News July 2012

31 July 2012

EDF

French state-controlled utility EDF is considering looking for more partners for its nuclear projects in Britain to help it share costs and limit its debt burden, its chief financial officer said on Thursday. EDF, along with junior partner Centrica , plans to build four new 1,600-megawatt (MW) European Pressurised water Reactors as Britain looks to reform its power market to reward producers of low-carbon energy, including nuclear power. “EDF’s goal has always been and remains to be in control of the operations, to control the projects … but this does not mean that we absolutely need to control 80 percent of the projects,” CFO Thomas Piquemal said in a conference call. “This is why we are looking into opening up a little bit more our capital in these projects by finding new partners.”

Reuters 31st July 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Allerdale Council is giving the clear impression in its draft Local Plan that the nuclear dump WILL come to Cumbria –despite the fact that the Council has yet to decide on whether to move to the next stage. The Local Plan has been out for consultation in recent weeks. In the section on Economy the plan mentions‘Geological Disposal Facility’ and goes on to say that there should be a robust safety case, support of the community, and a package of community benefits for ‘the preferred site’. But the MRWS Partnership has denied that there are any ‘preferred sites’ at this stage. First of all the 3 Councils, Allerdale, Copeland and Cumbria, have to decide whether they want to go forward. There are no ifs or buts in this document – just a set of conditions over ‘the preferred site’ as though such a site already exists.

Save Our Lake District 30th July 2012 more >>

Fast Reactors

Plutonium is the nuclear nightmare. A by-product of conventional power-station reactors, it is the key ingredient in nuclear weapons. And even when not made into bombs, it is a million-year radioactive waste legacy that is already costing the world billions of dollars a year to contain. And yet, some scientists say, we have the technology to burn plutonium in a new generation of “fast” reactors. That could dispose of the waste problem, reducing the threat of radiation and nuclear proliferation, and at the same time generate vast amounts of low-carbon energy. It sounds too good to be true. So are the techno-optimists right — or should the conventional environmental revulsion at all things nuclear still hold?

Guardian 30th July 2012 more >>

Oldbury

OLDBURY Power Station is moving swiftly with its decommissioning process. Staff are right on schedule according to site director Mike Heaton and making great strides towards reducing hazard at the plant in preparation for defuelling. Since the end of generation on February 29, a total of 465 hydrogen cylinders, previously required for the turbine, have been removed as well as 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Approximately 67,000 cubic litres of turbine oil have also been taken away to be recycled.

Gloucestershire Gazette 30th July 2012 more >>

Heysham

EDF Energy restarted its 610-megawatt Heysham 1-1 nuclear unit in Britain on Monday following a nearly two-week refuelling outage, the company said.

Reuters 30th July 2012 more >>

Dash for Gas

DECC permanent secretary resigns, ROC banding review that was supposed to come out in early July gets delayed….and delayed: A letter from George Osborne to Ed Davey is leaked (by whom I wonder?) and reveals the extent of Treasury’s ‘alternative ‘energy policy: RO banding is eventually released which shows ‘only’ a 10% cut in the onshore wind ROC; DECC press release randomly rhapsodises about gas after setting out the new RO bands: Ed Davey in a press conference says that DECC loved gas all along (and really gets on just great with Treasury) and any doubters should check in the Carbon Plan and they will see; doubters check in the Carbon plan and …there isn’t really anything there … and breathe. Confused? You will be after this episode of …this blog. Now we’ve definitively got Treasury’s gas policy in place and not DECC’s. We can expect this to be reflected in the freshly rescribed ‘gas strategy’ when it emerges. And all for a stay of execution on on-shore wind subsidy – which let’s be clear I welcome, but I hope won’t be reviewed out of existence in the new further review date of 2014, another concession to the letter’s demands. All in all a kingdom for a horse, as someone once said.

Alan Whitehead MP 30th July 2012 more >>

Companies

CB&I, an engineering group based in Texas, has struck a deal to pay $3bn for the Shaw Group, a Louisiana-based energy services company that is developing the first US nuclear power plants in a generation.

FT 30th July 2012 more >>

Russia

President Vladimir Putin oversaw the start of construction of one of Russia’s newest generation submarines on Monday and vowed to boost nuclear naval forces to safeguard the country’s position as a leading sea power.

Reuters 30th July 2012 more >>

Japan

Renewable energy advocate Tetsunari Iida lost the race for Yamaguchi governor yesterday though his office said he forced a change in the debate that made his opponent come out against building a nuclear plant in the area. The new governor — Shigetaro Yamamoto, a former bureaucrat at the land and transport ministry — said he would suspend plans by Chugoku Electric Power Co. to build the Kaminoseki atomic plant. Iida ran on scrapping the plan.

Business Week 30th July 2012 more >>

The anti-nuclear candidate for Yamaguchi prefecture, governor Tetsunari Iida, lost his election contest in Japan at the weekend. Iida trailed former bureaucrat Shigetaro Yamamoto with 185,654 votes to 252,461 votes, the prefecture said today.

Morning Star 30th July 2012 more >>

Anti-nuclear campaigners in Japan have launched the country’s first green party, more than a year after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi power plant created a groundswell of opposition to atomic energy. Greens Japan, created by local politicians and activists, hopes to satisfy the legal requirements to become an officially recognised political party in time for the general election, which must be held by next summer but could come much earlier.

Guardian 30th July 2012 more >>

Tens of thousands of people protested against nuclear power plants outside Japan’s parliament on Sunday. The protesters, including pensioners, were pressed up against a wall of steel thrown around the parliament building. Some broke through the barriers and spilled onto the streets, forcing the police to bring in reinforcements and deploy armoured buses to buttress the main parliament gate.

Guardian 30th July 2012 more >>

Japan’s government on Tuesday approved its new long-term economic revival plan, which focuses on renewable energy, healthcare and farming, but economists were sceptical about whether it would really help Tokyo hit its growth targets.

Reuters 31st July 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran has significantly stepped up the pace at which it is enriching uranium, shortening the time it would take for it to reach a nuclear threshold, two Israeli newspapers reported on Monday.

Middle East Online 30th July 2012 more >>

US

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a Bulletin to all nuclear power plant licensees requesting information about their electric power system designs and alerting them to a potential design vulnerability that could affect the operation of key safety equipment.

Nuclear Engineering International 30th July 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

As U.N.-led talks on disarmament resume in Geneva Monday, calls are growing for nuclear-armed nations to cut spending on their stockpiles and instead divert resources to development. “The amount still being spent on nuclear arms makes no sense, just as continued reliance on the weapons themselves makes no sense,” David Kreiger, president of the U.S.-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, said.

Common Dreams 28th July 2012 more >>

Renewables

The designation today of the Pentland Firth and Orkney area as a Marine Energy Park confirms what those of us in the industry already know – the north of Scotland is a world leader in wave and tidal technology. Over the last decade, supportive government policies and the establishment of the European Marine Energy Centre have made the north of the UK the global epicentre of ocean energy. Already more than 25 marine energy leases have been awarded in Scotland and the coming years will see leading companies developing the first small wave farms as the industry moves towards commercialisation. The new Marine Energy Park status will further strengthen the region’s reputation and will, we anticipate, help accelerate the industry’s ambitions for commercialisation of the technologies as well as investment in the sector.

Aquamarine Power 30th July 2012 more >>

Scotland’s first Marine Energy Park follows naming of first park in South West of England in January 2012; Welcome boost to UK world-leading sector following confirmation of increase in revenue support last week; Potential for 10,000 jobs provided by the sector by 2020

Renewable UK 30th July 2012 more >>

The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters in the North of Scotland will today confirm their place on the global marine energy map with the launch of the area as a Marine Energy Park. Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker will welcome the launch of the marine park during a visit to Thurso in Caithness, where he is set to address key players from across the marine renewable energy industry.

DECC 30th July 2012 more >>

Stephen Wyatt, head of technology acceleration at the Carbon Trust, predicted marine energy could realistically provide 13GW of new capacity by 2050, representing 11 per cent of total electricity demand. Under the Carbon Trust’s scenario, marine power could potentially create up to 26,000 jobs, adding £3bn a year to the UK economy.

Guardian 30trh July 2012 more >>

Electronics giants Sharp and Hitachi have today unveiled an innovative finance deal to provide loans to homeowners and businesses, in a bid to boost sales of solar photovoltaics in the wake of deep cuts to feed-in tariffs. Sharp Solar and Hitachi Capital will offer UK customers a series of financing options, which are expected to be rolled out across Europe over the coming months. Businesses and homeowners installing solar PV panels using Sharp-certified installers will be able to apply for loans from Hitachi Capital.

Business Green 30th July 2012 more >>

Posted: 31 July 2012

30 July 2012

New Nukes

Nuclear power is so expensive compared with other forms of energy that it has become “really hard” to justify, according to the chief executive of General Electric, one of the world’s largest suppliers of atomic equipment. “It’s really a gas and wind world today,” said Jeff Immelt, referring to two sources of electricity he said most countries are shifting towards as natural gas becomes “permanently cheap”. At the same time, a 75 per cent fall in solar panel market prices in the past three years has made solar power competitive with daytime retail electricity prices in some countries, according to a recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, while offshore wind turbine prices have steadily declined.

FT 30th July 2012 more >>

A leading minister has said the government is committed to building a new wave of nuclear power stations despite recent blows to the programme. Lord Sassoon, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, who spent the bulk of his career with the accountant KPMG and the investment bank SG Warburg, told The Independent the private sector “wants reassurances of the direction of travel from the Government” on nuclear. He said the Government would create a “settled energy market” that would encourage investment on nuclear power station development.

Independent 30th July 2012 more >>

Carbon Emissons

The government’s green policies are incoherent and fail to achieve their objectives in combating climate change, the manufacturers’ trade body has said. Firms were polled by the EEF on current green policies, including measures to monitor carbon dioxide emissions, rules on energy efficiency and reporting on companies’ environmental performance. A large majority said they often went further than the government’s stipulations, but said the bureaucracy involved in complying with the regulations was time-consuming and inefficient. In some cases, companies are covered by as many as five different regulatory regimes. This made complying with the regulations complex and costly, they said.

Guardian 30th July 2012 more >>

Dash for Gas

Greenpeace has submitted Freedom of Information Act questions in a bid to discover how many times Lord Howell has met the Chancellor and discussed energy questions. Lord Howell is the father of George Osborne’s wife, Frances. Lord Howell is a foreign office minister with responsibility for international energy issues in the Lords, but it is his role as president of the British Institute of Energy Economics that is exercising Greenpeace. The Institute has Shell, BP and BG Group as corporate members, while the Energy Department is one of its eight sponsors. A Greenpeace spokesman said: “We feel there could be conflict of interest because the institute has backing from oil and gas companies. Has he been bending the Chancellor’s ear on behalf of fossil fuel interests? What conversations have there been over the dinner table?” Lord Howell is said to be sceptical about climate change and believes the Government is not serious about renewable energy. Greenpeace feels that his approach has been reflected in the Chancellor’s battle with Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, over wind farm subsidies and support for a new “dash for gas”.

