29 January 2017

Toshiba

Toshiba Corp. will cease taking orders related to the building of nuclear power stations, sources said Saturday, in a move that would effectively mark its withdrawal from the nuclear plant construction business. The news comes amid reports Toshiba’s chairman may resign over the massive write-down that has doomed the company’s U.S. nuclear business. The multinational conglomerate said Friday it will review its nuclear operations and spin off its chip business to raise funds in a bid to cover an expected asset impairment loss of up to ¥700 billion ($6.08 billion). After Toshiba ceases taking new orders, it will focus on maintenance and decommissioning operations, according to the sources. The company will continue work on four nuclear plants under construction in the United States that are expected to be completed by 2020. The Japanese industrial conglomerate may announce company chairman Shigenori Shiga’s resignation as soon as Feb. 14, when it reports its April-December financial results, the sources also said. Shiga once served as president of the U.S. nuclear unit, Westinghouse Electric Co., which Toshiba has said could face a multibillion-dollar loss due to cost overruns from delays in plant projects. The post of Toshiba chairman is expected to remain vacant after Shiga’s resignation. Westinghouse Chairman Danny Roderick is also set to step down, the sources said, but Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa is likely to stay on.

Japan Times 28th Jan 2017 read more »

Toshiba Corp. has decided to withdraw from the business of constructing nuclear reactors overseas after forecasting a huge deficit for its U.S. subsidiary in the business year ending in March. The Tokyo-based electronics appliance maker said Jan. 27 the decision was taken to prevent business deficits from rising sharply again in the future. “We focused on the nuclear business among all of our energy businesses, but this will change,” Toshiba’s president, Satoshi Tsunakawa, said in a news conference on Jan. 27. “This will entail a review of our overseas (nuclear) business.” Toshiba had failed to grasp huge losses that would result from the purchase of a company that was constructing nuclear reactors by its subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric Corp. Reflecting on that failure, Toshiba plans to strengthen the supervision of its overseas nuclear business by putting related divisions under the direct control of the president. In the future, Toshiba plans to concentrate only on designing, manufacturing and supplying nuclear reactors. It will withdraw from the reactor construction business because of the difficulties in forecasting construction costs.

Asahi Shimbun 28th Jan 2017 read more »

Mainichi 29th Jan 2017 read more »

Moorside

The 4th of February is World Cancer Day. Radiation Free Lakeland will be in Workington’s Washington Square from 10am to demonstrate Opposition to Moorside and Opposition to Continued Dumping of Carcinogenic Radioactive Wastes into the our rivers, seas, soil and air. Reading the press it seems that almost everything gives you cancer EXCEPT RADIOACTIVE EMISSIONS!

Radiation Free Lakeland 28th Jan 2017 read more »

Sizewell

There are growing concerns over the impact that building Sizewell C could have on one of the region’s most beautiful areas of countryside. Next week, both Suffolk County Council and the local district council will present a paper to EDF Energy about the impact of traffic and the design of the plant on the neighbouring landscape. The authorities say they need much more detail to be reassured about the proposals. The energy company insists it takes all its environmental responsibilities seriously, as Helen Keenan reports.

ITV 28th Jan 2017 read more »

Energy Policy

Amidst growing analytical interest in the spatial dimensions of sustainable energy transitions, relatively little attention has been given to the role of sub-national government, or the ways in which dominant socio-technical regimes for energy navigate diverse contexts. This paper addresses these two concerns by assessing the impacts of devolution within the UK on renewable energy development. It draws principally on policy networks analysis as the basis of a comparative assessment, examining how far the governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have translated their formal powers in the energy sphere into renewable energy outcomes. Scotland’s relative success in facilitating rapid expansion of on-shore wind is attributed to a more enduring and cohesive policy community around renewable energy growth than in Northern Ireland and Wales, but this success has been adversely affected by fragmenting policy networks around renewables at national (UK) level. The analysis highlights especially the role of planning and consenting, as mechanisms by which devolved governments have worked to contain the potentially disruptive effects of opposition to major infrastructure investments, thereby enhancing regime reproduction.

