The UK Government promises that the Hinkley C ‘EPR’ nuclear reactor will lower electricity bills, but Keith Barnham shows that this is the very reverse of the truth. Our best hope is that it will never be built. Legal challenges aside, no sane investor will commit until one of the two EPR prototypes is working, which will be in 2016 at the earliest.
Ecologist 15th Oct 2014 read more »
Previously unseen pictures of two storage ponds containing hundreds of highly radioactive fuel rods at the Sellafield nuclear plant show cracked concrete, seagulls bathing in the water and weeds growing around derelict machinery. But a spokesman for owners Sellafield Ltd said the 60-year-old ponds will not be cleaned up for decades, despite concern that they are in a dangerous state and could cause a large release of radioactive material if they are allowed to deteriorate further.
Guardian 29th Oct 2014 read more »
Cumbria Trust 29th Oct 2014 read more »
In April 2014, the Welsh Government issued a call for evidence asking for views on whether we should review our policy on higher activity radioactive waste disposal (HAW). The responses were considered and the decision was made to review our policy. This consultation document looks at options and seeks comments on proposals for a new Welsh Government policy.
Welsh Government 29th Oct 2014 read more »
Chinese investment in the UK energy sector could exceed £43 billion in the next 10 years, according to a new report published by law firm Pinsent Masons and the Centre of Economic and Business Research. The biggest target for Chinese capital, the report claims, will be investment in projects including nuclear energy, wind power generation and photovoltaic power generation.
Scottish Energy News 30th Oct 2014 read more »
Commenting on confirmation from National Grid that it will pay utility companies to bring moth-balled oil- and gas-fired power stations back online to ensure there are now power cuts this winter, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing last night accused his Westminster counterpart of a failed energy policy.
Scottish Energy News 29th Oct 2014 read more »
The fire last week at Didcot power station has led once again to cries of “the lights are going to go out this winter”. But people who ask whether or not the lights will go out are asking the wrong question. It is politically inconceivable to allow non-consensual power cuts to happen in the UK this winter; therefore the question we should be asking is, “how much is it going to cost us to keep the lights on, and are there ways of reducing the cost?”
Sussex Energy Group 29th Oct 2014 read more »
The head of Community Energy Scotland has called for more powers over Scottish energy to be devolved to Holyrood from Westminster in the ongoing ‘devo-drive’ following last month’s Independence referendum. Following the referendum, Lord Smith of Kelvin (who is also part-time chairman of the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank) was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron to take forward proposals for the further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament. Lord Smith visited Inverness yesterday as part of his ‘devo-drive’ fact-finding tour to gather evidence on the possible scope of changes which would maximise the benefit from more Scottish-based decision making. He also met with Nicholas Gubbins, Chief Executive of Community Energy Scotland, who told him: “There is a great opportunity here for Scotland. “Powers relating to the electricity market, Contracts for Difference and Feed in Tariffs need to come to Scotland. We think that this can be done in a way which preserves a UK market for energy. ‘Scotland has great renewable energy resources and great people who want to develop them for community and economic benefit.
Scottish Energy News 29th Oct 2014 read more »
A MAJOR consultation has been launched into how Shetland should be supplied with electricity once the operational life of the islands’ existing power station comes to an end. Shetland is not connected to the national grid but 13 of the 15 inhabited islands are on the electricity network powered by Lerwick Power Station, backed by Sullom Voe Terminal Power Station. Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD), which owns the distribution network of overhead lines and underground cables across the north of Scotland, has submitted a plan to Ofgem for a new power station north of Lerwick to be delivered in 2017. However, in April Ofgem said the power station proposal was not acceptable, primarily on the grounds of cost. It asked SHEPD to identify the most economic and efficient solution for Shetland through a competitive tender process.
Herald 30th Oct 2014 read more »
NFLA Scotland Forum seminar considers nuclear decommissioning, nuclear decontamination and waste issues, nuclear transportation concerns and an alternative nuclear free future The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Scotland Forum is meeting in Perth City Chambers this Friday, 31st October, where it will be considering some of the key nuclear policy and energy policy issues affecting Scotland.
NFLA 29th Oct 2014 read more »
MORE than 300 nuclear safety incidents have been reported at Faslane in the last five years, figures have revealed. Between 2008 and 2013 a total of 316 ‘nuclear safety events’ and 71 fires were recorded at HM Naval Base Clyde. In addition, 59 incidents were reported in 2011/12, compared with 69 in 2012/13, according to figures obtained by a national newspaper through freedom of information legislation.
Helensburgh Advertiser 29th Oct 2014 read more »
France – nuclear security
France’s state-run power firm EDF on Wednesday said unidentified drones had flown over seven nuclear plants this month, leading it to file a complaint with the police. The unmanned aircraft did not harm “the safety or the operation” of the power plants, Electricite de France said, adding that the first drone was spotted on October 5 above a plant in deconstruction in eastern Creys-Malville.
Digital Journal 30th Oct 2014 read more »
US – radwaste
Nine green groups filed a lawsuit against the nation’s top nuclear regulator over its regulations on nuclear waste disposal on Wednesday. The groups say that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) should stop issuing licenses for nuclear power plants because the government has yet to build a federal nuclear waste disposal site.
The Hill 29th Oct 2014 read more »
The New York Times reports that the German chemicals giant (the largest in the world) “leans abroad” because “energy prices have jumped as a result of the government’s big push for renewable energy sources.” But the cost of renewables does not affect gas prices, and expansion is not exodus.The main lesson here is that high gas prices are unrelated to the Energiewende. Otherwise, the current Energiewende policies are making power cheap for industry, not expensive.
