LABOUR’S Shadow Department for Energy and Climate Change visited the Hinkley C site and Bridgwater College. Caroline Flint MP and Tom Greatrex MP visited Hinkley C and the Energy and Skills Centre at Bridgwater College last month. The aim of the visit was a fact finding tour, to establish the full impact of the Energy infrastructure project. Cllr Mick Lerry, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said: “Members of the Labour Group were able to discuss the implications of the construction stage of Hinkley C and how it was important to avoid ‘boom and bust’.
This is West Country 30th Dec 2013 read more »
THE company planning to build a new nuclear power station in South Gloucestershire has agreed contracts with four major firms to provide engineering and other technical services. Horizon Nuclear Power wants to put reactors on land at Shepperdine, next to the existing Oldbury atomic station, which stopped generating power nearly two years ago. The Hitachi subsidiary also aims to build a station at Wylfa in North Wales, which will be the first site Horizon will develop. Three UK-based firms AMEC, Atkins and Cavendish Nuclear, which all have offices at Aztec West, were selected by Gloucester-based Horizon, along with American company the Jacob Group, which has an office in Stoke Gifford.
Gloucestershire Gazette 30th Dec 2013 read more »
Originally I was going to write something just about Fukushima Unit 4 Spent fuel pond. There has been some reports about ‘the end of civilisation’ if the fuel pond fails. I thought this is a bit of an exaggeration. To put it in perspective I worked out what the area would need to be evacuated if all the caesium 137 in the fuel pond was deposited evenly over a certain area at 1MBq/m2 -the evacuation levels are given by the IAEA. This is extremely unlikely to happen – not all the Caesium would be lost and it would not be evenly distributed. However, it does give some sort of perspective of what the dangers are. Having done this I have also included the amount of Caesium-137 which will be stored in a single fuel pond at Hinkley and Sizewell if the new reactors are built. I have also shown the land area of the UK and Europe for comparison. Note that the fuel ponds at the proposed Hinkley and Sizewell reactors will contain over 42 times that amount of Cs-137 that was in the reactor at Chernobyl and 85 times that amount that was released during the accident.
Peter Lux 31st Dec 2013 read more »
The TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp has sparked controversy after suggesting that victims of the Christmas storms were “spoilt” for getting compensation for going without power for days. The Location, Location, Location and Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas presenter, 42, bemoaned what she called a lack of “blitz spirit”. Her comments, in which she said that billions of people around the world get by with “limited electricity”, came as many faced yet another day without power on Monday, a week after they were cut off, despite claims from power companies that the last homes had been reconnected.
Guardian 30th Dec 2013 read more »
The electricity distribution company blamed for leaving thousands of homes without power over Christmas boasted of making an annual profit of nearly £1bn in its most recent accounts, as its chief executive was paid £1.7m and its billionaire Asian owners took out a £135m dividend, The Independent has learnt. The disclosure of the huge payments and profits prompted instant calls for customers to be reimbursed from executives’ bonuses and sparked demands by MPs for a parliamentary inquiry into the company’s handling of the situation. As large areas of the country resumed normality after heavy rain flooded 130,000 homes and cut the power to more than 150,000, the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson hit out at power firms. “Some of the power companies let their customers down badly,” he said. “They let too many of their staff go away for Christmas, they didn’t have enough people manning the call centres and that wasn’t acceptable.” A parliamentary inquiry is now likely into the fiasco. David Cameron has already declared that lessons must be learnt about why so many homes were left in the dark over the holiday period. MPs are expected to demand answers of the company, and Mr Scarsella, as to how he and his management team could have made such a catastrophic oversight in its holiday shift patterns at a time when severe weather warnings had been issued.
Independent 31st Dec 2013 read more »
Tim Yeo MP, chairman of the energy select committee, tells the Telegraph he plans to summon bosses of networks companies to explain “unacceptable” performance.
Telegraph 30th Dec 2013 read more »
FT 30th Dec 2013 read more »
Wind farm companies were paid almost £5 million to switch off their turbines while storms lashed the UK over the festive period and tens of thousands of homes were left without power, according to figures published today. The ‘constraint payments’, which ultimately come from household bills, were payable when the National Grid was unable to cope with the extra power produced during the recent bout of stormy weather or usage was low.
Telegraph 30th Dec 2013 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Seiji Sasa hits the train station in this northern Japanese city before dawn most mornings to prowl for homeless men. He isn’t a social worker. He’s a recruiter. The men in Sendai Station are potential laborers that Sasa can dispatch to contractors in Japan’s nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100 a head. “This is how labor recruiters like me come in every day,” Sasa says, as he strides past men sleeping on cardboard and clutching at their coats against the early winter cold. It’s also how Japan finds people willing to accept minimum wage for one of the most undesirable jobs in the industrialized world: working on the $35 billion, taxpayer-funded effort to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong.
Reuters 30th Dec 2013 read more »
If you lived near Chernobyl or Fukushima, would you stay? On April 26, 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant changed history, sending radiation and political shockwaves across Europe. Radioactive fallout contaminated 56,700 square miles of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, a region larger than New York state. A generation later in Japan, on March 11, 2011, the Tohoku earthquake and the tsunami it triggered brought on multiple nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. In the initial fires, Fukushima released ten to thirty percent as much radiation as Chernobyl, contaminating some 4,500 square miles of Japan—nearly the area of Connecticut. Radioactive water continues to leak from the Fukushima plant to this day. To the world, Chernobyl and Fukushima seem like dangerous places, but for the people who live there, that danger is simply a fact of life. In my photography, I explore the human consequences of environmental contamination. I am interested in questions about home: how do people cope when their homeland changes irreversibly? Why do so many stay?
