24 April 2014

Sellafield

SAVINGS of £7m have been made as a major nuclear clean up project in Cumbria was completed four years early. One of the UK’s top 10 nuclear safety risks has been significantly reduced after a project to repackage historic plutonium-contaminated filters at Sellafield was completed four years early. The work involved removing the filters from a building deemed no longer fit-for-purpose, repackaging them and placing them in a more modern store. The filters had been removed from facilities around the site during the 1970s and 1980s and placed into storage. The project, which is a part of a wider programme to remove plutonium contaminated material from across the Sellafield site, was completed in February this year – four years ahead of schedule – saving around £7m on the original cost estimate.

NW Evening Mail 23rd April 2014 read more »

One of the major challenges facing Sellafield Ltd is the safe decommissioning of the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond (FGMSP), a nuclear fuel storage facility that was originally built in the 1950s and 1960s as part of the UK’s expanding nuclear programme to receive and store, cool irradiated Magnox fuel prior to reprocessing. In the 1970s a lengthy shutdown at the Magnox Reprocessing Plant, combined with increased throughput of fuel due to electricity shortages, spent fuel to be stored in the pond for longer than the designed period which led to increased fuel corrosion and radiation levels. Over the years the pond has accumulated significant quantities of waste materials, sludges from corrosion of fuel cladding, skips of fuel, and fuel fragments and other debris which has blown into the pond. Standing above ground, this 5m deep open pond holding some 14,000 cubic metres of contaminated water (approximately the size of two Olympic swimming pools) is considered a decommissioning priority. To assist with future retrievals, a detailed knowledge of the facility’s inventory through visual inspection of the pond is needed. Despite high levels of radioactivity, this open pond appears to intermittently bloom with a range of microorganisms that cloud the water, reducing visibility and hampering inspection and retrieval operations. Following a rigorous assessment period, EXO water quality monitoring sondes from Xylem Analytics are being deployed in what is arguably one of the most hostile environments imaginable – nuclear waste legacy storage ponds at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site in Cumbria, UK.

Process and Control Technology 23rd April 2014 read more »

No2nuclearpower comment: Time to end reprocessing at Sellafield.

No2nuclearpower 23rd April 2014 read more »

Hartlepool

FLOOD defences at Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station have been improved to protect the site from extreme weather. EDF said the improvements to a flood barrier at the plant were “arguably unnecessary”, although it said the scheme would increase resilience to flooding. Details of the work have come to light after it emerged the French company shut one of two reactors at Dungeness power station on the Kent coast for five months. The move was made following concerns raised in a report carried out after the Fukushima disaster in Japan that its shingle bank flood defences could be breached during a catastrophic weather event.

Northern Echo 24th Apil 2014 read more »

Electricity Markets

Depoliticisation, as a concept, has been utilised to explain specific aspects of economic governance as it has developed over the past thirty years, particularly in certain OECD countries. This paper recognises depoliticisation as reducing the role of state government in certain issues areas, but emphasises a range of different forms that this can take as well as some political consequences of these decisions. Using UK energy governance as an example, it will detail a wide range of consequences of the depoliticisation of UK energy policy undertaken from the 1980s to the early 2000s. This paper claims that in the mid to late 2000s, when market failure in energy security and climate change were finally recognised in the UK, political institutions capable of effectively addressing these failures simply did not exist.

IGov 23rd April 2014 read more »

Utilities

Labour has attacked government plans that could allow energy companies to pocket nearly £250m which could instead be used to insulate the nation’s draughty homes through its flagship ECO energy efficiency scheme. It emerged last week that the “Big Six” energy companies can expect to save about £45 per household as a result of the watering down of ECO, even though customers will get an average rebate of £32.50.

Business Green 23rd April 2014 read more »

Companies

The nuclear hub at MEPC Birchwood Park has been boosted by the arrival of nuclear energy specialist, AREVA. AREVA has joined fellow nuclear businesses based at the Park, based in Warrington, through the relocation of its specialist Consultancy arm (AREVA RMC) which specialises in safety assessment, waste management and decommissioning support and advice. AREVA will move into larger award-winning premises designed by the BDP architecture firm. Speaking about the decision to move, AREVA RMC’s business relationship manager, Alison Holt, commented: “Birchwood Park has outstanding facilities and is conveniently located near many of our clients and partners, making it an ideal location to expand our business.”

