Just a few months ago a select committee of the House of Commons chastised the last government for letting a Chinese company supply some of the UK’s critical national infrastructure. The report deemed it remiss of ministers not to have scrutinised more closely the terms by which Huawei supplied components to Britain’s main broadband network. While producing no evidence of abuse, it warned that the “commercial imperative” of cutting costs should not trump national security. The relationship between Chinese companies and Beijing is, after all, often blurred – whether by ownership or corporate dependence on cheap state-sanctioned credit. And China – while a key trading partner – is not a British ally. The stretched economics of post-Fukushima nuclear power mean the UK cannot turn up its nose at potential backers, nor should it. China’s economies of scale in nuclear may be the ingredient needed to breathe life into the reactor programme. But one of the main arguments for nuclear is that of energy security. Any deal ignoring that could be costly.
FT 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
Somerset Pylon Routes revealed.
ITV 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
Are three quarters of major energy users worried about about what green policy measures might means for their businesses, as the Sunday Telegraph claims in an article citing polling by Npower? They might be, but npower’s survey doesn’t prove it.
Carbon Brief 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
The NFLA, in cooperation with the local pressure groups CORE and HANT are alarmed with recently publicised information of a proposed shipment by sea of radioactive materials currently stored at the Dounreay site to a site in Savannah River in South Carolina, United States. CORE (Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment) have recently uncovered applications by the American company NAC International (working on behalf of the US Department of Energy) to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) forauthorisation „to package and ship from Dounreay to the Savannah River site in Aiken, South Carolina five special fuel assemblies in a one-time shipment ‟. It is not clear when this shipment will take place at present but the authorisation has been extended again in June 2013 and may take place any time up to the end of 2014.
NFLA Press Release 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
What nasty rogue regime would “release radioactivity to groundwater” near settlements? Answer: UK government’s Environment Agency obeying Article 35 of the Euratom Treaty.
Radiation Free Lakeland 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
The Liberal Democrat’s long standing opposition to nuclear power continues to divide environmentalists – but for much of the past 20 years the Party has maintained an admirably distinctive green voice at Westminster.The Green Growth and Green Jobs policy paper that is up for debate at the Party’s upcoming conference is an interesting contribution. Media attention will inevitably be drawn to the proposal to either reject all new nuclear plants or accept nuclear playing a “limited role” in the future power mix. But the rest of the document is a fascinating collection of progressive and ambitious green policy proposals, ranging from short term dividing lines with the Conservatives such as support for a decarbonisation target and only limited fracking, to long term goals to phase out cars with internal combustion engines by 2040 or ensure all thermal power stations utilise their waste heat. Some of these policy proposals lack detail, but taken as a whole they at least acknowledge the scale of the climate challenge we face and the necessity for bold and potentially controversial policies – something few political leaders are willing to do.
Business Green 2nd Sept 2013 read more »
The Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA) recommended that reactor pressure vessels in all European nuclear power plant to be subjected to a standardised review to check for manufacturing flaws (hydrogen-induced forging defects). The WENRA noted that regulatory authorities in several countries have already decided to demand safety reviews to check for hydrogen-induced forging defects in reactor vessels from the operators of the plants under their supervision. Meanwhile, the association has recommended that measures are implemented on the basis of the same criteria. WENRA recommends a two-step procedure- Firstly, operators should conduct a comprehensive review of the vessel manufacturing and inspection records.
Energy Business Review 2nd Sept 2013 read more »
Readings carried out by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority at steel tanks used to store thousands of tons of radioactive water showed readings have soared 20 per cent to a new high of 2,200 millisieverts per hour. The new high was at the same “hot spot” identified by the agency on Saturday, when the level stood at 1,800 millisieverts. Experts say exposure to that level of radiation for more than a couple of hours could prove fatal to a human.
Telegraph 4th Sept 2013 read more »
Guardian 4th Sept 2013 read more »
Fukushima Crisis Update 30th Aug to 2nd Sept. 2013. This week, workers discovered possible leaks in five new storage tanks containing highly radioactive water, which sit in four different areas of the compound. They also found a leak in piping connecting those tanks, an issue that could present far greater complications. On Friday, TEPCO reported that radiation levels near the tanks measured between 70 and 1,800 millisieverts per hour. The latter reading is capable of killing humans within four hours if they are not wearing protective gear, and Japan forbids nuclear workers from exposure to more than 50 millisieverts over the course of an entire year.
