Greenpeace and nine German and Austrian utilities selling renewable energy said on Thursday they are launching legal action against state aid for a new British nuclear power plant, which was approved by the European commission. Greenpeace and the others in the group said at a news briefing that the lawsuit would be filed with the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in the coming days, over the Hinkley Point C project in south-west England. It would be based on the argument that billions of euros of subsidies for nuclear energy would distort prices in mainland European power markets, which are linked to those in Britain via a small French interconnector. “We are complaining against these boundless nuclear subsidies, because from an ecological and macro-economic viewpoint, they appear senseless and bring substantial financial disadvantages for other energy suppliers, renewable energies and for consumers,” said Soenke Tangermann, managing director of the Greenpeace Energy co-operative.
Guardian 2nd July 2015 read more »
An alliance of 10 German renewable energy suppliers is taking legal action against the state aid awarded for Hinkley Point C, which was approved by the European Commission. Greenpeace Energy, Energieversorgung Filstal, Austrian energy producer Oekostrom AG, and the municipal utilities of Aalen, Bietigheim-Bissingen, Bochum, Mainz, Muhlacker, Schwabisch Hall and Tubingen are jointly lodging an appeal against the decision to award subsidies amounting to more than €100 billion for the new nuclear power plant.
Professional Engineer 2nd July 2015 read more »
500 copies of this leaflet were handed out to people entering and leaving the Treasury building in London, on Tuesday 30th June and Thursday 1st July 2015.
Kick Nuclear 2nd July 2015 read more »
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has issued a call for evidence, asking for contributions on how communities can become involved in the siting process for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The call will be open from 1 July to 4 September 2015.
RWM 1st July 2015 read more »
Cumbria Trust 3rd July 2015 read more »
Nuclear Police – Hunterston
A failure to follow procedures has been blamed for the accidental firing of a taser in a Scottish nuclear plant. The incident happened at a locker room at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) station within the Hunterston B power station in North Ayrshire on 7 March. It was referred to Kate Frame, Police Investigations and Review Commissioner. She concluded: “The incident would not have happened if practice and procedures for the safe storage of weapons had been followed.”
BBC 2nd July 2015 read more »
The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) faces cuts of 90% to its staff budgets within three years, threatening the government’s ability to tackle climate change and move the energy supply to cleaner sources, according to an expert analysis. Former energy secretary Ed Davey told the Guardian that cutting Decc’s head count so dramatically would damage economic growth and undermine private investment. The finding by the politically-neutral environmental thinktank the Green Alliance came as eight leading energy academics wrote to Oliver Letwin, the minister in charge of the cabinet office, to express concern that the cuts could undermine the UK’s ability to deliver climate policy. Ring-fencing of health, education and development budgets means other departments face an average cut of 11.6% over the next five years, with the steepest cuts expected at the start of the parliament. Green Alliance estimated that once officially and unofficially protected spending was taken into account – including nuclear cleanup costs, liabilities over old coal and capital spending – cuts would leave the department with just £40m by 2018-19 for so-called resource spending, which largely consists of staff costs. That budget is £402m in 2014-15.
Guardian 3rd July 2015 read more »
According to the International Energy Agency in their most recent World Outlook the amount of money required to meet energy needs over the next twenty five years is $51tn. That is in real terms measured in 2013 dollars and amounts to approximately 14 times current German gross domestic product.
FT 2nd July 2015 read more »
Ian Fairlie: In 2013, I discussed several epidemiological studies providing good evidence of radiogenic risks at very low exposure levels. A powerful new study has been published in Lancet Haematology which adds to this evidence. However the study’s findings are perhaps even more important than the previous studies.