BDaily 23rd April 2014 read more »

Business Desk 23rd April 2014 read more »

Protest

Fukushima Day Remembrance event was held by STAND (Severnside Together Against Nuclear Development) on Tuesday 11th March at Lydney harbour. The event commemorated the dreadful nuclear accident at the Daiichi nuclear reactors in Fukushima exactly three years ago. It was attended by Molly Scott Cato, prospective member of the European parliament for the Green Party, Steven Parry-Hearn, the Labour party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the Forest of Dean (who speaks out against nuclear despite his Party’s support for nuclear) and James Greenwood, who is the Green Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the Forest of Dean but who was speaking as a member of STAND. This film by Philip Booth captures some of those speakers and the atmosphere of the afternoon. Over a 100 people came to hear the speeches and walk down to the Docks to throw flowers into the River Severn as a mark of respect and remembrance.

Stroud Community TV 10th April 2014 read more »

Nuclear Weapons

Jeremy Corbyn: Next week the United Nations nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) meeting in New York will be making preparations for the five-yearly review due in 2015. The process might sound obscure, but it is important. Nuclear weapons have the power to destroy the whole planet many times over, cost vast amounts of money, consume resources that could be better spent elsewhere and, furthermore, they make war more, not less, likely. When the NPT was first made law in the 1970s, approved by the vast majority of the member states of the UN, it had three central themes. First, that the existing five declared weapons states — China, Russia, France, Britain and the US — be recognised as such and take steps towards disarmament. Second, that all non-nuclear weapons states which signed the treaty must not themselves acquire them and the declared states must not export them or their technology. Third, that all states could legitimately develop nuclear power for civil purposes. On the face of it there is much cause for depression at the continued existence of these weapons and their proliferation in India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Equally depressing is the upgrading of the weapons’ capability, even if accompanied by warhead reduction, by the five declared weapons states. But there are some causes for hope and optimism. Much of our planet is covered by nuclear weapons-free zones, particularly Africa, Latin America, Antarctica and central Asia, and a number of states including South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have renounced nuclear weapons.

Morning Star 24th April 2014 read more »

Japan – Fukushima

Disaster-related equipment and facilities at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant already take up more space than the entire grounds of most regular nuclear plants in Japan, it has been learned. The finding has sparked concern that other nuclear power plants may not have enough space to cope with a similar nuclear disaster. The grounds of the Fukushima plant, where two additional reactors were originally due to be built, span 3.5 million square meters. Before the disaster, over 90 percent of this property was unused. Roughly 2.55 million square meters is now devoted to the disaster response, outsizing the grounds of 13 of the 16 regular nuclear power plants in Japan. Meanwhile, contaminated water continues to pile up at the plant at the rate of 400 tons per day.

Mainichi 23rd April 2014 read more »

US

If there was any lingering doubt that the tide has swung away from nuclear power and fossil fuels, consider this: a new report from SNL Financial finds that renewables represent–by a large margin–most of the new electrical generating capacity currently planned to be built in the U.S. Fully 56.58% of new capacity is to come from renewables, according to the report, with wind making up the majority of the renewable installations. Natural gas comes in second at 30.52%. In total, the report says a total of 349,858 MW of new capacity is planned; wind is the largest single source at 111,936 MW.

Green World 23rd April 2014 read more »

American nuclear power companies may have to pay to clean-up military enrichment sites – for the third time over. An independent association of regulators has joined industry to oppose the unwarranted ‘tax’. The US Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission, built three large uranium enrichment plants for military purposes in the 1940s and 1950s (at Oak Ridge, Paducah and Portsmouth) but later decided to sell some of their capacity to nuclear power station operators as well. Part of the deal was that the power companies would pay a certain amount extra on top of the costs of enrichment to cover the future costs of decommissioning and cleaning up the federally-owned plants. However, the DoE, which had the responsibility to manage this work, “did not set those or any other funds aside for this work,” according to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

World Nuclear News 23rd April 2014 read more »

North Korea

North Korea warned by U.S. to ‘refrain from actions that threaten regional peace’ amid fears Kim Jong-un is planning new nuclear test coinciding with Obama’s Asia visit.

Daily Mail 24th April 2014 read more »

North Korea is preparing to carry out a fourth nuclear test “at any moment”, South Korea’s Ministry of Defence has said.

IB Times 23rd April 2014 read more »

Renewables – wind

An effective moratorium on new onshore wind farms will be in place within six months of a Tory election victory next year, the party will pledge today. Energy Minister Michael Fallon will say that there is ‘no requirement for any more’ of the turbines erected across the country with little or no regard for the views of local communities. The Conservative manifesto will also pledge to scrap the subsidies paid by bill-payers for onshore wind power and change the planning system to allow local councils to block any which do not already have planning consent.

