News April 2014

30 April 2014

Energy Costs

Energy bills are likely to rise twice as fast as the government forecasts this decade because households are not buying new efficient appliances that are supposed to save them money, a new report warns on Wednesday. Ministers claimed last year that energy bills would rise by £64 over the rest of the decade – from £1,267 in 2013 to £1,331 in 2020. It said that the costs of green subsidies would be partially offset by consumers using less energy …

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29 April 2014

Magnox

The bidders who lost out on a £7bn deal to decommission Britain’s oldest nuclear power plants have mounted a legal challenge, raising further questions over the way the government awards large and sensitive public-sector contracts. Energy Solutions, a Salt Lake City-based company, is taking the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to court after losing the 14-year contract to engineering company Babcock and Texas-based Fluor. The deal is one of the largest government contracts ever put out to tender and involves cleaning 12 …

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28 April 2014

Sizewell

Nuclear safety officials have increased the emergency planning area for the Sizewell power station complex, but say the risk of a radiation leak from the coastal site has decreased. After lengthy consultation, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has decided to dispense with its circular 2.4 kilometre zone and to replace it with one based largely on postcodes. This will mean that parts of the emergency plan zone will stretch up to around 3km from the power stations and both …

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27 April 2014

Energy Policy

Bruce Davis, Abundance Generation: Onshore wind power is cheaper and fairer than the alternatives. It is vote-chasing of the worst kind to abandon it now. Onshore wind is good for our energy infrastructure for two reasons; it is the most efficient and cost effective of the available and scaleable renewable technologies, and it is the best way that the challenger energy brands – Ovo, Co-operative Energy, Ecotricity and Good Energy – can mount a serious attempt to compete with …

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26 April 2014

Chernobyl

The 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine will be marked on 26 April as the country goes through yet another convulsion – though this time not a nuclear one. A $2.1bn (£1.2bn) project aimed at building a contamination shield around the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, which is just 130km (80 miles) from Kiev, could be delayed another two years because of the increasing tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Originally, the plan was to …

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25 April 2014

Decommissioning

A quick shout out to Dr David Lowry, the foremost scourge of the UK’s nuclear authorities. His dogged use of the Freedom of Information Act is why we know the extent of the private-sector mismanagement of the £70bn clean-up of the Sellafield plant in Cumbria. Among his latest treasure trove is a Nuclear Decommissioning Authority briefing to government from December. There is a tiny detail that shows just how much financial risk companies such as the US engineer Bechtel and …

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24 April 2014

Sellafield

SAVINGS of £7m have been made as a major nuclear clean up project in Cumbria was completed four years early. One of the UK’s top 10 nuclear safety risks has been significantly reduced after a project to repackage historic plutonium-contaminated filters at Sellafield was completed four years early. The work involved removing the filters from a building deemed no longer fit-for-purpose, repackaging them and placing them in a more modern store. The filters had been removed from facilities around the …

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23 April 2014

Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) a dismal failure

The Government has launched a consultation to seek responses to an application submitted by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) for a regulatory justification decision in relation to the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR). The consultation runs until 13th May 2014.

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has published a briefing which provides an overview and model response to the consultation. It is available here.

Chair of the UK and Ireland NFLA, Councillor Mark Hackett, writing in The Ecologist, …

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Hinkley – Extremely bad value for consumers

Evidence has poured into the European Commission as it investigates whether the deal with EDF on Hinkley Point C breaks EU competition rules. Many objectors,   who made submissions by 7th April, claim that the contract will wreck Europe’s chance of building up renewable energies to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

In a damning and succinct demolition of the UK Government’s case in favour of state-aid for Hinkley C, Friends of the Earth (FOE) show how the …

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23 April 2014

Time to end reprocessing at Sellafield

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has launched a consultation on whether to allow the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) not to reprocess small quantities of overseas origin oxide fuels that are either not economic or not possible to reprocess in Sellafield’s Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) before its currently scheduled closure date of 2018. The consultation closes on 28th May 2014.

DECC says around 300 tonnes of overseas origin spent fuel still remain to be reprocessed, …

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