Questions have been asked concerning the dangers of drones flying over Hunterston Power Station, during a recent nuclear liaison meeting. With the growing popularity of drones – radio controlled flying devices which can carry cameras and take photographs and videos from the air – questions have been asked in relation to safety near nuclear sites. West Kilbride community councillor John Lamb was curious to know what the rules and regulations were in terms of the EDF owned site. There is an exclusion zone for manned aircraft surrounding Hunterston which resulted in the Red Arrows having to cancel a Viking Festival air show two years ago in the district.
Largs and Millport Gazette 26th Dec 2014 read more »
From small commercial drones for express parcel delivery to military ones used to attack terrorist suspects, the past year has seen a proliferation in the use of all types of unmanned aerial vehicles. Yet the prospect of increasing numbers of drones filling the skies poses abundant security concerns for critical infrastructure—including for the nuclear industry. Just last week, news media reported that in July a drone came within six yards of a plane landing at Heathrow airport in London. Last month, French authorities revealed that unidentified drones had breached restricted airspace over 13 of France’s 19 nuclear power plants between early October and late November. The drones are believed to have been sophisticated civilian devices costing several thousands of pounds, and the intrusions were seemingly coordinated and generally occurred at night.
Newsweek 27th Dec 2014 read more »
South Korea’s nuclear power operator said Sunday that cyberattacks on noncritical operations at its headquarters are continuing but the country’s atomic plants are operating safely and are secure from attack. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. Ltd has been intensifying its cybersecurity, President and CEO Cho Seok said. He gave no details of the continued cyberattacks or the company’s response, citing security reasons.
Japan Times 28th Dec 2014 read more »
Two under-construction nuclear reactors in South Korea have been shut down after three workers were killed while working on them. The incident occurred days after a series of cyber attacks on South Korea’s nuclear power agency and in the same week as an anonymous anti-nuclear group posted documents and operator manuals for the country’s reactors on internet. The country’s labour ministry said it was launching an investigation into whether there had been irregularities at the plant.
Independent 27th Dec 2014 read more »
Officials from every key Government department and major industries convened this summer to discuss Exercise Hopkinson – a scenario involving a widespread power cut across south west England for two weeks. The assessment revealed that current contingency plans for prolonged blackouts are based on numerous flawed or untested assumptions and need to be revised. Excerpts from a report of the meeting, produced for the Government by consultants Steelhenge, sets out problems raised across 10 key areas.
Telegraph 28th Dec 2014 read more »
Britain is unprepared for prolonged blackouts, with increased death rates, rising public disorder and high-risk criminals on the loose among the likely consequences if major energy networks are seriously damaged, a secret Government security assessment has found.
The UK’s contingency plans for severe power cuts are based on numerous flawed or untested assumptions and need to be revised, according to documents obtained by the Telegraph.
Telegraph 28th Dec 2014 read more »
A secret Government assessment, Exercise Hopkinson, has revealed how Britain is unprepared to cope with major blackouts – with alarming consequences. The report is based on a scenario in which south-west England faces power cuts for up to two weeks. How could this happen? Here is the fictional scenario that officials assessed, according to a report on the exercise obtained by the Telegraph.
Telegraph 28th Dec 2014 read more »
The Environment Agency (EA) has been accused of having a “clear conflict of interest” after an Independent on Sunday investigation found the UK regulator’s pension fund invests millions in controversial industries which it then regulates. In the UK the EA’s pension fund – worth a huge £2.3bn – invests in companies investing in fracking, incineration and nuclear power, all of which the Agency is involved in regulating. Globally, the fund also invests millions in chemical and mining companies, including diamond mining; tobacco and alcohol companies; arms manufacturers; a gambling company, as well as Starbucks which has been repeatedly accused of tax avoidance.
Independent 28th Dec 2014 read more »
Austria’s pledge to strive for the elimination of nuclear WMD kindled fresh energy and hope at this month’s Vienna Conference on Nuclear Weapons, writes Rebecca Johnson. Now we must maintain the momentum towards global nuclear disarmament at the May 2015 meeting of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Ecologist 27th Dec 2014 read more »
The dominance of the Big Six energy companies would be swept aside with the creation of a “Big Six Thousand” – community projects supplying electricity directly to homes for the first time, under plans being considered for the Labour election manifesto. The Co-operative Party, which is part of the Labour movement, will this week call for a national community energy revolution in Britain, modelled on Germany’s highly successful example of giving freedom and control to locally-owned renewable suppliers. The plan is endorsed by the Shadow Energy Secretary, Caroline Flint, and is expected to be included in Ed Miliband’s manifesto. The publication, titled The Next Generation, acknowledges the work the coalition has done to increase community energy in the UK, but says ministers have not gone far enough to break the dominance of the Big Six gas and electricity suppliers, reduce bills for households and slash consumers’ carbon footprints. It envisages thousands of small, community-owned renewable energy firms supplying local homes, renewable heat incentives, and community feed-in tariffs. Community-owned energy groups would be able to supply energy direct to residents for the first time, prohibited under current rules.
