A MAJOR conference on nuclear power and the proposal to build a new reactor at Hinkley Point takes place next month in London to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The event on Thursday, March 5, will be hosted by Green MEP Molly Scott Cato, whose South-West constituency is home to Hinkley, and Green MEPs Rebecca Harms, Claude Turmes and Michel Reimon. The event will present the initial findings of a new report which will seek to “dismantle” the view that nuclear power can be part of a sustainable energy future and demonstrate how renewables can meet the energy needs of the South-West. Molly Scott Cato said: “Greens have always said nuclear power is dangerous and expensive, and will fail to deliver the energy we need in the timescale in which we need it. “The South-West has the greatest potential for renewable energy anywhere in England and Wales, and the sector can provide thousands of jobs. “We have the ability to provide electricity cleanly, safely and at lower costs than nuclear.”
This is the West Country 24th Feb 2015 read more »
South West Business 24th Feb 2015 read more »
PLANS to dump nuclear waste from three UK plants at Hinkley Point have been revealed. Anti-nuclear campaigners have slammed the idea as “absolute madness”. They claim the move could lead to even more waste being sent to Bridgwater and fear lorries transporting the material in concrete boxes from as far as Suffolk and Kent could be targeted by terrorists. Magnox, which operates Hinkley A and has come up with the proposal, says the scheme is a draft and no decision has yet been taken. It says this plan to tackle the UK’s nuclear waste would be cheaper than the current system by £45million but stresses that safety, security and the environment will not be compromised. The proposals will be discussed this Friday at a meeting of the Site Stakeholder Group set up to monitor Hinkley’s development and effects on the surrounding area. Its members consist of parish, district and county councillors as well as the pressure group Parents Concerned About Hinkley. Jo Brown, from the group, said turning Hinkley into a dump for other plants’ nuclear waste was “appalling and highly dangerous”.
Burnham & Highbridge Weekly News 25th Feb 2015 read more »
The final investment decision may still be awaited for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station but the Construction and Skills Innovation Centre that will train many of those who will work on the project was officially opened yesterday, by Business, Enterprise and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock. The centre, at Bridgwater College, Cannington, is the result of a £1.5m investment from EDF Energy, proposed developer of the power station.
Western Daily Press 24th Feb 2015 read more »
A store capable of holding radioactive waste for up to 100 years has been proposed for the Dounreay nuclear site. The £23m building at the Caithness site could hold 2,800 500-litre drums. The store has been proposed as an extension to a cementation plant where drums of waste are filled with a grout to reduce levels of radioactivity. Dounreay Site Restoration Limited has applied for planning permission for the new store and hopes to start the building work next year.
BBC 23rd Feb 2015 read more »
Consultants are predicting that daily vehicle flows along the A12 at Farnham, Stratford St Andrew, Marlesford and Little Glemham will rise from current levels of around 15,500 a day to more than 20,200. Experts say that such a rise will mean a bypass is both necessary and viable and are hoping it will persuade Government and EDF Energy to come up with the cash – between £39million and £105m, depending on whether it is single or dual carriageway – to build one.
East Anglian Daily Times 23rd Feb 2015 read more »
The former Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Naoto Kan, arrives in the UK on Wednesday 25 February 2015, to deliver stark warnings over Britain’s continued commitment to nuclear energy. His message to the British and Welsh people will be made clear: Fukushima was an avoidable disaster, by avoiding nuclear power in the first place. Visiting the Welsh capital, Cardiff (Wed 25 February) including the Senedd Building and Anglesey (Thu 26 February) to view the proposed site of the second, bitterly disputed Wylfa nuclear power facility, Mr Kan will be accompanied by a Fukushima evacuee to recall the bitter experience of managing one of history’s worst nuclear disasters.
CND Cymru 25th Feb 2015 read more »
Wales Online 25th Feb 2015 read more »
ITV 25th Feb 2015 read more »
An administration building has been demolished in another major step towards the closure of Bradwell power station. For more than half a century it was at the heart of Magnox’s Bradwell site, but the administration building has now been razed to the ground.
