The proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has moved a step closer to joining the UK’s power network after the National Grid applied to build a 35-mile transmission connection. The National Grid has submitted a proposal to the Planning Inspectorate to link Bridgwater in Somerset to Seabank near Avonmouth in Bristol. It would incorporate five miles of underground cable through the Mendip Hills and 30 miles of overhead power lines carried on 141 pylons of between 35 and 47 metres in height.
Insider Media 29th May 2014 read more »
Fiercely opposed Hinkley Grid plans formally submitted.
Burnham-on-sea.com 29th May 2014 read more »
Utility Week 30th May 2014 read more »
Britain’s Dungeness B-22 nuclear unit was taken offline on Thursday afternoon, operator EDF Energy said.The 550-megawatt unit had only reconnected to the grid in the morning after a period of maintenance. EDF’s website said the unit would be offline until June 3.
Reuters 29th May 2014 read more »
The opportunity for a life extension of the last of the UK’s magnox fleet of reactors only arose after fuel production had ceased, so no more new fuel was available. To keep the reactor working without exceeding fuel burnup limits, Magnox Ltd decided to sacrifice one unit and harvest its low-burnup fuel.
Nuclear Engineering International 30th May 2014 read more »
The scientist, Professor Brian Cox, has told guests at the opening of a new exhibition in Whitehaven that nuclear power should be an important source of energy in the UK. The physicist – and broadcaster – said the Sellafield Story exhibition at the Beacon Museum was a ‘wonderful’ way of explaining science to ordinary people.
ITV 30th May 2014 read more »
As we revealed on Tuesday, the Office for Nuclear Regulation has got off to a difficult start as a properly independent body. Separated from the Health & Safety Executive only last month, the regulator already faces accusations of conflicts of interest. The ONR receives technical advice from some of the very firms it is supposed to be monitoring, including the US engineering conglomerate Jacobs that is also part of the consortium that runs the Atomic Weapons Establishment. Information secured through a Freedom of Information request from David Lowry shows a separate panel of technical experts will be told by the ONR: “To foster trust and open debate, without constraint, members will be expected to work collegiately and not use information that is received as part of the panel to brief against it.” The sheer thought!
Independent 29th May 2014 read more »
Experts warn that the move to a focus on renewables could soon leave nuclear power redundant. “If you accelerate this revolution to a kind of power economy that is very different from what they [nuclear power utility companies] represent, well, you pull the rug even more out from under their feet,” Andrew DeWit, from Rikkyo University, told Energy Future. The German government’s energy policies have also forced big utility companies to change the way they operate. “We are focusing our business towards the more de-central and more renewable aspects,” Peter Terium, CEO of RWE AG, told Energy Future. “We can develop things like smart homes, smart grids – that’s needed in any kind of transition of society,” he added.
CNBC 30th May 2014 read more »
This issue has been raised today by Civitas, which says Britain’s nuclear industry ‘faces an uncertain future as foreign companies position themselves to rebuild the UK’s nuclear capacity.’ They argue that UK nuclear industry is now entirely vulnerable to the political agendas of other countries, and that the already established supply chains of EDF, Hitachi and Toshiba (which plans to build three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors by 2024) threaten to undermine the UK’s nuclear expertise, which is estimated to be worth £4bn a year. Report author Candida Whitmill argues that a programme of government support for smaller reactors – which are quicker to build and could be manufactured largely in the UK – could provide an attractive alternative to the high-risk and ‘eye-wateringly expensive’ projects currently planned.
Engineer 30th May 2014 read more »
UK nuclear industry under threat from foreign companies but SMRs could provide solution, says think tank report.
Professional Engineer 30th May 2014 read more »
Britain risks losing its £4 billion-a-year nuclear industry unless the government does more to ensure domestic firms will benefit from projects to rebuild the UK’s generating capacity over the coming years, a new paper published today by the cross-party think tank Civitas says.
Civitas 30th May 2014 read more »
Electricite de France SA fell to the lowest in more than three months after a report the government is studying selling a stake in Europe’s biggest power generator. EDF fell as much as 4.2 percent to 25.475 euros, the lowest level since Feb. 7. A large unidentified French bank is sounding out markets on a possible sale, BFM TV reported on its website, citing KBL Richelieu Finance (RICHEUR) fund manager Pascal Bernachon. An EDF spokeswoman declined to comment on the report today, as did a Finance Ministry official. The government two days ago denied plans for the sale of an EDF stake after a labor union said the state was preparing to cut its holding by 15 percent.
Bloomberg 30th May 2014 read more »
The cost of nuclear energy in France is to increase sharply and continue to increase over the next few years, France’s official auditor says, predicting that investment to prolong the lives of ageing power stations will push up electricity bills.
RFI 31st May 2014 read more »
Kazakhstan’s return to nuclear power is to be aided by Russian cooperation. An agreement on a new plant project was signed in front of the countries’ presidents yesterday. As well as being the world’s largest supplier of uranium, Kazakhstan has previously used nuclear power to generate electricity and desalinate water. The Aktau fast-reactor plant operated on the shore of the Caspian Sea for 27 years but closed in 1999. More recently the country has been gradually increasing its involvement in the nuclear industry, now reaching the planning stages for re-introducing nuclear power.
