22 April 2016

Hinkley

Plans to build an £18 billion nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset were denounced by a second French minister yesterday. Jean-Vincent Placé, minister for reforming the state, called the proposal a strategic dead end. Although a junior minister who belongs to the anti-nuclear Ecology party, Mr Placé’s comments reflect a deepening rift in President Hollande’s cabinet over the scheme, which critics fear could bankrupt EDF, the energy company that is 86 per cent owned by the French state. EDF is scheduled to take a final decision on whether to build two reactors at Hinkley on May 12. “EDF absolutely must rethink its strategic vision,” Mr Placé said, denouncing the plans as financially unstable and precarious. “It’s not just me who says that,” he added, pointing to opposition to the pro ject from EDF’s pro-nuclear unions and Thomas Piquemal, the company’s finance director, who resigned in protest last month. Mr Placé said that rather than investing in Hinkley, EDF should develop renewable energy. Segolene Royal, energy minister and ex-partner of President Hollande, called two weeks ago for a decision on Hinkley to be delayed.State-appointed directors are likely to swing the vote. EDF’s board is due to meet today and while Hinkley is not on the agenda the meeting will set the scene for a further meeting within days.

Times 22nd April 2016 read more »

Politics Home 22nd April 2016 read more »

EDF needs to change its strategy and invest in renewable energy rather than putting money into something as complicated as the Hinkley Point nuclear project, French Minister of State for State Reform Jean-Vincent Place – former head of the Greens.

Reuters 21st April 2016 read more »

Editorial: Hinkley Point is too expensive for the taxpayer and for its potential investors. Bad political decisions sometimes gain their own momentum regardless of the demerits of the case. The government should acknowledge that the decision to build Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset is an error before further expense and political stasis makes it unstoppable. The French state auditor has questioned the funding of the project. So have a group of managers at EDF, who have written to the company board warning that its members may face legal action if the deal damages the group’s value. EDF is under financial pressure already, with substantial debts. Its record of construction of new plants is hardly encouraging. It is building two power stations of the same type as Hinkley Point and both are years behind schedule. The British government has agreed to pay it as much as £92.50 per megawatt hour for 35 years once Hinkley Point is in operation. That is around three times the current wholesale price of electricity. There is no case on grounds of scarcity for such a generous deal. Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, has perhaps unguardedly acknowledged that Hinkley Point could be abandoned without risking power cuts. It is time to do so now before the sunk costs of a grandiose scheme expand further.

Times 22nd April 2016 read more »

Any French government financial support to EDF to enable the company to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in the UK would almost certainly be blocked by the European Commission, according to a legal opinion commissioned by Greenpeace. The French government is this week discussing financial support for EDF, after Jean-Bernard Levy, chief executive, said the company needed fresh state help before it would give the long-awaited final go-ahead to the contentious Hinkley project. Any French state attempt to justify financial support for EDF would almost certainly be rejected by Brussels, says the legal opinion by three barristers at London’s Monckton chambers, which was commissioned by Greenpeace, the environmental campaign group opposed to nuclear power, and Ecotricity, the green energy supplier. Ecotricity is likely to launch a legal challenge against any French government support for EDF. The barristers’ opinion says all possible routes for the government to support EDF would constitute state aid in the EU and therefore require review by Brussels. “The provision of further state support for the Hinkley project by the French government would in the circumstances described be likely to constitute state aid. It would be difficult to justify such further measures as being compatible with the [EU] internal market,” says the opinion.

FT 22nd April 2016 read more »

The French government’s plan to provide financial support to energy giant EDF could be in violation of EU law, according to three top barristers.

Energy Desk 22nd April 2016 read more »

English EPR: Greenpeace and a competitor of EDF denounce state aid

Les Echos 22nd April 2016 read more »

Electricite de France SA’s unions are threatening to take the company to court if employees are not consulted in advance on a decision concerning a proposed 18 billion-pound ($25.8 billion) U.K. atomic plant project. EDF’s workers committee, which includes representatives from the biggest unions, met near Paris and voted to take legal action should the company fail to consult employees on Hinkley Point, according to a statement Thursday. The project is key to EDF earnings and has prompted disagreements between management and unions, it said.

