26 October 2016

Hinkley

MAJOR improvements at two busy junctions in northern Bridgwater will start in January. The improvements will be carried out at the Bristol Road and Wylds Road junctions on The Drove. The key benefits of the scheme are to make it easier to turn left from Western Way into Wylds Road and to provide more space for vehicles to wait to turn right from Bristol Road into the Drove so as not to hold up traffic wanting to go straight on into Bridgwater. The traffic lights will be upgraded, the junctions will be adjusted and crossing points for cyclists and pedestrians improved. The work is part of the agreed schedule of improvements required for the construction of Hinkley Point C. David Eccles of EDF Energy said: “We are writing to residents and businesses inviting them to a drop-in meeting later this year to find out more about the improvement work. “We are working closely with Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council to minimise disruption. “Traffic lights will be manually controlled during busy periods to react quickly to a peak in traffic from a particular direction and use that important human element to decide what needs priority rather than leaving it to a computer.”

Bridgwater Mercury 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Wylfa

Anglesey council has said it has “serious concerns” about “significant weaknesses” in plans for a nuclear plant on the island. It wants Horizon Nuclear Power, the company behind Wylfa Newydd, to guarantee “as close as possible to 100%” of jobs will go to local people. Council leader Ieuan Williams said the authority’s support “cannot be taken for granted”.

BBC 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Plans to build a camp for 800 nuclear plant workers in one of Anglesey’s biggest towns should be scrapped, say worried locals. Horizon Nuclear Power, the developers of the proposed Wylfa Newydd plant, are looking at building temporary accommodation to house hundreds of workers on land adjacent to Madyn Farm in Amlwch. Strong opposition has been expressed by some locals, who fear the town of 4,000 people would be unable to cope with the influx of people. Horizon is also looking at building 50 permanent houses at Madyn Farm to house between 150 and 200 workers, which would then be turned into general housing.

Daily Post 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Dungeness

Divers are carrying out underwater work in the former cooling ponds at the Dungeness A nuclear power plant in a first for UK nuclear decommissioning. Magnox intends to roll out the technique, which brings safety and environmental benefits, to other decommissioning sites.

World Nuclear News 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Cybersecurity

After hackers attacked several Ukrainian power companies in December of last year, the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure has faced increased scrutiny. But, according to a new report, workers at nuclear power plants, chemical plants, defense contractors and other infrastructure sectors are still communicating—at least in part—with pagers that transmit messages without encryption, leaving them exposed to even modestly-resourced hackers. The sort of information that plant employees transmit using pagers includes diagnostics of plants, names, contact details, and other information that researchers say could be used to create effective social engineering attacks.

Motherboard 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Energy Policy

For years – actually decades – the conventional wisdom about electric power has gone something like this: clean generation sources like wind and solar power are great, supplementing the energy mix with an increasing share of carbon-free electrons. But their intermittency is a huge issue. We will always need the 24/7 baseload generation powered by nuclear or fossil-fuel (or, where available, biomass or geothermal) generators as the basis of a safe, reliable, and affordable electricity supply. Now jump to June of this year, when Pacific Gas & Electric announced it wants to decommission the 2.2-gigawatt Diablo Canyon nuclear plant when its current license expires in 2025. A decision on the plant closure is pending with state regulators, but cost is not the only issue. “Having a 24/7 nuclear plant, from a grid operator’s standpoint – that is a real problem,” says David Olsen, a member of the board of governors of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the grid serving 30 million people in most of California and a small part of Nevada. “Dealing with 2200 megawatts coming in at every minute – we have to design our grid around that inflexibility. ‘Baseload’ refers to an old paradigm that has to go away.” Olsen’s assessment, which is echoed by many other California grid experts, regulators, and utility executives, completely flips the old paradigm. In a world of minimum or even negative overall load growth, ever-increasing distributed solar generation and energy storage behind the meter, and emerging ‘load-shifters’ like electric vehicles, variable generation resources become more valuable, not less.