Harwich & Maningtree Standard 24th Feb 2015 read more »
Letter from David Lowry to Baroness Worthington: I understand you will be examining the Government’s draft statutory instrument. Draft Infrastructure Planning (Radioactive Waste Geological Disposal Facilities) Order 2015in The Moses Room, 3.45pm, Wednesday 25th February. The Government proposals have received considerable criticism from a range of NGOs, Friends of the Earth included, while they were being drawn up. You would not gather this from the draft instrument put forward by DECC. I very much doubt Baroness Verma will convey this to peers when she speaks to support the draft SI on Wednesday. Please could you consider at least reading onto the House of Lords Parliamentary Record the green NGO opposition to this draft instrument, so future generations can see from the Parliamentary Record that those voluntary groups tried to oppose – but were totally ignored – this highly misguided proposal, which will result in the virtual elimination of any future examination of this plan for long term subterranean nuclear waste management, both in Parliament, and in any local planning inquiry.
Radiation Free Lakeland 24th Feb 2015 read more »
Letter from Eddie Martin to Baroness Worthington: I understand that on Wednesday the House of Lords under the Chair of Baroness Verma will be discussing the plan to push through legislation that will remove our right, and the statutory right of Cumbria County Council, to object to burying radioactive waste underground. The government, and DECC in particular, hope to do this as soon as practically possible by adding GDFs (Geological Disposal Facilities) to the list of NSIPs (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects). An NSIP would force through the what we believe to be the government’s plans to return, yet again, to Cumbria in the search for a site for a GDF – a massive undertaking, several times larger than the Channel tunnel and which would blight the county and the LDNP/Tourism for decades to come. Such a policy would, of course, effectively deny communities the voice usually afforded to them via public planning enquiries and, not least, the opportunity to express opposition through their elected representatives on the county council which, as you will be aware, has statutory, overall responsibility for waste disposal.
Cumbria Trust 24th Feb 2015 read more »
A collaborative EU Horizon 2020 project including the University of Birmingham, National Nuclear Laboratories (NNL), French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), and the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) will commence in May 2015 to develop cutting-edge new robotics techniques to assist the future clean-up of legacy nuclear waste. The three year project titled ‘Robotic Manipulation for Nuclear Sort and Segregation (RoMaNs) has been awarded 6.4million euros by the European commission. 1.6million will come directly to the University of Birmingham, aiming to develop robotic manipulation systems which will be capable of handling the millions of cubic metres of unsorted radioactive waste, which has accumulated in the UK for more than half a century.
Birmingham University 24th Feb 2015 read more »
There are calls for neither Sellafield nor Chapelcross to be chosen to store radioactive waste from dismantled nuclear submarines. They come after the Ministry of Defence included the two facilities on a shortlist of potential sites for the project. But both local authorities have formally objected to the idea, saying it won’t benefit their area.
ITV 24th Feb 2015 read more »
“You don’t need massive amounts of force to allow a nuclear plant to go into instability. The plant has enough energy to destroy itself. Drones can be used to tickle the plant into instability.” With devastating simplicity, John Large explains how drones could be used to coordinate a terror attack on a nuclear power station. First, one drone hits the distribution grid serving the plant, depriving the facility of off-site power, making it dependent on its diesel generators to cool the reactor, which generates up to 1,000 megawatts of power – enough to light up half of Paris. Then the generators are easily taken out by an unmanned drone with a relatively small payload. Without power to cool the radioactive fuel, Large estimates it would take approximately 30 seconds before the fuel begins to melt, leading to potential leakages of nuclear waste. It’s the same cause behind the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan after it was hit by a tsunami in March 2011. But potential terrorists wouldn’t need to trigger an earthquake, just be able to accurately pilot a pair of readily-available commercial drones carrying small payloads of explosive. Last year, unmanned drones were spotted flying over at least 13 nuclear power stations in France. The last widely-reported sighting was on 3 January, when two aircraft were seen flying over a nuclear facility in Nogent-sur-Seine, in northern-central France.
Newsweek 24th Feb 2015 read more »
A massive new gas-powered plant could be built at Longannet which looks poised to shut down within the next decade, according to the Conservatives. But environmental bodies have dismissed the claims, insisting that Scotland can continue to power itself from green sources like wind and hydro. The issue will come under the spotlight at Holyrood in a major debate today. Recent weeks have seen fresh doubts raised over the future of the Longannet coal power station in Fife and both Hunterston and Torness nuclear plants are nearing the end of their lives. It means that new sources would be needed for about 60 per cent of Scotland’s electricity supply. Tory energy spokesman Murdo Fraser will warn there is no strategy from the Scottish Government which has “shut the door” on fracking and Ânuclear power. “We need at least one new gas-powered generating station for Scotland,” he said. “And if we are not going to replace Torness and Hunterston with new nuclear capacity, we’ll probably need more than that. “Not only does Longannet provide a quarter of Scotland’s electricity output, it is also the major buyer of coal from Scottish opencast producers. But WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said Scotland doesn’t need new electricity from coal, gas or nuclear to ensure security of supply. “Pursuing a high renewables and energy efficient pathway would also enable Scotland to continue exporting power to the rest of the UK,” he said. “Renewables have grown massively in recent years, making them now Scotland’s biggest electricity generator, outstripping nuclear, coal and gas.”
