A leading group of 16 academics and experts has made a powerful plea for Scotland to have much more control over its energy policy to escape Westminster’s backing for “bankrupt” nuclear power. Energy specialists from universities in Aberdeen, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Manchester, Cardiff and London have written a joint letter to the Sunday Herald arguing that Scotland should gain control over “a large portion” of the financial incentives for renewables energy schemes. They are urging the establishment of a Scottish energy regulator to help renewables by encouraging investment in local electricity grids. They condemn plans for more energy devolution by Labour, LibDem and Tory parties as “feeble”. But they say that the changes they are advocating can be made either under independence or increased devolution. “Scotland needs greater energy powers to escape from English advocacy of economically and politically bankrupt nuclear power and to counteract declining support from the UK government for Scottish priorities for renewable energy,” they argue.
Herald 29th June 2014 read more »
Letter Dave Toke & others: We are writing to highlight the need for Scotland to have much more control over its energy policy, whether this is under independence or more devolution. Scotland needs greater energy powers to escape from English advocacy of economically and politically bankrupt nuclear power and to counteract declining support from the UK Government for Scottish priorities for renewable energy. Two types of power over energy are essential. First, a Scottish energy regulator must be established with powers that include allowing Scottish electricity networks to be more proactive in investing in upgrades in the local grids. This will allow renewable energy schemes to be set up more easily. Second, the Scottish Government should have control of a large portion of incentives for low-carbon energy. Scotland comprises one third of the British land mass and thus a sizeable share of renewable energy resources. We condemn the (so far) feeble proposals for post-referendum devolution “promised” by the unionist parties which do not include important powers, especially new powers over energy, that must form an essential part of any meaningful increase in self-determination for Scotland.
Sunday Herald 29th June 2014 read more »
Dungeness B power station has had its life extended today, after the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) approved a key safety change for the plant. The ONR – the government’s nuclear watchdog – decided to allow a change to rules which govern the special graphite bricks that line the core of the reactor. Over time, as a result of being bombarded by radiation, the bricks lose weight and can crack. The ONR strictly regulate the state of the bricks and don’t normally allow them to lose more than 6.2 per cent before they are classed as having reached the end of their life – as they line the reactors core, they cannot be replaced which means the bricks signal the end of the power station’s life. However, EDF, the station’s owner, applied to the regulator to increase this limit to eight per cent in order to extend the life of the power plant. They received word from the ONR that the limit would be increased today.
Kent News 27th June 2014 read more »
In the same week that the big guns of the energy efficiency world, including the Energy Saving Trust and the Association for the Conservation of Energy, called for energy saving to be declared a top infrastructure priority, and spending increased to a mere £4bn per year to tackle both fuel poverty and climate change, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has announced that its undiscounted nuclear waste liabilities have increased by £6.6bn to £110bn but warned that next year the total would “increase significantly” once it had fully assessed a new “performance plan” for the Sellafield site. John Clarke says it is likely that the £110bn estimate: “…will increase significantly as we complete our scrutiny of the plan and better understand the ranges of uncertainties within it. It is also clear that it may take several iterations of the Sellafield plan before this level of uncertainty can be reduced to a level where cost estimates become more stable.” In other words, we don’t know how much waste we’ve got, or what the waste is, and we have no idea what it is going to cost to deal with it. Surely the NDA ought to be making better progress than it has done over the past decade, but the least it can do is to STOP PRODUCING MORE WASTE.
No2 Nuclear Power 26th June 2014 read more »
The UK Government has announced it is investing an extra £50million towards the clean-up of the Dounreay nuclear plant. The money will be used for part of the highly-complex £1.6billion decommissioning project to ensure the Caithness site is safe. Energy Secretary Ed Davey announced the extra money on a visit to Glasgow
Aberdeen Press & Journal 27th June 2014 read more »
Pupils from East Linton Primary helped celebrate the first anniversary of the visitor centre at Torness Nuclear Power Station near Dunbar. The facility has gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months, welcoming more than 3,000 visitors and receiving a five star award from VisitScotland.
East Lothian News 29th June 2014 read more »
Since Angie Zelter asked me, over a year ago now, to write a chapter about the connection between civil nuclear power and nuclear weapons for her book “World in Chains”, I have become more and more concerned about the likelihood that nuclear weapons will spread to flashpoints around the globe.
No2 Nuclear Power 28th June 2014 read more »
Government scientists have not been able to replicate a chemical reaction suspected of causing a radiation leak at a U.S. nuclear waste dump in New Mexico, complicating efforts to understand what went wrong, a U.S. Energy Department official said Friday. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, where drums of radioactive refuse from nuclear weapons sites and laboratories are buried in salt caverns 2,100 feet (640 meters) underground, has been shut down since Feb. 14 when at least one drum ruptured.
