Drawn-out talks between the government and EDF Energy will have an impact on the future of nuclear energy around the world, an industry insider has told Politics.co.uk. Adrian Bull of the government-owned National Nuclear Laboratory said the rest of the world is watching Britain “very avidly” as the UK struggles to secure a commercially viable deal for nuclear energy in an open market. Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey is under intense pressure over the negotiations but has sought to reduce some of the pressure by suggesting Japanese firm Hitachi could offer a strike price he would be “happy” with. “This is a real test for me, having made my doubts about nuclear in the past because of the price,” he told the Guardian newspaper.
Politics.co.uk 8th July 2013 read more »
Outside of the developing world, nuclear energy is on the retreat, thanks largely to the spiraling costs of new atomic plants. But innovative reactor designs could change the equation. While nuclear energy supplies about 13% of global electricity — and dozens of new reactors are being built in countries like China, India and Russia — in the U.S. and much of the rest of the developed world, nuclear energy is in retreat, with new reactors on hold and aging ones being retired. And while fears of accidents and radioactivity clearly play a role in that decline, cost is an even bigger factor. Existing nuclear reactors produce inexpensive electricity, but the price of a new nuclear plant keeps ballooning, with reactors running billions over budget, forcing some utilities to abandon projects in midconstruction.
Time 8th July 2013 read more »
EDF Energy, Britain’s largest nuclear power producer, restarted its Sizewell B2 nuclear reactor on Sunday following a planned outage, a spokeswoman said. “Sizewell B was resynchronised to the grid at 1555 BST (on)Sunday 7 July 2013,” she said in a statement. The unit had been on an annual maintenance outage since April 26.
Reuters 8th July 2013 read more »
THE United Kingdom would have the government of an independent Scotland “over a barrel” on renewable energy, a senior Coalition source has insisted. Up until now, Alex Salmond, the First Minister, has insisted the UK would have to rely on Scottish renewables to not only meets its green targets but also keep its lights on. However, a senior UK Government source said Whitehall would have the whip hand. He said: “Salmond thinks an independent Scotland would have the UK over a barrel when it comes to renewable energy; in fact, we will have him over a barrel.” The source said Ireland was offering to build more windfarms to provide cheap green energy to the British market. He added that Scandinavian countries had plentiful supplies of renewable energy which the UK could tap into. He said: “The idea that the UK would have to rely o n Scottish renewables is just not true. It’s a commercial market and we could go anywhere. Salmond’s just wrong on this.” However, with Scotland having 25% of Europe’s off-shore wind and tidal resource as well as 10% of its wave resource, the SNP Government believes this makes Scotland the green powerhouse of Europe. Figures show Scotland’s renewable energy output rose 45% in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year. In February, five academics, led by Dr David Toke of Birmingham University, warned the Scottish Government the First Minister’s ambitious plans for renewable energy in an independent Scotland were politically unachievable as the rest of the UK would be unlikely to continue subsidising them. The SNP administration said the experts were mistaken and that the UK not only “needs Scotland’s electricity to meet its renewables targets but also to help keep the lights on.”
Herald 8th July 2013 read more »
Japan has moved a step closer to restarting nuclear reactors, with four utility companies applying for safety inspections of 10 idled plants, the clearest sign of a return to atomic energy almost two and a half years after the Fukushima disaster. With all but two of the country’s 50 reactors offline since a tsunami swept through the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in March 2011, Japan has been almost without nuclear energy that once supplied about a third of its power. Four Japanese nuclear plant operators – supplying the regions of Hokkaido, Kansai, Shikoku and Kyushu – on Monday filed applications for inspections by the Nuclear Regulation Authority for 10 reactors at five plants under new safety requirements that have just come into effect. Applications for two more reactors are expected later this week.
Guardian 8th July 2013 read more »
Nuclear operators in Japan have applied to restart 10 reactors, potentially paving the way for a widespread return to nuclear power in coming years. The four companies applied under new rules introduced following Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) says it will take at least six months to review each reactor.
BBC 8th July 2013 read more »
Four of Japan’s 10 main regional utilities today applied for permission to restart 10 nuclear reactors in a move set to curtail LNG imports for gas-to-power generation and reduce electricity prices.
Gas to Power Journal 8th July 2013 read more »
Aleksandr Voznesensky, the general director of the Baltic Plant, Russia’s largest shipbuilders, told reporters that within three years Russia will have produced the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. The vessel, known as the Akademik Lomonosov, is intended to be the first of many floating nuclear power plants, that Russia will put into mass production and then use to provide energy to remote areas, and to export to other countries around the world.
Oil Price 8th July 2013 read more »
At first, the idea of floating nuclear plants seems kind of dangerous, especially after an earthquake and tsunami knocked out the coastal Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan in 2011. Russia’s biggest shipbuilder, however, plans to have one ready to operate by 2016. Is this a brilliant solution to the country’s energy problems or a recipe for floating Chernobyls? Proponents of wind, solar, and other sources of clean energy may not be too happy. Not only is there the question of Russia’s less-than-stellar record of nuclear waste disposal, there is also the fact that the floating power plants are being designed to power offshore oil-drilling platforms in the Arctic, according to RT. Still, the barges themselves don’t seem to be any more dangerous than Russia’s nuclear-powered ice-breaker ships, which use the same KLT-40 naval propulsion reactors. The reactor-equipped barges would hold 69 people, and would have to be towed to their locations. They would also be able to power 200,000 homes, and could be modified to desalinate 240,000 cubic meters of water per day.
