[Machine Translation] The headlong rush of EDF and the state continues on the nuclear issue. Today, a convoy from AREVA’s Chalon-sur-Saône to deliver the head of the vessel of the nuclear plant “new generation” (obsolete before they emerged) Flamanville: the famous EPR. We are on the ground to alert the authorities about this new masquerade. Because this cover is not consistent: in April, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) announced the detection of an anomaly in the composition of the steel of the tank of the Flamanville EPR during one of its control AREVA Saint-Marcel (Chalon-sur-Saône). In addition, a battery of tests has shown that the steel of the tank (already in place on the construction of the EPR) and the cover (forged together but so far stored in Chalon) is more fragile than this that provide for safety standards: these are not reliable in the state. However, the tank and lid form two parts in one piece and it is impossible to “patch up” as is, where necessary (it will all redémonter). Therefore, fix a defective lid itself falls within the above absolute nonsense.
Greenpeace France 8th Feb 2016 read more »
[Machine Translation] This morning at 5am left the Areva plant in Saint-Marcel exceptional convoy of 27 meters long, 6 meters wide and 5 meters high, which will cross France to Flamanville on the Cotentin peninsula. On board a lid, that of the vessel of the EPR, setbacks to become the symbol of the strength of a complete failure of the nuclear industry. These two parts, bowl and lid, could seal the tomb of the EPR: they do not meet safety standards, and EDF would have wanted this transport goes unnoticed. Greenpeace is present this morning at Chalon. In April, following an inspection of the Nuclear Safety Authority, it announced that it had discovered a “serious fault” or “very serious” in the composition of the steel of the tank of the Flamanville EPR. Tests have shown that the steel tank already in place on the construction of the EPR, and this cover, forged together but so far stored in Chalon, is more fragile than specified standards safety. In fact, the excessive presence of carbon makes the steel brittle and subject to breakage. The bowl and lid are in one room in one piece and it is impossible to “patch up” the case of an anomaly in the composition of the steel. The only solution to the problem would then be to change the room completely, which seems almost impossible, and would require breaking the brackets and around the reactor: a huge additional costs which would bring the final blow to the “industrial jewel”, already moribund.
Creusot Infos 8th Feb 2016 read more »
POPULAR Dunbar SciFest returns to the town next month – complete with another exciting, jam-packed programme with lots of new exciting events, ranging from our new light show ‘Chain Reaction’, that will be projected onto Torness Power Station, to our EDF Energy science ceilidhs.”
East Lothian Courier 7th Feb 2016 read more »
HANT will be holding its AGM at the Dingwall Community Centre on 12 February 2016 at 7.30 pm and Dr. Paul Monaghan MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross has accepted HANT’s invitation to be the speaker.
Highland Against Nuclear Transport 8th Feb 2016 read more »
Plutonium – MoX
Time may finally be running out on the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, a multibillion-dollar, over-budget federal project that has been hard to kill. The Energy Department has already spent about $4.5 billion on the half-built plant near Aiken, S.C., designed to make commercial reactor fuel out of plutonium from nuclear bombs. New estimates place the ultimate cost of the facility at between $9.4 billion and $21 billion, and the outlay for the overall program, including related costs, could go as high as $30 billion. Officials warn that the delays in the so-called MOX program are so bad that the plant may not be ready to turn the first warhead into fuel until 2040.
New York Times 8th Feb 2016 read more »
The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday proposed scrapping a multibillion project in South Carolina to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium by turning it into fuel for nuclear reactors, and moved to bury the waste in New Mexico instead. Senior administration officials said the decision would save billions of dollars while speeding removal of plutonium stored at the department’s Savannah River site in South Carolina.
Reuters 9th Feb 2016 read more »
Radioactive Waste Management has recently played a crucial role in reducing the amount of time it will take to safely package the waste in one of the UK’s most hazardous facilities. The project will enable Sellafield to empty its Magnox Swarf Storage Silo (MSSS) four years earlier than had previously been planned. According to Alan Parry, Sellafield Ltd’s head of strategy for MSSS, “RWM were fantastic and understood straight away what we were trying to do.”Ultra-conservative assumptions had previously been made about the nature and state of the waste inside the silo and the design of the plant designated for its treatment. However, a research project in 2014 to find out more about the contents provided evidence that these assumptions had been unnecessarily pessimistic.