Green World 2nd July 2015 read more »
I recently saw a report that failure of a piece of safety equipment had “no impact on public health and safety”. If so why is it there? I was going to write this post several months ago. However, a recent comment on one of my posts has prompted me to write it now. What originally sparked this post was an incident at Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in the USA in April 2015. Following a power cut to the plant an emergency generator started but tripped after 11 seconds. The same generator had failed to start in a similar incident in 2010. Also one of the three saltwater pumps also failed to restart. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said that “there was no impact on public health and safety”. This is a statement from the organisation that is meant to be overseeing health and safety at nuclear sites in the US. It was not from the site owners or the press. So if such equipment has no impact why is it there? A similar event happened at Hunterston power station in Scotland in December 1998. During what is now called the Boxing Day Storm the power station lost grid connection. The reactor was shut down, diesel generators started and cooling was quickly restored. When grid connection was restored the diesel generators and emergency cooling system was turned off. However, grid connection was then lost for a second time. However, the diesel generators had been set to manual rather than automatic and failed to start and there was no cooling to the reactor. Staff (working mainly in the dark) eventually restarted the diesel generators and cooling was restored. However, despite an on-site emergency being called the operators stated: ” that no radiation was released and there had been no danger to staff or the public.” So do we need to worry if nothing serious happens? Let us say you are driving along in your car and after several miles you notice that your brakes are not working properly. You come off the road a few times so do you think “but none has been serious” and so “there had been no danger to myself or the public”. Hopefully you do not since there is of course a probability that you will not be so lucky next time and you will kill yourself or one or more members of the public. It is important to realise that a large scale nuclear accident has a much bigger consequences than a car crash. Fukushima and Chernobyl were lucky escapes. Cooling water was restored to the spent fuel ponds at Fukushima in time and they did not have major fires. At Chernobyl miners dug underneath the plant and a large concrete slab stopped the core from melting down and reaching the groundwater.
Peter Lux Blog 2nd July 2015 read more »
Nuclear in Space
Sunday’s SpaceX crash sends a powerful warning of the dangers of nuclear power on spacecraft, writes Karl Grossman. But will NASA listen? Despite the success of solar-powered missions, it’s planning to use plutonium to power future missions and a new report asserts a continuing need for the technology – even as Russia ditches the idea.
Ecologist 2nd July 2015 read more »
Westinghouse Electric Company and eight European consortium partners have received €2 million ($2.2m) in funding from the European Union to establish the security of supply of nuclear fuel for Russian-designed reactors in the EU. Westinghouse, part of the Toshiba group, said the project, known as Essanuf (European Supply of Safe Nuclear Fuel), focuses on licensing alternative nuclear fuel supplies for Russian-designed pressurised water reactors (VVERs) operating in the EU. Five EU member states – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary and Slovakia – are operating a total of 18 such reactors, which are 100 percent dependent on supply from Russian fuel manufacturers.
NucNet 29th June 2015 read more »
Ukrainian nuclear inspectors have measured a significant increase in radiation in the Chernobyl exclusion zone caused by heavy wildfires raging in close proximity to the crippled nuclear power station. Air near the desolated settlement of Polesskoye in the Chernobyl zone is contaminated with the radioactive element cesium-137. Its content in the air has reached a level called “sequence above the norm” (approximately ten times the norm), the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRI) reported on Wednesday. Cesium-137 is one of the most dangerous nuclear elements, as it accumulates in the body and can lead to leukemia.
Russia Today 2nd July 2015 read more »
Finnish authorities have queried the participation of a Croatian firm in a nuclear project amid suspicion of Russian skulduggery. The company, Migrit Solarna Energija, popped up out of the blue on Monday (29 June) to say it has bought 9 percent of Fennovoima, a company which is building a nuclear reactor, Hanhikivi 1, in Pyhajoki, eastern Finland. It said in a press release: “The [Finnish] government condition for at least 60 per cent EU and EFTA [European Free Trade Association] ownership is thereby fulfilled”. It also said it has “received the approval of the Finnish authorities”. The reactor is to be supplied by Russian energy giant Rosatom, which owns 34 percent of Fennovoima. But Finland’s economy minister Olli Rehn, a former EU commissioner, says nothing is yet approved and wants to know more about Migrit Solarna Energija, amid concerns it could be a Russian front designed to make sure the project goes ahead under Russian control.
EU Observer 2nd July2015 read more »
Finland is requesting more details about a mysterious Croatian company which is attempting to invest €150m into the construction of a €6bn nuclear power plant after Finnish media expressed suspicion over its links to Russia.
