CHINA’S nuclear power giants are in early talks about building an atomic reactor on the Essex coast at Bradwell. The site, home to a partly decommissioned Magnox power plant, has emerged as the favourite for a new Chinese-built and designed plant, industry sources said. China General Nuclear Power Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation have already agreed to help finance Britain’s first new atomic power plant for nearly 20 years. It will be built by the French utility company EDF at the cost of £16bn at Hinkley Point in Somerset. China General and China National will have up to a 40% stake in the EDF project, but they also pushed for permission to build their own plant in Britain. In June, David Cameron signed an agreement with the Chinese premier Li Keqiang that paved the way for such a plant. Industry sources said that an EDF development site adjacent to the current plant at Bradwell, near Chelmsford, had emerged as the leading contender in early talks because it had sufficient land for the Chinese designs. The two types of reactor under discussion are derivatives of western designs. It is understood that there have been preliminary talks between the Chinese and Britain’s National Nuclear Laboratory about submitting one of the two designs for approval by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.
Sunday Times 24th Aug 2014 read more »
The Bradwell economy will receive thousands of pounds in funding to ease the blow of the closure of the power station on the local community. Magnox Ltd offered £150,000 of socio economic funding, in partnership with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, over three years to ‘increase the economic prosperity of the district.’ The scheme will support Maldon District Council’s efforts to raise the profile of the Dengie and bring tourism and investment to the community. It aims to mitigate the impact of the site’s closure.
Maldon Standard 23rd Aug 2014 read more »
Controversy has been raging for decades over the link between nuclear power stations and childhood leukemia. But as with tobacco and lung cancer, it’s all about hiding the truth, writes Ian Fairlie. Combining data from four countries shows, with high statistical significance, that radioactive releases from nuclear plants are the cause of the excess leukemia cases. In March 2014, my article on increased rates of childhood leukemias near nuclear power plants (NPPs) was published in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity (JENR). A previous post discussed the making of the article and its high readership: this post describes its content in layman’s terms.
Ecologist 23rd Aug 2014 read more »
THE new low-level waste dump at Dounreay is due to open at the end of the year. The facility is expected to start taking nuclear waste after the encapsulation – or grouting – plant is completed, according to spokeswoman Sue Thompson. She stressed the timescale for the opening of the facility is dependent on the plant being finished and getting the necessary approval from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
John O Groat Journal 22nd Aug 2014 read more »
Scotland – Electricity Market
There are “robust” indications that a single British energy market will continue in the event of Scottish independence, according to a renewable energy investor. A continuing joint Great Britain electricity market is seen as a “natural outcome” if Scotland votes Yes, The Renewables Infrastructure Group (Trig) said in its interim results. Trig, which recently added former E.ON and Royal Dutch Shell executive Klaus Hammer to its board, has about a quarter of its portfolio in Scotland. It told investors: “The UK Government has not formalised contingency positions for a Yes vote in the independence referendum.”Thus, there is an absence of clarity on what aspects of the electricity and renewables regulations and policy would change, and what any new arrangements would be following any secession.
Herald 23rd Aug 2014 read more »
Npower claims it has drastically improved its appalling customer service by granting call centre staff authority to resolve customer complaints on the spot. Npower director Guy Johnson said it had completely overhauled its complaints processes, and that front line staff should be able to resolve 90pc of problems for customers “on first contact”. Yet the complaints from npower customers keep flooding in with the same lack of common sense in evidence.
Telegraph 24th Aug 2014 read more »
Al Gore, the former US vice president and climate change campaigner, has invested £8m in Ovo Energy, one of the UK’s fastest growing new power suppliers. The US politician-turned-investor began talks with the firm late last year through his sustainable investment fund, Generation Investment Management, The Sunday Telegraph has learned. The mezzanine finance deal was completed in January. Mr Gore’s fund has not taken a direct stake but will share in the growth of the challenger brand, launched by Stephen Fitzpatrick in 2009 to take on the Big Six energy companies.
Telegraph 23rd Aug 2014 read more »
US – WIPP
55-gallon drum of nuclear waste, buried in a salt shaft 2,150 feet under the New Mexico desert, violently erupted late on Feb. 14 and spewed mounds of radioactive white foam. The flowing mass, looking like whipped cream but laced with plutonium, went airborne, traveled up a ventilation duct to the surface and delivered low-level radiation doses to 21 workers. The accident contaminated the nation’s only dump for nuclear weapons waste — previously a focus of pride for the Energy Department — and gave the nation’s elite ranks of nuclear chemists a mystery they still cannot unravel. Six months after the accident, the exact chemical reaction that caused the drum to burst is still not understood. Indeed, the Energy Department has been unable to precisely identify the chemical composition of the waste in the drum, a serious error in a handling process that requires careful documentation and approval of every substance packaged for a nuclear dump.
LA Times 23rd Aug 2014 read more »
Iran will not give UN nuclear inspectors access to a military base outside Tehran that they have been seeking to visit since 2005, defence minister Hossein Dehgan said on Saturday. Mr Dehgan’s comments come just two days before a deadline for Iran to give its response to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over historic allegations of a military dimension to its nuclear research. “The agency carried out several visits to Parchin (before 2005), took samples and found nothing untoward,” Dehgan told the ISNA news agency. “There is therefore no reason for new access to Parchin as nothing new has come up since the last inspections.”
