30 January 2014

Nuclear Liability

The Conference on Nuclear Third Party Liability and Insurance, co-organised by the European Commission (EC), the European Economic and Social Committee and the Brussels Nuclear Law Association, took place on 20–21 January 2014. The recommendations outlined at the conference follow a consultation last year that closed in October. They are subject to confirmation of EU competence under article 98 of the Euratom Treaty, to subsidiarity and proportionality principles and to their compatibility with the revised Vienna Convention (1997) (VC) and the revised Paris Convention (2004) (PC).

The Lawyer 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Horizon

A clutch of new jobs are being advertised in a move that the company behind plans for a new nuclear plant have hailed as “an important step forward”. Horizon Nuclear Power say they are looking at employing up to 30 members of staff this spring, as the work of preparing the planning application for the facility ramps up. Not all 30 jobs will directly work on the Wylfa project, with some working on a separate plan at Oldbury. The roles, as advertised on Horizon’s website, are mainly in the engineering and project development fields, looking for applicants with experience of managing large scale projects.

Daily Post 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Sellafield

ANTI-nuclear campaigners have started a petition against plans by Sellafield Limited to cull a group of roe deer ‘trapped’ at its west Cumbrian plant. To improve security, the company erected a secondary security fence – spanning 11 miles around the site. But campaigners say this has ‘trapped’ a number of roe deer who now face a cull by the company which has to provide a ‘sterile area’ between the two fences. Sellafield Ltd explained around five to 12 deer are involved and the cull was a ‘last resort’ and taken on ‘expert advice’.

Westmorland Gazette 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Radwaste

Eddie Martin: Despite DECC’s promises of community benefits, high-value jobs, and the Right to Withdraw … and we shall all live happily ever after, we did not let in the government’s Trojan horse for what misery it would bring us were we to do so. As Leader of the County Council (at that time) I spent many, many hours researching the whys and wherefores of an underground waste repository (a GDF) here in West Cumbria. The more I researched the more and more convinced I became that West Cumbria simply was not the right location, despite the presence of Sellafield. Interestingly, no government geologist (or DECC) has ever rebutted the geological argument that West Cumbria is too fractured and fissured to host a GDF a thousand metres below the surface and in an underground site estimated to be as big as Carlisle.

Cumbria Trust 30th Jan 2014 read more »

Plutonium

The U.K. is considering a plan to build two of General Electric’s PRISM fast reactors, the latest in a series of fast-reactor designs that for several decades have attempted with mixed success to handle plutonium and other radioactive waste from nuclear power. There will be those who worry about the safety implications of building a new kind of nuclear power station and feeding it with something as dangerous as plutonium. But, don’t worry, it’s all in Japanese hands and those guys really know what they’re doing! In any case, after so many attempts by so many countries to make the fast reactor concept work, someone is bound to get it right sooner or later.

Conservative Home 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Energy Costs

High gas and electricity prices will continue to plague Europe for at least 20 years, damaging the competitiveness of industries that employ almost 30m people, the world’s leading energy forecaster has warned. In findings likely to inflame claims EU climate change policies are damaging the bloc’s manufacturers, the International Energy Agency said Europe will lose a third of its global market share of energy-intensive exports over the next two decades because energy prices will stay stubbornly higher than those in the US. A number of EU countries have embraced green energy subsidies, shunned nuclear power and resisted the shale exploration that has fuelled a manufacturing renaissance in the US, prompting growing anger among industry leaders who say this has been a recipe for competitive ruin. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, said environmental policies alone had not pushed up energy costs but the price gap between the EU and the US was going to last much longer than some expected. Rather than continuing to see energy policy as a struggle between competitiveness and climate change action, Dr Birol said Europe needed to to find a way to address both concerns. This could include a bigger role for nuclear power and shale gas production, encouraging more energy efficiency, and renegotiating natural gas import prices, now that two-thirds of import contracts are due to expire in the next 10 years. In addition, he said there was a need to address the “perverse outcomes” driven by poorly designed renewable subsidy programmes, as well as the collapse of the carbon market that had made coal fired power generation more attractive. “Europe needs to pay more attention to the competitiveness agenda while keeping the climate agenda alive,” he said.

FT 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Energy companies’ failure to pass on promised £50 bill reductions to all their customers is “not acceptable”, energy minister Greg Barker has said. The Big Six energy giants all publicly agreed to cut bills as a result of a deal with the Government at the start of December to reduce green levies. But four of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers – npower, Scottish Power, E.On and EDF – have said that they will only give the full £50 reduction to customers on variable-rate tariffs. Unlike British Gas and SSE, they will not also reduce fixed price tariffs, although those customers will still receive a £12 rebate agreed as part of the deal.

Telegraph 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Europe

The EU’s Energy Commissioner has said people who think cutting Europe’s carbon emissions will make any difference to global warming are “arrogant or stupid”. Speaking at an industry conference in Brussels a week after the European Commission proposed to cut its carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030, Gunther Oettinger said he was “sceptical” about whether the target was achieveable. While the EU looks set to comfortably meet its existing target – to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 – increasing that figure to 40 per cent during the 2020s will be far more difficult, he warned.

