24 January 2014

Sellafield

A HERD of deer is set to be culled after being trapped between two fences at Sellafield. The wild roe deer are to be shot after it emerged that their habitat has been enclosed in a large area between two newly-erected security fences at the site’s south perimeter. Sellafield Ltd is acting on the advice of experts from the Deer Initiative Partnership (DIP), who say that the most humane and practical course of action is to cull the animals, thought to be between five and 15 in number. The cull will take place between February and April. However, neighbouring Seascale Parish Council has strongly objected to the “unnecessary” move.

Whitehaven News 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Radiation Free Lakeland 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Devonport

THE new Hinckley C power station in Somerset could create a nuclear engineering brain drain from Plymouth, city MP Oliver Colvile fears. Mr Colvile, the MP for Sutton and Devonport, raised the issue with Business Secretary in the House of Commons yesterday.

“Devonport Dockyard is the only naval dockyard in the country that refits and refurbishes our nuclear submarines,” Mr Colvile said.

Plymouth Herald 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Old Nukes

South Korea-based Doosan Power Systems (DPS) is reportedly discussing a contract with French state-controlled utility EDF for maintenance of its nuclear power plants in the UK. The contract is worth £1.7bn, and will run for more than 17 years, according to South Korean media reports. A Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction spokesman said: “The deal is under discussion but nothing has been finalised.”

Energy Business Review 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Dungeness

Another legal challenge will be launched today at the High Court against Lydd Airport’s expansion. Campaigners are opposing the plans and say that it is too close to Dungeness power station. It also comes two days after the RSPB started their separate legal challenge against the plans, as their nature reserve could be disrupted.

ITV 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Hinkley

Union’s boss Steve Murphy tells MPs contractor was dragged “kicking and screaming” into widely-touted Hinkley industrial agreement. Laing O’Rourke may be forced to explain itself to MPs investigating blacklisting after the boss of Ucatt told them the contractor was not allowing the union onto its sites and had to be dragged “kicking and screaming” into signing up to a new industrial agreement partly designed to stamp out the notorious practice.

Building 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Building a new nuclear reactor in Somerset – and then potentially a second in South Gloucestershire – could have the biggest impact on Bristol’s economy since the Second Severn Crossing opened, according to a leading property expert. Ned Cussen, consultant at Jones Lang LaSalle, based in Berkeley Square, Bristol, said the economic benefits of such major projects should not be understated.

South West Business 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Radwaste

Councillors have deferred a decision on whether to allow operators to expand the dumping of radioactive waste into ordinary landfill. Lillyhall has already been given a permit to receive “exempt” High Volume Very Low Level Radioactive waste previously banned from all landfill. Radiation Free Lakeland have been campaigning for a change to the law allowing this to happen – a crazy state of affairs which has led to Sellafield dumping low level and intermediate level waste into Lillyhall landfill. Now the plan is to put even higher activity waste into a landfill that was previously clear of all (but Naturally Occurring) Radioactive Materials.

Radiation Free Lakeland 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Letter: I was one of the Sellafield employees who got in touch with Eddie Martin during the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) fiasco. I urged Mr Martin to say no, if there was a risk of a GDF being sunk beneath the Lake District National Park – which will soon (hopefully) become a Unesco World Heritage Site. I still maintain this stance. There has to be limits to this stupidity. To define no red line, and have an open-ended process, where the views of the public are ignored is not democratic, and is dangerous. We are being rail-roaded into accepting a sub-standard repository, where engineering takes primacy over geology. The last few weeks in West Cumbria have taught us lessons about engineering. A storm lasting a few hours can cause untold damage. If the option of engineering, over geology is sought out, we can expect nature to bite us harder than it has ever done before.

Whitehaven News 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Letter: Democracy is becoming a dirty word in Copeland due to the underhanded lobbying of Baroness Verma by Jamie Reid and Elaine Woodburn. Their actions have now resulted in 12 Copeland councillors who form part of Cumbria County Council, having no opinion or voice with regard to a GDF in Copeland.

