The owner of the Dounreay power plant has been told to improve by the UK’s nuclear regulator after a fire. Radioactive material may have been released in the blaze on October 7, according to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) has been served with an improvement notice by the watchdog. ONR deputy chief executive Richard Savage said the incident revealed a “poor compliance culture” and “unacceptable behaviours of personnel” at the Caithness facility.
STV 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
There are growing fears that the European Commission is delaying the building of a new power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. It’s still to sign off all the building regulations surrounding the project. Today Labour south west MEP Claire Moody will meet the Commission to try to speed up the process.
ITV 3rd Dec 2014 read more »
The government has thrown its weight behind a joint venture between Toshiba of Japan and France’s GDF Suez to build a £10 billion nuclear reactor facility in Cumbria. The chancellor has signed a preliminary deal with the NuGen joint venture to work towards providing an infrastructure guarantee to help it raise funding for the Moorside project. Speaking on the eve of his autumn statement today, George Osborne said: “We’re happy to have signed this agreement with NuGen. Investment in a new generation of civil nuclear power is part of our long-term economic plan to provide Britain with the energy it needs for decades to come. “The guarantee scheme is another way in which we can help companies to make the huge investment that building new nuclear power involves.” Most of the reactors built recently have been over budget and extensively delayed, which has made it hard to attract investors to new projects. By underwriting the financing of Moorside, the Treasury would guarantee that lenders would be paid back, significantly reducing the cost of capital to the joint venture. NuGen said it plans to make a final investment decision for the Moorside project in 2018.
Times 3rd Dec 2014 read more »
The developer of a new nuclear power plant in Cumbria has signed an agreement with the Treasury to promote financing for the project. The deal establishes a process to enable access to the UK Guarantee Scheme, which was introduced in 2012 to help developers gain external project finance to cover the upfront costs. The Moorside project, a joint venture between Japan’s Toshiba and France’s GDF Suez, could provide nearly 7% of Britain’s electricity needs and create up to 21,000 jobs. NuGen – the joint venture – and the Treasury will work together to see how the scheme can support external finance for the project, which is set to be the largest new nuclear power station in the UK. The first reactor is expected to be connected to the grid by the end of 2024, with all three providing 3.4GW of power by the end of 2026.
Energy Live News 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
The company building a new nuclear power station at Moorside, west Cumbria, has signed an agreement with HM Treasury to promote financing for the project.
New Civil Engineer 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
NuGeneration (NuGen) and HM treasury have signed a co-operation agreement which starts the process of allowing NuGen access to the UK Guarantee Scheme to promote financing for a new nuclear power station at Moorside, NuGen said today.
Utility Week 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
Government has pledged an unlimited blank cheque courtesy of the public to the same companies, Toshiba/Westinghouse (NuGEN) responsible for Fukushima. They want to build “the biggest nuclear development in Europe” here in Cumbria. Recent correspondence between Radiation Free Lakeland and NuGEN shows that the developers have been given carte blanche to drill 100 boreholes on green fields at Beckermet and Greenmoorside. Cumbria and Copeland Council have it seems, in 2012, given Planning Consent over and above the heads of Cumbrians. There are no planning consents to be found online for Moorside. But there is consent given in May this year for outbuildings at Peterburgh farm, Beckermet for conversion to holiday dwellings. This same farm would be the outer part of the Moorside site and would be demolished. Our councillors have in effect given undemocratic, most likely illegal and certainly unethical consent to three new, untried, untested and not even yet designed nuclear reactors and associated nuclear sprawl.
Radiation Free Lakeland 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
NUCLEAR power operator Horizon can start buying “major equipment” for its Wylfa Newydd development on Anglesey. The firm has signed an agreement with the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) that allows it to buy Long Lead Items, which take a long time to produce, for a reactor at the proposed new power station to replace the current Wylfa plant in Cemaes. Janet Wilson, Licensing and Permitting Director at Horizon, said: “This is a significant milestone for Horizon as it marks another step in our journey towards becoming a Nuclear Site Licensee and the construction and operation of Wylfa Newydd. Energy campaigners People Against Wylfa B last week called for island-wide evacuation drills for Anglesey incase of a serious nuclear accident.
