25 October 2016

Sizewell

Plans for Sizewell C are doomed to “evaporate” in the wake of insurmountable problems that will prevent its intended forerunner at Hinkley Point ever producing electricity, one of Britain’s leading environmentalists has predicted. The Chinese and French-financed nuclear construction project on the Somerset coast “might get started” as Theresa May’s government tried to “save face” but the £18billion twin-reactor mega-project was destined to become mired in construction difficulties and delays. It would eventually be overtaken by burgeoning renewable energy technologies in which numerous important breakthroughs were being achieved, green heavyweight Sir Jonathon Porritt told a public meeting in Aldeburgh’s Jubilee Hall.

East Anglian Daily Times 23rd Oct 2016 read more »

Moorside

NATIONAL Grid has confirmed today that it will not be erecting 50-metre high pylons through the Lake District National Park to carry electricity generated from a new power station. Instead the National Grid’s North West Coast Connections project will run 400kV cables around the west of Cumbria from Carlisle in the north to Heysham in the south to provide connections from the proposed Moorside power station to the electricity grid. It plans to look at putting 23.4km (14.5 miles) of new line underground through the entire western section of the Lake District National Park. This could also see the existing lines there being removed completely, leaving this part of the park free of pylons for the first time in 50 years.

Westmorland Gazette 24th Oct 2016 read more »

Whitehaven News 24th Oct 2016 read more »

ITV 24th Oct 2016 read more »

BBC 24th Oct 2016 read more »

Construction Enquirer 25th Oct 2016 read more »

National Grid to spend £1.9bn to keep power lines out of sight in Lake District and wider Cumbria in Moorside power plant connection project. More than half of the £2.8bn being spent on the 102-mile cabling scheme to link NuGen’s Moorside plant in Cumbria to the wider network will go towards making sections of the project less visible. National Grid’s “extensive measures” are aimed at reducing “the impact of the project on the landscape of Cumbria while balancing this with the need to keep energy bills affordable”. A £1.2bn tunnel will be constructed under Morecambe Bay to avoid the south part of the Lake District national park, while plans to take down existing low voltage pylons, owned by Electricity North West rather than National Grid, and to replace them with fewer, taller pylons will cost around £465m. A further £460m will go towards burying power lines underground in a 14.5 mile stretch in the western Lake District park.

City AM 24th Oct 2016 read more »

National Grid has unveiled plans to spend £460m burying new power lines through the Lake District, in a U-turn that will cost seven times more than erecting pylons. The utility giant had originally planned to build 160ft-tall pylons through a 14.5-mile stretch of the national park, as part of a 102-mile cabling project along the west coast of Cumbria to connect up NuGen’s proposed new nuclear plant at Moorside. But after fierce opposition from campaigners, who warned the pylons would devastate the scenery and could jeopardise the Lake District’s bid for Unesco world heritage site status, National Grid on Monday proposed burying the cables under the park.

Telegraph 24th Oct 2016 read more »

Dungeness

Divers are being used to clean-up the former cooling ponds at a Kent power station as part of a pioneering nuclear decommissioning programme. The first work of its kind in the UK, it will see the pond skips at Dungeness that were once used to store used nuclear fuel cut up and packaged for disposal, while the water that remains in the ponds will act as additional radiation protection for the divers. The technique also has additional environmental benefits, as the alternative of cutting skips after they have been removed from the ponds would require additional measures to prevent potential airborne contamination. During electricity generation, the ponds were used to store used nuclear fuel in skips before it was sent off site for reprocessing. The site has been fuel free for more than four years after being decommissioned in 2006, but the skips, which are classed as intermediate level waste, need to be safely disposed of.

Kent News 24th Oct 2016 read more »

Nuclear Espionage

Allen Ho was still reeling from his arrest during a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, when armed Federal Bureau of Investigation agents began interrogating the nuclear energy consultant about his work in China, without any lawyer present. That business involved hiring retired US nuclear engineers and consultants to advise China General Nuclear Power Corp, the state-owned company that plans to invest in an £18bn reactor in the UK. Mr Ho, born in Taiwan and a US citizen since 1983, was charged with violating a statute designed to prevent American scientists from helping other countries develop an atomic bomb. The case comes during an era of unprecedented nuclear co-operation between the west and China, but also a time of growing trade friction and accusations of cyber crime and espionage. After his arrest in April, Mr Ho’s imprisonment for six months in a maximum security cell in Tennessee has chilled Chinese technical co-operation with the international nuclear industry and raised accusations of racial profiling in the US. Along with Mr Ho, CGN was also indicted on charges of producing “special nuclear material” outside the US without the required approval from the US Department of Energy. This is an issue because engineering decisions made in China affect the world’s reactor fleet. China is the furthest ahead in constructing the European Pressurized Reactor destined for Hinkley Point in the UK as well as the AP1000, an American-designed reactor under construction in China and the US. And under bilateral accords CGN and other Chinese groups will supply components for US and UK reactors. “China is the only country that can provide the information at present” for the AP1000, said Zhang Qiang, Asme’s chief representative in China. Other forms of international co-operation continue. Mr Ho does not deny helping CGN improve operations at its nuclear plants but his defence insists that is a far cry from making material for nuclear weapons. Frank Wu, chairman of the Committee of 100, an advocacy group, said the indictment had inflamed fears of “racial profiling” in the Chinese-American scientific community.

