22 May 2015

Magnox

Magnox has said it plans to cut up to 1,600 jobs across 12 of its nuclear power sites by September 2016. The company says the cuts will include staff, agency and contract roles. Magnox said: “The mission to safely decommission the Magnox sites has always predicted reducing staff numbers over the coming years.” The Unite trade union said the news was “shocking” and the move would lead to “a loss of vital skills and expertise in the nuclear industry”.

BBC 21st May2015 read more »

Guardian 21st May 2015 read more »

Independent 22nd May 2015 read more »

Mirror 21st May 2015 read more »

Western Daily Press 22nd May 2015 read more »

Gloucestershire Gazette 21st May 2015 read more »

Stroud Life 21st May 2015 read more »

Carlisle News & Star 21st May 2015 read more »

Press and Journal 21st May 2015 read more »

UP to 1600 jobs are to be axed at 12 nuclear plants in the UK. The job losses will impact on two Scottish plants which are being decommissioned, Chapelcross near Dumfires and Hunterston A in Ayrshire.

Daily Record 21st May 2015 read more »

Efforts will be made to protect jobs in the north Wales nuclear industry, says a business leader after Magnox announced plans to cut 1,600 jobs across 12 sites, including one at Anglesey. John Idris Jones, from Anglesey Energy Island, said efforts would be made to help workers at the plant at Wylfa which is due to close next year given a new nuclear power station is being built on Anglesey.

BBC 22nd May 2015 read more »

Daily Post 21st May 2015 read more »

Cambrian News 21st May 2015 read more »

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for Energy, said “GMB will seek talks with Magnox and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to discuss these job losses and the lack of progress on nuclear new build. It was always envisaged that many of these workers would be moving over to the nuclear new build sites as the work on decommissioning and clean-up is finished. Disarray in the nuclear sector is leading to delays and now Hinkley Point C is being held up. GMB consider that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority should be re-tasked and renamed the Nuclear Development Authority to get momentum on behalf to the UK State into the much needed new build rather than relying on the French and Chinese States to do the job for us.

GMB 21st May 2015 read more »

“Our concern is that the decommissioning of these power stations will be slowed down with such a large reduction in the workforce and the skills that they possess. “We question whether there will be enough available manpower to do this complex work in decommissioning in the future and we will be seeking assurances on this issue. “We believe the impetus behind this large job loss announcement is due to a downward revision of the cost analysis by Cavendish Nuclear Flour which was awarded the decommissioning contract by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).”

Unite 21st May 2015 read more »

Hinkley

The Government’s plans for a new £16bn civil nuclear plant at Hinkley Point were dealt a blow by the United Nations and a powerful group of MPs. A UN environmental committee warned of “profound suspicion” that the UK had failed to carry out a proper consultation with neighbouring countries, including Norway and Spain, over the possible environmental impact of Hinkley Point C.

Independent 22nd May 2015 read more »

Dounreay

Nuclear decommissioning company Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) has begun placing nuclear waste in a vault built specifically for storing low-level radioactive waste (LLW) at Dounreay nuclear power station in Caithness, Scotland. The plant, which opened on the Scottish coast in 1957, was closed in 1994. Decommissioning of the nuclear reactors, reprocessing plant and associated facilities has been the responsibility of DSRL since 2008, and it is expected that all radioactive wastes will have been safely packaged for long-term storage or disposal by 2025.

Resource 21st May 2015 read more »

ABWR

This report provides information on the work that we have been carrying out on the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of Hitachi-GE’s UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR), and the closure phase of the GDA project for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design, during the period January to March 2015.

ONR 21st May 2015 read more »

Capacity Market

The energy regulator is investigating whether companies gave “false or misleading information” on the planning permission for power generators that won long-term supply contracts from the government. Ofgem is examining whether the power companies broke rules when they were bidding to provide capacity for the network at times of peak stress under December’s capacity auction. Under the system, energy providers made bids to commit to provide additional supply in 2018. Nearly £1 billion was given in subsidies to companies to help keep the lights on from 2018, adding £11.40 a year to household bills. The regulator has excluded one company for falsely declaring that it had obtained all of the relevant planning consents. It said yesterday that it was looking into whether another five had committed the same infringement.

