On the face of it, the UK government’s obsession with nuclear power defies reason. It’s very expensive, inflexible, creates ‘existential’ threats and imposes enormous ‘long tail’ liabilities tens of thousands of years into the future. But there is a simple explanation: it’s all to maintain the UK’s status as a nuclear WMD state.
Ecologist 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Jonathon Porritt: Every year, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report reminds me why those in the Green movement who think nuclear has a major role to play in securing a low-carbon world are completely, dangerously off their collective trollies.
24 Dash 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Rumours which have been circulating for some time that Chinese energy companies are interested in building one or more new nuclear power plants on land owned by EDF at Bradwell took a new twist this week. There is speculation that Bradwell is the preferred option following recent discussions between the UK government and the Chinese. In a joint statement, Prof. Andy Blowers, Chair of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) and Val Mainwood, Coordinator of Bradwell for Renewable Energy (BRARE) said. ‘It’s hard to credit that they would pick on such an obviously unsuitable site. New nuclear power stations with stores of highly radioactive spent fuel would spell economic and ecological disaster for the Blackwater estuary and the communities in the area. We are scandalised at the irresponsibility of our Government in even contemplating such a dangerous and inappropriate project’.
BANNG 26th Aug 2014 read more »
With wind power filling the energy gap left by shutdown nuclear reactors in the UK, and police investigating allegations of sabotage at a reactor in Belgium, the myth of “reliable” nuclear energy is being exposed like never before.
Greenpeace International 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Quite often we hear about the problem of attracting financing to support new build nuclear projects. In fact financing will be a topic of major interest at a number of upcoming nuclear conferences. While it is easy to agree that financing nuclear projects is a big challenge, in my view difficulty securing financing is not the issue – rather it is a symptom of a number of other very important issues that are the root cause. Necessary conditions to secure financing for any project is first and foremost, an economically viable project. Next comes the project structure – or to state it more simply – ensuring the risks are managed in a way that can satisfy investors that they will receive an adequate return for their investment. These concepts will be discussed further in a future post.
Energy Collective 26th Aug 2014 read more »
The cause of the New Mexico GDF accident remains a mystery.
Cumbria Trust 27th Aug 2014 read more »
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office 26th Aug 2014 read more »
In a little over three weeks, Scottish voters will head to the polls to decide whether their country should remain part of the UK, and politicians have been ramping up the rhetoric as the referendum draws closer. Energy policy has been a topic the opposing camps have repeatedly clashed over. Those wanting independence – the ‘Yes’ camp – claim the country’s renewable electricity potential and North Sea oil and gas reserves can provide cheap, clean energy for decades to come. In contrast, the ‘No’ camp claim independence could plunge Scotland into an energy crisis, with bills rocketing as the country struggles to fund its own energy sector. So what difference will the vote make to the energy future of these isles? So while a low carbon energy sector could be achievable in an independent Scotland, in theory, it looks like it would cost. If the ‘yes’ vote wins on September 18th, the new country will be likely to do whatever it takes to boost its economy. That could mean neglecting what it sees as expensive renewables in favour of supposedly cheap North Sea fuels – however long they last – with climate change commitments falling down the country’s list of priorities. Or it could mean going all out for everything available, and perhaps becoming a renewables powerhouse. Part of what makes the idea of Scottish independence so interesting is how difficult it is to know what would actually happen.
Carbon Brief 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Europe will remain heavily reliant on Russian gas for at least another decade, according to a leading rating agency. Fitch said a lack of alternative sources meant policymakers would have no choice but to continue buying gas from Russia until at least the mid-2020s and “potentially much longer”. Europe already buys a quarter of its gas from Russia, and analysts expect consumption to increase by a third by 2030 as economies recover from the debt crisis and gas-fired electricity generation replaces old coal and nuclear power.
Telegraph 26th Aug 2014 read more »
In day three of his study of the energy market, Tim Webb turns the spotlight on independent suppliers. It was strange hearing Ed Davey congratulate an energy company boss in public in April — after all, politicians love nothing more than bashing the industry. The object of the energy secretary’s affections, however, wasn’t one of the unpopular Big Six but a new breed of independent supplier and Mr Davey made a point of wishing Stephen Fitzpatrick, the chief executive of Ovo Energy, good luck. Independent suppliers — so-called because they usually do not own power stations and so buy their electricity on the wholesale market — have been obvious winners from the political and consumer backlash against the Big Six.
