The Government has faced fresh criticism over its energy policy, as the owner of Scottish Power said reform was taking too long and RWE warned of flaws in proposed gas policy. Ignacio Galan, chairman of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, urged the Government to make urgent decisions in order to avoid a potential energy gap. Ministers are trying to undertake the biggest overhaul of the sector in decades, replacing old polluting fossil-fuel power stations with low-carbon energy sources. But its proposals for reforms to incentivise £110bn of new investment due to pass through Parliament in the Energy Bill this autumn have been widely criticised by the industry, with many key details yet to be finalised. Mr Galan warned that investments in the energy sector had a long lead-time and it made no sense for them to be held up by policy uncertainty. He also said the energy industry must be allowed to operate freely and obtain reasonable returns. Volker Beckers, RWE npower chief executive, warned that uncertainty over a proposed capacity mechanism to incentivise the building of gas-fired plants would stall investment. Mr Beckers argued the policy was unnecessary but, if introduced, it must not disadvantage companies such as RWE, which had already invested before the incentives were announced.
Telegraph 19th Sept 2012 more >>
As soon as you announce that there might be capacity payments available, developers put off decisions to build new power stations because they (rationally) do not know whether their decisions will prove disadvantageous if they go ahead only to find capacity payments coming on stream shortly afterwards. The hold on development thus introduced creates a problem with capacity (obviously) for which the only solution is yes, youre on to it bringing capacity payments forward radically. That is, in order to solve an under capacity problem, you probably create overcapacity at great expense, as the DECC analysts ruefully observe in an obscure corner of their paper.
Alan Whitehead MP 18th Sept 2012 more >>
DATA provided by EDF Energy on radioactive emissions from the Sizewell B nuclear power station is inadequate, according to a watchdog group which is calling for further details. The company, owner and operator of the nuclear plant, was asked to produce data about the low-level emissions which occur when the reactor is shut down for refuelling and routine maintenance, an event known as an outage and necessary in pressurised water reactors (PWRS) about every 18 months. However, the figures it provided have now been described as inadequate by the Sizewell Stakeholder Group (SSG), which is calling for more details. Some members of the group are concerned about a study in Germany which suggests there is an increased risk of childhood leukaemia around that countrys nuclear plants.
Eastern Daily Press 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Climate change is a major security threat, but it cant be solved with the 20thcenturys nuclear technologies. On her return from meeting people trying to revive abandoned villages left contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Rebecca Johnson raises concerns about plans for a new generation of nuclear power reactors in Britain, starting with Hinkley C.
Open Democracy 18th Sept 2012 more >>
PLANS have been unveiled for Europe’s deepest nuclear clean-up at the decommissioned Dounreay plant in Caithness. Work is expected to start next year on the huge task of removing an estimated 1,500 tonnes of radioactive waste from two underground facilities at the Caithness nuclear complex – a 213ft-deep vertical shaft and a nearby vault set 30ft below the surface. The water-filled shaft was first used to store intermediate level waste from some of Britain’s earliest nuclear energy experiments in 1957. The silo – a shallow reinforced concrete bunker – was built in 1971 to store nuclear waste from the plant. A report published in 1996 revealed that waste contaminated with sodium continued to be buried in the underground silo despite an explosion in 1977 caused by a cocktail of sodium, potassium and water. The 1977 blast demolished seven metres of fencing, damaged asbestos walls, threw five concrete slabs weighing five tonnes each up to two metres away and blew a concrete and steel lid, weighing 12.5 tonnes, several metres into the air.
Scotsman 19th Sept 2012 more >>
RWE npower has stressed the need to switch to cleaner forms of power generation despite pulling out of building new station reactor on Anglesey. The power giant yesterday announced it will shut two power stations which are more than 40 years old next March under EU rules to reduce pollution. Coal-fired Didcot A power station in Oxfordshire and the oil-fired Fawley plant in Hampshire will be shut down to comply with the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive, aimed at cutting emissions. The closures will take place at the end of March 2013, when the power stations will have used up their permitted hours of operation.
