THE last of 32 consignments of breeder fuel used in Dounreay’s dome-shaped reactor has arrived by rail at the giant Sellafield reprocessing plant in Cumbria. The 11 tonne payload of irradiated uranium was taken in batches by lorry from the Caithness site to the specially constructed railhead at Georgemas where it was loaded on to a train operated by DRS, the national nuclear freight operator. The breeder fuel had been kept in secure stores at Dounreay following the closure of the Dounreay Fast Reactor in 1977. The material had originally been earmarked to remain at Dounreay but in 2011, the UK government opted to move the fuel for reprocessing at Sellafield. In December 2012, site licence company DSRL oversaw the first of the 32 movements. The final shipment arrived in Sellafield earlier this month. A further 33 tonnes of breeder material remains inside the reactor and is also scheduled to be transported to Sellafield.
John O Groat Journal 29th May 2015 read more »
India’s defence minister has voiced concern that the radical Islamist group Isis could obtain a nuclear weapon from “states like Pakistan”. Rao Inderjit Singh made the comments on the sidelines of the Shangri-La regional security conference in Singapore, Bloomberg has reported.
Independent 31st May 2015 read more »
IB Times 31st May 2015 read more »
MSPs on the Energy Committee of the Scottish parliament will this week hear further presentations on the security of Scottish energy supplies including from the following Dr Neal Wade, Senior Research Associate, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Newcastle University; Gina Hanrahan, Climate and Energy Policy Officer, WWF Scotland.
Scottish Energy News 1st June 2015 read more »
Ever-improving safety standards are making certification increasingly onerous and expensive and designs are evolving, requiring constant new R&D effort. In short, suppliers to the industry need to invest heavily and for the long-term and there is only one reason why industry would do that: an assured ongoing business stream that will provide return on that investment. Either we build nuclear power plants or the supply chain will gradually fade away as companies seek alternative markets.
Supply Management 1st June 2015 read more »
Exelon CEO Christopher Crane said the nation’s largest nuclear generator will decide in September whether to close its money-losing, 1,824-MW Quad Cities merchant nuclear plant in Illinois. Time is running out for Exelon to craft an economic solution for three Illinois nuclear plants — Byron and Clinton are the others, totaling about 5,000 MW of generation — Crane said in comments webcast Thursday from the Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York. The Chicago-based company had hoped the Illinois General Assembly would pass Exelon-backed legislation creating a low-carbon portfolio standard to provide the nuclear plants with an estimated $300 million/year in economic support before its 2015 regular session adjourns late next week. That appears unlikely, although lawmakers still could consider the legislation during a two-week fall veto session in November.
Platts 29th May 2015 read more »
This year, US Senator Lamar Alexander has lashed out against Germany as an example of where the United States should not go. The desperate attempt to reframe the Energiewende as an “energy mess” shows what the real threat is: Germany is poised to prove that a low-carbon future without nuclear is the best option for a thriving industrial country. In conclusion, Senator Alexander is recycling Energiewende myths. During his visit to Germany, he apparently was not curious to see what was really going on. Instead, he cherry-picked numbers to trash talk the German energy transition. He complains about government support for renewables without acknowledging that nuclear only survives today because of governmental support. His frustration is understandable: Germany is in the process of demonstrating not only that a highly industrialized country does not need nuclear power. The Energiewende also reveals that baseload nuclear is incompatible with a power supply largely based on wind + solar and that a renewable supply is the better option. As such, the Energiewende is a great challenge to Senator Alexander’s baby.
Renew Economy 1st June 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
Subsidies that have fuelled the spread of onshore wind farms are to be dramatically curtailed, under Government plans to be unveiled within days. The Telegraph has learnt that a generous subsidy scheme will be shut down earlier than expected, effectively preventing thousands of turbines from getting built, under plans being considered by Amber Rudd, the new energy secretary. The proposals, which could be announced as soon as this week, will set out for the first time how the Conservatives will implement their manifesto pledge to end any new public subsidy for onshore wind farms – amid concerns that turbines are u npopular with local communities. Under current policy, any big onshore wind turbines built before the end of March 2017 would automatically be able to qualify for generous payments through a scheme called the Renewables Obligation (RO), which is funded through green levies on consumer energy bills. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has now confirmed it plans to “reform” the RO scheme. It is understood to be looking at ending the free-for-all by shutting the scheme down early – effectively preventing thousands of turbines getting built. The action follows similar moves taken to curb subsidies for solar farms last year. After the RO shuts, the only possible subsidies for wind farms will be through a new scheme that is less generous and also much more strictly rationed, with ministers deciding how many projects – if any – are awarded subsidy contracts, enabling them to block further onshore wind if desired. As well as big wind farms, subsidies for small individual wind turbines such as those popular with farmers – funded through a separate scheme called the Feed in Tariff – are expected to be limited under the plans.
Telegraph 31st May 2015 read more »
Wind industry makes last-ditch effort to save subsidies. Government plans to curtail onshore wind subsidy scheme will see millions of pounds of investments written off and “massively damage” investor confidence, ScottishPower claims. The plans, expected to be unveiled within days, are designed to implement the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge to end any new public subsidy for onshore wind farms. The wind industry on Sunday stepped up last-ditch lobbying to try to save the subsidies, insisting onshore wind was the cheapest green energy option and popular with the public. Under current policy, any big onshore wind turbines built by March 2017 would automatically receive subsidies under the RO. When the RO shuts, the only subsidies for onshore wind will be through new contracts that are less generous and are strictly rationed by ministers who will decide how much cash – if any – is available. Mr Anderson said the plans for early RO closure were of “huge concern” and he was also worried DECC would “kill the budget” for the new contracts. “Then you have got a whole lot of people writing off literally millions of pounds of investment,” he said.
Telegraph 31st May 2015 read more »
Renewables – tidal
An ambitious project to build the world’s first tidal lagoon for generating clean electricity off the coast of Swansea has triggered an environmental row on the south coast of Cornwall. And a second row is brewing, with a Chinese construction group in poll position to win a huge contract to undertake marine works at Swansea Bay, despite key promises by the developers to prioritise local involvement. The Cornish dispute centres on a project to reopen a quarry at Dean near St Kevergne on the Lizard Peninsula, to source at least 3m tonnes of stone for the Swansea project.
Guardian 31st May 2015 read more »
Tesla has announced that the first of its utility-scale Powerpack battery systems will be deployed in Ireland next year, under a new deal with energy storage firm Gaelectric. The 1MW pilot system will is said to be the first in a series of battery projects designed to help integrate renewable energy sources into the Irish grid. Tesla said it will also be exploring opportunities for other Tesla Energy products in residential and commercial applications.
Edie 29th May 2015 read more »
Six of Europe’s largest oil and gas companies have banded together for the first time to ask the UN to let them help devise a plan to stop global warming. In a sign of the rising pressure on fossil fuel companies ahead of a UN meeting in Paris to seal an international climate deal, the chief executives of groups including Royal Dutch Shell and Britain’s BP have sought direct talks with governments on creating a global carbon pricing system. “We owe it to future generations to seek realistic, workable solutions to the challenge of providing more energy while tackling climate change,” the executives say in a letter to the FT revealing their plan.
FT 31st May 2015 read more »
FT 1st June 2015 read more »