News

Climate

Extreme weather could kill 150,000 people each year in Europe by the end of the century, say scientists. “This is a stark warning showing why we need greater action on climate change fast,” said Friends of the Earth campaigner Donna Hume. “People across the globe are already dying due to extreme weather events and without concerted action this will get worse, including right here in Europe. “This fate can be avoided but only if governments get serious about making the switch away from dirty fossil fuels. Three quarters of existing coal, oil and gas has to remain unused if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change – so why is the UK Government intent on digging and drilling for more across the British countryside?

Independent 4th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 5 August 2017

Energy Costs

The cost of the UK government’s energy policies is now a bigger share of household electricity bills than wholesale prices, British Gas has said. This week, the company raised its electricity prices by 12.5 per cent for 3.1m homes, even though wholesale electricity prices have fallen over the past three years, complaining that it has been making a loss on selling electricity to homes. In a breakdown of its costs, British Gas said that while the cost of wholesale electricity has fallen by 21 per cent since 2014, the cost of “government mandates and policy” has risen by 104 per cent, and the cost of transmission, distribution and metering has risen by 10 per cent. The government policies include several subsidy schemes for renewable energy to help meet the UK’s carbon emissions reduction targets, and the installation of digital smart meters in homes.

FT 3rd Aug 2017 read more »

Keith Baker: the price cap won’t work because the market is not only broken, it never worked in the first place. Incredibly high start-up costs mean energy is a natural monopoly, in which a small number of companies have been protecting significant investments in fossil fuels and nuclear power since the sector was first privatised. Community ownership doesn’t just help solve the energy problem, it also helps make people and communities more resilient. Towns and villages can’t become energy cooperatives overnight, however. They need investment, technical expertise, and an awful lot of support to get up and running. The Labour manifesto included support for a publicly owned energy company in each region, and the SNP has proposed something similar. It’s not a complete solution, but it’s a big step in the right direction.

The Conversation 3rd Aug 2017 read more »

British Gas’s row with the government deepened after the company claimed that energy policies would soon account for more of an electricity bill than wholesale costs. Britain’s biggest energy supplier has been at loggerheads with ministers and Ofgem, the industry regulator, since announcing on Tuesday that it was raising electricity bills by 12.5 per cent. The company, part of Centrica, has been under pressure to justify its claims that rising policy and network costs were to blame. It said these had increased by £98 since it last raised prices at the end of 2013. Yesterday it published figures claiming the cost of government policies on electricity bills would hit £165 per household next year, up from £81 in 2014. It said wholesale electricity costs had fallen from £170 to £134 over the same period. A spokeswoman for the government said that it did not “recognise these figures”. She highlighted Centrica’s own submission to Ofgem showing that, last year, it spent £1.2 billion on domestic wholesale electricity and only £500 million on policy costs. The government spokeswoman added: “Policies driving energy efficiency improvements have more than offset the cost of energy policies and have resulted in lower energy bills.”

Times 4th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 August 2017

New Nuclear

Sponsored by Hitachi: An energy crisis has been brewing in the UK for years. In the face of exponential population growth, a large proportion of older oil, gas and nuclear power stations have been closed. By 2030, 35pc of our current energy capacity will no longer exist, and the Government estimates that energy reforms will cost up to £110 billion over the coming years. So, amid dwindling supplies and growing demand, it’s estimated that an extra 60GW of energy will need to be generated to break even. The issue is inescapable; so how do we redesign and renew our energy supplies so they are fit for the 21st century? While the goal may be to provide low-carbon, sustainable, and affordable energy, the logistics of this have proved to be quite a challenge. Nuclear energy, which already delivers around 20pc of the UK’s electricity supply, has recently garnered a large amount of interest. Japanese engineering giant Hitachi is one company leading the way in this area; in 2012 it acquired UK-based energy business Horizon Nuclear Power, with a view to bringing their advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) technology to a new market. This reactor is already in operation in four power plants across Japan. Not a utility, but an equipment provider, Hitachi has been clear throughout that it will not remain the sole owner of Horizon long-term. Indeed, their European business focuses on delivering ABWRs as a contractor to Horizon – which operates under separate management structures.

