The U.K. finished a preliminary study of a General Electric Co. and Hitachi Ltd.-developed nuclear reactor, bringing the technology closer to approval in Britain. The U.K. Advanced Boiling Water Reactor will begin the second of four steps in the Generic Design Assessment process to ensure the technology is safe and suitable for use, the Office for Nuclear Regulation said today in an e-mailed statement.
Bloomberg 6th Jan 2014 read more »
State Aid probe into Hinkley subsidy (Video).
Mark Johnston 8th Jan 2014 read more »
The government is pondering a 75GW new build nuclear programme – enough to provide almost 90 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand. The option to build some 50 new nuclear power stations emerged from a submission to the Department of Energy and Climate Change by the government’s advisory body nuclear waste management the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CRWM). In its response to DECC’s consultation on the siting of geological disposal facilities for nuclear waste, CRWM queried a DECC estimate of waste generated that was based on 16GW of new build nuclear. The committee wrote: “Whilst CoRWM understands why the government has given the example of new build wastes arising only from developed proposals where information on the waste types is known, 16GWe is only the ‘first tranche’ figure and substantially below the 75GWe upper limit being examined in DECC. There is a need for clarity that any data given for, for example, 16GWe, are an example rather than either an expectation or a limit.”
Utility Week 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Compliance with the Convention on Nuclear Safety Obligations: 6th national report. This report has been prepared by the United Kingdom (UK) to meet the requirement of Article 5 of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (the Convention). It considers each of the Convention’s obligations and explains how the UK addresses them.
DECC 6th Jan 2014 read more »
How nuclear forensics can help us to tackle nuclear terrorism, Speech by James Brokenshire MP.
Home Office 7th Jan 2013 read more »
Ministers from eight EU member states have urged the European Commission to include a ‘robust’ renewables target in its 2030 energy and climate plan. The eight energy ministers sent a letter to EU commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard and energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger before Christmas stating that a 2030 renewables target would be the ‘no regrets option’ for the EU’s energy system. This comes amid reports that the EC is considering only a 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target and no binding renewables or energy efficiency targets. The ministers – from Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and Portugal – said a renewables target will “strengthen European competitiveness and lead to more jobs and growth”. A leaked EU report claimed that half a million green jobs could be at risk if the target is not implemented.
Energy Desk 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Ministers from Germany, France and six other countries have called for the European Union to set a 2030 goal for renewable energy use, in opposition to their British counterpart who advocates a sole greenhouse gas emissions target. A 2030 renewables goal, which would be part of a package of EU measures on energy and climate change, would cut dependency on fossil fuel imports and boost jobs and economic growth, the group of ministers said in a letter dated 23 December 2013 and seen by Reuters.
Guardian 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Europe’s four biggest economies are calling on the EU to set what they call an ambitious target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, seeking a binding cut of at least 40 per cent from 1990 levels. The call from Germany, Britain, France and Italy will reinvigorate a debate on Europe’s climate and energy policy just as the European Commission prepares to propose new 2030 targets for emissions reductions and the use of renewable energy on January 22.
FT 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Power giant SSE will cut its household energy tariffs by 3.5pc from March 24, becoming the fifth of the Big Six supply giants to pass on savings from a Government deal to cut green levies. The cut will reduce a typical annual dual-fuel household bill for its 5 million customers from £1,224 to £1,186, on top of which customers will also receive a £12 rebate in the autumn as a result of another energy bill levy being moved to general taxation. That will take the total saving to £50 per household, as the company had promised when the green levies deal was announced.
Telegraph 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Guardian 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Small Nuclear Reactors
Small reactors in kit form, designed with an emphasis on safety, are the latest idea aimed at reviving the fortunes of the nuclear industry. The race is on to develop a new breed of small nuclear reactors that will be operated underground and need refuelling as seldom as once a decade. Small modular reactors – or SMRs, as they are known – are seen by the nuclear power industry as the most promising technology of the future because they avoid many of the safety problems of much larger power plants and are also easier and quicker to construct. Underground, they would be less vulnerable to terrorist attack and have cooling systems that could keep them safe for seven days without human intervention. The industry already has 20 competing designs on offer. Some see the reactors working in tandem with renewables to provide electricity for remote communities that currently rely on polluting diesel generators. This would reduce local pollution and combat climate change.
Climate News Network 7th Jan 2014 read more »
The number of operational nuclear reactors remained unchanged in 2013, with four joining the world’s grids and four closing permanently. Overall nuclear generating capacity showed a slight growth.
World Nuclear News 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Fukushima crisis update. The latest of our news bulletins from the ongoing crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It provides a summary of the news from over the holiday period.
