A consultation which seeks responses to an application submitted by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) for a regulatory justification decision in relation to the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR). Volume 2 of this consultation contains the text of the application and should be read alongside Volume 1. This consultation also sets out how the regulatory justification process applies to classes or types of practice and seeks views on the government’s preliminary view on the proposed class or type of practice in this case.
DECC 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Consultations have begun which could help pave the way for a new nuclear power station on Anglesey. On Tuesday, an official UK-wide review started to weigh up the benefits of the type of reactor that could be built at Wylfa. Horizon Nuclear Power want to put what are known as Advanced Boiling Water Reactors on the site, next to the ageing Magnox plant. Anglesey council is also running its own public consultation on the island. The current Wylfa power station will close in 2015 at the latest, after beginning operation in 1971.
BBC 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Letter NDA: In his “Westminster Outlook” column, Mark Leftly finds it hard to accept the costs of cleaning up the nuclear legacy at Sellafield, on the basis that it is “after all, only a 6 sq km site”.This statement reveals a failure to understand the unprecedented engineering challenges at Europe’s most complex nuclear facility, exacerbated by the congested and interconnected aspects of the site. Sellafield is home to the largest inventory of nuclear waste and other materials in the world, safely managed via a combination of site services and more than 1,000 buildings compressed into this small area. Sellafield has to host its early research reactor, the Calder Hall Magnox station, two reprocessing plants, and many other large and complex facilities. The only site with similar challenges is Hanford, in the US, which is spread over 1,500 sq km.
Independent 18th Feb 2014 read more »
RENFREW-based Doosan Babcock has been appointed to help EDF extend the life of Scotland’s two nuclear power stations along with five in England. The deal with the French utility, which covers the Hunterston B power station in Ayshire and the Torness plant in East Lothian, will be worth £70 million annually to Doosan Babcock. Some 1000 people are expected to be employed on the contract at any one time, including an unspecified number at Korean-owned Doosan Babcock’s manufacturing site and headquarters in Renfrew.
Herald 19th Feb 2014 read more »
Dundee Courier 19th Feb 2014 read more »
Reuters 19th Feb 2014 read more »
Construction Index 19th Feb 2014 read more »
STV 19th Feb 2014 read more »
A spokesperson at EDF told City A.M. that the French power giant hopes to have all of its nuclear stations operating in the UK by 2023, when Hinkley Point in Somerset is up and running. “This deal is about bridging the energy gap until then,” they said. EDF runs eight power stations in the UK, with Doosan Babcock supporting all except Sizewell B, as it uses different technology. EDF expects to confirm a 10-year extension to the life of its Dungeness B plant by the end of the year, which would bring it up to 2028.
City AM 19th Feb 2014 read more »
A British company has won a £1 billion contract to extend the lives of EDF Energy’s ageing nuclear reactors and help to keep the lights on in the UK. The contract to be announced today with Doosan Babcock, part of the South Korean infrastructure group Doosan, will create up to 1,000 skilled jobs. EDF Energy plans to extend the lives of its seven oldest reactors, which generate about 13 per cent of the UK’s electricity, by an average of eight years. The original closure dates had been set for between 2016 and 2019 but the French state-backed company wants to hold on to them until 2023 and 2028.
Times 19th Feb 2014 read more »
The most politically important and influential committee of the British Parliament has bluntly told the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) that it “must learn from past mistakes and ensure that there is a comprehensive, robust business case before any decision is taken on dealing with the plutonium stockpile.” In a highly critical report issued on 11 February 2014 on the management of Sellafield, Progress at Sellafield, 43rd report of session 2013-14, the House of Commons Committee on Public Accounts (PAC) states that the NDA “has not set out clearly its strategy for dealing with the plutonium stored at Sellafield.” It recalls that the option preferred by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is to process the plutonium to form a mixed oxide fuel for civilian use which would reduce the security concerns associated with its storage, but points out that a previous plant (Sellafield MOX plant, SMP) to manufacture plutonium into fuel for civilian purposes, which cost some £1, proved to be “problematic”. In fact, critics rather say SMP was an complete technical and economic failure–with a load factor of 1.3 percent over its operational time between 2002 and 2011–and is now closed.
