27 January 2017

Euratom

The new wave of British nuclear power stations was in jeopardy after the government announced it would pull out of a Europe-wide nuclear co-operation organisation. Ministers sneaked out the news that the UK would leave the European Atomic Energy Community, known as Euratom, within the notes accompanying the bill published yesterday to trigger Article 50, the process for leaving the European Union. Euratom was established through a 1957 treaty and plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance with international nuclear safeguards as well as establishing a European market for nuclear goods and services. The decision to announce Britain’s planned exit from Euratom yesterday caught the nuclear industry by surprise and caused concern in parts of government. Some ministers wanted to delay the announcement because of the level of sensitivity. The government said it had decided to leave Euratom because it is “uniquely legally joined” to the EU and continued membership would mean oversight by the European Court of Justice, one of Theresa May’s red lines on Brexit. However, withdrawal could cause “major disruption” according to the Nuclear Industry Association and a failure to sort out new arrangements before Brexit could have “potentially serious consequences for both existing generation and nuclear new build projects”, worth tens of billions of pounds. It is understood that Japanese-led ventures Horizon and Nugen, which are developing plans for reactors on Anglesey and in Cumbria respectively, could face particular problems because their plans involve co-operation with US nuclear companies. The US currently has an agreement with Euratom but not with the UK bilaterally. US law prohibits nuclear co-operation without an agreement. The Hinkley Point C station in Somerset could also face renewed problems. EDF, the French state-controlled developer, warned this week that Brexit could increase “the costs of essential new infrastructure developments and could delay their delivery”.

Times 27th Jan 2017 read more »

Britain has for the first time confirmed its intention to leave the European atomic energy community, an organisation that has controlled the peaceful use of nuclear energy on the continent since 1957. Explanatory notes to the five-paragraph bill to authorise Brexit that was published on Thursday, lay out that it empowers the prime minister to leave both the EU and Euratom, a separate legal entity that is governed by EU institutions. The decision has wide ranging implications for Britain’s nuclear industry, research, access to fissile materials and the status of approximately 20 nuclear co-operation agreements that it has with other countries around the world.

FT 26th Jan 2017 read more »

IB Times 27th Jan 2017 read more »

New Nuclear

THE Barakah nuclear-power plant under construction in Abu Dhabi will never attract the attention that the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in neighbouring Dubai does, but it is an engineering feat nonetheless. It is using three times as much concrete as the world’s tallest building, and six times the amount of steel. Remarkably, its first reactor may start producing energy in the first half of this year—on schedule and (its South Korean developers insist) on budget. That would be a towering achievement. In much of the world, building a nuclear-power plant looks like a terrible business prospect. Two recent additions to the world’s nuclear fleet, in Argentina and America, took 33 and 44 years to erect. Of 55 plants under construction, the Global Nuclear Power database reckons almost two-thirds are behind schedule (see chart). The delays lift costs, and make nuclear less competitive with other sources of electricity, such as gas, coal and renewables. Not one of the two technologies that were supposed to revolutionise the supply of nuclear energy—the European Pressurised Reactor, or EPR, and the AP1000 from America’s Westinghouse—has yet been installed, despite being conceived early this century. In Finland, France and China, all the EPRs under construction are years behind schedule. The main hope for salvaging their reputation—and the nuclear business of EDF, the French utility that owns the technology—is the Hinkley Point C project in Britain, which by now looks a lot like a Hail Mary pass. Meanwhile, delays with the Westinghouse AP1000 have caused mayhem at Toshiba, its owner. The Japanese firm may announce write-downs in February of up to $6bn on its American nuclear business. As nuclear assets are probably unsellable, it is flogging parts of its core, microchip business instead.

Economist 28th May 2017 read more »

Sizewell

There is a consultation going on for three new reactors in Suffolk. These would be next to the already dangerous situation at Sizewell. There is a letter below from Radiation Free Lakeland – please feel free to use this for ideas to write your own objection.

Radiation Free Lakeland 26th Jan 2017 read more »

We must point out in the first instance that TASC is opposed to the construction of Sizewell C. Some of the reasons we are opposed to the building of SZC are as follows: a) The area to be used for the development of SZC is in an AONB designated for its landscape qualities. b) SZC is to be situated on the Suffolk Heritage Coast. The area has many other environmental designations which have received little or no attention from EDFE. c) It is suggested by EDFE that there is mitigation for the loss of part of the SSSI however we contest this statement. Aldhurst Farm Habitat Creation does not recompense for the loss of Sizewell Belts SSSI d) The geographical site for SZC is in a very sensitive rural location on an eroding coast, with poor transport links, in an area which depends heavily on tourism for the best part of its economy. Many people visit the area because of the peace and tranquillity they find here. e) We believe the development, with two reactors and their chimney stacks, is far too large. They will dominate, spilling over to the east and west and will be too high in the low-lying coastal scene, creating an unacceptably prominent industrial appearance. f) The Access Road to service the development severs the AONB and the corridors for wildlife. g) The lay-up area and the batching plant are again situated in the AONB in a very sensitive site. h) We believe it will decimate the Tourist Trade which is of essential economic value to the area. It will take many years to recover. i) There is a serious risk of coastal erosion. If the site is protected from the sea there will be a knock on effect elsewhere on the coast. j) We are concerned about the amount of potable water SZC will need in this dry area of East Anglia