Telegraph 30th July 2012 more >>

Japan

Thousands of people formed ‘a human chain’ around Japan’s parliament complex yesterday to demand the government abandon nuclear power — the latest in a series of peaceful demonstrations that are on a scale not seen for decades.

Irish Independent 30th July 2012 more >>

Irish Examiner 30th July 2012 more >>

Scotsman 30th July 2012 more >>

How will Japan meet its energy demands in the next two decades? There are two short-term choices: 1) decommission all nuclear plants and replace them with new fossil fuel plants, or 2) restart the nuclear fleet and upgrade their capacity to replace the lost capacity of the Fukushima plants. There are some variations on these two, e.g., shut down only the oldest plants (twelve pre-date 1980), build a few new gas plants, or adjust the particular mix of coal versus gas, but the economic and environmental costs of these two paths are vastly different.

Forbes 29th July 2012 more >>

An outspoken critic of nuclear power lost a local governor’s election in southwestern Japan on Sunday, according to projections by national broadcaster NHK, defeated by an old-guard candidate in a race that had come to serve as a litmus test for the future of atomic energy in the country.

Wall Street Journal 29th July 2012 more >>

Radioactive strontium-90 from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has been detected for the first time in 10 prefectures outside Miyagi and Fukushima, the science ministry said July 24. The highest reading was in Ibaraki Prefecture and nearly matched the maximum level of strontium-90 recorded in Japan following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The nine other prefectures are Iwate, Akita, Yamagata, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo and Kanagawa. But experts say the current levels of strontium-90 will have little impact on health.

Asahi 25th July 2012 more >>

Iran

Mitt Romney has made a staunch declaration of unity with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat, pledging that the US “will not look away” in the face of an existential challenge against the Jewish state. In his first foreign policy speech, delivered against the dramatic backdrop of the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, the presumptive Republican candidate insisted the US must use “any and all measures” to prevent a nuclear Iran.

Guardian 29th July 2012 more >>

One of President Barack Obama’s top security officials has briefed Israel’s prime minister on U.S. plans for a possible attack on Iran, it was claimed today. National security adviser Tom Donilon sought to reassure Israel that Washington is prepared to act militarily should diplomacy and sanctions fail to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear enrichment programme. He met premier Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to the country earlier this month, according to the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.

Daily Mail 29th July 2012 more >>

Posted: 30 July 2012

29 July 2012

Radwaste

The burial of radioactive nuclear waste is to be fast tracked by the government despite warnings about the risks. Ministers have revealed an “enduring ambition” for Britain’s first burial of waste from nuclear power stations to happen as early as 2029, instead of 2040 as originally planned, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. Opponents warn acceleration of the idea will mean cutting corners, and over-riding the views of people living near burial sites. Last year NDA said it had “confidence” the 2075 and 2130 dates could be brought forward, but shifting the 2040 date to 2029 was “more challenging” and required consideration of other approaches which bring “a higher degree of programme risk”.However, a new report on Implementing Geological Disposal, seen by The Independent on Sunday, reveals the government is determined to press ahead with acceleration, despite “the inherent risks”. “Acceleration remains an enduring ambition for ministers but no decisions will be taken until NDA’s further work is complete,” it said.

Independent 29th July 2012 more >>

A dozen sites across Scotland suspected of being contaminated by radioactive waste from past military or industrial activities have been named by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa). One is the Ministry of Defence firing range at Dundrennan on the Solway Firth, where depleted uranium tanks shells have been tested. Others include former air force, army and naval bases around the country where radium used to make dials glow in the dark has been dumped, as at Dalgety Bay in Fife (pictured, left). There are also former radium factories in Wishaw and Balloch, as well as beaches contaminated by the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness. There have been reports about the sites before, but this is the first time that Sepa has identified them all as potentially contaminated.

Sunday Herald 29th July 2012 more >>

Dash for Gas

George Osborne’s insistence on backing more gas in our energy mix and the lack of support for renewables is, we believe, highly risky. The government’s own Committee on Climate Change has warned that another ‘dash for gas’ would be incompatible with meeting our carbon reduction targets and is not economically sensible. It’s also clear that the ongoing uncertainly over energy policy is severely damaging the UK’s ability to become a world leader in renewable energy. Energy policy is set to be a major battleground for WWF, both here in the UK and globally – so watch this space for more to come.

WWF 27th July 2012 more >>

George Osborne was facing fresh questions yesterday over his controversial push to make Britain a worldwide hub for fossil fuels, after it emerged that his father-in-law is the head of a lobbying organisation for big oil and gas companies. Lord Howell of Guildford, who is an energy minister at the Foreign Office, is also the president of the British Institute of Energy Economics (BIEE), which is sponsored by Shell and BP – prompting suggestions of a conflict of interest.

Independent 29th July 2012 more >>

Data

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has produced its latest visualisation of UK energy flows, in this case referring to 2010. The graphic shows the sources (including imports) and end points of energy in the UK, including quantities lost along the way and exported overseas.

Guardian 27th July 2012 more >>

Depleted Uranium

Challenge to UK government ruling that tests don’t breach humanitarian law. A new ruling by the UK Government that depleted uranium (DU) weapons are acceptable under international humanitarian law may be challenged in court by campaigners angry that ministers are clinging to a “toxic Cold War relic”. The ruling means that DU tank shells could again be tested at the Dundrennan military firing range near Kirkcudbright on the Solway coast. Past tests, which have contaminated the site, have brought cross-party condemnation from Scottish politicians. DU is a radioactive and chemically toxic heavy metal produced as waste by the nuclear industry. It has been widely used by UK and US military forces to harden armour-piercing shells fired in the Gulf, Balkans and Iraq wars.

Sunday Herald 29th July 2012 more >>

Trident

The MoD has signed a 15-year contract with ABL Alliance to provide support for the Trident weapons system at HM Naval Base Clyde. Under the new contract 149 MoD civilian posts will transfer to the alliance. The jobs are in industrial and technical grades, warehousing and logistic support services, while supervisors and managers are also transferring.

Telegraph 28th July 2012 more >>

Renewables

Ministers were “bounced” into retaining large subsidies for controversial on-shore wind farms by foreign-based energy companies who threatened to pull jobs and cash out of Britain. Frantic-behind-the-scenes lobbying played a key role in last week’s surprise decision to stick to cuts in subsidies of just 10 per cent rather than the 25 per cent reductions demanded by more than 100 Conservative MPs. The announcement by Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, followed wrangling between his department and the Treasury and was presented as a big political “win” for his party – although he was forced to make other concessions on energy policy. However a senior Whitehall source disclosed that the government was effectively railroaded into making its decision by foreign companies which make hundreds of millions of pounds a year in wind subsidies, which are added to household bills.

Telegraph 28th July 2012 more >>

Solar installations have halved since the government slashed a generous subsidy scheme four months ago. The Department of Energy and Climate Change cut payouts from 43p to 21p per kilowatt hour after a rush of homes and businesses took advantage of the regime. According to the latest figures, installation rates slowed to 12,000 a month — down from 27,000 in the months before the previous system was scrapped. The government has since pushed through further cuts. From Wednesday the subsidy will be 16p.

Sunday Times 29th July 2012 more >>

SCOTLAND’S reputation as a global centre of renewable power will be enhanced this week with the unveiling in Pentland Firth of the UK’s second marine energy park. The UK government will confirm it is to create its second such park in the waters south of Orkney, where developers are attempting to exploit some of the world’s fastest tides. The aim of the new park, which will incorporate the existing European Marine Energy Centre, is to draw further international attention to the region in the hope of creating a “gold rush effect”, pulling in more investment and research. Ministers believe that if the tidal technology can be harnessed commercially, marine energy could supply the same amount of electricity to Britain as eight coal-fired power stations by 2050.

Scotland on Sunday 29th July 2012 more >>

Posted: 29 July 2012

28 July 2012

Hinkley

The revelation that Olkiluoto nuclear power station in Finland is facing new delays has raised concerns this week that the same problems could disrupt the timetable for delivering the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The Olkiluoto delays centre on nuclear reactor vendor Areva’s European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), which is being used on both. The lack of progress on the reactor’s installation and plant automation controls, which are vital for safety, forced client Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) to state that electricity generation will now not begin before 2015 – a delay of at least a year. Nuclear experts told NCE that Areva’s EPR faces similar approval problems in the UK, as the reactor progresses through the generic design assessment (GDA) – a four step licensing process covering all areas of non-site specific design from civil engineering to reactor chemistry. Independent nuclear expert John Large, who previously worked for the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and is also an expert witness on nuclear, said the Finnish delay could have “serious implications for Hinkley”. University of Cambridge researcher in nuclear energy and former UKAEA employee Tony Roulstone said the timetable for delivery had been made even more challenging following the Olkiluoto delay. “There’s a lot of work to do,” he said. “From the 40,000ft level everything looks okay [with the approval process],” added Roulstone. “But there are still a lot of outstanding issues…and the ONR is being very tough with its approval.”

New Civil Engineer 26th July 2012 more >>

ENERGY giant EDF has won permission to build and operate a temporary sea jetty at its proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Last week, the Marine Management Organisation and the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change approved EDF’s application for a 500m jetty which will be used during the construction of Hinkley Point C should consent be granted.

This is the West Country 26th July 2012 more >>

Plutonium

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has submitted today its views to the UK Government on the proposed justification process around the possible reuse of the national stockpile of weapons usable plutonium.

NFLA 27th July 2012 more >>

NFLA model response to the Government’s consultation on the proposed

justification process for the reuse of plutonium.

NFLA 27th July 2012 more >>

Nuclear Skills

Nuclear engineering was on the curriculum for a group of 50 teenagers taking part in a four-day residential course at the University of Manchester. The course was organised by The Smallpeice Trust, in collaboration with the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) and URENCO. The teenagers were given a chance to get a hands-on experience, looking at the work being done in the field of nuclear engineering and the career opportunities available.

Process Engineering 27th July 2012 more >>

Dash for Gas

Amidst the reaction to the government’s announcement of renewables subsidies yesterday, there was some confusion about the accompanying statement of support for gas power – both over what DECC is proposing, and what it means for greenhouse gas emissions. Energy secretary Ed Davey argued modelling from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shows we can burn significant amounts of gas and still hit our climate targets. But when we asked, it emerged that DECC has not published the relevant scenarios, and isn’t going to. DECC’s press release, in which it announced new levels of renewable subsidy and made a statement of support for gas power, said: “The Government … is today confirming that it sees gas continuing to play an important part in the energy mix well into and beyond 2030, while meeting our carbon budgets.” The phrase “well into and beyond 2030” is vague, but suggests to us that DECC believes gas can have a significant role well into the 2030s without exceeding the UK’s carbon budgets. DECC itself states: “From 2030 onwards, a major role for gas as a baseload source of electricity is only realistic with large numbers of gas CCS plants.” MPs are due to debate the Energy Bill – which does not have a 2030 target in it, but may have one inserted – later this year. The government is also due to produce a Gas Generation Strategy in the Autumn. Perhaps by then more detail will be available about what the future for gas actually is.