Telegraph 2nd Aug 2017 read more »

Letter Michael Miller: Government subsidies are given for a whole host of enterprises, encompassing not only renewable electricity generation but also fossil fuels, agriculture and industry. We should also remember that nuclear power will itself be subsidised from electricity bills. One need only look at the National Grid status website to see how wind and solar power are now contributing a significant percentage of UK power. Surely this is the way forward if we want to avoid returning to a reliance on coal power, or becoming dependent on imported gas.

Telegraph 2nd Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 August 2017

Public Opinion

Support of both fracking and nuclear energy has continued to falter as public concern over both energy security and bills dissipates. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s most recent public attitudes survey has been released today, the results of which offer an indication of the general public’s perception of various issues pertaining to the energy market. The survey has consistently tracked support of a range of power generation technologies, and today’s findings show support for nuclear and fracking has continued to decline. Support for new nuclear has also faltered, however the technology remains far more popular than fracking. A total of 35% of the public said they supported nuclear, down marginally compared to the last edition of the tracker survey in May. In strong contrast to the faltering support for nuclear and fracking,renewables have never been more popular with the British public. Although the renewables question was not included in this wave of the survey, May’s questionnaire revealed that a record 73% of the public supported renewable sources of energy.

Solar Portal 3rd Aug 2017 read more »

Elisabeth Whitebread, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said public opinion on fracking continued to “freefall”, adding: “Communities don’t want the unnecessary industrialisation of our countryside for shale gas we don’t need. “More than three-quarters of people support renewables, so the government should listen to their own opinion polls, stay true to their manifesto promise and support offshore wind and solar instead of a new fossil fuel industry.

Guardian 3rd Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 August 2017

Euratom

David Lowry: Recently in the United Kingdom a major political debate has broken out over whether the planned departure by the UK from the European Union also must mean the UK’s departure from Euratom. The UK Government had earlier explained they intend UK nuclear security regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to take over from the independent safeguards inspectors from Euratom, to ‘self-police’ the British nuclear industry against military misuse. This is a highly contentious proposal. Although as a nuclear-weapon member of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty the United Kingdom does not have an obligation to place its nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards, right now all its civilian activities are covered by international safeguards, administered by Euratom. Oversight by a national regulator would not be an adequate substitute to Euratom safeguards. Even though the government indicated its willingness to conclude a Voluntary Offer Agreement with the IAEA–the current one, INFCIRC/263/Add.1, relies on Euratom–in the current IAEA practice facilities in nuclear weapon states are not normally safeguarded. To provide true continuity of international safeguards the United Kingdom would have to provide the IAEA with additional resources that would allow the Agency to directly implement its safeguards at UK nuclear facilities that are currently under Euratom safeguards.

IPFM 2nd Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 August 2017

Plutonium

[Machine Translation] Areva announces that it has signed a contract with the Japanese Nuclear Fuel Industries (NFI) to manufacture 32 MOX (plutonium oxide plutonium and uranium plutonium) assemblies for use in Takahama 3 and 4 reactors Operated by Kansaï Electric. The supply of MOX fuel for Kansaï is in line with the agreements signed with Japanese electricians from 1975 for the treatment of nearly 3,000 tons of spent fuel at the La Hague site. The Takahama nuclear power plant is located on the southwest coast of Japan, 350 km from Tokyo. It is equipped with 4 reactors. Last July, a MOX convoy left France from the port of Cherbourg to Japan to supply the plant.

