It’s the nuclear closure programme that never was. The UK government insists it needs new nuclear power stations urgently built to replace ageing installations − and yet its safety watchdog is granting lengthy extensions that could see old ones continue for decades. The UK Government has been telling its parliament and the public that because eight large nuclear stations are scheduled to close over the next 10 years, the country needs urgently to build some new ones to keep the nation’s lights on. Yet EDF, the French state-owned company that bought the eight nuclear stations in 2009 for £12.5 billion, has no intention of closing any of them. A Government spokesman denied that its statements were misleading and explained the apparent contradiction by saying that if the stations did not pass their periodic safety reviews then they would have to close. However, there is no reason to believe they will fail safety tests. The state safety watchdog, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, told Climate News Network that keeping them open is fine by them.
Climate News Network 9th Sept 2013 read more »
Spinwatch 9th Sept 2013 read more »
The former boss of the Olympic Delivery Authority has called for a similar delivery body to be set up to drive through the construction of a new generation of nuclear power plants in the UK. Speaking to Building following the publication of his review into infrastructure planning in the UK, Sir John Armitt said the government should set up a new delivery body, similar to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), to take on the task of building the nuclear power stations the UK needs to meet its low-carbon energy commitments. Plans for a new generation of nuclear power plants are currently stalled as the government and EDF, the developer of the first proposed nuclear new build plant at Hinkley Point, remain locked in negotiations over the price of electricity from the power plant, which is critical to a deal that will enable the project to move forward.
Building 9th Sept 2013 read more »
World Nuclear News 9th Sept 2013 read more »
The Armitt Review was commissioned by the Labour Party to consider improvements to infrastructure planning and delivery. It was published last week by Sir John Armitt, chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority (still). He is also a member of Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission looking at hub capacity in the south east of England. As a former chief executive of Network Rail and having worked on the Sizewell nuclear power station when at Laing, he has no shortage of infrastructure experience across the sectors. The review is worth reading because it is an initial indication of what a Labour government – the one that brought you the Planning Act 2008 – might do with infrastructure planning should one be formed after the 2015 election.
Bircham Dyson Bell 9th Sept 2013 read more »
The Windscale chimneys have been a major part of the UK’s Sellafield skyline since the 1940s and work on decommissioning the last remaining chimney is now progressing in earnest. The chimney has been opened up for the very first time in over 17 years, which is a tangible sign that real decommissioning progress is being made. The filter dismantling access gantry, which is made up of 52 tonnes of structural steel work, was pulled apart to open the chimney to the elements in preparation for dismantling.
Engineer Live 9th Sept 2013 read more »
Taxpayer-paid executives running the Sellafield nuclear power plant billed £714 to chauffeur-drive a cat, expense claims revealed today. Bosses at consortium Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) also used the perk to pay for flights to the US Masters golf tournament and Amazon purchases submitted without receipts. NMP were brought in to decommission a nuclear plant at Sellafield in Cumbria, but senior staff have now been forced to hand back thousands of pounds after an audit of their claims between 2008 and 2012. From more than 606 expense documents it emerged £236,781 of claims were requested without a proper description, £30,557 worth were purely for personal expenditure and £42,711 should not have been claimed at all.
Daily Mail 9th Sept 2013 read more »
Westinghouse Electric Company has entered into partnership with Toshiba and Exelon Nuclear Partners (ENP) to develop a joint proposal for the construction of nuclear power plants for King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE). As part of memorandum of understanding (MoU), Toshiba and Westinghouse will deliver nuclear expertise related to their advanced reactors, while ENP will provide operations and associated services for the project.
Energy Business Review 10th Sept 2013 read more »
Nine of Europe’s biggest utilities have joined forces to warn that the EU’s energy policies are putting the continent’s power supplies at risk.
FT 9th Sept 2013 read more »
South Korea faces possible power blackouts this winter and next summer, as cable safety issues and protests that are holding up completion of an ultra-high-voltage power line threaten to keep more nuclear reactors offline. Asia’s fourth-largest economy generates a third of its electricity using nuclear power, primarily to replace oil and gas, for which South Korea relies almost entirely on imports. But six of its 23 reactors are offline, including three shut since May to replace cables supplied with forged safety certificates. In addition, another reactor will soon be closed to check the welding on a steam generator.
Reuters 9th Sept 2013 read more »
The outgoing mayor of Tokaimura in Ibaki Prefecture, considered to be the town that pioneered Japan’s nuclear development, blasted the administration’s move to continually push the export of nuclear technology and infrastructure, calling it “unethical” and “shameful”. He cited the still unresolved problem at Fukushima as reason enough to stop championing nuclear power.
JDP 6th Sept 2013 read more »
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga speaks at the first Cabinet meeting on decommissioning nuclear reactors and control of radiation-contaminated water leak at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s official residence in Tokyo September 10, 2013. Japan savoured its victory on Monday in the race to host the 2020 Olympic Games, anticipating an economic boost to spur its revival from two decades of stagnation and help it recover from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Trust 10th Sept 2013 read more »
The number of deaths in Fukushima caused by stress has almost topped the toll for fatalities caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, according to a new survey.
