News May 2013

31 May 2013

Nuclear Subsidy

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power generator, is holding off on a decision to build atomic plants in the U.K. until it’s sure they’ll be profitable, Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio told shareholders today. “We won’t go without the formal conviction that we can guarantee the profitability on your investment,” Proglio said at an annual meeting in Paris, where the utility is based. EDF maintains “strong interest” in pursuing the projects, he said. A decision on building two new reactors at Hinkley Point in southern England has been delayed from the first quarter as EDF negotiates a guaranteed power price with the U.K. government. The utility is demanding at least 95 pounds ($144) a megawatt-hour for 40 years, while the government says it’s seeking value for money for consumers.

Bloomberg 30th May 2013 read more »

The contract for Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in a generation will last up to 35 years, the government and EDF Energy have agreed, as the two sides edge closer to a historic deal on the venture. A person familiar with the negotiations said there was a “consensus” that EDF should be able to earn a 10 per cent return on its investment in the plant, to be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. But there was still no agreement on the capital cost of the project and the “strike price”, the guaranteed long-term price for electricity produced at Hinkley.

FT 30th May 2013 read more »

It seems the Government and EDF may be moving towards shaking hands on a deal to financially support to a new nuclear plant in Somerset, Hinkley C. Unsurprisingly, this has led to enormous speculation over how much consumers will have to shell out over the coming decades. These figures are little short of terrifying, and although I think they should be taken with a healthy pinch of salt, I want to explain why they are not the only reason that Contracts for Difference (CfDs) represent such a bad deal for everyone – except maybe anyone looking to build a new nuclear plant. I agree with many spectators that the level of support likely to be given to nuclear (a technology that has been in commercial operation since the 60s!) is completely exorbitant. However I worry that the anger at huge figures distracts from the more concerning underlying features of the CfD that risk stemming the flow of investment in renewables.

IGov 30th May 2013 read more »

Horizon

Horizon Nuclear Power has signed a major contract with its reactor technology provider, and primary contractor, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy to build new nuclear reactors in the UK. The contract sets the framework for design work to be undertaken for a new build nuclear project at Wylfa in North Wales, close to the site of a now-closed nuclear power station.

Hazard Ex 28th May 2013 read more »

Energy & Environment Manager 23rd May 2013 read more »

Radwaste

Letter Tim Knowles: They say all political careers end in failure and although mine has only lasted 12 years, the truth of that seems quite real. After leading County Council policy on nuclear issues for the past five years, my inability to persuade the then Conservative-led administration to support further research, as part of finding a solution to the safe disposal of higher level nuclear waste, was a very significant defeat. There are many reasons given as to why they rejected a proposal that had majority support in Copeland, but of course the most compelling was the Conservative’s fear of unpopularity in other parts of Cumbria in the recent county elections. The success of a campaign convincing people that their area had already been pre selected for a “dump” was in stark contrast to the complete failure of those with the key interest in finding a solution, to argue their case successfully.

Whitehaven News 30th May 2013 read more »

Sizewell

It has been claimed by EDF that the majority of Leiston residents want Sizewell C to be built. However when asked for the justification for this claim they have not responded. The 2011 /12 Leiston Town Appraisal was carried out, at the behest of the Town Council by a small number of residents.The summary says: “Residents are largely in favour of further nuclear expansion (70%) as despite the problems of traffic ……..during the building of Sizewell B the benefits of increased employment ……were worthwhile by those who completed the questionnaire” This is a biased and illogical statement. The statement relies on the answer to Q 54, Q55 & Q56 that is for residents who lived in or around Leiston during the construction of Sizewell B not for the general population. They were only asked for positive and negative aspects but were not asked if they considered the former outweighed the latter.

Together Against Sizewell C. (accessed) 30th May 2013 read more »

Sellafield

Letter Arthur Millie: what other industry uses so much of the taxpayers’ (or private) funding to support the community in which it happens to be sited? The Reed/Woodburn duo may, along with the West Cumbria Strategic Forum, believe that the rest of Britain owes them special favours – well it doesn’t. As long as West Cumbria’s political and administrative leaders continue with this begging bowl approach the longer this community will continue to decline. Until Copeland rids itself of these people it will slide further into the mire and I know that if I was one of the 10,000 plus workforce I would not be amused by their unjustifiable utterances that may well yet backfire.

Whitehaven News 30th May 2013 read more »

Nuclear Debate

Blackshaw Environmental Action Team is having its first ever public meeting in Hebden Bridge on Tuesday, June 11, at 7.30pm in the town hall. It is a debate on ‘Do we need nuclear power to avoid climate change?’ with speakers for and against nuclear energy. Members of the public are invited to participate in the debate or just ask the speakers questions.

Hebden Bridge Times 30th May 2013 read more »

Supply Chain

A FIRM exposing workers to the real-life hazards of the nuclear power industry says it hopes to create more North-East jobs and target increased global markets to mark its 40th anniversary. GSE Systems, based in Thornaby, near Stockton, provides specialist electrical control services, working with a global theme park operator to maintain special effects and lighting, and energy provider EDF to supply simulation machinery for a £15m training centre.

Northern Echo 31st May 2013 read more »

Space

A LEADING asteroid defense expert has claimed nuclear warheads could be sent into orbit on spacecrafts to destroy dangerous Earth-bound asteroids – and Nasa is already working on projects that could be developed for such events.

