A proposed housing development could churn up radioactive waste from a nearby quarry, a campaigner has warned. Patrick Cooke, of Crich, says the site chosen for 113 new homes off Roes Lane, Crich, abuts Hilts Quarry, which was used for a number of years by Rolls Royce for dumping low–level nuclear waste. The 70–year–old said: “They are proposing to put 113 houses to the side of an ex nuclear tip.” Patrick, a former retained firefighter, was awarded in the Mercury’s New Year Honours in 2004 for his efforts as chairman of the Crich and District Environment Action Group to stop the firm filling the quarry with the nuclear waste.
Bakewell Today 21st May 2014 read more »
CUMBRIA is already home to one of the most diverse and experienced centres of nuclear and defence expertise in the world. Using this as the springboard, a Centre of Nuclear Excellence will sell and export the UK’s unique skills and expertise in the fields of research, development and innovation in advanced fuel development, robotics, decommissioning, spent fuel management and integrated waste management for use in the extensive and growing worldwide markets for nuclear new build, clean-up and decommissioning.
NW Evening Mail 21st May 2014 read more »
How do assess risk? If you’re an energy provider looking to build a nuclear power station you’ll likely assess risks related to planning, investment, skills, and an energy price that makes the endeavour worthwhile. In terms of energy production and peril, an engineer will boil risk down to a single figure derived from number of deaths per kW/hr that a certain technology is responsible for. For the general public risk is that number derived by the engineer, then multiplied by some factor which is related to the perception of risk – and that factor can be thousands of times higher that what it is to engineers.
The Engineer 21st May 2014 read more »
Such is Labour’s incompetence ahead of today’s polls that Ed Miliband’s coup on energy price caps is long forgotten by most voters. That’s pretty remarkable, given that yesterday, on the last day of electioneering, one of our biggest energy companies, SSE, admitted it made profits of nearly £3,000 a minute over the past year. An earnings increase of 10 per cent. Its chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies was at pains to point out that this had nothing to do with household bills. Revenues from what it calls its “retail” arm were actually down, he pointed out, because of all the competition out there. In other words: the market is working. Move along, nothing to see here. But we should look closer. It’s true that customers switched 370,000 gas and electricity accounts from SSE due to its high prices. But in a company with more than 9 million accounts on its books, that’s hardly terminal. The truth is, profits also fell because we had a mild winter and prices are so high that customers were scared to turn up the thermostat. SSE’s consumption numbers show electricity usage per customer fell 7 per cent and gas fell 15 per cent. That’s a lot of money out of SSE’s door. when looking at SSE’s impact on our household wealth, we consider those other profits which come out of our energy bills – the ones it makes from its growing business running the monopoly electricity and gas networks. Here, profits leaped more than 9 per cent, including a huge 48 per cent in electricity transmission. While we’re at it, wholesale profits – generating electricity, producing and storing gas, which also comes out of our bills – also jumped by a quarter. Annoyingly, but understandably from SSE’s lobbyists’ perspective, the company does not reveal what its profit margins are on those two cashcows. Anyway, all that revenue from British homes and businesses means SSE will be paying dividends out to shareholders this year totalling £819.6m – £40m more than a year ago.
Independent 22nd May 2014 read more »
Areva will be the exclusive supplier of Nuclear Grade Air Trap (NGAT) technology that monitors and regulates accumulated air and gas in certain nuclear plant safety systems. The technology, developed by US-based Nuccorp, eliminates the need for periodic venting and ultrasonic testing inspections. If allowed to accumulate, air and gas can compromise the proper operation of the emergency core cooling system, Areva said.
Energy Business Review 22nd May 2014 read more »
Cameco Corp. (CCO), Canada’s largest uranium producer, halted the permitting process for its Millennium mining project in northern Saskatchewan because of slumping demand for the metal used to fuel nuclear power plants. The Saskatoon-based company this month asked the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to postpone a hearing in June to end the regulator’s environmental assessment for the project, citing“poor economic conditions in world uranium markets,” according to a statement on Cameco’s website. Prices for uranium slumped to an eight-year low this month because of a supply glut extended by delays in restarting Japan’s nuclear reactors. Millennium is a proposed underground mine that would produce between 150,000 and 200,000 metric tons of ore annually about 600 kilometers (372 miles) north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, near existing Cameco operations.
Business Week 17th May 2014 read more »
US – radwaste
CNN’s Brianna Keilar talks to Arnie Gundersen about the New Mexico radiation leak linked to Kitty litter.
