25 January 2016

Hinkley

A final investment decision on the UK’s first nuclear plant in a generation could be made within days with the project’s construction chief revealing that work could begin within weeks. Speaking exclusively to Construction News, Hinkley Point C’s construction site director Nigel Cann said he was “expecting in the next few weeks” both the final investment decision and, subsequently, the start of pre-construction work. Mr Cann said: “Very openly, we are planning to start when FID is announced, that is a planning assumption, no more than that.” The investment decision could be made as early as this week, with reports citing EDF’s board meeting on Wednesday (27 January) as a key date. While Mr Cann would not reveal a date for the final investment decision, he said his team would be able to start construction ”as soon as they [EDF board] were ready.” The news will put contractors set to work on the £18bn job on high alert, but Mr Cann warned that any further delays to the investment decision could also see construction work put back. He said: “If they decided not to make a decision at the end of this month then, clearly, we would have to come up with another plan.”

Construction News 25th Jan 2016 read more »

EDF Energy, the UK subsidiary of French utility EDF, said last week its new nuclear power plant, Hinkley Point C (HPC), is a “big opportunity” for the decaying UK steel industry, Kallanish Energy reports. The construction of the 3.2-gigawatt (GW) plant in Somerset, southwest England, could boost the nation’s steel, construction and manufacturing sectors, with some £250 million ($356.81 million) in contracts already secured by domestic manufacturers, EDF Energy said. Amid an ongoing crisis, largely due to cheaper Chinese imports, the UK’s troubled steel industry has announced roughly 6,000 job cuts, and some plant closures.

Kallanish Energy 25th Jan 2016 read more »

Sizewell

Campaigners say traffic chaos caused by the movement of heavy loads to Sizewell B is a “terrifying indication” of what life will be like if another nuclear power station is built. Last week three enormous pieces of electrical equipment were transported by road from Lowestoft docks to Sizewell – the slow-moving convoys caused disruption over three days on the B1122 as it made its way through small villages. The three electrical transformers will replace existing equipment at the power station during refuelling and maintenance work taking place in April. Residents who have been campaigning vigorously to prevent the B1122 – which runs from the A12 to Leiston – being used as route for Sizewell C construction traffic were horrified at the disruption caused.

Ipswich Star 25th Jan 2016 read more »

Fears that security around the Sizewell B nuclear power station site could be reduced were discounted today. Concerns arose after Andrea Leadsom, minister of state at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, said the number of Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) officers would fall from 1,113 to 931 over the next four years. Labour critics attacked the drop in the number of officers who protect nuclear sites such as Sizewell B and said Britain needed to keep security at potential terrorist targets at full strength. However, Ms Leadsom said the reason for the cut was because of the number of power stations being closed at the end of their operational lives and decommissioned and therefore needing less security.

East Anglia Daily Times 24th Jan 2016 read more »

EDF

The CEO of EDF, Jean-Bernard Levy, unveils the financial health of the group. “EDF can no longer afford to build everything alone” and must be “efficient,” he says. To reduce staff by 5%, a five retirement will not be replaced. Can you elaborate on the removal of 5% of the positions at EDF? Forty years ago, EDF hired a lot for the construction of French nuclear fleet. Today these employees have retired and we have many recruited in the last five years to anticipate their departure. We will continue to hire, 1000-2000 people every year, but only replacing four starts in five retirement. In France, the parent, by 2018, declining workforce will represent approximately 5% of our 67,000 employees, or 3,350 positions. This mastery of payroll effort will be similar in the rest of the group in France and abroad. Is this the signal that EDF is going wrong? EDF is in good shape, but saw a rapid transformation and necessary to stay it is the great electrician. The electricity market is not growing and competition accelerates. Last year, we lost 30% of our market share in the corporate market. And do not sell them more electricity at regulated tariffs, but at much lower market prices. This is a radical change. We must adapt to this new world. EDF must be agile and efficient to fulfill its ambitions. We will lower our costs and this also involves staff costs. In 2018, the number will be returned to the 2012 level. Is the company “to the brink of collapse” as say the unions? Absolutely not. EDF is in good health and we remain the largest investor in France. But the end of the monopoly is real, and we must resist the competition desired by European regulators. In France, our market share recede, so we must not fall behind. Our debt is high and we have to make trade-offs concerning our future operations. We no longer have the means to keep everything abroad, or build everything alone. That is why the time comes, in a few years, we may have to find partners for the renewal of the nuclear fleet in France, as we already do in Britain.