Carbon Brief 26th July 2012 more >>

Ireland

Members of Kilkenny County Council have expressed concerns about the proposed expansion of nuclear power on the UK’s west coast and the implications it could have for Ireland and the Irish Sea, writes Tess Felder. Cllr Malcolm Noonan (Greens) raised the issue at this month’s meeting of Kilkenny County Council, including plans for several new reactors. Cllr Noonan asked his fellow members to support the work of the group Nuclear-Free Local Authorities, and he said the issue had implications for the security and health of Ireland.

Kilkenny People 27th July 2012 more >>

Japan

Two events Sunday will test the political influence of Japan’s growing movement against nuclear power: a regional election featuring one of the country’s most prominent industry critics, and a 1960s-style surround-the-parliament protest aimed at evoking memories of past mass demonstrations. The organization of regular demonstrations over the past few weeks with crowds in the tens of thousands has been unusual for Japan in recent times, and suggests a new level of activism among the general public. But that hasn’t translated into policy or political power.

Wall Street Journal 27th July 2012 more >>

The Fukushima nuclear disaster released massive amounts of radioactive materials which were transported across the island-nation and around the world. More than 15 months after the onset of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, radioactive materials are continuing to pile up in Japan with nowhere to go and no end in sight. Far from a stable situation, a closer look at the continuing track record shows erratic knee-jerk decision making, callous and out of touch leadership, and many haphazard assumptions which have had significant impact upon the already affected evacuees and stressed out and tiring municipal officials. Decontamination efforts around the nation are constantly undergoing drastic changes, and details change every time the government experts release instructions on decontamination.

Enformable 27th July 2012 more >>

A series of startling investigative reports into the Fukushima disaster have made it clear the crisis was both human-made and could have been avoided. The question is, will the Japanese government and the wider world take heed? A report released earlier this week from Japan’s Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations was especially scathing in its findings. It said the operator of the Fukushima reactors, TEPCO, and Japan’s nuclear watchdogs were fatally complacent. The company “mishandled its response to the crisis and nuclear regulators failed to prepare sufficient disaster-mitigation measures as they were ‘overly confident’ about the safety of nuclear power”. The committee also found that safety measures which could have prevented the Fukushima disaster were never implemented because TEPCO and government agencies did not believe such a disaster could happen.

Greenpeace International 27th July 2012 more >>

Fukushima update 24th to 26th July 2012.

Greenpeace International 27th July 2012 more >>

Iran

A SENIOR official says Iran is willing to continue talks with world powers over its nuclear program until they reach a conclusion. Ali Akbar Velayati, adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was quoted by the semi-official news agency ISNA. He said Iran will pursue nuclear talks until a “positive and constructive conclusion.”

Scotsman 28th July 2012 more >>

US

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday alerted nuclear power plant operators to a potential design vulnerability that could affect key safety equipment and requested additional information about power system designs. The regulator’s notice comes after Exelon Corp’s 1,136-megawatt unit 2 at Byron nuclear power station automatically shut on Jan. 30 due to unbalanced voltage entering the plant’s power system from the transmission network. “The plant’s electric power system’s protection scheme was not designed to sense the loss of one of three power phases and automatically trip circuits to isolate the degraded outside power source and switch to emergency backup power,” the NRC said. “The degraded offsite power source potentially could have damaged the plant’s emergency core cooling system,” the NRC said in a statement. NRC regulations require reliable offsite and onsite power systems with sufficient capacity and capability to operate safety-related systems, the regulator said. Loss of offsite power was identified by the NRC as an important issue to be addressed in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that led to the meltdown of reactors at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2011.

Reuters 27th July 2012 more >>

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s opposition Socialists on Friday demanded a referendum to challenge the government’s decision to abandon construction of a nuclear power plant, an increasingly divisive issue in the run up to next year’s parliamentary election. The Socialists submitted more than 770,000 signatures to parliament calling for the referendum – well above the half million they need to force a plebiscite. But analysts said the government would likely resist efforts to revive a national debate on the fate of the planned Russian-built 2,000 megawatt Belene plant. The centre-right cabinet cancelled the project in March saying it was too costly and had failed to attract serious interest from Western investors. But the Socialists have argued the country had already sunk too much money into the project to abandon it.

Trust 27th July 2012 more >>

Space

A new era of space exploration is dawning through the application of nuclear energy for rovers on Mars and the Moon, power generation at future bases on the surfaces of both and soon for rockets that enable interplanetary travel.

World Nuclear News 27th July 2012 more >>

Trident

John Ainslie, Scottish CND, evidence to House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee 16th July 2012.

House of Commons 16th July 2012 more >>

Private contractors are to take over the role of looking after the UK’s nuclear weapons in Scotland. The Ministry of Defence signed a 15-year contract with ABL Alliance on Friday to provide support for the Trident weapons system at the naval base on the river Clyde. Under the new contract, 149 MoD civilian posts will transfer to the alliance. The jobs are in industrial and technical grades, warehousing and logistic support services, while supervisors and managers are also transferring. Thirty-nine Royal Navy posts will also be seconded to the alliance, which comprises AWE plc, Babcock and Lockheed Martin UK Strategic Systems. The MoD said it decided in May 2011 that the most effective way to sustain the workforce in the future was to use an experienced supplier within the private sector. ABL Alliance will provide support to the Trident strategic weapon system at the Royal Naval armament depot at Coulport and the strategic weapon support building at Faslane.

Guardian 27th July 2012 more >>

Sky 28th July 2012 more >>

STV 27th July 2012 more >>

BBC 27th July 2012 more >>

Rutherglen Reformer (And other locals) 27th July 2012 more >>

Submarines

NUCLEAR submarines at Rosyth have seen 11 fires in the last 25 years, Press Online has learned. The blazes were among a total of 266 which have occurred on UK nuclear subs in the past quarter-century – including 74 on ballistic missile submarines. The MoD has confirmed that the fires at Rosyth occurred between between April 1994 and August 2001.

Dunfermline Press 27th July 2012 more >>

Renewables

SSE yesterday revealed that it has put plans for four small-scale hydro-electric schemes “on hold” as it awaits the Scottish Government’s decision over subsidies. The Perth-based utilities company said the decision would affect its 7.5MW hydro project at Kildermorie estate, near Alness in Ross-shire, the only one of the schemes to have already been placed in the planning system. Other projects on hold include a scheme on the River Isla near Alyth, in Perthshire. SSE’s two larger pump-storage scheme – each capable of producing 600MW of power – are not affected by the decision. Last week, the UK government unveiled a 30 per cent cut to support for hydro-electric schemes in England and Wales. Although the decision does not affect Scotland, SSE is understood to believe that the Scottish Government could take a similar step because both administrations have used the same cost analysis in their subsidy reviews. Niall Stuart, chief executive of trade body Scottish Renewables, warned: “The considerable cut in support for hydro means that companies will have to re-consider some major investments.

Scotsman 28th July 2012 more >>

Scottish and Southern Energy’s decision to, in effect, cancel three small hydro-electricity schemes with a planned output of a mere 21 megawatts may seem like small and unremarkable beer. But because the decision was caused by a reduction in the subsidy available for output for new hydro, it is a symptom of a much bigger issue: political concern about the cost to the consumer of renewable power. The move by SSE follows the announcement by the UK government that it was cutting the amounts hydro generators can earn through Renewable Obligation Certificates. Other generators planning small-scale hydro schemes, such as RWE nPower, are said to be thinking of following suit. The Scottish Government must now consider this issue. It places a great deal of store on “reindustrialising” Scotland through expansion of renewable energy. But especially in the context of independence – where it seems unlikely consumers south of the Border will be willing to subsidise firms operating in a foreign country – poses the question of how much of the cost the Scottish consumer is willing to bear.

Scotsman 28th July 2012 more >>

As Britain strives to meet European renewable energy targets, the world’s largest offshore wind farm is rising from the waves off the coasts of Kent and Essex.

Telegraph 28th July 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

Local Authority action seems to be the theme of this week’s Micro Power News; from DECC urging them to draw up efficiency plans; Shropshire council has installed solar on 17 schools; Exeter Council installs solar on 250 council houses; South Shields and Northampton tenants to benefit from efficiency makeovers.

Microgen Scotland 27th July 2012 more >>

Posted: 28 July 2012

27 July 2012

Radwaste

IT’S now up to three Cumbrian local authorities whether to try and find somewhere in the area to bury highly radioactive nuclear waste. But top level Cumbria, Copeland and Allerdale councillors have promised that the crucial decision will be made in public at Executive and Cabinet meetings. Tim Knowles (county council Cabinet member) and Elaine Woodburn and Alan Smith (leaders of Copeland and Allerdale boroughs respectively) are adamant the final decision will not be a fait accompli in favour of going forward to search for a suitable geological site deep underground in West Cumbria. Ruth Balogh, representing the ‘Save Our Lake District’ campaign, referred to major reservations expressed both by the Cumbria Association of Local Councils and Churches Together in Cumbria. Dr Balogh called for the Partnership to be more open and transparent “about its own nature and to get a better understanding about who was on the Partnership and where people are coming from in taking decisions”. Marianne Birkby, for Radiation Free Lakeland, said: “I think it’s horrendous, we shouldn’t be here in the first place. “To me this is being presented as a fait accompli but won’t be if enough people say no – they’ve been very cunning, a bit like sitting a frog in a pan of water: if the frog could see the danger then it would be away immediately but because they haven’t actually said it’s going to be here then communities haven’t been galvanised to oppose.”

Whitehaven News 26th July 2012 more >>

A GOVERNMENT minister has said community benefits for any area “hosting” an underground nuclear waste repository can be legally set in stone. Energy minister Charles Hendry has give a written assurance to Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn, who chairs the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Safely Partnership (MRWS). Three local authorities – Cumbria County Council, Copeland Borough Council and Allerdale Borough Council – will decide in the autumn whether to try and find somewhere suitable in the area to bury the highly radioactive material.

Whitehaven News 26th July 2012 more >>

A meeting has been held to determine how proposals to expand the size and lifespan of a low level radioactive waste site in the county are to be examined. Augean’s plans for the site at King’s Cliffe are among the first to be determined by a new process, set out in the Localism Act, for dealing with nationally significant infrastructure projects. The company wants to extend the lifespan of the site to 2026, increase its soil treatment capacity from 100,000 tonnes a year to 150,000 and to construct a new landfill area to deal with 150,000 tonnes of low level radioactive waste a year, up to a maximum total of 250,000 tonnes. Augean says the King’s Cliffe site is one of only two in the UK with the same soil treatment capacity and one of just eight in England and Wales which can deal with the same range of hazardous waste.

