Confirmed by reliable sources within separate Cumbrian local authorities, developer NuGen’s application to the Planning Inspectorate for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for Moorside has slipped back by at least 6 months. This DCO submission date, previously identified variously by NuGen in its Stage 1 and Stage 2 public consultations on the project as April 2017, the Spring 2017 or Quarter 2 2017, now looks destined to be made at the end of 2017 at the earliest. It remains unclear which of the many specific factors known to threaten the project’s schedule is largely responsible for this latest delay. Whilst Toshiba’s financial woes and the potential bankruptcy of its Westinghouse subsidiary, and the failure so far of the AP1000 reactors to receive design clearance from the Office for Nuclear Regulation must be prime candidates, but delays in securing new investors for the development and finding a way through the local transport infrastructure minefield must also be in the frame.
CORE 8th March 2017 read more »
The News and Star reported this week on the “devastation” felt by a Cumbrian farmer who has been given a year to leave the land in order to make way for “Europe’s biggest nuclear development.” There are many more farmers who will lose their land and livelihoods. Some farms would be immediately buried under the 1400 acre area earmarked for the diabolic nuclear reactors and associated sprawl. Others would inevitably lose their livelihoods in the future from inevitable accidents and incidents should Moorside go ahead. The wildlife both marine and terrestrial that would be left devastated by Moorside both immediately and in the future is beyond comprehension, which is maybe why Cumbria Wildlife Trust and others have chosen to turn a blind eye. There is no excuse for this terrible wilful neglect by those who are tasked with the protection of Cumbria.
Radiation Free Lakeland 8th March 2017 read more »
Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, the U.S. nuclear power plant developer owned by troubled Japanese electronics giant Toshiba Corp, has brought in bankruptcy attorneys from law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The move comes after a $6.3 billion writedown at Westinghouse last month wiped out Toshiba’s shareholder equity and caused it to seek divestments to create a buffer for any fresh financial problems. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Westinghouse in the United States could help limit Toshiba’s losses, two people said, cautioning that the retainment of the debt restructuring lawyers from Weil is just an exploratory step, and that no decision about a bankruptcy filing had yet been taken.
Reuters 9th March 2017 read more »
The partners in a plan to develop a future vision for a former nuclear site have said it could “relaunch the economy” of Dumfries and Galloway. The council, Scottish Enterprise and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority have signed up to the Chapelcross project. For the past five years, efforts have focused on boosting employment – particularly for former plant workers. Now their attention is turning to attracting businesses to the site, such as low-carbon energy providers. Bill Hamilton of the site owners, the NDA, said it was a massive opportunity. “In total we have got something like 95 hectares of land – that is an enormous site, that is a site of strategic importance for Scotland,” he said.”A major proportion of that land actually is available right now.”
BBC 8th March 2017 read more »
Shares in EDF hit an all-time low on Wednesday a day after the French utility launched a €4bn capital increase to shore up its creaking finances. The stock fell as much as 10 per cent to €7.78 — 90 per cent below its €86.45 high a decade ago — as the market absorbed heavily-discounted new shares issued as part of the fundraising. EDF needs fresh capital to build the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear power station it is planning in south-west England and to complete the acquisition of the reactor design and manufacturing arm of Areva, the troubled French nuclear group. The state-controlled utility is trying to meet growing capital requirements while keeping a lid on net debt which amounted to €37.4bn at the end of last year. Under the fundraising launched on Tuesday, EDF offered three new shares for every 10 existing shares at a subscription price of €6.35 per new share — a discount of 34.5 per cent on Monday’s closing price. The French government has committed to cover €3bn of the rights issue, representing three-quarters of the new shares.
FT 8th March 2017 read more »
EDF began a sale of 4 billion euros ($4.2 billion) of shares to bolster its balance sheet and help fund a planned nuclear plant in southwest England. Existing investors can buy three new shares for every 10 they own at 6.35 euros apiece, a third lower than Monday’s price. The French state, which owns about 86 percent of the utility, will subscribe for about 3 billion euros of stock, Paris-based EDF said. EDF has cut costs and jobs, pared investments and set out a plan to divest at least 10 billion euros of assets from 2015 to 2020 to help fund its 12 billion-pound ($15 billion) share of the Hinkley Point plant. It must also this year complete its purchase of at least 51 percent of Areva SA’s reactor unit after last year announcing a binding agreement to take control of the 2.5 billion-euro business.