Scotsman 30th May 2013 read more »

Russia

Two subcontractors for Kaliningrad Region’s Baltic Nuclear Power Plant (Baltic NPP) say works at the site are being stopped and a two-year freeze is expected on the construction. Hitting a wall of uniform rejection after years of courting energy importers and investors in Europe, the project has Moscow attempting a last-ditch look at a limited pool of smaller reactor designs – but reeks of a prompt demise.

Bellona 30th May 2013 read more »

US

Dawn Chapman can put up with the noxious smell caused by smoldering trash in a landfill near her suburban St. Louis home. But if the burning creeps close to buried nuclear waste, she’s ready to get out. It’s a problem that worries many people in this densely populated area near Lambert Airport, where the trash burns just 1,200 feet from another landfill that holds radioactive waste dating back to the Manhattan Project, which created the first atomic bomb in the 1940s.

Salon 30th May 2013 read more »

Thanks to cheap natural gas, America’s nuclear renaissance is on hold.

Economist 1st June 2013 read more »

Energy Efficiency

The number of people insulating their homes has collapsed since the onset of the coalition’s flagship “green deal”, according to figures that undermine ministers’ attempts to improve Britain’s fuel efficiency. Installations of cavity wall insulation were down in April by 97 per cent compared with the same month last year, industry figures show. There were 1,138 installed last month compared with 49,650 in April 2012, according to the data from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, an industry monitoring group. The news is a blow to the coalition government, which has repeatedly emphasised the potential for a national insulation scheme to cut the UK’s energy use, and prevent household bills from spiralling over the next decade.

FT 30th May 2013 read more »

Telegraph 31st May 2013 read more »

Shale Gas

For the past few months one debate has dominated the UK’s environmental and energy community, although to refer to it as a “debate” implies a level of dignity and rational thinking that has been sorely lacking – “almighty row” is probably a more apt description. The argument in question centres, of course, on whether or not the UK, and by extension Europe, should embrace fracking and join the global rush to exploit its shale gas resources. For various reasons this relatively narrow energy policy debate has morphed into a much wider argument about climate policy in general, the future nature of the UK’s energy mix, and the state of play in various swing seats in the run-up to the 2015 election. On one side, the sensible pro-fracking argument that shale gas can cut emissions in the medium term by replacing coal and providing a transition fuel towards a genuine low carbon energy mix has been hijacked by climate deniers and anti-green media commentators who care more about attacking environmentalists than developing credible long-term energy policy. On the other side, many green campaigners have sought to make shale gas a totemic issue and have vowed to do everything in their power to block UK developments, while conveniently ignoring the fact that, like it or not, the UK is going to source gas from somewhere for several decades to come.

Business Green 30th May 2013 read more »

A supposed UK “dash for gas” is more of a crawl as big uncertainties remain over supply, demand and policy. That was the message of experts at a Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum on Thursday. Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith expressed concern over a spike in coal-fired generation. “We are in the midst of a dash for coal,” he said, as cheap US shale gas has displaced coal onto the global market and brought prices down. This led to a “distressing” 11 per cent rise in sulphur dioxide emissions last year, which had previously been on a downward trend.

Utility Week 31st May 2013 read more »

Climate

Has the chair of Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee changed his mind on whether humans cause climate change? “My views haven’t changed one iota” he tells us – it’s highly probable that climate change is caused by humans, and he will keep pushing for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Tory MP, Tim Yeo, leads the influential Energy and Climate Change committee and is a forceful advocate for the green policy agenda – including a 2030 target for decarbonising the electricity sector. So a story in today’s Daily Telegraph that reports comments by Yeo suggesting humans “may not be responsible” for rising temperatures, and that “natural phases” could be to blame, has raised some eyebrows. Climate skeptic pundits like James Delingpole are predictably delighted with Yeo “recanting”. But Yeo says he is “mystified” by the story. He counters that he hasn’t changed his views, and believes the scientific consensus is stronger than ever before.

Carbon Brief 30th May 2013 read more »

Why did the 400ppm carbon milestone cause barely a ripple? Newspapers, for whom marking round numbers is the easiest excuse to report an issue, were mostly disinterested.

Guardian 30th May 2013 read more »

Posted: 31 May 2013

30 May 2013

Radwaste

TOXIC radioactive waste from across the country could be stored and treated at Hinkley Point A under proposals drawn up by the Government. But despite the highly contentious nature of the plans, neither West Somerset Council, Stogursey residents or Sedgemoor District Council have been directly asked for their views. The Government quango the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) has published “credible options” for intermediate waste disposal and the treatment of fuel element debris, which district councillors said they had only discovered by chance this week. The NDA is looking to reduce costs by minimising the number of sites dealing with waste treatment and storage from decommissioned nuclear power station sites run by its contractor Magnox. A long list of 22 options for the storage of intermediate waste has already been whittled down to eight options, with one involving the transport of such waste from Dungeness in Kent to Hinkley Point. The long list for the treatment of fuel element debris originally stood at 14, but has been reduced to nine options, four of which involve Hinkley A taking on waste from either Sizewell A in Suffolk or Oldbury in Gloucestershire or from both.

