We are at the start of the most ambitious civil nuclear programme in this country’s history. A generation of state-of-the-art reactors worth at least £60bn will be built across the country, from Hinkley Point in the South-west to Hartlepool in the North-east. Tens of billions more are being spent clearing up radioactive waste at historic, highly hazardous nuclear sites, including Sellafield in Cumbria and Dounreay in the Scottish Highlands. A shame, then, that we’re struggling to find enough nuclear inspectors to make sure all this radioactive material is stored safely. Les Philpott, the deputy chief executive at the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), has told me that although the organisation has undertaken a “massive” recruitment programme, it is “running just to stand still”. This situation isn’t the ONR’s fault. But it is a reminder of how easy it is for ambitious governments to forget about the simple things – like having enough experts around to make sure the country doesn’t suffer a nuclear disaster.
Independent 9th May 2014 read more »
New nuclear power stations should be included in the contract-for-difference (CfD) reverse auctions, according to a leading think tank. A report by Centre Forum stated that new nuclear is a “mature technology” and therefore should be included in the CfD reverse auction. It is claimed this would have help would “ensure value for money” for UK electricity customers. The report also added that this would have helped to increase competition for the development of the technology which would have made it easier to show the strike price, of £92.50/MWh, represented value for money.
Utility Week 8th May 2014 read more »
More questions arise over new nuclear deal between EDF and UK government. Quote from European Competition Commission: “The Commission is worried that the Government’s claim that new nuclear power is necessary to keep the lights on makes no sense since the new stations will not be ready until 2023 whereas problems with continuity of supply will come to a head before 2020”. “The cost of support is way beyond the cost to society of even the most costly power outages that might happen at that time”. Simon Deakin’s report goes on to say that the only benefit being secured is a four year acceleration of nuclear deployment. We need to ask more questions of the Government especially when financially viable green renewable alternatives already exist.
Solar Portal (Video) 9th May 2014 read more »
Staff at the Dounreay nuclear power complex in Caithness are to be briefed on changes to how millions of pounds will be spent on cleaning up the site. Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, which runs Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, said the changes followed decisions on how nuclear material will be handled. Dounreay’s material is being transported to Sellafield in Cumbria. This means funds will not need to be spent on building high-security stores at the Scottish site. However, it will mean money will have be found, and spent, earlier in the clean-up project. A detailed new plan on spending is expected this autumn. DSRL said staff were being briefed now on the proposed changes. The decision to transfer the material to Sellafield was made by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
BBC 9th May 2014 read more »
Developers of a third nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast have been accused of ignoring the wishes of people living near the proposed site. A group established to represent communities surrounding Sizewell has criticised EDF Energy for its “apparent contempt for the local environment and the concerns of its people”. The Sizewell Parishes Liaison Group (SPLG) – made up of councillors from 24 neighbouring parishes and towns – plans to call an urgent meeting with local leaders to voice concerns over a perceived lack of consultation from the French firm on a range of issues. In a letter published on its website, the group revealed it would consider petitioning local residents to support claims that the planning process for Sizewell C has been “woefully inadequate”.
East Anglian Daily Times 8th May 2014 read more »
Power station bosses are putting together a £60m strategy to extend the life of Hartlepool’s nuclear plant. Simon Parsons, the director of the power station, revealed the plans to the Hartlepool Mail and said it was important to protect the livelihoods of the 700-strong workforce who he described as “amazing and incredible.” By the end of next year, he hopes to know whether the plant would be granted permission to keep on running until 2024. Its current life extension is until 2019.
Hartlepool Mail 9th May 2014 read more »
The UK’s energy industry is fragmented and a ‘system architect’ is needed to inform technical decisions and take a holistic view of the energy system in order to secure the country’s future energy supply, experts are warning. Now academics at Newcastle University are calling on the Government to create an independent, expert body to inform energy policy. The recommendation is included in a briefing note on energy policy, being sent today, 6 May 2014, to relevant MPs and other organisations, outlining a number of concerns about the fundamental problems facing the UK’s energy market. These include: energy storage and distribution; energy pricing models; lack of competition; and water use in electricity generation.