Telegraph 23rd Aug 2014 read more »
The industry ministry has proposed a system to support nuclear power generation by setting standard rates for electricity generated with atomic energy. When the power retail market is liberalized from 2016, electricity will start being traded in a free market. According to the ministry’s proposal, when market prices for electricity fall below the predetermined standard rates for power generated with nuclear energy, the electric utilities would be allowed to compensate for the difference by adding the amounts to their future charges. On the other hand, when market prices rise above the standard rates, utilities would be required to return the difference to customers.
Asahi Shimbun 23rd Aug 2014 read more »
THE UK Government is pressing ahead with its £3billion blueprint to extend Faslane nuclear submarine base – regardless of the referendum. Plans for the jobs bonanza are now fully developed, say sources, despite the threat posed to the ¬Royal Navy’s future on Gare Loch. The revelation has led to ¬renewed speculation that if there is a Yes vote next month, the Ministry of Defence expects to strike a deal to keep the UK’s nuclear deterrent in Scotland. In the event of a No vote, Faslane will become Britain’s only ¬specialist submarine base with the ¬capacity for 16 vessels by 2022.
Express 24th Aug 2014 read more »
The Western Isles have been classed as the worst area in western Europe for fuel poverty. The Energy Advisory Service, a government-funded initiative, produced a survey for the Western Isles council on how much disposable income is needed to keep warm. The report said that as a result of an over-reliance on heating oil, poorly insulated homes and low wages, the islands face a severe challenge. In total, 71 per cent of households are recognised as suffering from fuel poverty, compared with a Scottish average of 27 per cent, where more than 10 per cent of income is spent on heating. Eighteen per cent of those surveyed are in “extreme fuel poverty”. The report said that the situation is so severe that a new category had to be introduced, over and above extreme fuel poverty, where up to a third of a household’s income is spent on heating fuel. More than one in ten houses f ell into this category. The report said: “With increases of domestic fuel prices, coupled with the predominance of oil and electrically heated homes in the Western Isles, fuel poverty is the worst in western Europe.” The report said the extremely high levels of fuel poverty in the Western Isles were partly due to “island demographics as well as house types where [there is] a large percentage of older, larger, detached and single occupied homes, many occupied by elderly residents”.
Times 23rd Aug 2014 read more »
The Government should carry out an urgent assessment of how a rise in global temperatures will affect Britain’s transport infrastructure, homes and energy resources, including pre-empting a repeat of the flooding crisis of last winter, a report by the IPPR think-tank proposes today. An audit of risk would emulate Barack Obama’s National Climate Assessment, launched last month, to prepare the United States for changes in temperatures, including a catastrophic rise of 6C, the IPPR’s Low Carbon Manifesto says. The IPPR’s Low Carbon Manifesto says that to deal with expected warming, there should be a shift in focus away from large-scale generation to energy efficiency, new sources of finance for low-carbon infrastructure and a recognition of the huge role that Scotland and the English regions outside London and the South-east play in low-carbon energy generation. The IPPR says the Green Deal, where people are given government loans to make their homes more energy efficient, is not working because only 3,234 households had signed up to the scheme by June 2014 – far fewer than the 130,000 in the first year envisaged by the Government. Only 23 per cent of the total budget for the Energy Company Obligation (Eco) is going to fuel-poor households, the IPPR says. Both the Green Deal and the Eco should be replaced by a Help to Heat scheme to cut bills through energy-efficiency measures. To help the wider British economy, the Government must invest more in the regions – which are, the report shows, producing more low-carbon energy than the UK capital.
Independent 24th Aug 2014 read more »
The planet’s two largest ice sheets – in Greenland and Antarctica – are now being depleted at an astonishing rate of 120 cubic miles each year. That is the discovery made by scientists using data from CryoSat-2, the European probe that has been measuring the thickness of Earth’s ice sheets and glaciers since it was launched by the European Space Agency in 2010. Even more alarming, the rate of loss of ice from the two regions has more than doubled since 2009, revealing the dramatic impact that climate change is beginning to have on our world.
Observer 24th Aug 2014 read more »
Letter: Ian Wood, rather predictably, avers that North Sea oil is draining away and that before long, he suggests, somewhat illogically, Scotland will “in 20, 30 or 40 years time” be forced to import fracked gas from England Clearly, Sir Ian is failing to keep in touch with the findings on climate change which are a major threat to his former industry. Dwindling fossil fuel reserves are not a problem either for Scotland or the world. There is plenty to warm the planet into an irretrievable death spiral. If we are to preserve an ecologically healthy planet, it will be necessary in 20 to 30 years for mankind to have abandoned fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy. In these circumstances, support for any proposal that the UK should resort to extracting shale gas, by sanctioning fracking, is simply inexplicable.
Herald 23rd Aug 2014 read more »
THE UK’s leading offshore oil industry body has dismissed claims by Sir Ian Wood that the Scottish Government’s predictions for North Sea oil recovery are too high.
Herald 24th Aug 2014 read more »