The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has been opposing new nuclear development at Bradwell for the last 8 years, on the grounds that the low-lying site is totally unsuitable for such development and, now, also because of security issues, shared with others, about Chinese involvement in such sensitive UK infrastructure. Meanwhile the Government has welcomed the Chinese state-owned General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) investment into new nuclear build at Bradwell. Now it seems that Essex County Council (ECC), too, is welcoming new build. BANNG has learned that to ‘celebrate the project’, ECC is offering Maldon District Councillors the opportunity to undertake Mandarin lessons and workshops on Chinese culture, to be supplied by ECC’s Jiangsu Centre for Chinese Studies. It appears that there will also be opportunities for exchanges. Professor Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG, commented: ‘There is a long process ahead before any new nuclear power station can be built at Bradwell. The rigorous Generic Design Assessment has not yet commenced and then there will be a planning process in which Maldon District and Essex County Councils will be consultees. By celebrating in any way, the County Council potentially compromises its disinterested role as a consulted planning authority. The suggestion that there is something to celebrate could give the impression that a new Chinese power station will simply be waved through’.
BANNG 30th Nov 2016 read more »
Essex County Council’s Development & Regulation Committee has voted to lift the restriction it had imposed only 4 years previously and to allow Magnox, operators of the Bradwell site, to transfer Intermediate-Level Waste (ILW) from Dungeness and Sizewell to the Bradwell Interim Storage Facility (ISF). The restriction had decreed that only Bradwell-generated waste could be stored there. Bradwell will now become a regional nuclear waste store for the indefinite future and a precedent for the import of further wastes may have been set. The planning approval means that the long-held principle of self-sufficiency, whereby each site hosts its own wastes, is contravened. BANNG submitted objections to the application and tried to put it into context so that a long-term, overall view of what is happening, and may happen, at Bradwell could be taken and to explain local anxieties. Attention was drawn to the current radioactive discharges into the Blackwater arising from the dissolution of fuel element debris (FED) but this was deemed by the Planning Officer to be irrelevant. BANNG finds this perplexing.
BANNG 30th Nov 2016 read more »
NUGEN, the company behind plans for a nuclear power station at Moorside, Sellafield, has extended its partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
In-cumbria 1st Dec 2016 read more »
A power station boss believes Hartlepool’s nuclear plant is in as good a position as it has been for 30 years.
Hartlepool Mail 30th Nov 2016 read more »
An idea for ‘continuous decommissioning’ has been put forward at the Gwynedd site. Proposed changes to nuclear decommissioning plans at Trawsfynydd could retain jobs for additional years at the site and also see low level radioactive waste remain in situ. An idea has been put forward for Trawsfynydd to go into “continuous decommissioning” rather than putting the site into care and maintenance for 60 years. This would mean that some of the existing 250 permanent and contracted jobs that are set to go over the next decade could be retained for years longer. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority(NDA) said that a number of factors made more continuous decommissioning possible. These were the growing availability of remote decommissioning tools, more experience in remote handling and storage of waste, and new advice from the International Atomic Energy Agency. But the NDA made clear that there had been no policy change at Trawsfynydd, which stopped operating in 1993.
Daily Post 30th Nov 2016 read more »
Yes, Donald Trump’s politics are incoherent. But those who surround him know just what they want, and his lack of clarity enhances their power. To understand what is coming, we need to understand who they are. I know all too well, because I have spent the past 15 years fighting them.
Guardian 30th Nov 2016 read more »
Brexit puts the future of the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor, based in Oxfordshire, in doubt. By leaving the European Union the UK might also exit Euratom, the EU’s framework for safe nuclear energy. The UK government has yet to say what its plans are for cooperating with Euratom, but part of the Brexit negotiations will have to include the nuclear fusion experiment JET. Decommissioning JET is expected to leave around 3000 cubic metres of radioactive waste, which would cost around £289 million to deal with, according to the UKAEA.