Daily Post 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Frances Areva and the UKs Atkins have formed the Areva-Atkins Partnership UK to compete for projects in the UK nuclear fuel management and decommissioning sector, the companies said September 18. The Areva-Atkins Partnership is expected to bid for significant contracts at Tier 2 level in the UK nuclear engineering sector. Tier 1 contracts are the contracts with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to manage and operate the various sites in NDA estate. Tier 2 contracts mean the subcontracts the site operators place to deliver their objectives.
i-Nuclear 18th September 2012 more >>
Energy Business Review 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Professional Engineering 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Energy strategists from the UK and China are meeting in Beijing for a four-day conference aimed at sharing tools and strategies for tackling climate change, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said September 18. The meeting comes, coincidentally, only weeks before Chinese state nuclear companies are expected to participate in bids to buy Horizon Nuclear Power, the German joint venture company, with sites for building up to four nuclear reactors in the UK. Areva has already confirmed its intention to bid to buy Horizon along with Chinese partners, probably CGNPC [China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp.], and other players. Similarly, Westinghouse is also expected to submit a bid with Chinese partners by the reported deadline at the end of this month. In a statement September 18, DECC said unprecedented collaboration between energy strategists from the UK and China will culminate in a high level conference, held on 18-21st September in Beijing.
i-Nuclear 18th Sept 2012 more >>
French president François Hollande has reaffirmed his campaign promise that France will reduce its reliance on nuclear power from 75% to 50% by 2025. Speaking at an environmental conference in Paris on 14 September, Hollande also confirmed that Frances oldest operating nuclear power plant, Fessenheim, would close by the end of 2016.
Nuclear Engineering International 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Halliburton engineers have lost a radioactive rod used to survey oil and gas drilling sites somewhere in Texas, sparking a search operation involving the National Guard, FBI and Environmental Protection Agency.
Telegraph 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Mitt Romneys White House bid took another blow last night after he appeared to suggest a pro-Iranian terrorist could hold America to ransom by threatening to blow up Chicago with a nuclear bomb. In one of the most bizarre remarks ever made by a presidential candidate, the Republican challenger outlined how he might carry out an attack comments critics claimed exposed Americas weaknesses. They were revealed just hours after videotapes of Mr Romney showed him making a series of derogatory remarks about Americans, Palestinians, Mexicans and the Chinese.
Daily Mail 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Fukushima Crisis update 14th to 17th September.
Greenpeace 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Japan announced to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday that it is going to try to end all reliance on nuclear power by the 2030s.
Japan Times 19th Sept 2012 more >>
The cabinet on Wednesday approved a new energy plan to cut the countrys reliance on nuclear power in the wake of last years Fukushima disaster, but dropped a reference to meet a nuclear-free target by the 2030s, ministers said on Wednesday. Since the plan was announced on Friday, Japans powerful industry lobbies have urged the government rethink the nuclear-free commitment, arguing it could damage the economy and would mean spending more on pricey fuel imports.
Japan Today 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Japan’s cabinet has stopped short of committing to phase out nuclear power by 2040, backtracking from an advisory panel’s recommendations in the face of opposition from pro-nuclear businesses and groups. Ministers did not endorse the 20-page national energy policy released by the panel on Friday, and offered a more vague endorsement of its goals.
Belfast Telegraph 19th Sept 2012 more >>
The UN nuclear agency insisted Iran must address concerns about suspected bomb research, saying it was ready for talks and avoiding any mention of Tehran’s allegation that terrorists may have infiltrated the Vienna-based agency. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a statement yesterday on a meeting between IAEA chief Yukiya Amano and Iranian nuclear energy head Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, which was held just hours after Mr Abbasi-Davani sharply criticised the agency in a speech to its annual assembly. Mr Amano said it was essential for Iran to co-operate with his inspectors to clarify concerns about its nuclear programme.