West Somerset Free Press 24th May 2013 read more »

Nuclear Subsidy

How far should the state subsidise the energy sector? It’s an increasingly vexed question, bringing in as it does matters of fiscal, environmental, business and social policy — subsidy directly affects the amount that we all pay for electricity and gas. It’s a highly relevant argument as well. Just this week Centrica, the owner of British Gas, threatened to pull out of a £2bn project to build a 580MW wind farm 16 miles off the Norfolk coast unless the government guaranteed that it would receive a power price reportedly three times higher than the current market value. Similarly, EdF is haggling over the guaranteed price it will receive for electricity from its planned new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point and Sizewell, and Horizon Nuclear Energy, owned by Hitachi, will doubtless also be coming to the negotiating table with similar demands to guarantee a return on its planned investment in reactors at Wylfa and Oldbury.

The Engineer 29th May 2013 read more »

New Hinkley Point station bogged down in wrangles as ‘energy gap’ widens and bills increase. Failure to agree terms with the government and the struggle to find investors means EDF Energy may not begin construction of its new nuclear power plants until the autumn. Even when the government finally settles the price dispute, before construction goes ahead, EDF still has to secure the financial backing of a co-investor in the project before construction can begin. Centrica – owner of British Gas – had pledged to invest 20% of the expected £15billion installation costs but pulled out in February. EDF is said to be in discussions with Chinese state-owned nuclear company CGNPC, but needs to settle the ‘strike price’ before any deal can be signed. EDF is also struggling with high levels of corporate debt, which experts believe puts the construction of Hinkley Point C under greater threat.

Energy Choices 29th May 2013 read more »

Torness

EDF’s Torness nuclear power station is coming back online after seaweed shut off two reactors late last week. The two units had to be taken out of service for three and a half days as high seaweed levels in the Forth Estuary threatened to clog the plant’s cooling system. The rising plantlife was attributed to severe weather and rough seas in the area. Unit two came back into service at 6:30am and unit one is expected to follow shortly.

Utility Week 29th May 2013 read more »

Opinion Poll

More people back subsidies for new nuclear power plants – including one at Wylfa on Anglesey – in the UK than are opposed to them, a poll has revealed. More than two-fifths (43%) think the Government should subsidise the construction of new reactors, compared to 28% who do not back the idea, the survey of more than 2,000 people showed.

Daily Post 29th May 2013 read more »

Hinkley

The government’s nascent nuclear new build programme suffered a fresh blow this week after it emerged that Greenpeace has launched a legal challenge against EDF’s £10bn Hinkley nuclear project. The challenge is against the government’s decision to grant planning permission for the new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant on the grounds the government has yet to secure a site to store the plant’s nuclear waste. If the application for judicial review is granted, the project could be hit by months if not years of legal wrangling as the case is heard in court.

Building 30th May 2013 read more »

More people back subsidies for new nuclear power plants in the UK than are opposed to them, a poll has revealed. More than two-fifths (43 per cent) think the Government should subsidise the construction of new reactors, compared to 28 per cent who do not back the idea, the survey of more than 2,000 people showed.

South West Business 29th May 2013 read more »

Wylfa

A MAJOR step forward in making Wylfa B a reality has been taken, as design work on the nuclear reactor starts. Horizon, which was bought by Hitachi of Japan in November 2012, plans to build between four and six Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWRs) in the UK at its sites at Wylfa and Oldbury, Gloucestershire. The units would be the first commercial boiling water reactors in the country. Hitachi-GE – 80% owned by Hitachi and 20% by GE – is the technology provider and has now been contracted to perform front-end engineering and design work for the proposed Wylfa plant.

Daily Post 29th May 2013 read more »

Dungeness

Wildlife charity the RSPB warned today that the proposed expansion of Lydd Airport was fundamentally flawed. It was announced yesterday that Lydd Airport Action Group was mounting a legal challenge to the decision to approve plans to extend the runway and build a new terminal for around half a million passengers each year. The RSPB has now joined the fight, saying it is also appealing the decision, which was given the go ahead in April by by Eric Pickles, the communities and local government secretary, and Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary.

Kent Online 28th May 2013 read more »

Aldermaston

The Atomic Weapons Establishment, which makes and maintains warheads for the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent, has been ordered to pay more than £280,000 for putting employees at a site in Berkshire at risk, the Health and Safety Executive has said.

Professional Engineering 29th May 2013 read more »

Nuclear Skills

The £7 million Construction Skills Centre at Lakes College is being delivered on schedule and on budget. The building itself has been completed but is still being fitted out in readiness for the first cohort of students in September. It will provide modern teaching spaces and workshops for up to 600 students initially. Britain’s Energy Coast has, through funders Nuclear Management Partners, invested £4 million in the centre. Britain’s Energy Coast Campus has provided a further £2 million through its funders Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Lakes College will invest £1 million in new equipment and facilities. The skills centre has been billed as a crucial investment in the future of young people in West Cumbria, which is set for a number of major construction projects in the coming years.

NW Evening Mail 24th May 2013 read more »

Plutonium

All countries that use nuclear power face the problem of how to dispose of their hazardous waste. In addition to the highly radioactive fission products at its Sellafield nuclear installation, the UK has accumulated 112 tonnes of plutonium, separated from spent power reactor fuel and stored as weapons-ready oxide powder. This, according to calculations by the International Atomic Energy Agency, is enough to make 10,000 nuclear weapons. The British government spends billions guarding this stockpile against theft by terrorists. Getting rid of it could be as simple as converting that plutonium into reactor fuel and burning it in new light water nuclear reactors. Known as the MOX process – named for the “mixed oxide” plutonium-uranium ceramic fuel that would be burned inside the reactor.

