27 April 2016

Hinkley

EDF executives have been called back to parliament to explain why they have further delayed making an investment decision on a planned £18bn nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. MPs on the energy and climate change committee want to hear from EDF chiefs after the French economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, said the final decision could be delayed until September – four months later than expected. Angus MacNeil, the chair of the committee, said: “When EDF appeared before us in March, company bosses were insisting that a decision would be made in May. At that hearing, we said that we would call them back in if that timetable slipped again and that’s what we are doing now.” The committee said it expected the hearing to take place in late May. “If Hinkley does not go ahead, it could have huge implications for our future energy security and efforts to cut climate-changing emissions. We will therefore be watching progress on this closely. If we have to see EDF back here in September as well, we will,” MacNeil said.

Guardian 26th April 2016 read more »

Daily Mail 26th April 2016 read more »

City AM 26th April 2016 read more »

Western Daily Press 26th April 2016 read more »

Bridgwater Mercury 26th April 2016 read more »

Scottish Energy News 26th April 2016 read more »

Parliament 26th April 2016 read more »

Electricité de France is over-indebted, up to its neck in project delays and, as of Friday, scrambling to sell €4 billion ($4.5 billion) of new shares and €10 billion of assets to strengthen a balance sheet undermined by a collapse in earnings. About the last thing that it needs is a new €15 billion millstone around its neck. But that is what it appears destined to get. Over the weekend France’s Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, whose government owns 85% of EDF, insisted that a much-delayed plan to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in the U.K. would be approved in September. The Paris-based group’s net debt pile of more than €37 billion, combined with the collapse of energy prices, which pushed earnings down 68% in 2015, has left the company in a precarious financial situation. Without a sharp, and currently unforeseen, increase in energy prices it will struggle to maintain its current A- credit rating, maintain its dividend and meet new investment commitments to the Hinkley Point project. EDF shares tumbled as much as 8.6% early Monday before recouping some ground to trade at €11.35, down €0.89, or 7.3% by late morning. Despite the falls, Exane BNP and Jefferies International still thinks it looks expensive. Exane BNP on Monday trimmed its price target 2% to €10 per share. Jefferies said it believes the shares are worth about €7.50 each.

The Street 25th April 2016 read more »

EDF’s share price falls 11% as investors react to the firm’s cash-raising plan that will help fund the Hinkley nuclear plant.

Sky News 25th April 2016 read more »

A legal opinion by Monckton Chambers said the French government’s reported refinancing plans for EDF could constitute state aid and require approval by the European Commission. The investigation would take around a year and even then, approval is unlikely to be granted, they added.

City AM 26th April 2016 read more »

The U.K. government must lay out specific options to fill a looming energy shortfall after Electricite de France SA delayed a decision last week on whether to build Britain’s first nuclear power plant in 30 years, the opposition Labour Party said. “The letter that Amber Rudd put out last week was really concerning, because essentially she was arguing that the government’s plan B would be to find a way to meet security of supply by abandoning the climate-change commitments,” Nandy said. “That would be an astonishing position to be in just a few months after we signed the Paris Agreement.” Public support for Hinkley has fallen, with 33 percent favoring the project, according to a YouGov Plc poll on Tuesday for New Nuclear Watch Europe, a pro-nuclear industry group. That’s down from 57 percent in 2013. Those opposing the project rose to 22 percent from 15 percent. The poll of 2,049 adults also found that half said French companies shouldn’t be allowed to build and operate a U.K. nuclear power station, and 67 percent opposed Chinese involvement. Nandy also said: While research money pledged by the government for small modular nuclear plants is “really welcome,” the government must explore other nuclear technologies too. Onshore wind and offshore wind have a “significant role” to play; It’s “crystal clear” the world is on a pathway away from fossil fuels. The government should plan for that and start equipping high-school children with skills they’ll need to help develop the technologies of the future; Tidal power is “potentially very significant” and could help revive the economy of South Wales; The government needs a new plan for carbon capture and storage after it “pulled the rug out” by canceling a competition to develop the technology.

Bloomberg 26th April 2016 read more »

Energy Voice 26th April 2016 read more »

Public support for Hinkley Point C waning, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by New Nuclear Watch Europe which found a 74 per cent decrease in support for plans to build the new nuclear power station in Somerset.

Utility Week 26th April 2016 read more »

Molly Scott-Cato, the Green Party MEP for the South West, said: “Waiting for Hinkley is a bit like waiting for a delayed train. Just as you think it might arrive, the time of arrival if put back again. “Well this particular train has hit the buffers. In fact the project is completely derailed as EDF cannot build Hinkley without state aid. But getting the project back on track with government subsidy would breach EU state aid rules,” said Dr Scott Cato, who has repeatedly attacked the project. “I expect this will be the last delay announcement and that the project will be shelved in September.”