Newcastle University 6th May 2014 read more »
Wind energy has picked up to around 3.7GW but generation from nuclear power stations has dropped to below 7GW, according to the daily market report from npower. However nuclear production is expected to pick up from next week as the Hartlepool Unit 1 facility is due back online today, Client Portfolio Manager Sarah Marshall (pictured) said. Energy generation from coal-fired power plants has overtaken Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) as the dominant fuel source today, she added. The increase in production has led to the power peak margin forecast to be “very healthy” today at more than 18GW.
Energy Live News 9th May 2014 read more »
Former prime ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Morihiro Hosokawa on Wednesday established a new entity to promote renewable energy as part of a joint antinuclear campaign that previously led Hosokawa to run in the Tokyo gubernatorial election last February. “I may be called ‘history,’ but I will work hard to create a nuclear-free country for our future generation,” Koizumi, a charismatic former leader who became an antinuclear advocate after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, told a gathering to mark the launch of the Japan Assembly for Nuclear Free Renewable Energy.
Mainichi 9th May 2014 read more »
A former worker at Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant is reportedly suing the operator over radiation exposure. It is believed to be the first lawsuit from an employee against TEPCO following the disaster three years ago. Japanese reports claim the worker believes he was exposed to high levels of radiation due to alleged negligence on TEPCO’s part and is seeking 11 million yen (£64,000) in compensation.
Energy Live News 9th May 2014 read more »
Energy experts in China are divided in polarized camps over inland nuclear power projects. Debate over the desirability of building nuclear power plants in China’s interior regions has arisen due to the possibility of their inclusion in Beijing’s next five-year national development plan, according to Shanghai’s China Business News. In an article published in the Chinese-language China Energy News on April 14, Wang Yinan, a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council, contended that inland nuclear facilities are unsuited to China, immediately eliciting a strong response from his peers in the latest replay of the debate which emerged in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown in Japan in 2011.
Want China Times 6th May 2014 read more »
US – WIPP
A New Mexico nuclear waste dump, which saw a radiation leak in February, has halted shipments of toxic waste barrels to a commercial Texas facility amid concerns that chemical reactions could trigger another release there, officials said on Friday. A probe found the February 14 accident may have been linked to improperly prepared and packaged drums of toxic waste accepted from the Los Alamos National Laboratory by the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), its managers said in a statement.
Reuters 10th May 2014 read more »
US – solar
President Obama is expected to announce a series of executive actions and agreements on Friday morning that will advance solar power and energy efficiency in the United States, part of his pledge to tackle climate change without having to go through a gridlocked Congress. According to a statement from the White House, the initiatives will represent an 850-megawatt increase in solar power deployed, or enough to power 130,000 homes. They will also lead to more $2 billion in energy efficiency investments in Federal buildings, $26 billion in savings for businesses on energy bills, and a 380 million metric ton decrease in carbon pollution — the equivalent of taking about 80 million cars off the road for a year, the statement said.
Climate Progress 9th May 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
When you consider that an hour’s worth of sunlight falling on the earth will supply the world’s energy demands for one year, Keith Barnham’s provocative, inspiring and passionately argued manifesto for solar power and renewable energy is a call to action. Barnham answers the burning question of our age: how to supply the power our society demands while avoiding environmental catastrophe. The threat of global warming, oil depletion and nuclear disaster is ever-present because most of our energy is produced by burning unsustainable fuel. There is also a growing risk of environmental damage from fracking and shale-oil extraction, deforestation and drilling for fossil fuels in sensitive environments.
Stop Hinkley 9th May 2014 read more »
Highview Power Storage freezes air and uses the resulting air expansion to move or store energy. The company received £8 million from the government to build a commercial scale demonstration plant just north of Manchester. The plant produces 15 megawat hours of energy – enough to power 5,000 homes for three hours. The plant serves as a shop window for a full-scale demonstration of the technology used, and is now being used by energy group GE in their open cycle gas turbines.
Telegraph 8th May 2014 read more »
Oil and gas explorer IGas has agreed to take over rival Dart Energy in an all-share deal valuing the company at 117 million pounds ($198.35 million) and creating Britain’s largest shale gas explorer weeks before the launch of a major licensing round.The deal, which is subject to board and regulator approvals but expected to conclude in September, will see Dart shareholders take a 30.5 percent stake in the enlarged IGas company.
Reuters 9th May 2014 read more »
Guardian 9th May 2014 read more »
Times 10th May 2014 read more »