News September 2011

30 September 2011

Nuclear Subsidy

At the Labour Party Conference, EDF let slip they are gearing up their lobbying machine to ensure that a new £1bn nuclear ‘subsidy-on-the-sly’ adds to their profits, rather than going to help those struggling to pay their electricity bills. The introduction of a carbon tax meant to incentivise low-carbon energy projects by taxing gas and coal-fired power has left nuclear in line for a £1bn bonus. Yesterday, at a packed CBI breakfast fringe meeting at Labour’s conference, I asked EDF whether they would support or stand in the way of lobbying efforts for a ‘windfall tax’ that would ensure this £1bn would be used to help the those most vulnerable to energy price hikes. To many people’s astonishment Dr Andy Spurr from EDF confirmed in blunt terms that they were planning to lobby against a new windfall tax because they wanted to plough the money back into their own business and increase profits to make their business more financially sustainable.

Greenpeace 26th Sept 2011 more >>

New Nukes

Move over Monty Burns, Bill Gates is coming. Not content with creating the software empire that we all love to hate today, the Microsoft billionaire is intent on turning the seemingly Simpsons-esque world of the established nuclear industry upside down as well, and in so doing, like any revolutionary, earning the enmity of those in his wake. With a fellow Microsoft man, former chief technology officer Nathan Myrhold, Gates is betting that a small Silicon Valley-style startup called TerraPower just down the road from Microsoft HQ in Washington state can deliver a radical reactor design known as a travelling-wave reactor. If it works it could provide humanity with the same elusive – and some say impossible – cocktail of safe, limitless, cheap and carbon-free energy that fusion promises but never delivers. A conventional nuclear reactor depends on enriched uranium to generate its heat and electricity, but the travelling-wave reactor uses only a small amount of highly enriched uranium (U-235) to kickstart fission and a slow-moving chain-wave reaction. Two parallel waves of fission then move about a centimetre a year, splitting uranium atoms of the spent nuclear fuel (reprocessed uranium) or unenriched uranium (depleted uranium, U-238) packed into the core, in a process that first creates plutonium-239 and then consumes it. This reaction should be much more efficient than a conventional reactor and, in theory, can be sustained for decades.

Independent 30th Sept 2011 more >>

THE remaining partners in the consortium which hopes to build new nuclear power sites next to Sellafield is driving on with plans even though another big player has pulled out. Scottish & Southern Energy suddenly withdrew from the NuGen consortium which hopes to have up to three electricity-producing reactors running by 2023. Scottish & Southern’s withdrawal came only days after the consortium put in its planning application to test the suitability of the earmarked site, nearly 500 acres of Sellafield farmland. But the two remaining partners – Iberdrola and GDF Suez – say it will make no difference. They quickly reaffirmed their commitment by announcing a 50/50 stake in the development. Scottish & Southern had had a 25 per cent interest.

Whitehaven News 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Nuclear Finance

Passing the starting line – nuclear construction risk.

Ernst and Young Set 2011 more >>

Construction risk in new nuclear power projects – Eyes Wide Open

KPMG 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Building nuclear power plants can be expensive for investors and customers, adding significant risks to utilty stocks generally used as a haven for retirees, widows and others wanting investments with financial stability. A new study released this month by the Texas Institute found a 70 percent certainty that the utility would see its borrowing costs rise due to the downgrading of its credit rating once construction began. The study tracked the experience of 52 investor-owned utilities that built nuclear power plants from 1960 to the present. Between the ‘60s and early ‘80s, the flurry of plant construction was marred by massive cost overruns and electric-rate increases. Twelve percent of the utilities defaulted on their debts. The financial costs were so great that no utility was willing to launch a new project, and half of those approved by regulators were scrapped by utilities themselves over costs concerns.

Savannah Now 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Moody’s has lowered SCANA’s credit rating, citing concerns about the large amount of money that will have to be borrowed for the nuclear construction program at the V.C. Summer plant in Fairfield County. The Cayce-headquartered company’s primary subsidiary, S.C. Electric & Gas C., is spending $5.8 billion as its 55% share of two new reactor units at the Jenkinsville facility. State-operated Santee Cooper is covering the remaining 45% share of the nearly $10 billion project. On Friday, Moody’s announced it had downgraded SCANA’s senior unsecured and issuer rating to Baa3 from Baa2

Colombia Business Report 19th Sept 2011 more >>

Renewable energy deserves subsidies, its partisans say, because conventional energy sources have enjoyed bigger subsidies for decades. The latter is a hard proposition to quantify, but a new report by a venture capital firm that specializes in renewables takes a stab at it. The report calculates that nuclear subsidies came to more than 1 percent of the federal budget in their first 15 years, and that oil and gas subsidies made up one-half of 1 percent of the total budget in their first 15 years. “Renewables have constituted only about a tenth of a percent,’’ the report says.

New York Times 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Hinkley

PROTESTERS from across the UK are expected to descend on Hinkley Point nuclear power station to protest against EDF’s plans for two new reactors. According to protest group Stop Hinkley, more than 100 people have already pledged to join a “symbolic” day-long mass blockade at the site’s entrance from 7am on Monday, October 3. On Saturday, October 1, anti-nuclear activists are to join locals in a march from French energy giant EDF’s Bridgwater HQ to a rally in the town centre from 1-4pm.

Bridgwater Times 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Parts of an upgrade to the power network between Somerset and Bristol will run underground through sensitive areas, National Grid has said. The company wants to connect the proposed Hinkley C power station to the electricity network at Avonmouth. It previously said the cost of burying the cables was “prohibitively high”. On the section of the route above ground, the old pylons would be taken down and new ones built within 0.9 miles (1.5km) of the existing route.

BBC 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Bradwell

De-plant & decomissioning.

You Tube 23rd sept 2011 more >>

Wylfa

Negotiation and not compulsion must be the way forward for authorities wanting to acquire land for development, a recent NFU Cymru meeting in Anglesey was told. Dewi Jones, Anglesey NFU Cymru County Chairman said authorities and company representatives should resist turning to the Compulsory Purchase Act 1994 to acquire land because of the potential development of Wylfa B nuclear power station on the island and the necessary access infrastructure improvements required for the construction phase.

News Wales 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Daily Post 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Scotland

Letter: In 20 years, we will be on the threshold of nuclear fusion which is today in its advanced stages of development. Billions of dollars have been spent in southern France over the past two years on ITER (iter.org), a large-scale scientific experiment intended to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source. Nuclear fusion, the cleanest source of energy available, that of nature itself, is already proving to produce a hundred-fold energy compared to that required in its production. Coincidentally, at this same point in time, wind farms will be facing costly servicing and replacement issues. It will be financial suicide for the operators to invest further in something which will have become clearly unviable.

Southern Reporter 30th Sept 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

One of the world’s most unlikely tourist attractions has been closed down. The nuclear exclusion zone around Chernobyl had previously attracted around 10,000 visitors per year, with each paying about £65 to tour operators. With flights and hotel bookings on top of this, tourism in the area contributed millions of pounds to the Ukrainian economy.

Telegraph 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Japan

A mobile phone that doubles as a radiation detector? If there is one country that can pull off (and sell) such a device, it’s Japan. A leading Japanese telecommunications company will unveil a smartphone next week that also acts as a radiation dosimeter to help users detect potential contamination.

Telegraph 29th Sept 2011 more >>

The Japanese have been careful. In the country of the hibakusha (surviving victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki), all reactors go through closer scrutiny than anywhere else. But this clearly wasn’t enough. Other highly developed countries — Canada, Russia, UK, and US — have also seen serious reactor accidents. What does this mean for a typical developing country? There, radiation dangers and reactor safety have yet to enter public debate. Regulatory mechanisms are strictly controlled by the authorities, citing national security reasons. And individuals or nongovernmental organisations are forbidden from monitoring radiation levels near any nuclear facility. Poor and powerless village communities in India and Pakistan, that have suffered health effects from uranium and thorium mining, have been forced to withdraw their court cases. The aftermath of a Fukushima-type incident might look very different in many developing countries. With volatile populations and little disaster management capability, the social response would probably be quite different.

Oil Price 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Chris Busby’s message about Japan and the nuclear industry’s intentional coverup of Fukushima radioactive problem, how Japan is trucking tons of radioactive waste to south Japan, etc.

Global Research TV 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Russia

The recent – and still ongoing – nuclear crisis in Japan came as a frightening reminder of the dangers of nuclear energy, something that the world, once staggered by the horrors of Chernobyl, was starting to let fade into the distant past. But if in most countries Fukushima triggered safety enhancement measures at nuclear power plants – and in such atomic heavyweights as Germany and Japan, prompted a strategy of nuclear phase-out – in Russia, the disaster did little more than serve as a cue for the Nuclear Corporation Rosatom to boost its investments into nuclear PR. On the taxpayers’ dime, no less.

Bellona 7th Sept 2011 more >>

Canada

This report was prepared by the Centre for Spatial Economics (C4SE) at the request of Greenpeace Canada in September 2011. It assesses the economic impact on the immediately surrounding area of a nuclear accident at each of the Pickering and Darlington.

Greenpeace Canada 14th Sept 2011 more >>

Syria

The Syrian government and regime opponents blamed each other Wednesday for the murder of a nuclear engineer, the latest death among scientists in the flashpoint city of Homs.

Middle East Online 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Nuclear Submarines

The Russian navy is planning to scrap its legendary Typhoon-class nuclear submarine by 2014, at least five years early.

Telegraph 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Renewables

Renewable electricity contributed an all time high of 9.6% of the UK’s grid mix in the second quarter of this year, statistics released on Thursday by the Department of Energy and Climate Change have revealed. The 7.86TWh (terawatt hours) contributed by green energy generators represented a 50% rise on the same time last year. The surge in green energy was led by the wind energy sector, which saw output rise 120% year on year, and hydroelectricity where output rose 75% year on year.

Guardian 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Renewable UK 29th Sept 2011 more >>

As you will be aware, DECC was planning to launch the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for non-domestic generators on 30 September 2011. State Aid approval is a necessary condition for the scheme to go ahead. As part of that process, the European Commission has expressed concerns that the large biomass tariff is set too high. We understand that the Commission has given state aid approval for the RHI, subject to a reduction in the large biomass tariff and we expect to receive written confirmation of this very soon. Changing the large biomass tariff will require the RHI regulations to be amended and submitted to Parliament for approval. We are unable to launch the scheme as a whole until this process has been completed. Therefore, unfortunately, we will not be able to open the scheme for applications on 30 September 2011 as we had originally planned.