International Panel on Fissile Materials 16th Feb 2014 read more »
Flood defence projects around nuclear sites were among those that didn’t go ahead because of funding cuts. And the Tories’ planned new Hinckley Point C plant would be on land at risk of erosion and surrounded by flood plains. The high level waste it would generate could not be transported for more than 100 years. “It worries me that they’re exposing the whole area to risk of flooding with nuclear waste for three generations,” Jo Smolden from Chedzoy told Socialist Worker.
Socialist Worker 18th Feb 2014 read more »
The 2013 UK Radioactive Waste Inventory has been published.
NDA (accessed) 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Security in the nuclear power sector has to run from the front gate to the boardroom, says the sector’s regulator in its 2013 report. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) covers safety, security, transport and emergency preparedness. In its latest annual report it said: “Overall, ONR is satisfied with the safety and security performance of the majority of sites that we regulate. However, we consider that all sites have the potential to improve their safety and security performance and we expect them to continuously review, measure, and improve their management of safety and security.”
Professional Security 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Independent consultants (who work in the independent sector) are warning that Ed Miliband’s proposed prize freeze, as popular as it may be, will do no good in practice, and may backfire especially for the independent suppliers that presumably this drive is supposed to benefit in the name of increasing competition. Put simply, the Big Six are in a better position to manage the situation. Labour’s proposals to separate the energy supply and energy generation markets are good in theory. In theory this could help to give an incentive to electricity suppliers to help balance renewable energy suppliers by offering incentives to consumers to consume when there is a lot of wind and solar power. Those incentives do not exist in a market where the suppliers, as at present, are run by the generators and so will want to supply more energy from their power stations rather than encourage consumers to consume less at certain times. But in practice, as in the past, when it comes to shaping the new rules, the Big Six will quite probably squeeze through ‘concessions’ to allow them to carry on promoting power station production in preference to balancing, or energy efficiency for that matter. So when it comes to solving problems that can be solved (as opposed to making gas supplies cheap, which is almost solely dependent on international factors), Labour’s narrative relies on the usual notions of improving ‘competition’. Its solution to the problem of independent generators not having more contracts is to make the electricity markets more transparent and ‘competitive’. In other words, the end result will be to allow the Big companies to continue to use the rules to their advantage.
Dave Toke’s Blog 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Cripplingly high power costs are forcing some of Britain’s heavy manufacturers to shut down their entire operation at peak times, with furnaces cooling and workers shivering in cold, darkened offices. Executives say this “third world” scenario is becoming more frequent, as companies try to avoid using energy at peak times, when costs can rise 300 fold under the unusual rules of Britain’s power market. Some countries, notably Germany, have shielded their heavy industry from green levies which have pushed up bills. UK businesses want the same exemptions.
FT 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Carbon Floor Price
If there was an award for the most unloved policy instrument to cut carbon emissions (and there are a lot of contenders), the winner would be the carbon price floor. Heavy industry hates it, for the obvious reason that it pushes up the cost of energy which is a big chunk of their costs. Many greens are not wild about it (it gives a windfall to nuclear). And consumer groups see it adding to bills without any environmental benefit (because it sits within the Europe-wide carbon cap). However, I think it would be a mistake to adjust the trajectory, as the Treasury is considering.
Greener Cheaper 18th Feb 2014 read more »
The boss of Britain’s largest coal plant has backed demands for the Chancellor to cut the carbon tax which triggered a slump in profits last year. Dorothy Thompson, the chief executive of Drax, claimed she was speaking as a “private citizen” when she said that the tax would make the cost of electricity “unsustainable” for households and industry. The tax, which was introduced last year, pushes up electricity prices by penalising dirty coal and gas plants. Last year, it cost Drax £62 million and was the main factor in pre-tax profits sliding by 23 per cent from £298 million in 2012 to £230 million. George Osborne is expected to freeze the tax indefinitely from April 2016 at next month’s Budget after pressure from manufacturing groups such as the EEF, the engineering employers’ federation.
