25 January 2014

Dungeness

Campaigners against the expansion of an airport because it is too close to a nuclear power station have been accused of raising “misconceived” fears. Appeals by the Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) and the RSPB have been heard at the High Court in London. Lydd Airport officials said concerns about its proximity to Dungeness B power station were “without any merit”. Mr Justice Ouseley reserved a ruling on Friday after analysing evidence at the four-day hearing.

BBC 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Radwaste

SEVENTY lorry loads of nuclear waste from Oldbury Power station in South Gloucestershire could be moved to Hinkley Point A to be processed and stored under plans by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. They say the move makes financial sense and that it is safe. However, West Somerset councillors are being urged to object to the plans to move 144 tonnes of the nuclear waste between 2020 to 2022. The district council has argued that extra nuclear waste should not be brought into the area.

This is the West Country 24th Jan 2014 read more »

‘The goal is to have three operational repositories within the European Union within 15 years,’ said Jan Gugala, project coordinator of LUCOEX, an EU-funded project whose name is short for Large Underground Concept Experiments. One will be the planned site in Sweden, while others are planned for Finland and France. ‘We know what we want to build and we have a good idea of how this should be implemented.’

Cumbria Trust 25th Jan 2014 read more »

Plutonium

Puzzled by plutonium: Today a defence minister, Philip Dunne, provided an answer to Parliament that is demonstrably inaccurate. His ministerial reply, distorts by omission. Either it is deliberate, or the Government is dangerously ignorant. Either way, it’s a worry.

David Lowry’s Blog 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Energy Costs

David Cameron should axe green taxes rather than “overstating” the potential of fracking if he wants cheaper energy to attract businesses to the UK, leading manufacturers have warned. The Prime Minister on Friday put shale gas at the heart of his plans to make Britain the “re-shore nation”, saying that Europe must “embrace the opportunities of shale gas” in order to tempt businesses with “cheap and predictable sources of energy”. But manufacturing group the EEF and industrial giant Tata Steel both warned that any benefits of shale gas in the UK were years off and called on Mr Cameron to urgently address rising green levies on energy bills that are making the UK increasingly uncompetitive.

Telegraph 24th Jan 2014 read more »

EDF – France

Electricite de France SA has until the end of June to detail some of its plans to bolster safety at its 19 nuclear plants, the French regulator said today. Measures to prevent or limit damage to reactor cores from extreme weather such as tornadoes must be explained by then, the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire said today in a series of decisions published on its website. The regulator ordered EDF to install additional safety equipment and procedures after a tsunami set off a crisis at the Fukushima plant in Japan in 2011. Requirements include diesel generators for backup power, rapid response teams and bunker-like control rooms. ASN published details in June 2012 and fine-tuned them today with specific deadlines.

Bloomberg 23rd Jan 2014 read more »

Japan – Fukushima

There are many reasons to be concerned about the continuing impacts of the disaster on people and the environment. These include the ongoing leaks of contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima reactors into the ground and ocean, the unresolved issue of how to reliably store huge volumes of contaminated water, as well as the massive amounts of radioactive material produced by the decontamination efforts in FukushimaPrefecture. Then there is the plight of over 100,000 evacuees. Their lives are in limbo. After nearly three years, they still have not received proper compensation from either the government or the corporations responsible for the accident. Many people have been exposed to significantly elevated levels of radiation. Thousands of square kilometers have been contaminated and will be for many decades to come by radioactive fallout from the accident. Then there are the challenges of dismantling the whole crippled nuclear power plant whose melted reactors still have lethally dangerous nuclear fuel inside them. These alone are enough to conclude that the situation is really, really bad. However, there are also stories that exaggerate the risks and create news of potential catastrophies that are well beyond reality. Given that people’s trust in public authorities has been shaken (and not without a reason!), one can often find alarming but unconfirmed information on social media.

Greenpeace 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Japan’s 9 February gubernatorial elections are being billed largely as a referendum on the fate of the country’s nuclear energy future — an election that will shape the debate on whether Japan should continue its reliance on nuclear energy, at least for the next two decades.

 The gubernatorial elections come as Abe administration is hoping to restart some nuclear power plants once the Nuclear Regulation Authority confirms that they are safe. Challenging this plan is an alliance between former prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa and former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, who are pushing an influential zero nuclear platform.


Commodities Now 25th Jan 2014 read more »

Fighting to be heard over the video screens that pummel Tokyo’s Shibuya district with adverts for pop bands and mobile-phone services, Morihiro Hosokawa, the 76-year-old former Japanese prime minister and anti-nuclear campaigner, launched his bid this week to be Tokyo’s next governor.

FT 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Japan – solar

Japan is in the middle of a solar energy boom as new feed-in tariff incentives mobilise investment in both domestic and commercial solar PV systems. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has reportedly released new figures this month showing that 3,993MW of PV capacity was installed in 2013 between 1 April and 31 October.

Business Green 22nd Jan 2014 read more »

Korea

NORTH Korea is actively looking for ‘any credible excuse’ to launch a devastating nuclear attack on the South THIS year, the latter warned today.

Express 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Iran

The U.N. nuclear chief said on Friday there was “still a long way to go” to resolve a decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme, a note of caution days after Tehran curbed its atomic activity under an interim deal with world powers.

