‘Bradwell is the worst location on the East Coast for radioactive discharges…… and monitoring is wholly inadequate’, On 23 June, on a pleasant, midsummer Monday evening, 200 people crammed into the MICA Centre in West Mersea to listen to independent expert, Tim Deere-Jones, speak on the subject of ‘Radioactive discharges into the Blackwater – Who knows what’s going on?’. Tim argued that nobody knows what is going on as there is wholly inadequate data and monitoring of discharges. He added that inside a shallow estuary, such as the Blackwater, was the very worst type of location on the East Coast to choose for radioactive discharges.
BANNG 24th June 2014 read more »
Letter: I see that Wylfa Power Station has been closed down for the last five months. I may have been asleep, but I can’t remember a period when the sun failed to appear, the wind stopped blowing and the tides failed to rise and fall for a period of five months? Perhaps renewables are a bit more reliable than nuclear as a reliable source of energy after all! Something for Wylfa enthusiasts Albert Owen MP, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, Ynys Môn Council Leader Ieuan Williams, Energy Island supremo John Idris Jones and sundry officials to contemplate during their taxpayer and Hitachi sponsored jolly to Japan this week.
Western Mail 24th June 2014 read more »
GDA Progress Report Jan to March 2014. This report provides information on the work that has been undertaken so far during Step 2 of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of Hitachi-GE’s UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR), as well our preparation for potential other GDAs.
ONR 24th June 2014 read more »
Regulators public and stakeholder engagement plan.
ONR 24th June 2014 read more »
As costs to the taxpayer for nuclear waste management and decommissioning grows by another £6.6 billion, NFLA urges complete review of the NDA and calls for an end to the new nuclear programme. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) is alarmed, but not surprised, to learn that the financial cost to the taxpayer of the UK‟s hugely expensive radioactive waste legacy has increased by another £6.6 billion, a 7% increase on previous forecasts. In its Annual Report and Accounts for 2013/14, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) released figures that reported it had raised its best estimate for the undiscounted cost of the cleanup, waste management and decommissioning of UK nuclear facilities over the next 120 years to £110bn, a 7 per cent increase from 2012/13, with Sellafield alone accounting for £79.1bn of that figure. The NDA also raised its total discounted estimate of the costs by 10 per cent to £64.9bn.
NFLA 24th June 2014 read more »
Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, announces today its joint venture with Cavendish Nuclear to construct a new silo maintenance facility for Sellafield Ltd, Cumbria, valued at £160 million. Working in a 45:55 joint venture, Balfour Beatty and Cavendish Nuclear will deliver the facility which will be an integral part of Sellafield’s long-term waste retrieval hazard reduction programme.This final phase of works follows the first two phases consisting of a £5.5 million preliminary design phase and £12.5 million detailed design and enabling works. The new mechanical handling plant will support two existing waste silos with retrieving historic waste and reducing hazard.
BDaily 25th June 2014 read more »
The cost of cleaning up old nuclear power stations in the UK is predicted to jump by £6.6 billion, a 7% rise on previous forecasts, operators confessed this week.Trying to stem criticism in their annual report, Chairman of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Stephen Henward referred to the “technically challenging, novel plants and processes to treat wastes of uncertain characteristics” over very long timescales. Anti-nuclear campaigners at the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) seized on the news to call for new nuclear projects to be reconsidered. NFLA Chair, Councillor Mark Hackett said: “Perhaps it is time to review the NDA’s structure, as can the public finances really continue to be able to cope with such large cost increases?”
Energy Live News 24th June 2014 read more »
UK Radioactive Waste Inventory now has a new website.
NDA 24th June 2014 read more »
The first of two massive vaults where low-level radioactive material will be stored on the far north Caithness coast has been completed. The building and its facilities at the Dounreay nuclear power complex cost about £20m to construct. Each vault will be able to hold the equivalent of between 370 and 450 double decker buses. The floor of the vault is 36ft (11m) below ground and the construction work involved 260 tonnes of steel.