Le JDD 23rd Jan 2016 read more »

Trident

A narrow majority of the public supports the Government’s proposal to fully renew Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons programme, according to a poll for The Independent. A smaller proportion, three out of 10 (29 per cent), support the plan floated by Jeremy Corbyn to keep the submarines but to send them to sea without warheads. A further 20 per cent oppose any form of Trident renewal, according to the survey of 2,000 people by ORB.

Independent 24th Jan 2016 read more »

Nuclear Weapons

More than 30,000 people could be killed if a North Korean hydrogen bomb was detonated in the centre of Liverpool, according to a computer programme. The website Nukemap predicts that the blast from a 10 kiloton hydrogen bomb detonated at Liverpool Lime Street station could kill 90% of people within 0.7 miles of the station. North Korean officials claimed to have successfully completed a test of a 10kt bomb earlier this month – and there would be devastation in the improbable event that a bomb that big hit the city centre. The website calculates that a nuclear fireball would wipe out an area with a radius of 150m in all directions.

Liverpool Echo 24th Jan 2016 read more »

Japan – Fukushima

An example of bio-accumulation of radioactive material in Fukushima: According to the following post, wild monkey poops from Namie-city, Fukushima had more than 150,000Bq/kg in terms of radioactive Cs137 & Cs134. Cs137: 133987 Bq/kg Cs134: 25186 Bq/kg K40: 225 Bq/kg The surrounding ground surface was about 500~600cpm.

Nuclear News 23rd Jan 2016 read more »

India

France signaled a state-to-state accord with India could be signed on Monday over a deal for 36 Dassault Aviation SA Rafale fighter jets, and that a six-year-old plan to build nuclear reactors in the South Asian nation would see some progress.

Bloomberg 24th Jan 2016 read more »

Germany

The minister responsible for Germany’s ambitious Energiewende, or energy transition, from coal and nuclear to renewable energy says it is clear that solar and wind energy have won the technology race. In an interview with RenewEconomy in Abu Dhabi last week, special minister of state Rainer Bakke said the task now for Germany was to focus on integration, “digitising” the electricity grid, and on storage, efficiency, and other energy uses such as transport and building and industrial heat.

Renew Economy 25th Jan 2016 read more »

Renewables – solar

Domestic and commercial solar installations in the final quarter of 2015 shot up by approximately 63% year-on-year, as developers scrambled to get projects up and running before subsidy cuts took effect.

Edie 22nd Jan 2016 read more »

Renewables – wind

Europe’s largest nature conservation charity will install a wind turbine at its national headquarters in Bedfordshire that will generate enough electricity to power more than half of its 127 UK locations.

Edie 22nd Jan 2016 read more »

Renewables – tidal

The Scottish Energy Minister has visited the MeyGen project tidal power project in Caithness to see at first-hand the role that Scottish companies in the supply-chain are playing in the construction of the largest planned tidal development project in the world. With 398 megawatts of total installed capacity when fully constructed in the Pentland Firth, Scotland, the MeyGen array will consist of 269 submerged tidal turbines. Fergus Ewing visited the site to witness first-hand the onshore and offshore construction works taking place, and spoke to infrastructure team on the ground about the engineering aspects of this visionary marine project.