Times 19th Feb 2014 read more »
Falls in the price of imported coal were outweighed by the scrapping of emissions allowances and a new carbon price support mechanism that effectively added £120m to fuel costs at Drax last year. Underlying profits at the UK’s biggest electricity generator, and producer of carbon dioxide, came in ahead of expectations but were significantly below those achieved last year, said Dorothy Thompson, chief executive. “As expected, the year-on-year reduction in earnings reflects the increased costs of carbon,” she added. However, Ms Thompson pointed to good progress in Drax’s plans to convert half of its six generation units from coal to biomass by the end of 2015.
FT 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Power giant Drax wants compensation if the Treasury freezes the carbon tax, arguing it would lose out on expected earnings from burning biomass. Dorothy Thompson, chief executive, said a freeze of the UK’s unilateral, rising levy – widely expected to be announced at the Budget next month – would help keep the lights on and offer consumers cheaper energy. And she admitted the company, which has partially converted its giant Yorkshire coal-fired power plant to burn ‘renewable’ biomass, could actually be a net beneficiary of a freeze, as its remaining coal-burning units would earn more than expected. But she said Drax should be compensated for “harm” to returns on its biomass-burning unit, which it converted in April, because it had invested in the conversion in the belief the tax would keep rising, pushing up power prices.
Telegraph 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Whistle-blower Donna Busche, who raised safety concerns at the nation’s most polluted nuclear weapons production site, was fired Tuesday from her job at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The 50-year-old says she was told Tuesday by employer URS Corp. that she was being fired for cause. URS is helping build a $12 billion plant to turn Hanford’s most dangerous wastes into glass. Construction of the plant has been halted over safety concerns. URS on Tuesday denied Busche was fired for raising safety concerns.
Oregonian 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Radwaste – US
The country’s only underground nuclear waste storage site, located 26 miles southeast of Carlsbad, N.M., experienced a radiation leak last Friday, ten days after an underground vehicle caught fire at the facility. The Energy Department’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, estimated to have cost more $1 billion to develop, went into operation in 1999 and stores plutonium-contaminated waste in salt caverns 2,150 feet below the surface. Last Friday an air monitor detected airborne radiation in the facility. “No contamination has been found on any equipment, personnel or facilities,” Energy said in a press release. “Any possible release is minimized by the highly protective filtration system that is designed to filter any air leaving the WIPP repository.”
Nextgov 18th Feb 2014 read more »
LA Times 17th Feb 2014 read more »
Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers moved into new territory Tuesday as negotiators embarked on what both sides predicted will be a long and difficult path towards a lasting deal. In a nutshell this historic accord would let Iran retain its civilian nuclear programme, but on a modest scale and with enough oversight to make developing atomic weapons all but impossible.
Middle East Online 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Telegraph 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Nuclear Weapons – protest
A U.S. judge sentenced an 84-year-old nun, Sister Megan Rice, on Tuesday to 35 months in prison for breaking into a Tennessee military facility used to store enriched uranium for nuclear bombs.
Reuters 19th Feb 2014 read more »
Sky News 19th Feb 2014 read more »
Guardian 19th Feb 2014 read more »
Daily Mail 19th Feb 2014 read more »
Telegraph 19th Feb 2014 read more »
BBC 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – wind
Wind turbines at Michelin’s Dundee factory have produced 50 million units (kWh) of electricity since being installed in 2006, enough electricity to power more than 1,500 homes. The two turbines, constructed by green energy company Ecotricity, generated more than seven million units (kWh) of electricity last year, up 13% on 2012’s total – the second best year the turbines have had since being installed.