Huffington Post 23rd Oct 2016 read more »

Japan

The cost of cleaning up Tokyo Electric Power’s wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may rise to several billion dollars a year, the Japanese government said on Tuesday, adding that it would look into a possible separation of the nuclear business from the utility . A possible move to spin off Tepco’s nuclear business into a subsidiary could make it easier to sell or merge it with other companies in the future. Government officials said the possible move, discussed at a panel meeting on Tuesday, is in line with Tepco’s plan to look into all possibilities for its businesses.

Reuters 25th Oct 2016 read more »

France

The head of French nuclear safety watchdog ASN said on Tuesday that his agency would need another year or two to examine thousands more pages in its investigation of reporting irregularities at Areva’s Creusot foundry. French state-owned nuclear group Areva, said in May that some manufacturing and quality control reports from its Creusot Forge unit, which supplies the nuclear market with large forgings and castings, may have been falsified. The revelation has sparked a wide-ranging investigation into thousands of manufacturing documents for components used in the French nuclear sector dating back to 1965. “We will likely find more anomalies and irregularities,” Pierre-Franck Chevets told a parliamentary hearing.

Reuters 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Norway

A leak at a small nuclear reactor in Norway has been contained, with no injuries sustained and no expected environmental damage outside the facility, the reactor’s operator and the country’s Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) said on Tuesday. The leak at the research reactor operated by the Institute for Energy Technology, located in a mountain cave in the middle of Halden in southern Norway, began on Monday at 7.45 a.m. ET but the regulator said it was not alerted until Tuesday. The crew of the reactor was evacuated after the leak was detected but some staff later returned to assess the cause and extent of the accident, the NRPA said. Its operator said the reactor was isolated and the leak contained.

Reuters 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Independent 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Mirror 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Metro 25th Oct 2016 read more »

North Korea

Convincing North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons is a “lost cause,” America’s top intelligence official said Tuesday, causing concern in the State Department and ally South Korea over an issue of long-standing US policy.

Independent 26th Oct 2016 read more »

Renewables

Green energy accounted for more than half of net electricity generation capacity added around the world last year for the first time, leading energy experts have found. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said the milestone was evidence of a rapid transformation in energy taking place, and predicted capacity from renewable sources will grow faster than oil, gas, coal or nuclear power in the next five years. But the analysts said the outlook in the UK has deteriorated since the Conservative government took power last year and cut support for wind and solar power. The agency’s chief said Britain had huge renewable energy potential and ministers needed to design stronger policies to exploit it.

Guardian 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Independent 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Global renewable electricity capacity has overtaken coal to become the world’s largest installed power source for the first time, after a record-breaking year in which half a million solar panels were installed every day. Some 153 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity – more than the total generation capacity of Canada – was installed during the course of 2015, making it the fastest-growing electricity source, the International Energy Agency said.

Telegraph 25th Oct 2016 read more »

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has revised upwards it growth forecasts for renewable energy over the next five years, following a record year for new clean energy installations. In its new medium term outlook, released today in Singapore, the IEA has raised its 2021 forecasts for the growth in global renewable electricity capacity by 13 per cent compared to last year’s predictions.

Business Green 25th Oct 2016 read more »

About 500,000 solar panels were installed every day last year as a record-shattering surge in green electricity saw renewables overtake coal as the world’s largest source of installed power capacity. Two wind turbines went up every hour in countries such as China, according to International Energy Agency officials who have sharply upgraded their forecasts of how fast renewable energy sources will keep growing.

FT 25th Oct 2016 read more »

The UK has fallen to 14th place, an all-time low, in EY’s latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, on the back of Brexit, DECC’s dismantling and approval of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. EY said the UK’s standing was at odds with other European countries, which regained ground after falling behind emerging markets in the previous index in May. France, for example, moved up one position to seventh as a result of the country’s plan to tender for 3GW of new solar capacity over the next three years, EY said. Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, Norway and Finland also climbed further up the ranking of 40 countries, it added. The US, China, India, Chile and Germany remained unmoved in the index top five. EY head of energy corporate finance Ben Warren said: “Continued uncertainty around the government’s energy policy has created a confusing picture for investors seeking a low-risk return. “With one more big decision, this time on the future of untested tidal lagoon technologies, expected in the coming months, the government clearly believes that easy to deploy and cost efficient technologies such as onshore wind and solar are not the answer to the UK’s energy security conundrum.”