Reuters 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Trident

LEADING figures in the borough – including Bruce Kent, vice president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament – have celebrated Peace Sunday, writes Jo Siedlecka. The day was marked by parishioners and campaigners standing outside St Mellitus Church in Tollington Park with a banner calling on the government not to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system and to spend more on jobs, education and health.

Islington Tribune 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Green Deal

Energy minister attacks big construction firms that are struggling to make the government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme work. Carillion and other firms struggling to build a business using the Green Deal “need to look at their business model”, energy minister Greg Barker has said. His attack came as official figures revealed just 626 Green Deals are currently live, meaning the customer is paying back the loan through their energy bills, one year after the launch of the scheme. Carillion has previously announced it will need to cut up to 1,000 jobs from its Energy Services business because of the slow up-take of the Green Deal. In October, it said the restructuring would result in it incurring a financial hit of around £40m in 2013.

Building 22nd Jan 2014 read more »

Renewables – manufactuiring base

Major renewables firms could abandon plans to invest in Edinburgh in favour of Dundee, it has been claimed. European companies Gamesa and Areva are in talks to form a joint venture — with suggestions they’ll base wind turbine manufacturing operations in Leith, Edinburgh. But Dundee City Council leader Ken Guild says that infrastructure issues at the port of Leith could “reopen the door for Dundee” as companies seek a base in the east of Scotland. Despite being touted as the perfect location for companies building offshore windfarms, Dundee has yet to gain any renewables jobs — originally losing out to Leith in a bid to attract Gamesa.

Evening Telegraph 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Renewables – Feed-in Tariffs

The savings made by installers of loft insulation, new boilers and cavity wall insulation may only be half the amount promised, but there is one area where many households are keeping warm and cutting their bills – by taking advantage of feed-in tariffs.

Guardian 25th Jan 2014 read more »

Renewables – solar

Back in 2010, says the Government, there were only 33 planning applications for solar farms in England; in the first nine months of last year alone, there were 278. Nobody seems to know how many have gone ahead, but the industry reckons there will be about 150 big ones in Britain by the end of March, and that capacity will more than double over the following year. That’s even faster than the relentless expansion of wind power, and poses similar risks, not least that the shine may come off Britain’s most popular source of renewable power. Indeed, with protests against fracking erupting across the country, we seem simultaneously to be mismanaging the exploitation of three key decentralised energy sources. Certainly, the political temperature is rising on solar, as with the others. Parliament will debate the issue on Wednesday on the initiative of Tory MP Brooks Newmark, who is fighting an installation on the edge of Constable country in his Braintree constituency. And the CPRE has launched an internal review of its policies, amid fears of a developing “free-for-all”. The solar industry is trying to get firms to observe “10 commitments”, including avoiding protected areas and good agricultural land, prioritising brownfield and industrial sites and screening installations with trees and hedges. And it is working with conservation groups to introduce wildlife to what was often monocultural farmland along with the panels; grey partridges, wildflowers and bees flourish, for example, amid the structures at Wilburton, Cambridgeshire.

Telegraph 24th Jan 2014 read more »

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.

Telegraph 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News: solar thermal prospects good with RHI; Plymouth Community solar project; Leicestershire County Council look to go solar.

Microgen Scotland 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Smart Meters

More than half of households using smart meters, which will be in every home in the UK by 2020, are saving money on their energy bills, according to British Gas. The meters eliminate the need for meter readings by sending data directly to utility companies, and can come with small wireless displays to show people how much energy and money they’re spending in real-time. The energy company said that polling of the one million of its customers with the meters suggests nine in 10 of them are taking steps to keep costs down – such as turning off appliances when they are not in use – because of the ease of “seeing their energy as they use it”.

Guardian 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Climate

Extreme weather events including typhoon Haiyan and superstorm Sandy are proving a “gamechanger” for public awareness of the threat posed by climate change, Al Gore said on Friday. The former US vice-president, speaking to delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said: “I think that these extreme weather events which are now a hundred times more common than 30 years ago are really waking people’s awareness all over the world [on climate change], and I think that is a gamechanger. It comes about, of course, because we continue to put 90 million tonnes of global warming pollution into the atmosphere every day, as if it’s an open sewer.” But he said the falling price of solar and wind power gave hope for efforts to tackle climate change.

Guardian 24th Jan 2014 read more »

Fossil Fuels

Shale gas use in the US has brought down emissions there (though there was a bounce in carbon output last year) but has resulted in an increase in emissions in Europe and elsewhere. That is because coal that would have been used to fire power plants in the US has been exported instead, flooding the world market with cheap coal and encouraging far higher coal-fired power generation. So extracting shale gas may lead to slightly lower emissions than imported liquid natural gas, but a European shale gas rush might mean higher emissions in the long run. Pursuing shale gas will not necessarily cut emissions without other mechanisms such as a strong price on carbon – the government’s own research, the International Energy Agency, and energy companies themselves say so. As for David Cameron’s other claim, that UK shale gas production will bring down UK energy prices, even the shale gas leader, Cuadrilla, has said that is not true.

Guardian 24th Jan 2014 read more »

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Published: 25 January 2014