New Scientist 30th Nov 2016 read more »
The European Commission says that it plans to cut energy use across the bloc by 30% by 2030. The proposal is at the heart of a new package unveiled by the Commission to help meet its commitments to cut carbon under the Paris agreement. The plans also seek to boost renewables and give greater power to consumers to sell any electricity they produce. But green groups have criticised the measures saying they keep the door open for subsidies to coal. Under the Paris Climate Agreement the EU promised to cut emissions of CO2 by 40% by 2030. Today’s plans to cut waste and make better use of renewables are a key part of that promise. The Commission’s ideas for a 30% binding target on energy efficiency will see new incentives for smart metering and innovative design. Energy suppliers and distributors will have to save 1.5% each year from 2021 to 2030. There will also be a big focus on renovating older buildings. This sector accounts for 40% of Europe’s energy consumption and the proposal aims to create a building renovation market with a value of up to 120bn euros by 2030. The Commission also re-iterated it’s policy of having renewables make up at least 27% of final energy consumption by 2030, including a 50% share of electricity production. However, in markets where they already have a 15% share, green energy producers will no longer have priority to sell their power to the grid over traditional producers such as coal and gas – a negative development according to many environmental campaigners. The Commission’s plan also aim to encourage individual consumers and community groups to produce their own power. Small-scale renewable installations will still have priority on the grid – but there will be a limit on the size of the community or individual power supply. “It is scandalous to cap the size of renewable energy cooperatives and bias market access in favour of inflexible fossil fuel giants,” said Tara Connolly from Greenpeace “Europe will only meet its climate responsibilities if it enables its citizens to accelerate the transition to 100% renewables.” For the UK, it is not yet know if the new proposals will become law before Brexit. Sources say that the opportunities to bid from some of the funding available under the schemes and to supply energy to neighbouring markets will be the subject of negotiations as part of the UK’s exit.
BBC 30th Nov 2016 read more »
Europe will begin phasing out coal subsidies and cut its energy use by 30% before the end of the next decade, under a major clean energy package announced in Brussels on Wednesday. The 1,000 page blueprint to help the EU meet its Paris climate commitments also proposes measures to cut household electricity bills, integrate renewables into power markets, and limit use of unsustainable bioenergy. Jonathan Gaventa of E3G called the legislation “politically cautious” while ClientEarth lawyer Maria Kleis-Walravens dubbed it “disappointing in the extreme”. “Civil society has one hand tied behind its back, making it easier for industry to continue its capture of the legislative process,” Kleis-Walravens said. “There is a very high risk that Europe won’t get the energy transition it needs to provide clean, affordable power for all.”
Guardian 30th Nov 2016 read more »
The European Commission has released a major new clean energy package designed to help the trading bloc deliver on its pledge to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. The once-in-a-decade set of reforms – which will need to be approved by both the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament before entering law – include plans to ramp up the EU-wide energy efficiency target to 30 per cent by 2030 and phase out subsidies for coal power. But campaigners claim the package is too cautious to unleash the clean energy revolution needed to successfully prevent dangerous climate change. Jonathan Gaventa, director at the environmental think tank E3G, described the package as “politically cautious”. “A number of important measures will help make Europe’s energy transition work better, such as opening markets up to demand side flexibility,” he said in a statement. “There is little in the package, however, that will drive a radical transformation of the energy market on its own. It will now be up to national governments and the European Parliament – along with citizens, communities, businesses and investors – to pick up the reins.”
Business Green 30th Nov 2016 read more »
European Commission 30th Nov 2016 read more »
The excavation of an underground used nuclear fuel final disposal facility at Olkiluoto, Finland, is set to begin next month. Last week the country’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) declared waste management company Posiva to be in a position to start construction of the repository.
Cumbria Trust 30th Nov 2016 read more »
Contractor YIT has signed a €20m (£17m) contract for the excavation of the first tunnels for a 430m-deep nuclear disposal facility in Finland.