FT 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Nuclear Safety

The safety and regulation of the Japanese nuclear fleet is called into serious question by the discovery of Japanese-manufactured flawed steel components installed in operating French nuclear reactors forced to shut down last week by the French nuclear safety regulator ASN, according to a new Greenpeace report. The threat to nuclear reactor safety in Japan is due to the supply of steel components to the nuclear industry from both Japan Casting and Forging Company (JCFC) and the Japan Steel Works (JSW), according to the technical report released today by Greenpeace Japan, by the nuclear engineering consultancy, Large&Associates of London. Evidence of astonishingly high levels of excess carbon far outside regulatory limits with the associated loss of steel toughness and significant increase in the risk of catastrophic failure of primary containment components, have been discovered in JCFC-manufactured components installed in steam generators in 12 reactors owned by the French state-utility, EdF. The independent French nuclear agency, IRSN, recently warned that due to the excess carbon content, there was an increased risk of failure of the affected steam generator leading to a potential reactor core meltdown. “As a result of substandard manufacturing in Japan, citizens in France have been unknowingly exposed to the risk of catastrophic failure of critical reactor components which could result in a reactor core meltdown. Japanese-supplied steel is now at the center of France’s unprecedented nuclear crisis the scale of which has never been seen in any country. All 12 reactors supplied by JCFC are either in forced shutdown or about to be. It lacks all credibility that the Japanese nuclear industry would claim that there are no implications for the safety of their own nuclear reactors. The steel production records released in France did not reveal the scale of excess carbon, which was only found after physical testing. There are currently no plans for such tests in Japan. That is wholly unacceptable. There are many urgent questions that need to be answered by the industry and the NRA, and with full public disclosure and transparency,” said Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany.

Greenpeace Japan 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Energy Supplies

Britain risks “sleepwalking into brownouts and blackouts” because of a proposed overhaul of energy regulation that could lead to the closure of many small power plants, former energy secretary Sir Ed Davey has claimed. The warning from Sir Ed, who was in charge of UK energy policy from 2012 to 2015, is the starkest intervention yet into a fierce industry debate over plans by regulator Ofgem to change the way Britain’s power grids are paid for. Under the current, highly complex, network charging system, small generators enjoy certain benefits that are not enjoyed by bigger power plants – both by tapping extra revenues, and avoiding costs. This has led to a boom in small power plants, including polluting diesel generators, which have been able to undercut big new gas plants to secure subsidies through the Government’s “capacity market” scheme to help keep the lights on. The Government, which wants big new gas plants, has said the small generators may be enjoying an “unfair advantage” and backed an Ofgem review. The regulator is currently considering curbing or scrapping the extra revenues the small, “embedded” generators receive.

Telegraph 24th Oct 2016 read more »

Companies

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) and Westinghouse have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on bilateral technical cooperation, with the companies hoping their collaboration will boost overseas revenue. Through the MoU, the two companies will jointly develop technology projects worldwide through cooperation based on “the mutual nuclear expertise and capabilities of their respective owners,” KHNP said. Westinghouse, a unit of Japan’s Toshiba, and KHNP, a subsidiary of Korea Electric Power, also agreed to look for ways to enhance the safety of nuclear power reactors and to increase sales revenue by expanding in overseas markets, particularly the U.S., World Nuclear Newsreported.

