SPECULATION that Sellafield might be nationalised again has sparked community fears over the future level of funding that West Cumbria might receive from the nuclear industry. Sellafield’s owners, the Government-owned Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, is deciding which of three options is the best way to run the site, which employs 10,000 people. Nuclear insiders have told The Whitehaven News that the NDA is looking closely at the possibility of taking direct control itself through an “in-house” subsidiary. This would be Sellafield Ltd, which currently operates the site under ownership of private sector Nuclear Management Partners. NMP has put £22.5 million into West Cumbria’s economy over the last five years but the NDA, which has invested more than £50 million in the same period, has to decide whether to allow the private sector consortium another five years. Well-placed industry sources suggest NDA executives favour the option of the site being operated “in-house”, which would mean Sellafield Ltd continuing to contract work with the private sector to deliver substantial projects. But an NDA spokesman stressed: “At this point there are no preferred options and any speculation as to the views of individual NDA executives is simply that and has no foundation in fact.” One nuclear insider, who did not wish to be named, said: “Not for one minute can I see the government spending £4.5 million a year of taxpayers’ money on West Cumbria. And the best thing for taxpayers might not be the best thing for West Cumbria.”
Whitehaven News 8th Aug 2013 read more »
Annual profits made by the UK’s big energy groups soared 73 per cent in the three years to 2012, according to figures that are poised to reignite the debate about industry charges. The data, compiled by Labour, show that the total profit for the six largest power companies – SSE, Scottish Power, npower, EDF, Eon and British Gas – came to £3.74bn in 2012, compared with £2.16bn in 2009. The news comes at a time when the cost of living has risen to the top of the political agenda, with all parties seeking to flex their muscles on behalf of embattled consumers. Wages have failed to keep up with inflation in all but one month since the general election in May 2010, it emerged this week. Caroline Flint, shadow energy secretary, said the “shocking” figures proved that David Cameron was out of touch with small businesses and the many households struggling with rising energy bills.
FT 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Greedy energy firms have had a profits bonanza of more than £3billion since David Cameron came to power, research reveals today. Families have been hit by annual bills which have shot up more than £300 since the last election
Daily Mirror 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Metro 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Small Modular Reactors
A shift to “small modular reactors” (SMRs) is unlikely to breathe new life into the increasingly moribund U.S. nuclear power industry, since SMRs will likely require tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies or government purchase orders, create new reliability vulnerabilities, as well as serious concerns in relation to both safety and proliferation, according a report issued today by the nonprofit Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) think tank .
IEER 8th Aug 2013 read more »
Exposure to radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl accident had a lasting negative legacy on the area’s trees, a study has suggested. Researchers said the worst effects were recorded in the “first few years” but surviving trees were left vulnerable to environmental stress, such as drought. They added that young trees appeared to be particularly affected.
BBC 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Storage pools for spent fuel rods at Taiwan’s First Nuclear Power Plant located in the densely populated north of the island may be leaking radioactive water, the island’s government watchdog said Thursday.
Global Post 8th Aug 2013 read more »
First, a rat gnawed through exposed wiring, setting off a scramble to end yet another blackout of vital cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Then, hastily built pits for a flood of contaminated water sprang leaks themselves. Now, a new rush of radioactive water has breached a barrier built to stop it, allowing heavily contaminated water to spill daily into the Pacific.
New York Times 7th Aug 2013 read more »
Chris Busby on Fukushima Leak.
Russia Today 7th Aug 2013 read more »
A clear majority of Lib Dem members in our survey want the UK to ditch the Trident nuclear weapons system altogether. 58% want it not to be renewed compared to just 26% who back the party’s preferred ‘contingency posture’ of a reduced number of submarines. A smaller minority still (9%) want Trident to be renewed to guarantee ‘continuous at sea deterrence’.
Liberal Democrat Voice 8th Aug 2013 read more »
The Navy has now decided to scrap the USS Miami due to budget cuts instead of fixing the nuclear submarine, which a civilian shipyard worker set fire to in 2012 because he wanted to go home early.
Daily Mail 8t Aug 2013 read more »
We should take two unequivocal things from the Iranian president’s press conference on Tuesday on the nuclear issue: engagement and urgency – and the West appears inclined to agree.
Channel 4 8th Aug 2013 read more »
The present US intelligence assessment is that Iran hasn’t got an active nuclear weapons programme, and hasn’t had one for a decade. When US intelligence first published this view in November 2007, it made it impossible for President George Bush to justify taking military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities – he says so in his memoir Decision Points.