Solartwin 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Coal

Experts have long warned of the potential for power shortages because six of Britain’s coal stations must close by the end of 2015 under European rules. However, it now appears that half of these stations, representing 8pc of Britain’s capacity, are likely to shut early because they will have been burning fuel for too many hours – more than 20,000 in total since 2008. New Government estimates show Cockenzie, owned by Scottish Power, is likely to have to close completely by April. Kingsnorth, owned by E.ON, is on track to have to shut by March 2013. Meanwhile, Tilbury, which is being converted into a biomass station by RWE, may have to go by July 2013 unless it can convince the European Union (EU) its new fuel is cleaner.

Telegraph 30th Sept 2011 more >>

Posted: 30 September 2011

29 September 2011

New Nukes

Even before the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 11, prospects for nuclear construction were looking difficult in most of the developed world, mostly because of shaky economics. Weak power demand because of the recession, and cheaper alternatives such as gas and coal, made it difficult to justify investment in reactors. Around the world, countries that were in favour of new nuclear investment have had their confidence shaken. Sceptics have become more firmly opposed, while several of those on the fence have been tipped into rejecting nuclear power. The IAEA says about six countries interested in developing a civil nuclear industry have notified it that they have abandoned their plans.

FT 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Labour

Labour’s support remains steadfast but not without a few indiscreet words slipping out at Labour conference on subsidies and public consultations. Labour’s love-in with the nuclear industry continued at a fringe event at the party conference in Liverpool, though not without some indiscreet words slipping out. Public consultations on the building of new nuclear power stations are required by law, but would not cause problems in getting them built, Alan Raymant, COO of Horizon Nuclear Power said. “As a developer we are not obliged to follow the results of the public consultation. But we have to take it into account and explain why we have not include its recommendations,” he said. Horizon is the joint venture of E.on and RWE npower looking to build 6GW of new nuclear powers. Malcolm Grimston, of Chatham House: “Public consultations have become a type of referendum. What they should be is: This needs to be done, do you have better ideas of how to do it?” The panel also included Labour MPs Huw Irranca-Davies, shadow energy minister, and John Robertson, chair of a parliamentary nuclear group. Arguments were strongly made that nuclear power was needed in the UK as part of a balanced energy approach. Irranca-Davies felt secure enough in the industry’s affection to warn against it taking him for granted. The new nuclear plants had to be built on time and on budget, he said sternly. “And I don’t want nuclear to be used as a disguise for walking away from renewables. We will be watching with an eagle eye.”

Guardian 28th Sept 2011 more >>

It was possible to detect the foundations for a new pro green business left-of-centre philosophy, just as it was possible to see the outline of a green industrial policy in Ed’s criticism of the coalition’s refusal to extend a loan to nuclear engineering firm Sheffield Forgemasters.he problem for both Labour and those green businesses looking to make long-term investments is that while the party may be becoming increasingly adept at critiquing the coalition’s green record, it is still yet to provide a compelling alternative vision that goes beyond vague hints that it would take a more interventionist stance on industrial issues and would attempt to drive the low-carbon economy up the political agenda. Meanwhile, counter attacks from the Lib Dems and the Tories pointing out that major electricity market reforms are necessitated by the previous Labour government’s ridiculously laissez faire approach to the energy market continue to resonate. As climate minister Greg Barker tweeted this afternoon: “Energy market is ‘rigged’, says Ed. What exactly did he do about it in two years as Energy Sec?”

Business Green 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Hinkley

PROTESTORS are set to hold a “symbolic mass blockade” at the entrance of Hinkley Point on Monday. Anti-nuclear campaign group Stop Hinkley claims more than 100 people from across the UK have pledged to join the blockade, and says a march and rally will be held close to EDF Energy’s regional headquarters in Bridgwater on Monday.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Companies

Mitie Group has retained and expanded a contract to provide facilities management (FM) and energy services to the Cumbrian Collaboration group of nuclear-related organisations. The Cumbrian Collaboration includes Sellafield Ltd, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Direct Rail Services, Low Level Waste Repository Ltd and International Nuclear Services.

Construction Index 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Scotland

An ambitious £1.75 billion scheme enabling Scottish electricity generators to use Norway as a giant storage “battery” and helping to keep down domestic bills has taken a dramatic step forward, it has emerged. NorthConnect, the company formed to examine linking Scotland and Norway with a 570km-long subsea electricity cable, has disclosed that it is applying to National Grid to get a connection into Britain’s grid at Peterhead. The Scotland-Norway inter-connector, once thought to be a pipedream, is expected to be of huge benefit to operators of wind and other renewable energy farms in Scotland, and could be in place by 2020. The cable, it is hoped, will enable electricity firms on each side of the North Sea to sell into each other’s market, taking advantage of situations when wholesale prices are high in one market, but not in the other.

Times 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Scotsman 29th Sept 2011 more >>

CLIMATE change campaigner and former US vice-president Al Gore has hailed Scotland as a world leader in renewable energy. The Nobel Laureate, who was speaking in Edinburgh at an international conference on green finance investment, said the world is facing a catastrophe if steps are not taken to reduce carbon emissions. However, in a speech heard by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, he said tremendous opportunities are emerging. He said: Scotland has unique opportunities with the natural resources, including the incredible percentage of the offshore wind resource and the excitement of the potential of wave and tide energy, although thats at an earlier stage of investigation and development.

Herald 29th Sept 2011 more >>

SCOTTISH Chambers of Commerce chairman Mike Salter last night warned that the Holyrood Governments ambitious renewable energy targets could damage the economy north of the Border by hiking electricity costs for businesses. Mr Salter, an Aberdeen-based veteran of the oil services industry who has nearly 40 years of experience in the energy sector, told an audience of about 400 at Scottish Chambers annual dinner in Glasgow that the cost of renewable energy projects was going through the roof. He said: The Scottish Government have committed to have the majority of generation coming from this very expensive source by 2020.

Herald 29th Sept 2011 more >>

ALEX Salmond’s aspirations to make Scotland a world leader in renewables have been both damned and praised as a business leader warned the commitment was “misguided” hours after Al Gore applauded the country’s green energy plans. Mike Salter, chairman of the Scottish Chamber of Commerce (SCC), warned the cost to businesses of subsidising Scotland’s renewables ambitions could leave them bankrupt due to massive hikes in electricity bills. His criticism came as a dampener to an impassioned speech yesterday from Nobel Laureate and former US vice-president Mr Gore in which he described Scotland’s response to climate change as “inspiring”.

Scotswman 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Telegraph 29th Sept 2011 more >>

OUTPUT from renewables in Scotland rose by 50 per cent in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2010. Between March and June, the sector generated 5,593 gigawatt hours of electricity, compared to 3,719 GWh during the same months in 2010. Scottish Renewables, which commissioned a report into power generation, said the change was as a result of windier, wetter conditions in 2011, and a larger number of renewables installations.

Scotsman 29th Sept 2011 more >>

A timely warning on the dangers of over- reliance on renewable energy and its costs came in a speech last night by Scottish Chambers of Commerce chairman Mike Salter. The recent sharp increases in electricity prices are due in part to the government’s Renewables Obligation by which the consumer subsidises renewable generation. The cost of electricity from a recently announced wind farm project in the North Sea is now approaching 19p per kilowatt-hour against the current wholesale spot price of between 1.75p and 2p per kilowatt-hour. With the Scottish Government now committed to having most of our energy from such sources by 2020, Mr Salter’s warning “Have a care!” is well made. The pace and scale of this development must be determined by what the economy and householders can afford – not just abstract, lofty targets that could put growth in danger and hit the least well-off the hardest.

Scotsman 29th Sept 2011 more >>

The inspiring story of how Fintry in Stirlingshire has benefitted from investing in renewable energy.

Rob Edwards.com 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Europe

British households could be forced to subsidise the home improvements of their continental counterparts under controversial plans being drawn up by the European Commission. The proposal – part of an EU energy efficiency drive – could add up to £60 a year to household energy bills, adding to the strain on families that are already facing rocketing gas and electricity prices. The Commission has drafted a new legal requirement for energy companies operating in each member state to cut the amount of electricity and gas they sell by 1.5 per cent each year until 2020. The Commission has set a target of cutting energy consumption by 20 per cent across the EU. The Times has learnt that, under one proposal, companies would be able to meet their national targets by paying for equivalent savings elsewhere in the EU instead.

Times 29th Sept 2011 more >>

Japan

A riposte of the BBC Horizon programme – Fukushima, Is Nuclear Power Safe?

Goddards Journal 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

As Fukushima continues to spew more radioactivity into the air and trust in the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. plunges, the mood in Japan is slowly shifting away from nuclear power. On Sept. 19, the mounting anger and fear culminated in a rally of some 60,000 anti-nuclear protesters in Tokyo — the largest such gathering since the March 11 quake and tsunami. The protesters included the elderly, families with children and a large contingent from the towns near the reactor. A surprising number were local government officials and members of RENGO, the 6.8-million-strong federation of labor unions. “Normally RENGO never goes against nuclear power because many members are nuclear industry emploTyees,” says Satoshi Kamata, a journalist and atomic energy opponent who organized the rally. “I’m guessing about 10,000 to 15,000 RENGO members were at the rally.”

Time 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Japan’s Geothermal Developer Council recently announced that six Tohoku prefectures could be capable of generating about 170 MW of energy and a total of 740 MW, including sites in national parks, where geothermal plants are currently restricted. Due to the last massive earthquake produced in Japan in March, the country has lost power plants which generated almost 6800 MW of electricity. It is estimated that Japan’s future geothermal plants will be able of generating 85,000 MW, enough to replace all of the existing nuclear energy power plants.

IB Times 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Japan needs to remove and dispose of 29 million cubic metres of soil contaminated by the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years from an area nearly the size of Tokyo, the environment ministry has said. Six months after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami triggered reactor meltdowns, explosions and radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Japan’s north-east coast, the scale of the clean-up is only now becoming clear. Contaminated zones where radiation levels need to be brought down could top 930 square miles, sprawling over Fukushima and four nearby prefectures, the ministry said in a report yesterday.