New Scientist 29th May 2013 read more »

Thorium

Why use uranium as the nuclear fuel of choice when another fuel offers the same emissions-free energy without the danger? That’s the argument made by proponents of thorium reactors. They claim that thorium can provide nearly unlimited clean energy without generating long-lived waste or reprocessing dangers. Perhaps because of this promise, India’s future nuclear programme will rely heavily on thorium, and recently China has also joined this race.

New Scientist 29th May 2013 read more »

Utilities

Fresh attempts to crack down on alleged abuse by energy companies were underway last night with the UK government announcing plans to end a £900m “windfall” tax scheme, and a further inquiry into BP over possible fuel price fixing in Spain. In the middle of a series of existing investigations into alleged petrol and gas price manipulation by regulators, the chancellor, George Osborne accused gas and electricity distributors of trying to game the tax system. The Exchequer claims that energy distributors have only recently started to try to claim “windfall” capital allowances for costs dating back decades. The draft legislation, introduced yesterday, will form part of the current Finance Bill but will be acted on by the tax authorities with immediate effect. It is only a matter of weeks since some of the big six companies such as RWE npower admitted to a House of Commons select committee that they had paid almost no tax and yet made huge profits from recent earnings. The energy companies claim that this is because they are investing billions of pounds on new power plants which can be legitimately “written off” against capital allowances.

Guardian 29th May 2013 read more »

Japan

Fukushima crisis update 23rd to 28th May. TEPCO is reportedly suffering significant staff shortages at its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, raising concerns that the utility will not be able to handle decommissioning of the plant—which has not even officially begun—in the coming decades.

Greenpeace 29th May 2013 read more »

The Nuclear Regulation Authority on Thursday handed the Japan Atomic Energy Agency an official notice prohibiting restart of the company’s Monju fast-breeder nuclear reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture. The written order was handed to JAEA executive vice president Yonezo Tsujikura, instructing the company to improve its safety measures. The trouble-plagued next-generation test reactor has been cited for numerous safety violations.

Japan Today 30th May 2013 read more »

Czech Republic

Czech government parties clashed over a $10 billion project to build new nuclear reactors as the plan pit the finance minister against the prime minister. The expansion of the Temelin nuclear power plant is becoming a focus of political disputes one year before general elections after Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said he has doubts the project is an “efficient” investment. Premier Petr Necas likened Kalousek’s comments to those of an “accountant”failing to address long-term strategy.

Bloomberg 24th May 2013 read more »

UAE

Emirates Nuclear Energy (ENEC) has begun work on the second nuclear reactor at the proposed $20bn power plant in Barakah, Al Gharbia, UAE. In July 2012, ENEC secured license from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation of the UAE to construct two nuclear power reactor units at the Barakah plant. Construction on the first nuclear reactor started in 2012 and is expected to be completed in 2017.

Energy Business Review 29th May 2013 read more »

North Korea

North Korea vowed on Wednesday to tighten its hold on its “priceless” nuclear deterrent, confounding reports that it might be willing to resume multilateral talks on denuclearisation.

Telegraph 29th May 2013 read more »

South Korea

South Korea’s shutdown of two more atomic power plants because of safety concerns could hardly be worse news for the country’s nuclear energy industry, coming as Seoul struggles to increase nuclear exports to developing countries. The government this week suspended operations at two nuclear reactors found to be using control cables whose safety certificates were faked. It also extended a shutdown of a third nuclear reactor to replace cables for similar problems. The decision means 10 of the country’s 23 nuclear power plants will be offline.

FT 29th May 2013 read more »

Shares in Korea Electric Power have fallen to their lowest level in more than five months after two more of its nuclear plants were shut over the use of unauthorised parts.

BBC 29th May 2013 read more »

Trident

Around 1,600 people packed in to hear Dr Blix deliver what proved to be political dynamite. His answers to questions the more so. Dr Blix is speaking his mind and his strong and vibrant heart. At 84, he is seemingly unchanged from the man in his seventies whom I accompanied on some of his searches for WMD in Iraq. If Britain and America had listened to this man, we would never have invaded and dismantled Iraq. Dr Blix talks with huge experience and authority about nuclear weapons. His most explosive statements centred on Britain’s plan, in an age of austerity, to spend vast billions on replacing Trident with a new “nuclear deterrent”. From a peace and security perspective he described it as “a completely pointless exercise”.

Channel 4 28th May 2013 read more »

Thousands of jobs could be at risk if the Liberal Democrats win their battle to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system with a scaled-down version, defence officials have warned. Ministers are preparing to release the results of a Whitehall review into Britain’s deterrent, which will say that money could be saved by reducing the number of nuclear submarines from four to three or two.

FT 29th May 2013 read more »

Energy Efficiency

The number of homeowners insulating their walls has crashed this year, according to new data that places fresh pressure on the government to make a success of its flagship energy efficiency Green Deal programme. According to figures from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA), the number of homes installing cavity wall insulation fell to just over 1,000 last month, compared to nearly 40,000 in April 2012.