Reuters 27th June 2014 read more »
Radiation spikes at WIPP nuclear facility — Hits highest levels since initial hours of radioactive release in February — Document link removed from official website — Gov’t analyzing samples for “potential impact on human health”
ENE News 27th June 2014 read more »
Something doesn’t add up in the energy industry. Just as the Big Six suppliers are being hauled in by the Competition and Markets Authority to probe whether they are acting anti-competitively, the renewables lobby are celebrating a green revolution.It is true the Office for National Statistics data showing that a 43 per cent rise last year in the amount of electricity produced from wind, solar and hydro is something to celebrate. But it would be stretching things to suggest that keeping the lights on in Britain can be achieved without nuclear, gas and even some coal as part of the mix. What has failed to be acknowledged by politicians and consumer champions stung by higher bills is that this revolution would not have begun were it not for all the environmental levies that Centrica, E.ON and others have been forced to charge customers for.
Independent 28th June 2014 read more »
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s nuclear renaissance involves downplaying risks, restarting reactors, building new ones, and exporting reactor technology and equipment. A number of hurdles remain before he can rev up the reactors, but the summer of 2014 will probably be Japan’s last nuclear-free one for decades to come. On April 11, 2014, Abe’s Cabinet approved a new national energy strategy that embraces nuclear power. This is not surprising given that Abe has vigorously promoted bringing idled reactors back online and is pitchman-in-chief for exports of nuclear technology and equipment. The new plan also opens the door to new reactor construction. Abe’s nuclear renaissance has become complicated, however, following the revelation in May 2014 that the government and the Tokyo Electric Power Co. had been hiding the fact that almost all workers and managers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant bolted the scene and abandoned their posts on the morning of March 15, 2011, as the crisis seemed to be spiraling out of control. Instead of remaining on the plant site as ordered, most workers fled to the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant 10 km to the south. While such actions are understandable, the mass exodus raises the question of whether nuclear reactors can be operated safely if those responsible for conducting emergency operations cannot be relied on to carry out their duties.
Japan Times 28th June 2014 read more »
Fukushima plutonium in playground 60 km from nuclear plant — “Proves that indeed Plutonium has been emitted by the accident” — Some “in the form of fuel fragments”? — Up to 14 Billion Bq of Pu-239 and-240 released
ENE News 29th June 2014 read more »
Nuclear test veterans in Norfolk are hoping a film shown to MPs in Parliament last week that outlines their experiences more than 50 years ago will finally help them get recognition for their suffering.
Eastern Daily Press 28th June 2014 read more »
Britain should delay the decision on renewing the country’s Trident nuclear deterrent beyond 2016, according to a cross-party commission led by two former defence secretaries and a former leader of the Liberal Democrats. But the Trident Commission is expected to infuriate campaigners by concluding that the deterrent is still necessary to prevent “nuclear blackmail”.
Independent 29th June 2014 read more »
Letter: SURELY the people of Scotland are entitled to know the targets of the 200 nuclear warheads stationed at Faslane. Is Russia a target? Russia, whose leader suggested dismantling Syria’s poisonous gas installations instead of bombing them, as proposed by the US? Is China a target? Is China a military threat? Or is it Iran? Until a few days ago this seemed likely as we’ve heard so much about Iran’s “illegal” nuclear programme. Now we, the West, are relying on Iran to bolster Iraq’s faltering regime.
Scotland on Sunday 29th June 2014 read more »
The cost of generating green electricity has hit a record high as subsidies are handed to expensive offshore wind farms and household solar panels, new figures show. The annual bill for consumers to subsidise renewable technologies has soared to more than £2.5bn as more turbines are built and households install panels on their roofs. But new figures show that the average cost for each unit of green electricity has also increased, hitting a record high of £66.97 per MWh in 2012-13, the most recent period for which figures are available. The figure was a rise from £54.26 the year before, despite pledges from ministers to bear down on the costs of green energy. The increase reflects the drive to build wind turbines at sea, which receive roughly twice as much subsidy as those built onshore, where wind farms have proved increasingly controversial.
Telegraph 28th June 2014 read more »
The shake-up to Scotland’s planning system unveiled last week will for the first time introduce a ban on the building of wind farms in national parks and national scenic areas, which account for about one-fifth of Scottish territory. Previously the building of wind farms was not formally ruled out in any area of Scotland. According to planning minister Derek Mackay, the Scottish Government remains “strongly committed” to wind power, but it wants to make “the right developments in the right places”.
Sunday Herald 29th June 2014 read more »