Times 22nd May 2015 read more »

Politics

The charge often made against the Cameroons, that they do not in their heart of hearts believe in the modish causes they espouse, is not levelled at Amber Rudd. The new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change is agreed, by admirers and detractors, to be a true believer in the science of climate change. Her appointment was welcomed by the Ecologist, which warned she would face opposition from Conservatives such as Lord Lawson, Owen Paterson and Peter Lilley: “Rudd will have to fight a strategic, robust and constant rearguard defence against those who are ostensibly on her side.” But she has faced no immediate condemnation from that quarter. This is not just because it would obviously be unfair to condemn her before she has shown what she is going to do. It is also a mark of the high regard in which she is held by many other Conservatives, including some of Thatcherite outlook.

Conservative Home 20th May 2015 read more »

The appointment of George Osborne acolyte Amber Rudd – a keen advocate of shale gas – as Energy and Climate Change Secretary is being seen a signal of intent. With the UK now a net importer of gas, the Conservatives are determined to secure new supplies for power generation, heating and industry and to do this Ms Rudd, a former parliamentary private secretary to George Osborne, will encourage the development of a home-grown shale industry. Some major decisions are expected on shale licences in Lancashire next month and Ms Rudd is expected to support further applications, aided by the North East duo in the Communities Department; Secretary of State, Middlesbrough-born Greg Clark and Northern Powerhouse chief James Wharton, MP for Stockton South. Ms Rudd, the former climate change minister, will support a massive increase in solar deployments on the roofs of schools and homes, as well as more offshore wind, moves which have been welcomed across the political spectrum. Ms Rudd has restated the Tory manifesto promise to ‘end any new public subsidy’ for land-based wind turbines, casting a shadow over the 6.9GW of projects in the advanced planning stage. Plans are in place for over 10GW of new nuclear power stations but hopes of speedy construction are being held back by technical and financial issues. Prof Ian Fells, emeritus professor of energy conversion at the Newcastle University who formed Penultimate Power which aims to build home-grown Small Modular Reactors said he was ‘glad to see the back’ of former Energy Secretary Ed Davey. “I hope Amber Rudd will not be as single minded in pursuing Climate Change to the exclusion of all else and whatever the cost,” he said. He continued: “Nuclear Power will become even more important as we try to decarbonise our electricity supply. Problems continue to dog the Hinkley Point C nuclear station as costs have escalated from £5bn to £24.6bn. It will be much better to build a series of Small Modular Reactors using the British nuclear supply chain.”

Newcastle Journal 21st May 2015 read more »

Areva

Engie would consider working with struggling French nuclear group Areva on some business lines but is not looking for any full-blown acquisitions to help rescue the company, according to the chief executive of the utility. “If we consider something, it would be in co-operation with Areva, not simply an acquisition of some assets,” Gerard Mestrallet told the Financial Times on the sidelines of a business and climate change conference in Paris. The comments come as the French government looks to elicit the aid of French companies to help rescue Areva, which reported a 4.8bn euro loss last year. Areva, which is 87 per cent government-owned, has fallen victim to a slump in global demand for new reactors that followed the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, as well as crippling cost overruns at key projects. People close to the company said Engie , one of the world’s largest power companies and previously known as GDF Suez, could work with Areva on its international reactor services business. Engie is 36.7 per cent owned by the government.

FT 21st May 2015 read more »

PLANS for rescuing France’s ailing nuclear engineer, Areva, became a little clearer this week when the new boss of Electricité de France (EDF), Jean-Bernard Lévy, described on May 19th the role that the utility was prepared to play. Mr Lévy made the case for an “ambitious” takeover by EDF of Areva’s nuclear-reactor business, leaving Areva with uranium mining, fuel treatment and decommissioning. The price would have to be right. The government, which owns around 85% of both companies, is expected to make a final decision early next month. Ministers are anxious to restore to health an industry in which French firms have hitherto led the world, and on which their economy depends. Nuclear power generates around three-quarters of France’s electricity, more than in any other country. Resolution cannot come too soon for Areva. It has not sold a new reactor since 2007 or paid a dividend since 2009. In 2014, on revenues of €8.3 billion ($9.2 billion) it lost €4.8 billion. A new management team is trying to cut €1 billion from costs by 2017 and strengthen Areva’s balance-sheet. But the problems run deeper. Areva and EDF have been questioned over technical standards. The steel in the main reactor vessel at Flamanville is faulty, the Nuclear Safety Authority said in April. EDF disputes the finding and, with Areva, has started new tests. The news added to growing disenchantment in Britain with an agreement, not yet firm, that expensively entrusts the construction of a power station incorporating two Areva EPRs to a consortium led by EDF.

