New emergency zone arrangements to help people affected by a serious accident at Sizewell B nuclear power station come into effect tomorrow. Around 7,000 homes and businesses in Sizewell, Leiston and Aldringham will receive letters explaining the changes, which experts say reflect the reduced risk following the de-fuelling of Sizewell A. A comprehensive review of emergency planning has been carried out and the Office for Nuclear Regulation has decided to dispense with its circular 2.4kilometre zone and 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 Leiston and the majority of nearby Aldringham will in future be included in it. People living in this zone will be alerted to any serious incident at Sizewell and be updated with information and advice on taking shelter or evacuation, while those within one km will be issued with potassium iodate tablets (stable iodine) as a counter-measure.
East Anglian Daily Times 31st Dec 2014 read more »
Today is New Years Eve and we walked the 5 minute walk from the centre of Beckermet to the outer boundary of “Moorside” in wind, mist and rain with our soggy banners. “Moorside” is the innocuous name the nuclear developers are calling the plan for 3 new nuclear reactors and associated sprawl. The area is beautiful, with ancient hedgerows and two Sites of Scientific Interest, the River Ehen and Church Moss. The whole of this 500 acre area has been bought by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority with public money – in effect – WE OWN IT! In so far as anyone can own a barn owl quartering the greenfields, or the roe deer pronking across fields, or the oystercatcher, lapwing and curlew with their wonderful joyful cries across the fields and shore. We saw Petersburgh Farm where Copeland Borough Council have just refused permission for a single wind turbine application on the grounds of visual intrusion and damage to wildlife. Its fair enough for them to scrutinise planning applications and come to a decision but what happened to their scrutiny over the “exploratory” 100 boreholes up to 150 metres deep? They didn’t even discuss it!! The decision for these boreholes was delegated to Copeland Borough Council’s Development Manager. The boreholes are in preparation for three diabolic nuclear reactors which would either have cooling towers 600 – 800ft (243 metres) high or vast cooling installations churning up the radioactively contaminated Irish Sea.
Radiation Free Lakeland 31st Dec 2014 read more »
British renewable energy is a lot more costly compared to renewable energy in other European countries, according to a recently published report. The system of financing renewable energy schemes in the UK is designed (whether by intention or otherwise) to give a very large proportion of the income stream, earmarked for renewable energy and financed by effective levies on consumer electricity bills, to the major electricity suppliers rather than pay the renewable energy schemes themselves. Under the Renewables Obligation (RO) (to cut a longer story short) the renewable energy (RE) generators are dependent on the major electricity suppliers to give them the long term contract they would need to raise the necessary bank loans and satisfy equity investors. They (the Big Six) take a big cut for doing this ‘service’ – which can amount to around 30 per cent of the income stream dedicated to renewable energy. In other words, if we had a system of German style ‘feed-in tariff’ contract that was available to anybody the money needed to pay for a given amount of renewable energy would be up to 30 per cent less. Yes, if RE was financed this way RE would be at least 25 per cent cheaper. Well, certainly for onshore schemes. The offshore wind picture is a bit more complicated since there are more uncertainties involved in that (eg you don’t know how much the ships you need are going to cost to hire in advance), but the Germans still manage to do this a lot more cheaply!
Dave Toke’s Blog 31st Dec 2014 read more »
THE achievements of a nuclear industry leader from Stonehouse have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year honours list. Gwen Parry-Jones, who works as a safety and assurance director at EDF Nuclear Generation, has been awarded an OBE for services to science and technology. Her work in the nuclear industry was also recognised earlier this year when she joined the Civil Nuclear Police Authority board as an Industry Representative Member.
Stroud Journal 31st Dec 2015 read more »
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has said it is not possible to have a comprehensive debate and full assessment of Ireland’s energy needs for the future by excluding any known sources for energy. Alex White said it was not for him to advocate nuclear or any other form of energy. However, he said it was his job to conduct a comprehensive analysis of what Ireland’s energy needs are for the future. Mr White said there was no proposal for any nuclear reactor to be built in Ireland at all, and the law prevents that occurring. He said Ireland was way, way off anything like that even being considered. Minister White said the question of safety was the first issue on the agenda in any assessment of nuclear energy. A green paper on energy policy was published in May 2014, and a white paper is currently being drafted. The minister said this would be a definitive statement on what the energy needs are for the future of the country, and this will be published in the summer of 2015.
RTE 31st Dec 2014 read more »
Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear and Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear (In Vermont) both join Thom Hartman. There are 61 nuclear power plants operating across America – which means that millions and millions of Americans are within striking distance of a nuclear disaster. Isn’t it time to abandon nuclear power altogether?
