23 June 2015

Bradwell

Fears have been raised over jobs and safety if a nuclear site is given “lock, stock and barrel” to a Chinese corporation. In 2011, the Government earmarked Bradwell as one of eight sites for a new nuclear power station to be built in the UK by 2025. China is already funding a new power station in Hinkley Point, Somerset, and a leading union – the GMB- is concerned this deal has been done on the basis that a Bradwell site will be handed over to the Chinese and they will be allowed to use their own technology there.

Maldon Standard 22nd June 2015 read more »

ABWRs

Concerns about reactor chemistry issues related to Hitachi-GE’s Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) have been raised by UK regulators in their assessment of the design. The company, however, is confident these concerns can be resolved. As part of the generic design assessment (GDA) of the ABWR, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA) raised a regulatory observation in April 2014 requesting Hitachi-GE to define and justify the reactor design’s source terms, amongst other related matters. According to the regulators, “The definition of the radioactive source term; the nature and amount of radioactivity, is a fundamental part in understanding and therefore being able to control the hazards associated with any nuclear facility. Once defined, it is important that the requesting party is able to demonstrate and justify that this source term is appropriate to be used as the basis for the safety and environmental cases. Failure to adequately define or justify the source term could ultimately mean that the design, operations or controls specified for the UK ABWR may not be soundly based.”

World Nuclear News 22nd June 2015 read more »

Scotland

Scotland may not be able to meet ambitious climate change targets following cuts to windfarm subsidies, energy minister Fergus Ewing has warned. He said the Scottish Government’s target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions was “extremely challenging” after the UK Government brought forward plans to axe the main subsidy for onshore wind power generators. The decision last week was criticised by industry leaders, environmental campaigners and politicians. UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd announced that new onshore wind projects would not qualify for subsidies from from the Renewables Obligation, which is levied on conventional energy generation and passed on to consumers, from next April.

Herald 22nd June 2015 read more »

British Energy Minister Amber Rudd today told MPs that the government’s decision to end £800 million of subsidies to onshore wind factories is fair to both consumers and taxpayers. Meanwhile, she is due to have the first face-to-face meeting with Fergus Ewing, her Scottish counterpart on Wednesday.

Scottish Energy News 22nd June 2015 read more »

Energy Policy

This paper focuses on arguably the single most striking contrast in contemporary major energy politics in Europe (and even the developed world as a whole): the starkly differing civil nuclear policies of Germany and the UK. Germany is seeking entirely to phase out nuclear power by 2022. Yet the UK advocates a ‘nuclear renaissance’, promoting the most ambitious new nuclear construction programme in Western Europe. Here, this paper poses a simple yet quite fundamental question: what are the particular divergent conditions most strongly implicated in the contrasting developments in these two countries. With nuclear playing such an iconic role in historical discussions over technological continuity and transformation, answering this may assist in wider understandings of sociotechnical incumbency and discontinuity in the burgeoning field of ‘sustainability transitions’.

SPRU 22nd June 2015 read more »

The first Energy Barometer report – published today by the Energy Institute – reveals the top four key issues across all energy sectors facing the UK’s energy professionals today as being. Policy continuity; Public engagement; Lo-carbon investment, and Forward planning and knowledge transfer. But when asked which single government measure would be most effective to reach the UK’s emissions targets, Energy Institute members prioritised the development of: Nuclear energy; Energy efficiency, and Energy from renewables.

Scottish Energy News 23rd June 2015 read more »

Radwaste

Development of the National Geological Screening Guidance: the Independent Review Panel invites Radioactive Waste Management to a meeting in public.