Together Against Sizewell C 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Labour politicians in an east Suffolk town want the maximum number of construction jobs possible to go to local people if the Sizewell C nuclear power station is built. They believe this would help to reduce the size of the controversial accommodation campus to be built near Eastbridge to house around 2,400 workers, and give a bigger boost to the local economy with permanent residents and their families likely to spend more money in the area.

East Anglian Daly Times 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Condemnation of the way the Suffolk coast’s nationally designated and widely treasured landscape is treated in EDF Energy’s latest Sizewell C consultation has been delivered by the protected area’s managers. The Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership – which includes more than 20 organisations – has revealed it is “extremely disappointed” that the consultation makes “minimal reference” to the designation of a sensitive, economically important, tourism-generating landscape that would severed for up to 12 years while the multi-billion pound nuclear power station was being built.It accuses EDF of seeking to minimise or “even perhaps undermine” the significance of the AONB’s designation.

East Anglian Daily Times 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Moorside

The company behind plans to bring nuclear new build to Cumbria has met local officials and councillors to discuss its scheme. NuGen – which wants to develop a plant at Moorside, near Sellafield – met officials from Government departments, Copeland Borough Council, Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria County Council, as well as elected members of the three authorities. The second stage of the company’s public consultation on plans for the Moorside project ended in July 2016 with more than 3,000 people visiting 34 public exhibition events over an 11-week period, which resulted in more than 1,200 pieces of feedback.

Carlisle News and Star 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Whitehaven News 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to say if he supports the creation of a new nuclear power station at Moorside in west Cumbria. As campaigning for the Copeland by-election gathers momentum, he told ITV Border’s Dan Hewitt that he supported nuclear power as part of the future energy mix, but he would not commit to the idea of any new development in the constituency. The nuclear industry is a major employer in West Cumbria. If Nugen’s proposal to build the nuclear power station at Moorside goes ahead, it would create around 21,000 jobs. The exchange was recorded as part of an interview with the Labour leader ahead of the Copeland by-election:

ITV 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Jeremy Corbyn refuses five times when asked by ITV to say if he supports the building of a new nuclear power plant at Moorside in Copeland, creating 21,000 jobs.

Guido Fawkes 26th Jan 2017 read more »

THE Green Party has announced its candidate to stand in the upcoming Copeland by-election, opposing nuclear power and cuts to hospital services. Jack Lenox, from Keswick, will contest the parliamentary seat on Thursday February 23. The software engineer says he is opposed to nuclear power and instead wants greater investment in renewable energy.

NW Evening Mail 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Since the Copeland byelection was called, speculation has been rife about the damage Jeremy Corbyn’s nuclear stance could do to Labour’s chances. But while the Tories have been quick to exploit this, they have been much slower to wake up to their own nuclear problem. And it’s one which has the potential to swing the outcome of next month’s vote. The Sellafield nuclear site employs around 10,000 people in the Copeland area, with many more in the supply chain. A union member working at the site says you would need to multiply that number three or four times to get a good idea of the number of local people directly linked to it so it’s little wonder that nuclear is expected to play a major role in the byelection. Unions say that changes to the workers’ final salary pension scheme, which have been proposed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), could see pensions slashed by thousands of pounds. After a meeting with government ministers yesterday, unions announced that a planned strike ballot would be put on hold while talks continue. But the issue has by no means gone away.

Politics 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Wylfa

Anti-nuclear campaigners have accused Natural Resources Wales of carrying out an “insulting” consultation over designs for a new reactor on Anglesey. Hitachi-GE wants to build a new type of reactor at Wylfa, with a UK stakeholder meeting over the design held in Birmingham last month. Wylfa opponents say a similar meeting run by NRW is not public – and only open to invited guests. But NRW said it is holding a series of public drop-in sessions on the island. However, the campaign group People Against Wylfa B (Pawb) described the individual meeting “for a small number of invitees” being held at the old Wylfa power plant site next Monday as “an affront to democracy”. “This is totally unacceptable. On a matter as important as this, it is an insult to the people of Ynys Môn (Anglesey) and north Wales,” said Dylan Morgan, from Pawb. “To add insult to injury, it is intended to hold the meeting in a room on the Wylfa Magnox site which is far from being a neutral venue and reinforces the perception that Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government are dancing to the nuclear industry’s tune.”