Scotsman 25th Feb 2015 read more »
The EU executive is to unveil radical and ambitious plans on Wednesday to establish a single European market in energy supplies, purchases and consumption, in an attempt to loosen the Kremlin’s stranglehold on Europe’s gas supplies. The far-reaching scheme would also strengthen the power of Brussels against national energy regulators; boost consumer choice transnationally when buying electricity services; generate a bonanza in energy infrastructure investment; and integrate supply systems regionally and on an EU-wide scale. The proposals for a European energy unionare to be presented by a vice-president of the European commission in charge of energy policy. He reached back to the founding days of the modern EU in the 1950s to find a parallel for the current blueprint.
Guardian 24th Feb 2015 read more »
A study published today by DNV GL claims that the integration of around 60% renewables into the European electricity system could be feasible by as early as 2030 – provided appropriate regulatory and infrastructure support was forthcoming. In a report commissioned by the European Commission looking at the potential impact of renewable on local and regional distribution grids across Europe, DNV GL states that the current challenges to wider integration can be mitigated by a series of technical and regulatory measures. Alongside Imperial College London and NERA Economic Consulting, DNV GL has published the study – titled Integration of Renewable Energy in Europe – with the encouraging caveat that greater integration of variable renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power is possible, and the emphasis should be on improving distribution infrastructure across the continent. The need for expansion is clearly understood. As part of the EU Energy Roadmap 2050, the EU is pushing for an ‘energy union’ and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Smart grid technologies are expected to play a pivotal role in the maturation of flexible grids, the study adds, thanks to their ability to minimize the need for distribution expansion.
Renew Economy 25th Aug 2015 read more »
An early and ambitious fix to the European Union’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) has been backed by the European Parliament’s environment committee in a vote today. The ETS is central to the EU’s efforts to tackle climate change, but has been suffering from chronically low prices that are insufficient to drive low-carbon investments. To fix the market, the European Commission had proposed reforms starting in 2021, designed to reduce a surplus of two billion carbon credits on the market which have caused low prices. Today’s parliamentary vote backs earlier implementation of the reforms, starting in 2018, and contains additional measures to tackle surplus allowances. Analysts say the reforms could see EU carbon prices more than double by 2020, to between €17 and €35 per tonne. Member states must still back any reforms to the ETS, however.
Carbon Brief 24th Feb 2015 read more »
Reforms to strengthen the EU’s flagship policy for cutting carbon, the emissions trading scheme (ETS), will start at the end of 2018 following a vote by MEPs on Tuesday. The carbon market is supposed to drive Europe’s transition to cleaner sources of energy, but a cocktail of recession, free allocations to polluters and over-achievement on green energy targets have created a flood of 2bn allowances. That has led to a carbon price of around £5 per tonne, too low to encourage power companies to switch from polluting fuels such as as coal. Under the new compromise proposal, around 1.6bn surplus allowances will be taken off the market and put into a market reserve, two years ahead of the commission’s preferred timetable.
Guardian 24th Feb 2015 read more »
France’s nuclear sector is going through a very difficult phase and may need a recapitalisation and restructuring. At the heart of the French sector is the nuclear research agency CEA with some four billion euro in annual budget. Then there is Areva that builds nuclear power stations and the recycling of spent fuel, the EDF electricity group and GDF-Suez. Areva and EDF often work together to obtain foreign contracts, such as in China. Due to a combination of technical complexities, mismanagement and a political fall-out against nuclear energy following the Fukushima disaster, Areva is now facing a big write-down and a loss for 2014 of some five billion euro. Their advanced technologies EPR nuclear stations are hitting delays on delays in Finland while other clients are getting cold feet post the Japan tragedy. In the end, France will have to curtail its ambitions, try to finish those projects that Areva has on its order book and make sure that the thousands of nuclear researchers in France will make further advances in next generation reactors. Only then can it take on any new big orders, if other countries than France get a renewed appetite for nuclear electricity.