Scottish Energy News 25th Jan 2016 read more »

Island Energy

Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) will invite bids to secure the future of Shetland’s electricity supply in the spring. The process of preparing the technical information – which will provide the foundation for detailed bids – has been extended to “take account of the level of interest received” and the range of technologies potentially involved. But SHEPD said the work is now “well advanced” and on course to be completed by the end of April this year. Last year the network company received more than 300 responses to its consultation with the public, stakeholders and the supply chain to find the most cost-effective solution for keeping the power on after the existing Lerwick Power Station comes to the end of its operational life. The competitive tender allows interested parties to bid in with solutions, including new generation technologies, measures to manage or reduce demand, and other smart grid solutions.

Utility Week 22nd Jan 2016 read more »

Scottish Energy News 25th Jan 2016 read more »

District Heating

A consultation has been launched on plans which support the roll-out of district and communal heating services across Scotland to help alleviate fuel poverty. The Scottish Government wants views on proposed regulations which simplify how district and communal heating systems are installed in the common parts of tenements. The regulations make installation of heating infrastructure easier for the owner of a flat by creating a procedure which allows for any neighbours who wish to object an opportunity to outline their objections. In many cases this work is carried out as part of work to alleviate fuel poverty and install more efficient heating systems. This can be beneficial for both the environment and bill-payers. The proposed regulations are aimed at property owners installing district and communal heating services in their properties and some of the infrastructure (e.g. pipes) needs to run through the communal areas.

Scottish Energy News 25th Jan 2016 read more »

Energy Storage

The head of the newly-established National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has revealed he considers energy storage a key part of Britain’s future energy network. Speaking at an energy storage event in London hosted by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), the NIC chief executive Phil Graham said his team was looking at was how to deliver a flexible energy system in relation to increasingly intermittent power supply from renewables. “We are looking at solutions there, one of which is interconnection, one of which is demand side response, and one of which is storage,” he said. “It is becoming clear to us that storage is a key part of the solution”.

Edie 22nd Jan 2016 read more »

Large-scale storage systems in the U.K. are already competitive under certain circumstances, while small-scale decentralized energy installations with storage on site can be competitive around 2017, according to a new KPMG report. British energy storage stakeholders are changing the frame of their policy arguments, demanding from the government fair regulations. The U.K.’s energy storage market is gathering pace, expecting to repeat the recent solar PV success albeit in totally different terms. This is the leading message of the Energy Storage: The New Market Dynamic event organized by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) this week in London.

Renew Economy 25th Jan 2016 read more »

Fuel Poverty

A KEY recommendation made by Nicola Sturgeon’s poverty advisor has been dismissed by SNP ministers just days after the expert revealed her long-awaited findings. Naomi Eisenstadt, who was hired by the First Minister to scrutinise Scottish Government policies and come up with new ways of reducing inequality, called for fuel poverty programmes to be targeted at helping the poor. However, the Scottish Government said it had “no plans” to strip automatic winter fuel payments, which see up to £300 a year handed out to pensioners regardless of wealth, from better off recipients once the benefit comes under Holyrood control. Ms Eisenstadt, who warned Ms Sturgeon that tackling poverty meant taking “tough decisions”, said yesterday that it was “wrong” that better-off older people like herself received the benefit when the money could instead be invested on those in greater need.

Herald 25th Jan 2016 read more »

Fossil Fuels

AN SNP campaign group has hit out at their party leadership after a grassroots bid to push for a fracking ban in Scotland was blocked. More than a dozen SNP branches had backed a motion ahead of the party’s Spring conference that would have asked delegates to support a ban on unconventional oil and gas extraction. However, a powerful party committee blocked the motion from being discussed despite the significant support from members. SNP Members Against Unconventional Oil and Gas, known as SMAUG, issued a statement in which it said it was “deeply disappointed” with the decision not to approve a debate. Had the motion been selected and backed by members, the party leadership would have come under intense pressure to go further than its current position of putting moratoriums in place on fracking and underground coal gasification.

Herald 25th Jan 2016 read more »

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Published: 25 January 2016