Power generation from the UK’s combined-cycle gas turbine fleet compensated for the low availability of nuclear and wind plant in the first half of 2010, said the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change Thursday. Gas-fed power stations–of which the majority are CCGTs built in the 1990’s–generated 79.9 TWh in H1, up 18% from the first half of 2009 despite marginally higher UK gas prices since April. Higher CCGT load was likely driven by lower nuclear generation following a series of technical problems at the UK’s ageing nuclear reactors, including 1,260 MW Sizewell B in Suffolk which has been offline since March 17. The reactor was taken offline following indications of higher than normal moisture levels within the containment building.
Platts 26th Aug 2010 more >>
French utility EDF has asked bidders to tender for the third time for the same £180m earthworks and preliminary works package at the Hinkley nuclear power station in Somerset EDF initially tendered the job, then worth about £100m, in March, before expanding and re-tendering it in May. A source said in the latest round EDF had asked all bidders to bid against ideas generated in the previous tenders. Despite the changes, at least three consortiums – Balfour Beatty and Vinci; Costain and Sir Robert McAlpine; and Kier, URS and Bam Nuttall – are thought to still be in the running.
Building 27th August 2010 more >>
People living on a housing estate near Bridgwater say they will fight EDF Energy’s plans for a park and ride. The energy company wants to build the facilities just off Junction 24 of the M5 as part of its infrastructure for a nuclear power station at Hinkley. Residents at Stockmoor Village said the area could not cope with the extra traffic and that homes had already decreased in value by up to £25,000.
BBC 27th Aug 2010 more >>
EDF Energy has promised to be a ‘good neighbour’ to the people of Sedgemoor, near the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant where the company wants to build two new reactors. In return for the power plant, Sedgemoor Council chief executive Kerry Rickards told the Bridgwater Mercury, “It’s only right and proper that EDF contributes towards the facilities at Bridgewater Hospital – we could get a bigger and better hospital than currently planned.” In addition to many local jobs and a £40 million ($60 million) per year boost to the local economy for 60 years of operation, EDF has specifically put aside £1 million for community investment. Rickards, however wants “a heck of a lot more than £1 million… We could also get more than one pool, or a much fancier pool than the one currently planned.”
World Nuclear News 27th Aug 2010 more >>
CHERYL Gillan gave her backing to future nuclear power generation on Anglesey. The Welsh Secretary paid a private visit to the existing Wylfa N-plant during a tour of North West Wales. Campaigners on the island want Wylfa’s ageing reactor to be replaced by a new generation of nuclear power plant to retain the skilled employment. Mrs Gillan said yesterday: “I am very supportive of Wylfa and always have been. It’s a very important part of the economy. I have always been excited about the energy proposals in Anglesey and I’m very supportive of keeping generating on this site.”
Daily Post 27th Aug 2010 more >>
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd is updating its workforce this week about the changing shape of the site closure plan and efforts to bring new industry to the area. The existing programme is being significantly reworked to bring it into line with an annual cap on funding from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority announced earlier this year. It will take DSRL planners until December to review approximately 14,000 separate pieces of work still to be done to complete the site closure. The headline messages emerging so far include: A reduction in the size of DSRL this year of 102 posts (93 identified so far); Further reductions of 30 posts in 2011/12 and 50 posts in 2012/13; A delay in the start of work to retrieve waste from the shaft and silo; Integration of a number of separate projects for decommissioning the site’s two fast breeder reactors; A cheaper and innovative alternative to the £100 million treatment plant and store proposed for the bulk of the site’s intermediate-level waste; Fluctuations in the target date for completion between 2025 and 2039, but likely to settle around 2032 by December, with some tightening of the timescale expected over the following 12 months.
DSRL 27th Aug 2010 more >>
As many as 180 jobs will be cut during the next three years at the company leading the demolition of the Dounreay nuclear site, it has been announced.
A total of 102 posts will be lost at Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) this year, with a further 30 jobs going in 2011/12 and 50 positions in 2012/13.