Greenpeace 7th Jan 2014 read more »
A pact required for Japan’s first nuclear plant export after the Fukushima disaster faces opposition over concerns about a possible proliferation of nuclear weapons. Debate over the issue is expected when the government seeks Diet approval for the nuclear energy agreement with Turkey during a session that convenes this month. Japan and Turkey agreed to conclude the nuclear energy pact, a precondition for exporting nuclear technology, in May. It requires the recipient country to use technology, as well as equipment and materials, only for peaceful purposes. However, the pact includes a provision allowing Turkey to enrich uranium and extract plutonium, a potential material for nuclear weapons, from spent fuel if the two countries agree in writing. A senior Foreign Ministry official said the clause was added at the request of Turkey.
Asahi Shimbun 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani defended Tuesday a landmark nuclear deal with world powers that promises modest sanctions relief, saying his government did not fear “the few” domestic critics. Rouhani’s defence came after repeated criticism by hardliners in parliament and the powerful Revolutionary Guards of the deal clinched in November that also requires Iran to curb temporarily parts of its nuclear drive.
Middle East Online 7th Jan 2013 read more »
The Finnish nuclear power plant Olkiluoto should have been connected to the grid in 2009 after five years of construction. Now the forecast for the completion of the fifth Finnish nuclear power plant has been delayed yet again. Let there be “no earlier than” go to the grid in 2017, are the latest unofficial estimates by experts.
Solid 4th Jan 2014 read more »
The share of German electricity generated by coal has soared to its highest levels since 1990. Figures published on Tuesday, showed that brown coal (lignite) and bituminous coal together accounted for 45.5 per cent of Germany’s energy production in 2013. This was up from 44 per cent the previous year. Despite billions of pounds in subsidies and renewable energy accounting for 23 per cent of German electricity production, Germany’s CO2 emissions are expected to rise. The situation has been further hindered by the country’s commitment to close down all nuclear power plants by 2022. Its Green party has called for urgent action to reverse the trend. Green politician Barbel Hohn said “anyone who is serious about the climate must ensure that less and less electricity comes from lignite comes.” Germany has paid dearly for its commitment to renewable energy. Over €100bn (£83bn) have been spent subsidising solar power. In 2013 a four person German household can expect to pay €220 (£134) in green levies.
City AM 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Brown coal electricity production in Germany rose last year to its highest level since 1990, despite the country’s campaign to shift to green sources of energy.
FT 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Radioactive particles from nuclear tests that took place decades ago persist in the upper atmosphere, a study suggests. Previously, scientists believed that nuclear debris found high above the Earth would now be negligible. However this research shows that plutonium and caesium isotopes are still present at surprisingly high concentrations.
BBC 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Renewables – Wind
Power generation companies could receive more than £20 billion in “constraint payments” from National Grid not to produce electricity, according to figures published last night. The estimate extends over the next five years and was released by anti-wind farm campaigners. It has added to the intensity of a dispute over the profits made by renewables companies at the expense, according to their critics, of both rural communities and the British landscape. Constraint payments are sourced ultimately from electricity bills and are given to wind farm companies and other power suppliers for not producing energy during periods of high generation or low demand. The problem has been sharpened in many relatively remote parts of Scotland, where wind farms have been developed far from the existing transmission network.
Times 8th Jan 2014 read more »
National Grid may pay businesses to operate at night to use up spare electricity from wind farms instead of paying for turbines to stop generating. National Grid said it was considering whether some industrial and commercial businesses could be paid to shift power demand to a different time – such as at night, when “demand is lower, but the wind is still blowing” – in order to “make better use of renewables”.
Telegraph 7th Jan 2014 read more »
See also: National Grid will tell anyone who cares to listen that constraint payments are a -standard tool to balance the system and make up less than 1 per cent of the bill. Wind is not even the main beneficiary: in 2012/13, just 4 per cent of the payments went to windfarms, with the rest going to conventional generators. The total cost of constraints was £170 million, of which a mere £7.6 million went to windfarms.
Utility Week 4th Sept 2013 read more »
One in ten pensioners have said they are being forced to stay in bed longer to keep warm as a result of rising energy bills, according to a survey by Saga.
Utility Week 6th Jan 2014 read more »
We know that energy efficiency in homes is the only really effective way to combat fuel poverty in the long term. And we know that for any serious climate change emission targets to bite we need many more UK homes, commercial and industrial buildings being made more energy efficient and these goals will only be achieved by the methodical implementation of measures in a reliable, extensive, year in and year out fashion until we get there. It is time for a fundamental rethink of how we get ourselves anywhere near back on track, because we know we will have to do so sooner or later. Even if the plans of the admirable Energy Bill Revolution people were to be adopted, with their proposed root and branch energy efficiency programme which uses the proceeds of future green taxes to vault English and Welsh homes up through the energy rating bands, we would still need to look at how such a programme might be delivered. And here I think is where much of the effort, even when it was better and publicly funded, has come unstuck. Where programmes have worked or started to do so, they were through area partnerships between energy companies and local authorities. Local authorities should have the obligation for reaching targets for treated properties in their areas, and once programmes have been put into place, energy companies should be obliged to compete to secure the right to fund an agreed part of them.
Alan Whitehead 7th Jan 2014 read more »