Times 27th Aug 2014 read more »
Politicians in the southern Dutch provinces of Zeeland and Brabant are extremely concerned about conditions in the Belgian nuclear power station in Doel, the Volkskrant said on Wednesday. Reports of leaks, cracks, poor monitoring and even sabotage have led them to raise the issue with the provincial authorities. One of the four reactors has been closed since the beginning of this month because of an oil leak, which may have been the result of sabotage.
Dutch News 27th Aug 2014 read more »
As Japan edges closer to the first restart of a nuclear plant under new tighter regulations, experts warned on Monday that it’s difficult to predict volcanic hazards and called for more debate on the risks posed by volcanic eruptions. Last month, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said the risks of volcanic eruptions around the Sendai plant — located in a region of active volcanic sites in Kyushu — are negligible during its life span. It was a safety nod that hinges on the plant’s operator, Kyushu Electric Power Co., continuing to monitor the state of volcanoes and taking appropriate measures if any signs of change are observed.
Japan Times 27th Aug 2014 read more »
The Fukushima nuclear accident will cost an estimated ¥11.08 trillion, almost double the government projection made at the end of 2011, according to a recent study by Japanese college professors. The figure includes ¥4.91 trillion to compensate affected residents, ¥2.48 trillion for radiation cleanup work, ¥2.17 trillion to scrap the Fukushima No. 1 plant and ¥1.06 trillion to temporarily store radioactive soil and other waste generated by decontamination work, according to the study.
Japan Times 27th Aug 2014 read more »
A Japanese court ruled on Tuesday (August 26) that Fukushima nuclear operator Tokyo Electric was responsible for a woman’s suicide after the March 2011 disaster and must pay compensation, in a landmark ruling that could set a precedent for other claims against the utility.
IB Times 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Reuters 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Guardian 26th Aug 2014 read more »
The floundering U.S. nuclear industry just got a bit of good news: Utah is considering building two new nuclear reactors. Blue Castle Holdings Inc. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Westinghouse that could eventually lead to the construction of two AP1000 nuclear reactors. The two reactors have an estimated cost of $10 billion and an estimated operational date of 2024.
Oil Price 26th Aug 2014 read more »
A LEAKED report came to light today from a US federal nuclear expert calling for the closure of California’s last operating nuclear plant. Michael Peck, who was Diablo Canyon’s lead inspector for five years, said in a confidential report that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was not applying its own safety rules. Mr Peck warned that no-one knows whether the facility’s equipment can withstand stress from nearby geological faults.
Morning Star 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Daily Mail 26th Aug 2014 read more »
China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has signed a cooperation agreement with hydroelectric company China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG). The two companies will work together on nuclear power projects. Under the agreement, signed on 22 August, CNNC and CTG will establish a joint venture to invest in domestic nuclear power projects. They have agreed to promote the inland Taohuajiang plant in Hunan province, where CNNC proposes to start constructing four AP1000 units between 2016 and 2018.
World Nuclear News 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Public support for the construction of Poland’s first nuclear power plant has soared to 64%, but an independent Polish think-tank warns that public debate must be refocused away from current concerns about international political crises if that support is to be long lived.
World Nuclear News 26th Aug 2014 read more »
A former Los Alamos nuclear policy expert has filed an appeal in a whistleblower case to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, arguing that the Energy Department had abused its power to label documents secret and retaliated against him for expressing his views. James E. Doyle was fired July 8 after spending 18 months trying to force Los Alamos officials to reverse their ruling that an article he published in a foreign journal, which questioned the rationale for nuclear deterrence, had diclosed state secrets. The Center for Public Integrity first reported on Doyle’s case last month.
Centre for Public Integrity 22nd Aug 2014 read more »
For decades the west has covertly supported Israel’s nuclear programme while pretending to support a nuclear weapons-free Middle East. Exasperated by this, the Arab League is spearheading a major international move to challenge the west’s double standards. On 16 June the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna circulated a request backed by 18 members of the Arab League calling on Israel to place its nuclear facilities under the IAEA’s inspection regime and to formally commit to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This Arab resolution, which has been something of a hardy annual for decades now, will also be supported by almost all Muslim states, many non-aligned states, and others. Although the IAEA cannot require Israel to join the NPT, its members can apply enormous political pressure on Israel through the IAEA’s premier decision-making body. In the meantime the Arab League Secretary General has “urgently” contacted all IAEA states, formally requesting them to support the Arab initiative. The IAEA General Conference will open on 22 September.