Northamptonshire Telegraph 26th July 2012 more >>

Letter: I write to you to try and find out what our council has spent the £10million on, that was given to them from the LLWR (Drigg) Plant. I also have it on good authority that they have committed a further £1.4million for the next several years.

Whitehaven News 26th July 2012 more >>

Letter: From the tone of her response on behalf of the MRWS Partnership (The Whitehaven News, July 12), Coun Woodburn does not welcome Professor Haszeldine’s observations on the robustness of the recent MRWS consultation and telephone poll. Her response suggests conflicted values; at once marginalising Haszeldine’s questions (because he is no polling “expert”) while later telling us that “in a democracy we do not tell people they cannot have a view on matters of policy because they are not experts”. Perhaps Coun Woodburn fails to appreciate that you don’t have to be an expert to raise searching questions on governance, probity and quality assurance. And in these key areas, government sponsored ‘experts’ and their consultants have proved limited if not untrustworthy – to the point that the operating maxim for many is now, Don’t believe it until it’s been officially denied! Low levels of trust in “the authorities” was the main reason for the local partnership approach in the first place, learning lessons from failed “top-down” repository siting attempts here and elsewhere.

Whitehaven News 26th July 2012 more >>

Letter: After 30 years on this route by Nirex and NDA with virtually no progress, it is unlikely to develop an acceptable scheme in the next 30 years! CoRWM has said it has no control over NDA and the overseeing Government department has said it is leaving everything to the NDA.

Whitehaven News 26th July 2012 more >>

New Nukes

Atomkraft is a new theatre show about nuclear power. As part of the Ferment Fortnight at Bristol Old Vic, Greg McLaren is presenting work-in-progress sections from the show, the idea is to get feedback from the audience on the work so far.

My Thornbury 26th July 2012 more >>

Dungeness

Campaigners fighting expansion of a Kent airport near a nuclear power station have called for the plans to be halted because of a safety review. The Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has set up a panel to look at accidental aircraft crash risk. It said the panel was not specific to Dungeness but an inquiry into Lydd airport expansion had raised issues. Campaigners say the move shows Lydd poses a danger but the ONR said the airport was not affected by the review. The ONR said Dungeness was the only nuclear site in the UK close to an airport. The two sites are about five miles (8km) apart.

BBC 26th July 2012 more >>

Dounreay

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency published a draft authorisation that would govern the disposal of low-level radioactive waste in a series of vaults now under construction adjacent to the site. The draft authorisation is the subject of public consultation until August 29.

DSRL 6th July 2012 more >>

Sellafield

MORE than two million hours without a lost-time incident has been reached by Hertel at Sellafield. The company employs 200 at the site and provides a range of maintenance services including the removal of asbestos, painting, insulation and scaffolding. Hertel has been working at Sellafield for more than 20 years.

Whitehaven News 26th July 2012 more >>

“I’D like to see 10,000 people leaving Sellafield every day saying this is a great place to work and I’m part of the future.” That’s a parting wish of Graham Campbell who, as general manager for Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), is retiring after heading up the international consortium’s off-site operations in Cumbria for the past four years.

Whitehaven News 26th July 2012 more >>

GRAHAM McKendry will leave his current position as executive director of the Sellafield Mox plant to become Nuclear Management Partners’ new general manager. Mr McKendry, who has played rugby union for Carlisle and hails from Ballymena in Northern Ireland, has already established strong relationships with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), trades unions and other key stakeholders. Tom Zarges, NMP chairman comprising URS (America), AMEC (Britain), AREVA (France), said: “Graham has developed a broad range of skills in a variety of roles mainly in the UK and US but also in SE Asia and East Africa.

Whitehaven News 26th July 2012 more >>

Letter Martin Forwood: It’s a little disconcerting to see Coun David Moore refer to past emergency exercises at Sellafield as being based on an accident at Calder Hall. In his role as chairman of the local stakeholder group’s Emergency Planning sub-committee, we’d rather hoped he knew that for the past nine years, since Calder Hall’s closure, emergency plans at Sellafield have actually been based on an accident at the site’s High Level Waste complex.

Whitehaven News 26th July 2012 more >>

Centrica

While consumer groups berated Centrica yesterday for making higher profits at the expense of hard-pressed British Gas customers, analysts said the results were in line with expectations and investors took it in their stride, with shares rising 1.9 per cent to 317p. But over the next few months several big questions need to be answered for Centrica to press ahead with its investment plans in the UK, on the levels of government support for new wind farms and nuclear reactors, and on incentives to build new gas plants to back up intermittent wind power. The outcomes are still uncertain, making Centrica’s shares hard to value.

FT 26th July 2012 more >>

Acquisitions and wet weather helped Centrica to bounce back from a weak performance last year, boosting profits despite a sharp fall in earnings from selling to business customers. The owner of British Gas reported a 15 per cent rise in operating profits to £1.4 billion in the first half of this year to June 30. It has spent £1.2 billion this year on buying new assets to generate power in addition to the £1.4 billion it will invest in the Cygnus gas field in the North Sea after the Government agreed tax breaks for the project.

Times 26th July 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

Hermle has been appointed a Tier One member of the Nuclear AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) at the University of Sheffield’s Rotherham facility.

Machinery Market 26th July 2012 more >>

Nuclear Skills

An innovative scheme backed by Heysham power stations to help youngsters land prestigious engineering apprenticeships is being trialled at Lancaster and Morecambe College. The new access to engineering course starts at the college in September and is partnership between EDF Energy and the college. Two other schemes will be running at colleges in Bridgwater and Gloucester and if they prove successful the courses could become part of the colleges’ regular curriculum.

Virtual Lancaster 26th July 2012 more >>

Nuclear Protest

A film chronicling the events that sparked the creation of a grassroots antinuclear power movement across the country 35 years ago will be shown at Seabrook Public Library. “Seabrook 1977” is the next film in the “Nuclear Dangers — Past, Present, and Future” summer film series sponsored by the Seacoast Anti-Pollution League. In April 1977, Seabrook became an international symbol in the battle over atomic energy. Concerned about the dangers of potential radioactive accidents, over 2,000 members of the Clamshell Alliance, a coalition of environmental groups, attempted to block construction of a nuclear power plant in Seabrook. (NB The Clamshell Alliance inspired Torness protests in 1978).

Seacoast Online 27th July 2012 more >>

Japan

Japan’s Nuclear-Crisis Minister, Goshi Hosono, is finding it difficult to appoint new nuclear regulators for fear of collusion. Prime Minister Yoshiro Noda’s government is legally bound to appoint a five member nuclear regulatory body by 20 September this year. The new organisation is required by the Parliament to have enough support staff so that it can take over the regulatory duties from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA). According to the government reports, NISA is part of the same ministry that promotes nuclear power and there is a very small community of experts who understand nuclear power. But due to the relatively small community, experts move between industry, government, policy, academia and regulatory bodies quite often – therefore it is virtually impossible for the government to meet its own criteria for regulatory board members.

eGov Monitor 26th July 2012 more >>

Iran

Ehud Barak, the Defence Minister, has called for major powers to speed up efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear programme, cautioning that it would be tougher to confront the issue once Tehran had managed to cross an atomic threshold.

Independent 27th July 2012 more >>

Dash for Gas

The future of the UK’s energy supply – and our ability to hold back climate change emissions in Britain – is hanging in the balance. Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems must intervene to protect the Climate Change Act from George Osborne and his mates in the gas lobby. We are standing at a crossroads. In one direction lies a sustainable future, with clean energy powered by the sun, wind and waves that stabilises our energy bills. In the other, our energy comes from gas and this polluting, expensive fuel sends bills soaring and makes it all but impossible to drive down our climate change emissions. This week, we learned that Osborne had written to Liberal Democrat Ed Davey – the government minister responsible for energy and climate change – demanding that he turn the UK into a “gas hub” and scrap any plans to decarbonise our electricity supply or introduce new targets for renewable energy.

Greenpeace 26th July 2012 more >>

Green Deal

Local authorities will be expected to draw up plans to boost energy efficiency in their areas, under government proposals designed to help ensure the success of its forthcoming Green Deal loan scheme. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) yesterday issued new guidance for local councils in England to help them improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock.

Business Green 27th July 2012 more >>

Details of the new guidance can be found Green Deal pages of the DECC website.

DECC 26th July 2012 more >>

Renewables

The surge in solar, biomass and offshore wind installations were the main drivers behind a 33 per cent increase in green electricity production last year, according to new government figures that also show the UK imported more energy than it exported for the first time since 1974. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) today published new figures showing renewable electricity accounted for 9.4 per cent of total UK electricity generation in 2011, increasing from 6.8 per cent in 2010.

Business Green 26th July 2012 more >>

The main operator of Scottish hydro power stations said it does not expect to build new ones due to a subsidy cut. SSE, which trades north of the border as Scottish Hydro, had planned several new hydro schemes in the Highlands. It also warned changes to Whitehall’s support regime for renewable power could significantly harm biomass burning and wind farm development.

BBC 27th July 2012 more >>

Posted: 27 July 2012

26 July 2012

Dash for Gas

Centrica is to create 4,000 jobs in Britain with the development of a huge North Sea gasfield after the Government signalled a new “dash for gas”. After weeks of delay, heated negotiations and only hours after a £500 million tax break for this type of field was unveiled, the owner of British Gas said that it would invest £1.4 billion with its French partner GDF Suez. Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said yesterday that gas would be at the heart of Britain’s energy strategy and promised that new gas-fired power plants would play a “key role” in keeping the lights on. He also said that consumer-funded subsidies for onshore wind farms would not be cut by as much as expected. The Government’s independent adviser on climate change also warned that triggering a second so-called dash for gas was against the law, as it would make it impossible for the UK to meet its legally binding target to slash carbon emissions. David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, also criticised ministers for sending out “mixed messages” that would damage Britain’s ability to attract the estimated £110 billion of investment required in new energy apparatus over the next decade. The draft Energy Bill, overseen by Mr Davey, contains a proposal to set a legally binding target to switch to almost entirely “low-carbon” forms of power generation, such as wind farms and renewables by 2030, which is opposed by George Osborne. Mr Davey said that negotiations with the Treasury on the proposal would continue in the autumn. He insisted that the target had not been abandoned as part of a deal to secure a more modest cut for onshore wind farm subsidies.

Times 26th July 2012 more >>

The coalition row over UK energy policy will resume after the summer, the energy secretary, Ed Davey, signalled on Wednesday, as he insisted it would be “presumptuous” to rule out new carbon pollution targets for the electricity sector. A 2030 electricity carbon target has emerged as a critical point of disagreement between Mr Davey’s Liberal Democrat party and George Osborne, the Conservative chancellor, during a fierce debate over the relative importance of gas and renewable power in the UK’s future energy mix. Greenpeace, meanwhile, attacked what it said was a “bonkers” decision to give the gas industry more support than offshore wind power, which was cleaner and would also provide many jobs. Many renewable industry groups condemned what Leonie Greene of the Renewable Energy Association described as the unhelpful “political horse-trading” surrounding the subsidy decisions.

