Questions about the possible threat of terrorist sabotage on convoys transporting Hunterston power station waste have been raised with the body that regulates the nuclear industry. Dr David Lowry, a member of the Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates, asked to see copies of documents relating to cross country transport of radioacive waste between Hunterston and Torness. His Freedom of Information request went to the Office for Nuclear Regulation. But after receiving a reply, he complained that they did not answer his queries properly — and now an appeal has found in his favour. The move by Dr Lowry adds a new twist to the debate over EDF’s controversial proposals for transferring Intermediate Level Waste. They have requested a licence from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency who in turn are seeking the public’s views on the proposals.
Largs & Millport Weekjly News 5th Sept 2014 read more »
Hartlepool and Heysham
Centrica notes the statement issued this morning by EDF Energy, providing an update on boiler inspections at the Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear power stations. Centrica has a 20% interest in EDF Energy’s existing nuclear operations. On 11 August 2014, Centrica announced that its 2014 earnings per share were expected to reduce by 0.3 pence per share, reflecting EDF Energy’s initial estimate of the reduced output from the affected nuclear power stations. On the basis of the latest estimates for returning the reactors to service, and the associated costs, Centrica’s earnings per share in 2014 are now expected to reduce by between 0.6 and 0.9 pence per share (inclusive of the 0.3 pence per share announced on 11 August 2014).
Business Wire 4th Sept 2014 read more »
The French nuclear power provider has chosen British firms to do the majority of sub contracted work for its new Hinkley Point C power station. Hinkley Point C, which is to be built in Bridgwater, Somerset, will have 57 per cent of its parts made by British firms. Though EDF Energy has selected fellow French firms Areva and Alstom to lead manufacturing of the plant’s reactor system and turbines, UK firms are already lined up for a large amount of sub-contracted work. Companies bidding for contracts include Costain, to work on the marine elements of the project, and Laing O’Rourke, which together with the French firm Bouygues TP will lead civil construction.
The Manufacturer 5th Sept 2014 read more »
The UK’s energy supply will remain secure this winter despite a string of unplanned outages, according to the energy secretary. Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, Ed Davey said that the outages at EDF Energy’s Heysham-1 and Hartlepool nuclear power plants, along with the loss of generating capacity at SSE’s fire-damaged Ferrybridge coal-fired plant, will not lead to power shortages. Davey told MPs: “We have taken a number of measures to ensure the security of the UK’s energy supply, including introducing new electricity system balancing measures.
Utility Week 4th Sept 2014 read more »
Radioactive Waste Management Limited (RWM) has today published its comprehensive Science and Technology Plan. For the first time ever, all of the generic Research and Development activities to enhance the scientific underpinning of the safety case for a Geological Disposal Facility are set out in one publication.
NDA 2nd Sept 2014 read more »
The Green party has drawn level with the Liberal Democrats in some polls as it tries to outflank the bigger parties from the left in a challenge to Labour’s hopes of a decisive election win. Natalie Bennett, leader of the Greens, used her conference speech to call for a new wealth tax, a rise in the minimum wage, the renationalisation of the railways, curbing the use of private companies in the NHS and an end to fracking. Ms Bennett’s speech was striking for its emphasis on issues other than the environment, although she reiterated the party’s opposition to nuclear power and shale gas.
FT 5th Sept 2014 read more »
Ukraine’s problem is also Europe’s. Some 40 per cent of imports from Russia might not be delivered to the EU. What happens then? Europe is in a similar position to Ukraine: nearly all countries have used the summer to fill their gas tanks and many are over 90 per cent full. Europe (including Ukraine) has a total of 88bcm of gas in storage. If supply was cut off, the IEE reckons, the most vulnerable of Russia’s customers would be Poland, Turkey and Finland. If supplies were suspended for three months, all of Europe would be able to get through the winter except for these three countries. However if there was a six month suspension, shortfalls would occur in Germany and many countries in eastern Europe, while only France and Italy would be able to cope (80 per cent of power in France is nuclear).
FT 5th Sept 2014 read more »
The new post of Vice President for ‘Better Regulation’, assigned to the Netherlands, should please UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who has led a campaign for less red tape and regulation in EU policy-making. It is less likely however that the British Premier will like the portfolio assigned to the UK commissioner Jonathan Hill (ECR), on Energy and Climate Change. Cameron had asked for a super-commissioner, but in fact Hill is likely to be under the umbrella of Valdis Dombrovskis, the Vice President for Energy Union.
