31 December 2015

Wylfa

Britain’s oldest nuclear plant closed on Wednesday, leaving in its wake a £700m decommissioning bill and further questions about the UK’s ability to keep the lights on. The closure of the Wylfa plant in Wales after 44 years of service puts more pressure on EDF Energy to take a final investment decision for new reactors at Hinkley in Somerset. The station on the island of Anglesey generated enough electricity to power 1m homes, and with a capacity of 1,000MW was once the largest facility of its kind in the world. But after an earlier life extension scheme expired, the last of the 26 British-designed Magnox reactors was switched off by the private consor tium that manages the plant for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The site was due to close in 2010 but it was kept open for a further five years as fears mounted that Britain would face an electricity shortage because new atomic and gas-fired power plants were not being constructed. “Wylfa has been a terrific success story for Anglesey and the UK nuclear industry. We have generated safely and securely for many years, which is an excellent achievement,” said Stuart Law, the site director.

Guardian 30th Dec 2015 read more »

ITV 30th Dec 2015 read more »

North Wales Chronicle 30th Dec 2015 read more »

The shutting down of Wylfa’s reactors is the beginning of a almost century-long process to return the site to the way it once was.

Wales Online 30th Dec 2015 read more »

Radwaste

Research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that rock salt, used by Germany and the United States as a subsurface container for radioactive waste, might not be as impermeable as thought or as capable of isolating nuclear waste from groundwater in the event that a capsule or storage vessel failed.

Science Blog 29th Dec 2015 read more »

Today’s Flood Alert from the Environment Agency shows part of the Drigg nuclear waste site inundated from the swelling River Irt.

Radiation Free Lakeland 30th Dec 2015 read more »

SMRs

A Sheffield research centre is poised to lead a £400bn drive to generate nuclear energy following the Paris climate change agreement. The base, owned by Sheffield University, is at the forefront of moves to develop small modular nuclear reactors. Built in a factory and small enough to fit on the back of a lorry, they can be linked together to generate the same power as a full size nuclear power station – but much faster and without the huge costs.

Sheffield Telegraph 30th Dec 2015 read more »

One of the Fylde coast’s hi-tech training centres for young engineers was praised by an MP who threw his weight behind a next generation energy project. Fylde MP Mark Menzies visited Westinghouse’s Springfields nuclear fuel plant at Salwick for talks about a Small Modular Reactor which could provide electricity around the world in decades to come.

Blackpool Gazette 30th Dec 2015 read more »

Greenpeace

When Kumi Naidoo was approached to be head of Greenpeace in 2009 he was 19 days into a hunger strike, in an effort to draw attention to the plight of millions of Zimbabweans facing severe food shortages. The head of a South African community group, he was in pain, on liquids, and getting weaker by the hour. It was not the best time to think about moving to Amsterdam to run the world’s most recognised environmental organisation. But it took a threat from his 16-year-old daughter to persuade him to go for the job. “She said, ‘Dad, I won’t talk to you ever again if you do not consider it.’ Ten days later, still on liquids, I relented,” says Naidoo. “Yes, the head of Greenpeace needed a kick from his daughter. She is my fiercest critic.” Naidoo is now at the end of his six-year stint as head of Greenpeace and is preparing to head home to his native South Africa. His tenure has brought a very different focus to the group that had traditionally paid little attention to broader, cross-cutting issues such as human rights, health, development, peace and security.

Guardian 31st Dec 2015 read more »

Japan – Fukushima

Throughout the world, the name Fukushima has become synonymous with nuclear disaster and running for the hills. Yet, Fukushima may be one of the least understood disasters in modern times, as nobody knows how to fix neither the problem nor the true dimension of the damage. Thus, Fukushima is in uncharted territory, a total nuclear meltdown that dances to its own rhythm. Similar to an overly concerned parent, TEPCO merely monitors but makes big mistakes along the way.

Counterpunch 29th Dec 2015 read more »

US – Radwaste

The amount of spent nuclear fuel stored at commercial sites in the United States has increased by more than 50% since 2002, according to a new dataset from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). All told, the U.S. nuclear power plant fleet discharged and stored an estimated 45.9 thousand metric tons of uranium (MTUs) at commercial sites between 1968 and 2002. This value increased by 23.7 thousand MTUs (51%) to a total of 69.9 thousand MTUs between 2002 and 2013.

Scientific American 29th Dec 2015 read more »

A video of the explosions that preceded a fire in a state-owned radioactive waste trench at the US Ecology site 10 miles south of Beatty shows white smoke emanating from the soil before the ground erupts, shooting debris and more white smoke into the air.

Las Vegas Review Journal 22nd Oct 2015 read more »

Belgium

The German government is preparing “critical questions” to the Belgian authorities on operational safety at the nation’s two active nuclear power plants, following a number of recent successive incidents at nuclear facilities. After incidents at both Belgian nuclear power plants, German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has again put her concerns point-blank, demanding whether security is guaranteed at the Belgian NPPs, proposing Brussels to get rid of the nuclear energy altogether. The minister said, though, that the final decision remains with the Belgian people.

RT 30th Dec 2015 read more »

Bangladesh

Bangladesh, under the present Awami League government, is about to embark on the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) project – the largest ever undertaken in the country, in terms of cost, technical complexity and risk profile. Instead of going for a single, smaller nuclear power plant and gathering experience and expertise, Bangladesh is going flat out foolhardily for two large output (1,200 MWe ~ 3,000 MWth) plants, almost simultaneously, at enormous costs!

Daily Star 30th Dec 2015 read more »

China

Unit 1 of the Changjiang nuclear power plant on China’s southern island province of Hainan has entered commercial operation, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced on 25 December. The 650 MWe CNP-600 pressurized water reactor was connected to the electricity grid on 7 November.

World Nuclear News 30th Dec 2015 read more »

First concrete was poured for unit 3 of the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant in China’s Guangxi province on 24 December, China General Nuclear (CGN) announced. The event was attended by Zhang Xiaoqin, vice-chairman of Guangxi, who officially launched Phase II of the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant project.

World Nuclear News 30th Dec 2015 read more »

North Korea

North Korea is digging a new test tunnel at its nuclear proving site in Punggye-ri, according to the latest satellite imagery.

Telegraph 31st Dec 2015 read more »

Renewables – Scotland

Data from Ofgem shows that Scotland added 39 MW of solar PV capacity in 2015, a 28% increase in the space of a year. Cumulative capacity north of the border now stands at 179 MW. The least sunny part of the U.K. appears to be shining in the face of solar cuts affecting the rest of the country, with data published today showing that Scotland’s solar sector has grown by 28% this year. There is now 179 MW of solar PV capacity installed north of the border, and while this is only a fraction of the U.K. overall total, it represents an encouraging expansion for the industry – particularly the residential sector. Of the total installed PV capacity in Scotland, 159 MW is fitted atop homes, with 40,000 households now boasting a solar array. At commercial scale, it is a more modest 850 business premises, but the trend appears to suggest that Scotland will continue to embrace sola r in 2016 and beyond.

PV Magazine 30th Dec 2015 read more »

Renewable Energy News 30th Dec 2015 read more »

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Published: 31 December 2015