News North Wales 3rd Dec 2014 read more »
The government should ditch plans to invest £1bn in offshore wind power and instead boost subsidies for nuclear power and “aggressively promote” investment in fracking, a new report will argue today. But the renewable energy sector has dismissed the findings of the study from the think tank Civitas, accusing the analysis of being stuck in the 1980s and ignoring the fact that many renewable energy technologies are already cheaper than nuclear power. “To speed the progress towards UK decarbonisation, the energy market has been redesigned to provide a significant subsidy to allow low carbon energy generation,” said Gaskarth in a statement. “The cheapest and most efficient low carbon form of power generation – nuclear – will receive no direct public subsidy due to the coalition government’s political preferences.” He added that the government’s wider plans to support renewables are also badly flawed. “For each green technology sponsored, the flaws remain the same: demand for the products remains low, the technologies are predicted to require significant public subsidy for a sustained period and, in many cases, a significant proportion of the manufacturing process is likely to occur abroad,” he said. The report also urges the government to select an area to store radioactive waste, because no community has volunteered to host a storage site as yet, despite the government offering financial incentives to local authorities that are willing to host such as site. However, renewable energy groups were quick to challenge many of the report’s central assumptions, highlighting that nuclear power is in reality being offered substantial financial support through the government’s new contract for difference regime and that the level of subsidy on offer is higher than that being proposed for several renewable energy sources. Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), said the report was “wholly inaccurate” to suggest nuclear is the cheapest form of low carbon energy. “Baseload technologies such as energy from waste, landfill gas and biomass are already cheaper than nuclear. Onshore wind and solar are also cheaper, and unlike nuclear, their costs are reducing and fighting it out as to who will reach grid parity first, which will happen years before any proposed nuclear station comes online. We need a balanced energy mix, and we need fact-based policy, unfortunately this report seems to miss both.” it would be a mistake for the government to “throw away” its global lead in offshore wind power, which already generates electricity for over two and a half million British homes a year and supports more than 13,000 full-time jobs.
Business Green 28th Nov 2014 read more »
Yesterday Carbon Brief attended a provocative event on energy hosted by right-leaning magazine the Spectator. The tone of the event was set by the titles assigned to panel discussions including “how broke is the UK energy market” and “does Europe have a credible energy policy”. The whole thing was best summed up by Marcus Trinick, partner at law firm Eversheds, which hosted the event. Trinick said: “There is no such thing as objective truth in energy policy. Truth is the first casualty of the discussion. Everyone has a position.” Here’s a summary of some of the discussions that took place. Failure to predict the shale revolution suggested that governments should step back from energy policy interventions, in particular giving support to renewable energy sources. Often this argument was combined with a somewhat contradictory plea for governments to invest in shale gas.Policymakers have consistently failed to get the answers right on energy policy said James Ball, independent director of US gas firm Cheniere Energy. For instance, he criticised EU targets to expand renewable energy as part of efforts to decarbonise the economy. These targets had resulted, Ball said, in “very little material growth in reliable renewables and a huge increase in coal imports”. Ball did not say what he considered to be reliable renewables. Overall however, UK renewable electricity output is up fivefold in a decade and across the EU as a whole now tops 25 per cent of total electricity supplies.
Carbon Brief 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
German energy company E.ON yesterday announced it was splitting the company in two, “spinning off its fossil fuel assets. The reason for the move? The European energy market’s trend towards low carbon energy sources and services, and the ever decreasing profitability of fossil fuels, it says. The move is being hailed as a “watershed moment” for Germany’s ambitious efforts to decarbonise its energy sector. But why does E.ON think its new model is more profitable? And why aren’t all energy companies doing the same?
