30 January 2017

Wylfa

The first of two meetings asking people’s views on a new nuclear power station design will be held on Anglesey later. Horizon Nuclear Power propose to build and operate the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor design at Wylfa Newydd on the island. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Environment Agency will ask for views on their assessment of the design by Hitachi-GE. The consultation ends on 3 March. The public will have no influence on the technology used or the site location. Tim Jones, NRW’s executive director for north and mid Wales, said: “Our purpose is to ensure that the natural resources of Wales are sustainably maintained, enhanced and used.” At Wylfa Newydd we will do this in three ways; assessing the design of the reactors, determining site specific environmental permits and providing advice to other organisations on decisions they need to make. “It is our job to ensure that any new nuclear power station will meet high standards of environmental protection and waste management, ensuring that our communities are kept safe from environmental harm.”

BBC 30th Jan 2017 read more »

Springfields

In October the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, overruled a decision by Lancashire County Council and said that Cuadrilla could frack at Little Plumpton, near Preston against the wishes of the local council. Fracking campaigners are now bravely taking non-violent direct action on thefront line. Cuadrilla’s plan is to drill down thousands of feet into the rock and take samples prior to full on fracking. Anti-nuclear campaigners have also fought fracking these last few years, for very good reason. The government halted all onshore fracking operations in 2011 over concerns at earth tremors after fracking at the Preese Hall site in Lancashire, which were attributed to Cuadrilla’s operations there. Preese Hall is six miles away from the world’s first and probably biggest nuclear fuel production plant, Springfields in Preston. Little Plumpton is a mere five miles away.

Scisco Media 29th Jan 2017 read more »

Energy Supplies

The UK has enough energy capacity to meet demand – even on the coldest days when demand is highest, says Steve Holliday, the man who ran National Grid for a decade. He said news stories raising fears about blackouts should stop. His optimism is based on the government’s latest auction of capacity for power generation, which opens on Monday. Firms will bid for subsidies to provide back-up power when needed. The stand-by plants will run for a few days a year during extreme conditions. Much of the back-up will be provided by old gas and coal plants that would otherwise be scrapped. Funded by the bill-payer, they will offer a sort of power insurance policy. Mr Holliday, who was chief executive of National Grid until July 2016, forecasts that all future talk of blackouts will be made redundant by a revolution in flexible electricity, with customers using power when it is cheapest. One current weapon at National Grid’s disposal is a contract for flexible supply with firms which don’t manufacture continuously.

BBC 30th Jan 2017 read more »

Old coal, gas and nuclear power stations are to receive subsidy contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds this week, under government plans to ensure the lights stay on next winter. The subsidies, which will be levied on energy bills, are to be awarded through the “capacity market” to companies that can guarantee their plants will be available when needed on winter weekday evenings. Analysts estimate that the scheme could cost from £650 million to £1.5 billion, leading to questions about whether it is value for money. A reverse auction will award the subsidies to the plants that offer to supply the required capacity for the lowest fee. All successful plants receive the price of the highest winning bid, which critics say represents a windfall to many that would have been generating anyway. Virtually all Britain’s nuclear reactors and gas-fired power plants are expected to win contracts. At least some coal plants will also be required to secure the capacity that the government wants, consultants at Cornwall say. Coal plants are likely to determine the price of the auction, as they face the highest running costs because they have to pay tax on carbon emissions. Some would be loss-making without the subsidy and have been under threat of closure. This means that having taxed coal plants to the brink of closure, and paying higher electricity prices as a result, the UK now faces paying extra through the capacity market to keep them running because it is yet to build enough replacement plants. ScotishPower want s changes to capacity auctions to support the construction of new gas plants, such as one that it wants to build in Kent.

Times 30th Jan 2017 read more »

One of the UK’s main energy policies has been criticised for enabling old and polluting coal-fired power stations to stay open. On Tuesday the government will hold its latest subsidy auction, which is designed to ensure Britain has enough energy over the winter of 2017-18. Analysts and critics expect a number of ageing coal stations will be successful in winning contracts, even though the government has said it intend to phase out all such stations by 2025. This week’s bidding process, to be held over four days, is taking place because the National Grid has identified a need for extra capacity next winter. It is supplementary to the longer-term T-4 capacity market auctions, which are usually held at the end of each year and involve power generators bidding for contracts they will need to deliver in four years’ time, allowing investors to plan ahead and build new power plants. Coal-powered energy generation has been falling in the UK. Last year, more electricity was generated from wind turbines. However, coal is still heavily relied on during days when there is little wind and high demand for electricity.

FT 29th Jan 2017 read more »

Fukushima

Tokyo Electric Power the operator of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, has found possible nuclear fuel debris below the damaged No. 2 reactor, one of three that had meltdowns in the 2011 disaster, public broadcaster NHK reported on Monday. Should the finding be confirmed, it would mark a significant breakthrough in attempts to clean up the nuclear plant, after years of delays, missteps and leaks of radioactive water. Finding the highly radioactive melted uranium rods may pave the way for Tepco to develop methods to remove the melted fuel.

Reuters 30th Jan 2017 read more »

US – radwaste

A controversial radioactive waste dump in far West Texas is one step closer to being able to accept high-level nuclear waste. After requesting additional information from Waste Control Specialists, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission this week agreed to review the Dallas-based company’s application to expand its 14,000-acre facility in Andrews County to store up to 5,000 metric tons uranium of spent nuclear fuel from power plants across the county. The commission on Thursday also announced two public meetings in the area next month to gather input on potential environmental impacts of the project, which watchdog and environmental groups say could be devastating.

Star-Telegram 28th Jan 2017 read more »

Renewables – small hydro

For women in the Himalayas who’ve lived their whole lives without electricity it’s the escape from this kind of drudgery that small-scale hydro schemes bring. Later they get their first windows on the outside world: radio, television, a telephone. In the remote mountains of Pakistan, where hundreds of villages have never had electricity, more than 190 micro-hydro schemes have transformed the lives of communities. Electricity has arrived for 365,000 people.

Climate News Network 29th Jan 2017 read more »

Renewables – floating wind

Tidal energy colossus Atlantis Resources – which is building the world’s biggest subsea power station in the Pentland Firth – has signed an agreement with a France-based developer of offshore wind floating foundation solutions. The deal with Ideol follows the company’s decision earlier this year to establish Atlantis Energy, a new division, based in Edinburgh to expand its offerings into non-tidal stream project development. The collaboration will seek to initiate the development of a floating offshore wind project of up to 1.5 GW, with a pre-commercial phase of up to 100MW commissioned by 2021.

Scottish Energy News 27th Jan 2017 read more »

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Published: 30 January 2017