Renewables International 29th Oct 2014 read more »
Iran’s government was forced to deny Tuesday it had already struck a nuclear deal with the West, after a lawmaker accused its negotiators of secretly selling the country short. In a sign of the domestic tension surrounding talks being held abroad with world powers, Iran’s foreign ministry threatened to prosecute the member of parliament who said an agreement that breaches the Islamic republic’s “red lines” had been settled.
Middle East Online 29th Oct 2014 read more »
Japan has moved closer to a return to nuclear power, more than three years after the Fukushima disaster, after a town in the country’s south-west voted to approve two reactors coming back online. Nineteen of 26 assembly members in Satsumasendai, located 600 miles south-west of Tokyo, voted in favour of restarting the Sendai nuclear power plant. Four voted against and three abstained.
Business Green 29th Oct 2014 read more »
The operators of Sweden’s nuclear power plants say their older reactors may have to shut earlier than planned due to higher taxes proposed by a new coalition government. The new left-wing government, which includes the anti-nuclear Green party, has proposed increasing taxes on nuclear power capacity by 17 percent from 2015, prompting warnings from state-run utility Vattenfall and Germany’s E.ON. Sweden had planned to shut down older reactors over a decade span and replace them with more modern plants, but the Greens want to shut several during the current government term of office, ending in 2018. That has divided the Social Democratics, the lead party in coalition. Nuclear reactors generate about 40 percent of electricity in Sweden and shutting down one or several could also lead to higher power prices in the Nordic region, especially during a dry year, when output from hydropower plants falls.
Daily Mail 29th Oct 2014 read more »
In 1982, a secret Home Office exercise tested the UK’s capacity to rebuild after a massive nuclear attack. Files recently released at the National Archives detail one short-lived proposal to recruit psychopaths to help keep order.
BBC 30th Oct 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
The cost of utility-scale US solar energy is currently 59% cheaper than what industry analysts predicted back in 2010 it would be by now, according to a new report from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). In addition to that rather striking figure, the new report also notes that between the years of 2012-2013, the price of a residential/small-business-scale solar system fell by a very notable 12–15%. The report also notes that, in some locations, the price may fall by a further 3–12% before the end of the year.
Renew Economy 30th Oct 2014 read more »
Do you know what a subsidy is and what is not? If your answer is a definite “yes”, you are either new to the field or recklessly optimistic. The devil, as always, is in the detail. Here is an example. Despite undertaking the commitment to “phase out, over medium term, inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption” back in 2009, the G20 governments still have not agreed on what they mean by “inefficient”, “subsidies”, “wasteful”, or even “medium-term”. There have been of course a lot of suggestions for definitions of each of the elements, including by the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI). But the definition can only be useful if it is accepted by G20 governments. But consensus has so far been elusive.
International Institute for Sustainbable Development 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
On Monday this week, the independent peer Lord Smith of Finsbury – who use to be Chris Smith, Labour MP for Islington South & Finsbury until 2005 – was interviewed on BBC TV’s The Daily Politics lunchtime programme on his new role as chairperson of a so-called ‘independent’ inquiry into fracking, which will be funded by the fracking industry. I specifically raised with Lord Smith the concerns over radon risks from fracking, as extensively aired in the US, but barely at all in the UK, and the health hazards posed by endocrine disrupter chemicals – so called ‘gender-bender’ chemical additives- used in fracking fluids.
Dr David Lowry’s Blog 29th Oct 2014 read more »
Passions over fracking are on the rise in America. A boom in US production of oil and gas from shale rock formations – enabled by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that cracks open the dense rocks – has upturned energy markets. It has been cheered by both Democrats and Republicans for making the US the world’s largest natural gas producer, reducing its dependence on Middle Eastern energy and creating jobs. President Barack Obama, a champion of action on climate change, praises fracked natural gas for being “clean”, because it produces limited greenhouse gases when burnt for electricity. But the rush to extract more shale energy is bringing industrialisation to picturesque rural towns and densely built city suburbs, where horrified residents say fracking is anything but clean. In places such as Windsor, the industry’s growth is causing political fractures as well as cracks in the rocks. That signals trouble for Democrats and Republicans in the state, as fracking joins the long list of issues stoking disillusionment with government among voters. Next Tuesday’s midterm elections will offer more evidence of the problem.
FT 28th Oct 2014 read more »
Dangerously high levels of cancer-causing chemicals have been discovered in the air around “fracking” sites in the United States – highlighting the need for tougher regulations to control oil and gas extraction in Britain, scientists said. Levels of benzene, formaldehyde and hydrogen sulphide were many times above the US’s air pollution limits and were detected within residential areas near to fracking wells drilled across five different states, the researchers said. Some levels of benzene – a known carcinogen – were more than 30 times the concentrations that would be found in the air at a petrol station when filling a car with fuel, they said.
Independent 30th Oct 2014 read more »
Telegraph 30th Oct 2014 read more »
In the context of international commitments to stay below the 2°C characterisation of dangerous climate change, hand wringing or fist waving over irrelevant 2020 targets is all part of the fog that continues to thwart any meaningful action on climate change. The consumption-based emissions (i.e. where emissions associated with imports and exports are considered) of the EU 28 were 2% higher in 2008 than in 1990. By 2013 emissions had marginally reduced to 4% lower than 1990 – but not as a consequence of judicious climate change strategies, but rather the financial fallout of the bankers’ reckless greed – egged on by complicit governments and pliant regulation. In the quarter of a century since the first IPCC report we have achieved nothing of any significant merit relative to the scale of the climate challenge. All we have to show for our ongoing oratory is a burgeoning industry of bureaucrats, well meaning NGOs, academics and naysayers who collectively have overseen a 60+% rise in global emissions.
Kevin Anderson 29th Oct 2014 read more »