Plymouth Herald 25th April 2016 read more »

France’s energy minister Ségolène Royal has backed union demands for the EDF’s Hinkley C project in Somerset to be re-examined, write Angelique Chrisafis & Chris Johnston – adding that the project must not go ahead if it would ‘dry out’ funds needed for EDF’s renewable energy program.

Ecologist 8th April 2016 read more »

An anonymous letter from managers at French energy firm EDF brought the Tories’ plans for a new nuclear plant even further into question last week. EDF is supposed to be building the plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset with a consortium of construction companies and funding from a Chinese state-controlled firm. Both the Tories and the French Labour-type government are scrabbling to stop the complex arrangement unravelling. The letter warned EDF’s directors that they could be liable if pushing ahead with the project damages the firm. It adds to a growing rebellion in EDF against Hinkley Point after finance director Thomas Piquemal resigned last month over his concerns. Three of the main unions at EDF have opposed the plan, breaking with a history of industrial peace. One has even threatened to strike.

Socialist Worker 26th April 2016 read more »

Moorside

A SOON-TO-BE-LAUNCHED public consultation into plans for a new nuclear power station will be lacking into crucial technical detail, a campaign group has claimed. The public will be invited to give its views on plans for the three-reactor Moorside plant, near Sellafield, from next month. However, the Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (Core) group says that the absence of details surrounding the plant’s seabed cooling tunnels and marine facilities will leave the public “short changed”. Core spokesman Martin Forwood is urging NuGen – the consortium behind the plans – to extend its consultation period beyond its scheduled July 30 end date to allow this information to be included. Mr Forwood said: “Running the consultation without detailed offshore cooling system information is no better than submitting a plan for a new house that doesn’t show the external mains water, drainage and sewage systems.

Whitehaven News 26th April 2016 read more »

Toshiba

Japan’s Toshiba Corp said on Tuesday that it booked an impairment charge of $2.3 billion for the past financial year on U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse, a much-anticipated move to address lingering doubts over its book-keeping. The 260 billion yen writedown is a reversal of Toshiba’s long-time refusal to mark down the 330 billion yen goodwill value of Westinghouse despite a deterioration in the nuclear business since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Toshiba bought Westinghouse in 2006 for $5.4 billion. Investors have said that concerns over the value of the business have been a major reason behind the lack of recovery in Toshiba’s share price following a $1.3 billion accounting scandal last year.

Reuters 26th April 2016 read more »

Wylfa

Environmental campaigners will tell the Welsh Affairs Committee that the future for nuclear power in Wales is bleak. The Committee meets in Caernarfon the day before the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster to hear views from local people, many of whom are opposed to the proposal to build a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey. Friends of the Earth Cymru’s written evidence paints a grim picture for nuclear. Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, Gareth Clubb, who will be giving evidence to the Committee, said: “The costs of nuclear are gargantuan and increasing daily. In contrast, nuclear’s competition for the new energy market – renewables – are plummeting in cost. Nuclear is quite simply an uneconomic, busted flush. “You need to add in the risk of nuclear catastrophe making Anglesey permanently uninhabitable and much of northern Wales a no-go zone. The consequences of that for Wales’ people, the economy, the environment and the Welsh language would be simply unimaginable.“We’ve been asked to comment on the future of nuclear power in Wales. Our extensive research into this issue leads us to conclude that there is no future for nuclear in Wales”.

FoE Cymru 22nd April 2016 read more »

Wales Online 25th April 2016 read more »

Winfrith

Marine service company James Fisher and Sons (JFS) won a £60million decommissioning contract on a nuclear plant in Dorset. The firm’s subsidiary, James Fisher Nuclear, was commissioned by Magnox to decommission the largest of the reactor cores at Winfrith Atomic Energy Establishment (AEE Winfrith). The contract is to design and deliver a facility to segment and package the reactor core of the redundant Steam Generating Heavy Water Reactor (SGHWR) over a four year period.

Energy Voice 27th April 2016 read more »

New Nuclear

Letter Tim Yeo et al: Thirty years on from the tragedy of Chernobyl the potential of nuclear power to provide cheap, safe, decarbonised energy is not diminished. While we pause to reflect on this worst imaginable accident, we must not let misplaced perceptions of risk mean we overlook reality. Nuclear power is our safest option for the supply of baseload, low-carbon electricity. Coal power has killed more than a thousand times more people per unit of energy produced than nuclear power, including both UN confirmed deaths from reported incidents and epidemiological evidence. All new nuclear build has passive redundant safety systems and must be able to withstand the worst-case disaster, no matter how unlikely. The UK also has a clear programme in place to deal with all our nuclear waste, including the reduced volumes generated by new-build reactor designs compared to current reactors.