Scotsman 29th Sept 2011 more >>

The September/October edition of the Citizens Nuclear Information Centre Tokyo newsletter is available.

CNIC 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Switzerland

The Swiss parliament’s upper house on Wednesday approved plans to phase out the country’s nuclear plants over the next two decades in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. It followed a June vote by the lower chamber to back an exit from nuclear energy recommended by the government, which had earlier frozen plans for a new construction programme after the Fukushima atomic plant explosion.

AFP 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia plans to complete construction of its first nuclear power plant within nine years although it will take longer to become fully operational and add capacity to the kingdom’s over-stretched grid.

FT 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Argentina

Argentina’s third nuclear power plant in a move she says helps diversify her country’s energy sources. The German-designed Atucha II plant is expected to be fully operational in six to eight months after engineers run a series of tests. Construction on the plant began in the early 1980s, but worked soon stopped and did not resume until 2006, when then-president Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007), the current leader’s late husband, ordered the plant to be completed.

AFP 29th Sept 2011 more >>

France

French utility EDF said it had ordered 44 steam generators for its 1,300 megawatt nuclear power plants in France in a deal worth over 1.5 billion euros ($2.04 billion)for suppliers Areva and Westinghouse . The steam generators will be installed from 2017 onwards, said EDF of the order which it said was part of a programme for the gradual replacement of major plant components.

Reuters 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Korea

Britain’s outgoing diplomat to Pyongyang has cast doubt on North Korea’s willingness to denuclearise, saying its officials believe Col Muammar Gaddafi would have survived the Libyan uprising had his regime kept its weapons.

Telegraph 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Nuclear Testing

Prediction of Cs-137 deposition from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. The methodology uses a ratio of Cs-137 deposition and precipitation measured at Milford Haven by the Atomic Energy Authority extrapolated across Great Britain using a 5 by 5 km resolution UKCIP precipitation dataset. The prediction is for 31 December 1985. Details of the methodology used can be found in Wright, S.M., Howard, B.J., Strand, P. Nylen, T & Sickel, M.A.K. 1999 Prediction of 137Cs deposition from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests within the Arctic. Environmental Pollution, 104, 131-143.

Data.gov.uk 28thSept 2011 more >>

Trident

JOBS redeveloping Barrow’s waterfront and marina would help make-up for employment losses if the next fleet of nuclear submarines was scrapped, it has been claimed. Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament chairwoman Dr Kate Hudson said the regeneration project would create enough jobs to make up for axing the Trident replacement. Dr Hudson said: “If Trident were to be scrapped the current Astute building programme could be slowed down so that a core workforce could be retained at least until 2020. “In addition, the yard could adapt to building surface ships to transport freight and deep water drilling ships for use in oil exploration. The skills of the workforce could be adapted to the manufacture of turbines to harness marine and wind.

NW Evening Mail 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Green Deal

Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, blogs for endsreport.com on the government’s Green Deal scheme. The government’s forthcoming Green Deal scheme is primarily designed to save energy used for heating and hot water. Households will borrow money to finance major energy saving improvements to their home, then pay the loan back gradually through a charge on their energy bills. Across Britain, most heating and hot water is provided by natural gas. So why, then, is the government insisting that all Green Deal charges must be placed only on the electricity bill? The same question occurred to Caroline Lucas MP, who on September 14 sought to amend the bill creating the Green Deal to allow householders the right to choose. Under her proposal, they could decide which of their fuel bills they wanted to use to pay back the money borrowed. If their home is off the gas mains, they would have no option but to follow the government’s preferred route – the electricity bill. But if, like four out of five households, their home is heated by gas, they would be advised to opt for that bill, which is most likely to be reduced after a Green Deal makeover. That would be the logical bill to carry the loan repayments in the vast majority of cases, rather than the one least likely to be affected by the energy saving investments which will be made under the deal.

Ends 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Solar

Figures from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) suggest that larger solar PV installations such as those on businesses will reach grid parity in terms of cost effectiveness as soon as 2013 in Italy and Spain – with the UK following suit in 2017 rest of Europe catching up by 2020. This is good news – and it’s not pie-in-sky thinking either. The figures factor in gradual reduction in government incentives like Feed-in Tariffs while taking account of projected rises in electricity cost and falling cost of solar equipment.

EST 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Wave & Tidal

Wave and tidal power devices are close to producing electricity for mass consumption for the first time after a surge in investment, Alex Salmond has predicted. The first minister said that the latest wave and tide machines being tested in Scottish waters were expected to become commercially viable by 2015 with several hundred megawatts of installed capacity, in a major breakthrough for the green energy industry. Salmond’s prediction came as it emerged that one developer, Aquamarine Power, which has one of the most advanced wave power machines being tested off Orkney, had won fresh investment of £7m in its latest design and pledges of another £18m by 2014.

Guadian 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Posted: 29 September 2011

28 September 2011

Hinkley

People from all over the UK are set to descend on Hinkley Point nuclear power station to protest again EDF Energy’s plans to build two new mega-reactors next to the existing site. More than 100 people have already pledged to join a symbolic mass blockade at the entrance to Hinkley Point in Somerset next Monday, October 3rd. On Saturday 1st October, anti-nuclear protesters will also join local residents in a march and rally close to EDF Energy’s regional HQ in nearby Bridgwater.

Stop New Nuclear 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Avalon Probus Club: the chairman welcomed Mr Des Uminski, from the Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station, as the morning’s speaker.

Wells Journal 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Wylfa

It promises to be one of the biggest industrial developments in Wales, the proposed new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey, and people living as far afield as Porthmadog and Llandudno are to be asked their views about the plan. The company behind the project has been outlining its consultation process as it attempts to get the planning green light.

BBC 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Capenhurst

Urenco, a supplier of enriched uranium, has selected UK based practice Atkins to design the expansion of their largest plant at Capenhurst near Chester in the UK. The Capenhurst site operates three plants, the largest of which is E23 which accomodates more than 80% of the site’s enrichment capacity. Atkins will conduct design and engineering studies to support the safety case, detail design and installation.

Energy Business Review 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Sellafield

Sellafield in Cumbria has reached a milestone after successfully moving its first nuclear fuel in 50 years. The nuclear plant is decommissioning The Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP), which was the very first nuclear fuel storage pond built at the site. It was originally used to store fuel from the Windscale Pile Reactors and is the largest open air nuclear storage pond in the world. It is the first time the plant has moved nuclear fuel since 1964.

BBC 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Cumbria

MARIANNE Birkby is flying the flag for the natural world. Well-known for her wildlife paintings and vigorous campaigning against nuclear energy, her latest exhibition runs at Peter Blaskett’s Signature Gallery in Kendal’s cultural quarter – Kirkland. The paintings in The Green Man and The Natural World focus on different aspects of the natural world from otters at Leighton Moss to the waterfalls at Rydal Hall, which provide electricity for the Estate. Woven through the wildlife paintings are images of the mythical Green Man.

Westmoreland Gazette 25th Sept 2011 more >>

Cumbria Tourism chairman Eric Robson is embroiled in a row over his support for new nuclear power stations planned close to the Lake District. “This is a big fat conflict of interest,” said Marianne Birkby from pressure group Radio-active Free Lakeland. “Eric Robson is both poacher and gamekeeper by acting as a PR guru for an organisation which is essentially promoting steps towards geological disposal while holding a position of trust for tourism and the environment. He should step down from Cumbria Tourism.”

News & Star 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Legal

Eversheds and Pinsent Masons have both appointed new energy-related practice group heads, with the latter recruiting a partner from EDF Energy. Pinsents has hired EDF’s nuclear legal head Chris White as co-head of the firm’s international nuclear practice. He will lead the team alongside current head Paul Rice. White, who will join the firm on 10 October, will oversee nuclear new build, decommissioning and nuclear fuel projects and mandates in the UK, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Before joining EDF, he worked as group counsel at uranium manufacturer Urenco.

Legal Week 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Scotland

ALEX Salmond hailed Scotland’s renewables revolution as a “paradigm shift” equivalent to the “change from hunter gathering to agriculture.” The remarks came during a speech made at the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference in Edinburgh yesterday. The First Minister said he hoped the Prototype Offshore Wind Energy Renewables Support (Powers) development fund would help Scotland become a world leader in green energy.

Scotsman 28th Sept 2011 more >>

SCOTTISH firm Aquamarine Power has secured £7 million of new funding towards development of its wave energy device. The Edinburgh-based company said the funding represented a major step towards the commercialisation of its Oyster wave device. It comes from existing shareholders Scottish & Southern Energy, power firm ABB and Scottish Enterprise, which hopes to come up with a further £18m to take the firm to commercialisation in 2014.

Scotsman 28th Sept 2011 more >>

DUNDEE is in a battle with Hartlepool to secure up to 800 manufacturing jobs from a Spanish wind turbine maker. Gamesa, which today opens its offshore wind technology centre in Glasgow, will make a decision next month and could double the jobs figure by offering work for local companies to supply the new base.

Scotsman 28th Sep 2011 more >>

Japan

Fukushima update 23rd to 26th September.

Greenpeace International 27th September 2011 more >>

Japan’s nuclear disaster minister confirmed on Tuesday that the government soon wants to lift an advisory for some areas near the quake- and tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, in a sign that the operator was making progress with its cleanup work. Operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) last week brought forward its goal of bringing crippled reactors at the plant to a cold shutdown. Minister Goshi Hosono said in parliament that the government at the end of this week wants to lift an advisory placed within a 20 to 30 km (12 to 18 miles) radius of the plant, which had required residents to stay indoors or evacuate during emergencies. The Japanese government and Tepco said at a monthly review of the Daiichi plant’s cleanup timetable that they are now aiming to bring the plants to a cold shutdown within this year, instead of by January as initially planned, with their cleanup work proceeding steadily.

Trust 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Six months after a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, operator Tokyo Electric Power is finally making real progress in resolving the world’s worst nuclear crisis in a quarter of a century. However, the battle over the future of Tepco is just beginning. This month, the International Atomic Energy Agency declared the reactors “basically stable”, while a new cooling system could bring them to full shutdown by the end of this year. Meanwhile, compensation for the tens of thousands of people displaced by the crisis is in train and a state-backed body was launched this week to ensure Japan’s biggest electricity provider by generating capacity has sufficient money for the pay-outs. Yet any hopes that Tepco might have had that such progress would lead to an easing of public and political pressure have been dashed. Breaking Tepco up into independent generating, transmission and distribution units would be likely to invigorate a sector that badly needs investment and innovation, could remove obstacles to the greater use of renewable energy and would allow the sale of major assets to fund compensation. The progress at Fukushima Daiichi and the creation of the funding framework have created a breathing space for Japan to rethink its approach to the energy sector. There is no reason to assume that Tepco in its current form needs to be part of that sector. Tokyo will still need electricity, but that does not mean it will still need Tokyo Electric.