Greenpeace 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
Japan is to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into building a frozen wall around the Fukushima nuclear plant to stop leaks of radioactive water. Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said an estimated 47bn yen ($473m, Â£304m) would be allocated. The leaks were getting worse and the government “felt it was essential to become involved to the greatest extent possible”, Mr Suga said.
BBC 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
The Japanese Government has ordered an underground wall of ice to be built around the Fukushima nuclear power plant, in a desperate effort to stop more radioactive water leaking into the Pacific Ocean. Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, vowed to take control of the emergency as he prepared to face international leaders at the G20 summit tomorrow and the International Olympic Committee meeting in Buenos Aires on Saturday. Until now, Tokyo has been the bookmakers’ favourite to beat Madrid and Istanbul to host the 2020 Games, but the crisis at Fukushima threatens to derail the bid’s official selling point — that Tokyo is a safe pair of hands.
Times 4th Sept 2013 read more »
Independent 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
Reuters 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
Japan’s government is to spend almost $500m (£320m) in an attempt to contain leaks and decontaminate highly toxic water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The measures come as the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), struggles to prevent leaks into the Pacific Ocean and to find a way to contain and treat the huge volume of water that has accumulated at the site since it was hit by a tsunami in March 2011.
Guardian 4th Sept 2013 read more »
In the two and a half years since the accident, TEPCO has repeatedly failed to acknowledge the nature and seriousness of problems with safeguarding nuclear fuels in the three destroyed reactors at Fukushima. Each day, some 400,000 litres of water are being funnelled into the reactor cores to prevent the rods from overheating. Only in recent months has TEPCO admitted that some contaminated water is leaking into the reactor basement and, through cracks in the concrete, into the groundwater and the adjacent sea. Few independent measurements of radiation exposure are available, and it is worryingly unclear how these leaks might affect human health, the environment and food safety. But the problems do not stop there. There are now almost 1,000 storage tanks holding the used cooling water, which, despite treatment at a purification system, contains tritium and other harmful radionuclides. The leaks make clear that this system is a laxly guarded time bomb.
Nature 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
The Kansai Electric Power Company’s Unit 3 at the Ohi nuclear power plant in Japan was shut down on 3 September 2013. The unit was shut for performing regular inspections legally mandated for every 13 months, AFP reported. Kansai Electric will also perform inspections at Unit 4 of the Ohi nuclear power plant, which is scheduled on 15 September 2013. Kansai Electric said that Units 3 and 4 of the nuclear plant will be assessed under a set of guidelines recently framed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority of Japan. The two reactors were restarted, in spite public opposition, in July 2012 after passing safety tests, ending a brief period in which no atomic power was generated in Japan. Closure of these units will be the second time that all the commercial nuclear reactors in Japan are offline at the same time since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Energy Business Review 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy proposed cutting $132.7 million, or 29.3 percent, from the MoX project’s 2014 construction budget, citing rising costs that might have rendered the plant “unaffordable.” Despite cuts that could reduce the project workforce from 1,900 to 1,400 this fall, company officials and the department are continuing to seek clients for MOX fuel. DOE would pay for modifications that would enable commercial nuclear plants to use the MOX fuel, which further adds incentive for utilities, he said. Other available incentives could include assistance with shipping and the transport containers and licensing to use the fuel. One of the biggest drivers of new interest in MOX is the lower price of natural gas, he said. “AREVA actually would tell you that they have several utilities who have come to the table and are interested,” he said.
Augusta Chronicle 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
Improved forecasts of nuclear availability in France have helped weaken French wholesale power prices this summer. Participants in the French wholesale power market have long complained about large discrepancies between dominant French state-controlled utility EdF’s forecasts of its nuclear availability and actual availability this summer, but its forecasts have improved this year.
Argus Media 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
Energy analysts at Deutsche Bank are predicting a huge surge in the uptake of distributed solar PV in the United States, the world’s biggest economy and electricity market, saying solar PV installations could rise 7-fold in coming years and lift overall solar PV capacity to nearly 50GW by 2016. The expected boom in distributed solar – installations placed on homes and commercial businesses – is based on predictions that solar PV module prices will continue to fall, grid prices will continue rise, and innovative financing options will provide ample and cheap capital.