Guardian 26th April 2016 read more »

SMRs

LetterL Candida Whitmill, Managing director, Penultimate Power UK, I disagree with your leader “Nuclear Waste” (Apr 22). The government was sold a “best in class” new reactor, the EPR, that started out at a cost of £8 billion and was not encumbered with “first of a kind” complexities; other EPRs were at the time being built. Many years later, not one EPR has been successfully completed and it is the remedial costs of those outstanding projects that have inflicted deep wounds to both Areva, the French EPR designer, and the energy company EDF. It is a sad affair for a country that heroically built 56 reactors in 15 years. Hinkley C is just one nuclear option, though, and Amber Rudd is right to acknowledge that further delay is not a disadvantage. Private investment of millions of pounds are being invested in North Wales and Cumbria for different reactor designs. The government is also working on an additional nuclear element: small modular reactors. Built in a factory, trans ported to the site and installed underground, these will take only three years to build instead of ten. A small modular reactor industry would secure thousands of jobs for decades. We have never lost our superiority in submarine-based nuclear; it is time to take back our superiority in civil nuclear. Small modular reactors could do just that.

Times 27th April 2016 read more »

Chernobyl

Dr Ian Fairlie: Thirty years since the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl the impacts are still being felt, writes Ian Fairlie, and they will persist long into the future. Some 40,000 cancer deaths can be expected across Europe over the next 50 years, and 5 million people still living in areas highly contaminated with radiation. Yet the nuclear madness continues, with even Belarus building new nuclear reactors.

Ecologist 26th April 2016 read more »

Thirty years after Chernobyl former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev remains haunted by the world’s greatest ever industrial catastrophe, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. Now 85 and a committed environmentalist, he’s still campaigning to bring the failed nuclear experiment to an end before further disasters follow, and encouraging a clean, efficient and renewable global energy economy.

Ecologist 26th April 2016 read more »

The Chernobyl sarcophagus which has long contained the fissured reactor core is at risk of collapse, writes Claire Corkhill. The solution: build a pair of tracked arches 260m wide and 100m high, and slide them over the site to enclose it for a century to come: so creating a sealed space for robots and remotely operated machinery to deconstruct the reactor and sarcophagus piece by radioactive piece.

Ecologist 26th April 2016 read more »

Thirty years ago today, along with my then Open University Energy Research Group colleague Dr Mark Barrett, I gave oral evidence on the future of nuclear power to the House of Lords European Affairs energy sub-committee. We expressed joint skepticism over the merits of nuclear power to Europe’s energy future. We did not know it at the time, but a serious nuclear accident had occurred that morning at Chernobyl in the Ukrainian republic of the Soviet Union. A decade later, the world’s nuclear safety watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that Chernobyl was “the foremost nuclear catastrophe in human history.”

David Lowry 26th April 2016 read more »

Not a year went by without a Chernobyl funeral.

Guardian 26th April 2016 read more »

Series of events held to commemorate the tragedy, which remains the worst nuclear accident in history

Guardian 26th April 2016 read more »

A new report on the costs of Chernobyl – $700 billion – a review of the literature.

Green Cross 21st April 2016 read more »

Paul Brown: Bitter arguments rage on about the nuclear industry after the catastrophic loss of trust when the Chernobyl and Fukushima reactors met their spectacular and lethal ends.

Climate News Network 26th April 2016 read more »

If envy is a deadly sin then many of us were guilty of it last month when we congregated in Manchester, England. We were there for the Beyond Nuclear conference on the terrible legacies of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters. (The fifth anniversary of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident was March 11. The 30th anniversary of Chernobyl is April 26.) It began with a hefty dose of Mancunian envy. Manchester, it turned out, was and is “The Radical City.” On day one we visited the historic Manchester Town Hall, where presentations were made to some of the 95 city council members, every last one of whom is a member of the Labour party. Even the wonders of Germany’s wonderful Energiewende, ably articulated by Angelika Claussen of IPPNW Germany, were eclipsed once the Austrians got started. As we learned from David Reinberger, from the Vienna Ombuds-Office and Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe Network, and from Reinhard Uhrig, who is German but lives and works in Vienna with Global 2000 and Friends of the Earth, Austria is a kind of nuclear-free Utopia.