Forbes 23rd Feb 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
A fresh leak of highly radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean has been detected today. Sensors detected contamination levels up to 70 times greater than the already-high radioactive status seen at the plant campus, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) announced this morning. TEPCO said its emergency inspections of tanks storing nuclear waste water did not find any additional abnormalities, but the firm said it shut the gutter to prevent radioactive water from going into the Pacific Ocean.
Daily Mail 23rd Feb 2015 read more »
Sporting events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are to be held in the Japanese region of Fukushima, where the world’s second worst nuclear accident occurred four years ago, in a move criticised by environmental activists. Spectators and athletes in the Olympic village will be served with food from the region as part of an effort to restore the reputation of Fukushima, formerly one of Japan’s richest agricultural regions. But the plan risks alarming foreign visitors for whom the name Fukushima has become synonymous with radioactive contamination. According to Greenpeace, there are isolated “hot spots” of high radioactivity even in Fukushima’s cities – and the permitted radiation limit in food of 100 becquerels per kilogram is five times too high. “I think this [Olympic plan] is a PR operation,” said Jan van de Putte of Greenpeace. “If you’re in a hotel in Fukushima as a visitor, there’s no immediate risk, and it all seems normal – until you go to the places where the contamination is still high. I think this is insulting to the people who have been severely affected.”
Times 25th Feb 2015 read more »
Iran is enriching uranium at a secret underground nuclear facility in Tehran under the noses of international inspectors, an Iranian opposition group has claimed. The Mujahidin-e-Khalq (MEK) made the claims as it released a nine-page report that was the product of a “risky” decade-long investigation by supporters in the country. The evidence presented included satellite imagery and a photograph purportedly of a thick metal radiation-proof door at the alleged nuclear site, named Lavizan-3. The claims, which experts warn should be treated with caution, come as six world powers, including Britain, move closer to a hugely controversial deal with the regime designed to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. If true, yesterday’s revelations could be a severe blow to the negotiations.
Times 25th Feb 2015 read more »
The United States is “deeply concerned” about North Korea’s nuclear advances, a senior US official said on Tuesday after a US research institute predicted Pyongyang could possess as many as 100 nuclear weapons within five years.
Christian Today 25th Feb 2015 read more »
An old nuclear power plant in Germany has avoided becoming an abandoned relic – by being transformed into a paradise for children. Visitors can have a scream while enjoying a carousel and merry-go-round at the Wunderland theme park in Kalkar, near Germany’s border with the Netherlands. The 135-acre amusement park also boasts a log flume and swing ride inside the old cooling tower, which has a 130ft tall climbing wall on the outside.
Daily Mail 24th Feb 2015 read more »
UK – renewables
A wind of change is blowing through the UK’s power stations. Renewable sources of energy like wind turbines could soon generate more electricity than nuclear power stations. The contribution of renewables towards keeping the lights on more than doubled from 6.8 per cent in 2010 to 14.9 per cent in 2013, according to the Office of National Statistics. Nuclear power, at 19 per cent, is in slow decline – no new power stations have been built since 1995, when it contributed more than 25 per cent of the UK’s electricity. Onshore wind turbines delivered a third of the country’s renewable electricity in 2013, with offshore wind rising fast and accounting for 21 per cent. A plan approved last week for the world’s largest offshore wind farm – 400 turbines covering more than 1100 square kilometres of the shallow waters of the Dogger Bank in the North Sea – would add almost two-thirds to existing offshore generating capacity of 4000 megawatts.
New Scientist 24th Feb 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
There is no end in sight to recent reductions in the cost of solar power, which have already taken the technology to a position where it can undercut fossil fuels in many parts of the world. That is the conclusion of a major new report from the Fraunhofer Institute commissioned by Agora Energiewende, a German think tank that specialises in researching the country’s high profile transition towards low carbon energy sources.The UK’s Solar Trade Association highlighted how the similar levels of solar resource found in the UK and Germany, meant the UK could deliver a comparable level of cost reduction, allowing solar power to undercut power from gas-fired power stations on a levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) basis by 2025.The cost of producing solar power in the UK will have declined to between 4.2 and 10.3 pence per kilowatt hour (p/kWh) and by 2050 costs could prove as low as 2.0 to 7.4 p/kWh, the group calculated, drawing on the Fraunhofer Institute report. It added that by comparison electricity from new gas-fired plants in the UK costs around 8p/kWh, and from new nuclear plants will cost between 8 and 11p/kWh. However, the report highlighted how anticipated solar cost reductions could be undermined by policy-related impacts that have the potential to push up the cost of capital for solar developers.The report comes in the same week as leading UK solar firm, Lightsource Renewable Energy, announced plans to invest over £125m in UK solar rooftop projects this year.