RenewEconomy 4th Sept 2013 read more »
A groundbreaking new project on an island off the west coast of Scotland will see wave energy being used to power a salmon farm. Marine Harvest Scotland has applied for permission to site a prototype device to its new site near the Isle of Muck. Chris Read, Marine Harvest’s environmental manager, said: “This is a very exciting development with huge potential. Our environment in Scotland makes us a natural home for both salmon farming and wave energy and this could prove to be a winning combination.” Wave power is still in its infancy but devices such as this could offer a solution for producing electricity at remote sites far removed from the grid.
Scotsman 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
Green New Deal
In 2008 I was part of the group which published the green new deal. Over 12 months a combination of extreme weather events, high and volatile oil prices and the emerging banking crisis had created a perfect economic storm. The green new deal was designed with broad and positively self-reinforcing policies. It would render safe and re-purpose the banking system, invest in a low-carbon makeover of the UK economy, create good jobs and increase energy security. Five years on, we believe it is still, by far, the best and most commonsense plan for the UK economy. Next week we will publish a revised update on its fifth anniversary. This new national plan will show how we can make sickly, much-abused economic shoots into healthy green ones. How badly is it needed? Ask anyone on a low-paid, zero-hours contract, or someone enslaved to the payday lenders; or anyone who cares about the prospect of their children growing up in a world gripped by worsening climactic upheaval.
Guardian 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
Cuadrilla’s attempts to drill for oil in West Sussex have suffered a fresh setback after it was forced to re-apply for planning permission, admitting its current application may not comply with regulations. The backtrack over planning permission is understood to have followed complaints from campaigners Friends of the Earth who argued that planning permission should never have been granted as the law said people living above the horizontal well should have been notified. Although the period in which the original permission could be challenged has long since passed, campaigners argued that extending the permission would have been legally flawed.
Telegraph 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
After weeks spent facing down activists in Balcombe, the energy company Cuadrilla Resources has beaten a humiliating retreat from the West Sussex village because of a planning foul-up, apparently of its own making. The shale gas driller will leave the oil exploration site at the end of the month with the job unfinished, after withdrawing plans to extend operations for another six months. The company blamed a “potential legal ambiguity”, fearing that it could be vulnerable to legal challenge by fracking opponents. Cuadrilla, which had hoped to complete all the work next month, will now have to submit a new planning application, followed by another consultation. The process is unlikely to be completed until early next year. Assuming it receives approval from West Sussex County Council, the company will return to the site to carry out testing of the well but could not say when. Having to carry out a new public consultation, at a time when the controversy around fracking is at its zenith, is the last thing that Cuadrilla wanted. The company became a target this summer for climate change activists as a result of its high-profile drilling in Balcombe. A spokesman for Greenpeace, which is opposed to shale gas development, said: “Cuadrilla’s plans for Balcombe are a dog’s dinner.” A rival industry executive added: “It’s all a bit of a mess.”
Times 4th Sept 2013 read more »
Lord Stern, author of the hugely influential Stern review on the financial implications of climate change, has dismissed David Cameron’s claims that a fracking boom in the UK can bring down the price of gas in the UK as “baseless”. In an interview with The Independent, the respected economist said he was puzzled by the prime minister’s claim this month that “fracking has real potential to drive energy bills downâ€¦ gas and electric bills can go down when our home-grown energy supply goes up”. “I do think it’s a bit odd to say you know that it will bring the price of gas down. That doesn’t look like sound economics to me. It’s baseless economics,” said Lord Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics.
Independent 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
DART Energy will today announce it is raising Â£12 million to help fund its plans for unconventional gas extraction in the Central Belt and in England. The Scotsman has learned that an immediate placing of new shares in Australia-listed Dart has raised A$11.9m (Â£6.9m) for the company, while a further 1-for-9 share offer is expected to raise an additional A$8.8m (Â£5.1m). The second stage of the funding round will take about three weeks to complete, but is already 40 per cent subscribed.
Scotsman 4th Sept 2013 read more »