Bloomberg 21st April 2016 read more »

Moorside

This is what the new nuclear power station at Moorside will look like. The artist’s impression has been produced by NuGen, the company behind the project, as it prepares to launch a second round of public consultations. The image shows the three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, which will have a combined output of 3.6GW – enough to power 6m homes and supply 7.5 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs. NuGen is expected to give the final go ahead in 2018. Construction will start in 2020 and all three reactors should be on stream by 2026. Up to 6,000 people will be working on the site, immediately north and west of Sellafield, at any one time. NuGen has released the image as it announces details of 28 exhibition events across Cumbria as the second stage of a public consultation.

Carlisle News & Star 21st April 2016 read more »

Homes and businesses in Workington have been threatened with compulsory purchase by the bosses behind a new nuclear power station. Letters have been sent to properties on Hall Park View and Hall Brow and around the Ramsay Brow/Washington Street junction, warning owners their land may be needed for road improvements.

Carlisle News & Star 22nd April 2016 read more »

THE firm behind plans for a new nuclear power station, Moorside, on land next to Sellafield, has announced a series of public drop-in events.

Whitehaven News 21st April 2016 read more »

Wylfa

The Welsh Affairs Committee is holding an evidence session in Caernarfon on Monday 25 April as part of their inquiry into the future of nuclear power in Wales. They will be hearing from local councils and anti-nuclear groups about the future of the Trawsfynydd and Wylfa sites, particularly their impact on the local economy and environment.

Parliament 21st April 2016 read more »

EDF

[Machine Translation] EDF threat of lawsuits the Journal of the energy, it does not remove internal documents EDF revealed in its investigation of the emergency diesel of French nuclear reactors. The Journal of Energy published last month an investigation into two parts that reveals the fragile health of emergency generators in EDF nuclear reactors in France. emergency resources of which are essential to prevent a major nuclear accident. The first part of the survey, published March 11, relies on three internal EDF documents: the balance sheets of reliability of diesel emergency nuclear power plants, which list hundreds of anomalies “active” on this material very sensitive. “Many seeps or oil leaks, air or fuel to the auxiliary circuits Generating Sets degrade overall reliability,” say the notes. These balances classify emergency resources according to their reliability: in 2014, the majority of emergency diesel generators of nuclear reactors in France were arranged by EDF in the “degraded state” or “unacceptable state.” No report was classified as “Very Good”.

Le Journal de l’Energie 21st April 2016 read more »

NUCLEAR services company Studsvik is planning to sell its metal recycling plant at Lillyhall, near Workington. The Swedish firm has signed a deal worth 355m Krona (£30.5m) to sell its waste treatment business in Sweden and the UK to EDF of France. It says that EDF is committed to developing the business, safeguarding jobs. The deal should be completed in the third quarter of 2016, subject to regulatory approval. The agreement also involves a commitment for EDF and Studsvik to collaborate in the areas of nuclear decommissioning and waste management.

InCumbria 21st April 2016 read more »

Radwaste

Ann McCall (RWM Ltd): Among the challenges facing our society today is the safe management and permanent disposal of the country’s radioactive waste. It is not a new challenge – after all, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station was opened at Calder Hall in Cumbria in 1956. In the early days, not much attention was paid to the fate of the waste produced by the new technologies. As the beneficiaries of nuclear technologies, we do have a moral obligation to deal with the waste and not leave it to people many generations in the future. UK Government policy is that higher activity waste should be disposed of permanently in a geological disposal facility (GDF) deep underground. This approach is globally accepted as best practice and is being followed by nuclear countries around the world. Through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other bodies, we share knowledge with similar organisations around the world in developing these facilities.