Counterpunch 22nd April 2016 read more »

One of the first indications of increased radioactivity in the atmosphere came at Wylfa when alarms were triggered by workers going into the plant. The alarm was triggered by three people who brought the radiation onto the site from outside. Staff went outside with specialist equipment and found that there were increased levels of radiation. The radiation was identified as coming from Russia, and was more than likely being dropped by the rainfall. The Holyhead & Anglesey Mail, the Daily Post’s sister newspaper, reported in 1986 despite the lessons of Chernobyl, no plans exist for the evacuation of Anglesey in the event of a major nuclear accident. Dylan Morgan of PAWB (People against Wylfa B) added: “It’s important to remember there is still a large exclusion zone around the Chernobyl station where nobody lives, and the large town of Pripyat is totally empty since the day of the disaster in April 1986.”

Daily Post 26th April 2016 read more »

The nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan occurred almost exactly 25 years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986. Analysis of each provides valuable late and early lessons that could prove helpful to decision-makers and the public as plans are made to meet the energy demands of the coming decades while responding to the growing environmental costs of climate change and the need to ensure energy security in a politically unstable world.

European Environment Agency 19th April 2016 read more »

University of South Carolina professor of biological sciences Tim Mousseau and collaborator Anders Møller of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) have spent 16 years studying the wildlife that now inhabits the exclusion zone. “As a starting point for our studies of animal populations, we took our cue from the medical literature – one of the first effects observed was the presence of cataracts in the eyes of people exposed to energy from atomic bombs,” Mousseau said. “And we found that both birds and rodents show elevated frequencies and degree of cataracts in their eyes in the more radioactive areas.” The duo’s research also showed that most animals in the zone showed diminished brain size as a result of radioactive exposure, increased incidence of tumor formation, reduced fertility and an increase in the prevalence of developmental abnormalities in birds.

The Register 27th April 2016 read more »

Motherboard 26th April 2016 read more »

In April 1986 one of the nuclear reactors at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the USSR exploded. The accident released at least 100 times the radiation of the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. In Moscow, the Soviet government was slow to admit to the accident and only confirmed that there had been a leak two days after one of the reactors exploded. Tens of thousands of people in the area surrounding the power plant were exposed to the radiation and evacuated to other towns. Most never returned to their homes. Sergii Mirnyi was sent into the 30km exclusion zone two and a half months after the initial explosion. He spoke to Witness about his experience.

BBC 27th April 2016 read more »

Morning Star 27th April 2016 read more »

Radhealth

Harvey Wasserman 30 Ways Chernobyl and Dying Nuke Industry Threaten Our Survival.

Ecowatch 25th April 2016 read more »

Uranium

Last month at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, terrorism threats and nuclear weapons were the major focus, but this summit was snubbed by nuclear weapons countries Russia and Pakistan. Whether it be from reactors or bombs, or a total absence of being able to deal with contaminated waste, or the use of so-called “depleted uranium” in war zones, the nuclear industry poses an enormous risk. Rather than pausing to reflect on Australia’s role in this toxic trade we have seen deal after deal to supply uranium, often criticised by experts.

Guardian 26th April 2016 read more »

Plutonium

Major countries in East Asia are either considering or already engaging in reprocessing spent fuel from nuclear power plants—a procedure that builds vulnerable stockpiles of plutonium. Intentions notwithstanding, the policies present serious nuclear and radiological risks.

Global Risk Insights 25th April 2016 read more »

Ukraine

The Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe may have scared most of the world off nuclear power, write Jan Haverkamp & Iryna Holovko. But mysteriously, not Ukraine, where the reactor meltdown actually took place. Thirty years on more than half of Ukraine’s electricity is still nuclear, while the power sector is dominated by powerful oligarchs. So what are the chances of a post-nuclear Ukraine?

Ecologist 26th April 2016 read more »

