News

Brexit

France is pushing the UK to incorporate future European climate change directives into law automatically in return for an ambitious trade deal with the EU. A large number of member states fear that the UK could enjoy an economic advantage after Brexit if it were able to diverge from European laws and regulations, and they want to use their leverage now to force a commitment from future British governments. The demand by Emmanuel Macron for the UK to be tied into the EU’s Paris 2030 targets was just one of a series of interventions made by member states during recent meetings with Michel Barnier and his negotiating team. While a UK withdrawal agreement dealing with citizens’ rights, the £39bn financial settlement and the Irish border have been agreed in principle, the political declaration on the future relationship is yet to be finalised. A seven-page declaration published last week is set to become a much heavier document after member states made a series of interventions in meetings with the European commission for additional text. One EU diplomat said: “It’s a Christmas tree and all the member states are putting their baubles on it.”

Guardian 17th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 November 2018

Sellafield

Last night while thousands of activists including from Cumbria descended on London for the Extinction Rebellion protests, a small protest by two dedicated anti-nuclear activists took place outside the Beacon in Whitehaven. The protest in Cumbria was to mark the VIP Preview of a “Celebration” of the “Art of Reprocessing.” Reprocessing is the chemical separation (using vast quantities of hot nitric acid) of uranium and plutonium from irradiated (“spent”) reactor fuel. Reprocessing is the most dangerous and dirty phase of the nuclear fuel chain. It generates huge waste streams with no management solution and isolates plutonium, the fissile component of a nuclear weapon while releasing what is left of the uranium, supposedly for reuse but the industry much prefers freshly mined uranium. The spin is that this is “recycling” nuclear fuel. It is PR drivel.

Radiation Free Lakeland 17th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 November 2018

New Nuclear

Letter: Chris Underwood, professor emeritus of energy modelling for the built environment Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. With demand for electricity set to rocket, the UK cannot rely on renewables alone. Your business leader misses the bigger picture, as indeed do other supporters of renewable energy, such as Greenpeace. The bigger picture is that we can expect to see a substantial and sustained increase in electricity demand over the next 20-30 years due to the electrification of transport and heat. Heat alone, by the most conservative estimates, will add 300GW of peak thermal demand, which would add 100GW to the grid, dwarfing the current 65GW or so of peak UK demand. Yes, renewables backed up with energy storage and smart control can make an impact but a significant baseload method will still be needed.

Observer 18th Nov 2018 read more »

Letter Dr Robin Russell-Jones: high-quality uranium ore is in short supply, and can only supply the world’s existing reactors for another 50 years. After that the energy required to extract fissile material from low-quality ore will exceed the energy produced, at which point the technology becomes unsustainable. Recently, the chancellor admitted that he had delayed crucial legislation under pressure from the gambling industry. The only way to rationalise the UK’s chaotic energy policy is to accept that the nuclear and fracking industries have better lobbyists than the renewable sector.

Observer 18th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 November 2018

France

One protester has died and more than 200 were injured as more than a quarter of a million people took to the streets of France, angry at rising fuel prices. The female protester who died was struck after a driver surrounded by demonstrators panicked and accelerated. The “yellow vests”, so-called after the high-visibility jackets they are required to carry in their cars, blocked motorways and roundabouts.

BBC 17th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 November 2018

Spain

Spain will close the last of its nuclear reactors and coal power plants before 2030, according to State Secretary for Energy José Dominguez, who made the announcement shortly after Madrid pledged to work towards a completely renewable electricity system. Dominguez said on Thursday (15 November) that the current socialist government does not plan to extend the lifespan of any of its nuclear reactors beyond their current 40-year shelf-life. Spain’s oldest reactor is more than 37 years old, so according to current plans will shut up shop in 2021, while its newest just celebrated its third decade of operation, and will go offline in 2028.