Bloomberg 7th March 2017 read more »
EDF shares fell to record lows of less than 8 euros yesterday after the French utility launched a bid to raise 4 billion euros in capital to help fund the Hinkley Point nuclear plant. The French state, which owns 85.6 per cent of EDF shares, has committed to contribute 3 billion euros to the fundraising but the company is seeking a further 1 billion euros from equity markets to shore up its finances. EDF is offering its shareholders the chance to buy three new shares for every ten existing shares, at 6.35 a share, a greater-than-expected 34.5 per cent discount to its closing price on Monday before it announced the terms of the capital raise. The French state’s shareholding will reduce slightly, to 84.5 per cent. The state-backed fundraising was crucial to EDF’s decision last year to press ahead with building the £18 billion nuclear plant in Somerset. The company owns two thirds of the project, which is also backed by CGN, of China. The prospect of committing billions to the new reactors, at a time when EDF is also facing lower power prices and a mounting bill for maintaining France’s ageing nuclear reactors, led to the resignation of Thomas Piquemal, its finance chief last year. As well as the capital-raising, EDF is cutting costs and has set out plans to sell 10 billion euros of assets. EDF shares are worth less than a tenth of their peak in 2007, when they traded at more than 86 euros. Peter Atherton, a utilities analyst, said that the overriding issue behind the long-term decline in EDF’s share price had been the worsening outlook for power prices for electricity from France’s nuclear reactors, which account for most of EDF’s business.
Times 9th March 2017 read more »
Areva has completed the clean-up and dismantling of facilities at the former mixed-oxide fuel fabrication plant at Cadarache, in southern France. The company described the project as “one of the largest dismantling projects in the world”. The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) began construction of the Plutonium Technology Workshops (ATPu) at Cadarache in 1959 and production of plutonium fuel for fast neutron reactors started in 1962. Operation of the Chemical Purification Laboratory (LPC) followed in 1966. In 1978, Cadarache began producing plutonium fuel for the Phenix and Super-Phenix fast breeder reactors. The manufacture of MOX (mixed uranium and plutonium oxide) fuel for light water reactors started at the site in 1989. MOX production at Cadarache was taken over by Areva in 1991, but in 2000 the company decided to consolidate MOX production at its Melox plant at the Marcoule site.
World Nuclear News 8th March 2017 read more »
Copeland Borough Council will host the New Nuclear Local Authorities Group (NNLAG) Conference on March 8 until March 10. The conference will discuss housing, transport and tourism impacts of a nuclear new build. There will also be an opportunity to hear updates from local authority colleagues on proposals, including Sizewell in Suffolk. The NNLAG consists of 15 Local Authorities from across the UK who are likely to be affected by and benefit from proposals for new nuclear power stations.
East Anglian Daily Times 8th March 2017 read more »
Levy Control Framework
Britain’s system for controlling the soaring costs of green energy subsidies is to be abolished and replaced with new controls in the last year of the present parliament. The Levy Control Framework was established in 2011, setting an annual cap on the costs levied on energy bills to support wind, solar and other renewables. The cost was due to rise to £7.6 billion in 2020-21, but spending is forecast to hit almost £9 billion, or £110 per household per year. The overspend has led to widespread criticism that the design and implementation of the framework has been ineffectual. The government had promised to set out the long-term future of the levy mechanism in the budget. Instead, it announced that it would be “replaced by a new set of controls” that would be “set out later in the year”. It is understood that the existing cap will remain in place until 2020-21, with the new scheme to follow after that. The Renewable Energy Association said that the announcement meant increased uncertainty for investors. “The industry was expecting an announcement regarding the future budget levels and structure but this has been delayed and instead we face a new regime and no clarity on the proposed new ‘set of controls’,” it said.
Times 9th March 2017 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Welsh Forum holds its spring seminar in Aberystwyth this Friday, 10th March. It will then join up with other like-minded groups to hold an important conference on Saturday, 11th March, the 6th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. The NFLA Welsh Forum spring seminar on the 10th March will focus on Welsh new nuclear, the wider nuclear debate and the sustainable renewable energy alternatives.
NFLA 8th March 2017 read more »
The capacity market has failed to deliver flexibility and reliable new-build generation, a new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has argued. Existing generation should be exiled from the mechanism and support reserved for flexible new-build capacity, according to the think tank.
Utility Week 9th March 2017 read more »
A group of British companies have submitted plans for a mass-produced mini nuclear reactor to Canada, where remote northern settlements could benefit from powerful off-grid supplies of heat and electricity. Their idea is the “U-Battery”, a compact, uranium-fuelled reactor capable of producing 4MW of electricity and projected eventually to cost as little as $49m. The consortium, led by uranium fuel maker Urenco and including Laing O’Rourke, Amec Foster Wheeler and Cammell-Laird, has registered its design for a micro-modular reactor with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).
Global Construction Review 8th March 2017 read more »
NAMIE, Fukushima Workers repair a damaged home nearby, and about 60 employees busily prepare for the return of former residents in the largely untouched town hall. Not far away, two wild boars stick their snouts in someone’s yard, snuffling for food. Signs of life are returning nearly six years after panicked residents fled radiation spewed by the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, when it was struck by an earthquake and tsunami. Still, only several hundred of the original 21,500 residents plan to return in the first wave, estimates Hidezo Sato, a former seed merchant who helped draw up a blueprint to rebuild the town.
Reuters 8th March 2017 read more »
Barely a fifth of the way into their mission, the engineers monitoring the Scorpion’s progress conceded defeat. With a remote-controlled snip of its cable, the latest robot sent into the bowels of one of Fukushima Daiichi’s damaged reactors was cut loose, its progress stalled by lumps of fuel that overheated when the nuclear plant suffered a triple meltdown six years ago this week. As the 60cm-long Toshiba robot, equipped with a pair of cameras and sensors to gauge radiation levels was left to its fate last month, the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), attempted to play down the failure of yet another reconnaissance mission to determine the exact location and condition of the melted fuel.