Newsweek 2nd July 2015 read more »
We can learn a lot about the potential for safety failures at US nuclear plants from the July 29, 2012, incident in which three religious activists broke into the supposedly impregnable Y-12 facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the Fort Knox of uranium. Once there, they spilled blood and spray painted “work for peace not war” on the walls of a building housing enough uranium to build thousands of nuclear weapons. They began hammering on the building with a sledgehammer, and waited half an hour to be arrested. If an 82-year-old nun with a heart condition and two confederates old enough to be AARP members could do this, imagine what a team of determined terrorists could do.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 30th June 2015 read more »
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released details from its security inspection program for commercial nuclear power reactors and Category I fuel cycle facilities, finding only one “failure to protect designated target set components effectively” during the 23 NRC-evaluated force-on-force (FOF) exercises conducted in 2014. Although not perfect, the marks are far better than inspection results conveyed earlier in June when Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners were reported to have failed 95% of checkpoint tests for mock explosives or banned weapons. Of course, testing methods used by the NRC are different from those used by the TSA, but the fact that nuclear power plant security forces performed well should be reassuring to the public.
Power Mag 1st July 2015 read more »
Most Americans oppose nuclear power.
Fuelfix 1st July 2015 read more »
It’s back again – the claim that Germany will rely on foreign base load, especially nuclear, in its energy transition. Craig Morris wonders why proponents of nuclear power understand the technology and markets so poorly. There are two assumptions in this: first, that Germany can import nuclear power when demand is high; and second, that Germany may lack dispatchable generating capacity in the amount needed to reach its own peak power demand. Both assumptions are wrong.
Renew Economy 2nd July 2015 read more »
Infographics – what the Energiewende looks like.
Energy Transition (accessed) 2nd July 2015 read more »
After months of squabbling, Berlin’s ruling coalition has struck a compromise it says will square the circle on how to abandon nuclear energy without breaching German climate targets. Berlin has said it will push ahead with closure of brown- coal or lignite-fired plants producing energy of 2.7 gigawatts – the equivalent of five power stations – but without imposing a planned industry levy to cover the cost.
Irish Times 3rd July 2015 read more »
26 Members of the European Parliament have signed a joint letter warning the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Euratom to suspend the loan proceedings for nuclear units lifetime extension until a full transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and a public consultation are launched and carried out in accordance with international treaties to which Ukraine is a party.
Nuclear Transparency Watch 2nd July 2015 read more »
As diplomats in Vienna race to meet the new July 7 deadline for an Iran nuclear deal, U.S. officials in Washington are grappling with how to save another arms-control accord – the Soviet-U.S. Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty – from falling apart. At first blush, there seems little in common between the Iran talks and a recent State Department report saying Moscow is still violating the nuclear weapons treaty. But a closer look provokes troubling questions about the Iranian agreement’s durability.
Reuters 2nd July 2015 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
A £100 million vision for an offshore wind turbine factory in Methil which was expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the area has been left in tatters amid reports that the main investor has pulled out, in the latest blow to Scotland’s renewables industry. Engineering giant Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) is understood to have axed plans for a turbine manufacturing plant in the Fife town just three years after then First Minister Alex Salmond announced the deal – backed by £8m of Scottish Enterprise money – would create the “next generation” of offshore wind power. In the end, the South Korean firm only created 20 research and develop jobs, and is now in talks to sell-off the 7MW turbine which it erected on the Forth in 2013. Glasgow-based Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult confirmed that it was in negotiation with the firm about “potentially acquiring” the giant turbine, the largest of its kind in the world, for research purposes.
Herald 2nd July 2015 read more »
BVG Associates have released a new report saying that the Government could save the offshore wind industry costs by £1.9 billion in the 2020s by demonstrating greater confidence and visibility. The study was commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change. Its main message is that simply by giving better visibility and confidence of future levels of deployment to the offshore wind industry, the Government could cut £1.9 billion from the cost to UK energy users of offshore wind projects built between 2021 and 2030. Further, the study shows that an accelerated programme of deployment would generate 35% more electricity in 2030, at a minimal cost increase to UK energy users. It also shows that the cost of offshore wind energy could fall to around £80/MWh for projects first generating in 2030.
Scottish Energy News 3rd July 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
THE UK renewables market has always been seen as an attractive investment prospect due to the government’s historic subsidy support and renewables policy commitments. However, this controversial move is likely to damage investor confidence irreparably, not just in the wind sector but also in the broader UK energy market. Scottish Renewables has estimated Scotland could now lose out on £3 billion of investment. It’s not just inward investment that will bear the brunt of this decision. With 5,400 people employed in Scotland’s onshore wind industry, the reductions to financial support will surely cast doubt over future job security. The rationale for this decision simply does not add up. Westminster’s claim that the UK possesses enough subsidised projects to meet its renewable energy commitments contradicts the latest report from the European Commission, which has project ed that the UK is set to fall short of its legally binding 2020 EU renewable energy targets. Early closure of the Renewables Obligation can only further hamper the UK’s efforts to meet these targets, which may result in the use of more expensive technologies and increases to consumer energy bills.