FT 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Iran

IF IT’S TRUE that Iran is just six months away from producing a nuclear weapon with enriched uranium from its IR-2 centrifuges, then we may just be weeks away from an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations. According to what looks like a deliberate leak from the US government, President Obama agreed in 2009 to the delivery of fifty-five GBU-28 (Guided Bomb Unit) bunker-busting bombs to the Israeli air force. Some have seen the revelation through a political prism – the Obama administration is polishing its pro-Israeli credentials in the run-up to the presidential election in just over a year’s time. Others have detected sabre-rattling, a warning to the mullahs that the US is prepared to support military action by Israel. There is something in both.

First Post 28th Sept 2011 more >>

Armenia

The European Union’s Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation organisation has cancelled an April 2011 tender for enhancement of nuclear materials accountancy and control at the Armenian NPP in Metsamor. It said that the tender procedure was unsuccessful. No other information is available.

Nuclear Engineering International 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Posted: 28 September 2011

27 September 2011

Politics

Shadow minister Jack Dromey has hailed UK nuclear power as a “sunrise industry” and dismissed safety fears. “The possibility of a Fukushima-type accident in Britain is as remote as me getting hit by a meteor,” he told a Labour conference fringe meeting. The MP urged ministers to ensure British firms benefited from plans to build a new generation of reactors. But anti-nuclear campaigners said the industry was guilty of “false promises” on cost and safety. He said Labour would never play party politics with the nuclear issue, and there was a genuine cross-party agreement that new reactors were needed. Andy Rowell, of the Nuclear SpinWatch website, said: “For the last few years, the nuclear industry has tried to persuade the British public that it is green, safe and cost-effective, but each one is a false promise. Fukushima once again showed us the dangers of nuclear power. “It will make only a minimal contribution to tackling climate change, and money could be much more effectively spent on other carbon abatement projects like energy efficiency.”

BBC 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Companies

A TEES Valley engineering firm is set to create 100 new jobs as it repositions itself for the UK’s new nuclear market. Darchem Engineering originally specialised in fire protection and insulation systems for nuclear power stations, until the drop-off in their popularity saw it diversify into other markets, such as aerospace, automobiles, defense and oil and gas sectors. Although nuclear became a smaller part of its business the company has continued to work in the field, working on about 50 per cent of the new nuclear civil builds in China and on more than 140 nuclear power stations world-wide.

Northern Echo 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Sellafield

NuGen has reaffirmed its commitment to nuclear new build in Cumbria and says its plans are gaining momentum, an MP has revealed. NuGeneration Ltd, the consortium which wants to develop the Sellafield station with up to three reactors, predicts a multi-billion pound investment for west Cumbria. Labour MP for Copeland and Shadow Environment Minister, Jamie Reed, sought assurances from NuGen following the withdrawal of Scottish & Southern Electric (SSE) from the consortium, which also consists of Iberdrola (Spain) and GDF Suez (France).

Cumberland News 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Scottish and Southern Energy, one of the UK’s biggest power companies has withdrawn from its nuclear joint venture NuGen. The announcement comes after signals the company’s interest in nuclear was waning at the end of last year when it said in its six month statement: ‘The cost, development issues, timetable and operational efficacy of nuclear power stations all require the greatest possible scrutiny before a commitment to invest can be made’.

Share Cast 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Hartlepool

NUCLEAR power, new stations and job opportunities were high on the agenda at Hartlepool power station’s first open day this month. More than 35 people attended the event which saw plant manager, Nick Collins, and other members of the station lead a team talk to the audience about the site and EDF Energy’s role in developing new stations. Other specialists from the station were also in attendance to give attendees the opportunity to ask direct questions on all aspects of nuclear energy generation, recruitment and training.

Evening Gazette 26th Sept 2011 more >>

EDF Energy , Britain’s largest nuclear power producer, shut down its 620-megawatt (MW) Hartlepool 2 nuclear reactor on Saturday for refuelling, a spokeswoman said late on Sunday.

Reuters 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Wylfa

A third bridge across the Menai Strait could be needed if a new nuclear plant is built on Anglesey, a transport plan suggests. The plan by consultants Grontmij said freight and car traffic to the proposed Wylfa B plant would add to congestion on the two existing road links. Construction work on the plant could begin in 2015 and last for six years, the report said. Anglesey council leader Bryan Owen said a third bridge would be advantageous.

BBC 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Daily Post 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Scotland

Investment in offshore renewables over the last year is a sign of “greater things to come” for the country’s clean technology sector, the First Minister has said. Alex Salmond welcomed developments in the sector, which he said have brought jobs and investment to Scotland, ahead of the opening of an international conference on financing green energy and other low carbon initiatives. He said: “In the area of low carbon energy generation, Scotland has secured a series of significant strategic decisions from major players in the power industry over the last 12 months which are bringing jobs and investment to Scotland, and underpinning our position as a location of choice for clean-tech development.” Mr Salmond continued: “I am confident that these very welcome developments are a sign of greater things to come, with much more investment and many thousands jobs expected to be created as we move towards our 2020 vision for renewables.”

Herald 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Nuclear Costs

Building nuclear power plants can be expensive for investors and customers, adding significant risks to utility stocks generally used as a haven for retirees, widows and others wanting investments with financial stability. A new study released this month by the Texas Institute found a 70 percent certainty that the utility would see its borrowing costs rise due to the downgrading of its credit rating once construction began. The study tracked the experiences of 52 investor-owned utilities that built nuclear power plants from 1960 to the present. Between the ’60s and early ’80s, the flurry of plant construction was marred by massive cost overruns and electric-rate increases. Twelve percent of the utilities defaulted on their debts. The financial costs were so great that no utility was willing to launch a new project, and half of those approved by regulators were scrapped by utilities themselves over costs concerns. As a result of those concerns, no commercial reactors have been built in the U.S. for 30 years.

Florida Times 26th Sept 2011 more >>

IAEA

The UN atomic agency urged states on Monday to provide extra funding to strengthen global nuclear safety in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima accident – a request some may balk at amid growing economic worries.

News24 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Engineering & Technology 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Reuters 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Korea

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today called for North Korea to resume talks about its nuclear programme in the latest attempt to cajole the reclusive country back to the table.

Daily Mail 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Japan

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) , owner of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, will be more flexible about the steps tens of thousands of victims need to take to apply for compensation, the company said on Monday.

Reuters 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Germany

Following examination of an appeal submitted by German energy concern Eon, the tax court in Hamburg recently expressed considerable doubts as to the constitutionality of the German government’s nuclear fuel tax law.

Low Tax 27th Sept 2011 more >>

Smart Networks

“We to need to bust open the energy market and get more trust into the drive for energy efficiency”. This was the message from Shadow Secretary for Energy and Climate Change Meg Hillier MP speaking at an Energy Networks Association (ENA) fringe event in Liverpool. The audience, including members of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and other MPs and Peers, heard the challenges facing the country at the moment and pointed to the critical role the public have to play in a low-carbon future: “We have a great opportunity to create green jobs, drive green growth and to empower customers to change the way they use energy. By empowering them to take control they can also reduce the cost to them.”

ENA 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Renewables

Investment in the UK’s renewable energy infrastructure has been thrown into doubt as an urgent review into the subsidy regime has been delayed. Renewable energy companies are concerned that the delay of Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) reforms – promised this year by the government – will prompt a rethink of the investment plans. The review is crucial for investors as they are currently unable to make long-term business plans without knowing how much support they are likely to receive in future. Ministers are thought to be wary of attracting attention to the level of subsidies for green electricity, after a spate of reports in sections of the media and on the right of the Tory party criticising renewable subsidies as a component in energy prices. Chris Huhne, environment secretary, argues that consumers are more at risk of rising costs from the volatility of the gas price, and that investing in renewables is the best way to prevent future rises.

Guardian 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Thames Water turns to ‘poo power’ for renewable electricity generation. Company estimates that 16% of its electricity needs will be met in the current financial year by burning sewage flakes.

Guardian 26th Sept 2011 more >>

The Third Industrial Revolution offers the hope that we can arrive at a sustainable post-carbon era by mid-century. We have the science, the technology, and the game plan to make it happen. Now it is a question of whether we will recognize the economic possibilities that lie ahead and muster the will to get there in time.

Huffington Post 25th September 2011 more >>

Greece is planning to make amends for its multibillion-euro bailouts by providing Germany with the one commodity it has to spare sunshine. On his visit to Berlin this week for talks on the crisis, the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will try to negotiate a huge solar power project to help to fill the energy gap that will be left by Angela Merkels decision to phase out nuclear production in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. The Greeks have endured taunts from German tabloids to sell off holiday islands such as Corfu to pay their debts. Project Helios could be the next best thing. Rather than more German towels on Ionian beaches, Teutonic solar panels will cover up to 20,000 hectares (more than 77 square miles) of depleted lignite mines near the northern Greek city of Kozani.

Times 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Posted: 27 September 2011

26 September 2011

Hinkley

Stop Hinkley Newsletter.

Stop Hinkley 25th Sept 2011 more >>

National Grid is to reveal its preferred route corridor for a proposed 400000 volt overhead line between Hinkley Point and Avonmouth. The announcement has already been condemned as ‘pointless’ by campaigners.

Burnham-on-sea.com 25th Sept 2011 more >>

Germany

Two events on the same day this month said a lot about how Germany’s most populous state sees its economic future. At a coal mine in Bottrop, a community in the heavily industrialised Ruhr valley, Hannelore Kraft, North Rhine-Westphalia’s premier, inaugurated “Innovation City Ruhr”, a European Union-backed project to halve the town’s energy use by 2020. Homes and buildings will be made more energy-efficient, use of electric vehicles will be promoted, and a “smart” power grid and clean energy sources will be developed. Ms Kraft says that energy transformation – driven by Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear power after this year’s crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant – is a “central theme” for her state, which is still heavily reliant on low-quality coal. She insists her government, which is also seeking approval for a climate protection law, must also ensure that the state’s many energy-intensive industries are not disadvantaged.