Euractiv 4th Sept 2014 read more »
The appointment of Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, to replace Van Rompuy as President of the European Council has provoked jitters within Europe’s environment community. No-one would ever have described Poland under his leadership as an environmental leader. He seemed to relish his role as the brake on European ambition on climate change. Coming from a country as heavily dependent on coal for its energy, and nervous about any dependence on Russian gas well before Mr Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine, this behaviour is hardly a surprise. Prime Ministers are there to protect and promote their countries’ interests. He may not have been right to identify a dirty and dying industry as in Poland’s interest but he was effective in defending it. This skill may not work as badly for the climate as it first appears. It is worth remembering that Tusk is Merkel’s pick whatever the No.10 spin machine tries to make you think. Their relationship is close. Climate change matters to Merkel and she now leads Europe on it. Tusk is unlikely to pick unnecessary fights with his sponsor and also his strongest ally as President.
Tom Burke 4th Sept 2014 read more »
Green campaigners from 20 countries received two-month suspended sentences Thursday after launching a break-in at France’s oldest nuclear plant last March. About 20 members of the Greenpeace environmental group managed to climb on top of the dome of a nuclear reactor in Fessenheim, near the border with Germany and Switzerland, to highlight weaknesses at atomic installations. The activists, mostly from Germany but also from Italy, France, Turkey, Austria, Hungary, Australia and Israel, were all convicted of trespassing and causing wilful damage.
RFI 5th Sept 2014 read more »
India has pledged that any uranium it buys from Australia under a landmark deal will only be used to produce energy, not build nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday signed a nuclear safeguards agreement with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi, overturning a long-standing ban on uranium exports to the subcontinent. The agreement stipulates that India must only use the uranium for peaceful purposes that adhere to recognised international safety standards.
Daily Mail 6th Sept 2014 read more »
FT 5th Sept 2014 read more »
A panel convened by the Nuclear Regulation Authority said Thursday its opinion that a fault beneath a reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear power plant is active has not been swayed by the additional data provided by its manager. The move leaves Japan Atomic Power Co. no choice but to scrap the No. 2 reactor at the two-unit Tsuruga complex, which sits on the Sea of Japan coastline of Fukui Prefecture. The NRA acknowledged last year that the fault is active, but Japan Atomic later submitted additional data to overturn the regulator’s judgment, which the panel rejected at its meeting on Thursday.
Japan Times 4th Sept 2014 read more »
Japan is pushing nuclear operators to draft plans to deal with older reactors, including the possibility of scrapping those most vulnerable to disaster. The proposal affects a quarter of Japan’s 48 reactors and, according to newspaper the Nikkei, the government is hoping that by forcing the closure of older units, which are too old or too costly to refurbish to new standards imposed after the Fukushima disaster, it may gain public support to restart newer units.
Engineering & Technology 5th Sept 2014 read more »
IBTimes 5th Sept 2014 read more »
The UN nuclear watchdog said on Friday little substantive headway has been made so far in its long-running investigation into suspected bomb research by Iran, a setback to hopes for an end to a stand-off over its atomic activity.
FT 5th Sept 2014 read more »
Iran has missed a deadline to answer questions about its nuclear programme, the IAEA global nuclear watchdog says. Iran had agreed to provide information to help allay concerns about a military dimension to its programme, but had failed to do so, the IAEA reported. These include suspected work on detonators which can set off nuclear bombs and high explosive charges. It comes weeks before a deadline for Iran and world powers to reach a final deal to resolve the nuclear issue.
BBC 5th Sept 2014 read more »
Anti-nuclear activists will stage a protest at Faslane this afternoon (Friday). The Scottish Peace Network will represent dozens of grassroots peace groups in Scotland at the naval base’s north gate from 4pm until 5pm. The demonstration is taking place to support a large anti-NATO protest outside the NATO summit in Wales today.
Daily Record 5th Sept 2014 read more »
Renewables – Offshore Wind
An energy firm is set to close its offshore wind business with the loss of almost 200 jobs. Technip said it had taken the decision following a review of its operations. More than 70 of the positions will go from its base in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, along with offshore and contractor jobs, and more than 20 in Gateshead. Technip said it was planning to close the offshore wind division once current projects had been completed.
BBC 5th Sept 2014 read more »
Times 6th Sept 2014 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News. Nottingham City Council Leisure Centres to go solar plus 1,600 council houses in Northumberland.