Hamilton Advertiser 27th Aug 2010 more >>
Scotsman 28th Aug 2010 more >>
A floating platform has anchored in position 600 metres offshore to begin tracking down fragments of nuclear fuel buried in the sediment using a remotely-operated underwater vehicle. The ROV is expected to search an area of seabed equivalent to 17 international football pitches, or 12.5 hectares, during the summer weather window. Last year, during a smaller scale clean-up operation, more than 100 particles were lifted from an area around a disused effluent outlet.
DSRL 6th Aug 2010 more >>
As one energy industry insider with close links to Whitehall observes, “all the intellectual spare capacity in the government is focused on the deficit and the budget cuts, and there is very little capacity left to look at other political priorities”. With the leadership fixated on the deficit, the rest of Whitehall is left to indulge in its favourite pastime of engaging in departmental turf wars – a scenario that represents particularly bad news for a department such as DECC, which is small, relatively new and requires co-operation from virtually every other department. The net result is the current energy policy stasis – a situation that is unlikely to be resolved until at least the autumn spending review is completed and probably not until next year. The CBI and the wider energy industry are unlikely to get the policy clarification they want within six months and the fears that many large-scale low-carbon projects will be delayed as a result look increasingly valid. The only hope is that the coalition’s leadership accepts the honeymoon is over, pulls its head out of the deficit sand and realises that the secret to a successful government, and marriage, is the ability to address more than one problem at a time.
Business Green 17th Aug 2010 more >>
Dr Kate Willshaw deserves a huge thanks for all the hard work put into opposing nuclear new build at Kirksanton. As night follows day it is inevitable that nuclear new build anywhere in the north west would have devastating impacts on wildlife in the Lakes and the Morecambe Bay area. The pro nuclear agenda in the UK has resulted in a nasty chain reaction – thousands of applications for uranium mining worldwide. The Kakadu wetlands of Australia are on the World Heritage List for a wealth of natural and cultural richness. Kakadu is also extremely rich in terms of uranium ore reserves. Battles are now raging to prevent ever increasing vast uranium mines.
Cumbrian Wildlife Magazine September 2010 more >>
Anti-nuclear activists are seeking to halt construction of France’s latest-generation nuclear power plant at Flamanville, on the Normandy coast, arguing that changes introduced to solve problems with the reactor’s fuel pellet cladding have invalidated the plant’s original building permit. Didier Anger, head of the anti-nuclear action committee Crilan, and a former member of the European parliament, said the bid to block, or at least delay, construction of the EPR reactor had been made in a letter from the committee to the French nuclear safety authority, the ASN. Areva, the state-controlled French nuclear engineering company, is already battling construction delays and cost overruns at both Flamanville and Olkiluoto, in Finland, where it is building the first of its EPR plants. EPR originally stood for European Pressurised Reactor, a name that Areva subsequently changed to Evolutionary Power Reactor when it sought US certification.
Deccan Herald 27th Aug 2010 more >>
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday said she is in favor of the country’s nuclear power plant operators making further financial contributions in return for longer reactor operating lives, which would come on top of a tax on nuclear fuel her government has proposed to help reduce the public budget deficit.
FoX Business 26th Aug 2010 more >>
The First Sea Lord praised Britain’s next generation of attack fleet submarines when the first vessel was formally accepted by the Royal Navy yesterday.
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope’s ringing endorsement of the nuclear-powered submarine Astute Class came amid speculation that the new vessels could fall victim of defence cuts.
Scotsman 28th August 2010 more >>
BBC 27th Aug 2010 more >>
A specially upgraded Russian Akula class submarine has been caught trying to record the acoustic signature made by the Vanguard submarines that carry Trident nuclear missiles, according to senior Navy officers. British submariners have also reported that they are experiencing the highest number of “contacts” with Russian submarines since 1987.
Telegraph 28th Aug 2010 more >>
Letter: With the inexorable proliferation of nuclear-armed countries, it is clearly vital that we continue to equip ourselves for potential future threats, both nuclear and conventional – not merely “another Afghanistan”. Regardless of where this essential expenditure falls, the truth is that, to retain “global reach and influence” this country needs both Trident replacement and aircraft carriers – not either/or.
Telegraph 28th Aug 2010 more >>