CNN 20th May 2014 read more »
A nuclear waste repository in New Mexico was ordered by the state on Tuesday to craft a plan to hasten the sealing off of underground vaults where drums of toxic, plutonium-tainted refuse from Los Alamos National Laboratory may have caused a radiation release. The directive by state Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn said the drums, buried half a mile below ground at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near the town of Carlsbad, “may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment”.
Scientific American 21st May 2014 read more »
Finnish utility Fortum has terminated a deal with engineering groups Areva and Siemens and picked a rival to carry out modernization work on a nuclear plant, having decided the project would otherwise take too long.State-controlled Fortum said on Wednesday it had chosen Britain’s Rolls-Royce to deliver the next phase of automation systems for the Loviisa plant in southern Finland, in a project stretching through 2018.
Reuters 21st May 2014 read more »
Finnish power company Fortum said Wednesday it had terminated a contract with Areva and Siemens to modernise a nuclear plant in the southern town of Loviisa, and hired Britain’s Rolls-Royce instead. Fortum said in a statement that during the testing of the next phase of the agreement with the French and German companies, “it appeared that the implementation of the current project would have been further delayed from its original time schedule and would have taken too long to complete”. In 2004 Siemens and Areva signed a deal worth more than €50m to modernise the Loviisa nuclear plant. In another statement, the Finnish group said it had signed an agreement with Rolls-Royce for the same project.
Telegraph 21st May 2014 read more »
A Japanese court ruled against allowing the restart of a nuclear power plant west of Tokyo on Wednesday, its operator said, a rare case in which anti-nuclear plaintiffs have successfully won a ruling to shut down reactors.The court in Fukui prefecture ruled against allowing Kansai Electric Power Co (9503.T) to restart reactors No. 3 and 4 at its Ohi nuclear plant, the utility said in a statement, adding it would appeal against the decision.Ohi, like all of Japan’s nuclear plants, has been idled for safety checks in the wake of the 2011 disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (9501.T) Fukushima Daiichi plant pending safety checks.The court ruling is likely to be another spanner in the works for the return to operations of reactors, with the safety checks bogged down by paperwork and disputes over interpreting new guidelines.
Reuters 21st May 2014 read more »
A Japanese court has ordered the operator of the Ohi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, not to restart 2 of its reactors, citing insufficient safety measures. The plant’s No. 3 and 4 reactors were halted for regular inspections last September. Local residents filed a lawsuit asking that the reactors be kept offline. They said an estimate of tremors from possible earthquakes by the plant’s operator is too small, and that the reactors lack sufficient cooling systems.
NHK 21st May 2014 read more »
Bloomberg 21st May 2014 read more »
FT 21st May 2014 read more »
The Fukushima Prefectural Government has confirmed in a new report that 50 children in the prefecture have developed thyroid cancer, an increase of 17 from previous study last December, sources said Monday. The latest report, made Monday to an expert panel examining the results of health checkups on Fukushima residents, also detailed 39 children suspected of having developed cancer, sources said. The cancer figure was taken at the end of March among Fukushima residents who were 18 or younger at the time of the March 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant.
Japan Times 20th May 2014 read more »
The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said yesterday it had begun a bypass system that diverts groundwater into the sea in a bid to reduce the contamination of the water with radiation. The move is an attempt to stop tonnes of unpolluted groundwater flowing under the battered plant and mixing with water already there that is laced with radioactive isotopes.
South China Morning Post 21st May 2014 read more »
The operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has started pumping groundwater into the Pacific ocean in an attempt to manage the large volume of contaminated water at the site. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said it had released 560 tonnes of groundwater pumped from 12 wells located upstream from the damaged reactors. The water had been temporarily stored in a tank so it could undergo safety checks before being released, the firm added. The buildup of toxic water is the most urgent problem facing workers at the plant, almost two years after the environment ministry said 300 tonnes of contaminated groundwater from Fukushima Daiichi was seeping into the ocean every day. The groundwater, which flows in from hills behind the plant, mixes with contaminated water used to cool melted fuel before ending up in the sea. Officials concede that decommissioning the reactors will be impossible until the water issue has been resolved.
Guardian 21st May 2014 read more »
They became famous as the “Fukushima Fifty” – a band of suicidally courageous nuclear workers who risked everything to fight the disastrous meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in 2011. But now, following a leak of confidential documents, a very different – and shaming – story has emerged. Far from being heroic exemplars of the samurai spirit, 90 per cent of the workers at Fukushima fled in fear, disobeying orders to remain in the stricken plant. Those who stayed behind were not the self-sacrificing volunteers of legend, but were simply following the instructions of the plant’s manager, which were ignored by almost all their colleagues. The story is contained in a transcript of secret interviews with Masao Yoshida, the manager of the plant at the time of the disaster, who died last year. They draw attention to how ill-prepare d the Japanese authorities were for a full-scale nuclear accident – and how lucky they were that it did not turn out to be worse than it was.