BBC 24th June 2014 read more »
China – UK
Last week David Cameron met his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang again, in London, following his own visit to China last autumn. On their agenda was Chinese interest in investing in the UK nuclear industry via two state-owned Chinese nuclear companies and the Chinese State investment bank. Will Hutton, formerly a stockbroker economics journalist and Observer editor, now Principal of Hertford College, Oxford, was excoriating in his appraisal of the deal done with Chinese companies to support Hinkley C. In an Observer column titled “George Osborne in China – wide-eyed, innocent and deeply ignorant”- published on 20 October last year – he argued that Britain must be an open trading nation, welcoming inward investment just as it seeks to invest in others. But prostituting one’s security and economic interests to a country whose values, practices and interests, he went on “are wholly at odds with one’s own is not openness but recklessness.” Geoffrey Lean said How’s this for a turn-up for the books? A Conservative Chancellor, promoter of free markets and defender of national sovereignty, is boasting of “allowing” (a euphemism, it seems, for “begging”) a totalitarian Communist country to build nuclear power stations in Britain. But not all departments have such sanguine assessments of China’s political governance. Here is part of what the Foreign Office annual human rights report says of China, in May 2013. “Journalists, bloggers and intellectuals continue to be harassed or detained for exercising their right to free speech. Many high-profile activists, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, are serving long prison sentences for speaking out about political freedom and human rights.”
Dr David Lowry 23rd June 2014 read more »
NDA’s subsidiary company, International Nuclear Services (INS), has signed a four-party Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), in a move that could generate hundreds of million pounds for British companies over several years. The MoU provides a framework to enhance cooperation in the civil nuclear areas of fuel cycle and transportation; decommissioning; and radioactive waste management and disposal.
NDA 18th June 2014 read more »
Levy Control Framework
The Financial Times ran a piece yesterday, regrettably behind a paywall, that featured the findings of Aurora Energy Research. As the FT quaintly put it, ‘the pot of money ministers have set aside to subsidise UK renewable power is likely to run out much more quickly than previously thought, according to research, placing green energy projects in jeopardy’. Apparently, the hitherto solid looking pot may turn out to be more like a collapsing bag as uncertainties about just what the pot’s contents may buy burgeon. This is because the sums that will be expended on Contracts for Difference (CfD) will change as the price of energy changes, which the government might have exacerbated anyway by freezing the carbon price floor. DECC doesn’t seem to have taken much of this into account.It is good that a research company has now told us that, as an instrument to facilitate and plan investment in renewables, the Levy Control Framework (LCF) is a fat dud, regardless of its efficacy as a method of stopping anyone spending more than a set amount of ‘levy money’ whether what you get for that spend is worth having or not. But a number of people (me included) have been making this point for a long time now. It is perhaps only now that Contracts for Difference are upon us, that the true fat dud-ness of the device can be uncovered.
Alan Whitehead MP 24th June 2014 read more »
Using small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) as combined heat and power (CHP) plants will increase their economic viability, MPs have been told. The SMRs, which are generally considered to be reactors with an output of less than 500MW, could be used to provide heat for urban heat networks, according to Dr David Clarke, chief executive at the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). Clarke told the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) that using SMRs would open up more potential suites for the nuclear reactors closer to major populations, meaning “you can use the waste heat more effectively”.
Utility Week 24th June 2014 read more »
Nuclear UK, a key event in the International Festival of Business (IFB) programme will take place in Warrington on Wednesday 25 June 2014. The event being held at Warrington’s Park Royal Hotel will be attended by hundreds of delegates from across the UK and will comprise strategic leadership forum aiming to promote ideas and innovations that will drive development of the nuclear industry in the future.Nuclear UK boasts a stellar list of key industry speakers including Steph McGovern, BBC Breakfast, John Clarke, CEO at NDA and Tim Chittenden, President of the Nuclear Institute.
BDaily 24th June 2014 read more »
The corruption in international football is as nothing compared to the stitch-up of the clean energy market now underway in Europe, warns ALAN SIMPSON. As the World Cup in Brazil swings into gear, politicians of all shades queue up to display their football prowess and loyalties. Some will also take the opportunity to denounce Fifa’s “mafia family” decision-making that threatens to bring the whole game into disrepute. What politicians are missing is another major world event that is threatened to be trashed by corruption. Something closer to home is being sneaked through the political system to kill off an even more beautiful game — the clean energy industry. The elements of the sabotage are clear. First, there is a late tackle from the EU’s Competition Commission. Then there are the shedloads of cash promised to the boardrooms of Old Energy. And the killer penalty will be new “energy market competition rules” rigged against the underdogs. All three are lining up to kill off Europe’s renewable energy revolution. Once you understand the details, the EU’s “bought” proposal to kill off renewable energy makes Fifa’s decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar look scrupulously honest.