Construction Index 1st Dec 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is failing in its oversight mandate by not extending its investigations into potentially flawed major components in Japanese reactors with a mere paper exercise, warned Greenpeace. Japanese-manufactured major components installed in French nuclear reactors are currently under investigation by the country’s safety regulator due to the discovery of excess carbon in the steel, which reduces the material’s toughness and increases the risk of catastrophic failure and reactor core meltdown. At its meeting this morning, the NRA commissioners announced that they had concluded there was no risk of excess carbon in reactors in Japan. However, not able to ignore reality completely, the NRA also stated that the situation in France with Japanese components under investigation means they will have to continue to review the situation.
Greenpeace Japan 22nd Nov 2016 read more »
A former nuclear site in Washington state is poisoning workers and threatening the health of those who live around it, according to a new investigation. Some experts have called the former Hanford nuclear plant ‘the most toxic place in America’ and ‘an underground Chernobyl waiting to happen’. The site, located in a rural area along the Columbia River, was commissioned by the Manhattan Project to produce plutonium for the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. It remained an active nuclear site until the end of the Cold War, when it was decommissioned and the Department of Energy subcontracted Washington River Protection Solutions to start the clean-up.
Daily Mail 30th Nov 2016 read more »
India unveils world’s largest solar plant. The facility in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu, has a capacity of 648 MW and covers an area of 10 sq km. This makes it the largest solar power plant at a single location, taking the title from the Topaz Solar Farm in California, which has a capacity of 550 MW. The solar plant, built in an impressive eight months and funded by the Adani Group, is cleaned every day by a robotic system, charged by its own solar panels.
Al Jazeeera 30th Nov 2016 read more »
The mayors of Atlanta, Cape Town, Paris and Vancouver have pledged to lead a 7,000-city push to combat the threat of climate change, even as Donald Trump’s election as US president dims hopes for co-ordinated national action. The group’s more than 7,000 members have all signed up to work on measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to make cities more resilient to the potential impacts of climate change. Mr Bloomberg said he expected US businesses, states and cities to continue with action on climate change, even if Mr Trump put s a brake on initiatives at the national level. “Almost all the progress made in the US was made by corporations and states,” Mr Bloomberg told the Financial Times. “What’s driving the climate issue is public support.” The Global Covenant of Mayors — formed from the merger of two earlier groups, the Compact of Mayors and the EU Covenant of Mayors — is one of the groups seeking to do more to address climate change than national governments. It brings together the leaders of about 7,100 towns and cities from 119 countries to work on best practice for curbing emissions and protecting against the possible threats posed by global warming.
FT 1st Dec 2016 read more »
Bournemouth Council has extended its climate change strategy beyond just delivering local efficiency improvements through to a long-term vision to become the nation’s green economy leader. The Council’s in-house electricity consumption has decreased from 19,037MWh in 2008/09 to 11,734MWh in 2014/15. An impressive feat, but energy management won’t attract tourists or business. However, the Council has been slowly implementing a new strategy that reaches far beyond its council buildings. Taking inspiration from cities such as Vancouver, Stockholm and Copenhagen, Bournemouth recently announced a plan to position itself at the vanguard of environmental protection; a wholesale economic transformation to attract businesses, talent and investment.
Edie 29th Nov 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Work is under way at a fabrication yard on the Isle of Lewis to construct parts for the £2.6bn Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (Bowl) project. Fife-based BiFab has a contract to construct 28 jackets and eight piles for the turbines needed for the scheme. Much of this construction work is being done at BiFab’s yard at Arnish, near Stornoway on Lewis. The contract also involves the company’s sites at Burntisland and Methil in Fife.