Times 21st May 2014 read more »
A long-stalled U.N. probe into suspected atomic bomb research by Iran took a potentially important step forward this week when Tehran agreed to address questions about explosives and other activity that the West says could help it build nuclear weapons.
Reuters 21st May 2014 read more »
Vladimir Putin snatched triumph from the jaws of humiliation today, overseeing with President Xi Jinping a $400bn (£237bn) deal to sell Russian gas to China. The signing between Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation, which had been widely expected to happen during the hours of daylight, finally came at 4am, shortly before Mr Putin flew back to Moscow.
Independent 21st May 2014 read more »
BBC 21st May 2014 read more »
FT 21st May 2014 read more »
Scottish whisky distilleries are raising a glass to lower energy costs after receiving £10m of new finance to help fund energy efficiency projects. The Green Investment Bank (GIB) announced today that it will provide £5m with matched funding from the private sector to replace inefficient, heavy fuel boilers with biomass heaters at the Aberfeldy distillery in Perthshire and the Tomatin distillery, near Inverness, where the Bank announced an investment last year.
Business Green 21st May 2014 read more »
BBC 21st May 2014 read more »
Click Green 21st May 2014 read more »
Scotsman 22nd May 2014 read more »
One of the finest old mansions in Wales is making history with a new technology that sucks heat from sea water. Plas Newydd, with spectacular views of Snowdon from Anglesey, will in future have its collection of past military uniforms warmed by a heat pump. It’s the biggest UK scheme of its kind and shows a way in which buildings can be heated without imported gas or oil. It relies on a heat exchanger, which uses a system akin to refrigeration to amplify warmth from pipes in the sea. The 300kW marine source heat pump cost the National Trust £600,000 and is expected to save around £40,000 a year in operating costs. The National Trust is pressing ahead with low-carbon developments across its huge estate. Its managers are uncomfortably aware that these improvements are heavily subsidised by a levy on the bills of all energy users, including the poorest. If its remaining five renewables pilots succeed, the Trust will invest in 43 further renewables schemes.
BBC 22nd May 2014 read more »
EU policymakers are considering a goal to increase European Union energy efficiency by between 30 and 35 percent by 2030, as part of efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce fuel bills and improve energy security, EU sources said. The crisis in Ukraine, transit nation for around half of the natural gas that Russia ships to Europe, has raised the importance of using less energy as one of the EU’s options to curb the bloc’s need for imported fuel. Two EU sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said documents circulating within the Commission put forward a target range for efficiency savings of between 30 and 35 percent that would be binding across the European Union.
Reuters 20th May 2014 read more »
Carbon Capture & Storage
A UK parliament report has called for renewed investment in the storage of carbon emitted by industry. But will the technology ever come of age? With your help, Karl Mathiesen investigates. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a vital technology for avoiding dangerous climate change. MPs, Shell, the IPCC, the energy industry, the IEA and environmentalists all agree, with a minimum of vitriol. It’s almost eerie. Why is CCS, championed in every corner, stalling? The large up-front cost of the test projects means governments are faced with investing billions in projects that they don’t know will work. Fossil fuel companies meanwhile, have little incentive to stump the cash themselves until carbon pricing forces their hand. This means that despite some good initiatives, enthusiasm for investment has been lacking. Perhaps the most convincing judgement is that of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Whose modelling shows that fossil fuel power with CCS is not simply a way to continue burning fossil fuels, but a key element of the cost-effective pathway to carbon abatement. A huge positive about this technology is the decarbonisation of the baseload power supply, thus complementing the impact of renewables, rather than competing with them.
Guardian 21st May 2014 read more »
Letter Dr Geralyn McCarron, Queensland: Rob Edwards writes that Dr Ian Fairlie “didn’t present his evidence because Dart objected to inaccuracies in his submission”. My understanding is that Dr Fairlie’s oral evidence was not heard because of a negotiated agreement between Dart and the appellants (the Concerned Communities of Falkirk, or CCoF) over evidence. Agreement to measure radon emissions went some way to alleviate CCoF’s concerns. But the proposed discharges of radioactive fluids, and the burying of radioactive sludges in landfill, are also matters of major health concern.
Herald 18th May 2014 read more »