Morning Star 24th June 2014 read more »
In 2014, the challenges facing the global nuclear non-proliferation regimes appear insurmountable. The collective failure of the international community to denuclearise North Korea and tackle post-Cold War era nuclear threats has brought the world to the nuclear tipping point. Enough large quantities of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium exist in the world to make 100,000 nuclear weapons. According to some estimates, even nuclear waste in the world contains enough plutonium to make hundreds of thousands of more warheads. Against this backdrop, a majority of nuclear experts forecast an apocalyptic future on the global nuclear landscape. There is a desperate need for a comprehensive, universal and enforceable non-proliferation treaty that can offer the real possibility of effectively halting the spread of nuclear weapons. Some analysts might view the possibility of such a treaty as impractical or utopian under the present circumstances but the world must think about what is necessary and not only in terms of what is practicable for the time being.
Pakistan Daily Times 24th June 2014 read more »
Signalling the continuity of policy, the new government has ratified the Additional Protocol, a commitment given under India-U.S. nuclear deal by the previous dispensation to grant greater ease to International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor India’s civilian atomic programme. The Additional Protocol was ratified last week and this has been conveyed to the Vienna-based IAEA, the global watchdog of nuclear activities, sources told PTI in New Delhi. The IAEA had in March 2009 approved an additional protocol to India’s safeguards agreement consequent to a pact reached with the agency the previous year to place its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. That agreement had paved the way for the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group to grant India-specific waiver for it to have commercial relations with other countries in the civilian atomic field. The waiver was necessary as India, despite being a nuclear-armed state, is not a signatory to the NPT.
The Hindu 22nd June 2014 read more »
Five new reactors, aided by unique circumstances, do remain under construction in the U.S.: two at Southern Company’s Georgia Power Vogtle site in Georgia, two at SCANA’s Summer site in South Carolina, and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar-2 reactor in Tennessee. Both Vogtle and Summer are aided by their control of their state’s Public Service Commission, which kindly allows the utilities to use ratepayers as their banks; both utilities are collecting money from ratepayers as construction goes on, enabling them to borrow less and repay what they do borrow faster. And the Vogtle project also has received $6.5 Billion in low-interest taxpayer loans from the Federal Financing Bank, with another $1.8 Billion to some of its partners still expected.
Green World 24th June 2014 read more »
Just days after the end of the student protests in Taipei against the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement, the streets were once again occupied by thousands of protesters. This time, they were demanding that the authorities stop the construction of Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant (N4). On 27 April, they occupied the city’s main thoroughfare, forcing police to use water cannons to disperse them before the Monday morning rush hour. The demonstration came days after Lin Yi-hsiung, former Chairman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), started a hunger strike in protest against N4. The 72-year-old was later hospitalised and forced to abandon his protest. In response, the Administration announced they would halt construction of N4 and hold a referendum before the facility starts operations. The first reactor is complete (but fuel rods have not yet been introduced) and will be sealed off after completion of safety checks. The second reactor is 91% complete but construction will be halted indefinitely.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office 24th June 2014 read more »
Iran said on Tuesday it expected to sign a deal with Russia in late August on the building of two new 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactors in the Islamic Republic, potentially boosting its case that it is refining uranium for civilian energy, not atom bombs. Russia is one of six world powers negotiating with Iran on a long-term agreement to end a decade-old dispute over Tehran’s nuclear programme, which the country says is peaceful but the West fears may be aimed at developing a nuclear arms capability.
Reuters 24th June 2014 read more »
The UK Government is on course to undershoot the EU Renewables target by a large margin. The Government is committed to achieving production of 15 per cent of final energy from renewable energy (RE) by 2020. On the basis of a good guess based on current projections of current production and future progress the Government is unlikely to achieve more than 10 per cent, quite possibly even less – this means an undershoot of at least a third.
Dave Toke’s Blog 23rd June 2014 read more »
David Cameron’s planned subsidy cuts for U.K. wind power are unsettling the investors the prime minister needs to fund infrastructure of all kinds, the company developing one of the nation’s biggest wind farms said. The ruling Conservative Party, seeking to shore up voter backing in rural districts, has pledged to end support for onshore wind farms if it wins the election next year. That’s left utilities such as Vattenfall AB wondering what kind of projects will be in the firing line next. The concerns aren’t limited to renewable power generation, said Piers Guy, head of U.K. wind development for the Swedish utility. It’s putting at risk how companies assess investment in all infrastructure, he said. The government says Britain has a pipeline of 646 infrastructure projects stretching beyond 2020 and totaling more than 375 billion pounds ($632 billion).
Bloomberg 24th June 2014 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has announced it will launch a £1 billion fund to acquire stakes in offshore wind projects.