Independent 14th Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
Taxpayer subsidies for large-scale solar farms on fields where crops once grew will this week be banned because they are a “blight” on the countryside. Liz Truss, the Environment Secretary, said that the sight of “row upon row” of large-scale solar farms on once productive agricultural land “makes the heart sink”. From New Year’s Day farmers will be barred from claiming taxpayer-funded subsidies in an attempt to preserve Britain’s “beautiful” landscape and reduce the number of black panels in the countryside. Miss Truss said she wants to see Britain’s farmland “dedicated” to growing food to ensure that it fulfils its “productive potential”. She said that solar farms are “best placed” on south-facing commercial rooftops, which make up about 600,000 acres of space, where they will not “compromise the success of our agriculture industry”.
Telegraph 27th Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – biofuels
A pioneering research project to clean up a flooded Cornish tin mine is using algae to harvest the precious heavy metals in its toxic water, while simultaneously producing biofuel. If the project, which is at a very early stage, is proven to work, it could have huge environmental benefits around the world. The GW4 Alliance, which brings together the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, in collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), the Coal Authority and waste management group Veolia, is taking untreated mine water samples from the Wheal Jane tin mine in Cornwall and growing algae in them in a laboratory. The alliance is exploring whether the algae is effective in removing harmful materials, such as arsenic and cadmium, from the mine water. Researchers hope to convert the algae into a solid from which heavy metals can be extracted and recycled for use in the electronics industry. The remaining solid waste will then be used to make biofuels.
Observer 28th Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – wave
Scotland’s nascent marine energy industry is a delayed-action victim of the great recession, the head of the Carbon Trust has claimed. Michael Rea, chief operating officer of the publicly funded advisory body, told the Sunday Herald the near-simultaneous travails of Scotland’s wave power champions Pelamis and Aquamarine might have been avoided if private investors had not withheld funding in the wake of the financial crash. Rea described the fate of Pelamis, which failed to find a private buyer in a sale last week, and Aquamarine, now reduced to a skeleton staff after mass lay-offs, as “disappointing but not a complete shock”. “The investment market for early-stage development companies has been difficult since about 2007-08, and that’s exacerbated in a capital-intensive sector like marine, when it’s relatively big sums of money you need to get the technology to market.” Rea added: “I think the recession has had a big impact. It’s always great to look back in hindsight, but yes, the recession has made people think very differently about this as a sector, and if it hadn’t then things would have worked out very differently. But it did and we are where we are, and the Â¬question now is where do we go next? I think there is a case for the UK and Scottish Governments ¬focusing available funding on ¬innovations that would materially reduce the cost of the technology, and make it more attractive to the private sector to invest.”
Sunday Herald 28th Dec 2014 read more »
Replacing Hartlepool’s street lights with energy-efficient bulbs could cost about £1m less than expected. The budget for fitting all 13,644 street lights with light-emitting diode (LED) units had been £5m, Hartlepool Borough Council said. Neighbourhood services committee chair Marjorie James said the in-house team procured new units for £800,000 less. Nearly 3,000 lamp-posts that are more than 30 years old could now be replaced using the spare cash, the council said. “It should be noted that when informal discussions took place with potential private-sector providers their indicative price for a full streetlight replacement scheme was £6.8m,” Ms James said. LEDs produce more light for the amount of energy used than traditional bulbs, with less energy lost as heat. The work is due to be completed by December next year.
BBC 27th Dec 2014 read more »
Letter: THE UK government is planning to phase out the use of gas for cooking or heating our homes. This astonishing fact has been deliberately concealed from the public. It is hidden away in the 244-page report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc). Decc proposes that within FIVE years there will be the start of a wholesale switch away from gas and other fossil fuels to renewable electricity. This involves building another 55,000 wind turbines by 2040 costing £500 billion. Truly the lunatics are running the asylum. When the public realises what this government and its green cohorts are planning to do to achieve its pie-in-the-sky targets for emission reductions there will be civil disobedience on a scale never before seen in Britain.
Scotland on Sunday 28th Dec 2014 read more »