23 December 2015

Oldbury

The nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan in 2011 shook the world. It might seem a very long way from this Severn-side town, but Lydney is making plans for its own emergency procedure should the unimaginable happen. It’s not such a preposterous idea as you might think. Horizon Nuclear Power announced plans in 2011 to develop a massive new nuclear electricity generating capacity across its two sites, Anglesey and Oldbury by 2025.

Gloucester Citizen 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

New Nukes

Is nuclear power necessary for solving climate change? Neil Hirst of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London,The relative costs and benefits of nuclear energy have been the subject of heated debate in recent years thanks to a combination of factors, including the need to cut carbon emissions and the 2011 accident at Fukushima, Japan. Critics argue that nuclear is not only dangerous but also unnecessary for tackling climate change; supporters claim the risks are small and that abandoning nuclear would make an already huge challenge even harder and more expensive. All in all, there is no simple answer to this question. If you believe strongly enough that we should phase out nuclear then with sufficiently strong political commitment around the world, this could be done consistently with tackling climate change. However, as a practical matter, we are far from being on course to limit carbon emissions to levels consistent with a 2C target. Ruling out one of the major low-carbon technology options currently available is bound to add to the difficulty and the risk of what is already looking like a very tough challenge. Balancing the problems of nuclear power against its contribution to climate mitigation (and other energy policy objectives) is an inescapable dilemma.

Guardian 21st Dec 2015 read more »

Efforts to speed carbon cuts pledged under the Paris climate deal will require a fast, mass mobilisation of low carbon technology at costs that can be competitive with coal, a task to which nuclear power will likely be unsuited. So says a new version of the World Nuclear Energy Industry Status Report, which tracks developments in the sector and provides outlooks based on developments energy and climate policy. Time is the main enemy of the world nuclear industry, says Mycle Schneider, the author of the report which had its abridged version published in Beijing this week. “Everyone needs to speed up energy transition, and cheap quick technology is going to be the first choice,” he said, pointing to figures in the report which indicate that 70% of the 60 or so reactors currently worldwide are delayed. Five of these have been listed as “under construction” for over 30 years.

China Dialogue 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

Old Nukes

EDF has confirmed that three of its nuclear reactors are back in service after shutting down because of unrelated electrical issues. Last week only 10 of its 15 reactors were in normal operation. In addition to the three with electrical problems, two were on planned maintenance outages. EDF said there was no impact on the National Grid. Unit 2 at Hartlepool power station resynchronised to the Grid early this morning after going offline on December 17. Unit 1 at Heysham 1 power station went back on the grid yesterday after going off on December 16. Unit 2 at Torness power station came off the grid on December 14 and resynchronised to the Grid on 17 December.

New Civil Engineer 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

Energy Supplies

National Grid has predicted the last ever episode of Downton Abbey will cause a power demand pick-up of 400MW when it is aired on Christmas Day this year.

Edie 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

Renewable electricity generation soared in Q3 2015 but continued to have little impact on domestic electricity bills. Statistics released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change this morning revealed that throughout Q3 renewables generated some 13.4TWh of electricity, equivalent to 23.5% of total generation. That figure – representative of a 33% year-on-year increase – meant that renewables leapfrogged nuclear power to become the UK’s second-largest sub-section of generation behind gas. The increase has been attributed at least in part to a significant surge in solar PV capacity. Generation from solar PV for the period increased 73% year-on-year to 2.68TWh, driven by the UK adding 2.53GW of solar in Q1. But despite soaring renewables generation, domestic electricity bills have remained largely flat. DECC’s statistics show that the projected average electricity bill for 2015 is to stand at £584, down 2.4% in real terms on 2014’s average bill of £592.

Solar Portal 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

Dounreay

A secret plan to ship nuclear weapons grade uranium from northern Scotland to the US has been condemned as an “invitation to terrorists”. The UK government is preparing to transport nearly five kilograms of enriched uranium by sea from Dounreay in Caithness to the US government’s nuclear complex at Savannah River in South Carolina. The uranium is contained in five research reactor fuel assemblies that were airlifted in emergency out of the former Soviet republic of Georgia in 1998 to prevent them being stolen and made into nuclear bombs. The fuel was taken to Dounreay, where it has remained ever since.

The Ferrett 21st Dec 2015 read more »

Highland MP Paul Monaghan is calling on the prime minister to be “honest and open” about a plan to ship enriched uranium from Dounreay to the United States. According to reports, the UK Government is preparing to transport 5kg of weapons-grade material to the US government’s nuclear power complex at Savannah River in South Carolina.