Daily Mail 24th April 2014 read more »

The Conservatives have said they will not subsidise new onshore wind farms if they win the 2015 general election. Energy Minister Michael Fallon said any project not granted planning permission before the election would not get funds as the UK would already have enough wind power to meet 2020 EU targets. He also said councils in England and Wales would be given the “decisive say” on new onshore wind farms from 2015. A Lib Dem source accused the party of pandering to its right wing. The source said the Tories were trying to stop voters turning to UKIP.

BBC 24th April 2014 read more »

Telegraph 23rd April 2014 read more »

Times 24th April 2014 read more »

Renewables

Eight major renewable electricity projects are unveiled as part of the government’s world leading electricity reforms, giving a massive boost to green growth and green jobs. By 2020, the projects will provide up to £12 billion of private sector investment, supporting 8,500 jobs, and they could add a further 4.5GW of low-carbon electricity to Britain’s energy mix (or around 4% of capacity), generating enough clean electricity to power over three million homes.

DECC 23rd April 2014 read more »

Ed Davey has hailed “a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom” after the government unveiled the first projects to be supported through its Contracts for Difference (CfD) support scheme. The five offshore wind and three biomass developments will be offered a fixed price for the electricity they generate for 15 years as part of the electricity market reform programme the government hopes will drive £110bn of electricity infrastructure investment by the end of the decade. The projects could add a combined 4.5GW of low carbon electricity capacity, powering up to three million homes, as well as providing up to £12bn of private sector investment, supporting 8,500 jobs, and reducing emissions by 10 MtCO2 per year compared to fossil fuel power generation.

Business Green 23rd April 2014 read more »

Independent 23rd April 2014 read more »

Telegraph 23rd April 2014 read more »

The UK government has agreed deals to financially support eight major new renewable energy projects that will power millions of homes. Alasdair Cameron, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “The government must prioritise cutting energy waste and further increasing renewable power, and abandon its reckless pursuit of fracking – which is dirty, unpopular and will not deliver for years.” Jimmy Aldridge, energy campaigner at Greenpeace, welcomed the commitment but said: “If ministers are serious about shaking off our chronic addiction to volatile, dangerous fossil fuels, they should drop their good cop, bad cop routine on clean energy and get on with the job of making Britain’s energy cleaner and safer.”

Guardian 23rd April 2014 read more »

A MASSIVE wind farm being built off the Scottish coast has won backing from the UK government – part of an initiative which will push up household energy bills. The £3 billion Beatrice wind farm, the largest offshore scheme in Scotland, is one of eight renewables projects to be awarded a “contract for difference” that will set the price paid for its power for 15 years.

Scotsman 24th April 2014 read more »

GOVERNMENT backing for a huge windfarm of up to 277 turbines off the coast of Scotland has been warmly welcomed by the industry and politicians. The Department of Energy said the development by Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd off the coast of Caithness was one of eight major renewable energy projects across the UK to be given Contracts For Difference, the new mechanism for delivering subsidy. It will come into force next month, meaning the development can be properly funded. A neighbouring development is being pursued by Moray Offshore Renewables Limited, which is also expected to apply for a contract later this year. Both projects were given planning permission by the Scottish Government last month. If both go ahead they would represent the world’s third largest offshore windfarm, with up to 326 turbines.

Herald 24th April 2014 read more »

More than £45bn has been invested in UK energy infrastructure since 2010, but the government says £100bn is still needed by 2020 to revitalise the network. According to an Energy Investment Report released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) today, about £30bn of this has was directed into electricity generation with renewable technologies to the fore – of the £14bn invested in energy infrastructure last year, a record high of £8bn was in renewables.

Business Green 23rd April 2014 read more »

Ed Davey: The amount of energy infrastructure investment needed is breath-taking. UK energy projects in the Treasury national infrastructure plan total £218bn –that’s more than transport, communications and water put together, at over 58% of the total. Today’s announcement of eight major new renewable projects may begin to convince more people of energy’s growth importance – and potential. The contracts for projects ranging from offshore wind to coal power plants being converted to biomass will attract around £12bn in private investment are the first to be awarded following our ground-breaking electricity market reform, encapsulated in the Energy Act 2013.