Business Green 29th May 2013 read more »

Luciana Berger, the shadow minister for climate change, said: “This staggering collapse in the number of energy-efficiency installations is a disaster for our economy and a body blow for hundreds of small businesses across the country. This is all the more damaging when there are at least 5.8m homes in the UK that still need cavity wall insulation, according to the government’s own estimates.”

Guardian 29th May 2013 read more »

Climate

Tim Yeo, the Tory MP pushing to make Britain’s electricity supply almost entirely green, provoked surprise after suggesting that “natural phases” may be partly to blame for global warming. “Although I think the evidence that the climate is changing is now overwhelming, the causes are not absolutely clear,” Mr Yeo told a gathering of Russian investors, according to the The Daily Telegraph. “There could be natural causes, natural phases that are taking place.”

Independent 29th May 2013 read more »

Telegraph 29th May 2013 read more »

Posted: 30 May 2013

29 May 2013

New Nukes

The deal to build Britain’s nuclear power stations could be delayed until the autumn as EDF sounds out external investors to back the £14billion project. The French-backed utility giant is in talks with ministers over the price it can charge – called the ‘strike price’ – for the energy from the two reactors it wants to build at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Even if, as is widely expected, the Government reaches a deal soon, EDF still has to secure the financial backing of another party before it can begin construction. It is understood to be talking to a Chinese nuclear group as well as other potential backers, but any investor cannot start the lengthy process of due diligence until the ‘strike price’ figure is agreed. EDF has been forced to look for outside help after British Gas owner Centrica pulled its 20 per cent holding in the venture in February.

This is Money 29th May 2013 read more »

Energy Bill

Benj Sykes is the UK manager for wind power at Dong Energy: We have a clear strategy for cutting the cost of offshore wind to £85 per megawatt hour for projects we will be sanctioning in 2020 – a cost reduction of up to 40 per cent compared with today and a challenging target that we will meet by building bigger wind farms, using more powerful turbines, and continuing to make renewable technologies competitive with traditional energy sources. In order to deliver these cost reductions, we need to capture economies of scale, and that can only be achieved by developing a strong pipeline of projects within a clear and stable policy framework.

Independent 29th May 2013 read more »

Radhealth

Online fashion retailer Asos recalled a batch of metal-studded leather belts after they were found to be radioactive. The company launched the recall in January after US border officials discovered traces of Cobalt-60 – a radioactive isotope more commonly used in radiotherapy. Asos sold just under 50 of the contaminated belts across 14 countries. Asos commissioned an external report, called Project Purple Flower, to look into the contamination, according to the Guardian. The report said: “Unfortunately, this incident is quite a common occurrence.”

FT 28th May 2013 read more »

Dungeness

Controversial plans for a major extension to an airport which sits next to one of Britain’s most important nature reserves – as well as a nuclear power station – are to be challenged in court, it was announced today. The RSPB will appeal the outcome of a public inquiry, as well as the government’s decision to give permission for the plans to go ahead, in the High Court. And a local campaign group has said it has also launched a High Court challenge in a bid to have the decision quashed and force the government back to the drawing board.

Independent 28th May 2013 read more »

Torness

A reactor at a nuclear power station has reopened after an upsurge in seaweed forced bosses to shut it down. Managers at Torness plant in East Lothian closed its two reactors last week amid fears that seaweed in the Forth Estuary could clog the station’s cooling water intake system.

Irish Independent 28th May 2013 read more »

Morning Star 28th May 2013 read more »

Paisley Daily Express 28th May 2013 read more »

Belfast Telegraph 28th May 2013 read more »

STV 28th May 2013 read more »

Scotsman 28th May 2013 read more »

BBC 28th May 2013 read more »

Dundee Courier 29th May 2013 read more »

Oldbury

A Government minister has met executives behind the project to build a new nuclear power station in South Gloucestershire. Michael Fallon, Business and Energy Minister, met managers from Hitachi and Horizon, companies which plan to invest £20 billion in new nuclear plants in Oldbury and North Wales. Mr Fallon said: “Nuclear in the UK is about more than just one project. “Three ventures – including the Horizon project I visited – are making serious progress.

Bristol Post 29th May 2013 read more »

Aldermaston

The company which operates the factories where the UK’s nuclear weapons are manufactured has been fined £200,000 for breaches of safety laws following a fire in which a member of staff was injured. AWE plc, which operates the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), pleaded guilty at Reading Crown Court to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees following a charge under section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

NIS 28th May 2013 read more »

Sellafield

Letter: Cumbria Wildlife Trust has just held a sand sculpture competition at St Bees. This beach, near Sellafield, is where 41 hot radioactive particles were recovered last year, including plutonium. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s response to this increase has been to ask for reduced monitoring and reduced retrieval of radioactive particles. In other words, if you don’t look, you don’t find.

Radiation Free Lakeland 28th May 2013 read more »

Opinion Polls

More than a third (43%) of the British public said they would support Government subsidy for the construction of new nuclear power plants in the UK. That is in comparison to only 28% who said they would not, according to a new poll of more than 2,000 people. It also revealed almost half (46%) of those questioned support the construction of new nuclear power stations in the country while 29% said they do not.

