BANK of England governor Mark Carney hosted a round-table discussion in Taunton during his visit to the South-West. His visit is part of a series of regular discussions with business leaders across the region. Mr Carney was also briefed by Rupert Cox, chief executive of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, on the opportunities and challenges associated with the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Speaking after the event on Monday (April 28), Mr Cox said: “We were delighted to welcome the governor to Somerset. Mark Carney was not only very informative on the work of the bank and the wider economic outlook, he was also very engaging and interested to hear from our members who attended this important meeting.
This is the West Country 2nd May 2014 read more »
We’re interested in your views on the on state of energy in the UK, from how you perceive different sources of energy and energy prices to what you, as an energy consumer, value most. If you have a few moments please take our Big Energy Debate survey, it should take no more than a few minutes to complete and will be used to further the Big Energy Debate.
Guardian 2nd May 2014 read more »
Against the decaying skyline here, a one-of-a-kind engineering project is rising near the remains of the world’s worst civilian nuclear disaster. An army of workers, shielded from radiation by thick concrete slabs, is constructing a huge arch, sheathed in acres of gleaming stainless steel and vast enough to cover the Statue of Liberty. The structure is so otherworldly it looks like it could have been dropped by aliens onto this Soviet-era industrial landscape. If all goes as planned, by 2017 the 32,000-ton arch will be delicately pushed on Teflon pads to cover the ramshackle shelter that was built to entomb the radioactive remains of the reactor that exploded and burned here in April 1986. When its ends are closed, it will be able to contain any radioactive dust should the aging shelter collapse.
New York Times 27th April 2014 read more »
A new survey has revealed that half of Swedes are no longer keen on pursuing nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown in Japan in 2011. The study was carried out by the SOM Institute at the University of Gothenburg. Some 50 percent of those who participated said they wanted to phase out the power source. When the same study was carried out in 2011, following the Fukushima disaster, 44 percent of respondents said they weren’t keen on nuclear power. By contrast, in the 2007 study just 31 percent of respondents said they wanted to phase it out. The figures follow the same trend of public opinion reacting to a disaster said the university’s professor of political science Sören Holmberg. “After the accidents at Chernobyl (1986) and Three Mile (1979) the support for nuclear power declined initially,” Holmberg told the TT news agency. Following the Chernobyl meltdown the number of Swedes surveyed, who wanted to phase out nuclear power, reached a record high of 75 percent in the 1986 survey. In 1980 the Swedish government pledged to phase out its fleet by not replacing or building new reactors when the old ones were decommissioned. However, in 2010 Parliament revoked the moratorium on new reactors. It’s estimated that 35 percent of all electricity in the country is produced by the plants. At present Sweden has 10 nuclear reactors at three plants, the largest one being in Gothenburg.
Local Sweden 3rd May 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
It has been more than three years since the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster, and the facility is still being plagued with massive amounts of contaminated water. Repeated leaks and other mishaps have delayed decommissioning the plant. A panel of nuclear experts met with Japanese nuclear regulatory officials on Friday in Tokyo to discuss their doubts about TEPCO’s plans to build a subterranean “ice wall” at the disabled Fukushima power plant. The Japanese government announced in September 2013 their plans to spend over $320 million on the underground ice barrier to prevent the contaminated water from seeping into the Pacific Ocean. Additional money was to be spent in upgrading water treatment plants in the area to remove radioactive elements, bringing the total price of the ice wall to just shy of half-a-billion dollars.
Digital Journal 4th May 2014 read more »
Renewables – Offshore Wind
A fabrication yard in Easter Ross could play a part in the construction of an offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth.Global Energy Group and Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL) have agreed to explore the potential for the Nigg Energy Park to be involved.MORL has proposed installing 62 turbines.First Minister Alex Salmond witnessed the signing of the agreement and also announced £6.5m of government funding to redevelop the quayside at Nigg.He said: “Offshore renewables represent a huge opportunity for Scotland to reap both economic benefits and become a power house of green energy.
BBC 2nd May 2014 read more »
Scotsman 2nd May 2014 read more »
Christopher Booker: Much attention was paid to the vote by a huge majority of MPs for the HS2 project, the main objections to which are that it will cost a staggering £50 billion and cause immense environmental damage, to much less useful purpose than is claimed for it. But no one seems to have noticed that the same is true for another of the Government’s projects: its bid to meet our agreed EU target that, within six years, we must treble the amount of our electricity derived from “renewables”. Ed Davey, our energy and climate change minister, claims that his £12 billion plan, centred on six giant offshore wind farms, will add “4.5 gigawatts” to our generating capacity.
Telegraph 3rd May 2014 read more »
Tens of thousands of vulnerable gas and electricity customers could be going without power for up to three months, despite promises from the big six companies that no one will knowingly be cut off. The Labour party argues that an unacceptable “disconnection by the back door” has taken hold because many on prepayment meters are not receiving early help from suppliers. Npower is one of the companies that in 2013 had more than 20,000 customers on its books who had not topped up their meters for at least 30 days. The company has a rule that it will contact any such customer after 90 days, although on Saturday it said it would change this policy in the coming months.
Observer 3rd May 2014 read more »
A fierce row has erupted over radioactive pollution of the Firth of Forth from a major new development to exploit underground gas planned near Falkirk. Experts say that controversial proposals to drill for coalbed methane could result in discharges of three times as much radioactivity as the Rosyth naval base, where seven defunct nuclear submarines are moored. The proposals should be rejected, they argue. But the company behind the development, Dart Energy, dismisses the claims as misleading, erroneous and sensationalist. The impact of any radioactivity released would be “insignificant”, it says. Dart has applied for planning permission to drill 22 wells at Airth on the Forth to extract up to 60 billion cubic feet of gas from underground coal seams. The application attracted over 2,500 objections, and was the subject of a public inquiry in March and April. Evidence submitted to the inquiry by Dart says that “predicted annual discharges” of untreated water from the development could contain up to 1.7 billion becquerels of radioactivity. The radioactivity comes from uranium and thorium deposits deep underground, and is flushed out by mining operations. Now anti-nuclear local authorities have pointed out that this is much higher than the annual discharges from the Rosyth Royal Dockyard. An official report from UK government regulators put Rosyth’s liquid discharges in 2012 at 0.6 billion becquerels of radioactivity. A treatment facility planned by Dart would remove 99 per cent of the particulate matter, which would greatly reduce the amount of radioactivity discharged into the Firth of Forth, he argued. The “miniscule residual activity” will be dispersed and diluted by the waters of the Firth of Forth and its impact on wildlife would be “insignificant”.
Sunday Herald 4th May 2014 read more »
RobEdwards 4th May 2014 read more »
Militant anti-fracking campaigners have adopted violent new tactics in an attempt to disrupt work at an exploration site, in protest at plans by power firms to extract alternative energy supplies. Techniques employed by protesters at Daneshill drilling site, in Nottinghamshire, include occupying a drilling rig and blockading lorries. But there have also been claims that anti-fracking activists have physically attacked staff at the site, owned and operated by an Australian energy firm. There are also allegations that Dart Energy’s workers have been threatened and subjected to racist abuse on their way in and out of the plant.
Telegraph 4th May 2014 read more »