Whitehaven News 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Europe

The EU aims to reduce its emissions by 40 per cent and increase the amount of energy it gets from renewables by 27 percent between 2020 and 2030. No strong storyline emerged from the media: news coverage of yesterday’s announcement ran the gamut: informative, positive, negative, outraged – and occasionally incorrect. But there’s a bit of a fly in the ointment for those who have called the outcome a win for the UK. While the government will have more flexibility in choosing its energy mix, it must still submit a national plan outlining its pathway from 2020 and 2030. If it’s not deemed good enough, the European Commission will demand a rewrite -and has the power to implement binding targets if the UK doesn’t cooperate. It’s also important not to forget: none of this is a done deal yet. The European Parliament will outline its position on the targets in February, before the commission’s proposal goes to member states in March. In fact, the story could rumble on until the current package expires in 2020. All in all, the announcement is a bit of a mixed bag, just like the coverage.

Carbon Brief 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

It’s clear the fracking revolution in the US has the EU’s energy strategists on the run. According to the European Commission, US gas prices fell by 66% between 2005 and 2012 while in Europe they rose by 35% over the same period. Reflecting intense lobbying by Europe’s industrialists and several governments, the EU package repeatedly emphasises the need to retain economic competitiveness.

Climate News Network 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Ed Davey: On climate change, Britain is leading in Europe. Wednesday’s proposal by the European commission for a binding 40% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2030 is a significant step forward. The commission has accepted our core argument that the EU’s domestic emissions reduction target must be ambitious so we can influence countries like the US and China, ahead of 2015’s critical global climate talks. By leading on a strong emissions reduction target, the UK is persuading others on the need for member states to have the freedom and flexibility to develop their own energy mix to achieve these ambitious reductions. Rigid technology specific targets set for each country would not be cost effective – and EU members should be free to decarbonise in a way that is right for them, including renewables, nuclear, carbon capture and storage and energy efficiency. Britain’s green boom will accelerate. This spring, I expect to sign the first contracts under our new Energy Act regime for a host of new renewables projects. The financial and legal stability we’ve provided means investors are queuing up to get our contracts. Yet because we’re protecting consumers and business with a constrained budget for this investment, we won’t back every project: firms complaining because their project missed out will be a sign of cost effective success.

Guardian 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Utilities

In Eon’s case, matters stand differently. Without doubt Germany’s largest utility has made mistakes over the past 10 years, wasting billions of euros, for instance, on the acquisition of overpriced assets in southern Europe. But the most important causes of Eon’s troubles are two factors outside its control. The first is the costly and self-contradictory energy policies pursued by German governments of various hues since 2000. The second is the rigid and ambitious targets for renewable energy use set in 2008 by the EU. It is a scandal how little thought Germany and the EU gave to how their initiatives might upset the business model of power producers without creating the market and regulatory conditions for them to replace that model with a viable alternative. The government’s decision in 2011 to abandon nuclear power makes matters even worse for Eon. Along with RWE, Eon operates most nuclear plants that were ordered three years ago to be closed either immediately or by 2022. Yet with many gas-fired plants unable to turn a profit, the big utilities are in desperation producing record amounts of electricity from lignite – a cheap brown coal that makes a mockery of the “green revolution” touted in Berlin.

FT 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

While politically-charged, the tone of SSE’s trading statement on Thursday was, as analysts noted, “conciliatory”. The company has shown more political savvy than some of its rivals in its response to Ed Miliband’s price-freeze proposal, remaining measured and constructive despite seeing billions of pounds wiped off its stock market value. From the outset it has convincingly argued that funding green levies through general taxation would be a better solution to rising bills. On Thursday, it declared that there was “an appetite for reform in SSE” and that it would “look for ways of responding constructively to political and regulatory initiatives”.

Telegraph 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

One of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers has been accused of hypocrisy after claiming that bill-payers are “at the heart of the debate” about energy while it is forecasting a near-9 per cent rise in profits. SSE was the first of the Big Six suppliers to force through an inflation-busting 8.2 per cent price rise just before winter. It has also incurred the wrath of consumer groups for being the last to pass on the £50 saving to each customer, at the end of March, nearly four months after the Government cut the cost of green levies added to energy bills.