Mother Jones 30th Dec 2013 read more »
Japan’s nuclear energy output has fallen from 30% to zero of total energy production since the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima disaster. Aside from the human tragedy, that has meant Japan has had to import ever more of its energy at a time when its currency has weakened significantly. This has led to higher carbon emissions, and a greater chance of the wrong kind of inflation, caused by spiraling energy bills. Debate is raging over whether the country can afford not to bring back at least part of its nuclear programme once safety checks have been completed. Some say an absence of nuclear power could also harm prime minister Abe’s chances of ultimately succeeding in his structural reforms.
City Wire 31st Dec 2013 read more »
The Slovak Ministry of Economy has finished talks with Rosatom on the Russian company’s entry into a project of building a new nuclear power plant in Jaslovské Bohunice, the server Sme.sk has reported. A new strategic partner may join the project, the server wrote. “We’ve failed to come to a final point as the (Slovak) government cannot meet their demands at the moment and so we concluded the negotiations,” Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský said in an interview for the Slovak news agency SITA. “We, however, do not rule out resumption of the talks if they (Russians) modify their demands,” The exclusive talks with Rosatom have thus ended.
Prague Post 29th Dec 2013 read more »
The interim nuclear deal that Iran and the US and its partners in the P5+1 group (consisting of the five UN Security Council permanent members and Germany) reached in Geneva on November 24, was the momentous event of 2013. Were it to lead to a negotiated resolution of Iran’s nuclear issue, as its architects hope, it could impart a revolutionary turn to Gulf geopolitical dynamics. Contrary to what critics of the Geneva deal fear, this change could be beneficial for the whole region.
Aljazeera 30th Dec 2013 read more »
South Korea may have to build up to five nuclear power plants between 2025 and 2035 to meet a target of 43,000 MW of nuclear power under a plan to reduce the proportion of nuclear in the total energy supply, government officials said on Monday. Asia’s fourth-largest economy has been under pressure to reduce its use of nuclear power after a scandal forced the closure of some reactors that had received replacement parts using fake safety certificates. The Energy Ministry said this month that the government was considering lowering reliance on nuclear power to 29 percent of total power by 2035, from 41 percent by 2030. But it did not specify how many nuclear reactors would be needed for that plan.
Reuters 30th Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – Solar
One of the United Kingdom’s ministers wants the government to lead the way in deploying renewable energy—to the tune of 4 million solar panels. Energy Minister Greg Barker said he will announce plans in 2014 for the government estate and the rest of the United Kingdom, according to The Telegraph.
Eco Watch 30th Dec 2013 read more »
Solar photovoltaic demand is forecast to reach 49 GW in 2014, up from 36 GW this year, according to findings in the latest quarterly report from NPD Solarbuzz. According to the report, the fourth quarter of this year (Q4’13) will be another record quarter for the solar PV industry, exceeding the 12 GW threshold for the first time. Furthermore, demand in the first quarter of 2014 (Q1’14) will also set records.
Solar Industry 30th Dec 2013 read more »
While wind energy may be the renewables poster child in Scotland, the solar power sector’s performance in 2013 has also been impressive. Data from Ofgem, the regulator of electricity and gas markets in the UK, shows Scotland’s installed solar PV capacity has reached 106MW – an increase of 28MW (36%) on the same time in 2012. At the end of 2010 Scotland hosted just 2MW of solar panels. More than 28,000 homes and 450 commercial premises in Scotland now have solar power systems installed.
Energy Matters 31st Dec 2013 read more »
Renewables – Wind
Wind farms knock as much as one third off the value of nearby homes, an MP has claimed. Geoffrey Cox, Conservative MP for West Devon and Torridge, said constituents had been told by estate agents their homes were worth “significantly less” due to turbines being built in the vicinity and that it was an “injustice” that they lose out while developers and land owners potentially pocket millions. In August, the Telegraph revealed that a secret report into the impact of wind farms on rural house prices was being blocked by officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) amid fears it will conclude that turbines harm property prices. Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, had denied that anyone in his department is trying to suppress the report.
Telegraph 30th Dec 2013 read more »
The number of homes becoming warmer and cheaper to heat under government-backed insulation schemes collapsed in 2013, according to the latest official statistics. The drop, of more than 90% in the case of loft insulation, was described as serious by the government’s own fuel poverty adviser and terrible by Labour. The only way for households to cut energy costs permanently is by improving energy efficiency, but the new figures show that the number of efficiency measures enabled by government schemes plummeted in 2013 as new policies replaced those of the previous government. According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change figures, 1.61m lofts were fully insulated in 2012, but in the year to the end of October 2013, the most recent data released, just 110,000 had been treated, a pro-rata fall of 93%. For cavity wall insulation, measures fell from 640,000 in 2012 to 125,000 in the year to October 2013, a pro-rata fall of 77%.
Guardian 30th Dec 2013 read more »
The increasing acceptance of the carbon bubble and stranded assets thesis is the most exciting climate change development of the last year. Although the Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI) has been propagating the concept for years, the rapid mainstreaming of the idea makes it transformative. For the first time the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was clear that we have only 15 to 25 years before we bust the 1tn tonne carbon budget. CTI’s carbon bubble research goes further and shows that two thirds of fossil fuel reserves will have to remain in the ground.
Guardian 31st Dec 2013 read more »
Global carbon dioxide emissions are likely to hit 36 billion tonnes in 2013, according to new research from the University of East Anglia in the UK. This is a small rise – an estimated 2.1% – on 2012, but it will be 61% above the levels in 1990, which is the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol was agreed by most of the world’s concerned nations, anxious to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and contain warming to a global average of 2°C. So the 2013 carbon budget is not being hailed as a great success.
Climate News Network 30th Dec 2013 read more »