Carbon Brief 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
The chief executive of German utility E.ON says it has enough money set aside to cover the cost of shutting down its nuclear plants, even after the company splits in two next year. Johannes Teyssen’s responded Tuesday to concerns in Germany that the yet unnamed new company, which will also hold E.ON’s conventional assets, could be used as a ‘bad bank’ to free E.ON from its nuclear legacy. Teyssen told reporters in Berlin that E.ON has considerable reserves and all nuclear costs are fully covered.
ABC News 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
German energy giant Eon has denied that focusing on renewables and hiving off its traditional energy operations will lumber taxpayers with the bill for nuclear waste management.
Irish Times 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
German Federal Environment Agency chief and IEA director predict more firms to switch to renewable energy generation. More companies are likely to follow the German utility giant E.ON and shift their energy generation away from coal and nuclear to renewable power, the president of Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has told the Guardian. E.ON’s surprise announcement on Monday, that it would split its operations to focus on clean energy, power grids and energy efficiency services, also increased the prospect of success for Germany’s ambitious Energiewende [Energy Transition] project, Maria Krautzberger said. Asked whether she expected similar announcements by other German firms, she replied: “Yes I do. RWE announced that they are thinking of shifting their energy generation towards renewables and EnBW is also discussing it, but E.ON is actually the biggest player so it is consequent that they are the first to make this announcement.”
Guardian 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
The chief executive of Eon says the decision to spin off its fossil fuel and nuclear generation business and focus on renewables was driven primarily by technology rather than the impact of political decisions. Johannes Teyssen says the traditional business model for utilities has “broken apart” after the transition to renewables, known as the Energiewende, was launched by the German government in 2000. A subsequent expansion of renewables, which provide about a quarter of Germany’s electricity, has pushed down wholesale prices, hitting profits at Eon, the country’s biggest utility, and forcing it to announce an additional €4.5bn in impairment charges for this year. The government is expected to call for further emissions cuts for electricity generated from fossil fuels in an energy efficiency plan to be published on Wednesday. However, Mr Teyssen says the prime agent of change is not politics but technology that lowers the barrier of entry to the energy market and undermines the position of utilities as “system guardian”.
FT 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
A month before the Fukushima catastrophe began in 2011, Greenpeace activists occupied one of Cofrentes’ cooling towers and painted “Peligro Nuclear” on its side: Nuclear Danger. On 28 November, dozens of academics and people from Spain’s environmental movement gathered for a seminar at the University of Valencia. They were there to discuss the background to the 2011 protest against the life-time extension of the aging Spanish Cofrentes nuclear power station.
Greenpeace 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
Two new reports expose the various myths used to hide the real impacts of uranium mining and to push for a nuclear renaissance in Europe. An international team of scientists and activists working for the global EJOLT project on environmental justice measured real-life impacts.
Ejolt 19th Nov 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Tokyo Electric Power Co should convene a panel of nuclear power plant operators from outside Japan to review its safety standards even if it obtains clearance by regulators to restart the world’s largest nuclear plant, an adviser to the utility said on Tuesday.Dale Klein, a former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the chairman of a third-party panel commissioned by Tokyo Electric to oversee the reform of its nuclear division, said such a step would provide additional assurance that the utility could be trusted to run a nuclear plant safely after the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant.
Reuters 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
More than three years have passed since Japan’s now-infamous nuclear power plant Fukushima Dai-ichi experienced a meltdown following an earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011. Despite receiving some of the most ongoing media coverage since the Chernobyl disaster, it has since been widely acknowledged that the nuclear waste was distributed evenly enough across the globe to avoid a serious health risk. Recent reports, however, suggest the opposite: as Japan prepares to resume operations at its first nuclear power plant since the Fukushima crisis, new information is surfacing across the globe to suggest that the health situation is graver than initial reports suggested.
International Political Forum 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
Could Germany reach its 40% renewables target 6 years early, in 2019?
Renew Economy 3rd Dec 2014 read more »
While many states are downsizing their nuclear stockpiles, Asia is witnessing a buildup. Pakistan, located in a region “most at risk of a breakdown,” has the fastest-growing nuclear program.