RWM 23rd June 2015 read more »

I frequently hear comments about the amount of spent nuclear fuel for a certain amount of energy. One figure is that it is one pound coin for every household per year. Somewhere else I am told it is 0.3mg per KWh. Others will tell you that you could fit it into the Albert Hall – if you could you would soon not have an Albert Hall or a large part of central London. Anyway, it is not too hard to get an estimate. Please note that this is based on what is really happening at the moment and not on some future sub-critical accelerator driven reactor in the future. The amount of energy that you get from a given amount of nuclear fuel is called the burnup. The proposed new EPRs at Hinkley and Sizewell are supposed to have a burnup of 60GWdays per tonne of Uranium. The mass of fuel changes very little so this is the amount of spent fuel that you have at the end.

Peter Lux 22nd June 2015 read more »

Nuclear Weapons

An 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists are likely to remain free because the government said Monday that it will not seek to have a sabotage charge reconsidered. Sister Megan Rice was originally sentenced to three years for vandalizing an Oak Ridge, Tennessee, bunker storing much of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium. Sixty-six-year-old Michael Walli and 60-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed were each sentenced to five years.

Daily Mail 22nd June 2015 read more »

Reuters 22nd June 2015 read more »

Germany

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks warned the Bavarian government on Tuesday that complaints wouldn’t allow the state to wriggle out of plans to keep nuclear waste within its borders.

The Local 23rd June 2015 read more »

Brazil

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by Westinghouse and Brazil’s state-owned Nuclebras Equipamentos Pesados (Nuclep) paves the way for the companies to collaborate on the fabrication of AP1000 reactor components in Brazil.

World Nuclear News 19th June 2015 read more »

Nigeria

The Government of Nigeria has selected the states of Kogi and Akwa Ibom to construct two nuclear power facilities, totalling 4,800MW. Rosatom confirmed about the sites and said that the facilities will be equipped with two reactors each, reported Reuters. The projects are expected to involve an investment of at least $20bn.

Energy Business Review 22nd June 2015 read more »

Egypt

A senior Egyptian official has said that the losses to the country due to the delay in implementing its nuclear power project amount to $200 billion, Anadolu reported on Sunday. Deputy Electricity Minister Ibrahim Al-Assiri made his comments to Egypt’s economics newspaper Al-Alam Al-Yawm. “The nuclear power project started with the announcement of the Nuclear Power Committee in 1954,” Al-Assiri said. “This means that it started before South Korea and Japan and this reflects the plans to undermine it.” Al-Assiri is a former inspector of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He said that Russia is the best choice for Egypt to cooperate in this field.

Middle East Monitor 22nd June 2015 read more »

Pakistan

Pakistan has approved the construction of two new nuclear power plants near Karachi, despite concerns raised by civil society organisations. The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has granted approval to the project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) report and authorized the construction of power plants at Paradise Point near Kanupp, reported The Dawn.

Energy Business Review 22nd June 2015 read more »

Japan – floating turbines

A huge floating wind turbine for an experimental offshore power generation project was unveiled Monday at Onahama port in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. With an output capacity of 7,000 kilowatts, the turbine is the largest piece of offshore wind power generation equipment in the world. The project, commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in fiscal 2011, aims to establish a business model to kick-start domestic wind turbine exports.

Japan Times 22nd June 2015 read more »

Renewables – European Targets

EU countries are well on the way to meeting the EU’s target for 20% renewable energy in the overall energy supply by 2020, a new report shows. Presented on 16 June, the European Commission’s renewable energy progress report reveals that 25 EU countries are expected to meet their 2013/2014 interim renewable energy targets. In 2014, the projected share of renewable energy in the gross final energy consumption is 15.3%. “The report shows once again that Europe is good at renewables, and that renewables are good for Europe. We have three times more renewable power per capita in Europe than anywhere else in the rest of the world. We have more than one million people working in a renewable energy sector worth over €130 bn a year and we export €35 bn worth of renewables every year,” Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said.