Open Democracy 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Renewables – tidal
A TIDAL energy scheme which secured a £50 million funding package last week is already being expanded after its developer won a £7.5m contract. Atlantis Resources is installing four seabed turbines in the first phase of its MeyGen project in the Pentland Firth, which is due to begin construction later this year. A deal announced with the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) yesterday will see Atlantis construct a further two turbines.
Scotsman 27th Aug 2014 read more »
Renewables – wind
ENERGY giant SSE said it is “particularly” disappointed environmentalists are mounting a legal challenge to its plans for a giant wind farm in the Highlands. The company said the development would provide up to £30 million of community funds for 25 years on the site in the hills to the east of Loch Ness. But the John Muir Trust (JMT) has lodged a petition in the Court of Session asking for a judicial review of the decision in June by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing to grant consent to the 67-turbine Stronelairg wind farm in the Monadhliath Mountains without a public inquiry. It was opposed by the government’s advisory body on nature and landscape, Scottish Natural Heritage, and by the Cairngorms National Park Authority. But a spokeswoman for SSE said: “This petition for judicial review is particularly disappointing given the extent of the local support for the project and its location around existing hydroelectric infrastructure. We will now respond to this legal challenge through the appropriate process,” she said.
Herald 27 Aug 2014 read more »
An advert for the government’s “green deal” misled householders by implying that energy savings were guaranteed under the scheme, the advertising watchdog has ruled. The television ad and an advertorial in the national press also failed to make it clear that consumers could be charged an assessment fee, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) did not provide sufficient evidence to prove that average property prices increased by 14% – and 38% in some areas – under the initiative, the Advertising Standards Authority said. The TV ad featured presenter Oliver Heath knocking on a man’s door and looking around his house while a voiceover said: “We’d all like to keep our homes warm and save money on energy bills this winter, but how can you find out if your insulation is thick enough to keep the heat in, or whether a new boiler could save you hundreds of pounds a year?”
Guardian 27th Aug 2014 read more »
Telegraph 27th Aug 2014 read more »
Independent 27th Aug 2014 read more »
The University of Sydney has become the first institution of its type in Australia to halt further investments in coalmining, a move likely to send ripples through the funds industry.
Sydney Morning Herald 26th August 2014 read more »
New coal power stations designed to burn Europe’s massive deposits of lignite pose a serious threat to the continent’s decarbonisation efforts, according to figures released on Wednesday. Analysts from Greenpeace’s Energydesk compiled data from the German government that shows burning Europe’s reserves of lignite would wipe out the EU’s entire carbon budget from 2020 until the end of the century. Lignite – also known as brown coal – power stations currently make up more than 10% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. Greenpeace said that if Europe is to continue to play its part in keeping the world within the internationally accepted limit of 2C of warming, 90% of the carbon contained in its lignite reserves must remain buried.
Guardian 27th Aug 2014 read more »
The climate impacts of the world’s fossil-fuelled power plants are being underestimated because of poor accounting, say researchers. Governments would get a truer picture if they included the lifetime emissions of a facility in the year it goes into production These “committed emissions” have been growing by 4% a year between 2000 and 2012, the scientists say. Power plants in China and India alone account for half of this commitment.
BBC 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Oil superpowers Saudi Arabia and Iran have warned that recent declines in crude prices will be short lived. It is an ominous sign for motorists in the UK who were hoping that recent declines in the cost of a gallon of petrol would be sustained. Iran’s Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Tuesday that the current weakness in oil prices, which have resulted in Brent crude falling by almost 13pc to a low around $100 per barrel, will soon be reversed.
Telegraph 26th Aug 2014 read more »
A new survey has revealed a ‘huge gap’ between reality and the perception of the UK public on some key climate and energy issues. The survey, commissioned by new not-for-profit organisation the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), shows a perceived lack of consensus among climate scientists, despite scientists being one of the most trusted groups in society. Nearly half (47%) of the UK population think that most climate scientists reject the idea that human activities such as fossil fuel burning are the main driver of climate change, or that scientists are evenly split on the issue. However, several recent studies show that more than 90% of climate scientists agree that the main cause of climate change is human activity.
Edie 27th Aug 2014 read more »