Economist 23rd May 2015 read more »

NPT

For the past three weeks the Nuclear Non Proliferation treaty (NPT) review conference has been held at the UN HQ in New York. It is the most important conference of the year so far but has received minimal media coverage. Let us hope the British media can at last give attention to this conference and the political nuclear fallout that will arise from the belligerently bigoted determination of the nuclear weapons powers to retain their self-appointed right to proliferate these weapons through so-called “modernisation,” while simultaneously berating and bullying all other states to refrain from seeking their own nuclear weapons. South Africa was arguably the most robust in excoriating the self-appointed nuclear weapons bullies — Britain, US, Russia, France and China — for their arrogant, insane and myopic determination to retain their vainglorious status.

Morning Star 22nd May 2015 read more »

Letter: As the review conference of the parties to the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons ends on Friday at the UN in New York, Amnesty International and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) believe that states must agree to initiate a process to create an international prohibition on and complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

Guardian 21st May 2015 read more »

Germany

Guidelines on the processing and storage of low- and intermediate-level waste (LLW/ILW) in Germany are being implemented inconsistently, the independent commission which drew up the guidelines has told the country’s environment ministry. The Nuclear Waste Management Commission (Entsorgungskommission, ESK), which advises the federal environment ministry (BMU) on issues related to radioactive waste management, issued guidelines of the interim storage of LLW/ILW in June 2013. The commission submitted a report to the ministry on the implementation of those guideline on 7 May. The ESK said that “systematic and consistent monitoring concepts are missing in order to detect early signs of corrosion” on drums of such waste. ESK chairman Michael Sailer said, “In the interim storage of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste at nuclear power plants as well as at other locations, far too little attention has been paid to the problem of corrosion. ESK-prescribed guidelines calling for regular visual inspections of the waste packages are often not being carried out to the extent necessary.”

World Nuclear News 21st May 2015 read more »

US

In a major victory that could mark the beginning of the end for the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners have ruled that an Atomic Safety Licensing Board will decide whether Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was allowed to illegally alter the plant’s license. This alteration is an attempt to hide the risk from powerful earthquake faults discovered since it was designed and built. The Commission’s referral of the issue to the licensing board parallels a move that presaged the shutdown of Southern California Edison’s San Onofre nuclear plant two years ago.“This is a major victory that could be the turning point for a nuclear-free future for California,” said Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth, which had petitioned the NRC, saying that the secret amendment of the license was an illegal maneuver designed to avoid holding a public hearing on the issue as required by federal law. “PG&E now is following the same path that forced Southern California Edison to pull the plug on San Onofre,” Moglen said.

FoE USA 21st May 2015 read more »

Japan

The Japanese government has decided on a new basic policy for the disposal of highly radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. It features a greater commitment by the government to select disposal sites. The policy, revised for the first time in 7 years, was approved at a Cabinet meeting on Friday. The government plans to bury high-level radioactive waste from nuclear plants at a depth of 300 meters or more in final disposal facilities. But the efforts to solicit candidate sites have made no progress in the past 13 years, due to strong safety concerns. The new basic policy says the government will name suitable candidate sites for the final disposal facilities and will seek the cooperation of the relevant local authorities.

NHK World 22nd May 2015 read more »

North Korea

Official claims by North Korea that it has successfully developed the technology to ‘miniaturize’ a nuclear device and, by implication, deploy it on a ballistic missile, have raised international concerns about the growing security threat posed by North Korea to its neighbours.This, together with the apparent test firing by the North on 8 May of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, and reports last month of the possible execution of Defence Minister Hyon Yong-chol, suggest that the country is intentionally pursuing a more explicitly confrontational and aggressive foreign and domestic policy.