NDA 3rd Feb 2016 read more »
Levy Control Framework
Investors have called on the government to provide clarity on the levy control framework (LCF) beyond 2020. Speaking at a meeting of the Energy and Climate Change Committee on investor confidence in the energy sector, Alejandro Ciruelos, Santander’s head of UK project and acquisition finance, said the framework had been a “helpful policy tool” in terms of understanding the total spend on low carbon technologies. He said, however, an important question remained over “whether that £7.6 billion cap will be increased or upsized and then what is going happen beyond 2020/21. It’s the most important policy variable for us.” Peter Dickson, technical director at Glennmont Partners, agreed it was a “major concern” that there was no specific target beyond 2020 – “just that overall commitment that we know what we’ll be working towards is important.”
Utility Week 9th Feb 2016 read more »
Top secret mock nuclear accidents testing the responses of the military and emergency services have revealed numerous mistakes that would have led to “avoidable deaths”, according to official assessments. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) was so concerned about the problems that it carried out “an overarching, fundamental review” of arrangements for handling serious nuclear weapons incidents behind closed doors last year. Assessments of emergency exercises by the MoD’s internal watchdog, the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR), expose a string of mishaps including life-threatening delays, equipment shortages, coordination failures and communication breakdowns. One report criticises officials for “substantially understating” the scale of the dangers facing the public in a staged briefing for the media.
The Ferret 9th Feb 2016 read more »
Three top-secret mock nuclear accidents that were staged to test the responses of the military and emergency services have revealed numerous mistakes that would have led to “avoidable deaths”, according to official assessments. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) was so concerned about the problems that it carried out “an overarching, fundamental review” behind closed doors last year of arrangements for handling serious nuclear weapons incidents. Assessments of the emergency exercises, carried out by the MoD’s internal watchdog, the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR), exposed a string of mishaps, including life-threatening delays, equipment shortages, coordination failures and communication breakdowns. One report criticised officials for “substantially understating” the scale of the dangers facing the public in a staged press conference. Anti-nuclear groups claimed the exercise assessments exposed “major weaknesses” in MoD plans for responding to nuclear accidents. “The MoD’s rickety old nuclear safety arrangements are not up to the job of keeping the public, emergency responders, or MoD personnel safe,” said Peter Burt, from the Nuclear Information Network.
Guardian 9th Feb 2016 read more »
The Japanese cabinet has approved a bill aimed at “taking measures necessary for the steady implementation of the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel”. The bill creates a new entity responsible for reprocessing and introduces a new system for funding it.
World Nuclear News 9th Feb 2016 read more »
A slim majority of Scots support nuclear disarmament, according to a poll for STV. The survey by Ipsos MORI found 51% of those asked said they supported the UK scrapping all of its nuclear weapons, while 40% would keep them. When asked if they supported the UK removing the weapons even if other countries keep theirs, however, only 44% agreed, while 46% said they were opposed. The poll comes as the Labour Party continues a review of its policy on nuclear weapons, with shadow home secretary Andy Burnham conceding this week it may be “impossible” for the party to reach an agreed position.
STV 9th Feb 2016 read more »
IPSOS-MORI 9th Feb 2016 read more »
A further £201m has been announced for design work on the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear submarines. It will fund equipment and systems layout design and prototype production. The Successor vessels, designed at BAE Systems’ Barrow shipyard in Cumbria, will replace the ageing Vanguard class from the early 2030s. Chief of Materiel (Fleet) Vice Admiral Simon Lister called it “the most technologically advanced nuclear submarine” in the Royal Navy’s history.
BBC 9th Feb 2016 read more »
Renewables eclipsed fossil fuels as the largest source of new power capacity added to US electrical grids in 2015, for the second year in a row. As much as 16GW of new clean energy was installed – equating to 68% of all new capacity. Wind farms took the largest chunk of the pie, with 8.5GW of new turbines installed, as developers sought to benefit from a federal tax credit set to expire at the end of 2016; subsequently extended by the US Congress for another five years last December. In Europe, wind power leapfrogged hydropower to become the third-biggest source of electricity in the EU last year. Energy generated from wind turbines accounted for 44% of new generating capacity, compared to 21% from gas, 17.5% from coal and 15.5% from hydro. Germany installed 47% of the 12.8GW of new wind capacity, followed by Poland, France and the UK respectively, according to the European Wind Energy Association. Europe’s offshore wind sector flourished last year, canceling out a dip in new onshore machines. In 2015, some $17bn was invested in utility-scale offshore wind projects in the region, compared to $10bn for onshore wind projects, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Renew Economy 10th Feb 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
The UK’s fledgling tidal energy sector may be waiting nervously to see whether the government will back plans for a major new tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, but that is not stopping other developers moving forward with plans for new projects. Fair Head Tidal, a joint venture between Cork-based DP Energy and Belgium’s Bluepower NV, announced this week that it is moving forward with plans to submit a marine licence application this summer for its proposed 100MW tidal project off the coast of Northern Ireland. The Fair Head Tidal Energy Park is planned for a site off the coast of north Antrim, near Ballycastle, and would feature an array of subsea tidal turbines.