Guardian 23rd April 2014 read more »

Renewables – biomass

Just another whinge from a big power company about the government’s slippery approach to subsidising renewable energy? Actually, no. Drax is right to be baffled as to why only one of its two coal units being converted to run on biomass has been deemed eligible for a fixed-price contract. Ignore, for immediate purposes, the question of whether biomass pellets imported from Canada should be regarded as a sustainable form of energy. The issue here is the logic, or lack of it, at work in government policy.

Guardian 23rd April 2014 read more »

Drax is to legally challenge the Government’s decision to exclude the power plant operator’s plans to convert a coal-fired unit into one burning biomass from its latest round of funding.

Telegraph 23rd April 2014 read more »

Times 23rd April 2014 read more »

Renewables – solar

Solar company Conergy has signed a contract to construct a 37 MW solar plant for RWE, the parent company of Npower. The engineering, procurement and construction contract marks the first time that RWE has invested in British solar. The 129-acre site is on a disused airfield classified as brownfield land at Kencot Hill, 19 miles from the City of Oxford. Once connected towards the end of this summer, the 144,000-panel ground-mounted plant will produce enough electricity to power 10,000 homes.

Utility Week 23rd April 2014 read more »

Business Green 23rd April 2014 read more »

A solar farm is to be developed this summer on a former wartime airbase in David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency. The 144,000 ground-mounted panels being installed by RWE, the German-owned energy group, 19 miles from Oxford will generate enough electricity for 10,000 homes. By buying the 37-megawatt project on the 129-acre Kencot Hill site from its original developers for an undisclosed sum, RWE is making its first significant foray into solar power in Britain. It has appointed Conergy, a Milton Keynes- based solar installer, as a contractor to build it.

Times 24th April 2014 read more »

Renewables – National Trust

National Trust is hoping to reap £4m per year by selling renewable energy produced on its land into the grid, under a major new business plan to be announced today. The charity has created a new company that will be able to sell energy produced on National Trust land to green energy company Good Energy under a partnership first announced last year.

Business Green 23rd April 2014 read more »

Guardian 23rd April 2014 read more »

Renewables – marine energy

The UK may be the world leader in the nascent industry of wave and tidal energy, but competition around the world to develop the technology at scale is heating up. Energy from wave and tidal streams has the potential to meet 20% of the country’s current electricity demand in the long run (30 to 50GW of installed capacity) according to UK government figures. If things going well this could mean 200 to 300 MW of capacity by the end of the decade. Yet Dr Stephanie Merry, marine advisor for the UK clean energy trade organisation Renewable Energy Association told Energydesk other countries are catching up fast – something the UK government also noticed several years ago. The European Commission recently warned that competition from other countries around the world could claw back Europe’s lead on technology development and deployment.

Energy Desk 22nd April 2014 read more »

Energy Efficiency – Scotland

Under Section 63, ‘Energy Performance of Non-Domestic Buildings’ of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, Scottish Ministers must by regulations: provide for the assessment of the energy performance of non-domestic buildings and the emissions of greenhouse gases produced; and require owners of such buildings to improve the energy performance of such buildings and reduce such emissions. A public consultation, Form of Regulations for non-domestic buildings was issued 28 March 2013 and closed on 23 May 2013. The Consultation Report was published on 1 August 2013 on the Building Standards Division pages of the Scottish Government website summarising the general trends and main issues raised by respondents. This Report is the Scottish Government Response to the consultation.

Scottish Government 23rd April 2014 read more »

Fossil Fuels

Fracking could generate a £33bn investment windfall in Britain thanks to the creation of a new industrial supply chain, a report has claimed. Drilling of an estimated 4,000 horizontal shale gas wells over an 18-year period would generate 64,000 new jobs and spur massive investment to serve the industry, according to the UK Onshore Operators Group. Of the £33bn of investment identified within the report, the production of specialised equipment such as pumps trucks and other oil field services needed for hydraulic fracturing will require £17bn of investment. In addition, the study highlights the need for 50 new land-based drilling rigs to meet the industry’s demand along with the fabrication of 8,000 miles of steel casing and £4.1bn of investment into other services such as transportation.

Telegraph 24th April 2014 read more »

Times 24th April 2014 read more »

Climate

Increasing energy demand is set to put pressure on the world’s water resources over the coming decades, according to a number of new expert studies. Even if the world shifts away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner power supplies, growing demand could help put water supplies under severe strain by the middle of the century. From cooling down power plants and extracting, transporting and processing fuels to growing crops used as biofuels, energy production relies on water. Altogether, the sector accounts for 15 per cent of water withdrawals around the world, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Only agriculture is more water-hungry.

Carbon Brief 23rd April 2014 read more »

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Published: 24 April 2014