European Commission 16th June 2015 read more »

Renewables – offshore wind

The UK’s offshore wind capacity has passed 5GW for the first time, with the official inauguration of the Gwynt y Mor wind farm off the coast of North Wales. There are now 1,452 operational offshore turbines in the UK, with a capacity of 5.054 GW, producing enough electricity to meet the needs of 3.5 million British households and saving 6.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

Edie 22nd June 2015 read more »

Renewables – solar

Scotland’s solar power industry is set for a major boost – if the government abolishes the current requirement for planning permission to mount solar panels on the roofs of commercial buildings. The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on the waiving of planning permission – if certain requirements are fulfilled – for commercial non-domestic rooftop solar. Domestic solar on residential homes already benefits from this exemption from planning permission.

Scottish Energy News 23rd June 2015 read more »

Renewables – onshore wind

Ending onshore wind farm subsidies will save hundreds of millions of pounds, energy secretary Amber Rudd has said, as she confirmed that 250 proposed projects were now “unlikely” to get built. Ms Rudd announced last week that a key subsidy scheme, the Renewables Obligation, would be shut down a year earlier than planned, although projects which already had planning permission and other conditions could still get built under a “grace period”. The policy is a key part of the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge to end new onshore wind subsidies. Ms Rudd told MPs on Monday that the energy department estimated that about 7.1 gigawatts of the onshore wind capacity proposed across the UK “will not be eligible for the grace period and is therefore unlikely to go ahead”.

Telegraph 22nd June 2015 read more »

Energy Storage

It is the British answer to electric carmaker Tesla’s graceful wall-mounted home battery: a chunky power storage unit that slides under the kitchen worktop next to the washing machine. Powervault, a London start-up, says its unit to capture and use surplus electricity generated by domestic solar panels is cheaper, more practical and targeted at the British consumer. While Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, compares his Powerwall to a “beautiful sculpture”, Powervault emphasises serviceability. “This is a complete system in a box, is compatible with all solar systems and takes about an hour to install,” says Joe Warren, managing director.

FT 23rd June 2015 read more »

Fossil Fuels

Rejecting plans for test fracking in Lancashire would send a message that the county was not open for business and investment, a coalition of local businesses, academics, farmers and students has warned. Members of the North West Energy Task Force said it would be a missed opportunity to create jobs and significantly boost the local economy. The campaign group spoke out on the eve of the beginning of the decision-making process on proposals by shale company Cuadrilla for two sites between Preston and Blackpool.

Guardian 22nd June 2015 read more »

A report on fracking used by Andy Burnham to justify calls for a ban was produced by a veteran green campaigner opposed to the practice. Mr Burnham, the frontrunner for the Labour leadership, was accused of relying on “recycled scare stories” to justify his anti-fracking stance after citing a new paper from charity CHEM Trust, which claims that “chemicals from fracking could cause significant pollution and damage to wildlife”. Promoting a news story about the report, Mr Burnham said: “This explains why I have called for a moratorium on fracking. Far too many potential risks & unanswered questions.” CHEM Trust’s paper, which calls for a moratorium until new regulations are introduced, was written by its executive director, Michael Warhurst, who worked at environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth for a decade until last summer.

Telegraph 22nd June 2015 read more »

Climate

Europe could face a higher marine invasion than anybody anticipated. As polar ice melts, tides could be as much as 1.5 metres higher around the coasts of Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands and England, according to a new study. This is considerably higher than the average sea level rise – driven by global warming as a consequence of burning fossil fuels – projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change under a “business as usual” scenario and a global average temperature rise of 4°C. But there is no ontradiction. The discrepancy arises because the seas have never been level, and the land keeps moving too.

Climate News Network 22nd June 2015 read more »

A peak in global energy-related emissions could be achieved as early as 2020 and at no net economic cost, the International Energy Agency said on Monday in its new World Energy Outlook Special Report on Energy and Climate Change. The Agency showed how to achieve an early peak in emissions as one of four key pillars that it believes are needed to make the upcoming UN climate talks a success, from an energy perspective.

International Energy Agency 15th June 2015 read more »

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Published: 23 June 2015