The Week 8th July 2013 read more »
The Energiewende has recently received a lot of international media attention for its perceived inequity and rising costs to the private consumer. While costs for electricity might be rising in the short term, the overall effects for consumers are much smaller than one would assume reading the reports. Luckily, German civil society is not falling for efforts to discredit the Energiewende.
Energy Transition 4th July 2013 read more »
With the cost of solar continuing to fall rapidly (50% in the past five years) and electricity prices rising steadily, if slowly, the approach of solar grid parity is near. The following chart illustrates the trajectory of solar cost and electricity price, hinting at the coming intersection. The chart compares the cost of a residential solar installation to the cost of electricity for a residential property. The numbers are national averages, and do not reflect the wide variation in the cost of electricity (from $0.067 per kWh in Seattle to over $0.170 per kWh in New York City, for example).
Grist 8th July 2013 read more »
Campaign groups today called on the European Commission to withdraw financial and political support for the lifetime extension of Ukrainian nuclear facilities. Friends of the Earth Europe and its Ukrainian member Zelenyi Svit, CEE Bankwatch Network and Greenpeace CEE want the Commission to withhold the granting of a €300 million loan to the Ukraine NPP Safety Upgrade Project which would prolong the life of reactors scheduled to close in 2020. The groups assert that the European Commission is supporting the Ukrainian authorities despite their clear failure to inform and consult with European citizens about continuation of their nuclear power generation.
FoE Europe 1st July 2013 read more »
In 1957, the British military began conducting nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean and based themselves on Christmas Island. The tests ended six years later and parts of the island were sealed off for decades. What signs are left of its dramatic history?
BBC 8th July 2013 read more »
A SCOTTISH wave power specialist has called on the electricity regulator Ofgem to reform the way firms are charged to access the national transmission grid to ensure a level playing field for renewables, writes Mark Williamson. Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power said renewables are unfairly penalised under a system which effectively means the closer generators are to London the less they pay for grid connections. Chief executive Martin McAdam, said: “A wind farm in the Highlands, or a wave energy project in Orkney or the Western Isles, faces massive charges which in some cases make these projects uneconomic.” The board of Ofgem meets to discuss recommendations on changing how generators will pay for using Britain’s transmission network this week.
Herald 9th July 2013 read more »
The future of offshore wind power generation in the UK is in serious doubt, as the government’s plans to encourage new windfarms are over-expensive and flawed, a new thinktank study has found. The left-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research has found that the government has done too little to attract wind turbine manufacturers to set up in the UK, with the result that only a small proportion of the tens of billions of expected investment in offshore wind will benefit British manufacturers. Consequently, the public subsidy for wind, paid for on energy bills – and which will also run to billions – will reap much less in jobs and benefits to the UK economy than it could have.
Guardian 9th July 2013 read more »
There are over 6 million cavity walls out there waiting to be insulated, 3.7million of which are considered to ‘conventionally easy’ and hence low cost to insulate (See for example the ACE ‘Dead Cert’ report of 2012). 3 million cavity walls that have mysteriously been filled between this year and the last – or 3 million and one thousand, if you add the walls that we know have actually been filled with real foam by real installers over the same period.
Alan Whitehead’s Blog 8th July 2013 read more »
Temperatures could soar to dangerously high levels in some homes insulated under the government’s flagship Green Deal scheme, experts have warned. Energy-saving measures designed to save on winter fuel bills and protect the environment could pose a risk to health during summer heatwaves, they add.
BBC News 8th July 2013 read more »
A new biofuels plant that has opened today near Hull will be the UK’s biggest buyer of wheat, and the biggest supplier of animal feed. Vivergo’s plant at Saltend in the Humber estuary, opened with £350m investment, will take in 1.1m tonnes annually of wheat that would otherwise be used for animal feed and produce an estimated 420m litres a year of ethanol, to be mixed with petrol and used in vehicles. A byproduct of the process is high-protein feed for livestock, with about 500,000 tonnes expected a year. Kenneth Richter of Friends of the Earth said: “This is not a good thing. We haven’t got wheat to burn, and the UK has recently turned from being an exporter of wheat to a net importer. The weather has played a big part, but it shows that we haven’t got spare wheat.”
Guardian 8th July 2013 read more »
There is no perfect energy source that has no environmental impact and is low-cost. Natural gas is far better than coal or oil. Shale gas is reshaping America’s economy, environment and politics in still surprising ways. It was an unpredicted phenomenon, but shale gas, now more than a decade old, accounts for 40% of the natural gas in the US. The success of shale production, that has reached large areas of America where no gas development previously existed, birthed the largest environmental movement since the anti-nuclear power protests of the Three Mile Island era. The “fracking wars” have come to America and the world, with the recently fired French energy and environment minister saying shale gas supporters wanted her scalp.
Guardian 8th July 2013 read more »