FT 25th July 2012 more >>

Centrica increased profits at its residential arm by 23pc in the first half of the year, which is expected to fan flames of anger over recent price increases.

Telegraph 26th July 2012 more >>

SSE: The UK government has announced the outcome of its review of the bands of support provided by the Renewables Obligation. It will have no impact on existing assets in operation or under construction. Nevertheless, it means SSE no longer expects to develop any new conventional hydro electric schemes and that the scope to increase generation of electricity from biomass at coal-fired power stations is significantly reduced. In addition, the decision to limit the guarantee of 0.9 Renewable Obligation Certificates to electricity from onshore wind farms commissioned between April 2013 and March 2014 introduces a new uncertainty that could potentially restrict the future development of this technology.

SSE 26th July 2012 more >>

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey did a good job yesterday at drawing a veil over the disagreements that have marred the last few weeks, talking of “misunderstandings” with the Treasury, reiterating that UK wants to see investment in both gas and renewables, and stressing that the “debate” on whether to allow unabated gas-fired power plants post 2030 will continue in the autumn and will be based on evidence rather than politics. But looking past Davey’s warm words the political fight over the past month has been brutal.

Business Green 26th July 2012 more >>

Heysham

EDF Energy restarted its 660-megawatt (MW) Heysham 2-7 nuclear reactor on Wednesday, after it stopped on Sunday for repair work, a spokesman said.

Reuters 25th July 2012 more >>

Radwaste

The proposed underground nuclear dump would require miles of underground tunnels. The following videos show what happens in tunnel fires – everything is amplified. Add plutonium on rail tracks to the mix.. When asked about tunnel fires and nuclear waste dumping a NDA representative mumbled that “combustible materials would be kept to a minimum” – plutonium isn’t combustible?

Radiation Free Lakeland 25th July 2012 more >>

Waste Transport

TRANSPORT of Sizewell A power station’s most dangerous nuclear legacy –its highly radioactive spent fuel rods – is being suspended for the duration of the Olympic Games but the entire operation could still be completed by September 2014, officials believe.

East Anglian Daily Times 25th July 2012 more >>

Nuclear Police

One of the most senior soldiers in the north west of England is to take the top job at the Civil Nuclear Police Authority. Brigadier Mike Griffiths CBE was the last person to lead Cumbria’s King’s Own Royal Border Regiment before it became part of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, which is now the county’s adopted Army unit. He is currently the Army’s director of personnel but also holds the title of Colonel of the Duke of Lancaster’s.

Carlisle News and Star 25th July 2012 more >>

Uranium

The world has enough uranium to last for 100 years but the cost of extracting the element is rising, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency. In their latest report on the world’s stock of nuclear fuel, which gives a “snapshot” view as of January last year, the agencies estimate that the planet’s stock of uranium that is classed as the cheapest to extract has fallen by 14 per cent. In contrast, the known stock of high-cost uranium stands at 7.1 million tonnes, a 12.5 per cent rise compared with January 2009.

Times 26th July 2012 more >>

India

While other countries ponder the viability of closed fuel cycles, India is pressing ahead with plans to make them the centre of its nuclear industry as part of a roadmap to thorium. You have to admire India’s ability to stick to a programme. While other countries have seesawed not just over the details of nuclear development, but even their commitment to it in general, India is still slavishly following a path that was mapped out in the 1950s. And compared to most other nations, it is a path that veers well off the beaten track. While open nuclear fuel cycles have become the de facto standard for nuclear power around the world, India is devoting its energies to a closed-cycle industry.

Nuclear Insider 25th July 2012 more >>

Iran

As far as malicious computer hacking is concerned, the most recent breach of security at Iran’s nuclear facilities may not be very serious… unless you hate the music of Australian rock band AC/DC. It has been alleged that unidentified computer hackers have forced workers at two of the country’s controversial nuclear facilities to endure AC/DC’s hit song Thunderstruck repeatedly – and at full volume – sometimes in the middle of the night.

Daily Mail 25th July 2012 more >>

Israel’s defence minister said on Wednesday that an Iran armed with nuclear weapons would be far more dangerous to the Jewish state than the possible consequences of preventing it from obtaining those arms.

AFP 25th July 2012 more >>

China

Situated on the coast at Chixi Town, south of Guangzhou in China’s Guangdong Province, the Taishan Nuclear Power Station is expected to be one of the largest in the world. It is also China’s first nuclear power plant to adopt the European EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) third generation reactor technology. The first phase of the project involves the construction of two EPR power plants, each with the world’s largest capacity of 1750 MW.

Process Control 25th July 2012 more >>

Asia

Strong expansion of nuclear power as a carbon-free energy source in Asia is expected to press ahead despite the Fukushima accident in Japan that soured sentiment in some countries, a benchmark report said on Thursday.

Reuters 26th July 2012 more >>

Renewables

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has today hailed the introduction of a “strong package of support for clean energy”, predicting the move would drive billions of pounds of investment in renewables, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and represent a “good deal” for consumers and businesses. He also downplayed reports that in return for the Treasury’s sign-off on the new package of support for renewables the Lib Dems had agreed to drop proposals for a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill that would effectively stop the use of unabated gas-fired power plants after 2030, insisting a decarbonisation target had not been ruled out. However, Davey repeatedly stressed that gas had a key role to play in the UK’s energy mix, insisting DECC’s own carbon plan shows that it should be possible to support between 10GW and 20GW of unabated gas capacity in the UK during the 2030s without breaching the country’s legally binding carbon targets.

Business Green 25th July 2012 more >>

Green businesses have cautiously welcomed the government’s decision on changes to renewable energy subsidies, but warned investors could face further uncertainty as a result of plans to review the cost of onshore wind energy later this year.

Business Green 25th July 2012 more >>

Away from the big ticket wind and marine energy subsidy announcements today, developers from some of the emerging renewable energy industries were left mulling a mixed bag of reforms to support levels. Lobbyists were particularly disappointed with the level of support for geothermal, which will fall from 2 ROCs in 2013 to 1.9 ROCs in 2015 and 1.8 ROCs the following year. Dr Ryan Law, chief executive of Geothermal Engineering, said he was “shocked” by the cuts, insisting geothermal is a developing industry worthy of similar support to wave and tidal energy, which will from next year enjoy more than double the level of support at 5 ROCs per MWh.

Business Green 25th July 2012 more >>

The UK is the Saudi Arabia of wind, and the other countries of Europe laugh at us. We come fifth in terms of installed capacity and seventh in terms of the amount of power we get from it. Germany, Spain, Italy et al don’t mock us because we’re lagging at something they’re making such a success of – we lag at everything – but because we should be winning so effortlessly. Yet the outlook remains mixed for UK renewables, which is market speak for “screwed”; subsidies have been cut, albeit only by 10% rather than the proposed quarter. It’s up for grabs again in a year. The coalition covers the whole spectrum of belief on the environment, from climate change denier to deep green. It is impossible to predict who’ll be in the ascendant next year or even next week. All you can say for certain is that this must be the worst system imaginable for the long-term planning of a nation’s energy needs: hand the decision over to a group whose only uniting principle is that they want to keep their seats in parliament.

Guardian 25th July 2012 more >>

Liberal Democrats claimed victory yesterday after fighting off Conservative demands for a 25 per cent cut in state subsidies for onshore wind farms. But green groups said George Osborne, the Chancellor, had extracted a price in return for allowing Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary, to limit the reduction in subsidies to the 10 per cent figure announced last year. The Government will be open to gas playing a major role in electricity production after 2030 if it proves cheap and the Treasury announced £500m of tax relief to encourage the development of marginal fields in the North Sea. Andrew Pendleton, a spokesman for Friends of the Earth, said: “Treasury arm-twisting has forced [Ed Davey] to give his backing to new gas-fired power stations – which is completely at odds with his fuzzy rhetoric on clean British energy. George Osborne’s plans would be a costly disaster for households, businesses and the environment. It’s time for David Cameron, the self-styled leader of the greenest government ever, to intervene.”

Independent 26th July 2012 more >>

Posted: 26 July 2012

25 July 2012

EMR

The aim of EMR should be, the Government says threefold: to secure the substantial decarbonisation of supplies, to provide security of supply and to do both at affordable energy prices. One reason for doubting the Bills ability to deliver lies outside its provisions – and that is that whilst claiming to be about Electricity Market Reform, the bill does not reform the electricity market at all. It leaves the present, non-transparent bilaterally trading, vertically integrated, Big Six-dominated energy market arrangements exactly as they are.

Alan Whitehead 24th July 2012 more >>

The price of electricity will have to at least double to underpin a new wave of nuclear reactors in the UK, according to people close to negotiations between the government and energy industry. Companies need a price of at least £100 per megawatt hour – more than double the present wholesale power price of about £41/MWh – to justify the huge investment needed in new nuclear plants, they say in comments that will raise concerns that consumers could end up paying much of the cost of the nuclear programme. New nuclear reactors are a critical part of government plans for a low-carbon economy and widely seen as essential if the UK is to meet its ambitious climate change targets, which require an 80 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050. But the costs of atomic power have risen significantly since last year’s Fukushima disaster in Japan. Some estimates put the price tag of building a new reactor as high as £7.5bn – some £3bn more than two years ago. “If you do the maths on that, you would conclude that £100 is the number one would need to get a reasonable return,” said a person close to the negotiations on the level of government support energy companies should receive to build new reactors. He said the upper limit of any such support would be about £130-£140/MWh – the cost of electricity generated by offshore wind farms. “If you can’t do [nuclear] for that price, then you might as well build more wind farms,” he said.

FT 24th July 2012 more >>

Horizon

DRAGGING out the sale of a Gloucester-based firm behind plans for two new nuclear power stations would see skilled staff “drift away” the Government has warned. Energy minister Charles Hendry has stressed the urgency of finding a new buyer for Horizon Nuclear Power, which plans to develop plants at Oldbury in Gloucestershire and Wylfa in North Wales. Talks are being held this week with potential bidders for the nuclear venture, which is being sold by parent companies RWE npower and E.ON. Two consortiums are reported to have expressed an interest. The first is led by Toshiba Westinghouse, the Japanese-owned nuclear reactor manufacturer. The second is Areva, the French controlled reactor manufacturer, and China Guangdong Nuclear power Corp. Bids could be submitted by the end of September.

Gloucestershire Citizen 24th July 2012 more >>

Detailed talks will be held this week with potential investors in a West nuclear power station following the decision of two German energy groups to pull out earlier this year. A consortium involving the French state-controlled nuclear reactor manufacturer Areva and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp is keen to take over Horizon, with another group, led by Japanese-owned Toshiba Westinghouse also thought to be interested.