Deutsche Welle 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
Fortum would be ready to participate with a minority – maximum 15% – stake in the Fennovoima nuclear power plant project, provided that Fortum obtains a 75% or more ownership in the hydro assets of Russian territorial generating company TGC-1, the Finnish power producer said in a stock exchange release today. Fortum was referring to the Hanhikivi 1 construction project in Pyhäjoki in northern Finland. The company generates, distributes and sells electricity and heat, and offers related expert services. Its operations focus on the Nordic and Baltic countries, Russia and Poland.
World Nuclear News 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
Finland and Russia are to increase their energy co-operation after state-backed companies signed a deal on hydroelectric and nuclear power despite concerns in the Nordic country and Europe about strengthening ties with Moscow. Fortum, Finland’s biggest utility, said it was prepared to take a stake of up to 15 per cent in a controversial nuclear power plant to be built in the Nordic country by Rosatom, the Russian state-owned energy company. Fortum is also restructuring its joint venture with a subsidiary of Gazprom that operates hydro and thermal power plants in northwest Russia and heating networks in St Petersburg.
FT 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
CND welcomes the government’s decision to attend a landmark conference on nuclear weapons in Vienna next week. The decision is a victory for CND supporters who have sent thousands of emails to MPs urging the government to join 150 countries to discuss the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.
CND 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
A £1bn plan to build up to 120 wind turbines off the coast of Northern Ireland has been abandoned, with the developer blaming delays to new market and incentive arrangements. The First Flight Wind consortium, comprising B9 Energy, DONG Energy and RES, announced this morning that despite making “significant progress”, it would not be going ahead with the development. This marks the end of the only offshore wind scheme in Northern Irish waters.
Business Green 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – tidal
France’s emerging marine energy sector received a major boost this week, after the government announced plans to progress with two new tidal power schemes and said it would next year launch another offshore wind leasing round. A joint venture project between GDF Suez and Alstom yesterday won a call to build a pilot tidal stream project that will include four turbines with a total capacity of 5.6MW.
Business Green 3rd Dec 2014 read more »
The fracking ban that comes into effect on Tuesday in the heart of Texas might never have happened at all, if industry had not insisted on fracking beside a local hospital, a children’s playground, and the 100-year-old farmhouse that was Cathy McMullen’s retirement dream. That brought fracking a step too far. McMullen believes such overreach – typical under the Texas regulatory framework – helped turn a ruby-red Republican town against fracking. Despite industry objections – and death threats for McMullen and other activists, Denton voted by 60% to ban fracking last month. The victorious activists like to call their fight David v Godzilla, because the oil industry is so powerful in Texas. That fight is not over yet.
Guardian 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
As this year’s UN climate change conference opens in Lima, Peru, a series of unexpected political developments in recent months has created a mood of surprising optimism. But dark clouds remain. First came the UN Climate Summit in September and the huge public mobilisation which accompanied it. With nearly 400,000 people marching on the streets of New York, and hundreds of thousands more in cities around the world, the assembled leaders were warned that climate change was no longer an issue they could ignore. A month later the European Union agreed new targets to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, by at least 40% by 2030. This was followed by a remarkable joint US-China statement made by Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping in Beijing. For the first time, the world’s two largest emitters committed to work together to achieve a new international climate agreement, and announced new targets for each country. The US-China deal has made diplomats sit up. In the Middle East, Ukraine and elsewhere, multilateral diplomacy has taken a battering recently. Yet now the legally binding climate change agreement, which many commentators had regarded as impossible, looks as if it could finally be secured at the UN conference in Paris in December next year.
Guardian 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
EU says mandatory carbon emissions cuts should be set for all countries, whereas US wants individual countries to be free to adjust the scale and pace of reductions.
Guardian 2nd Dec 2014 read more »
The Obama administration’s environmental policy is deepening divisions between big businesses on climate change, mirroring polarisation among US states over an issue that will drive more legal and political conflict next year. A controversial White House plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power stations has exposed a growing rift between consumer businesses that support the proposal and industrial groups that are vehemently opposed to it.
FT 2nd Dec 2014 read more »