France

The French comforted themselves with the knowledge that their plants, unlike Chernobyl, are encased in concrete. Likewise, when the nuclear accident occurred at Fukushima in 2011, the French said their country was not threatened by powerful earthquakes or tsunamis. “This reasoning is wrong,” Pierre-Franck Chevet, the president of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), said in an unusually forthright interview with Le Monde today. “We could have earthquakes or floods greater than expected in France, acts of malevolence against a plant,” Chevet said. The electricity company EDF needs €55 billion to renovate 58 nuclear reactors on 19 sites, to extend their lifespan from 40 to 50 years. But it has neither the means to prolong their service nor the €74 billion the EU Commission says it will cost to dismantle them in coming decades. One lesson of Chernobyl was that a nuclear accident does not spare one’s neighbours. Switzerland recently filed a lawsuit over the Bugey plant in eastern France, for “deliberately endangering the lives of others”. On Sunday, hundreds of people, most of them German, demonstrated against Fessenheim, France’s oldest, 39-year-old nuclear reactor, in Alsace. The German government has long demanded it be shut down. The 2015 law on energy transition promised to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear power from 75 per cent to 50 per cent by 2025. But until renewable energy provides 40 per cent of electricity, Royal said yesterday, France will not start scaling down its use of nuclear power. “I’m not going to cut off French people’s electricity to satisfy anti-nuclear ideologues,” Royal said, calling anti- nuclear groups “obsessed”. Royal was supposed to announce a multiyear energy programme detailing plans for transition from nuclear to renewable energy, including the schedule for decommissioning aging nuclear plants, by late 2015. A second, February deadline also passed.

Irish Times 26th April 2016 read more »

Germany

German utilities should be allowed more time to pay a surcharge of some 7 billion euros ($7.9 billion) for the storage of nuclear waste from decommissioned plants, a member of the nuclear commission said on Tuesday. “Our proposal is that the utilities pay the surcharge when they start making money again,” Juergen Trittin, a co-head of the government-appointed commission, told the Frankfurter Rundschau a day before it publishes its recommendations.

Reuters 26th April 2016 read more »

A meeting between a commission overseeing Germany’s nuclear exit and four major utilities ended without a deal on Tuesday due to a dispute about how much money the firms should put into a fund to cover the costs of waste storage, sources close to the talks said. The four major utilities want to transfer a maximum of 21 billion euros ($23.76 billion) to a state-fund while the government could ask the utilities to transfer as much as 24 billion euros. The sources told Reuters there was no majority among members of the commission to approve a cap of 21 billion euros. The commission is expected to publish on Wednesday its findings on how to allot the costs of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.

Reuters 26th April 2016 read more »

A nuclear power plant in Germany has been found to be infected with computer viruses, but they appear not to have posed a threat to the facility’s operations because it is isolated from the Internet, the station’s operator said on Tuesday.

Reuters 26th April 2016 read more »

On the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, a nuclear power plant in Bavaria has been the victim of a computer virus and shut down as a precaution. Malware hit the IT network that handles the fuel handling system at block B of the reactor in Gundremmingen, in the west of the region.

IB Times 26th April 2016 read more »

Finland

Anti-nuclear protesters broke in to a construction site on Tuesday for a nuclear reactor to be supplied by Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom, choosing the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster for their demonstration. Police estimated that close to 50 protesters gathered near the Fennovoima site in northern Finland and around 40 were detained. One group broke in to the site while others lay down on the road leading to the site’s entrance, police said.

Reuters 26th April 2016 read more »

Demand Management

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, water company United Utilities and construction materials supplier Aggregate Industries have become founding partners of the Living Grid, a new demand-response ‘energy ecosystem’ which aims to create 200MW of flexible power across the UK. Initiated by sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, the Living Grid connects large corporate energy users’ equipment with intelligent demand-side response technology powered by technology parter Open Energi. Businesses can then continuously adjust their electricity usage to adapt to peaks and troughs in demand and supply across the grid, without affecting performance.

Edie 26th April 2016 read more »

A German start-up that supplies smart-heating technology to millions of SSE’s UK customers has raised $23m to help fund its expansion into new markets and roll out a remote monitoring system for household boilers in Britain. This latest round of fund-raising from the Munich-based company brings the total raised so far to $57m, making it one of the world’s best-funded smart home technology companies. Before the coming winter, SSE will use Tado’s technology to monitor and diagnose common boiler problems before sending out a technician. The technology will also allow suppliers like SSE to identify a problem before customers are even aware of it. “Because we are able to connect to the digital interface of the heating system we know up front what is going on inside the boiler – what is the water pressure, is the pump s pinning, are there any error codes showing? And this will work across any manufacturer,” said Christian Deilmann, chief executive of Tado. “So SSE can really reduce its operating expenditure because it’ll know what the problem is, which part is needed and how long it will take to fix,” he said.

Telegraph 26th April 2016 read more »

Energy Efficiency

BluGlass technology is unique in that it can produce gallium nitrades – a key ingredient in LEDs – at a lower temperature than other technologies. This, in turn, means that the devices can be manufactured at lower cost and are more efficient, and therefore more friendly to the environment because less power is consumed. The technology is also said to be more easily scaleable.

Guardian 27th April 2016 read more »

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Published: 27 April 2016