FT 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Smart Systems

Smart boilers that can learn a household’s habits and switch the heating on and off to suit family needs could reduce energy bills by up to 23 per cent, a home technology company claims. Consumers can also switch all their household electrical appliances on and off after they have left home via the internet, using technology from a company backed by British Gas. AlertMe has formed a joint venture with Invensys, which makes thermostats and heating controls for boilers. The company, which is run by Mary Turner, the former boss of the broadband business Tiscali UK, is providing technology that allows customers to control their thermostats and boiler timer from a remote computer or a smartphone.

Times 26th Sept 2011 more >>

Posted: 26 September 2011

25 September 2011

Hinkley

EDF and Somerset County Council have shot down anti-nuclear campaigners’ claims that the energy giant has broken a time limit condition requiring it to remove a spoil heap from the Hinkley Point site by the end of last month. Campaign group Stop Hinkley accused EDF of failing to remove spoil contaminated with asbestos left over from the construction of the original Hinkley site by August 31 – a condition of the planning consent granted to EDF by the county council last January.

This is the West Country 24th Sept 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Letter Marianne Birkby: Cumbria is preparing a “brand protection strategy” to protect it from a high-level nuclear waste dump. The best brand protection ptrategy is to say no to the geological disposal of high-level nuclear wastes in mines as big as Lake Windermere and as deep as the Eiffel Tower is tall. Both Cumbria Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce which are drawing up the plan have interests in nuclear developments. The chairman of Cumbria Tourism is Eric Robson, owner of the PR company Osprey Communications. Radiation Free Lakeland has called for the resignation of Robson from Cumbria Tourism or for his PR company to pull out of the lucrative government contract promoting “steps towards geological disposal.” The Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is now wholly funded, not as it should be by central government, but by the nuclear and arms industry – Sellafield Ltd and BAE.

Morning Star 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

NuGen

One of the companies behind plans to build Cumbria’s new nuclear power station has pulled out – but the other partners insist the project can still go ahead. Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) – one third of the NuGen consortium that wants to construct a reactor on land north of Sellafield – has abandoned its involvement in the scheme. The company has decided to concentrate on renewable-energy projects such as windfarms instead.

Cumberland News 24th Sept 2011 more >>

SCOTTISH and Southern Energy (SSE) has not ruled out a return to nuclear power despite confirming plans to focus on other energy sources.

Press & Journal 24th Sept 2011 more >>

Trawsfynydd

BUSINESS minister Edwina Hart is hopeful of securing specialist jobs around the former Trawsfynydd power station because of its nuclear approval and its remote location. She told AMs that the site could be an attraction for some companies because of its background. Talks are continuing over designating the area a special Enterprise Zone, which would offer incentives to companies to re-locate to the brownfield site in the National Park.

Daily Post 24th Sept 2011 more >>

Companies

OFGEM is considering whether to strip National Grid of its control over a central gas data unit, after a study raised concerns it is “non-transparent” and “not fit for purpose”.

Telegraph 24th Sept 2011 more >>

IAEA

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the opening session of the High-level Meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security, in New York, 22 September: The effects of nuclear accidents respect no borders.

IEWY News 24th Sept 2011 more >>

CTBT

Following are Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the seventh Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (Article XIV), in New York on 23 September.

IEWY 24th Sept 2011 more >>

Japan

Japan has detected high levels of radiation in rice growing near the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, a government official said Saturday. A preparatory test ahead of the official examination of the safety of rice in Nihonmatsu, a city about 30 miles west of the stricken power plant, found that a sample of unharvested rice contained 500 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, the maximum permissible level, the Fukushima Prefecture official said.

Wall St Journal 24th Sept 2011 more >>

Scotland on Sunday 25th Sept 2011 more >>

Iran

Iran’s star-crossed nuclear and energy programs have suffered a rash of setbacks, mishaps and catastrophes in the past two years. Assassins killed three scientists with links to Iran’s nuclear programs. The Stuxnet computer worm that infected computers worldwide zeroed in on a single target in Iran, devices that can make weapons-usable uranium. Dozens of unexplained explosions hit the country’s gas pipelines. Iran’s first nuclear power plant suffered major equipment failures as technicians struggle to bring it online.

CBS News 24th Sept 2011 more >>

Micro-CHP

Micro CHP systems are designed to capture the energy that is naturally lost when electricity is produced and use it to heat the home. Also called “cogeneration” systems, micro CHP systems are an alternative home energy system that is quickly growing in popularity. One of the major advantages of micro CHP as a renewable home energy source is that they are very easy to install – micro chp systems do not require huge changes to your current heating or electrical systems. Micro CHP often comes with a long warranty which you will likely never need. This blog will cover a lot more about micro CHP as a green home energy source in the coming months, but in the meantime see our links for more information.

Green Home Energy Today 24th Sept 2011 more >>

Climate

The government is to warn householders that global warming has become unstoppable — and call on them to protect their properties against the heat, floods and water shortages that scientists predict will accompany temperature rises of up to 4C by mid-to-late century.

Sunday Times 25th Sept 2011 more >>

Posted: 25 September 2011

24 September 2011

New Nukes

Utility Scottish and Southern Energy said it has pulled out of its UK nuclear new build consortium, raising concerns investors may see the British nuclear industry as unattractive despite government efforts to provide incentives.

Reuters 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Together with GDF Suez SA and Iberdrola SA, SSE was the third partner in the NuGeneration consortium planning to build new reactors on a green field site owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) adjacent to Sellafield. The option to develop the 190 hectare site, up to 3.6 GW capacity, was secured from the NDA by the consortium in October 2009, and the site confirmed as suitable for new-build by Government in its National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation (EN-6). The consortium is reported as paying the NDA an ‘up-front’ payment for the land in 2009 of £19.5M with a further £50.5M to be made over the next 6 years. Following the consortium’s planning application to local authority Copeland Borough Council on the 8th September 2011 to sink a number of exploratory boreholes on the site, SSE announced its decision to quit the consortium in a press release issued today 23rd September 2011. Its 25% stake in the consortium will be taken up by the two remaining partners

CORE Briefing 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Scottish and Southern (SSE), the UK’s second-biggest energy generator, has abandoned its quest to develop nuclear power in favour of producing more electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind farms and biomass plants. Dealing a blow to government plans to ramp up nuclear generation, SSE has pulled out of a joint venture with France’s GDF Suez and Spain’s Iberdrola that would have involved it in atomic energy for the first time. SSE has sold its 25 per cent stake to its partners in the NuGeneration consortium, which will develop two or three 1.6GW reactors at Sellafield.

Independent 24th Sept 2011 more >>

Telegraph 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Professional Engineering 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Business Green 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

BBC 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Utility Week 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

They have a long way to go – 88 per cent of the power they supplied last year came from coal and gas, leaving consumers with soaring fuel bills caused by our fossil fuel dependency.

Friends of the Earth Press Release 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Iberdrola and Gdf-Suez have reaffirmed their commitment to the NuGen consortium – planning to build a new nuclear power plant alongside Sellafield – after the utility Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced it would withdraw.

World Nuclear News 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Reuters 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Nuclear Pledge

The nuclearpledge.com website has relaunched to counter the imminent threat of new nuclear power stations in the UK. It encourages people opposed to nuclear power to make a “pledge of resistance” based on what they can reasonably do in their own lives – from writing letters to MPs to withholding the ‘nuclear subsidy’ from their electricity bills, to engaging in direct actions. “The idea is that everybody can engage in the nuclear resistance in their own way”, says founder Oliver Tickell. “Everyone making their pledge sends the vital signal that they are not prepared to be trampled by the nuclear juggernaut. We now know that a majority in the UK is opposed to new nuclear stations and we need to get our voice heard.” Founded in 2006, the site has now ‘outsourced’ its pledge-taking function to gopetition.co.uk to following problems with its original software that made it vulnerable to spammers. Make your pledge now’

Nuclear Pledge 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Cumbria

The chairman of BBC’s Gardeners Question Time is embroiled in a row over his support for new nuclear power stations planned close to the Lake District. Eric Robson, who will appear on Sunday in the Wainwright’s Long Walk television series, is being accused of a conflict of interest by anti-nuclear protesters opposed to a second generation of plants and the possible siting of a high-level waste dump in the region. The broadcaster is chairman of the Cumbria Tourism organisation while also being involved with Osprey Communications, a PR firm working on issues surrounding a deep underground repository. “This is a big fat conflict of interest,” argues Marianne Birkby from local pressure group, Radioactive Free Lakeland. “Eric Robson is both poacher and gamekeeper by acting as a PR guru for an organisation which is essentially promoting steps towards geological disposal while holding a position of trust for tourism and the environment. He should step down from Cumbria Tourism,” she added.

Guardian 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Trawsfynydd

Local politicians have discussed the possibility of a new nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd. BBC Wales has learned that Gwynedd council’s leader Dyfed Edwards and local AM Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas were involved in talks. But Lord Elis Thomas said there was no plan for a new nuclear site and he saw it as a potential wind power area.

BBC 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Dounreay

AN environmental group and the Northern Isles local authorities have united against a planned series of nuclear waste shipments between Caithness and Belgium. Dounreay site licence company DSRL intends moving the first of a series of consignments “fairly imminently” from Scrabster to a reactor in Mol. The material is to be shipped over as part of an inter-government agreement dating back to the days when highly enriched nuclear fuel from all over the world was reprocessed at the Caithness site.

John O Groat Journal 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Energy Prices

Miliband vows to act against price-fixing by the six energy companies by requiring them to pool all energy centrally, a move that he claims would cut energy prices for 80% of users. Any company would then be able to buy and supply energy from the pool at a clear and transparent price.

Guardian 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Labour will next week pledge to end the dominance of the big energy firms by allowing anyone to “buy” wholesale gas and electricity and sell it to consumers. Its leader, Ed Miliband, is due to outline, at the Labour Party Conference, his desire to adopt as “simple tariff” system, as recommended by the Consumers Association. This, he is expected to say, would make it easier to compare prices and could force down prices for 80 per cent of five households. The energy market is dominated by six companies – which produce and supply gas and electricity. Under Labour’s system, all energy would go into a central “pool” to be bought by anyone at a clear and transparent price.