Boursier 2nd Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 August 2017

CORE

Two nuclear campaigners have won a $10,000 international award which will be presented in September in Switzerland. CORE’s Janine Allis-Smith and Martin Forwood, who have campaigned on Sellafield commercial operations since the 1980s, have received the international Nuclear Free Future Award (NFFA) for 2017 under the education category. Cited for their three decades of work “unmasking and disseminating information on operations at the West Cumbrian site to a world-wide audience”, the campaigners said the honour was “unexpected”.

Carlisle News & Star 3rd Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 August 2017

France – radwaste

[Machine Translation] The National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra) will have to improve its copy. This is, in essence, the advice just given by the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) on the project of industrial center of geological storage (Cigéo). The facility is designed to bury the 85,000 cubic meters of high-level and long-lived radioactive waste generated by the operation of the current French nuclear fleet in the clayey subsoil of the commune of Bure, in the Meuse. At the beginning of July, the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), the public institution on which the supervisory authority relies for its decisions, pointed to shortcomings in the security options file presented by the Andra. ASN therefore confirms this expertise. Admittedly, it considers that “the project has reached overall satisfactory technological maturity at the stage of the file of security options”, but adds that “certain options raise additional remarks, even reservations”.

Le Monde 3rd Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 August 2017

US

A multibillion-dollar mess over partially-built nuclear plants in South Carolina could impact whether Virginia goes forward with a pricy new reactor of its own. Two South Carolina energy companies recently decided to abandon construction of two unfinished nuclear reactors over delays and their high costs, a move that leaves ratepayers there on the hook for billions of dollars with nothing to show for it. The failure in South Carolina to make new nuclear work could make it harder for Virginia’s largest electric utility, Dominion Energy, to move forward with a new reactor it has been considering for years and already spent millions on. The proposed plant, known as North Anna 3, has a sky-high price tag — one state regulator last year calculated it to be about $25 billion — and would significantly increase customer’s electric bills. But Dominion has argued it’s an option worth considering, as nuclear energy provides reliable, carbon-free energy.

US News 2nd Aug 2017 read more »

Power Engineering 3rd Aug 2017 read more »

Let it be written that environmentalists didn’t kill the nuclear power industry, economics did. South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. and partner Santee Cooper abandoned work on two new nuclear reactors this week, not because of public protests, but because the only way to pay for them was to overcharge customers or bankrupt both companies. The decision comes after the main contractor, Westinghouse, has completed a third of the work at the V.C. Sumner Nuclear Station. Of course, the project has already bankrupted Westinghouse due to missed deadlines and costs spiraling out of control. Westinghouse parent Toshiba Corp. had to pay $2.7 billion to get out of its contract. The project was supposed to cost only $5.1 billion, but to actually finish the work would have cost $11.4 billion. By abandoning work, the utilities said they will save about $7 billion in charges they would have had to pass on to customers. That leaves only one new nuclear project under construction in Georgia, where Westinghouse has also gone over budget and missed deadlines. Georgia Power says it has taken over construction of the two new reactors at the Vogtle plant through Southern Nuclear.

Houston Chronicle 3rd Aug 2017 read more »

Georgia Power estimates net additional capital costs of $1.0-1.7 billion to complete the two AP1000s under construction at Vogtle, it said yesterday. It expects to make its recommendations on whether or not to proceed with the project to the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) later this month.

World Nuclear News 3rd Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 August 2017

Nuclear Weapons

Netflix is now streaming a film about nuclear weapons that puts you inside humanity’s worst nightmare.

Business Insider 1st Aug 2017 read more »

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes events being held in the UK and Ireland, and across the world, which commemorate and share in solidarity with the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the approaching 72nd anniversary of the atomic weapon attacks on both cities, which led to the death of over 200,000 people. The Lord Mayor of Manchester will be amongst other leading Mayors of the Executive Board of Mayors for Peace attending its 9th General Conference being held in Nagasaki on the 7th – 10th August. The Lord Mayor will also take an active part in the Hiroshima Peace Ceremony and is meeting the UK Ambassador to Japan after the Nagasaki Peace Ceremony.

NFLA 3rd Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 August 2017