into the only active waste storage area and found contamination, Reynolds said. The deeper they went into the area, the more widespread the contamination, she said. But the crews had to retreat before identifying the possible source because they had been underground for five hours in protective gear that retains heat and the batteries on their respiratory equipment were running low.
Seattle Pi 17th April 2014 read more »
A lobbying company run by Ed Miliband’s new strategist launched a fake grassroots campaign calling for higher energy prices. Labour announced yesterday that David Axelrod, who was central to getting Barack Obama into the White House, would take on a key advisory role in its general election campaign. One of Mr Axelrod’s former ventures, ASK Public Strategies, created a group calling for higher prices that was paid for by an energy company. He was a senior partner at the time.
Times 19th April 2014 read more »
Engineers are mystified as to the cause of a power cut which plunged much of northern Scotland into darkness. Scottish and Southern Energy power company described it as a unique event and said they had not seen its like in recent memory. At the height of the disruption about 205,000 homes were without power on Wednesday night, affecting up to a third of the country. Areas hit included Inverness, Caithness, Sutherland, Orkney and the Western Isles. The power cut was deemed so severe that Alex Salmond chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government Resilience Committee, which is activated in the event of widespread or complex emergencies. Streets and traffic lights cut out after the blackout first started at 8.30pm but police said no major incidents had occurred.
Times 18th April 2014 read more »
A reliable power system based on new wind and solar PV with gas as backup generates cheaper low-carbon electricity than a system of new nuclear power plants, Berlin-based think-tank Agora Energiewende said Thursday in a study based on current-feed-in-tariffs for renewables in Germany and the agreed strike price for new nuclear in the UK. “New wind and solar power systems can generate electricity up to 50% cheaper than new nuclear power plants,” said Patrick Graichen, director of the think-tank, which is backed by the Mercator Foundation and the European Climate Foundation. The findings are based on a study conducted by Prognos AG. The study examines feed-in tariffs for new nuclear power plants in the UK as well as current feed-in tariffs for green power under Germany’s Renewable Energy Law (EEG).
Platts 17th April 2014 read more »
German power plant operators have filed applications for the closure of 46 power generation units with a combined capacity of 7,740 MW, German grid regulator BNetzA said. According to BNetzA’s latest list of planned closure applications, this number now also includes the earlier than planned shut-down of E.ON’s 1,275 MW Grafenrheinfeld reactor. Overall, 4,337 MW of the planned power plant closure applications are for southern Germany, it said. Last year, the grid regulator said that it wouldn’t accept any more closures from southern Germany.
Platts 16th April 2014 read more »
Last month the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), the nation’s highest classification authority, released a number of top-level government memoranda that shed additional light on the so-called NUMEC affair, “the story that won’t go away—the possibility that in the 1960s, Israel stole bomb-grade uranium from a US nuclear fuel-processing plant.” The evidence available for our 2010 Bulletin article persuaded us that Israel did steal uranium from the Apollo, Pennsylvania, plant of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC). We urged the US government to declassify CIA and FBI documents to settle the matter.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 17th April 2014 read more »
US – San Onofre
In late March, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in southern California hosted a three-day nuclear auction, the first step in a decades-long decommissioning process for the recently shuttered generating station that will cost over $3 billion dollars, account for more than 1,500 jobs lost, and require the replacement of 2.2 gigawatts of power. Forced to close due to the failure of expensive equipment upgrades, the closure of the plant is illustrative of the turning point at which many nuclear power plants in the U.S. find themselves as they confront aging infrastructure, expensive repairs and upgrades, environmental risks, and price competition from natural gas, wind and solar power.
Climate Progress 18th April 2014 read more »
Renewables – UK Policy
With three of Jonathon Porritt’s wishes for the UK’s energy sector coming true in the space of as many weeks – the launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive, a Solar Strategy and a Community Energy Strategy – he finds cause for celebration. When it comes to decisions regarding sustainable energy, spot the pattern here in terms of understanding DECC dynamics: Anything that’s relatively small, focussed locally, doesn’t cost a lot of money, can be done without the Big Six being able to kill it off (though they might still slow it down or dilute it), and can be steered through by Ed Davey (Secretary of State) and his ever-enthusiastic Minister, Greg Barker, without Treasury thinking that it’s of any significance, then it has a reasonable chance of happening. Eventually.