Scotsman 3rd July 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
A Waitrose dairy farm in Hampshire is now generating its own renewable energy after installing a 186 KWp solar array on the roof of a milk parlour. Waitrose’s Leckford Estate farm expects the array to save around 7 tonnes of CO2 annually and provide enough energy to power the equivalent of 40 local houses. Hampshire solar firm Hive Energy will supply the installation at no upfront cost to Leckford Estate thanks to a power-purchasing agreement. Hive will recoup its investment through revenue from the Feed-in Tariff.
Edie 2nd July 2015 read more »
Sunny weather and a recent surge in solar panel installations means that solar power could provide a record 15% of the UK’s electricity on Friday afternoon. Torrid heat tends to slightly reduce solar panels’ generating capacities, and with fresher conditions forecast across much of the UK, the amount of solar in the electricity mix could reach a new peak at 2pm tomorrow. “It is hard to say if a record will be set but given that more and more solar is installed every day, it is likely that a new record is set every time we have good conditions now – and this week we are certainly having them,” said a spokeswoman for the Solar Trade Association (STA), which made the prediction. A new clean energy record would be a boost for the solar industry which celebrates its annual ‘solar independenc e day’ tomorrow with open house events across the UK. Energy minister Andrea Leadsom will be visiting one solar farm at a leisure centre in Brackley, Northamptonshire.
Guardian 2nd July 2015 read more »
As people across much of Britain enjoy the heatwave, solar homes, commercial solar rooftops and solar farms across the country are to open their doors today (3 July) as part of Solar Independence Day 2015 – the UK solar power industry’s annual celebration of sun power. Locations in Scotland opening their doors to the public include Edinburgh College, Cronan Farm in Perthshire, and Pitmedden, a stately home in Aberdeenshire.
Scottish Energy News 3rd July 2015 read more »
SCOTTISH firms are to be given the chance to gain a large slice of the massive growth market for renewable energy in Japan. A new hub to allow Scottish companies to access Japan’s renewable energy market was opened in Nagasaki yesterday by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop.
The National 3rd July 2015 read more »
Renewables – AD
First Milk, one of the UK’s largest cheese creameries, has announced the completion of the first phase of construction of a bio-energy plant at its dairy factory in Cumbria. Once operational in early 2016, the plant will generate 1000m3 of biogas a day from waste dairy residue. Some bio-methane will be used in the creamery for steam generation, reducing the factory’s annual energy cost by 25%, providing around 40m kwh a year and saving 7,000 tonnes of carbon. The rest of the gas will be sent into the grid, making the Cumbria factory the first dairy processing site in Europe to deliver biogas to the grid.
Edie 2nd July 2015 read more »
Business Green 2nd July 2015 read more »
Renewables – Hydrogen
An innovative green hydrogen project in Levenmouth has marked a major milestone after Fife Council awarded a contract worth around £1.5million for the supply of nine ‘green’ refuse-collection lorries. Two of the vehicles are to be converted to run on diesel and hydrogen which is believed to be a world-first of their kind. They will also become part of Levenmouth Community Energy Project, a pioneering development that aims to position the region as a global leader in clean energy through developing the Hydrogen Office in Methil into a world-class demonstrator of hydrogen applications generated from renewable sources.
Scottish Energy News 3rd July 2015 read more »
Fossil fuel companies should be made to invest as much in carbon storage as they do in exploring for new coal, oil and gas reserves, according to academics from Oxford University. Governments also need to massively tilt the balance to ensure the development of renewable and other “clean” energy technologies to allow the world to transition to a low carbon economy. Myles Allen, a professor of geosystem science at Oxford, said the Bank of England and financial regulators could potentially consider sequestration – capturing Co2 – as a new asset class to be monitored and valued. “If they are going to dig thi s stuff up then they are going to have to show where they are going to store it,” he argued, saying it was unfair to imagine such schemes should be paid for by public subsidy.
Guardian 2nd July 2015 read more »