Herald 19th Sept 2012 more >>
EU foreign affairs representative Catherine Ashton is to hold talks with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, in a bid to end the stand-off over the Iranian nuclear programme.
BBC 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Every so often, the veil is lifted on the shadowy war of sabotage being waged against Irans nuclear facilities. Another of those moments arrived yesterday when Fereydoun Abbasi, the head of Irans Atomic Energy Organisation, disclosed that his countrys most sensitive nuclear facility was targeted last month.
Telegraph 18th Sept 2012 more >>
Thorium bred Uranium-233 can be used to make atomic bombs, despite what proponents may claim.
Kevin Meyerson 7th May 2012 more >>
A vast wind farm in the Thames Estuary came a decisive step closer to completion yesterday as a consortium including Barclays was appointed as the preferred bidder for the scheme’s high-voltage power link. Blue Transmission, a consortium which also includes the Australian infrastructure fund Macquarie Capital and Mitsubishi Corporation, has been selected by energy regulator Ofgem to own and operate the multi-million-pound transmission link that will transport power from the London Array offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary. The wind farm, which will be the world’s biggest, is being developed by Dong Energy, E.ON and Masdar and will eventually supply enough electricity to power a quarter of London’s homes. The first phase of the £1.7bn project will use 175 turbines to generate 630 megawatts of power – equivalent to the output of a small ga s or coal-fired power station and enough to supply some 470,000 homes. The second phase will bring the total to 217 turbines, generating 1,000 megawatts – enough power for 750,000 homes.
Each turbine will tower 147 metres above the shallow waters between Kent and Essex. The first phase of the project is nearing completion and is due to come on-stream next spring.
Independent 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Owen Paterson, the new Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, sought to distance himself from suggestions he is a climate change sceptic. “Climate change is happening and there is obviously a man-made contribution,” he said. But he suggested putting up wind turbines to cut carbon emissions is not the best way to deal with the problem. “My concern is measures we are taking to counter [climate change] may be doing considerable damage.” The new Tory minister supports offshore wind but said he was against wind farms onshore in areas like his own constituency in Shropshire because there is not enough wind. He suggested that wind farms can be “inefficient” – and fail to cut carbon emissions – because they have to be backed up by gas turbines. A report from Civitas earlier this year claimed that wind farms are expensive because of the need for back up electricity from fossil fuels when the wind doesn’t blow. It claimed wind farms cause more carbon emissions because turning back-up gas power stations on and off to cover spells when there is little wind actually produces more carbon than a steady supply of energy from an efficient modern gas station. However a report from another think tank IPPR claimed that wind has already cut carbon emissions in the UK by 5.5m tonnes in 2011 alone.
Telegraph 18th Sept 2012 more >>
In Britain, 78% expressed concern over this country’s dependence on fossil fuels, and 7 in 10 said they preferred renewable energy to conventional sources. When British consumers were questioned about supporting companies which use renewables, 67% of respondents said they would have a more positive perception of a brand if its main source of energy was wind.
Renewables UK 14th Sept 2012 more >>
The government has admitted its planned cuts to solar subsidies could cause construction of large scale solar plants to grind to a halt and instead inspire an increase in gas-fired generation. The admission was made in its own impact assessment into the proposals to reduce support under the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme for solar installations larger than 5 MW of capacity by 25 per cent from next year.
Business Green 18th Sept 2012 more >>
A campaigning group that showed Scotland’s picturesque landscape blighted by rusty, broken wind turbines has been criticised by the advertising watchdog for using images from Hawaii. Communities Against Turbines in Scotland ran a regional press ad campaign with a banner headline, “Welcome to Scotland”, and a photograph of broken and rusty wind turbines. Alex Salmond, the first minister of Scotland, was also criticised in the campaign for wanting to build “8,750 of these monstrosities”. Scottish Renewabless, which represents the renewable energy industry in Scotland, complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the ad was misleading and inaccurate.
Guardian 19th Sept 2012 more >>
Herald 19th Sept 2012 more >>