Energy Research & Social Science January 2017 read more »

Euratom

The pro nuclear organisations are panicking and showing symptoms of Brexitphobia (such as whining) as the UK prepares to withdraw from Euratom Treaty and are pulling out all the stops to reverse the situation. In the article below from the Weinberg Next Nuclear Foundation they even claim that leaving Euratom is not necessary even if the UK commits to Brexit. Research foundations and even anti nuclear assessments are included in their press release below. The question is why is the UK are leaving the treaty? One reason could be that according to the new EU radiation protection legislation just being enacted by the German Government which rolls all the present legislation into one law and next year it will include making parts of the Euratom treaty Legal and binding. A second point to note is that a new “Medical Physics Expert” (MPE) position has been accepted and that this will be an expert who will have cross boundary recognition which means that a German, Italian etc Expert checking out the UK`s compliance with the provisions of all new EU nuclear regulations (and Vise Versa). Thirdly by withdrawing from Euratom and the EU, there is another treaty that the UK is being recently queried about called ESPOO (The cross border contamination treaty). The UK is being asked to explain itself by Norway and some other countries in relation to the nuclear reprocessing plant Sellafield and the UK`s new nuclear builds. [ I will leave copy and pastes to the links to the ESPOO treaty regulation and MPE issues under the Weinberg panicking article]. Given all the above it would seem that the UK has some secrets to hide and pulling out of these treaties would be to its advantage (The ESPOO treaty 1991 states that non EU state members need not fulfill the requirements).

Nuclear News 27th Jan 2017 read more »

Trident

The Trident nuclear deterrent was blighted by problems with its navigation controls in the years before one of the missiles malfunctioned and veered off course in a secret test that was covered up by No 10. Documents published by the United States defence department show that more than £1.4bn has been spent repairing faults and modernising the guidance system of the ageing missiles. Last week Theresa May and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said they had “absolute faith” in Trident after it was revealed that a news blackout had been imposed when a missile test from a Royal Navy submarine failed in June last year. Serious questions are emerging, however, over the missile’s reliability. The Trident II D5 – which is manufactured and maintained in America – has had consistent problems with its gyro guidance system. It appears that this has been caused by a chemical reaction within its components caused by ageing since Trident II was first deployed 27 years ago. It has emerged too that a second Trident missile fired by the US navy may have failed in 2011 and was also covered up, according to a source close to the US military.

Sunday Times 29th Jan 2017 read more »

In his sober blue suit Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, was the model of reassurance when he stood before the House of Commons on Monday to attempt to dispel fears about the reliability and safety of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Fallon had been summoned by MPs to answer questions about a report on the Trident nuclear missile that had created a furore after appearing last week in The Sunday Times. This newspaper had revealed that a serious malfunction in a test firing of a Trident II D5 missile last June had been covered up by Downing Street. The cover-up had occurred only weeks before the controversial Commons vote on the £40bn renewal of the fleet of four Royal Navy submarines that carry the weapons system. Fallon made clear to MPs that his faith in the missile was unshakeable. “I can assure the House that the capa bility and effectiveness of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent is not in doubt,” he told MPs. “The government have absolute confidence in our deterrent.” The Sunday Times, however, has uncovered official US documents – which are publicly available – that suggest a less clear-cut bill of health. The documents indicate a series of issues with the ageing nuclear deterrent’s navigation controls in the run-up to last year’s failed test, when the missile is believed to have gone off course. In particular, there appear to have been problems with the gyro within Trident’s guidance system. Evidence of an earlier failed missile launch has also emerged. A Trident missile fired by the US navy may have malfunctioned in 2011 and was covered up, according to a source close to the US military.

Sunday Times 29th Jan 2017 read more »

Ministers have drawn up a new deal on the £41bn Trident submarine contract that will heap risks and rewards on BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce. Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon is close to striking an agreement that will pay the defence giants bonuses if they beat cost targets and deadlines – but penalties if they blow the budget on Britain’s biggest defence project. Military chiefs are trying to bring an end to a litany of botched contracts with the arrangement. BAE’s chief executive, Ian King, and Rolls-Royce boss Warren East met Fallon last week to thrash out the details.

