Daily News Roundup

28 May 2013

Torness

EDF Energy reconnected its 640 megawatt Torness 2 nuclear plant to the national transmission network following an unplanned outage last week, data on Tuesday showed.EDF Energy took both reactors offline at Torness on Friday to prevent seaweed from entering the facility’s cooling system.The Torness 1 nuclear power plant remained offline, output data from National Grid showed.

Reuters 28th May 2013 read more »

The nuclear power station at Torness in Scotland was temporarily shut down by seaweed last week. The unusual cause of the shutdown came in the wake of severe weather and stormy sea conditions in the coastal region to the east of Edinburgh. EDF Energy which runs the plant said they decided to turn off first one, then a second unit on Thursday night and Friday morning at because of the “increased seaweed levels”.

Energy Live News 28th May 2013 read more »

Torness is situated just five miles from Dunbar, celebrated 25 years of generating electricity on Saturday. Its proponents maintain it is an economical, safe and clean form of energy – something people now have a chance to see for themselves. For more than a decade, the station has been closed off to the public amid heightened security concerns following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America. After getting the green light to once again open its doors to the public, it is now offering tours of the site.

Scotsman 27th May 2013 read more »

Radwaste

The mayor of Sarnia, Ont., is rallying opposition to Ontario Power Generation’s plan to store nuclear waste underground on the shores of Lake Huron. The proposed site in Kincardine, Ont., would not contain high-level nuclear waste, such as spent fuel. Instead, it would contain low-level waste, such as protective clothing worn by workers or mops and towels used to wipe up spills of contaminated water. According to Ontario Power Generation, the “deep geologic repository” would be located 680 metres below ground, “in stable rock formations over 450 million years old.”

CBC 27th May 2013 read more »

Radhealth

A batch of metal-studded belts sold by online fashion retailer Asos have been hurriedly withdrawn from sale after they were found to be radioactive. The peplum leather belts, which have a ruffle attached, could cause injury to the wearer if worn for more than 500 hours, according to an internal report by the retailer. They are being held in a radioactive storage facility after testing positive for Cobalt-60. The report, called Project Purple Flower and seen by the Guardian, said one of the brass-studded belts was pulled by US border control and tested positive. It led to a worldwide recall of the items, with 49 sold across 14 countries, but it is not known how many have been returned. The report said: “None of these belts are suitable for public use or possession.” It added: “Unfortunately, this incident is quite a common occurrence. India and the far east are large consumers of scrap metal for their home and foreign markets. During the refining process of these metals, orphaned radioactive sources are sometimes accidentally melted at the same time. This in turn [contaminates the process] and traps the radioactivity in the metal as an alloy or in suspension.”

Guardian 27th May 2013 read more »

Energy Supplies

The Big Six energy suppliers are pressing the government to support gas-fired power, warning that without it the UK could face a shortfall in generating capacity. EnergyUK, which represents the big power companies such as Centrica, EDF Energy and RWE npower, said ministers should move faster on plans for a capacity market to encourage investment in new gas-fired power stations. In a letter to Ed Davey, energy secretary, Angela Knight, head of EnergyUK, said a decision on a capacity mechanism was “urgently needed” to avoid further uncertainty and risk. “It is essential that market participants are given clarity on future market arrangements,” she said. The rules defining them “should be agreed as quickly as possible”. About one-fifth of UK generating capacity is due to close over the next decade, much of it old coal plants that do not conform to tough EU environmental standards. Plans to replace them with new nuclear reactors and offshore wind farms have been delayed because of uncertainty over government policy and fallout from the economic crisis.

FT 27th May 2013 read more »

Japan

Although Japan has made progress towards stabilizing the damaged reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crippled by a devastating earthquake two years ago, there are still issues to be resolved before it can begin its deactivation, the United Nations atomic agency said in a report released today. The report was released after an expert team from the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) completed an initial review of Japan’s efforts to implement a Mid-and-Long-Term Roadmap to decommission the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The visit was the first of what is planned to be a two-mission review, at the request of the Japanese Government.

RINF 27th May 2013 read more »

South Korea

South Korea’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) has temporarily suspended operations at two of its nuclear reactors and postponed the start of two more reactors in the country, following an allegation involving supply of fake parts. As part of its precautionary step and investigation, NSSC, is halting operations at nuclear reactors or is delaying the start and restart of new and old nuclear reactors, after it was discovered that parts were supplied to nuclear plants under fake certificates. The latest development will lead to 10 of 23 nuclear go offline for various reasons, reported AFP. Electricity generated from the nuclear plants cover over 35% of the total national electricity needs.