Utility Week 24th June 2014 read more »
The government’s Green Investment Bank (Gib) has announced plans to raise £1bn to encourage new investors to put money into offshore windfarms. Unveiling its first set of annual results, the bank said it was looking for long-term investors for a fund managed by a subsidiary that would buy equity stakes in windfarms already in operation. Investors are likely to be pension and sovereign wealth funds looking for long-term, stable returns. The fund is a new development for Gib because it raises private money up front for investment in a particular industry instead of investing project by project. The bank will present its results and strategy at meetings on Wednesday in London and on Thursday in Edinburgh . The events, rather like an annual general meeting, will be attended by investors and environmental groups. It will face protests over its funding of biomass and waste-incineration projects. The campaign group Biofuelwatch claims almost £200m of Gib’s investments went to these industries and that they damage the environment.
Guardian 24th June 2014 read more »
Times 24th June 2014 read more »
FT 24th June 2014 read more »
Telegraph 24th June 2014 read more »
Scotsman 24th June 2014 read more »
Iberdrola has questioned ministers’ drive for expensive offshore wind farms, just days after receiving approval to build one of the world’s largest such projects off the UK coast. Ignacio Galan, chairman of the Spanish company, which owns ScottishPower, attacked the way in which subsidies for green energy were pushing up bills across Europe and suggested that Britain should prioritise building more cheaper onshore wind farms. Iberdrola last week received planning consent for the massive East Anglia offshore wind farm, which would receive some of the biggest consumer-funded subsidies on offer for green energy projects. Mr Galan acknowledged that offshore wind was “more expensive than onshore” and said he had questioned several times “why to [build] offshore when you have already have places to [build] onshore”. “If I should make the energy policy I should do it in another manner,” he said. “I [would] promote first onshore wind… and after, offshore. But I think the energy policy, because of whatever political reason they don’t like to build on mainland, and they would like to build in the sea.”
Telegraph 24th June 2014 read more »
Domestic energy efficiency must be treated as a “national infrastructure priority” according to a coalition of 20 organisations in the construction, housing, and environmental sectors. The group, which includes UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), the Energy Saving Trust, and the Association for the Conservation of Energy, wrote a letter to the commercial secretary to the Treasury, Lord Deighton, warning him the UK’s homes are “the coldest and draughtiest in Europe”. The coalition stated that the government should direct up to £4 billion a year in capital investment to fund a programme of energy efficiency.
Utility Week 24th June 2014 read more »
A coalition of industry and green groups will today call on all of the UK’s political parties to make energy efficiency a top infrastructure priority, arguing that up to £4bn per year needs to be invested in measures that would seal up the nation’s draughty housing stock. The 20 organisations, led by the UK Green Building Council and including the Energy Savings Trust, WWF and the Federation of Master Builders, have signed a letter calling for one million “deep retrofits” to be completed on homes each year by 2020.
Business Green 24th June 2014 read more »
To maintain Europe’s emissions-cutting momentum, a 30% cut in energy usage is needed by 2030, rising to 35% if the EU wants to reap the benefits of energy security, jobs and growth, says a draft communication for the bloc’s energy efficiency review, seen by EurActiv. The target would be indicative – or non-binding on member-states – until 2017 at least, and would be based on an absolute reduction in primary energy consumption of 1312 Million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) for the 35% figure, and 1218 Mtoe for the 30% goal.
Guardian 23rd June 2014 read more »
The UK government is at risk of losing face because, whilst we have made some good progress on climate policy, we still have no clear exit strategy from coal, the most carbon intensive means of generating power. Instead of an exit strategy, the government have actually been laying the groundwork for a continuation of coal.
Energy Desk 23rd June 2014 read more »
Energy companies will be offered the chance to explore for shale gas across bigger blocks of land, under a revised system aimed at enticing them to commit to fracking. Ministers are expected to launch the ’14th onshore licensing round’, offering companies the chance to bid for exploration rights, within weeks. In previous licensing rounds companies would typically be awarded rights to drill over blocks spanning 100 sq km (39 sq miles) in return for committing to a plan of exploration work in the area. The energy department said that under the new guidance, the companies will be asked to commit to a single work programme to span two blocks – 77 sq miles – “as this will be big enough to give a licensee scope to make plans for commercially-viable work”.
Telegraph 24th June 2014 read more »
New light is to be shed on the shale gas industry under new government rules that will force explorers to reveal the results of fracking within six months. At present, shale gas companies can keep exploration results secret for up to four years, citing commercial confidentiality. Michael Fallon, the energy minister, yesterday announced new rules to improve the transparency of the industry, which is struggling to win public confidence and trust.
Times 25th June 2014 read more »