Times 24th Jan 2014 read more »

GE Hitachi

A subsidiary of General Electric has agreed to pay $2.7 million to resolve claims its employees made false statements to the U.S. Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission about a reactor component. The Justice Department announced the settlement Thursday with General Electric Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas, a provider of nuclear energy products and services based in Wilmington, N.C. According to the government, GE Hitachi made false statements to conceal flaws in a component of its advanced nuclear Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor known as the steam dryer. GE Hitachi had received federal funding for up to half of the cost of designing and developing the new nuclear power system. GE Hitachi spokesman Christopher White said the company denies the allegations, but determined that settling the case was in its best interest

Seattle Pi 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Energy Costs

Co-Operative Energy alleges that switching sites “funnel people” toward deals from which they receive commission and argues for the creation of a single, independent, not-for-profit switching site.

Telegraph 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Ed Miliband’s flagship energy policy has come under fire from one of his own advisers, who warned that interfering in markets could make the economy a “darn site worse”. Sir John Armitt, the former Olympics boss who is advising Labour on infrastructure, also urged the Labour leader to accept that generating profits is a legitimate aim for companies, effectively questioning whether he understands the modern capitalist economy. The comments are a further blow to the Labour leader’s business credentials, the day after The Times revealed that bosses from seven FTSE companies were worried about his attitude to free enterprise.

Times 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Switzerland

Nuclear energy is an essential part of Switzerland’s energy mix and more debate is needed about its planned phase out, a poll of attitudes towards nuclear power in the country shows. The poll – the latest conducted annually since 2001 by market research company DemoScope on behalf of Swiss nuclear trade organisation swissnuclear – questioned 2200 people in October 2013. Some 64% of respondents said that they considered Switzerland’s five existing reactors essential in meeting the country’s electricity demand. This is around the average level reported since the first poll in 2001, but marks a 3% increase from 2012. There was also high support for the continued use of nuclear power, with 68% of people saying that Switzerland’s existing reactors should remain in operation as long as they are safe. This compares with 62% of respondents in previous year. Three-quarters of those questioned consider Swiss nuclear power plants to be safe.

World Nuclear News 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Japan

Campaigning kicked off on Thursday for the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election, which will not only decide the leader of the nation’s capital but also influence the debate on whether Japan should continue to rely on nuclear power — a major issue that will help determine the shape of Japan’s future.

Japan Times 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Iran

Iran has halted some of the most controversial elements of its nuclear programme in return for temporary relief from sanctions estimated to be worth $7bn (£4.2bn). BBC Persian’s Amir Paivar looks at the potential impact on Iran’s crippled economy. In a television interview to mark his first 100 days in power, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani revealed that when he took office, his government was struggling to pay civil servants because the previous administration had emptied the treasury.

BBC 22nd Jan 2014 read more »

The Iranian nuclear deal is on. Hassan Rouhani’s charm offensive in Davos has been a tour de force, the moment of rehabilitation for the Islamic Republic. His words were emollient. The 30-year US vendetta with Iran is over in all but name. Davos may have clinched it.

Telegraph 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Hungary

A leading Hungarian official has said an agreement last week to give Russia a foothold in his country’s nuclear future is Budapest’s best deal in 40 years. Hungary granted Russia’s state energy company Rosatom a $14-billion contract to double the capacity of the country’s sole nuclear power plant, a 2000-megawatt reactor in the Danube River city of Paks. But one person’s bargain is another’s Faustian deal — in this case at least. Critics say the sweetheart deal may as well have been written by Mephistopheles, the demon of German folklore.

Global Post 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Nuclear Weapons

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a wide-ranging review of the nation’s nuclear forces following a series of high-profile scandals. The Pentagon chief has summoned senior leaders to meet in the coming weeks. The officials will then have 60 days to create a plan to identify and correct problems with the US nuclear force. The review follows recent revelations that 34 US Air Force officers in charge of launching nuclear missiles cheated on proficiency tests.