Energy Business Review 28th May 2013 read more »

BBC 28th May 2013 read more »

North Korea

Last Wednesday, North Korea sent a senior envoy to China to address the growing rift between Pyongyang and Beijing. Choe Ryong-hae, a vice-marshal and director of the General Political Bureau in the North Korean People’s Army, met with high-level Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping, during a three-day visit. In order to mend relations, Choe delivered a personal letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to Xi that emphasized “the need to carry forward and consolidate the traditional DPRK [North Korea]-China friendship.” But in an unusually public and strongly-worded message, Xi reportedly told Choe: “The Chinese position is very clear: no matter how the situation changes, relevant parties should all adhere to the goal of de-nuclearization of the peninsula, persist in safeguarding its peace and stability, and stick to solving problems through dialogue and consultation.”

RINF 28th May 2013 read more »

Trident

Nick Clegg and David Cameron spent much of last week reassuring voters that the coalition will continue until 2015 as they sought to reassert their control at the top of government after a string of internal rows. But if they thought the toughest moments for the coalition were behind them, they were wrong. The two parties now look set to walk straight into a dispute over one of the most controversial elements of government policy: the Trident weapons system. Now that review is about to be published, and it looks set to trigger another round of coalition infighting. To the dismay of the Lib Dems, it will say that no other alternative to Trident would save money. Reducing the number of submarines from four to three, and maybe even down to two, which would mean an end to the idea that Britain always has a nuclear warhead at sea and ready to be deployed – the constant at-sea deterrent. One person close to the review says moving to two ships would save up to £5bn in immediate capital costs, and another £1bn a year through employing fewer crew and having to carry out less maintenance work. But more importantly, say Lib Dems, it would also provide a tangible sign that Britain remains committed to nuclear disarmament.

FT 27th May 2013 read more »

Britain will have to continue with the submarine-launched Trident weapons system, the long-awaited Whitehall review into the UK’s deterrent has concluded after officials rejected other options. Other radical proposals – with missiles launched from land, air or multipurpose submarines – are either more expensive or more impractical than the current system, the Alternatives Review, to be published next month, has found. The finding threatens to provoke a showdown in the cabinet because the Liberal Democrats have long proposed a cheaper alternative to Trident. However, the report does present a scaled-down version of Trident as an option, opening up significant savings but potentially ending the permanent “at-sea” deterrent. The Lib Dems are planning to seize on this to challenge the Conservatives, who have long argued that Britain must pay the £20bn capital cost for a full li ke-for-like replacement of the current system.

FT 27th May 2013 read more »

Renewables

It is home to some of the best renewable resources in Europe, but efforts to revitalise the economy of the Western Isles through the green-energy revolution hang in the balance because of the intransigence of the power giant SSE, a leading local politician says.

Now there are calls for the industry’s regulator to remove from the company responsibility for a £700 million sub-sea cable across the Minch, which has been more than ten years in planning. The project is seen as crucial in allowing the developers of major schemes, such as wind farms and wave power projects, to export their electricity to populated mainland regions. The costs of the new cable have risen from an initial estimate of £440 million, and a projected construction start of 2014, to £700 million and an anticipated start date of no sooner than 2017.

Times 28th May 2013 read more »

A council leader is calling for the undersea interconnector between Lewis and the mainland to be opened up to tender, according to a report in the Times, as trust in SSE has broken down.

Utility Week 28th May 2013 read more »

The ownership of land in Scotland remains deeply inequitable and the new landed income from wind power entrenches that inequality. If landowners are gaining financial rewards from renewables while a growing number of households are living in fuel poverty, then the strong case for re-examining land reform to ensure the financial benefits of renewables are shared more equitably is strengthened further.

Scotsman 27th May 2013 read more »

Examples from around the world where high renewables are already becoming a reality, and a look at the work RMI is doing to make a high renewables a broader reality in the US and beyond.

Renew Economy 28th May 2013 read more »

Germany’s economy ministry has officially told the European Commission it does not back the imposition of punitive import duties on solar panels from China.

Reuters 27th May 2013 read more »

FT 27th May 2013 read more »

A majority of EU governments opposed a plan to impose hefty duties on solar panel imports from China, undermining efforts by Brussels to pressure Beijing over its trade practices.

Telegraph 27th May 2013 read more »

Climate

China is looking at introducing tough controls on its carbon pollution as soon as 2016, in a shift that could boost talks on a global agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, an official at the heart of state carbon policy has said. China, which accounts for nearly a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions, has resisted international pressure to commit to absolute cuts in its emissions, which are the world’s highest. Instead, it has said it will lower its “carbon intensity”, or emissions relative to economic output. However, the powerful economic planning ministry is considering an outright cap on emissions for its next five-year plan (2016-20) and is studying what level would be appropriate, Jiang Kejun said. That could help to break a deadlock at the heart of UN climate talks, which are aiming to agree a legally binding global deal on cutting emissions – at a 2015 meeting in Paris – that would take effect from 2020.

FT 27th May 2013 read more »

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Published: 28 May 2013
Last updated: 1 June 2013