Institution of Mechanical Engineers 10th March 2016 read more »

SMRs

Small reactors are promoted as a way to save the nuclear industry. Small reactors can be built by the dozen in a factory, proponents argue, and then transported to sites and plugged in. This means economies of volume rather than of scale. SMRs should also produce revenues more quickly than big reactors. Around eight SMRs in the same place would be needed to produce the equivalent power of, for example, Hinkley. But whereas the first SMR on site could be lighting up the country within three to five years of being ordered, thus beginning to pay for itself and the SMRs to come, conventional big reactors can take ten years or more to plug in and start making money. the American government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars encouraging and commissioning prototype designs. NuScale’s design, backed by $217m from the American Department of Energy, could begin its licensing process this year. NuScale also has a prospective customer for an SMR, a municipal utility in Idaho. China, South Korea and other countries have a lead on Britain too. Mr Tynan argues that if the British government decided quickly to bear more of the risks in developing SMRs, the country could still exploit its nuclear know-how to compete in a global market that may be worth up to £400 billion. Not everyone believes that SMRs are the nuclear industry’s silver bullet, however. Some of the challenges that face big reactors—in particular, safety—confront smaller ones too. There is a reason why, historically, reactors have grown bigger and bigger: similar solutions to similar problems can be exploited more efficiently. SMRs have the edge when they can be placed in locations where big reactors cannot. But Britons are not famous for welcoming unwanted developments into their green and pleasant neighbourhoods.

Economist 23rd April 2016 read more »

Nuclear Security

Supplying security systems to help detect threats against airports, nuclear power plants and military and goverment buildings is big business these days, and UK group Smiths has expanded its reach with a $710m (£493m) deal to buy California-based Morpho Detection. The acquisition, from French engineering group Safran, is Smiths’ first deal for a number of years and comes as a new management team gets to grips with the business. Analysts believe Smiths sell off unwanted operations to reduce borrowings after the cash and debt funded deal.

Guardian 21st April 2016 read more »

Energy Policy – Scotland

The SNP has pledged to reduce Scotland’s CO2 emissions to 50 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020 in its latest manifesto. Scotland is more than on track to meets its 2009 commitment to reduce emissions by 42 per cent by 2020, the manifesto said, having already cut them by 38.4 per cent by 2013. Following the COP21 agreement in Paris last year the SNP said it will put forward a new climate change bill increasing the target to 50 per cent.

Utility Week 21st April 2016 read more »

Fukushima/Chernobyl

30 years after Chernobyl and five years after the triple meltdown at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the shadows of both disasters still loom large. In the wake of Fukushima, I joined Greenpeace monitoring teams on the ground trying to quantify and communicate the impact of radiation on the population. Documenting environmental damage and injustice is something Greenpeace has been doing for more than 40 years, but one question has always bothered me. How do you shine a light on something that is invisible? We found our answer in a custom built LED light stick which, when connected to a Geiger counter, allows radiation levels to be measured and displayed in real-time. Take a long exposure photograph of a contaminated area and walk through it with this tool, and suddenly you have an undulating wall of light, exposing and visually mapping radiation in the environment. Using this tool in areas affected by Chernobyl and Fukushima, we found that places which have been “decontaminated” by the authorities consistently exhibit radiation levels elevated above official limits. Radiation endures. In Russia’s Bryansk region, 30 years after the disaster, we found levels of contamination comparable to places in Fukushima today.

Greenpeace 21st April 2016 read more »

Just 158 people returned to live in the contaminated area after a nuclear plant exploded 30 years ago this week. The New Day meets a few of them.

Mirror 22nd April 2016 read more »

Europe

Germany’s chastising of Belgium over nuclear safety is part of a broader strategy to wrest control of atomic power from national governments and create a European agency with the muscle to close reactors. The request from Germany to temporarily shut two Belgian reactors follows spats with France and Switzerland in the last seven months over safety at atomic plants in those two countries near their shared borders. Germany itself is phasing out the use of nuclear power. The dust ups are a sign that Germany is upping pressure on its partners to back creation of a European nuclear safety agency with executive powers — there is none at present — where it could leverage its influence as the leading proponent of an atomic energy phase-out. Nuclear safety procedures in the European Union currently are the preserve of national agencies, which routinely report and share information over incidents at plants.