Western Daily Press 24th July 2012 more >>

Hinkley

The proposed Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power station in Somerset took two steps forward last week when two side applications were granted. First, an application was granted under the Transport and Works Act 1992 to allow land adjacent to Bridgwater Bay to be acquired for the purposes of building a temporary jetty that would be used during the construction of the power station. Secondly, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has simultaneously approved an application under the Harbours Act 1964 to build the jetty itself, as well as two other consents to deposit the jetty on the sea bed and to dredge material for a berth next to the jetty and deposit it (you need consent to put things on the sea bed whether they be structures or disposed material).

Bircham Dyson Bell 24th July 2012 more >>

Heysham

Heysham power station is understood to be on a hit list of Chinese investors looking to inject £35bn into the UK’s nuclear sector. Reports suggest a team from the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute, part of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), met senior British officials. The plan would involve the corporation and another public sector firm, the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, bidding against each other for a stake in the ‘Horizon’ project.

Insider Media 24th July 2012 more >>

Wylfa

CIVIL war in Whitehall is putting the future of major energy projects such as Wylfa B at risk, MPs warn today. The Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee report, just two days before the deadline for bids to build a new Wylfa reactor, comes in the wake of the sudden resignation of the top civil servant at the Department of Energy & Climate Change.

Daily Post 23rd July 2012 more >>

Sizewell

Sizewell B nuclear power station is generating electricity again after a three day automatic shutdown. Owner EDF Energy said the plant resumed operation at 02:10 BST on Saturday, having stopped on Wednesday afternoon. The company said the automatic safety systems were triggered when an electrical unit was reconnected following routine maintenance work.

BBC 23rd July 2012 more >>

Springfields

The Springfields Fuels processing plant near Preston, Lancashire was the first in the world to make nuclear fuel for commercial power stations. The site has produced several million fuel elements and supplied products and services to over 140 reactors in 15 countries. A resurgence of demand for nuclear fuel has prompted Springfields to re-commission a previously moth-balled light water reactor (LWR) plant at the site, which is still the UK’s main nuclear fuel manufacturing operation.

Process & Control 24th July 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Earlier this month the director of one of Cumbria’s leading Estate Agents, Kyle Blue of Penrith Farmers’ and Kidd’s reaffirmed his commitment to the government plan for the biggest toxic nuclear hell hole the world has ever seen, here in Cumbria. Yet The Folkstone Herald points out that: Fears have been raised that if the Marsh was to host a £12 billion facility storing nuclear waste from across the UK, house prices would crash and residents would struggle to sell their homes because fewer people would want to move here.

Radiation Free Lakeland 24th July 2012 more >>

ONR

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has today published its first Annual Review. It provides an overview of our first year as an agency of HSE. We have also published the latest edition of Quarterly News, reflecting the key themes and developments in each of our regulatory programmes from April to June 2012.

ONR 24th July 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

Sheffield Forgemasters is set to become the UK’s only company allowed to weld together critical components for the nuclear industry. The firm is due to achieve Nuclear Partials (NPT) status, allowing it to expand its international output. It follows a successful year which has seen turnover increase by 25%.

BBC 24th July 2012 more >>

The Manufacturer 24th July 2012 more >>

Japan

With the government increasingly in crisis and at odds with the public and with demonstrations rising, it looks like it will have to be the people’s voice that forces a shift away from nuclear power.

Alert.net 24th July 2012 more >>

Japan Times 25th July 2012 more >>

Racing against a legislative deadline, the Japanese government is trying to find regulators who understand nuclear technology—but aren’t close to the nuclear industry. Cronyism has been widely blamed for contributing to the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. following the huge earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan in March 2011. In a scathing investigation commissioned by parliament, a panel concluded: “The Tepco Fukushima nuclear-power-plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and Tepco.”

Wall Street Journal 24th July 2012 more >>

Fukushima Crisis Update 20th to 23rd July 2012.

Greenpeace International 24th July 2012 more >>

Japans hunt for renewable energy sources that can replace the loss of its nuclear power sector continues. Since the recent announcement of feed in tariffs, the capacity of solar installations has grown rapidly, and now another renewable energy source could see a similar growth in popularity. According to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan has the third largest geothermal potential in the world, one of the benefits of being situated on an active fault line, but 80% of that potential exists within protected national parks.

Oil Price 24th July 2012 more >>

France

Electricite de France SA and Areva SA (AREVA), along with other French nuclear operators, may not be setting aside enough funds to pay for future dismantling of reactors and treatment and storage of atomic waste, according to a parliamentary report. Cost estimates by atomic operators don’t have a “safety margin and risk being raised in the future,” according to a report published today by a national panel charged with evaluating the financial costs of atomic decommissioning. Current estimates carry “large margins of uncertainty.”

Bloomberg 24th July 2012 more >>

Iran

In 2010, Iran’s nuclear facilities were infiltrated by Stuxnet, the centrifuge-wrecking malware allegedly cooked up by the US government. Now they seem to have been hit again by a bizarre attack forcing nuclear plant workstations to pump the song Thunderstruck by heavy metal band AC/DC through the speakers at full volume.

New Scientist 24th July 2012 more >>

Trident

THE lack of a contingency plan for Britain’s Trident nuclear arsenal if Scotland votes for independence is causing alarm within the UK Government, with one senior source decrying the gap in forward planning as nonsensical. The Coalition source also told The Herald the cost of relocating the nuclear deterrent to England would cost as much as the plan to replace it with a new generation of submarines, some £25 billion.

Herald 24th July 2012 more >>

Renewables

Changes to subsidies for renewable electricity could incentivise between £20 billion and £25 billion of new investment in the economy between 2013 and 2017. The Banding Review for the Renewables Obligation will support jobs and deliver more clean power with a reduction in costs to consumers between 2013 and 2015, Ministers said. Support for onshore wind from 2013-17 will be reduced by 10% to 0.9ROCs, as consulted on in Autumn 2011. This level is guaranteed until at least 2014 but could change after then if there is a significant change in generation costs. A call for evidence on onshore wind industry costs will be launched this Autumn and report in early 2013.

DECC 25th July 2012 more >>

Business Green 25th July 2012 more >>

The call from green groups for the Chancellor to stop “meddling in energy policy”, came after it emerged yesterday that Osborne is putting pressure on Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey to clear the way for a surge in investment in new gas power plants. In a letter sent to Davey earlier this month and seen by BusinessGreen, Osborne said he would agree to cuts to onshore wind power subsidies of just 10 per cent. But he adds that in return DECC must agree to review wind farm subsidy levels again during the course of this parliament, send out clear signals that the government wants unabated gas power plants to play a “core” role in the UK’s energy mix through to 2030 and beyond, and defy the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation for a target requiring the electricity sector to be largely decarbonised by 2030.

Business Green 24th July 2012 more >>

The government has today announced it is to make £8m available to community energy projects focused on installing renewable heat technologies, such as solar heating systems, heat pumps, biomass boilers and heating networks.

Business Green 24th July 2012 more >>

The subsidy for onshore wind energy generation is to be cut by 10%, the government has announced. The Treasury is thought to have favoured a larger cut of up to 25%. It is one of a number of cuts which the Department for Energy and Climate Change said should encourage up to £25bn in new investment in energy generation between 2013 and 2017.

BBC 25th July 2012 more >>

Wind investors will escape deep cuts to subsidies but the coalition will not commit itself to tough new targets for decarbonising British electricity generation under a compromise deal thrashed out between George Osborne’s Treasury and energy secretary Ed Davey. Under the agreement, to be announced on Wednesday in parliament, Mr Davey will claim victory for seeing off a Treasury threat to cut onshore wind subsidies by further than planned – a decision that will anger many Tory backbenchers. But environmentalists are likely to be furious that ministers have been unable to find an agreement over whether to legislate to make most electricity generation carbon-free by 2030. The coalition has been urged to set this goal by its own committee on climate change and – this week – by the Commons’ energy select committee.

FT 24th July 2012 more >>

A bitter row between the Treasury and the energy department over subsidies for wind energy has ended in a victory for the Lib Dem energy secretary, Ed Davey. The row centred on the level of support channelled to companies providing wind energy to the grid and had escalated into a bruising confrontation between the chancellor, George Osborne, and the Liberal Democrats, which threatened to derail the coalition’s environmental and energy agendas. On Monday, there were calls for the prime minister to intervene in the row because of the impact that uncertainty over energy policy was having on investor confidence. The Guardian has learned that the coalition will announce on Wednesday that onshore wind subsidies, paid for through energy bills, will be cut by 10% and not by the 25% that Osborne had been demanding.

Guardian 24th July 2012 more >>

Today’s announcement, which follows negotiations between the Coalition parties, will be some relief to the renewable energy industry, which has warned that uncertainty about government support has been putting off investors. However, more cuts could yet be made following a formal review of the costs of renewable energy to be held in the financial year 2013-14. In another concession to George Osborne, the Chancellor, today’s statement will contain a clear commitment that “unabated” gas supplies will form a major part of Britain’s energy mix.

Daily Telegraph 25th July 2012 more >>

Posted: 25 July 2012

24 July 2012

Nuclear Subsidy

In the intervening years, the cost of new reactors has risen so fast that constructing them without any government support has become unthinkable. When the Blair government first backed the idea of a new generation of nuclear plants in 2007, energy companies insisted they could build them without any public subsidy. Five years later, that claim seems painfully naive. Hence the government’s energy bill, a sweeping reform of electricity markets designed to encourage £110bn of investment in low-carbon energy. At its heart is a system of long-term contracts that give power companies a guaranteed price for clean electricity in the hope that this will reduce the investment risk for projects with high upfront capital costs, such as nuclear reactors and offshore wind farms.

FT 23rd July 2012 more >>

EMR

A conflict between the UK Treasury and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is making UK energy policy “unworkable,” in the words of the parliamentary committee scrutinising the draft energy bill. The House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, in a report released July 23, said DECC was being “disingenuous, to say the least,” when it claimed that it was never DECC’s intention for government to underwrite the proposed new feed-in tariff with contracts for difference. Instead, the committee said it believes a conflict with Treasury led to the about-face on how the contracts would work. The committee said political considerations and questions about violating EU state aid rules had driven DECC to design the contracts for difference (CFD) in such a way as to allow “policy and financial support for nuclear to be rolled up with that for renewables.” Nuclear power should be treated separately from renewable energy under the electricity market reforms and the government should return to its original proposals to underwrite the long-term contracts that will provide guaranteed power prices to nuclear and other low carbon energy generation projects, the committee said.

i-Nuclear 23rd July 2012 more >>

MPs have accused the Treasury of making the government’s clean energy revolution unworkable and creating the risk of higher household bills. They said Treasury changes to the draft Energy Bill will increase the risk of borrowing for investors. They added that it would put up the cost of renewable and nuclear power, with customers bearing the extra cost.