Business Green 9th Feb 2016 read more »
Ministers are set to launch a review of tidal power, with talks in deadlock over government support for a proposed Â£1bn tidal lagoon in Swansea. Officials from Decc, the energy department, will examine the potential for tidal energy across the UK in the review, which will be announced on Wednesday. The study will report by autumn and will consider the ideal scale for the industry, financing options and the impact on industrial supply chains. The government has expressed enthusiasm about the plans for the tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay – the first such scheme in the country – but ministers have baulked at the subsidy sought by the company building it.
FT 9th Feb 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
A £2bn offshore wind farm project on the verge of construction could be scuppered because of an unresolved legal challenge over fears it will kill too many birds. The 450-megawatt Neart na Gaoithe wind farm would see up to 64 turbines, each up to 646 feet tall, built nine miles off the coast of Fife. It was one of only two offshore wind projects to win a crucial subsidy contract from the Government last year. But that deal could soon be revoked unless a judicial review brought by the RSPB against planning consent for the project is resolved. The charity argues the wind farm, together with three other proposed projects in the Firths of Forth and Tay, would be among “the most deadly for birds anywhere in the world”.
Telegraph 7th Feb 2016 read more »
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) will invest £500,000 into a smart home technology research project by the University of Nottingham, it announced today. The Creative Energy Homes scheme consists of four detached and three semi-detached houses that act as a test bed for the integration of new energy efficient technologies. The investment will enable the scheme to become a fully flexible integrated community, smart heat and power network demonstration and test facility, providing a new small-scale heat network with heat storage capability.
Utility Week 9th Feb 2016 read more »
Greenpeace has built a 10-metre high mock fracking rig outside Parliament, to protest the Government’s support for the controversial drilling method. The rig, accompanied by lorry and drilling sounds and featuring a flare which fires up every hour, was erected to coincide with the opening of a public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s proposals to frack for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire. Although Lancashire county councillors rejected the firm’s application last June, Cuadrilla has appealed against the decision and Greg Clark, the communities secretary, has said he will intervene to make the final decision.
Independent 9th February 2016 read more »
Rival tribes of shale gas executives and anti-fracking protesters converged on Blackpool Football Club on Tuesday for the latest round in Cuadrilla’s battle to win permission to drill in Lancashire. But experts say the UK’s shale industry is threatened less by planning protests and environmental campaigns and more by simple economics: the tumbling price of gas. “There could not be a worse time to be embarking on challenging gas projects,” said Howard Rogers, director of gas research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. “UK shale might [become] commercially successful but I struggle to see that it is going to be of material scale.” The price of wholesale gas in the UK on the spot market has come down from about $1.20 per therm – the unit in which prices are generally measured – in late 2013 to about $0.40 now. Ahmed Farman, an oil and gas analyst at Jefferies, said: “There is a global glut of gas and we continue to see gas supply everywhere. That is why prices have come down so much. It means there is a big economic challenge for shale producers in the UK.”
FT 9th Feb 2016 read more »
The UK government is putting climate targets at risk by pushing for more gas while scrapping support for carbon capture and storage (CCS), according to MPs. A House of Commons Energy and Climate Change (ECC) Committee report says ending support for CCS seems to be in “direct contradiction” with the government’s renewed focus on gas. It adds that pursuing gas “cannot get the UK to its 2030 and 2050 carbon targets without CCS”. Carbon Brief sums up the report, which echoes other recent findings on CCS and carbon budgets.
Carbon Brief 10th Feb 2016 read more »
Guardian 10th Feb 2016 read more »
Freedom of activity and expression for green causes is under attack in the UK. That’s the message we get from the various laws being enacted about what NGOs can or cannot do, and what organisations can or cannot do if they are charities. The latest piece of right wing attack on our freedoms comes with the attempt by the fracking industry to curb opposition to its activities by mobilising the regulations on what charities can do.
Dave Toke’s Blog 9th Feb 2016 read more »