Chatham House 21st May 2015 read more »

Trident

The safety of Trident nuclear weapons will be debated at Westminster next week. The SNP has secured a debate over safety at the Clyde naval base in the House of Commons next Thursday. The party says it will press the UK government on recent claims made by a whistleblower concerning the Trident programme.

STV 22nd May 2015 read more »

TWO anti-nuclear protestors who allegedly chained themselves to a car at the entrance of Devonport Naval Base, are now set to face trial July. Nicola Clark, aged 39, of Bridgwater, Somerset and 56-year-old Theo Simon, of Shepton Mallet, Somerset, were arrested on July 25, 2014 following an incident at the base’s Camels Head Gate during rush hour.

Plymouth Herald 21st May 2015 read more »

Important developments are unfolding at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty negotiations in New York this week, writes David Lowry. These include the surprisingly large scale of the US’s warhead scrapping, and a grassroots rebellion against the nuclear states led by South Africa. But the UK and its media remain aloof from it all – intent on renewing Trident no matter what.

Ecologist 21st May 2015 read more »

100% Renewables

Marks and Spencer has reaffirmed its commitment to 100% renewable energy, announcing today that it has joined RE100. The initiative – which already features high profile signatories such as BT, Ikea and Mars – aims to help major companies source 100% renewable power. M&S said it hopes its commitment inspires other companies to embrace renewable energy.

Edie 21st May 2015 read more »

Business Green 21st May 2015 read more »

Last month I had the chance to meet Dennis Meadows, who has been co-authoring eye-opening books about the limits to growth since 1972. Forty years later, his alarming predictions of resource depletion, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation as a consequence of human behavior have come true. But instead of being frustrated he is actually very positive about recent developments. Prof. Meadows is convinced that along with an ‘exponential growth of the problems’ there is an exponential growth of solutions, too. And that’s where the good news begins. Across the world today we are observing a movement among local governments, nations, islands, businesses, communities and citizens towards 100% renewable energy (RE). In fact, the City of Vancouver has just joined this movement, proving again that political will can catalyze change. At a hugely inspiring Forum last week in Vancouver the mayor himself showed strong commitment to reach this target. Frankfurt for example is well on track to shifting to 100% renewable electricity by 2015. The city has reduced emissions by 15% while its economy grew by 50%. Furthermore, with energy efficiency measures, Frankfurt has saved over €100 million in energy costs, a number that’s projected to rise. In Germany, 80 out of 140 communities and municipalities from a network of 100% RE regions have already reached their target.

World Future Council 21st May 2015 read more »

Costing the Earth: The little Scottish island of Eigg is teaching the world how remote communities can power themselves with clean, green energy. Tom Heap meets the locals who’ve built the pioneering system and the international vistors who are eager to learn their secrets.

BBC 20th May 2015 read more »

Local Energy

British cities should generate their own energy rather than expecting the countryside to bear the responsibility, the National Trust has said. Patrick Begg, the Trust’s rural enterprise director, also called for the National Grid to be overhauled, tailoring energy supply to meet demand at different times of the day. Britain should look to the example set by Freiburg in Germany, one of the world’s greenest cities, he said. Residents of Freiburg have eco-friendly homes and minimise car use. The football stadium is solar-powered, hydro-power is generated locally or imported, and areas of the old city centre have been pedestrianized with miles of cycle lanes created.

Daily Telegraph 21st May 2015 read more »

Heat Storage

RENEWABLE energy and heat storage battery maker Sunamp has received £1.2 million in a funding round led by Par Equity and Equity Gap. Other backers include former SSE chief executive and current Wood Group chairman Ian Marchant, the Scottish Investment Bank, Highland Venture Partners and Edinburgh University’s Old College Capital. Sunamp, which is based in Macmerry, East Lothian, already employs 15 people and plans to use part of the money to hire another eight to 10 workers within the next year. Among those jobs will be high quality positions for design engineers and an opening for a chief technology officer. Sunamp makes a range of batteries which store excess energy as heat which can then be used later to warm a building or deliver hot water.