Bloomberg 21st April 2016 read more »

Japan

The populous island of Kyushu in southwest Japan has been shaken by hundreds of earthquakes and aftershocks over the past eight days, and there is no immediate end in sight to Mother Nature’s upheavals. The tremors have impacted manufacturing for some companies in the auto and electronics industries, while concerns are growing over the safety of Japan’s two active nuclear reactors (the only two presently online), which are located about 120 km south of where the main shaking is occurring.

Spectrum 21st April 2016 read more »

China

China is getting closer to building maritime nuclear power platforms that could one day to used to support Chinese projects in the disputed South China Sea, a widely-read state-run newspaper said on Friday.

Reuters 22nd April 2016 read more »

Renewables – tidal

Tidal power development in the UK received a major boost this week as the country’s largest consented tidal stream energy project was given the green light. The Marine Management Organisation has approved the offshore elements of the Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC) – a tidal stream energy generation project to be constructed off the Isle of Wight. The 30MW project – a joint venture project between Perpetuus Energy and the Isle of Wight Council – has also secured its future connection to the UK’s electricity grid. It is hoped that construction will start in 2017, with potential to be generating electricity from late 2018.

Utility Week 21st April 2016 read more »

Giant tidal power developer Atlantis – which is building the biggest subsea tidal array in Europe in the Pentland Firth – has agreed a new deal to develop tidal energy in Indonesia.

Scottish Energy News 22nd April 2016 read more »

Renewables – solar

US solar energy firm SunEdison has filed for bankruptcy protection after years of rapid-fire acquisitions. The company’s strategy of buying smaller firms to grow its market-share left it with large amounts of debt. SunEdison is also facing investigations by US regulators. Meanwhile, renewable energy firm Ecotricity said it had bought SunEdison’s UK rooftop solar business.

BBC 21st April 2016 read more »

FT 21st April 2016 read more »

Ecotricity, Britain’s leading green energy company, has swooped to acquire the home rooftop solar business of Sun Edison, which has gone bankrupt in the US. Before exiting the UK, Sun Edison had built a portfolio of nearly a thousand rooftop solar installations, a product known as the Energy Saver Plan. Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “This is an exciting and important step for Ecotricity. As a company, we want to help more people generate their own power at home.

Scottish Energy News 22nd April 2016 read more »

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously passed legislation that would require new construction that is shorter than 10 floors to install solar panels or solar water heaters on top of both new residential and commercial buildings. According to California law, all new buildings with 10 floors or less must have at least 15% of their rooftops designated as solar ready — meaning not in the shade. San Francisco now requires those buildings to actually use it for solar panels.

Business Insider 19th April 2016 read more »

Recent studies by the in-house research team at Solar Media’s Market Intelligence team can now exclusively reveal that Solarcentury has become the first company to install more than 500MW of solar PV capacity within the UK. While much of this growth has come in the past couple of years during the solar farm boom in the UK, Solarcentury is also the only major solar PV installer today that was around during the pre-FiT days before 2010. Others entered the market during 2010 and 2011, and have seen strong growth in the past few years, but the number of installers active in both pre and post FiT/ROC subsidy phases is likely to be very few, in particular those having installed capacity levels above 100MW.

Solar Portal 21st April 2016 read more »

Renewables – heat pumps

Glasgow’s Star Renewable Energy has been dubbed as the “most eye-catching of exhibits” at an energy conference being held next month in the city. Star Renewable Energy will feature as key home-grown innovator at the event, following the release of its groundbreaking Neatpump technology. Designed in conjunction with Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff and Scottish Gas, the industrial scale 700kW low carbon district heating solution is 8 metres long and hits temperatures over 60 degrees Celsius. This pushes the boundaries of current heating solutions, and allows the air source heat pump to provide three units of heat for each unit of energy consumed.

Scottish Energy News 22nd April 2016 read more »

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Published: 22 April 2016