Independent 24th Sept 2011 more >>

The head of one of Britain’s “Big Six” energy suppliers has threatened to increase bills for customers unless the Government relaxes the laws on planning permission. Volker Beckers, chief executive of RWE npower, told The Times that the Government must speed up the application process for new power plants, pylons and wind farms or risk seeing consumers suffer. Energy groups are working on a £200 billion development drive over the next decade but complain of the increased costs involved with lengthy delays gaining planning permission.

Times 24th Sept 2011 more >>

Thorium

Supporters of reactors based on thorium, rather than uranium, are trying to re-awaken interest in this forgotten chemical element. Thorium should be safer than uranium because thorium reactors would shut down without any human intervention. Nor would they need mechanical cooling systems to remove excess heat, eliminating the possibility of accidents such as Fukushima.

FT 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Jordan

JORDAN IS ON pace to produce uranium in two years time as the country’s peaceful nuclear programme approaches several milestones. According to Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Khaled Toukan, the Kingdom is set to start uranium mining activities in the central region by 2013 pending the conclusion of feasibility studies later this year.

Jordan Times 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Czech Republic

The catastrophe at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power complex should not be allowed to call into question of the wisdom of atomic energy, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Friday.

Trust 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Microgeneration

Councils joining the local energy revolution this week : Wrexham with 3,000 council homes; Birmingham adding 165 schools to its 1,200 council houses; Bromsgrove solarises council depot; Reading solar schools plan;

Microgen Scotland 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Posted: 24 September 2011

23 September 2011

NuGen

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) is expected to make an announcement today on its future commitment to new nuclear energy. The Perth-based utility is believed to be in talks to pull out of a consortium planning to build a nuclear plant in the UK so it can focus on renewable-energy projects. SSE could sell its 25% stake in the NuGen group to partners Iberdrola – the Spanish company behind Scottish Power – and GDF Suez if it decides to leave.

Press & Journal 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Herald 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

POWER group Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has dealt a blow to Government hopes for British involvement in the construction of a new fleet of nuclear reactors by signalling it may withdraw from the project.

Express 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

British utility Scottish and Southern Energy is reviewing its involvement in the NuGen nuclear new build consortium and partners Iberdrola and GDF Suez are expected to split up SSE’s shares equally among themselves, a source close to the consortium said on Thursday.

Reuters 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Industry speculation indicates that this review could lead to SSE concentrating on developing new renewable energy plants instead of nuclear. SSE has not yet made any official announcement on its plans.

New Civil Engineer 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Business Green 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

THE SNP has claimed that a move by Scotland’s biggest energy company to pull out of a consortium to build a controversial new nuclear power station is a “vindication” of one of the Scottish Government’s flagship policies to promote renewable energy. Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) – one of the country’s biggest firms – is in talks to scrap its plans for involvement in a project to build nuclear reactors at the Sellafield power station in Cumbria. The move comes after industrial and engineering conglomerate Siemens announced it would withdraw entirely from the nuclear industry, as the German government plans to shut all its nuclear power plants by 2022, following the crisis at Fukushima in Japan earlier this year. Scotland’s energy minister, Fergus Ewing, said he “warmly welcomed” the move by Scottish and Southern to move away from nuclear fuels, and a review of how the energy giant generates its power supplies.

Scotsman 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

THE surprise in Scottish and Southern Energy’s (SSE) move, expected to be confirmed soon, that it is pulling out of a consortium bidding to build a nuclear power station at Sellafield, Cumbria, was that it was ever in that group at all. Ian Marchant, SSE’s chief executive, has long been a sceptic of the nuclear industry, not because of its safety record, but as a doubter that its economics make much commercial sense. Nevertheless, if there was a UK government intention that up to ten new nuclear plants should be built to replace the ageing existing fleet, he took the view that it was a game that SSE should be in to maintain a diverse portfolio of electricity sources – currently hydro, onshore and offshore wind, gas and coal. Even earlier this year, he was of the view that the disaster which struck the Fukushima plant in Japan after the M arch earthquake and tidal wave would cause no more than a year’s delay in the UK and European building programme. That he was saying this then indicates that his apparent change of mind and intention to concentrate on renewables has little to do with the Scottish Government’s hostility to nuclear and devotion to renewable generation. Mr Marchant’s move is almost certainly motivated by a hard-headed assessment of what strategy makes the best commercial sense for SSE.

Scotsman 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

New Nukes

Westinghouse chief executive and president Aris Candris told Construction News last week that Horizon is still working to a 2020 timeline for the new Wylfa plant at Anglesey in north Wales to be in operation. EDF Energy is expected to announce a revised projected timetable for Hinkley Point C within the next fortnight following chief nuclear inspector Dr Mike Weightman’s final report into the implications for UK nuclear on the Fukushima reactor disaster in Japan. NuGeneration chief operating officer Olivier Carret told a nuclear conference in July that the consortium has employed Arup as its lead planning consultants and will announce details on a supply chain register at the end of the year.

Construction News 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Nuclear Subsidy

A tax on existing nuclear plant operators should be imposed and the money raised spent on reducing fuel poverty, the Lib Dems have said. A carbon floor price is set to be introduced in April 2013 which will see coal and gas plants paying a minimum or ‘floor’ price for carbon it emits under Europe’s emissions trading scheme of £16 a tonne in 2013, rising to £30 by 2020.

Cumberland News 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Wylfa

AN Anglesey farmer is refusing to sell his land to the energy company behind plans to build the new Wylfa B nuclear power station.

North Wales Chronicle 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Letter Gerry Wolff: There are many reports that show we could generate all we need from renewables. The Welsh Assembly in 2010 said Wales could generate twice as much electricity as it needs. Solar is expanding and prices falling. Offshore Wind near Anglesey has a potential capacity of 4GW.

Daily Post 19th Sept 2011 more >>

Trawsfynydd

The ACTUS joint venture has been awarded a $109m (£70m) contract by Magnox to undertake decommissioning work at the Trawsfynydd nuclear power station.

The Engineer 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

A joint venture of Costain, Amec, Jacobs and Babcock has been awarded a £67 million contract to provide decomissioning work at the Trawsfynydd site in North Wales.

Construction News 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Construction Enquirer 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Capenhurst

Global engineer Atkins has landed a contract to design an extension to a uranium enrichment plant near Chester for nuclear supplier URENCO. Atkins will carry out design and engineering studies for the extension of the facility, which is already the biggest of its kind in the UK. The consultant will also underpin the safety case for the project, as well as provide detailed design and installation. This will include design of process services, a cooling water system, electrical and control systems and building a plant design 3D model.

Building 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Bradwell

THE Turbine Hall at Bradwell’s decommissioned nuclear power station is gone after months of work to bring it down. The 50-foot tall structure was considered the most iconic of the nuclear power station’s buildings and now that the demolition is practically complete, the skyline is looking a lot different.

Maldon Chronicle 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Companies

One of the country’s largest energy companies, E.ON, is to axe 500 jobs barely a week after increasing gas prices by 18% and electricity bills by 11%. The German-owned group blamed the cuts on the sale of its distribution business and a need to keep overheads low to benefit customers. But industry experts said E.ON had also switched a lot of work back to its head office in Düsseldorf.

Guadian 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Times 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

WEST Cumbrian nuclear boss Dick Raaz is leaving his job heading up the low level radioactive waste repository at Drigg.

Whitehaven News 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD’s Magnox reprocessing shutdown followed the discovery of excess levels of radioactivity. The plant closure has lasted for nearly two weeks. Technical issues were first reported but The Whitehaven News was told yesterday that higher levels of radioactivity in the plant had forced the closure. Investigations are still under way to find out what went wrong. A Sellafield Ltd spokesman said: “There has been no environmental impact and no abnormal emissions. The levels of activity are now back to normal but during the investigations we have take the opportunity to do some bits of routine maintenance.” It’s hoped to re-start the Magnox plant tomorrow.

Whitehaven News 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

NUCLEAR waste shipped from Cumbria has reached its destination safely. Solid, highly-active waste (HAW) was taken from Sellafield to Barrow by train before being shipped to Japan on August 3.The waste had been produced at Sellafield during the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Japanese customers. The 76 canisters of HAW were taken back overseas, via the Panama Canal, and arrived safely in Japan on Thursday last week.

Whitehaven News 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

SELLAFIELD management are trying to solve a riddle over why some hazardous waste was sent to the wrong place. The waste was wrongly sent for disposal on the Lillyhall landfill site. It had been moved from Sellafield Ltd’s own Lillyhall stores. Then it was discovered that as the waste – Clinoptilolite – was classed as hazardous it’s disposal at a normal landfill site was a potential breach of the hazardous waste regulations.

Whitehaven News 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

THE Nuclear Decommissioning Authority which owns Sellafield and 18 more of the country’s civil nuclear sites is losing Tony Fountain, its top boss.

Whitehaven News 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Iran

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday said Tehran would stop producing 20 percent enriched uranium if it is guaranteed fuel for a medical research reactor, seeking to revive a fuel swap deal that fell apart in 2009.

Reuters 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

The EU offered Thursday to resume face-to-face talks with Iran over its nuclear activities, “without pre-conditions,” a spokeswoman for foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said.

EU Business 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Germany

The German government’s plans to impose a tax on nuclear fuel have fallen at the first fence. The Hamburg Tax Court has rejected it as doubtful in terms of the country’s constitution. One utility is to be refunded and nuclear fuel tax collections are to be suspended.

Modern Power Systems 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Japan

Typhoon Roke has moved north across Japan, leaving at least 16 people dead or missing. Concerns had been raised that the powerful typhoon could threaten safety at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was sent into meltdown by an earthquake and tsunami on 11 March, but officials said the plant was unaffected.

Guardian 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Fukushima Update 16th – 19th September.

Greenpeace International 21st Sept 2011 more >>

IAEA

A nuclear safety action plan post-Fukushima has been backed by the U.N. nuclear agency’s 151 member states. Despite some criticism that it does not go far enough, the annual General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna approved by consensus the plan prepared by the office of IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.