Energy Live News 28th May 2013 read more »

Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “For years now, the Government has been reluctant to offer nuclear power developers an overt subsidy, partly out of fear of the public backlash. These poll results show that these fears could be unwarranted. “The future of the UK new nuclear build programme is currently on a knife-edge. Without an agreed guaranteed commercially attractive long-term price for the electricity from new nuclear plants, and a suitable source of investment finance, there can be no progress on building new UK reactors.

Express & Star 28th May 2013 read more »

Independent 28th May 2013 read more »

Engineer 28th May 2013 read more »

US

While everyone these days seems to decry government spending, few people seem to realize that spending on nuclear energy programs is increasing. Two noteworthy examples of nuclear pork that impact the Southeast are small modular reactors (SMRs) and plutonium bomb fuel, or mixed-oxide fuel (MOX). SMRs have recently earned a line item of over $450 million from the Department of Energy (DOE), given to companies designing these experimental reactors. This taxpayer boondoggle earned DOE the “Golden Fleece” award this year from Taxpayers for Common Sense. The first proposal is for SMRs designed by Babcock & Wilcox at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s long-abandoned, failed Clinch River breeder reactor site in Tennessee. Plutonium bomb fuel or MOX is one of the many places that the nuclear energy and weapons complex intersect. The program was proposed as a way to “de-weaponize” surplus plutonium from retired nuclear bombs. While this may sound like a noble cause, plans to create experimental fuel for nuclear reactors from this weapons-grade plutonium are ill-conceived, dangerous and very expensive.

Clean Energy 28th May 2013 read more »

Czech Republic

A project costed in billions of euros to expand a Czech nuclear plant has been undermined by the effects on energy prices of the shale gas revolution in North America, and is splitting the government. A fall in energy prices, driven largely by the huge expansion of shale gas in North America, has thrown the economics of the Temelin expansion project into controversy. The International Energy Agency said this month that the shale-oil and gas revolution in North America is a shock for global energy markets.

Phys.org 28th May 2013 read more »

The Czech prime minister assured his Russian counterpart on May 27 that the process for choosing the winner of the country’s nuclear tender would be fair and transparent. Yet a growing split in the cabinet, a continuing stand-off with France’s Areva after it was ejected from the tender, and now sources saying CEZ is asking the remaining bidders to finance the €8bn-12bn nuclear expansion, have all cast further doubt on the project.

FT 28th May 2013 read more »

South Korea

Last year, the Seoul government closed two nuclear reactors because “thousands of substandard parts” for them “had been supplied with fake warranties for over 10 years.” The scandal saw engineers and suppliers sent to prison. So, logically speaking, rigorous safety checks must have been put in place since then to prevent a repeat incident, right? Wrong. Two more nuclear reactors in South Korea were shutdown on Tuesday and the scheduled start of two others was delayed. Why? Because an anonymous whistleblower revealed that “control cables had been supplied to [the] four reactors with faked certificates even though the part had failed to pass a safety test.”

Greenpeace 28th May 2013 read more »

South Korea said on Tuesday that it was turning off two nuclear power reactors and delaying the scheduled start of operations at another two after its inspectors discovered that the reactors used components whose safety certificates had been fabricated.

New York Times 28th May 2013 read more »

Energy Live News 28th May 2013 read more »

Japan

More than two years into the triple-meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, workers continue to wage a desperate battle to keep the stricken reactors cool while trying to contain the 400 tons of radioactive water produced by the process each day.

Japan Times 21st May 2013 read more »

Japan pledged better safety practices for its troubled nuclear industry today following an accident at a government research facility that exposed 33 people to excess radiation. Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura, whose agency oversees such research, said that the government would tighten oversight. The latest accident happened at the Hadron Experimental Facility in Tokaimura, where at least two previous radiation accidents have occurred. Mr Shimomura said it was “crucial” for a nuclear research facilities “to give top priority to safety measures.

Morning Star 28th May 2013 read more »

Mexico

With Latin American countries still turned off to nuclear power two years after Japan’s monumental Fukushima meltdowns dispersed radioactive fallout across the ocean to them, events inside a similar facility in Mexico have fueled mounting skepticism over the potential for developing the energy technology. Fissures, leaks, shutdowns, government secrecy, a failed upgrade, alleged bid-rigging and contract fraud at Mexico’s lone atomic power station, the state-run Laguna Verde Nuclear Plant, were vetted during the 9th Regional Congress on Radiation Protection and Safety held in Rio de Janeiro in April. The audience of Latin American experts eager to share the information at the professional association forum starred scientists from Argentina and Brazil, which also have nuclear power plants, as well as from Venezuela, Chile and Cuba, which had made tentative moves toward establishing atomic energy stations before the Fukushima catastrophe stymied aspirations. The irregularities at Laguna Verde came to light thanks to a courageous group of anonymous high-level employees inside the power plant and to the public information requests by their spokesperson, Mexico’s National Autonomous University Physics Professor Bernardo Salas Mar, a former plant employee and valiant whistleblower.

RINF 28th May 2013 read more »

UAE

The oil-rich UAE began construction on Tuesday of a second nuclear power plant, one of four reactors aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions by some 12 million tonnes a year in 2020. Mohammad Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said the selected site of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy programme is located in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.

