The Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) announced today that Professor Bruce Yardley has been appointed to the new role of Chief Geologist. Professor Yardley will provide advice to RWMD and its stakeholders on all Earth science aspects of geological disposal and will work for RWMD on a part-time basis whilst continuing with his role as a professor in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds.
NDA 28th Feb 2014 read more »
A public vigil is to be held at Heysham Nuclear Power station on Saturday, March 8th, from 12 noon until 1pm to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Fukishima nuclear disaster and to draw attention to government predictions about how climate change and associated sea level rises and storm surges could affect Heysham’s nuclear power stations. Local architect Mo Kelly will be taking levels to demonstrate how high sea levels may be in 2100. She will show how high a 5 metre storm surge would reach, making reference to the 18 metre high waves which recently overcame sea defences, damaging property and destroying railway lines on the south coast this winter.
Virtual Lancaster 28th Feb 2014 read more »
The prospect of the former power plant site at Chapelcross being used to store waste from nuclear submarines has been discussed in Annan. The Dumfries and Galloway facility is on a provisional Ministry of Defence shortlist of five locations. No decision will be made until after public consultation this year. However, the issue was raised at a meeting of the Chapelcross Site Stakeholder Group (CSSG) to discuss the prospect of the Scottish site’s use.
BBC 28th Feb 2014 read more »
Areva Inc and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) have announced separate initiatives that will see the companies share technology developed for nuclear energy applications with non-nuclear markets. Areva’s North American subsidiary Areva Inc is offering its automated non-destructive examination (NDE) systems to the US aerospace, steel forging and railway industries through a newly established dedicated organisation, NDE Solutions.
World Nuclear News 28th Feb 2014 read more »
Catherine Mitchell: Whatever anyone’s views, Ed Miliband’s Energy Reset speech has been good for shining a spotlight on Energy Policy and this, without doubt, has led to more vigorous responses from all sorts of actors about transparency of prices and profits, including this latest action by Ofgem.
IGov 28th Feb 2014 read more »
Wind and solar have joined a long list of clean energy technologies – geothermal power, waste-to-energy, solar hot water, hydro-power, sugar-cane based ethanol, combined heat and power, and all sorts of energy efficiency – which can be fully competitive with fossil fuels in the right circumstances. What is even more important is that the cost reductions that have led to this point are set to continue inexorably, far out into the future.The best newly-built wind farms are selling power at the equivalent of 3p/KWh before subsidies, which neither gas, nor coal, nor nuclear power can match. LED light bulbs can be bought for a few pounds, providing home-owners a quick and cheap way of cutting their utility bills. Before the Fukushima accident in 2011 there was much talk of a nuclear renaissance, and some countries remain committed to building new plants. However, the UK experience is instructive: the government had to offer a power price of £92.50/MWh, adjusted for inflation over 35 years, to get new nuclear power stations built. Nuclear power works and it is low-carbon – but it’s not cheap and most likely never again will be.
Conservative Home 27th Feb 2014 read more »
Millions of households are owed refunds averaging almost £60 each from their former energy suppliers, regulator Ofgem has revealed. The Big Six energy suppliers have amassed more than £400m over the past six years from customers who have switched supplier or moved house, the regulator said, describing it as an “unacceptably large amount of money”.
Telegraph 28th Feb 2014 read more »
Niger fails to reach uranium mining deal with French nuclear firm Areva. Deadlock over royalties as Oxfam points out Areva’s global turnover is more than four times Niger’s entire annual budget.
Guardian 28th Feb 2014 read more »
The Prime Minister had made his strongest statement on “man-made climate change” in years, calling it “one of the most serious threats that this country and the world faces”. And just hours before that, the Telegraph had reported that the Government was dropping plans, exposed in this column last Saturday, to suburbanise National Parks by allowing landowners to convert barns into clusters of homes.
Telegraph 1st March 2014 read more »
Letter: We write in response to the article by Tim Webb on the involvement of Russian companies in nuclear new-build in Britain, in which he repeats notions of a huge death toll from Chernobyl. In terms of radiogenic effects from high doses, 134 emergency workers suffered from acute radiation syndrome. Forty-seven have subsequently died; only 28 of these from the effects of the radiation. There has been a large increase in thyroid cancer in those who were young at the time of exposure but only a 1 per cent death rate from thyroid cancer is predicted. Since the number of cases is expected to be 16,000 by 2065, this equates to 160 deaths. Given that 6 million residents received a radiation dose that is equivalent only to that of a single hospital CT scan (9mSv), it is highly unlikely that we will see anything like the number of deaths (4,000-200,000) cited in the article. In reporting the effects of radiation e xposure, accuracy is essential in preventing unnecessary anxiety. Professor Gerry Thomas, Imperial College London; Professor Mike Fitzpatrick, Open University; Nick Ross, journalist; Professor Andrew Sherry, Manchester University; Dr Tim Stone, Visiting Professor, UCL
Times 1st March 2014 read more »
Finland’s TVO was unable on Friday to estimate a start date for its long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor as the utility and French supplier Areva, already battling in court, blamed each other for the latest delays. Finnish daily Kauppalehti cited sources from the site saying the startup of the reactor could be delayed until at least 2018 as work had slowed. Early last year, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said the start might be delayed until 2016. Construction of the Areva-designed EPR reactor began in 2005 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2009.Site manager Jouni Silvennoinen said TVO was still waiting for supplier Areva-Siemens to update its work schedule following a reduction of 400 workers at the site this year. TVO said the site currently has about 1,000 workers.Areva Finland has said it cut staff to focus its efforts on the most critical tasks, but TVO said more could be done. Asked about the risk to Areva’s reputation of a conflict with a client, Oursel said the two EPRs being built in Taishan, China were on budget and on schedule and that Britain’s choice of two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point proved the problem was not with its reactor design.”The EPR is seen as a good technology, and the problems we experience are more and more specifically Finnish,” he said.A fourth EPR being built in France, now 57 percent complete, has also been haunted by multi-year delays and billion-euro cost overruns, however.