Independent 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Policymakers have long asserted that making polluters pay is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But with Europe’s carbon market floundering, the EU is having to rethink how to go about setting a carbon price. Oxford University economist Cameron Hepburn said the reforms were “too little, too slow”. He said the carbon market had been designed badly from the outset, and the commission was only just getting round to rectifying its original errors. Unfortunately, it’s doing so at a time when public scepticism of any measure which may push up energy prices is high – making long term reform of the market a hard sell, he argued. Nonetheless, the commission’s proposal shows European policymakers are still committed to making one of the EU’s landmark climate policies function in the long run – even if the experts aren’t convinced its tinkering will work.

Carbon Brief 29th Jan 2014 read more »

US

Southern Co Chairman Tom Fanning said on Wednesday that the company is working with the U.S. Energy Department to finalize an $8.3 billion loan guarantee for its two-reactor expansion at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia, the first new reactors to be built in three decades.Southern’s Georgia Power unit is leading a utility consortium that is building two 1,100-megawatt Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at a projected cost exceeding $14 billion.

Reuters 29th Jan 2014 read more »

President Barack Obama found himself assailed from all sides after sticking to an “all of the above” energy strategy – including fossil fuels, renewables and nuclear power – in his State of the Union speech. Industry groups criticised his continuing commitment to tackling the threat of climate change, while environmental campaigners said his statements were made meaningless by his support for increased US oil and gas production.

FT 29th Jan 2014 read more »

France

France’s nuclear regulator wants the power to fine atomic installations for safety breaches so faults that aren’t serious enough to close a site are fixed faster. Fines would raise the credibility of the regulator, Pierre-Franck Chevet, head of the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, said today. Some faults take more than a decade to fix, he said. The independent regulator has the power to shut a nuclear facility on safety concerns. In recent years it has temporarily halted the construction of EDF’s EPR reactor in Normandy and demanded billions of euros of improvements at all sites to bolster safety after the 2011 Fukushima meltdown in Japan.

Business Week 28th Jan 2014 read more »

Spain

In a dramatic turnaround in the nuclear energy, the Spanish Government is now considering an extension of the term of nuclear power plants from the current 40 to “50 or 60 years” or even beyond. This was confirmed by the President of the National Company for Radioactive Waste (ENRESA), Francisco Gil-Ortega, in Madrid. The Ministry of Industry for quite some time calls for such a step “in the economic interests” of the country. The issue is expected to come on Friday at the next cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on the agenda.

Faz 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Jordan

Jordan hopes to become self-reliant with the creation of two nuclear power plants. However, in the future, there are dual challenges in the form of cost and safety.

Open Democracy 29th Jan 2014 read more »

South Korea

Soutk Korea has approved two new nuclear reactors.

Chemical Engineer 29th Jan 2014 read more »

IB Times 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Poland

The Polish government has adopted a revised program for the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plants, which sees two facilities in operation by 2035. A resolution on the country’s nuclear power program, prepared by the Ministry of Economy, was adopted by the Council of Ministers yesterday. The program is a strategic document that describes the scope of the measures to be taken to introduce nuclear energy in Poland. Among other things, it defines the schedule for the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant and the preparation of the regulatory and organization framework for these investments.

World Nuclear News 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Renewables – solar

Imperial College says Britain could get as much as 40% of its electricity from solar power on sunny days by decade’s end. Ten million homes in the UK should have their roofs covered with solar panels in the next six years, if the country is to fulfil its renewable energy potential, energy experts said on Wednesday. That number – of more than a third of households generating energy from the sun – would allow the UK to produce about 6% of its annual electricity needs from solar power, with as much as 40% coming from the panels on sunny days in summer, by 2020. These figures are comparable to those of Germany, which has made a major push on solar power in the last decade. Installing more solar panels brings the costs of the technology down dramatically, because of economies of scale, as the example of Germany and other countries shows. By 2030, the cost of solar should be comparable to that of even the dirtiest forms of coal, and of gas, said Ajay Gambhir, of Imperial College London.

Guardian 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Demand Management

A British tiddler has teamed up with Honeywell, the American energy giant, to help keep the country’s lights on by persuading factories, offices and hospitals to use less power. Stor Generation, a UK start-up that employs only seven people, hopes to get 30 sites around Britain to install technology developed by Honeywell that automatically turns off power hungry equipment at times of peak demand. If businesses or hospitals sign up, National Grid will pay them an average £40,000 a year, a percentage of which will go to Stor and Honeywell. The companies have come together amid predictions that Britain could experience blackouts. Last summer, Ofgem, the regulator, warned that the chances of a blackout happening next winter has trebled to a one in 12 chance as dozens of old coal and gas plants are closed. However, experts have warned that even this forecast was too optimistic because the economy is growing much more strongly than expected and that the country’s spare generating margin could in fact be wiped out next year.

Times 30th Jan 2014 read more »

Fossil Fuels

Ministers rushed through pro-fracking planning reforms without proper scrutiny and despite overwhelming opposition, a Lords committee has found. Under the reforms, which came into force as secondary legislation earlier this month, homeowners will no longer be individually notified of a planning application by an energy company seeking to drill or frack beneath their home. Opponents fear the change, which still requires final parliamentary approval, could lead to fracking taking place without homeowners’ knowledge.

Telegraph 29th Jan 2014 read more »

Share

Published: 30 January 2014