Ecologist 17th April 2014 read more »
The unveiling earlier this year of the government’s community energy strategy represented a welcome step forward in our journey towards creating a world (in the UK at least!) where more of our energy is decentralised and focused on low-carbon. Championing the strategy, Energy and Climate Minister Greg Barker is keen to see the creation of ‘a big sixty thousand’ and a diminishing of the market dominance of the ‘big six’, and says that it marks a change in the way we approach powering our homes and businesses – bringing communities together and helping them make money.
Good Energy 16th April 2014 read more »
Renewables – wave and tidal
A GATHERING of renewable energy experts is predicted to inject around Â£350,000 into the economy of a Scottish island. Around 220 people from around the world will go to Stornoway, on Lewis, to take part in the Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables (EIMR) international conference. The event, which starts on April 30 and runs for two days, is being held in the An Lanntair Arts Centre in the town but also includes workshops and field trips. Visitors, from the likes of North America, China and Australia, will be shown the findings of the Hebridean Marine Energy Futures project as well as offered the chance to see the site on the north west coast of the island which may one day host the world’s largest wave farm.
Herald 19th April 2014 read more »
Renewables – wind
Inflatable wind turbines that float thousands of feet above the ground could be the key to sustainable energy for the future, developers claim. The helium filled ‘buoyant air turbine’ (BAT) is designed to harness energy from the strong wind currents higher up in the sky, transmitting it down cables attached to tethering ties. The tethers can automatically adjust the height of the turbine to catch the strongest winds. US green energy company Altaeros Energies, which has developed the prototypes, believe the new turbines have the capability to reduce energy prices in remote locations and developing countries.
Telegraph 18th April 2014 read more »
This week’s Micro Power news: Wind turbines for Glasgow? Local Authority Efficiency targets; school solar leasing; Bristol Solar Co-op and more.
Microgen Scotland 18th April 2014 read more »
After months of delays, Russian state-owned oil and gas company Gazprom has announced that the first ever shipment of oil from offshore Arctic waters has begun the journey to Europe. This is the oil from the rig that the Arctic 30 went to jail for peacefully protesting against. It has been logistically challenging. Extracting even small amounts of oil in extreme Arctic conditions has taken them longer, and cost them more, than the company had planned. But Gazprom has done it and claims first place in the race to exploit the melting Arctic sea ice for more of the fossil fuels that caused the melting in the first place. It is a defining moment for Vladimir Putin’s Russia, heralded with great fanfare as a new source of power and profit for years to come. Thankfully, most of us recognise the madness of celebrating a new source of fossil fuels in the Arctic. And, just as importantly, the last few months have shown us just how important it is that we cut our dependence on fossil fuels from Kremlin-controlled companies.
Guardian 18th April 2014 read more »
Opening Britain up to fracking risks increasing the number of birth defects in children of mothers who live near exploration sites, a group of doctors has said. The scientists, from Cornell University and the University of California, Berkeley, are affiliated to the anti-fracking group Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy. In an editorial published in the BMJ, they criticised a report in October by Public Health England that said there were minimal safety implications to shale gas exploration.
Times 18th April 2014 read more »
Ninety companies are responsible for two-thirds of the harmful emissions generated since the industrial age began. All are oil, gas, coal or cement companies and their CEOs can conveniently fit in a short Tesla convoy. They control five times as much oil, coal and gas as it is safe to burn; in other words, 80 percent of their reserves must be locked away underground to avoid a catastrophe. This tiny number of large companies, lobbying to prevent government action on climate change, are at the heart of our current carbon-intensive model destroying the planet. The target market is therefore clearly small and contestable – it’s how we contest it that matters.
Independent 15th April 2014 read more »