Aboriginal Press 31st Dec 2014 read more »
There will be no greater diplomatic prize in 2015 than a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. In its global significance, it would dwarf the US detente with Cuba, and not just because there are seven times more Iranians than Cubans. This deal will not be about cash machines in the Caribbean, but about nuclear proliferation in the most volatile region on Earth.
Guardian 31st Dec 2014 read more »
The Guardian newspaper reported on 30 December that the Home Office dismissed the threat of a “nuclear winter” impact of the use of nuclear WMDs as “scaremongering”, as recorded in the National Archive papers release for 1984. Unfortunately, the current Government appears to have the same ‘in- denial’ response to this very real threat to humanity in its obsession to retain – and replace – the Trident nuclear WMD system.
David Lowry’s Blog 31st Dec 2014 read more »
It seems remarkable today but less than 60 years ago, Britain was exploding nuclear bombs in the middle of Australia. In the mid-1950s, seven bombs were tested at Maralinga in the south-west Australian outback. The combined force of the weapons doubled that of the bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in World War Two. In archive video footage, British and Australian soldiers can be seen looking on, wearing short sleeves and shorts and doing little to protect themselves other than turning their backs and covering their eyes with their hands.
BBC 31st Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
Scotland has now reached 142 MW of solar PV, while across the U.K. cumulative PV capacity now stands at 4.671 GW. What are the recent PV trends in the U.K.’s regions and will Scottish PV soar in 2015? What a year it has been for Scotland. While the independence referendum held in September kept the country in union with the rest of the U.K., the extent of citizens’ and communities’ involvement in the independence debate sparked a healthy grassroots trend in Scottish politics. It is this trend that the Scottish Government and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) need to turn to in order to promote Scotland’s promising solar PV sector. Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland told pv magazine recently: “We will soon experience the growth of the Scottish solar PV sector and most possibly this will be initiated by city councils and some Scottish Universities that will develop solar arrays on the rooftops of buildings and empty sites, setting an example that will then be followed wider.” WWF Scotland, Lightsource Renewable Energy and the Solar Trade Association (STA) all lent their voices this week in urging the Scottish Government to provide leadership on Scottish solar PV. Nick Boyle, Lightsource Renewable Energy’s CEO, said: “To ensure Scotland has the same opportunity to benefit from solar energy as the rest of the U.K., we need Scottish Ministers to use whatever powers are at their disposal to influence energy policy in support of solar technology deployment.”
PV Magazine 31st Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Offshore wind farms are drawing power from the National Grid to keep turning and prevent them icing up in subzero temperatures, it has emerged. The turbines need to idle slowly when temperatures plunge in calm conditions to stop ice forming and to power hydraulic systems that turn the blades into the wind. Critics of wind farms, which cost three times as much as conventional power stations per unit of energy produced, said it was “another example of why wind farms are difficult and expensive to manage”, but industry bodies pointed out that all power stations use electricity as well as generating it.
Telegraph 31st Dec 2014 read more »
European Union rules will oblige new networked devices such as modems and internet-connected televisions to switch themselves off when not in use. Many gadgets are connected to the internet 24/7, using 25-100 watts while their owners sleep. But new devices sold from Thursday will fall to sleep, using a trickle of power when they are not in use. The European Commission said the move would save an average household about £32 a year. The change is part of the EU’s Ecodesign initiative, which aims to cut costs, improve competitiveness and reduce carbon emissions.
BBC 1st Jan 2015 read more »
The price of oil plunged to $55.91 per barrel on Wednesday as the US opened the way to crude exports and China produced another set of downbeat economic statistics that pointed to a global slowdown. The moves triggered a new bout of cost-cutting at supermarket forecourts in Britain with Asda and Morrisons unveiling plans to slice a further 2p per litre off petrol and diesel. The price of Brent crude oil is now 50% lower than it was in June when commodity traders and analysts woke up to the fact that a combination of increased American fossil fuel production and weak global demand could produce an energy glut.
Guardian 31st Dec 2014 read more »
Could the slowdown in global warming be coming to an end? Some scientists think it may be – and not just because 2014 looks like being the hottest year ever in Britain, Europe and the world. If they are right, much of the slanging match that passes for the climate change debate is likely to move onto new ground. Sceptics have long cited the decade-and-a-half long “hiatus” in the rise in global surface temperatures – which has taken place even as emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have continued remorselessly to increase, and was not predicted by the computer models used by climate scientists – as demonstrating that the two cannot be connected. The scientists retort that the laws of physics dictate both that the amount of heat entering the Earth’s system has gone on increasing as emissions have grown, and that – since it cannot have disappeared – it must have gone somewhere.
Telegraph 31st Dec 2014 read more »