Middle East Online 28th May 2013 read more »

Trident

Labour is “unconvinced” that a scaled-back replacement of Trident would protect national security and save tens of billions of pounds, party sources have made clear. It follows reports that a long-awaited review will suggest significant savings can be made by ending the practise of keeping the UK’s nuclear deterrent constantly at sea. Labour’s cool response suggests Liberal Democrats face an uphill battle to convince the party to join in opposing a like-for-like replacement, the Conservative’s preferred option.

Herald 29th May 2013 read more »

David Cameron plans to push ahead with a £20billion like-for-like replacement of Trident nuclear weapons. A long-awaited Government review, to be published in July, has been looking at cheaper alternative to the current set up. But it has reportedly found that today’s around-the-clock at sea nuclear deterrent, carried on submarines, is the best option.

Mirror 28th May 2013 read more »

Next month will see the publication of the very long-awaited report into the alternatives to replacing the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system. This report was commissioned soon after the coalition came to power, with the two parties failing to agree a joint position on the British deterrent. It reveals: There is no cheaper alternative to replacing Trident. The upfront costs of any airborne, land-based or even utility sub-based system are simply too high. 2) The only way to save money on Trident is to scale it back. You can do that mainly by reducing the number of boats from four to three, or even to two. 3) Reducing the number of boats to three would save very little money. Reducing it to two could save close to £1bn in annual crew and maintenance costs, but would mean abandoning round-the-clock patrols.

FT 28th May 2013 read more »

Renewables

Preparations are under way to create a tidal lagoon off the Westcountry coast which could produce enough renewable electricity to power 100,000 homes. Sea bed investigation work is about to begin in the Bristol Channel and detailed plans could be submitted for approval in the autumn, with generation starting as early as 2017. Tavistock-born Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd, is behind the scheme, which is said to be the world’s first purpose-built tidal energy lagoon. The £650 million project at Swansea bay aims to be the first of a network of lagoons around the UK coastline. It would harness the huge tidal range of the channel, the second highest in the world, using ebb and flood tides to produce 240 MW of green electricty.

Western Morning News 28th May 2013 read more »

EDF Energy Renewables has submitted a planning application for a new wind farm to be established on land at Bullington Cross, to the west of Basingstoke and south of Whitchurch in Hampshire. Comprising of 14 turbines at 126.5 metres high, the site has a capacity of 28MW, capable of powering around 13,000 homes energy use and could contribute to the offsetting the annual release of 26,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide. Hampshire Energy Group supports the Bullington Cross Wind Farm, on the basis of 10% local ownership, which would be formed as a co-operative that benefits the Hampshire community. HEG are in final negotiations with EDF Energy Renewables to ensure that will be the case.

Hampshire Energy Group (accessed) 29th May 2013 read more »

As the EU is about to join the US in its crazy decision to impose tariffs on solar pv panels imported from China now is the time to add our voices against what the EU Commission is doing. The Commission, acting upon the pressure from a small groups of solar panel makers who are isolated from the rest of the EU solar industry, is about to impose punitive import tariffs on Chinese solar panels. This action runs directly counter to the EU supposed high priority of supplying 20 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020.

Dave Toke’s Green Energy Blog 28th May 2013 read more »

Seeking to discuss a brewing fight over solar panels, on Sunday China’s ministry of commerce requested a meeting at short notice with Karel De Gucht, the EU trade commissioner. To judge by its brevity and acrimonious tone, the following day’s gathering appears to have been less an effort at peace talks than an opportunity for the Chinese to savour a victory at close range. By the time Mr De Gucht’s visitors arrived in his office, it had become clear that Beijing had rallied a majority of the EU’s member states against the commissioner’s proposal to impose provisional duties on Chinese-made solar products for dumping, or selling goods below cost. In the final counting, 18 of the EU’s 27 member states opposed Mr De Gucht, according to people familiar with the case. Chief among them was Germany, the EU’s largest economy and home to the solar manufacturer that spearheaded the commission’s biggest ever trade investigation.

FT 29th May 2013 read more »

As offshore construction gets underway at DONG Energy and ScottishPower Renewables’ West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay, BusinessGreen explores how the emerging market is boosting coastal economies.

Business Green 28th May 2013 read more »

A SCOTTISH council has unveiled ambitious plans to turn a derelict landfill site into a giant solar power farm. Aberdeen City Council and the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) are seeking an initial £500,000 in lottery funding to develop proposals to transform the former landfill site at Ness Farm, near Nigg Bay, into a multimillion pound solar energy complex.

Scotsman 29th May 2013 read more »

Energy Efficiency

The number of households insulating their homes has dramatically fallen this year, threatening to torpedo the Government’s energy efficiency drive and push utility bills even higher. According to industry figures obtained by The Times, cavity wall insulation was fitted in 1,138 homes last month, compared with almost 40,000 in April last year. About 47,000 installations need to be carried out each month until the end of the decade to meet targets to reduce energy consumption and cap household bills. Cavity wall insulation is regarded as the cheapest and most effective mass-scale energy efficiency measure available to households. The slump underlines the lack of consumer interest in the Government’s Green Deal programme, which ministers have billed as the biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War.

Times 29th May 2013 read more »

Installations of cavity wall insulation have collapsed under the Green Deal, falling a staggering 97% in April compared to last year, Building can reveal. Figures collected by the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, which monitors installations and guarantees issued, seen by Building, show only 1,138 installations were completed last month, down from 49,650 in April 2012. Installations had averaged 40,000 a month throughout 2012 under the previous government insulation programmes the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Savings Scheme (CESP). But these ended on 31 December 2012 and were replaced by the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation. In the first four months of 2013 cavity wall installations averaged 11,000 a month – a fall of 73% on the 2013 monthly average – with April’s figure of 1,138 representing a new low.