Engineering & Technology 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Trident

Ahead of speaking at a fringe meeting on Trident replacement at the Liberal Democrat party conference, CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said “As an anti-nuclear campaigner, I welcome the Trident Alternatives Review, led by Defence Minister Nick Harvey, and his refusal just to roll over in the face of Liam Fox’s antiquated adherence to the so-called ‘deterrent’ in all its cold war glory. What is not so great, and which no doubt irks most Lib Dem members as much as me, is that Nick Harvey’s Alternatives Review is not considering the Alternative of nuclear disarmament – only nuclear alternatives.

CND 18th Sept 2011 more >>

Renewables

The fledgling boom in solar power across the UK is in danger of being snuffed out, the renewable energy industry has warned, as ministers have determined to stick by spending plans that would severely limit future investment in the power source. Almost all of next year’s budget for feed-in tariffs – a subsidy paid to generators of solar power and other forms of small-scale renewable energy – is already “spoken for”, because it will have to be allocated to existing solar installations, according to Dave Sowden, chief of the Micropower Council, the trade body for the sector. Once the renewable energy equipment has been installed, the owner is entitled to feed-in tariffs for as long as it generates electricity, unless the government changes the rules in future. As most of the allocated budget, running to £161m next year, will go to owners who installed equipment this year, that will mean much less money available for new small-scale renewable electricity installations next year and in subsequent years up to 2015, when the current government spending period is due to end. The prospective funding drought has become a serious worry for renewable energy companies, Sowden said.

Guardian 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Letter Scottish Renewables: It would seem the Liberal Democrat MSP, Tavish Scott, has not been listening to his own party. In his article, “Watchdogs have failed us over energy prices” (Perspective, 22 September), he asserted that “renewable energy means higher prices for consumers” when in fact his own colleague, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, has stated that supporting the renewables industry will, in the long run, protect us from future hikes in gas prices in the coming years. He also seems to overlook the 2 billion costs of cleaning up the legacy of our fleet of ageing nuclear power stations and the fact that government figures show the same costs for electricity generated from onshore wind turbines and nuclear plants. Mr Scott should be well aware of the benefits renewable energy brings to communities across Scotland, especially to those areas that are rich in wind and wave resource, such as his constituency of the Shetland Isles. Building a low-carbon economy will bring new jobs and investment, and secure a safe source of electricity while helping tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

Scotsman 23rd Sept 2011 more >>

Carbon Capture

The financial crisis and fading government support for climate action have seriously eroded global plans to capture and store carbon, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Thursday. Sequestration the depositing of greenhouse gases underground rather than into the atmosphere was supposed to account for a fifth of the world’s emissions reductions under the agency’s roadmap for keeping global temperature rise within 2C (4F) by the end of the century.

Guadrian 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Posted: 23 September 2011

22 September 2011

NuGen

Scottish and Southern Energy is in talks to pull out of a consortium planning to build a nuclear power plant in the UK, as the company seeks to concentrate on renewable energy. The withdrawal of one of the UK’s two big utilities, and its second-biggest electricity generator, from the new build programme would be a blow to the government’s ambition to secure a new generation of reactors. NuGen is one of three consortiums looking to build nuclear reactors in the UK, with plans for two, or possibly three 1.6GW reactors at Sellafield. The first is scheduled to become operational in 2023 and the consortium is expected to take a final investment decision by 2015. Reactors built by the other two consortiums are scheduled to be delivered by earlier dates. Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, has previously sounded sceptical about the rationale for participating in the programme. In May, he said that SSE’s strategic objective was to have “more than our fair share of renewables and less than our fair share of nuclear”.

FT 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Major investigations will start by the end of the year to pave the way for a new nuclear power station at Sellafield. Energy consortium NuGen wants to drill boreholes over almost 500 acres of agricultural land to confirm that the earmarked site is suitable for building up to three electricity-producing nuclear reactors. NuGen has lodged a planning application with Copeland Council. The work, if approved, would be a first step to confirm the suitability of the site.

Cumberland News 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Nuclear Subsidy

Pressure is mounting on the government to include a windfall tax on nuclear operators as part of its electricity market reforms, after the Liberal Democrat conference voted in favour of a new levy on existing nuclear power plants.

Business Green 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Environmental campaigning group Friends of the Earth has welcomed a Liberal Democrat conference motion calling on the coalition government to introduce a windfall tax on the operators of existing nuclear power plants. The aim of the tax would be to prevent nuclear producers receiving millions of pounds of extra profit when a carbon floor price is introduced in April 2012.

Ekklesia 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Cumbria is preparing a “Brand Protection Strategy” to protect it from a high level nuclear dump The best Brand Protection Strategy is to say NO to the geological disposal of high level nuclear wastes in a mine or mines as big as Lake Windermere and as deep as the Eiffel Tower. Both Cumbria Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce who are drawing up the Brand Protection plan have interests in nuclear developments.

Radiation Free Lakeland 20th Sept 2011 more >>

NDA

Tony Fountain, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, has stepped down to return to the oil industry where he worked for 25 years. The NDA does not yet have a successor in mind.

NW Evening Mail 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Building 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Hinkley

A judge has granted a judicial review into plans to build accommodation for workers at the proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley in Somerset. Energy firm EDF wants to build homes for staff on the derelict factory land owned by plastics firm Innovia Films. Although EDF does not own the land, it hopes to get a Compulsory Purchase Order as part of its overall planning application for the power station. But Innovia has begun building homes, a school and playing fields at the site.

BBC 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Dounreay

Radioactive contamination that leaked for more than two decades from the Dounreay nuclear plant on the north coast of Scotland will never be completely cleaned up, a Scottish government agency has admitted. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has decided to give up on its aim of returning the seabed near the plant to a “pristine condition”. To do so, it said, could cause “more harm than good”. At a board meeting in Stirling on Tuesday, the Scottish government’s environmental watchdog opted to encourage remediation “as far as is practically achievable” but to abandon any hope of removing all the radioactive pollution from the seabed.

Guardian 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Herald 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Once again, we see the nuclear industry causing a problem it can’t solve, and dumping the cost and consequence on the rest of us.”

Scotsman 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

A silver-plated sugar caddy from the 1950s and visitor books spanning 44 years are among relics saved from the rubbish heap at Dounreay. Gas detectors, air samplers and an isotope calculator from the former experimental nuclear site in Caithness will also be donated to museums.

BBC 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

Energy Supplies

The UK’s “dash for gas” will be halted by the government because if unchecked it would break legally binding targets for carbon dioxide emissions, Chris Huhne, energy and climate change secretary, said on Monday evening. “We will not consent so much gas plant so as to endanger our carbon dioxide goals,” he told a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrats party conference in Birmingham.

Guadian 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Nobody should run the energy department unless they understand why people spend so much time shopping around for a £25 toaster when they could be saving hundreds of pounds comparing tariffs and switching power suppliers. No matter how hard Huhne tries to create transparent pricing structures and simple procedures for switching suppliers, the energy companies find new ways of confusing and cheating their customers.

Guardian 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Europe

National Progress Reports on EU Stress Tests.

Energy Web Watch 21st Sept 2011 more >>

France

France’s state-owned utility EDF said its 19 nuclear plants have passed the safety tests conducted by it and the report has been submitted to the country’s nuclear regulator ASN. The reports include the results of the safety tests conducted its 19 nuclear plants which comprise 58 nuclear reactors.

Energy Business Review 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Japan

Special edition of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on Fukushima.

Bulletin 21st Sept 2011 more >>

An estimated 200-500 tons of groundwater per day are flowing into the basements and underground tunnels of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s No. 1 to 4 reactors, officials said Tuesday. The groundwater is seen to be leaking from cracks in concrete walls developed by the March 11 earthquake, the officials at the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. The inflow increases after rain, they said. As water injected into the reactors to cool them has been leaking into the turbine building basements, Tokyo Electric now purifies the highly contaminated water at a pace of some 1,000 tons per day.

As the inflow of groundwater increases when the contaminated water level falls, the company controls the processing amount with the aim of keeping the contaminated water level 3 meters above the sea.

Jiji Press 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Sixty-five percent of Japanese people think that they should reduce their use of electricity even if their living standards have to be lowered in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, according to a recent survey conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun.

Mainichi 20th Sept 2011 more >>

A strong typhoon has left 6 people dead and 6 missing after pounding Japan with heavy rain and strong winds, public broadcaster NHK said, but it did not have a major impact on the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Reuters 22nd Set 2011 more >>

The storm appeared to be on a path towards the tsunami-ravaged northeast coast, home to the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant, sparking fears of further radiation leakages into the ground or sea.

Telegraph 21st Sept 2011 more >>

East Anglian Daily Times 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Soil samples analysed from around Tokyo show hot spots as high as areas near Chernobyl which were evacuated.

Al Jazeera 17th Sept 2011 more >>

Poland

Poland is pressing on with its nuclear power debut by launching a technology tender valued at 25 billion euros ($34 billion) later this year, the state-owned energy group Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) said on Wednesday.

Expatica 21st Sept 2011 more >>

India

India will postpone its final decision on the purchase of EPR type nuclear reactors from France until after the current post-Fukushima nuclear safety tests have been satisfactorily completed, it is reliably learnt.

The Hindu 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Iran

Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday warned his Iranian counterpart that Britain would resist any increase in Iran’s nuclear capabilities, during a meeting at the UN in New York.

AFP 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Russia

Russia has decided to extend the life of a controversial generation of nuclear reactors like the one that catastrophically exploded at Chernobyl in 1986, the head of Russia’s state-owned nuclear monopoly said.

Wall Street Journal 22nd Sept 2011 more >>

IAEA

Energy leaders from Russia and America have made a “commitment to supporting the safe and secure expansion of civil nuclear energy” on the sidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference.

World Nuclear News 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Syria accused Israel on Wednesday of posing a threat to the world with its “huge military nuclear arsenal”, a day after the Jewish state criticised Damascus for stonewalling a U.N. watchdog investigation into its atomic activities.

Trust 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Posted: 22 September 2011

21 September 2011

Radwaste

The possibility of an underground nuclear waste store being built in West Cumbria moved a step closer today. A consultation document will go out to the public over the next months. Details of that document asking for people’s views have now been largely agreed. The Partnership met in Maryport. Interview with Elaine Woodburn. Tourism officials worried. Ruth Balogh very concerned that it will be an enormous enginnering project at the back door of the National Park.

Border TV 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Nuclear Subsidies

Friends of the Earth has welcomed a Lib Dem conference motion, passed in Birmingham today (Tuesday 20 September), which calls on the party to introduce a windfall tax on the operators of existing nuclear power plants to prevent them receiving millions of pounds of extra profit when a carbon floor price is introduced in April next year.