Kallanish Energy 25th Oct 2016 read more »

World Nuclear News 24th Oct 2016 read more »

Ireland

Though it’s nearly 40 years since Ireland’s anti-nuclear movement held a festival at Carnsore Point in Wexford — Ireland’s Woodstock, social historians assure us — to protest at plans to build a nuclear power plant there, we still import around 90% of our energy needs. Some of this energy is generated at nuclear plants in Britain, allowing some of us to mix virtue and hypocrisy in a peculiarly Irish way just as we do on neutrality. We are happy to enjoy the security and prosperity made possible by Europe’s energy and peace, but take what we imagine is the high moral ground by refusing to even discuss building a nuclear plant or that we might have a moral obligation to help defend that peace. In the 38 years since Christy Moore topped the Carnsore bill, there have been three significant incidents at the world’s 444 nuclear plants. As of May, 63 nuclear plants were under construction in 15 countries. Since then Britain decided to build one at Hinkley Point where 7% of Britain’s energy will be generated. Some of it may even be exported to Ireland. Two years ago renewable energy contributed 7.8% of Ireland’s final energy demand, almost halfway towards the 16% obligation agreed under the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Nearly half of renewable energy came from wind — 47% — or bioenergy at 42%. The balance came from hydro, geothermal or solar. The very low return from hydro suggests it is time to look at the movement gathering pace around the world, especially in America, dedicated to restoring rivers by removing pointless hydro schemes. We need to build around 25,000 houses a year to meet demand. That is a pretty challenging figure but, in the context of the climate change and energy security, modest enough. Would it be too much to hope that, say, solar energy panels be made obligatory in these houses, thereby killing two birds with one stone? Over to you ministers Naughten and Coveney — let’s have some long-term, joined up planning even if that means facing down the powerful lobbies who would argue that this kind of measure is too expensive.

Irish Examiner 25th Oct 2016 read more »

UAE

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) and Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) announced today the formal closing of the financing package for the four-unit Barakah nuclear station under construction in Abu Dhabi, meaning all financing is now secured. The financing will be managed by the recently created subsidiary, Barakah One PJSC, in which Kepco, the prime contractor for the Barakah project, owns an 18% stake. Enec said the total amount of financing is estimated at $24.4bn (€22bn), composed of direct loan agreements of about $19.6bn and $4.7bn in equity commitments. The equity commitments are provided by Enec and Kepco as part of a joint venture agreement also announced today. The direct loan agreements that Barakah One has entered into are a direct loan from the Export-Import Bank of Korea of $2.5bn; a total of $250m of loan agreements with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, First Gulf Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered; and a direct loan from Abu Dhabi’s department of finance of up to $16.2bn. Working capital so far has been coming from the Abu Dhabi government. The direct loan agreements include the overnight cost of the prime contract for the construction and commissioning of the Barakah nuclear station, interest during construction and the cost of initial nuclear fuel. They also include allowances for “potential inflationary increases in the price of commodities, such as construction materials, during the period of construction”, Enec said. Barakah is scheduled for completion in 2020, with construction having started in 2012. With four reactors online, the facility will deliver up to a quarter of the UAE’s electricity needs, Enec said.

Nucnet 20th Oct 2016 read more »

South Africa

South Africa is well-equipped to have nuclear power plants and has a nuclear safety culture, with Koeberg having operated safely for over 32 years, utility Eskom said yesterday. The performance of the Koeberg plant has also consistently been one of the strongest within the Eskom fleet, it said, adding that it is also the cheapest energy provider in South Africa’s fleet.

World Nuclear News 24th Oct 2016 read more »

District Heating

SNP MP Deidre Brock has visited the innovative Wyndford district heating scheme in Glasgow to find out more about how older homes can be made more energy efficient and deliver on the UK’s low carbon agenda. The visit was co-hosted by the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) and Brock (MP for Leith and north Edinburgh) was shown how district heating works and how the scheme is helping to improve residents’ quality of life and tackling fuel poverty in the long term. The Wyndford scheme is home to one Britain’s biggest retrofit district heating schemes, providing on-demand low carbon heating and hot water to more than 1,800 homes. The system was installed by SSE in partnership with a Scottish housing association. A recent report published by SSE shows that the scheme has delivered a 62% reduction in CO2 emissions since it was installed, as well as compelling evidence that lives have significantly improved, comfort has increased, and jobs and economic value have been created.

Scottish Energy News 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Renewables – wave

Wave energy is the largest untapped renewable energy source in the world, and the prize for developing commercial technology is huge. European technologies are leading the race for this prize, while Scotland is home to the biggest wave power resource in the EU. There are a number of prominent players in the Scottish wave energy sector taking part at the Ocean Energy Europe conference in Brussels next month – including finance and energy ministers from France and the Benelux countries and senior EU Commission energy officials… But not the Scottish Energy Minister or his taxpayer-financed Scottish wave power quango. This year is a pivotal moment for the ocean energy industry with several major projects hitting the water, including some ground-breaking farms. At this year’s conference, the developers behind the sector’s lighthouse projects will talk about their experiences in getting this far, and what’s coming next in their development strategy.

Scottish Energy News 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Climate Change

Climate change could spark the world’s next financial crisis, according to Paul Fisher, who retired this year as deputy head of the Bank of England body that supervises the country’s banks.

Independent 24th Oct 2016 read more »

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Published: 25 October 2016