Nuclear may become obsolete. The UK risks missing out on the benefits of solar power by focusing too much on energy sources such as nuclear, according to the Scottish entrepreneur behind one of America’s fastest growing retail solar panel companies. “It alarms me to read the UK debate where there is talk about further subsidies to support a new nuclear plant that will generate its first electrons in 2023,” said Andrew Birch, chief executive of Sungevity, a solar company in San Francisco. “Given the proven cost curve in solar, that nuclear plant could be obsolete before it’s even switched on. Politicians must be careful not to lock Britons into 20th century energy prices.”
Telegraph 25th Aug 2013 read more »
Letter David Lowry: I WAS interested to read that Sellafield may be returned to public sector management following the abject failure of its management consortium, Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), to properly manage the nuclear plant safely and within budget. Your business editor is absolutely right to point out in the same edition that “Sellafield, however, is no ordinary contract” (Agenda). In the summer of 2008 I carried out an investigation into the complicated and obscure way in which the NMP contract for Sellafield was awarded by circumventing proper parliamentary oversight. I later obtained the relevant internal documents under a freedom of information request. Just before parliament broke up for this year’s summer recess, the Labour MP Paul Flynn, who had challenged the original NMP deal, tabled a motion warning that such a contract disaster, along with other absurdly expensive project plans, should be avoided this time around. His early day motion read: “That this house believes that proposals to build a second mixed-oxide (MOX) plant at Sellafield at a cost of up to £5bn of taxpayers’ money would be an outrageous waste of money following the lamentable failure of the first MOX plant, which had an efficiency of less than 7%; is convinced that continued reprocessing at Sellafield is environmentally hazardous, unnecessary and economically unsustainable; notes the continued and unremitting cost escalations at Sellafield, now running to over £70bn and rising; and calls on the government to replace the Nuclear Management Partners with a competent management team, and to bring the proposed new contract for Sellafield management before parliament for scrutiny before finalising the deal.” Let’s hope, at a time of economic austerity, that the atomic industry sees sense this time on Sellafield.
Sunday Times 25th Aug 2013 read more »
Radiation Free Lakeland held a DEMO outside Lillyhall Industrial Estate, Jubilee Rd entrance from 11am till 12noon to protest the dangerous and immoral nuclearisation of a previously nuclear free area of Cumbria. At Lillyhall, there is now a laundry taking in Sellafield’s dirty washing, a radioactive scrap metal yard and a landfill that the EU describe as a nuclear waste ‘repository’ i.e. dump. None of these things were approved by people or businesses living in the area, all of them were sanctioned by the regulatory bodies supposed to be acting as watchdogs.
Radiation Free Lakeland 25th Aug 2013 read more »
A PROJECT looking to cash in on the new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point has failed to secure £1.5million of Government funding. Somerset County Council plans to build a £7million innovation centre in Bridgwater for nuclear and low carbon businesses. But the Government turned down the council’s application to the Regional Growth Fund, which SCC said was “heavily over-subscribed”.
This is the West Country 25th Aug 2013 read more »
A man from Sierra Leone has been arrested at New York’s John F Kennedy airport with uranium samples allegedly concealed in his shoes. Patrick Campbell was charged with attempting to broker a sale of 1,000 tonnes of yellowcake uranium to Iran. He allegedly made the offer to US undercover agents, thinking they were representing the Iranians.
BBC 24th Aug 2013 read more »
The boss of one of Britain’s biggest energy companies has strongly criticised Ofgem for taking three years to investigate it for mis-selling that he claims never took place. Paul Massara, the chief executive of RWE npower, said that the company was in talks with the energy regulator about settling the disputed allegations. Ofgem opened mis-selling investigations into four of the so-called Big Six energy suppliers in September 2010. In April SSE was fined a record £10.5 million after failures relating to telephone, in-store and doorstep sales were found “at every stage of the process”, including at management level. Investigations into RWE npower and ScottishPower are continuing.
Times 26th Aug 2013 read more »
The highly radioactive water leaking from the wrecked Fukushima plant is part of a problem that Japan will take decades to resolve and which will blight many thousands of lives. The discovery at the plant of a leak of radioactive caesium eight times more dangerous than the levels immediately after the Fukushima accident in March 2011 has aroused international concern that Japan is incapable of containing the aftermath of the accident. A Chinese statement expressed shock at the news and urged Japan to be more open about the problem. This prompted Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority to upgrade the leak from a level one incident, “an anomaly”, to a level three: “a serious incident.” One almost forgotten reactor core meltdown that happened in 1957 gives a clue to how long the Japanese problem may persist. This was a fire in a reactor at Windscale in Cumbria in the UK – small by comparison with both Chernobyl and Fukushima. It was one of the two reactors producing plutonium for the British nuclear weapons programme. It caught fire and part of the core melted. Fifty-six years later, the reactor still has to be constantly monitored and guarded. Several plans have been developed to dismantle the core and decommission it. But all have been abandoned, because it is considered too dangerous to tamper with. Although the UK’s nuclear expertise is arguably as good as Japan’s, the problem remains unresolved.
Climate News Network 25th Aug 2013 read more »
Saudi Arabia intends to become a leader in renewable energy by building 16 nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 22GW, which is about half of the Kingdom’s current electricity output. The project is estimated to cost of more than $100 billion. Abdul Ghani bin Melaibari, coordinator of scientific collaboration at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, confirmed the plan, adding that the first two reactors would be ready within 10 years.
Arab News 25th Aug 2013 read more »
Anti-nuclear campaigners swooped on Britain’s Atomic Weapons Establishment early today morning to protest against the £100 billion Trident replacement. More than 20 activists set up camp outside the AWE in Burghfield, Berkshire, at 2am, pitching their tents under cover of darkness for a fortnight of protest. Organisers Trident Ploughshares and Action AWE said they wanted politicians to support Britain’s disarmament obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and join multilateral efforts to ban nuclear weapons worldwide.
Morning Star 25th Aug 2013 read more »
At present, 99 per cent of the country’s electricity is supplied by just six companies. The Community Energy Coalition – which includes the likes of the Co-operative Group, National Trust, National Federation of Women’s Institutes and Church of England – wants that to change. It has a vision that includes by 2020 “communities across the UK owning, generating and saving energy together for the benefit of all”. The revolution starts today – and runs until 8 September – with the first-ever Community Energy Fortnight featuring events across the UK to inform people about the benefits of this form of energy ownership.
Independent 23rd Aug 2013 read more »
After decades of being too expensive, the price of solar is falling fast – cheaper panels, better technology, more take-up. Meanwhile retail energy prices are on a relentless rise. The inflection point – where solar becomes cheaper than the grid for retail customers – is forecast by some to be next year. And the future is even brighter: the US Energy Department expects the cost of solar power to fall by 75pc between 2010 and 2020. Some analysts reckon solar could be even bigger than fracking.
Telegraph 25th Aug 2013 read more »
The amount of potential electricity from onshore wind farms that has been allowed to go untapped has more than doubled this year because the grid cannot cope. Developers have received payments of £19 million not to generate 215 gigawatt hours — enough electricity to supply nearly 50,000 households for a year. This is equivalent to three 30-megawatt wind farms, costing about £90 million to build, standing idle since the beginning of the year. Last year wind farms were paid not to generate 103GWh. National Grid makes the payments in return for wind farms not generating electricity, mostly when it is very windy and there is low demand. The payments are recouped by charges on consumers’ electricity bills.
Times 26th Aug 2013 read more »