World Nuclear News 30th May 2014 read more »
A wholesale corruption of science underlies the UK Government’s insistence that gas from fracking offers a ‘low carbon’, low cost route to energy abundance, writes Paul Mobbs. On the contrary: it’s expensive, over-hyped – and just as bad for climate change as coal. Natural gas is methane – a potent greenhouse gas. On a 100-year time-line, including climate feedbacks, the latest science report from the IPCC says that methane is 34 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide. Obviously, not the sort of stuff you’d want to be releasing large quantities of. What’s less well known is that on a 20-year time-line it’s 86 times worse for the climate. By releasing methane today – let’s say from intensive factory farms, or from very messy unconventional oil and gas drilling – it forces a lot of short-term warming of the climate.
Ecologist 30th May 2014 read more »
The Isle of Man is attempting to lure energy companies to explore for gas in its waters, in what it claims could herald a boom for the island. The government of the Crown Dependency said it was 90 per cent confident that there were 60 billion cubic feet of gas in its waters – enough to yield an estimated £100m tax take. It based the estimate on fresh analysis of a gas discovery by BP in the 1990s, which was never developed. The Isle of Man hopes that higher gas prices and technological advances could now make it an economically viable prospect.
Telegraph 30th May 2014 read more »
Utility giant Iberdrola has signed a €4.1bn (£3.4bn), 20-year deal to ship liquefied natural gas from the US to supply its customers in the UK and Spain. The company owns ‘Big Six’ energy supplier ScottishPower, which has 2.2m customers, and has gas-fired power stations in southern England with a combined capacity of 2 gigawatts (GW). Iberdrola said the deal, with a subsidiary of Cheniere, would supply 35 billion cubic feet of gas each year from 2019 – enough to supply about 750,000 households. Smaller volumes of gas could be shipped earlier, in 2018.
Telegraph 30th May 2014 read more »
The energy company leading efforts to exploit Britain’s shale gas reserves has threatened to pull out unless the law is changed to allow it to drill under people’s homes without their permission. Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, which this week applied to drill four exploratory wells in Lancashire, said that the fracking industry would be unable to proceed if it had to negotiate access with owners of every piece of land under which it wanted to extract fossil fuels.
Times 31st May 2014 read more »
A reasonable person might be tempted to call Francis Egan foolhardy. Nearly three years after it was forced to suspend fracking near Blackpool after triggering two minor earthquakes, Cuadrilla, the shale gas explorer of which he is chief executive, is returning for another crack — or frack, to be more precise. On Thursday, Cuadrilla delivered eight large boxes containing seven volumes and 4,500 pages of environmental planning documents to Lancashire County Council in Preston. The company wants to frack eight wells at two new sites in the county, which would be the first in Britain since 2011.
Times 31st May 2014 read more »
Global carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, even though policies have been in place to try and reduce them for decades. Moreover, the rate of increase has increased from 1.3% per annum (pa) from 1970-2000 to 2.2% pa for 2000-2010. For the first time in three decades the carbon intensity of the globe – ie how much carbon is used for each GDP unit output – has risen. The IPCC WG1 has adopted a carbon budget approach for the first time . The global carbon budget for a 2⁰ temperature change in 2100 – the contentious amount of temperature change ‘accepted’ as possible before the globe tips into ‘dangerous’ climate change – ie when human intervention may lose its ability to control ongoing consequences – is 790 billion tonnes (bnt) of carbon: 535 bnt have already been used up and the globe emits about 10 bnt a year. That leaves about 25 years (not counting the rising rates) before we, the globe, use up the budget. Since 1990, Britain has managed to add 4% of low carbon energy supply to the energy mix, way below that estimated to be necessary by the IPCC. Britain has to move from ideological policy making to policy making based on best practice evidence from around the globe so that a step change in GHG reduction can be achieved, and this will include technological, social and institutional change. In parallel, we as individuals and communities in civil society have to do all we can to get our politicians, neighbours, businesses, energy suppliers and so on to take climate change seriously. Climate and energy policy must take note of the IPCC warning and act now.
IGov 30th May 2014 read more »
On Monday President Obama is expected to announce draft plans that would aim to cut emissions from coal-fired US power plants by up to 20 per cent.The plan will make use of executive powers under the Clean Air Act, avoiding the need to get approval from the US Congress. The Obama administration is in the process of using these powers to introduce rules limiting emissions from new power stations.
Carbon Brief 30th May 2014 read more »
Business lobbies and conservative thinktanks have carried out a series of pre-emptive strikes aimed at wrecking Monday’s launch of Barack Obama’s historic climate plan. The new rules – the first to cut carbon pollution from power plants – will define Obama’s environmental legacy and could break open negotiations for a global deal on climate change. But well before their release, they set off duelling spin campaigns on the costs and benefits of the new rules, and their impact on climate change.
Guardian 30th May 2014 read more »