FoE 20th Sept 2011 more >>

The Liberal Democrat conference has approved a motion that allows for a windfall tax on operators of existing nuclear power stations. The proceeds will be used to help consumers, especially those in low-income households, adapt to higher energy prices, the motions states. The plan to recover through taxation “the profits they make solely as a result of the introduction of the carbon price floor from April 2013” formed just one part of a wide-ranging motion on the green economy.

ePolitix 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Doug Koplow: Kayla Ente at Ente Consulting has recently released a summary of current subsidies to nuclear power in the UK. The analysis joins a number of other recent studies that tabulate government subsidies to the civilian nuclear industry around the world. A general overview of common subsidy features to the nuclear fuel cycle globally is included as Section III.6 of World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2009. Section III.6.4 in particular (page 81), written by economist Steve Thomas at the University of Greenwich, provides a historical review of nuclear subsidies within the UK.

Earth Track 8th Sept 2011 more >>

Hunterston

EDF Energy stopped its 500-megawatt Hunterston B-7 nuclear unit in Britain to repair a ruptured water pipe, it said on Tuesday. “We identified a water leak on 19 September on a sea water cooling pipe which provides cooling water to auxiliary reactor plant,” a spokeswoman said. “The station decided to take the unit offline while a repair to the pipe is carried out,” she added.

Reuters 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Hinkley

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners are planning a rally and ‘peaceful blockade’ against plans for a new power station at Hinkley Point. The Stop Hinkley group will be holding a rally from King Square to the Cornhill in Bridgwater on Saturday, October 1, from 1pm to 4pm. Then on October 3, the campaigners will form a blockade at the gates of Hinkley Point from 7am.

Bridgwater Mercury 20th Sept 2011 more >>

EDF Energy’s plans for the first of a new wave of nuclear reactors, Hinkley Point, has been dealt a blow after the High Court granted a judicial review into part of the project. According to the Times, a land-owner opposed to EDF’s plans to build temporary accommodation for 1,000 workers on its land has been successful in securing the legal review. Innovia Cellophane, which owns the 50 hectare site adjacent to the Hinkley Point site where the accommodation is proposed, sought the review after talks to sell the land to EDF failed to reach an agreement. Innovia already has planning consent to build a school, hundreds of homes and playing fields on the land.

Building 20th Sept 2011 more >>

A small independent cinema in rural Somerset has upset plans for French energy giant EDF to build its first new nuclear reactor in the UK after the High Court granted a judicial review putting the project on ice.Innovia Cellophane, managed by local cinema business Innovia Films, owns a disused factory next to the proposed nuclear site at Hinkley Point and brought a judicial review against the firm.

One News Page 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Companies

German industrial giant Siemens has decided to follow the lead set by the country’s government, and walk away from nuclear energy altogether. “We will no longer be involved in overall managing of building or financing nuclear plants. This chapter is closed for us,” CEO Peter Loescher told Der Spiegel in an interview published Sunday.

IB Times 21st Sept 2011 more >>

NDA

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the body that owns the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria, has begun a search for a new chief executive after the incumbent resigned to take up a senior job abroad. Tony Fountain, who joined the NDA two years ago after a 25 year career at BP, is leaving to join India’s Reliance Industries. The news, which took the industry by surprise, comes at a busy period for the NDA which is responsible for decommissioning and cleaning up Britain’s civil nuclear waste facilities. The Prospect union greeted the news with dismay, expressing “shock and concern”. “His departure is not good news as it suggests policy differences. A change in strategy would be unwelcome when the industry needs stability,”

FT 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Whitehaven News 20th Sept 2011 more >>

The NDA will soon be deciding on the future construction of a MOX 2 plant as part of its consultation on plutonium options, being announced at the end of October. It is also due to choose a new parent body company to run Dounreay. An early replacement for Fountain with suitable private sector experience is essential and we expect the industry will want guarantees that NDA strategy will not be derailed.

Independent 20th Sept 2011 more >>

It is understood that Tony Fountain found it hard to adjust to working in the public sector for the state-controlled body. Last year Mr Fountain was Britains highest-paid civil servant, earning 680,000 including benefits. Unions expressed concern that his departure could derail the authority’s strategy. It is advising the Government on whether to build a new fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield having recently announced that it was closing the existing plant early because its main customers Japanese reactor owners no longer had need for the fuel. The authority is also due t o award a multibillion-pound contract to clean up the Dounreay site in Scotland. About half the entire 3 billion budget of the Department of Energy and Climate Change goes on funding the authoritys decommissioning activities. It is set to rise as the commercial income that the body earns from generating electricity from Britains oldest reactors and reprocessing dries up. In last years Comprehensive Spending Review, more funding was allocated to the authority to make sure that key clean-up work, particularly at Sellafield, was not delayed.

Times 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Electricity Prices

The Energy Secretarys ruinous fixation with costly renewable power generation is forcing up the price of electricity. According to Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, consumers have only themselves to blame for high energy bills. He said at the weekend that they often could not be bothered to shop around for better deals. There is a good reason for that. The tariff structures of the six big energy companies are so complex and volatile that finding a cheaper supplier is no simple task. In his conference speech in Birmingham yesterday, Mr Huhne pledged to make the process easier and quicker, which would be welcome, though his proposals were thin on detail. But the vagueness was not as troubling as the lack of honesty. Mr Huhne chose not to explain that one of the reasons energy prices are rising fast government advisers say they will climb by another 30 per cent by the end of the decade is the Coalitions ruinous fixation with costly renewable power generation. Specifically, we are investing more in offshore windfarms than any other country, and the economics of the policy are crippling. According to a government think tank, the UK Energy Research Centre, the cost per megawatt hour over the 25-year lifespan of an offshore windfarm is 149. The comparative cost for coal and gas is 80 and for nuclear 97. That is a punishing premium to pay for an energy source that may be low carbon but is also unreliable. The harsh winter of 2009/10 saw virtually no electricity generated by turbines because weeks of high pressure systems meant no winds. And the arrays of turbines appearing off our coasts do not replace a single megawatt of fossil-fuelled capacity because conventional power plants have to provide back-up. Curiously, tidal energy which, unlike wind, is utterly dependable barely figures in the Coalitions plans for renewables.

Telegraph 21st Sept 2011 more >>

The Green Deal is Mr Huhnes flagship policy on energy efficiency but there is still very little detail about how it will work and whether it will be well enough resourced to make a real difference to the millions still living in chilly, damp homes. Fuel poverty campaigners are particularly concerned that not enough support will be available to those on low incomes, not in a position to access a Green Deal loan to make their homes more energy efficient. It is still very unclear how and even whether the Green Deal will work. There are also real concerns about the Warm Home Discount, intended to replace social tariffs for low income and vulnerable households. At present the Governments focus is on older people and there are fears that this will leave the disabled and poor families with young children out in the cold. Meanwhile winter fuel payments are being cut back, despite steeply rising fuel bills and anti-poverty campaigners fear that future levies on customers to pay for the low energy revolution will hit the poorest hardest. Fighting talk is no substitute for action that is already overdue.

Herald 21st Sept 2011 more >>

Ireland

Ireland’s environment minister has called for more cross border co-operation to prevent potential nuclear accidents. Speaking at the 55th General Conference of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Phil Hogan, said ‘nuclear safety in any one country is a matter of concern to all others.’ The minister last week called for a ‘long-term sustained commitment’ from both Sellafield and the UK authorities for a ‘successful’ clean-up of the Cumbrian site.

Edie 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Japan

Using firsthand accounts of coping with the threat of radioactive contamination, several Japanese citizens who lived near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant hope to convince U.S. officials that nuclear energy poses an unacceptable risk.

CNN 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Two international meetings in Europe in June have reinforced the desire of the nuclear industry to work together to respond to the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. In a separate development, the US nuclear industry, which operates a quarter of the world’s reactors, has created a formal organisation to respond to Fukushima Daiichi.

Nuclear Engineering International 20th Sept 2011 more >>

A new report from Greenpeace has claimed that a switch to renewable energy sources would allow Japan to permanently close its entire nuclear portfolio by 2012 without jeopardizing economic growth. Findings from the “Advanced Energy [R]evolution Report for Japan” have put a further nail in the coffin of an industry still reeling from the fallout of March’s Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. At present, only 12 of the country’s 54 nuclear plants are online during peak summer months, and with energy demand set to fall by 11,000MW – equal to the capacity of 10 to 12 nuclear reactors – through power load reduction strategies, the stage is set for solar and other renewables to fill the void. Under Greenpeace’s strategy, solar and wind energy generation would increase from its current level of 3,500MW to 47,200MW by 2015. In addition to an upsurge of utility-scale solar and wind systems, PV would also become a mainstay in urban areas, with solar panels covering façades of buildings and the widespread installation of solar hot water systems.

PV Tech 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Germany

A tax court in Germany has said the country’s nuclear fuel tax is unlikely to be compatible with the country’s constitution. It agreed a refund for one unnamed utility and halted collection of the tax.

Utility Week 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Argus Media 20th Sept 2011 more >>

The German government said it would seek to reverse a court ruling allowing local power companies to challenge its nuclear fuel tax in the country’s highest tax court. The finance ministry said Berlin was aiming to appeal against the verdict of a Hamburg court, which called into question the federal government’s right to introduce the tax.

FT 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Israel

The Middle East needs lasting peace and strict arms control before it can declare itself a region free of nuclear weapons, a top Israeli official said on Tuesday, casting doubt on prospects this could happen soon.

Trust.org 20th Sept 2011 more >>

US

The U.S. nuclear safety regulator will give more insight on Oct 3 into what inspectors found at a Virginia nuclear plant that was only 12 miles from the epicenter of last month’s historic East Coast earthquake.

Reuters 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Korea

South Korea’s nuclear envoy has arrived in Beijing for a rare meeting with his North Korean counterpart.

BBC 20th Sept 2011 more >>

France

Nuclear plant workers at France’s EdF and Areva will strike on Thursday over the practice of subcontracting at plants, the CGT union has announced. The union said that the strike aimed “to boost the status of subcontractors” and called on an estimated 35,000 subcontractors in the industry to take part in the action.

Argus Media 20th Sept 2011 more >>

Posted: 21 September 2011