Edie 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – subsidies
The transition to a sustainable energy system is desired by many countries around the world. Financial support for the deployment of renewable energy technologies is the choice of policy in most countries. We argue, drawing from transition theory and the multi-level perspective, that an energy transition evolves in two phases: A first phase with a focus on growth of the niche, in which renewables are protected through support policies; and a second phase with a focus on integrating the niche technologies into the regime, once they have become more mature and the market share has reached a significant level. We show, using policy analysis and socioeconomic considerations including uncertainty, that in the first phase, it is beneficial to focus on establishing support policy instruments which reduce risk for investors (such as feed-in tariffs). This will lead to faster and less costly renewable deployment, and will increase the likelihood of achieving a successful transition into the second phase, where policy focus should be on creating an enabling environment (including e.g. infrastructure, market rules, standards, coordinated support of related niches), in order to embed the new technologies fully into the more and more sustainable regime.
IGov 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
This report presents a first ‘map’ of the UK offshore wind supply chain in the UK. It identifies its strengths and weaknesses and the potential for businesses in each area to benefit economically from the growth in European offshore wind farm development, construction and operation.
DECC 6th Feb 2014 read more »
Community Power – Finance
With access to finance vital to the future success of Scotland’s low-carbon economy, it is imperative that businesses and investors are aware of the funding options available. Chief among these is the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF), the Â£103 million fund delivered by the Scottish Investment Bank (the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise) on behalf of the Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies. REIF will consider projects that support the delivery of energy from a renewable source or represent an innovative renewable energy technology. Areas of anticipated demand for REIF include projects that will: accelerate the growth of the marine renewable energy sector in Scotland, increase community ownership of renewable energy projects in Scotland or support district heating networks that utilise renewable heat technologies.
Herald 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Community Power – Germany
The press in Germany persist in calling her the “electricity rebel”, but when you walk into the offices of Elektrizitätswerke Schönau (EWS), the co-op headed by Ursula Sladek, you get quite the opposite impression. The walls are covered in awards of all sorts, a clear sign of recognition. A couple of items are particularly striking: the environment prize presented to her in 2013 by President Joachim Gauck, the most prestigious, richly endowed award made by the federal authorities; on the opposite wall hang two photographs of Sladek talking to Barack Obama at the White House. That was in 2011, just after she received the Goldman prize, commonly seen as the Nobel in this field. What Sladek, 67, has achieved, with the support of other people in Schönau – a small town in the Black Forest – is somehow typically German and yet wholly unprecedented. The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 had a profound effect on this schoolteacher and mother of five. She and her husband started campaigning vigorously with others in the community to stop using nuclear-generated electricity. The local power company refused to find alternative sources, but after a 10-year struggle and two referendums (aka citizens’ initiatives) Sladek and her fellow campaigners managed to buy the network and turn it into a co-operative. After deregulation of the energy market in 1997 EWS started to extend its reach beyond Schönau’s 2,600 residents. It now supplies 135,000 customers all over Germany and holds shares in other networks wishing to deliver green electricity. The Stuttgart municipal network is a recent arrival.
Guardian 18th Feb 2014 read more »
Fracking has sparked protests in Britain, but these look subdued compared with a campaign in Romania by peasant farmers, who are fighting their own government.
Channel 4 News 18th Feb 2014 read more »
The Scottish Government is currently consulting on new regulation for what they hope will “regulate restoration effectively”. But whilst they consult, Hargreaves are being allowed to mine under even less regulation and oversight than before the collapse of Scottish Coal and ATH Resources. Communities living next to opencast mines in Scotland don’t need another CON-sultation – they need effective action to safeguard their health, well-being and local environment.
Stop Caulhall Opencast 17th Feb 2014 read more »
A new technology strategy aimed at turning Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) into a mainstream carbon abatement technology has been launched. The strategy, developed by the Advanced Power Generation Technology Forum (APGTF), aims to confront the challenges of scaling-up and reducing the costs of CCS, and to ensure the UK is at the forefront of CCS technology development and commercialisation.
Edie 19th Feb 2014 read more »