Guardian 9th March 2017 read more »
Rosatom starts commercial operations of first Gen III+ VVER-1200 reactor. Rosatom has started commercial operations of the NVNPP-2 Unit 1 VVER-1200 reactor at Novovoronezh in central Russia, marking the world’s first full start-up of a generation III+ reactor, the company said in a statement March 1. NVNPP-2 Unit 1 was connected to the grid in August 2016 and testing was completed on February 23, including 15 days’ performance testing at 100% capacity, the operator said. Generation III+ reactors incorporate extra safety features to avoid the kind of disaster suffered at Fukushima in 2011. Several other types of generation III+ reactors are under construction in U.S., Europe and Asia but have been subject to delays. The VVER-1200 reactor has a capacity of 1.2 GW, a 20% increase on the previous VVER-1000 design. Safety improvements include a passive heat removal system that operates in the absence of electric power supply. The lifespan of the main VVER equipment such as reactor and steam generator vessels has been “doubled from 30 to 60 years” and high-level automation and instrumentation has reduced labor requirements “by 25%-30%,” according to Rosatom.
Nuclear Energy Insider 8th March 2017 read more »
Russia’s Rosatom aims to become one of the three most successful global technology companies by the beginning of the 2040s, transformed from the state-backed nuclear power corporation it is today, according to its new director-general. “I know some will be sceptical about this, as if it’s a fantasy, but I believe it’s possible,” Alexey Likhachov said in an interview for the company’s weekly newspaper Strana Rosatom.
World Nuclear News 8th March 2017 read more »
Renewables – solar
Britain’s solar industry is facing devastation and consumers could see energy bills rise after the Chancellor Philip Hammond refused to listen to pleas to cancel a planned tax hike of up to 800 per cent on rooftop solar schemes. The Solar Trade Association described the Government’s refusal to bend over the increase – due to come into force in April – as “nonsensical” and “absurd”. Bizarrely, state schools with solar panels will be forced to pay, while private schools will remain exempt. Mr Hammond barely mentioned the energy sector in his speech – apart from a promise to help the oil and gas industry “maximise exploitation” of the remaining reserves in the North Sea.
Independent 8th March 2017 read more »
Chancellor Philip Hammond has offered nothing to address concerns over the increased business rates applied to properties with solar in his maiden budget delivered earlier today. Pressure has ramped up over the issue with large and small businesses, schools, industry members and trade bodies all joining the campaign against the ‘solar tax hike’ since it was first raised by the Solar Trade Association (STA) last summer. However, speaking today in the Commons, Hammond outlined three measures designed to offset wider concerns over the business rates revaluation regime, none of which stand to directly address the drastic increase on properties with solar.
Solar Portal 8th March 2017 read more »
Herald 9th March 2017 read more »
Today, on International Women’s Day, the women of Deir Kanoun Ras el Ain cooperative in South Lebanon embarked on a quiet revolution. Together with young activists from Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, they completed a solar energy installation that will provide regular and reliable power — and improve women’s lives. The cooperative is proud of their work; making delicious rosewater, apple vinegar, orange sauce, apricot jam, crackers and tomato paste – all without artificial preservatives. But, like many involved in food production, the women work hard for a modest income. Before solar power arrived, machines that help in their work would often lie idle, as the women chose to work themselves harder rather than use the costly diesel generator or an erratic electricity supply. Peeling fruit, making dough and lifting heavy loads by hand is tiring. Some suffer from chronic back pain. Long hours intrude on precious family time. In 2016, the 23-strong cooperative decided it was time for change. Together with Greenpeace Mediterranean-Arab World, they launched a crowdfunding project to install solar power to heat water and power machines to knead dough and squeeze fruit. Today they realised their dream.
Greenpeace 7th March 2017 read more »
More than 200 rural homes are to be offered targeted support to cut energy bills as part of a review of fuel poverty. Advisers from Home Energy Scotland (HES) will visit 220 properties under the £300,000 year-long scheme before a decision on rolling it out across the country. It has been set up in response to recommendations of the fuel poverty strategic working group and rural fuel poverty taskforce. Charities including Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) welcomed the move. It was announced by Communities Secretary Angela Constance.
Herald 8th March 2017 read more »
Georgetown, Texas, an exurb of Austin, is one of the first cities in the country to be 100 percent powered by renewable energy.
NPR 7th March 2017 read more »
The biggest natural gas leak in U.S. history led to a boom in large-scale energy-storage systems, the technology that’s long considered the elusive link to integrating solar and wind power into electric grids. U.S. homes and businesses — primarily utilities — installed storage systems with 336 megawatt-hours of capacity in 2016, double the amount from the previous year, according to a study released Tuesday by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association. That’s about enough batteries to power a city the size of San Diego for an hour.
Bloomberg 7th March 2017 read more »