Euractiv 15th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 November 2018

Belgium

Guaranteeing Belgium’s energy supply for the first two months of next year will be “tight”, admits Philippe Van Troeye, the CEO of Engie Electrabel and Engie Benel. L’Echo published an interview with him on Saturday. Mr Van Troeye said his company is taking its responsibilities seriously. “I haven’t resigned myself to the idea that there will be power cuts just yet”, he said. “It will be tight in January and February. But it was also tight in November, with just one reactor in operation. Still, we coped. January and February will be colder months, with access to imports less certain”, the Engie CEO said. He has assured the public he is taking his responsibilities seriously. “First off, we are mobilising our teams to get the reactors back on the network progressively. Second, we will get additional facilities in place, such as cogeneration plants and the plant in Vilvorde which was no longer in service. We have also asked our big industrial clients to be more flexible with their demand”, says Mr Van Troeye. He said a total of 1,000 extra megawatts will be made available, “which is equivalent to another reactor”.

Brussels Times 18th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 November 2018

Fusion

Tokamak Energy is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Laurence Williams OBE FREng FIMechE FNucI as Chair of its new Regulatory and Safety Committee. Professor Williams is an Emeritus Professor in Nuclear Safety and Regulation and is currently a Senior Research Investigator at Imperial College. He was formerly Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations. He has also been Chair of the International Nuclear Regulators Association, Chair of the IAEA Commission on Safety Standards, and more recently Chair of the UK Government’s Committee on Radioactive Waste Management.

Business Daily 16th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 November 2018

Local energy

The publicly-owned Energy Company Delivery Board should launch by January, and plans are afoot to cover up half of all council-owned residential roof space with solar panels. With an estimated 9,700 households in the borough suffering from fuel poverty, the move should put the council in a stronger position to supply competitively-priced energy to vulnerable residents. Energy chief Cllr Jon Burke said: “In the face of limited and often retrograde central government action, Hackney is joining a movement across local government that is helping to transform the energy system from one underpinned by fossil fuels to one characterised by clean and extremely low-carbon sources of energy. “It is our aim to protect residents and the environment we live in. By ensuring there is another publicly-owned, publicly-accountable energy company in the marketplace, we believe we can achieve these goals while placing reputational pressure on the dominant players of the energy world, driving change more broadly.”

Hackney Gazette 5th Nov 2018 read more »

Edinburgh’s £7.3m Saughton Park restoration project has received a major boost thanks to funding from the Scottish Power (SP) Energy Networks Green Economy Fund. Almost half a million pounds has been awarded toward the delivery of a micro hydro-electric system on the Water of Leith, which will power two ground source heat pumps and generate energy for the park’s lighting and buildings once their refurbishment is complete. As well as saving on energy costs, the innovative scheme to install an Archimedes Screw Turbine on an existing weir will help lower carbon emissions by providing a renewable energy solution in the park. The project has received a share of SP Energy Networks’ £20m fund, established earlier this year, recognising initiatives that support Scotland’s green energy plans and local economic growth.

Edinburgh Reporter 17th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 November 2018

Renewables – onshore wind

Supersizing thousands of wind turbines across Scotland’s countryside may not be the most green way to cut global warming because the structures could be cancelling out the carbon-cutting contribution made by the ground underneath them, a government-funded report has warned. The majority of wind farms are on peatland, where weather conditions are typically better for producing maximum green power to help reduce carbon emissions. But experts at Glasgow and Aberdeen universities point out that the soil they are built on is also a valuable natural store of carbon that cuts emissions – and the turbines could be affecting that role. Turbines across Scotland are set to rise in height from about 100 metres to 170 metres to harness “better wind”, reducing overall numbers and cutting bills for consumers as the industry works to meet government renewable energy targets.

Times 18th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 November 2018

Smart Meters

Government ministers are braced for blistering criticism from the ­National Audit Office this week over its shambolic handling of the £11bn smart meter roll-out. The public spending watchdog is finalising the details of a scathing report into the heavily delayed project, which is set to be made public this week. The report is expected to criticise the roll-out, which is running over schedule and budget due to delays to the software underpinning the digital meters. As a result, 10 times more first- generation meters than expected have been fitted into homes by energy suppliers while waiting for the second generation network upgrades to take effect. The 10m meters will require further spending to bring them up to date with the upgraded system so that they won’t become “dumb”. The report is understoo d to lay the blame at the feet of government. Despite the delays, ministers have doggedly insisted that each home should have access to a smart meter by 2020. The NAO is expected to brand the target unrealistic, and call into question the value to customers.

Telegraph 17th Nov 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 November 2018