BBC 27th Jan 2017 read more »

Bradwell

Bradwell site hosts one of British science’s pioneering Magnox nuclear reactor designs from the 1950s. Eleven of these power stations delivered electricity into homes and businesses across the UK, safely keeping the lights on for many decades and paving the way for the subsequent reactor designs that still operate today. It is 15 years since Bradwell, on the Essex coast, stopped generating electricity. The defueling process – removing tens of thousands of spent fuel elements – was completed just over 10 years ago. Defueling removes 99% of the radiological hazard. Since then, Magnox teams at Bradwell site have worked to drain and clear its fuel cooling ponds, as well as transfer radioactive waste to modern stores. All this work will culminate in 2019 with the reactors and waste stores being sealed (becoming “safestores”), and then the site will be kept in a passively safe and secure state for a great number of years. Eventually, these remaining structures will also be cleared.

NDA 16th Jan 2017 read more »

Hinkley

Stop Hinkley Demands Permanent Closure Of Hinkley Point B. A recent report, published by Green MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, has shown that EDF Energy has requested that the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) relax safety standards by doubling the number of cracks allowed in radioactive cores of ageing reactors like Hinkley Point B.

Blue & Green Tomorrow 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Somerset County Council has today said the Bridgwater traffic nightmare created by EDF Energy road works linked to Hinkley Point is improving. The road works have seen the town at near gridlock during rush hours for three days, leading to an opposition councillor calling for the work around the Drove and Bristol Road to stop.

Somerset Live 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Nuclear Archive

A unique archive housing records from the earliest days of the UK’s nuclear industry is gearing up to open next month. Located near former nuclear power station Dounreay in Caithness, the Highlands, the facility, named Nucleus (The Nuclear and Caithness Archives), will bring together a vast collection of records, plans, photographs and drawings from sites around the UK. The £21 million investment by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will also house historic Scottish material from the Caithness Archives, with records dating back to the 16th century. Records from Dounreay, which is being decommissioned, will be the first nuclear collection transferred to Nucleus from the NDA’s 17 sites. Sellafield alone has more than 80,000 boxes of archived records in off-site storage, plus material on site and in various offices – estimated as stretching, if laid out, to more than 120km worth of paperwork. The archive will also fulfil an important role for the future geological disposal facility (GDF) that is being developed for the UK, acting as a central repository for detailed waste records that must be safeguarded for many generations.

Herald 26th Jan 2017 read more »

China

China’s rapid nuclear expansion program is expected to account for nearly three-quarters of the global increase in nuclear generation by 2035, according to the latest Energy Outlook from oil and gas giant BP. BP says that while the world economy will almost double between 2015 and 2035, energy demand will increase by only around 30%. Energy consumption, it says, is expected to grow less quickly than in the past: 1.3% per year in the 2015-2035 period, compared with annual growth of 2.2% in 1995-2015. The latest Energy Outlook expects oil, gas and coal to remain the dominant sources of energy, accounting for more than three-quarters of total global energy supplies in 2035, down from 85% in 2015.

World Nuclear News 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Czech Republic

Jan Mládek, the Czech Republic’s trade and industry minister, announced yesterday the creation of three working groups of the Standing Committee for Nuclear Energy. The three will each be responsible for financial, legal and technical-investment strategies. In a statement on the ministry’s website, Mládek said the move would give “new impetus” to the implementation of the State Energy Policy (SEP) for the development of nuclear energy agreed by the government in 2015.

World Nuclear News 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Renewables

Wind and solar energy is set to power music recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios thanks to a deal struck this week between Universal Music UK and renewable electricity supplier Ecotricity. The agreement will see Ecotricity provide energy powered by wind turbines and solar arrays to four of Universal Music UK’s key London sites, including its Kensington High Street HQ and Abbey Road Studios – the world’s oldest purpose-built recording studio, famed for the eponymous album produced there by The Beatles. Ecotricity has overseen several projects in recent months, including an on-site NHS wind turbine and “hybrid” wind parks. Earlier this year, the company gained planning permission to create some of the first hybrid energy parks in Britain, by combining current wind farms with two new “sun parks” in Devon and Leicestershire respectively. The energy supplier plans to build a 100-acre sports and green technology ecopark next to the M5, which could create more than 4,000 jobs in the emerging green economy. It also recently agreed a deal to purchase 3.1 million additional shares in rival renewable energy supplier Good Energy, increasing its stake in the company from 5.58% to 24.85%.