Herald 22nd May 2015 read more »

Renewables – Scotland

NICOLA Sturgeon has opened a new front in her rapidly escalating fight with the UK Government after she demanded a veto over Britain’s energy policy. The First Minister said UK ministers should take key decisions only after “consultation and agreement” with the Scottish Government. Ms Sturgeon was speaking after a meeting of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board, a panel co-chaired by the First Minister and Professor Sir Jim McDonald of Strathclyde University. She set out a list of specific demands, including an assurance that subsidies for Scotland’s onshore windfarms will not be changed without the blessing of SNP ministers in Edinburgh. She also called on the UK Government to commit to major offshore wind projects, where Scotland has lost out because of the higher costs of maintaining turbines in deeper coastal waters. Ms Sturgeon also urged the UK Government to cut transmission charges for generators in remote parts of Scotland further than already planned. Demanding inter-governmental consultation and agreement on key energy decisions, Ms Sturgeon said: “Scotland is an energy powerhouse but we have very limited powers on energy policy. “That is why today I am calling on the UK to take a much more collegiate approach to policy-making on energy and ensure proper consultation with the Scottish Government on major areas of energy policy.”

Herald 21st May 2015 read more »

Nicola Sturgeon has demanded Scottish government ministers be consulted before the Conservative government makes any changes to onshore wind farm subsidies. Sturgeon has also called for the government to ensure there is sufficient budget to deliver new offshore wind projects, following industry fears the funding pot has been used up financing the first wave of clean energy developments. The Scottish Government also wants sufficient flexibility within the so-called Levy Control Framework (LFC), which controls the amount the government spends supporting green energy projects, to allow the renewables sector to invest with confidence and deliver further cost reductions.

Business Green 21st May 2015 read more »

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has called on the new UK government to adopt a “collegiate approach” on energy policy and to take into account the views of the Scottish government.The SNP has also named MPs Calum Kerr and Callum McCaig as its environment and rural affairs and energy and climate change leaders respectively in Westminster.

Utility Week 21st May 2015 read more »

Letter: If the SNP wishes to convince us of the sincerity of its intention to create a more just society there is one issue upon which the First Minister must reflect. One of the most significant indicators of the plutocratic takeover of our society is the transfer of wealth, through the renewables subsidy regime, from the people, many of whom are already in fuel poverty, to the corporate sector. The Scottish Government must recognise that its social-democratic credibility cannot be sustained unless it addresses this issue. The bribing of some local communities by throwing a few relatively minuscule crumbs from the “rich man’s table” in their direction is no more than an attempt by the wind lobby to divert voters’ attention away from the regressive nature of the aforementioned subsidy regime. I wholeheartedly agree with the principle of support for poorer communities but it ought to be done in a transparent manner by means of the existing democratic mechanisms for the distribution of resources on the basis of need and not on the basis of which way the wind blows.

Scotsman 22nd May 2015 read more »

Grid Connections

The chief executive of National Grid on Thursday called for the UK to be more deeply integrated into a Europe-wide energy market, regardless of the pending referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU. Steve Holliday said consumers were set to benefit from new deals to push ahead with subsea power links to Belgium and Norway that would deliver cheap wholesale electricity to British households and businesses over the next decade. The new lines, which are being paid for partly by National Grid, come against a backdrop of increasing concern at the UK’s falling electricity generating capacity and the risk of blackouts. The FTSE 100 company, responsible for delivering electricity across the UK, is also backing plans for further power links with Denmark and France. Mr Holliday said progress in increasing the UK’s ability to transmit power to and from the continent, alongside moves towards creating a Europe-wide market in electricity, were to be welcomed.

FT 21st May 2015 read more »

Fossil Fuels

David Cameron’s ambition for the UK to “go all out” for shale gas would only have a limited impact on Britain’s energy security and could even increase its reliance on foreign gas imports, a new analysis by Friends of the Earth has claimed. The NGO predicted UK shale gas would only make “a small dent” in the UK’s net energy imports, arguing a focus on reducing energy demand and increasing the supply of biogas would deliver a bigger impact on energy security.

Business Green 22nd May 2015 read more »

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Published: 22 May 2015