Reuters 28th Feb 2014 read more »
Investment decisions on Fennovoima’s 1,200MW, €6 billion Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, Finland are expected to be announced today.
Infrastructure Journal 28th Feb 2014 read more »
US – radwaste
The radiation exposure of at least 13 workers at a nuclear dump in a New Mexico salt bed more than 2,000 feet below the ground has brought new attention to the nation’s long struggle to find places to dispose of tons of Cold War-era waste.
Washington Post 28th Feb 2014 read more »
Cumbria Trust 1st March 2014 read more »
The 950MW Hanbit No. 2 nuclear reactor, located in in the Jeollanam-do province of South Korea, has been temporarily shut down due to a technical problem. South Korea’s state-run company Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) said in a statement the shut down will not interfere with electricity production, and no radiation risks were reported. An unnamed KHNP spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying that the reactor automatically shuts down if there are any signs of problems to protect and maintain overall safety.
Energy Business Review 28th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
At Green Party conference today, Cllr Andrew Cooper announced the country’s largest council-led solar panel scheme which will see solar panels installed for 2000 homes in the Kirklees area, West Yorkshire. Green Party councillors won backing for the plan from Kirklees Council, which will create jobs, reduce people’s bills and help the UK reach its renewable energy and CO2 emissions targets for 2020.
Yorkshire & Humberside Green Party 28th Feb 2014 read more »
Algy Cluff is many things — serial entrepreneur, former soldier, former journalist, former magazine proprietor, one-time would-be MP and mining industry visionary and veteran — to which now can be added revolutionary. In returning to the North Sea almost 40 years after helping to make some of its early oil discoveries, he is preparing to take on all-comers in pursuit of what he claims is an untapped energy source so big it could dwarf Britain’s huge shale gas deposits. Energy’s future, he says, lies in coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel that green taxes are designed to make extinct, and, to the horror of environmentalists, he wants to burn billions of tonnes of the stuff under the sea to extract gas in an experimental technique known as underground coal gasification, or UCG for short. Cluff Natural Resources, the fifth listed company he has founded, has won five UCG licences covering 31,000 hectares off the coast of Cumbria and Fife, as well as the birdwatchers’ paradise of the Dee Estuary, the Loughor Estuary in South Wales and the Firth of Forth.
Times 1st March 2014 read more »
Norway is to debate whether the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund – funded by petroleum revenues – should stop investing in oil, gas and coal companies. The two governing centre-right parties and two of their allies have agreed to set up an expert group to look into the $840bn oil fund’s investments in fossil fuels and report back in a year’s time. Any decision to stop investing in fossil fuel-related companies would send shockwaves through markets where the oil fund’s actions are closely followed. Oil and gas companies represent 8.4 per cent of the fund’s equity investments, or about $44bn, according to its annual report. Three of its top 10 holdings are in oil companies: Royal Dutch Shell, BG Group, and BP.
FT 28th Feb 2014 read more »
The world uses a lot of fossil fuels – and there’s plenty left to burn, if we want to – with all of the world’s major economies still relying on coal, oil, and gas to provide most of their power. But the more countries burn, the more difficult it becomes to constrain global warming. The trouble is, it’s difficult to quickly swap a fossil fuel based energy system for one that’s low-carbon. It takes considerable time and money to replace coal and gas with nuclear and renewables. There is a technology that promises to allow continued fossil fuel use while providing emissions cuts, however -carbon capture and storage (CCS). In theory, CCS technology can capture emissions from fossil fuel power plants and lock them underground. That could allow power plants to burn fossil fuels with a fraction of the emissions. A Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) spokesperson says that if new CCS projects work, DECC has guaranteed it will sign a lucrative contract for difference with the companies for any power they generate – giving the projects a ‘golden ticket’ into the market. But while new technology and government incentives should help companies in their quest for workable CCS plants, the main thrust of government’s argument that CCS will work this time is simply that there is no plan B. The government hopes to get up to 13 gigawatts of fossil fuel power with CCS attached online by 2030. Every year CCS fails to come online makes that goal increasingly untenable, and decarbonising the UK’s economy more expensive. Moreover, every tonne of fossil fuel that’s burned without CCS contributes to climate change, and makes constraining temperatures ever harder. So the UK’s latest efforts have to work -because time is running out for learning how to make large scale CCS a reality.
Carbon Brief 28th Feb 2014 read more »