Renews 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Local Energy

On September 22 2013, 50.9% of the Hamburg citizens voted in a referendum for the full remunicipalisation of the energy distribution grids in the city. The referendum was initiated by the citizen’s initiative ‘Our Hamburg – Our Grid’ (OHOG) and constituted the climax of an intense political controversy that lasted for more than three years. Through this vote Hamburg has received international attention and became a flagship example for remarkable civil engagement. In the international best-seller “This Changes Everything” (2014), Naomi Klein sees the driving motive in the people’s ‘desire for local power’. Indeed it is true that under the constitution of the City of Hamburg, a successful referendum has a binding effect, which left the City government no other option than to announce the implementation of the referendum decision and to start the remunicipalisation process immediately after the vote. Now, three years after the referendum, it is time to evaluate what has been achieved so far. A series of interviews with key actors that were and, for the most part, still are involved in the remunicipalisation process shed some light on the remunicipalisation process and recent developments.

World Future Council 19th Oct 2016 read more »

Renewable Heat

The UK Government is seemingly beginning to take heed of advice to focus on delivering low-carbon heating systems, with two new announcements which could effectively reduce emissions from heating demand in towns and cities and begin to restore investor confidence in the neglected sector. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has this month launched the first part of a £320m fund to supply low-carbon and recycled heat in towns and cities across England and Wales; and proposed to soften changes to renewable energy subsidy support, which were abruptly announced in the summer. The new funding comes in the form of a £39m pilot scheme of the Heat Networks Investment Project – part of the Government’s ‘central heating for cities’ funding package which will be delivered over the next five years. This initial funding, announced by Energy Minister Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, will seek to accelerate the growth of communal and district heating schemes through the development of infrastructure allows municipalities to recycle wasted heat produced from the likes of factories, power stations and even the London Underground, and pump that heat back into homes and businesses to keep them warm.

Edie 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Fuel Poverty – Scotland

The Scottish Government has missed the statutory target to eradicate fuel poverty this year by some distance. So, new reports on fuel poverty should be welcomed, but only if they are quickly followed by a new strategy. According to the latest statistics (2014), there are 35% or around 845,000 households living in fuel poverty in Scotland, and 9.5% (229,000 households) living in extreme fuel poverty. This high rate of fuel poverty is largely unchanged since 2009, and has doubled since the Scottish Government‟s fuel poverty target was set in 2002. The Scottish Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group and Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force reports have been published alongside a Scottish Government research paper on the likelihood of being fuel poor in rural Scotland. This is to help identify and target households in rural Scotland who have a high risk of being in fuel poverty.

Dave Watson 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Fossil Fuels

Councils run the largest public pension scheme in Scotland, and this money could be put to better use and deliver greater benefits to the wider community. Research published last year showed that 
£1.7 billion of council pension investments were in stocks and shares of oil, gas and coal companies that are driving climate change.

Scotsman 25th Oct 2016 read more »

Climate

The stomachs of cattle, fermentation in rice fields, fracking for natural gas, coal mines, festering bogs, burning forests — they all produce methane, the second most important greenhouse gas, after carbon dioxide. But how much? And how can we best cut these emissions? And is fracking frying the planet, or are bovine emissions more to blame? Until now, the world has not had a definitive answer to these questions. But in recent months, researchers believe they have finally begun to crack the problem — and the results are surprising. The amount of methane in the atmosphere has more than doubled in the past 250 years. It has been responsible for about a fifth of global warming. But it has a confusing recent history. The steady rise of emissions stopped in the 1990s. Emissions were stable for almost a decade until 2007, but then abruptly resumed their rise.

Guardian 26th Oct 2016 read more »

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Published: 26 October 2016