BBC 30th Nov 2016 read more »
The first 75-metre-long blades destined for windfarms off the UK’s coast will roll out of a factory in Hull when it officially opens on Thursday. The inauguration of the Siemens plant at the city’s Alexandra Dock employs 700 people and was hailed by campaigners as an example of how curbing carbon emissions could create jobs. Greg Clark, the energy secretary, is due to attend the opening of the £310m facility, which he said was the sort of project he wanted as part of the UK’s industrial strategy. The UK leads the world on offshore wind power, but other European countries such as Germany are catching up. “In the coming years the new offshore wind projects that this factory will supply could generate enough clean electricity to power over 3m homes and businesses – all with wind turbine blades produced by the dedicated and highly skilled Siemens workforce right here in Hull,” said Clark. The facility’s blades are much longer than those on previous generations of wind turbines, and will be deployed on bigger, more powerful windfarms further off the coast. The first batch will be delivered to a 580MW windfarm being built by Dong Energy 17 miles (27 km) off Blakeney Point, Norfolk, which is expected to be complete by 2018. The factory is expected to build hundreds of the blades each year. “This is a fine example of the new jobs and investment that people across the UK can expect to see if the government backs offshore wind in its industrial strategy and emissions reductions plans,” said Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace chief scientist.
Guardian 1st Dec 2016 read more »
VATTENFALL has signed leases totalling 24 years with Aberdeen Harbour Board, becoming the first offshore wind operator to invest long-term in the port’s facilities. The company is set to establish its construction team’s base within the Regent Centre by next month and also move into a warehouse unit at Commercial Quay. The facilities will support the construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance (O&M), and eventual decommissioning phases of Vattenfall’s more than £300 million European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off the Aberdeen coast.
The National 1st Dec 2016 read more »
Scottish Energy News 1st Dec 2016 read more »
Renewables – floating turbines
The national bird life protection charity RSPB Scotland has endorsed the proposal to build a floating offshore wind farm in the Pentland Firth near Dounreay. Developer Dounreay Trì Ltd is proposing to build a floating offshore wind farm consisting of two turbines, located on a single semi-submersible floating platform, with an installed capacity of between 8 to 16 megawatts (MW) approximately four miles off the Caithness coast.
Scottish Energy News 1st Dec 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Electric avenues that can transmit the sun’s energy onto power grids may be coming to a city near you. A subsidiary of Bouygues SA has designed rugged solar panels, capable of withstand the weight of an 18-wheeler truck, that they’re now building into road surfaces. After nearly five years of research and laboratory tests, they’re constructing 100 outdoor test sites and plan to commercialize the technology in early 2018. A kilometer-sized testing site began construction last month in the French village of Tourouvre in Normandy. The 2,800 square meters of solar panels are expected to generate 280 kilowatts at peak, with the installation generating enough to power all the public lighting in a town of 5,000 for a year, according to the company. For now, the cost of the materials makes only demonstration projects sensible. A square meter of the solar road currently costs 2,000 ($2,126) and 2,500 euros. That includes monitoring, data collection and installation costs. Wattway says it can make the price competitive with traditional solar farms by 2020.
Bloomberg 23rd Nov 2016 read more »
Keith Barnham: Many state schools struggling to help disadvantaged pupils are facing a further demand on their shrinking budgets. Prudent schools that have invested in solar panels to reduce their electricity bills now face a retrospective six- to eight-fold hike in their tax rates, if the government gets its way. This would be socially divisive, as it will apply to state schools but not to the private schools that have charitable status. The higher rates will also apply to businesses and other organisations that use solar electricity internally. This is yet another blow to the solar industry, already reeling from four separate subsidy cuts since May 2015. UK solar had been expanding exponentially, creating many new jobs and reducing both the wholesale price of electricity and our carbon emissions
Guardian 29th Nov 2016 read more »
Russian-owned roofing and insulation group TechnoNicol International is to use its newly-acquired Scottish base to launch an expansion drive in the US. Stirling-based Superglass, which it bought in the summer, will host a new regional headquarters. It will focus on new business opportunities in the US, as well as the UK and Ireland.
BBC 30th Nov 2016 read more »
Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of “unimaginable scale”, according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the “new normal”. The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the war in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency. Military leaders have long warned that global warming could multiply and accelerate security threats around the world by provoking conflicts and migration. They are now warning that immediate action is required.
Guardian 1st Dec 2016 read more »