BBC 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Nuclear Testing

The family of Arthur ‘Johnny’ Johnson who witnessed nuclear tests on Christmas Island is convinced the tragic family legacy continues as they have inherited his genetic diseases which have already killed one of his daughters.

Darlington & Stockton Times 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Renewables – Scotland

UK GOVERNMENT figures show confident strides taken by the Scottish renewable energy sector mean green power could provide more of the country’s electricity than any other source within the next few years. This year is already looking promising. Department of Energy and Climate Change statistics show renewable energy is on track to become Scotland’s main source of power, and is already generating the equivalent of 40 per cent of our electricity needs. That’s more than coal, more than gas – and is the strongest signal yet that we’re well on our way to meeting the ambitious target of generating 100 per cent by 2020.

Scotsman 24th Jan 2014 read more »

THOUSANDS of potential jobs and billions of pounds earmarked for Scotland’s offshore wind-energy industry are in the balance after one of the industry’s biggest players announced a review of its whole strategy. SSE’s veiled threat to pull out of its existing commitments, including planned schemes near Islay, in the Firth of Forth, and at Hunterston in North Ayrshire, comes as it remains on course to make £1.5 billion profits this year.

Herald 24th Jan 2014 read more »

There will always be some, including a certain American billionaire, who hate the idea of offshore wind farms; there will always be others who think they are rather beautiful. Regardless of the individual’s point of view, offshore wind power has an important part to play in finding the right mix of energy for Scotland. What’s more, offshore wind farms appear to have the enthusiastic support of the Scottish Government. The support of the UK Government, on the other hand, looks less certain after news that SSE, one of the biggest players in offshore wind in Scotland, is reviewing its strategy and plans for a number of projects which include one near Islay, one at Hunterston and another in the Firth of Forth. SSE says the reason for its review is the decision of the UK Government not to earmark two other SSE schemes for possible subsidy, one off Suffolk and the other in Caithness. The projects were left off a list of wind farms seen as provisionally affordable, which may indicate they are unlikely to attract Government money in the long term. SSE says it is disappointed and has indicated that it will make a final decision on whether to proceed in the next few months, although no final decision has been made by the Government and the subsidies may still go ahead in the longer term.

Herald 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Renewables – Solar

The US Commerce Department has opened an investigation into whether China and Taiwan are dumping a certain class of solar cells into the US market at below fair market value. Launching the latest round in an ongoing dispute with China over solar energy products, the department took aim at some $2.6bn in imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products from the two countries.

Telegraph 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Fossil Fuels

Shale gas extraction through fracking can boost the economy and encourage businesses to come back to the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron is to say. Mr Cameron, who is attending the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, will say fracking is already “flooring” energy prices in the US, and could be a “fresh driver” of UK growth. He will say fracking is essential to “make a success of globalisation”.

BBC 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Jeremy Leggett, a former Greenpeace staff member who founded a successful solar energy company, has been invited to the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos from 22 to 25 January. The theme of the meeting is The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business. Leggett told the Climate News Network: “The WEF likes to deal in big ideas, and last year one of its ideas was to argue that the world can frack its way to prosperity. There are large numbers of would-be frackers in Davos. “I’m a squeaky wheel within the system. I’m in Davos to put the counter-arguments to Big Energy, and I’ll tell them: ‘You’re in grave danger of repeating the mistakes of the financial services industry in pushing a hyped narrative.” This refers to the way in which banking leaders had “their particular comforting narrative catastrophically wrong, until the proof came along in the shape of the financial crash”.

Climate News Network 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Cuadrilla is to scrap plans to use controversial fracking technology near the village of Balcombe in Sussex – but only because the rocks at its site already contain natural fractures.

Guardian 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

FT 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Shale gas is set to start flowing in Europe within weeks after an AIM-quoted company backed by George Soros fracked Poland’s second successful well. San Leon Energy said that it intended to produce millions of cubic feet of gas per day from the well, near Gdansk, before the summer. It pits the company against an American rival drilling nearby in the race to be the first to produce Europe’s first commercial quantities of shale gas.

Times 24th Jan 2014 read more »

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Published: 24 January 2014