News May 2015

31 May 2015

Energy Supplies

Natural gas can only be a worthwhile bridge to a low carbon future if a series of tough conditions are met, according to a working paper from the influential New Climate Economy initiative. The paper says the climate benefits of gas, including shale gas, could in theory be significant. It suggests a 10% increase in global gas supplies could prevent 500 gigawatts (GW) of new coal capacity being added by 2035, avoiding 1.3 billion tonnes of annual carbon dioxide …

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30 May 2015

Sizewell

A study is to be carried out around the Sizewell nuclear power stations site to investigate whether people eating food produced in the area or spending time there are vulnerable to radioactivity. The last time a similar investigation was carried out was five years ago and those behind the project are keen to see if people’s diets and activities have changed and the subsequent impact. Fieldwork for the Habits Survey will be carried out between June 9 and June 19 …

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29 May 2015

Sizewell

Stephen Walls, head of the Sizewell C project, told a reception in the President’s Marquee that consultation remained at an early stage and that further progress hinged on developments at EDF’s Hinkley Point C project in Somerset. There was no news on when stage two of consultation was likely to begin. The second stage is expected to give final details of issues such as road improvements, worker accommodation and park-and-ride sites. Recent uncertainty over progress turned into frustration earlier in …

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28 May 2015

Hinkley

Austria will take legal action to block any subsidized nuclear power plants in an effort to discourage use of the technology in Europe and scare off investors, the country’s environment minister, Andrae Rupprechter, said in a newspaper interview. Rupprechter’s comments to business daily Wirtschaftsblatt reflect non-nuclear Austria’s tough stance, as evidenced by its intent to take the European Commission to court over approval of Britain’s plans for the Hinkley Point nuclear plant.Neighboring Czech Republic also plans to extend its nuclear …

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27 May 2015

Nuclear Supplies

It’s odd how often the contribution of nuclear energy is overstated, writes Neil Crumpton, by mixing up ‘energy’ and ‘electricity’, while a similar trick to understates the importance of renewables like wind and solar. Even odder is how the mistake always seems to go the same way, to make nuclear look bigger than it really is, and renewables smaller. Welcome to the nuclear ‘X factor’! In April the proposers of a new nuclear power station at Moorside near Sellafield, …

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26 May 2015

Areva

Areva, the French firm charged with designing Britain’s Hinkley Point, has received a €2bn approach for its reactor business from EDF. The proposal is expected to open negotiations between the two companies and the French government, which controls stakes in both businesses. “We have received an indicative offer from EDF”, a spokesman for Areva confirmed. The French government owns 84pc of EDF and 87 per cent of Areva and will have the final say on whether any deal will pass. …

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25 May 2015

Radwaste

Following a public consultation, we have taken the decision to adopt a policy for the geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste. We consider that geological disposal can only be delivered in Wales on the basis of voluntary partnership with a community or communities willing to enter discussions about potentially hosting a geological disposal facility and for those discussions to be successfully concluded; a process which may take over a decade. This consultation seeks views on the processes by which …

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24 May 2015

Trident

An inherent flaw in Trident missiles could lead to fires, explosions and widespread radioactive contamination, according to a top-secret safety manual leaked by the naval whistleblower, William McNeilly. The Royal Navy’s official instructions on how to take care of nuclear weapons reveal that the “chief potential hazard” from a live missile is the “accidental ignition” of solid rocket fuel. This could cause the warheads’ conventional high explosives to detonate and scatter plutonium and other toxic materials “over a wide area”, …

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23 May 2015

Radwaste

DECC has engaged external support by convening a Community Representation Working Group (CRWG) to help develop practical processes for how community representation, the test of public support, and community investment will operate throughout the siting process for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The UK government’s commitment in the White Paper includes taking a voluntarist approach based on working with communities that are willing to participate in the siting process.

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22 May 2015

Magnox

Magnox has said it plans to cut up to 1,600 jobs across 12 of its nuclear power sites by September 2016. The company says the cuts will include staff, agency and contract roles. Magnox said: “The mission to safely decommission the Magnox sites has always predicted reducing staff numbers over the coming years.” The Unite trade union said the news was “shocking” and the move would lead to “a loss of vital skills and expertise in the nuclear industry”.

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