Edie 26th Jan 2017 read more »

This week, the government announced their new industrial strategy. Well, almost. What they’ve actually done is announce a plan for their new industrial strategy. It’s focused on ten different ‘pillars’ they feel are important to drive forward our industry. Theresa May hopes this will boost the British economy and ensure we deliver ‘long term, sustainable success’. Sustainable? That sounds great Theresa, yes please. This strategy is an exciting opportunity. No, really. We’ve spent too long separating energy from industry and as a result, it’s all been a bit hodge podge. This new cohesive approach is a chance to bring our energy system into the 21st century, securing the upgrades it needs and setting us on the low carbon path we all want. So, how can we make the most of this? Well the ten pillars offer a wealth of opportunity for our favourite two energy sources, onshore wind and solar power, to thrive. Here’s how:

10:10 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Renewables – offshore wind

A new report has shown the cost of UK offshore wind power has fallen below the joint UK Government and industry target of £100 per megawatt-hour four years ahead of schedule, putting offshore wind on target to become one of the cheapest large-scale clean energy sources.

Renew Economy 27th Jan 2017 read more »

The offshore wind industry has received a treble boost this week as MHI Vestas unveiled what it describes as ‘the world’s most powerful turbine’, leading marine energy developer Atlantis Energy expanded its plans to move into the floating turbine market, and US officials gave the go-ahead for the country’s largest offshore wind farm to date. MHI Vestas today announced it has “smashed” the 24 hour power generation record for a single turbine using its new model, which uprates its current 8MW turbine so that it can deliver 9MW of capacity at certain sites.

Business Green 26th Jan 2017 read more »

Renewables – solar

With the advent of $1.00-per-watt (DC) pricing for utility fixed-tilt PV systems, the solar industry has crushed the SunShot Program’s $1.00-per-watt goal for 2020 three years early. In early 2011, Steven Chu, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (and a scientist), along with Dick Swanson, founder of SunPower, christened the DOE’s SunShot initiative. Swanson cited DOE’s early support of SunPower as a factor in SunPower’s success. At the time, $1.00 per watt seemed more aspirational than real — but one needs a North Star. The intrepid analysts at GTM Research were tracking utility solar at close to $4.00 per watt in early 2011.

Green Tech Media 25th Jan 2017 read more »

Climate

Prime minister Theresa May must challenge President Donald Trump’s “contempt” for environmental protection and urge him to remain in the global agreement to fight climate change, according to MPs from across the UK’s political parties. May will meet Trump on Friday in Washington DC and has been warned by MPs that the US president’s approach to global warming could determine whether or not people around the world suffer the worst impacts of climate change, such as severe floods, storms and heatwaves. Mary Creagh MP, EAC chair, said: “The prime minister should start by telling him climate change is not ‘a hoax’. We’re urging her to impress upon President Trump the importance of global action to tackle this global problem and to continue the US commitment to the Paris agreement.” Caroline Lucas, a Green Party MP, said: “Donald Trump’s first few days as president have revealed his contempt for environmental protection. Failing to bring up climate change with him would be a dereliction of duty from Theresa May.” Ed Miliband MP, a former leader of the Labour Party challenged May in the House of Commons on Wednesday: “As the first foreign leader to meet President Trump, the prime minister carries a huge responsibility on behalf of, not just of this country, but the whole international community in the tone that she sets. Can I ask her to reassure us that she will say to the president that he must abide by, and not withdraw from, the Paris climate change treaty?” May replied: “The Obama administration signed up to the Paris climate change agreement, and we have now done so. I would hope that all parties would continue to ensure that that climate change agreement is put into practice.”

Guardian 27th Jan 2017 read more »

Fossil Fuels

Unfashionable, unloved and unpopular, but still one of the best performing commodities of the last 12 months. Thermal coal, used to generate electricity in power stations, roared back to life last year after the Chinese government imposed production curbs in an attempt to lift the profitability of heavily-indebted domestic miners. Its spectacular recovery caught almost everyone by surprise – even Glencore, the savvy commodity trader and producer. It missed out on hundreds of millions of dollars in potential profits after locking in prices before the surge. During 2016, the benchmark price for Asia – thermal coal shipped from the Australian port of Newcastle – more than doubled and briefly traded above $100 a tonne for the first time since in five years. The price has fallen back to $82, a level many analysts and investors reckon the much-maligned fossil fuel will struggle to hold.

FT 27th Jan 2017 read more »

Surge in renewables generation, alongside rebooted nuclear and crash in coal use spell cleanest energy system on record for UK, new BEIS data reveals. The UK’s energy system may still be dominated by fossil fuels, but it has never been less reliant on carbon intensive energy at any point in its modern history, according to new data released today by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). In the third quarter of 2016 UK dependency on fossil fuels fell two per cent year-on-year to 78.7 per cent, down from almost 88 per cent at the beginning of 2013.

Business Green 26th Jan 2017 read more »

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Published: 27 January 2017