BBC 23rd July 2012 more >>

Scotsman 23rd July 2012 more >>

A parliamentary committee has called for greater scrutiny over the private negotiations between EDF Energy and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, England. Under DECC proposals, EDF would qualify for a feed-in tariff with contract for difference (CfD), essentially a long-term contract with a guaranteed price for power.

I-Nuclear 23rd July 2012 more >>

Horizon

The management of Horizon, the energy group, and government officials are to start detailed talks with potential investors, including Chinese state-owned power groups, about building nuclear reactors in Anglesey and Gloucestershire. At least two consortiums have told the government and Horizon, which is being sold by German energy groups Eon and RWE, that they are interested in bidding for the venture, which plans to build new reactors near the sites of existing nuclear plants at Wylfa, Anglesey, and Oldbury, Gloucestershire. The first is led by Toshiba Westinghouse, the Japanese-owned nuclear reactor manufacturer, in partnership with State Nuclear Power Technology Corp of China and Exelon, the US power generator. The second comprises Areva, the French state-controlled reactor manufacturer, and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp, po ssibly in partnership with other energy groups and investors. SNPTC is a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corp set up to develop “third-generation” nuclear technologies and already has joint ventures with Toshiba-Westinghouse. CGNPC is also state-owned and is building new reactors with Areva in southern China. It is thought that GE Hitachi, the US-Japanese nuclear joint venture, is also interested in bidding, but it would be at a disadvantage as it has not started the long process of getting its reactor technology licensed in the UK, unlike Areva and Toshiba Westinghouse.

FT 23rd July 2012 more >>

Major Chinese companies are not “normal” commercial enterprises as they are understood elsewhere, but entities with complex, and often close, connections with the country’s government. Their ability to consider costly investments under conditions of considerable commercial uncertainty reflects this peculiar character. In the event of conflict with China, nuclear power stations with a significant Chinese presence could pose serious threats to the UK: at the minimum, the disruption of power supplies; at the maximum, explosive sabotage of the facilities. New nuclear power stations, with the long-term storage of high-level nuclear waste, will make potent “dirty bombs”, as the Fukushima events demonstrated. Such dangers suggest that responsible UK governments need to review the sources of investment in any new nuclear developments through a clear, strategic-security lens.

FT 23rd July 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Fears have been raised that if the Marsh was to host a £12 billion facility storing nuclear waste from across the UK, house prices would crash and residents would struggle to sell their homes because fewer people would want to move here. BUILDING a burial centre for radioactive waste on the Marsh could devastate the local housing market, local estate agents have warned.

Folkestone Herald 24th July 2012 more >>

Hinkley

EDF confirms that Hinkley is now one year behind schedule.

Building 24th July 2012

ttp://www.building.co.uk/news/sectors/infrastructure/nuclear/hinkley-nuclear-plant-now-a-year-behind-schedule/5040146.article?

Japan

The report, the second this month about the disaster, could be seized upon by Japan’s increasingly vociferous anti-nuclear movement after the restart of two reactors, and as the government readies a new energy policy due out next month. A government-appointed inquiry into the Fukushima nuclear crisis has raised doubts about whether other atomic plants are prepared for massive disasters despite new safety rules, and delivered a damning assessment of the regulators and the station’s operator.

Guardian 23rd July 2012 more >>

Canada

Westinghouse Electric Company said it will prepare detailed construction plans and cost estimates for two AP1000 reactors based nuclear plant for Ontario Power Generation (OPG) at the latter’s Darlington site in UK.

Energy Business Review 24th July 2012 more >>

Renewables

ALEX Salmond has warned that his Government’s flagship policy of making Scotland dependent on renewable energy by 2020 could be scuppered by delays and uncertainty from Westminster over subsidies. The blunt message comes amid speculation George Osborne is considering cutting renewable subsidies not by the 10% proposed in a recent consultation but by as much as 25%. The First Minister said the Scottish Government’s own consultation on its Renewables Obligati on showed that “robust and reasoned analysis and evidence” supported a subsidy reduction for onshore wind of 10% from April 2013 or a 0.9 Renewables Obligation Certificate and that he knew of no other evidence that supported a different approach. Mr Salmond added the Scottish Government had made its “clear statement of intent” on the renewables issue to reassure investors that its commitment to the sector remains strong. Holyrood alone has committed £200 million to renewables over the next three years.

Herald 23rd July 2012 more >>

George Osborn has demanded that the Lib Dems accept a watering down of green targets as the price for sparing the onshore wind industry from swingeing subsidy cuts. David Cameron

has been urged to intervene in a rapidly escalating row that threatens to derail planned reforms to the UK’s energy sector.

Guardian 23rd July 2012 more >>

Solar panel installations are 54% less than the weekly average for the previous year, following a cut to the government’s feed-in tariff incentive scheme in April.

Guardian 23rd July 2012 more >>

Posted: 24 July 2012

23 July 2012

EMR

The proposals in the Government’s draft Energy Bill could impose unnecessary costs on consumers, lead to less competition and deter badly needed investment, according to MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee who have examined the draft legislation.

Parliament 23rd July 2012 more >>

The Treasury has been accused of undermining government attempts to secure the future energy requirements for the country and improve the green electricity supply, by meddling in its energy bill, which MPs now say is “unworkable”. Tim Yeo, the Tory chair of the Commons energy and climate change select committee and an ex-minister, told the Guardian that George Osborne is sacrificing the green energy plans in order to placate Conservative backbenchers, many of whom are campaigning against wind farms and new pylons in their constituencies. He said: “They are working particularly to target some Conservative backbenchers, pursuing a policy designed to prove that they are not going to get into so-called costly green initiatives. It is extraordinary.” Without sweeping changes, the energy bill could provoke a crisis within the energy industry that would raise consumer bills and imperil climate change targets, wrecking the confidence of investors in the process, says a report by the energy and climate select committee released on Monday.

Guardian 22nd July 2012 more >>

The Treasury has been accused of sabotaging plans to increase Britain’s supply of green energy – putting off investment in the sector and potentially increasing electricity bills. In a critical report published today, a cross-party committee of MPs has warned that the Government’s draft Energy Bill could impose unnecessary costs on consumers, lead to less competition and deter infrastructure spending. The MPs criticise the Treasury for placing an “unacceptable” level of risk on companies looking to build new wind-, solar-, wave- or tidal-power plants.

Independent 23rd July 2012 more >>

The Treasury’s refusal to back the energy department’s low-carbon agenda has made flagship electricity market reforms “unworkable”, “vacuous” and counterproductive, the government has been told. A draft bill designed to spur billions of pounds of spending on power sources such as wind farms and nuclear plants is so flawed it is likely to scare off the very investors it is supposed to encourage, says a scathing report from the Commons energy committee, published on Monday.

FT 23rd July 2012 more >>

The planned shake-up of the electricity market could raise householders’ bills by more than £110 and put off investors, MPs have warned. In a damning report, they say the Government’s planned revolution in how we produce energy – announced two months ago – will not benefit consumers and needs an ‘urgent rethink’. The reforms are intended to guarantee high electricity prices for firms who invest in building nuclear power stations and wind farms to meet Britain’s green energy targets.

Daily Mail 23rd July 2012 more >>

Perceptions that decisions on nuclear contracts for difference are being made “behind closed doors” could be “hugely damaging” to the UK’s low-carbon plans, according to a new report. A Draft Energy Bill – Pre-Legislative Scrutiny report, published by the Energy and Climate Change Committee today, has warned that proposals in the government’s draft Energy Bill could impose “unnecessary costs on consumers, lead to less competition and deter badly needed investment”. The report states: “The proposed process for agreeing the strike price for nuclear lacks transparency (both under the Investment Instruments process and CfDs when they are introduced) and any perception that decisions are being made “behind closed doors” could be hugely damaging to the low-carbon agenda.”

Construction News 23rd July 2012 more >>

Tim Yeo: The lights could go out in Britain before the end of this decade if hundreds of billions are not invested in new electricity generating capacity. EU law requires us to shut our most polluting power plants and ageing nuclear reactors must be replaced. The government plans to do this by giving power companies a guaranteed price for low-carbon electricity to try and reduce the risk of investments with high upfront costs, such as nuclear plants or offshore wind farms. Ministers say this will secure clean and reliable electricity at a minimum cost to consumers. The energy and climate change select committee has been examining the draft energy bill, which will establish this framework, and many witnesses have warned that the proposals will in fact raise the cost of capital, hamper competition and deter investment.

FT 23rd July 2012 more >>

The renaissance of nuclear power has been threatened by the withdrawal of RWE and EON, the two big German utilities, from planned new developments. Government attempts to encourage nuclear investment through long-term price agreements without direct subsidies have caused confusion and have drawn scathing criticism from MPs in their report. Discussions with Chinese state companies have raised hopes that new foreign partners will be formed, possibly to build five plants, representing investment of £35bn to fill the nuclear gap. Energy companies are using the opportunity presented by the MPs report to reinforce their concerns. RWE, the German owner of npower and Innogy which has pulled out of nuclear investment in Britain, makes a renewed plea to the government for “clarity and simplicity” and says the bill in its present form may lead to less rather than more competition.

Telegraph 23rd July 2012 more >>

The Commons energy and climate change committee found that plans to encourage companies to build wind farms and nuclear plants were too expensive and executed poorly. Under the reforms, households would subsidise the construction of low-carbon power plants through their energy bills.

Telegraph 23rd July 2012 more >>

The Energy Select Committee pulls few punches in its assessment of the draft Energy Bill on Monday. The ‘Energy Market Reform’ legislation is supposed to move Britain “to a secure, more efficient, low-carbon energy system in a cost-effective way”. But, in a scathing 82-page report, committee chairman Tim Yeo MP and his colleagues conclude that the Bill risks doing the opposite.

Telegraph 23rd July 2012 more >>

A radical plan to overhaul the electricity market risks being “botched” by the Treasury and needlessly forcing up family energy bills, according to MPs. They have also accused the Department of Energy and Climate Change, responsible for a plan to attract £110 billion of funding in new nuclear reactors and wind farms, of not understanding investors. The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee’s damning report, to be published today, expresses “dismay” at how many important decisions are still to be made, which it blames on a schism between George Osborne and Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary.

Times 23rd July 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

WHEN the coalition Government scrapped an £80m loan which had been granted to Sheffield Forgemasters in the dying days of Gordon Brown’s premiership, there were fears that Yorkshire might miss out on the spending spree linked to the global demand for nuclear power stations. Now Sheffield Forgemasters is on course to double the amount of money it earns from nuclear projects and forge lucrative ties with a major manufacturing development which is planned by Rolls-Royce on Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing Park.