Sunday Times 29th Jan 2017 read more »

Renewables

Energy analysts claim that an independent Scotland would be saddled with a £600m bill to keep thousands of wind turbines turning because Westminster would not be prepared to send “international aid” to subsidise wind farms north of the border. Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, has said a second referendum is “highly likely” in a bid to retain Scotland’s membership of the EU after Brexit. A consequence of separation, however, could be that an independent Scotland has to fully support its renewables industry, which at present is propped up with huge subsidies paid for via the bills of British energy consumers. In 2015, the latest year for which figures are available, about £600m worth of subsidies were paid to Scottish wind farms. John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, a charity set up by Noel Edmonds, the television presenter, to promo te sustainable energy technologies, said such cross-border subsidies from English and Welsh consumers to the owners of wind farms in Scotland “would not be politically acceptable in Westminster or Cardiff’ if Scotland becomes independent. It would in effect, he said, “be international aid to a developed country and extremely controversial”. Constable, added: “It is quite conceivable that this subsidy burden, currently shared by all UK consumers, would fall entirely on Scottish consumers in the event of independence.” Similar warnings were issued by Ed Davey, the former UK energy minister, in 2014 when the last independence referendum was held. He claimed average annual energy bills could increase by up to £189 in Scotland. Davey’s claims were rubbished by the SNP who insisted that both countries would wish to operate a shared all-Britain energy market.

Sunday Times 29th Jan 2017 read more »

Local Energy

THE Ayrshire mining community of Cumnock is poised to get become Scotland’s fully ‘Green Town’. The plan is to make Cumnock carbon neutral town, creating a blueprint that can be rolled out across the rest of Scotland. The plans include proposals for the community to run its own hi-tech renewable energy system – based on sun, wind and water power – and make use of cutting edge digital and smart technologies. The regeneration proposals which have been put forward by the Scotland’s Towns Partnership, and received backing from the Scottish Government and the local council. Energy and communications suppliers including Scottish Power to BT are also supporting the plans. The town, which is the birthplace of Keir Hardie – the first Labour MP – and has a population of about 1300 is considered to be of perfect size to test cutting edge rene wable technologies on a mass scale, as well as smart metres and devices, high speed communications networks, ‘passive buildings’ – which are carbon neutral – and the widespread use of electric vehicles and cycle networks. Phil Prentice, head of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said that Cumnock, which lies in a sleepy East Ayrshire backwater with poor transport links, could be transformed as the most technologically advanced town in the country, addressing issues such as fuel poverty and employment opportunities.

Sunday Herald 29th Jan 2017 read more »

Renewables – solar

The German Solar Association in Berlin has announced a new milestone has been reached with 300 gigawatts of total installed solar power capacity around the world. In 2016 there was a global deployment of solar power systems with an additional nominal capacity of around 70 gigawatts. That amounts to a jump of around 30% in new deployment compared to the previous year 2015. The photovoltaic systems installed in 2016 alone generate around 90 terawatt hours of clean solar power. In mathematical terms, this new capacity would supply 25 million additional households with an annual electricity consumption of 3500 kilowatt hours.

Renewable Energy Focus 28th Jan 2017 read more »

Fossil Fuels

The loud noises produced by the fracking industry could cause sleep deprivation, stress and heart disease in surrounding communities, according to a study by public health experts. Energy companies want to frack for underground shale gas across a large part of central Scotland. But their plans have been stymied by a moratorium imposed by the Scottish Government for the last two years. This week Scottish ministers are expected to launch a long-awaited public consultation into fracking, with a decision due on its future before the end of the year. Campaigners are calling for a permanent ban, but the industry is pushing for a go-ahead. The study, conducted by universities and research institutes across the US, found that the noise levels from US fracking operations were high enough to cause annoyance and disturb sleep. The noise could also increase blood pressure, hypertension and heart disease, it said. Researchers pointed out that noise pollution was a well-documented public health hazard, linked to depression, diabetes and learning difficulties in children. “Policies and mitigation techniques that limit human exposure to noise from oil and gas operations should be considered to reduce health risks,” they concluded.

Sunday Herald 29th Jan 2017 read more »

Share

Published: 29 January 2017