Microgen Scotland 5th Sept 2014 read more »
The industry was told in no uncertain terms by Ministers to scale up to deliver the national rollout of energy efficiency retrofits that is essential to tackling scandalous levels of fuel poverty and ensuring the UK meets its greenhouse gas emissions targets. And then it had the rug pulled out from under it because David Cameron thought it might win him a handful of votes. The ridiculously short-sighted decision by Ministers to tackle high energy bills by cutting the energy efficiency schemes that provide the only sustainable means of cutting energy bills was always going to have a severe impact on the insulation and energy efficiency sectors, but now the chickens are really coming home to roost in the cold and draughty coop. The fact that the insulation sector is dominated by small businesses means it is impossible to know precisely how many jobs have been lost as a result of the changes to ECO and the continued failure of the Green Deal scheme to deliver the anticipated levels of demand. We cannot verify whether the UK Association for the Conservation of Energy was right when it predicted the government’s surprise policy changes late last year would result in 10,000 job losses and 7,500 new jobs foregone. Equally, there is no way of knowing if the government’s prediction that, despite a little unfortunate turbulence for the industry this year, there will be 35,000 people working in the insulation sector in 2015/16.
Business Green 5th Sept 2014 read more »
Residential energy efficiency programmes in the UK: a roadmap for recovery.
Jan Rosenow 5th Sept 2014 read more »
Eight of the UK’s largest trade unions have called on the Labour Party to develop a domestic energy efficiency programme that cuts bills, creates jobs and is good for the environment. In a letter to Labour leader Ed Miliband, the unions have set out a number of key elements they believe should be included in the party’s policy on energy efficiency. The submission is based on evidence from UNISON’s ‘Warm Homes’ report, which suggests that such an approach would tackle fuel poverty by saving consumers between £300 and £600 each year, while preserving local gas supplies. UNISON, Prospect, UCU, GMB, UNITE, FBU, PCS and Community’s measures include: A strategy to bring all UK homes up to Energy Performance Certificate ‘B’ and ‘C’. Grants for energy efficient measures, capped at £10,000, to bring all six million low incomes homes to Band C by 2025, and at least two million homes to Band C by 2020. A zero interest rate for energy efficiency loans for those able to pay. A street by street delivery programme, with local authorities taking a leading role.
24 Dash 3rd Sept 2014 read more »
Fossil Fuels – China
There are still doubts. The statistics might be proved wrong. But it looks as if China might be starting to wean itself off its coal consumption habit. China produces and consumes nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined. Coal, the most polluting of all energy sources, has powered the growth of China’s flyaway economy. But as incomes have risen, so has pollution. The country is now the world’s No.1 emitter of greenhouse gases. Latest figures indicate that change is on the way, spurred on by a much-vaunted government “war on pollution” campaign. The state-run National Development and Reform Commission reports that domestic coal output shrank over the first five months of 2014 – the first such decline since the start of China’s rapid economic expansion back in the late 1980s.
Climate News Network 5th sept 2014 read more »
Fossil Fuels – Scotland
As Scotland prepares to decide whether to vote ‘yes’ for independence, the North Sea oil and gas industry’s economic prospects have become something of a political football. Today, a new report backed by the ‘Yes’ campaign claims the industry’s taxes could be worth over £600 billion. But other experts have been quick to cast doubt on the findings. Geologists think there’s still plenty of oil and gas under the North Sea. The problem is that companies have extracted most of the easy-to-reach resources. Uncertainty around the fate of the remaining oil and gas has created space for speculation over how much the industry is worth. That’s where today’s report from consultancy N-56, founded by a Yes campaign board member, fits in. It claims there could be around 45 billion barrels of oil and gas remaining – almost double previous estimates – worth £665 billion in tax receipts. Given the economic limitations of undersea fracking, and the geological uncertainties around the North Sea’s conventional oil and gas reserves, N-56 seems to be offering an optimistic account of the industry’s prospects. When a large dose of politics is added to the mix, it may be wise to handle such estimates with care.
Carbon Brief 5th Sept 2014 read more »
Fossil Fuels – Fracking
Fracking should be a defining issue in the general election. We should work hard to make sure it isn’t a footnote. If the scale of gas is anything like the claims made by its advocates, it has major implications for the economy and British society. Besides its worrying environmental aspects, it could have adverse effects on income distribution. Recall that governments recklessly mishandled North Sea (or Scottish) oil, virtually giving away public resources to an elite. Ironically, while private firms were subsidised so that they could make huge profits, the way was opened up to eventual ownership of much of it by Chinese state capitalism. So much for the ideology of privatisation. Norway, on the other hand, had the wisdom to establish a public petrol fund, which evolved into the country’s sovereign wealth fund, by which all Norwegians, for generations to come, are the beneficiaries. Today, every Norwegian is effectively a millionaire.
Guardian 4th Sept 2014 read more »