Yorkshire Post 23rd July 2012 more >>

Decommissioning

The US group that led construction of the Olympic Park and a New York-listed rival are the latest companies considering bids to oversee the UK’s £5bn nuclear decommissioning programme.CH2M Hill, which worked on London 2012 as part of the Olympic Delivery Partner team, and Aecom are both thought to be interested in buying the UK business of Utah-based Energy Solutions. This operates and decommissions Britain’s oldest nuclear reactors and has already attracted a host of potential bidders, including US giant Bechtel and FTSE 100 group Amec.

Independent 23rd July 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear Information Service Update 22 July 2012, Contents of this month’s NIS Update: Staff shortages and resource cuts challenge MoD nuclear safety. Parliamentary Question exposes Navy’s nuclear submarine fire record. Five nuclear powers meet to discuss disarmament obligations. ‘Entente Nucleaire’: New study into UK-France nuclear co-operation. MoD publishes results of Submarine Dismantling Consultation. Government responds to Weightman Report. Mews from the Atomic Weapons Establishment: AWE applies to vary radioactive waste discharge permits. Radiation exposure survey undertaken for AWE sites. AWE nitrogen oxide emissions exceed limit.

NIS 22nd July 2012 more >>

Letter Isobel Lindsay: Trevor Royle rightly draws attention to the fact that Nato’s nuclear capacity is not just in the US, UK and France but that there are air-launched nuclear weapons based in five other countries. Angus Robertson wants the SNP to sign up to this while continuing to claim he supports a non-nuclear defence policy. In the process he seems prepared to abandon a clear and principled position which has given the SNP a strong profile and significant support for an ambivalent mess that will be constantly open to attack.

Herald 23rd July 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran has arrested some of those responsible for assassinations of its nuclear scientists, state media reported yesterday, in a continued hunt for those it says are working to sabotage its nuclear programme.

Herald 23rd July 2012 more >>

Scotsman 23rd July 2012 more >>

Iran’s atomic chief on Sunday undercut an idea put forward by some lawmakers to make nuclear-powered submarines and ships, even though he claimed Tehran had the technology to do so later if it wished.

Middle East Online 22nd July 2012 more >>

Japan

Japanese Labour Ministry officials said on Sunday that they had launched an investigation following media reports of a cover-up at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

Morning Star 22nd July 2012 more >>

Japanese authorities are investigating subcontractors on suspicion they forced workers at the tsunami-hit nuclear plant to underreport their instrument readings so they could stay on the job longer.

Guardian 22nd July 2012 more >>

Renewables

George Osborne has offered to drop his demands for tougher cuts to onshore wind subsidies if the Liberal Democrats back down over “inflexible” targets for Britain’s shift away from fossil fuels. The chancellor made his offer in a letter this month to Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy secretary, amid a fierce coalition dispute over how much support to provide for onshore wind power. But the compromise offer came with a list of demands aimed at securing a big role for natural gas in Britain’s energy mix until 2030 and beyond, despite the government’s commitment to shift away from fossil fuels as part of efforts to tackle global warming.

FT 23rd July 2012 more >>

Government cuts support for wind turbines designed for homes and businesses; Major threat to jobs in Britain’s world-beating small wind turbine manufacturing sector; Wind only represents 5% of generating capacity eligible for Feed-In Tariffs. RenewableUK, the trade and professional body for the wind and marine energy industries, has expressed serious concern at Government cuts to support for small wind power – a sector which employs over 800 people in the UK.

Renewable UK 20th July 2012 more >>

Posted: 23 July 2012

22 July 2012

Horizon

Cameron has often said Britain is open for business. What it seems he meant was Britain is open for sale. There is no other country in the world which would throw open its strategic industrial sectors to a foreign power. That is exactly what the Tories are now proposing to do with handing over the building and ownership of 5 new nuclear power stations to the Chinese. Energy supply is a national security issue as much as military defence, and to hand over control of 5-10% of Britain’s future power supply is taking a risk that no other country would countenance. This is a classic example of the neoliberal (Tory and New Labour) fixation with allowing the market to take all the decisions, even the biggest ones, without regard for the national strategic interest.

Michael Meacher 21st July 2012 more >>

Sizewell

Low-carbon electricity has been generated safely at Sizewell for nearly half a century – at the now decommissioning Sizewell A, then Sizewell B and, at the end of this year, EDF Energy will begin consulting with the public about its proposals for Sizewell C. EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies, employing 15,000 people and generating one-sixth of the country’s electricity. In Suffolk, the company employs over 500 staff at Sizewell B, including 50 apprentices, and over 200 contract partners. Its annual contribution to the local economy is £30m. This one station generates enough electricity for about 2 million homes – or 3% of the UK’s electricity needs. The UK is facing an energy crisis. A large proportion of the country’s power stations are due to shut down in the next decade or so. We are also faced with challenging targets to reduce our CO2 emissions and keep electricity affordable for consumers. I believe there is no single simple answer to this problem. Instead it is about getting the ‘energy mix’ right. If we are to meet the challenge of producing clean, secure and affordable electricity, nuclear power has to be part of the solution.

Utility Products 21st July 2012 more >>

Radwaste

ANY decision to continue with plans for an underground nuclear dump in west Cumbria will depend on finding an area with suitable geology, according to Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn. She gave the assurance as the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Partnership agreed its final report. Though the document contains no recommendations about a possible underground dump for highly radioactive waste in the area, it summarises the results of three years of investigation. The three local authorities involved – Copeland, Allerdale, and Cumbria County Council – this week said any key decisions on a dump would be made in public at executive and cabinet meetings.

Carlisle News and Star 21st July 2012 more >>

Residents of King’s Cliffe and surrounding villages are to lobby county councillors’ in their fight to stop a low level nuclear waste dump in the county doubling in size. They are to hold a demonstration on Tuesday (July 24) before a meeting of the county council’s development control committee. Councillors are to discuss a planning application by Augean which is seeking to double its site at King’s Cliffe where low level radioactive waste is processed. Councillors are set to discuss a Local Impact Report which will recommend no objection to the plans. In March 2010 the county council committee refused planning consent for Augean to dispose of low level radioactive waste at the site, as it had previously done with hazardous waste disposal. Both decisions were later overturned by the Secretary of State following appeals.

Northamptonshire Telegraph 21st July 2012 more >>

DECC

The woman who leads the government department in charge of combating climate change has announced she is to quit her job and leave the Civil Service. Moira Wallace, one of only five female permanent secretaries, will step down in October from the post she has held for four years. Ms Wallace’s departure comes at a time when the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is involved in fighting the Treasury over reductions in subsidies for on-shore wind farms.

Independent 21st July 2012 more >>

Energy Prices

BRITISH GAS will stoke the outrage over energy prices this week when it unveils a 25% profit jump thanks to soaring household bills. Average annual bills have doubled in the past five years to £1,345 because of rising wholesale gas prices and subsidies for low-carbon technologies. One in five households is now in fuel poverty — when more than 10% of disposable income goes to pay for electricity and heating. The country’s biggest supplier of electricity and gas is expected to report on Thursday that it made a profit of £350m in the first six months of the year — up from £280m in the same period last year, which had unseasonably warm spells.

Times 22nd July 2012 more >>

Independent 22nd July 2012 more >>

Belarus

One of the few remaining countries that claims the nuclear renaissance is real is Russia. The renaissance is not so real at home, where the number of planned nuclear power stations always looks impressive, but actual construction slows down. So, Russia looks to the outside world to push new reactors. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev travelled to Belarus to sign a general contract for the construction and operation of the Astravetz nuclear power plant. Several journalists and environmentalists who are critical of the plan wanted to give him a petition, asking him to withhold his signature. Did he meet them with a smile? Small chance. Even before they were on their way to the Russian Embassy in Minsk to deliver the petition, Russian nuclear physicist and journalist Andrey Ozharovsky and his Belarussian colleague and organiser of the petition Tatjana Novikova were arrested. Both were convicted that same day, Ozharovsky was given 10 days in jail and Novikova five days. They were accused of “hooliganism.”

Greenpeace International 20th July 2012 more >>

Japan

Japan’s usually sedate society is angry and getting organized against nuclear power, with the kind of snowballing protest movement not seen for decades. Weekly demonstrations outside the prime minister’s residence attract tens of thousands of people and a rally in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park last Monday drew a crowd organizers claimed at 170,000, demanding an end to atomic power in post-Fukushima Japan. And as numbers swell there are indications the country’s usually inflexible politicians are getting worried and just might start paying attention.

Japan Today 22nd July 2012 more >>

A SUBCONTRACTOR at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant told workers to lie about possible high radiation exposure in an apparent effort to keep its contract, according to media reports in the country yesterday.

Herald 22nd July 2012 more >>

BBC 22nd July 2012 more >>

Scotland on Sunday 22nd July 2012 more >>

Geothermal

Hot rocks technology, which uses the heat of the Earth’s core to generate power, will soon become a reality in Britain. Plans have been unveiled to tap into geothermal resources at five sites, including one in Manchester with the potential to heat 7m homes. And planning permission has been granted to two projects in Cornwall, considered to be the leading county in hot rocks technology, including a £32m scheme at the Eden Project. A study by Sinclair Knight Merz, engineering consultants, found deep geothermal resources could provide 9.5 gigawatts (GW) of renewable electricity, equivalent to almost nine nuclear power stations and 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand. It could also provide more than 100GW of heat, enough to meet the UK’s entire demand for heating homes and buildings.

Hotspots are spread across the UK, but they are more likely to be found in the Lake District, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Cheshire, Dorset and Hampshire. Parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland are also considered promising.

Independent 22nd July 2012 more >>

Renewables

A GROUP of Edinburgh businessmen is spearheading a scheme to unlock tens of millions of pounds for small-scale hydroelectric projects by making them more attractive to angel investors. Sandy Finlayson, founder of Archangel Informal Investment, Ian Rogers of building engineer RPS Consulting, and Bob Salter of planning specialist Geddes Consulting, have overseen the development of a new company called Sustainable Heat and Power (SHP) that is designed to overcome the barrier to investing in small hydro-electricity and other renewable projects. The UK Government’s subsidy system of feed-in-tariffs (FITs), backed by tax breaks under the enterprise investment scheme, aims to make hydro projects that will produce between 50KW and 100KW – enough to power between 50 and 100 homes – particularly attractive. But landowners and communities that own the water-courses with the potential to power these schemes struggle to find backers for the £300,000 to £500,000 investment because banks generally do not lend for projects under 1MW and angel investors do not want to risk that size of investment on one project.

Herald 22nd July 2012 more >>

Wind farms can cause property blight to nearby homes, according to what could become landmark rulings by a government agency. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which decides council tax valuations, has accepted that having wind turbines built near homes can sharply decrease their value and has, as a result, moved some into a lower tax band. The decisions are a serious threat for the wind farm industry. Until now, such negative views have been rejected by the industry and planners as simply subjective opinion.

Times 22nd July 2012 more >>

Posted: 22 July 2012