Press and Journal 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

Parliament

Energy and Climate Change Committee: Our Priorities for 2015 – 20

Parliament 15th Dec 2015 read more »

China

Construction has started on the second Hualong One reactor at the site of the Fuqing nuclear power plant in China’s Fujian province. China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) general manager Chen Hua announced the start of construction of the unit today, the company said in a statement. The pouring of first concrete for the reactor’s basemat marks the official start of construction of the unit, the second of two Hualong One units planned for the Fuqing plant. In November 2014, CNNC announced that the fifth and sixth units at Fuqing will use the domestically-developed Hualong One reactor design, marking its first deployment. The company had previously expected to use the ACP1000 design for those units, but plans were revised in line with a re-organisation of the Chinese nuclear industry.

World Nuclear News 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

US

US nuclear energy programs, including small modular reactors and the development of new advanced reactors, are to receive $960 million under an appropriations act signed into law by President Barack Obama. Obama signed the 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act on 18 December, after it had been approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The legislation includes funding for virtually the entire federal government to the end of the fiscal year on 30 September 2016, about $1.15 trillion in total. The bill provides $141 million for reactor concepts research and development (R&D), plus $230 million for fuel cycle R&D. The US program to license small reactors is supported through $62.5 million of funding.

World Nuclear News 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

Japan

Japan may review spending on reprocessing plutonium for use in nuclear reactors, a minister appointed to identify wasteful spending told Reuters, following years of government outlays on the controversial program that has yielded no results. The minister’s comments come after the operator of Japan’s fast breeder reactor, designed to use plutonium extracted from spent reactor fuel, was declared unfit following decades of accidents, missteps and falsification of documents.

Japan Today 11th Dec 2015 read more »

Iran

Russia will begin building two nuclear power plant units in Iran next week, Mehr news agency quoted an Iranian nuclear official as saying, under a deal signed in Moscow last year between subsidiaries of the two countries’ state atomic agencies. The Mehr report did not elaborate but the comments by Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, appeared to be referring to extension of the Bushehr nuclear power station, designed and built by Russia. Iran already runs one Russian-built nuclear reactor at Bushehr, its first. Russia signed a deal with Iran in November last year to build up to eight more reactors in the country

Reuters 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

Russia – Fast Reactors

Four Russian institutes have successfully conducted an experiment on the isolation and separation of americium and curium from used nuclear fuel. In a statement today, Russian nuclear fuel manufacturer TVEL said this was a crucial development in work aimed at closing the fuel cycle of fast reactors.

World Nuclear News 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

Nuclear Weapons

The United States and Russia are acting with increasing belligerence toward each other while actively pursuing monstrous weapons. As Joe Cirincione described in the Huffington Post, the Pentagon plans to spend $1 trillion over 30 years on “an entire new generation of nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines,” including a dozen submarines carrying more than 1,000 warheads, capable of decimating any country anywhere. In the meantime, President Obama has ordered 200 new nuclear bombs deployed in Europe.

Washington Post 15th Dec 2015 read more »

Renewables – Scotland

According to new data from the Dept of Energy (DECC), renewable sources delivered 49.7% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption in 2014 – up from 44.4% in 2013. This means that the Scot-Govt. target of generating half of Scotland’s electricity from renewable energy by 2015 has been met 12 months ahead of target. It also means that renewable energy sources are now the single largest contributor to electricity generation in Scotland at a record 38% of total output – higher than both nuclear (33%) and fossil fuels (28%) for the first time.

Scottish Energy News 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

It has been a remarkable year for the renewables sector in Scotland with figures released showing the industry is now the biggest provider of electricity in the country – beating nuclear and fossil fuels for the first time.

Scotsman 23rd Dec 2015 read more »

Press & Journal 22nd Dec 2015 read more »

Times 23rd Dec 2015 read more »

Renewables – wind

Natural Power – the Stirlng based renewable energy developer – has forecast that combined installed capacity for on- and offshore wind power in the UK will grow by more than 10% every year for next five years. With a cumulative CAGR of +11% each year until 2020, that would result in 24GW, or almost 66m MWh of electricity generated which is equivalent to powering 16 million homes. The company made the 2020 forecast to celebrate its own 20th anniversary since it was set up in 1995.

Scottish Energy News 23rd Dec 2015 read more »

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Published: 23 December 2015