Building 28th May 2013 read more »

MSPs are to be asked to replace stamp duty on house purchases with a system that has financial incentives to benefit energy efficient homes. Labour’s Malcolm Chisholm, who is proposing the measure, said it would not cost taxpayers anything overall. The Scottish government is formulating its own proposals for when it takes control of the tax.

BBC 29th May 2013 read more »

Biomass

Swamp forests in the US are being felled to help keep the lights on in the UK. Is this really the best way to combat climate change? Environmentalists are trying to block the expansion of a transatlantic trade bringing American wood to burn in European power stations.

The trade is driven by EU rules promoting renewable energy to combat climate change. Many millions of tonnes of wood pellets will soon be shipped annually to help keep the lights on in the UK. Other EU nations may follow. Critics say subsidising wood burning wastes money, does nothing to tackle climate change in the short term, and is wrecking some of the finest forests in the US.

BBC 28th May 2013 read more »

Shale Gas

A new shale gas frontier has opened up in Lincolnshire after an AIM-quoted explorer raised the region’s official estimate of resources to 16 trillion cubic feet. If all the gas is recovered, it would be equivalent to 12 years’ worth of North Sea production.

Times 29th May 2013 read more »

Posted: 29 May 2013

28 May 2013

Torness

EDF Energy reconnected its 640 megawatt Torness 2 nuclear plant to the national transmission network following an unplanned outage last week, data on Tuesday showed.EDF Energy took both reactors offline at Torness on Friday to prevent seaweed from entering the facility’s cooling system.The Torness 1 nuclear power plant remained offline, output data from National Grid showed.

[Read more…]

Posted: 28 May 2013

27 May 2013

Nuclear Subsidy

Electricité de France SA is near agreement with the U.K. government on most aspects of a deal to build new nuclear reactors, but talks remain stuck on a guaranteed price for the electricity they will produce, according to people with direct knowledge of the talks. The two sides have agreed “on every clause, from the legal framework clauses to the contract’s duration, except the strike price,” said one of these people.

[Read more…]

Posted: 27 May 2013

26 May 2013

Nuclear Subsidy

Contrary to recent media speculation, there is not yet an agreement between EDF Energy and the UK Government on a contract and price for electricity from the proposed Hinkley Point C power station. Negotiations are continuing which both sides have characterised as positive.

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Posted: 26 May 2013

25 May 2013

Nuclear Subsidies

The £14 billion project to build Britain’s first nuclear reactors for decades has been revived after EDF Energy lined up a consortium of investors. The Hinkley Point project has been close to collapse in recent months because of a stand-off between the Treasury and the French state-backed group about the level of subsidies, funded by levies on consumer bills, that it would receive. In the past fortnight, the two sides have provisionally agreed a subsidy level of between £93 and £95 for each megawatt hour generated by the reactors — almost twice the wholesale market rate of electricity.Vincent de Rivaz, the boss of the British subsidiary EDF Energy, is understood to be happy with the deal although it has yet to be signed off by the group board in Paris. Reports that oil-rich Qatar and Abu Dhabi are prepared to invest billions of pounds in green energy and infrastructure projects in Britain have fuelled optimism that they could bail out the Hinkley Point project. EDF Energy had been insisting on a subsidy of no less than £100 per megawatt hour, but is likely to have been persuaded to accept a slightly lower offer by the Government’s promise to assume some construction risk. It is not known whether the Government has agreed to extend the length of the subsidy contract from 25 years to the 40-year term sought by EDF Energy.

[Read more…]

Posted: 25 May 2013

24 May 2013

Nuclear Subsidy

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander yesterday told the Association for Consultancy and Engineering centenary conference in London that there would be an agreement on strike price before parliament breaks up for summer recess.

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Posted: 24 May 2013

23 May 2013

New Nukes

Fallon hails Horizon’s boost to nuclear investment and jobs in the UK. Michael Fallon meets Hitachi and Horizon, who are planning to invest £20 billion in new nuclear plants at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. Speaking ahead of the visit, Michael Fallon said: “Nuclear in the UK is about more than just one project. Three ventures – including the Horizon project I’m visiting – are making serious progress. “Momentum is building, and when companies across the globe are thinking nuclear, I want them to think Britain.“I want to be clear that we are firmly committed to ensuring that new nuclear goes ahead in this country. Nuclear already provides around a fifth of our electricity, so it is vital for our energy security now, and in future. “While new build is hugely important, UK nuclear is also about developing and exporting our world-leading decommissioning expertise, and boosting the domestic supply-chain, creating new skilled jobs across the country.

[Read more…]

Posted: 23 May 2013

22 May 2013

New Nukes

THE day-to-day operations of eight proposed nuclear power plants in the UK will have no effect on the health of our population, the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) said today. But a severe accident would require the population to shelter in their homes for up to two days, food controls to be put in place and the likelihood of increases in cancer rates. The British government plans to build eight plants – five on the coastline of Irish Sea – up to 2025, and the RPII this morning published a study into likely health effects.

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Posted: 22 May 2013