Business Green 24th Feb 2015 read more »
Solar is set to become the cheapest form of electricity production in many regions of the world following massive cost reductions. That’s according to a new study published by Agora Energiewende, a leading German think-tank dedicated to the German energy transition. The report – Current and Future Cost of Photovoltaics – projects the costs of solar photovoltaic on a global scale from now to the year 2050.
Edie 24th Feb 2015 read more »
Renewables – Island Energy
Discussions on the Crown Estate – power over which is scheduled to be devolved to Holyrood after the UK general election in May – were top of the agenda at the re-convened meeting yesterday of the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group. Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing was among those attending the meeting in Glasgow, along with leaders of the Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles councils. Revised terms of reference and an outline programme of work was agreed, which will see the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group meet a total of six times between now and Spring 2016.
Scottish Energy News 25th Feb 2015 read more »
Renewables – wind
Glasgow-based renewable energy expert Urban Wind has secured an additional £3 million investment. Following its success in confirming funding for three major wind turbine projects last month, this takes the company’s secured investment total to £6 million this year. The cash is being used to support clients who have successfully achieved planning consent, but lack the funding necessary to develop their sites. The company is erecting 100-500kWp turbines for agricultural clients in Suffolk, Carmarthenshire and East Yorkshire. It has carried out more than 500 turbine installations across the UK. UrbanWind – which also has an office in Preston – is looking to acquire more consented sites for wind turbine projects, as it continues to roll out its expansion strategy.
Scottish Energy News 25th Feb 2015 read more »
Renewables – wave
RenewableUK is today highlighting a new study which calls for a fresh approach by the governments in Holyrood and Westminster to the way funding is allocated to the wave and tidal energy sector to ensure the industry fulfils its potential. The report “Capitalising on Capability” by the Marine Energy Programme Board – which advises the Government on how to develop the industry – is being launched today in Edinburgh at RenewableUK’s Wave and Tidal 2015 conference. It says British companies are well-placed to capture £76 billion of a global market by 2050, adding up to £4 billion to UK GDP. Companies surveyed for this report have spent nearly £450 million in the UK’s marine energy supply chain. The companies surveyed said they had spent around £7 of privately sourced money for each £1 of public funding they received.
Scottish Energy News 25th Feb 2015 read more »
Herald 25th Feb 2015 read more »
Renewables – small hydro
A new small-scale hydro scheme on the remote Morvern Peninsula, which the local people invested their money in, has started generating electricity and revenue for the community, a month early. The 469kW scheme on the lonely Abhainn Shalachain river near Lochaline on the shores of the Sound of Mull could generate enough electricity to run 350 homes. It will provide the community of a few hundred, who live on Morvern with additional regular income by selling power to the grid. Perth hydro developer Green Highland Renewables (GHR) has commissioned the scheme which is being hailed by the Climate Change & Land Reform Minister as an example of what can be achieved on Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) land by local communities.
Herald 24th Feb 2015 read more »
Many solar panel owners are wondering how they can avoid giving electricity away cheaply to retailers. Maximising the use of electricity in the home while the sun shines is one strategy, but there are only so many times each day you need to run the dishwasher! The alternative is to try and store energy for later use, by buying either a home battery system or an electric car. However these can be pricey, and on pure economic terms this tactic may not yet add up. There is, however, an economic energy storage option that many householders may not have considered. If you currently heat your water using gas, and you already have solar panels that generate excess electricity that you sell back to the grid for little benefit, a hot water heat pump could be a very worthwhile investment – especially if your current hot water system is due for replacement or has a poor energy star rating.
Renew Economy 25th Feb 2015 read more »
It may come as a shock, as governments ponder how to tackle climate change, to learn that the world is moving rapidly in the wrong direction. But BP, one of the world’s six biggest oil and gas companies, says it thinks that, on present trends, emissions of CO2 will be 25% greater within two decades than they are today. The prediction is published in BP’s Energy Outlook 2035, which it says is its best effort “to describe a ‘most likely’ trajectory of the global energy system”.
Climate News Network 24th Feb 2015 read more »