Open Democracy 8th Aug 2013 read more »
Amid the recent furore over fracking everyone seems to have forgotten about shale’s renewable cousin – biogas. Energy Desk investigates how much biogas the UK is generating, the government policies in place and the prospects for the industry in the years to come. According to the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA), anaerobic digestion is delivering over four times more electricity than solar PV. In Germany biogas is set to generate 4% of all power this year. No one knows for certain how much of the UK’s shale can, or will, be extracted but a study commissioned by DECC based on current assumptions predicts shale will deliver 4.3% total gas demand in 2030 – though others suggest far higher figures. A similar report by National Grid on the prospects of biogas found it could supply 5-18% total UK gas demand by 2020. With the right policies in place biogas could provide half our domestic heat, reduce landfill and help us achieve our climate change targets.
Energy Desk 8th Aug 2013 read more »
Plunging prices are finally making solar power competitive with conventional sources of energy. When Ricard Jornet opened his organic beachside restaurant outside Barcelona in 2007, he was determined to power it with the solar panels the Spanish government was then lavishly subsidising. He had to think again when he saw the price tag. “I looked into it and the cost of the system was nearly €60,000,” he says. “It was too expensive.” Today, cash-strapped Spain has slashed those subsidies but Mr Jornet has gone ahead anyway. He has covered nearly half the roof of his Lasal del Varador restaurant with solar panels. The reason? “They cost €15,000,” he says, adding he had put in an 8.6 kilowatt system without any subsidy at all. Until now, the idea that unsubsidised solar power could make enough financial sense to be competitive with conventional electricity has been largely confined to the realms of environmental campaigners and renewable energy advocates. Globally, solar power accounts for less than 1 per cent of electricity supply. But its growth has been extraordinary, largely because of the renewable energy subsidies EU countries began introducing in the 1990s. Only 10 years ago, the generating capacity of the entire world’s solar photovoltaic systems totalled just 2.8 gigawatts, about the same as that of six average-sized coal power stations. Today there is more than 102GW and solar PV power has been the biggest source of new electricity generation for two years in a row in Europe. The industry predicts global capacity will double to 200GW by 2016.
FT 8th Aug 2013 read more »
SCOTTISH renewables specialist SeaEnergy has formed a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) with Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University – aimed at driving down costs in the offshore wind energy industry. The Aberdeen-based renewable energy services company announced the tie-up yesterday. The KTP involves the development of an operational and economic model for life-cycle cost of operations and maintenance strategies in offshore windfarms, and is supported by the UK Government-funded Technology Strategy Board.
Herald 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Can solar parks benefit ecology as much as they protect our energy future? Yes! Find out what Solarcentury, Habitat Aid and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust are doing to promote great habitats for wildlife.
Solar Century 7th Aug 2013 read more »
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has changed the way it defines fuel poverty – seemingly lifting two million households out of it in the process. But is it an improvement? A close inspection of new DECC figures released today shows that while the new definition still has significant problems, it helps illustrate how difficult the situation is for millions of the UK’s most vulnerable households. The government has already missed its target of eliminating fuel poverty among the poorest households by 2010, and looks unlikely to keep its promise to eradicate it altogether by 2016. The Energy and Climate Change committee recently criticised the government’s main policy for helping fuel poor households – the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) – for failing to reach many of the most vulnerable households. The latest figures show that – however it is defined – fuel poverty remains a problem for millions of households, and the government isn’t doing enough to prevent it.
Carbon Brief 8th Aug 2013 read more »
This study confirms earlier findings of high rates of methane leakage from natural gas fields. If these findings continue to be replicated elsewhere, they would utterly vitiate the direct climate benefit of natural gas, even when it is used only to switch off coal. How much methane leaks during the entire lifecycle of unconventional gas has emerged as a key question in the fracking debate. Natural gas is mostly methane (CH4). And methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than (CO2), which is released when any hydrocarbon, like natural gas, is burned — 25 times more potent over a century and 80 to 100 times more potent over a 20-year period.
Think Progress 8th Aug 2013 read more »
Britain would be making a big mistake if it ruled out fracking for natural gas on environmental grounds, David Cameron has said, adding that the UK could be “missing out big time” on cheaper energy bills and new jobs because of worries about the impact on the countryside.
Guardian 8th Aug 2013 read more »
David Cameron has mistakenly promised communities near shale gas fracking they will get £1m “immediately” – ten times the amount they are actually set to receive.
Telegraph 8th Aug 2013 read more »
There will not be “a lot more” onshore wind turbines in the UK, David Cameron has said, as he signalled that hundreds of gas fracking wells could be drilled across the country.
Telegraph 8th Aug 2013 read more »
There would be no question of earthquakes or “fire coming out of taps” if Britain pushed ahead with widescale fracking, David Cameron said yesterday as he vented frustration that the United States was much farther ahead in the search for gas. The Prime Minister pleaded with residents in Lancashire to back the technique, saying that Britain was already “missing out big time” and promising that communities would benefit.
Times 9th Aug 2013 read more »