Telegraph 10th Sept 2013 read more »
Russia has called for the UN’s atomic energy watchdog to provide an immediate assessment of the situation in Syria, amid fears of the “catastrophic” nuclear hazards involved in a potential military strike on government targets. Just days after debates over the Syrian crisis dominated other matters at the G20 summit, the 35-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board suffered the same fate. The organisation usually focusses on the dangers of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, but IAEA chief Yukiya Amano announced in his opening comments that he had nothing new to report on that front. That paved the way for Russia to bring attention to its letter, written to Mr Amano on 5 September, which warned of what might happen if a research reactor near Damascus was hit in missile strikes, proposed by Barack Obama as retaliation for the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons.
Independent 9th Sept 2013 read more »
NATO secretary general also indicated that the UK’s nuclear deterrent – which the Liberal Democrats would like to see downgraded – remains “crucial” to the alliance.
Belfast Telegraph 10th Sept 2013 read more »
Scientists for Global Responsibility – a UK campaign group, with about 1000 members – today moved into its new offices at Halton Mill, an eco-renovated former industrial building just outside Lancaster.Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) promotes science, design and technology that contribute to peace social justice and environmental sustainability – hence its move to a development which embodies many of its values. Halton Mill has been renovated to high environmental standards. It has been awarded an ‘A’ graded Energy Performance Certificate due to its upgraded insulation, and its use of onsite renewable energy technologies, including solar thermal panels and a wood chip boiler – for hot water and heating – and solar photovoltaic (pv) panels for electricity. A micro-hydro power plant is planned to be up and running by the end of 2014.
SGR 31st Aug 2013 read more »
Offshore wind farms may not be built unless subsidies are increased, the government’s official climate change adviser has warned, in the latest blow to the Coalition’s energy policy. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has written to Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, to warn that “required investment is at risk under current proposals”. Proposed reductions in subsidy levels for offshore wind farms this decade are too severe for the cost reductions that the industry can achieve, it warns. Ministers also appear to have dramatically scaled back their ambitions for how much offshore wind is wanted in the long-term, undermining confidence in the sector. This creates a vicious circle whereby developers are reluctant to make the investments that would be needed to reduce costs, the CCC warns. David Kennedy, chief executive of the CCC, said: “I have spoken to every major investor and they are all concerned.”
Telegraph 9th Sept 2013 read more »
THE head of trade association Scottish Renewables has launched an attack on the Scottish Conservatives over the party’s opposition to expanding wind power. Niall Stuart accused the party of being “at war” with wind power, peddling “myths” about its cost, contradicting Conservative policy at Westminster and undermining efforts to create jobs in Scotland. The attack follows the appointment of Murdo Fraser as the Scottish Conservatives’ enterprise and energy spokesman last week. The Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP was co-author of a Scottish Conser-vatives’ energy policy paper which argued wind power was costly. Mr Stuart said: “It’s also a bit rich for the Conservatives to be blaming wind power for fuel poverty. What is really putting families in fuel poverty? “Is it the reduction in take-home pay and cuts to tax credits and benefits which has cost familie s hundreds of pounds per year, or is it subsidies for renewables which add £10 to £20 to fuel bills per year?”
Herald 10th Sept 2013 read more »
John Lewis puts lifetime electricity cost on product labels. Government-backed scheme aims to show people how energy efficient appliances can help them save on energy bills.
Guardian 9th Sept 2013 read more »
Splits in the coalition over the costs and benefits of fracking emerged last night before a warning that more work is needed to assess its environmental impact. Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, will say in a speech today that the benefits of the new technique might not be felt for another decade. Further caution will be urged by David MacKay, Mr Davey’s chief scientific adviser, who is expected to call for more evidence on fracking’s methane emissions and for tight regulation. In his speech, the Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister will take a swipe at the “hyperbole”. He is due to say: “It will likely be the 2020s before we feel the full benefits. We can’t bank on shale gas to solve our energy challenges today or this decade.”
Times 9th Sept 2013 read more »
A UK shale gas boom would leave UK carbon emissions pretty much unchanged, and could cause global emissions to increase, a new government report suggests. The new research by the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) chief scientific advisor, David Mackay, will make difficult reading for the government which publicly supports shale gas development but also has a legally binding obligation to reduce the UK’s emissions. The report suggests it’s time to move on from discussing shale gas in terms of earthquakes and Sussex villages and focus on the climate change impact of shale gas.
Carbon Brief 9th Sept 2013 read more »
Fracking for shale gas is not a “great evil” and can act as a bridge to a “green future” in the UK as long as it is properly regulated, according to the energy and climate secretary Ed Davey. In a major speech in defence of exploiting domestic shale gas he said that Britain can extract the gas without endangering the country’s climate targets. But the energy and climate secretary’s comments were accompanied by a warning in a report from his department’s chief scientist that exploiting shale gas in the UK will cause global greenhouse gas emissions to rise without an international deal on climate change.
Guardian 9th Sept 2013 read more »
Scotsman 10th Sept 2013 read more »
Shale gas production in Britain will fail to reduce energy bills, according to the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, contradicting claims by the Prime Minister that households will save money. In a keynote speech yesterday provocatively entitled The Myths and Realities of Shale Gas Exploration, Ed Davey argued that British shale gas production would be no different to the development of North Sea gas, which had no impact on energy prices for consumers once it came on stream in the 1970s.
Times 10th Sept 2013 read more »
Telegraph 9th Sept 2013 read more »
Britain’s shale gas resource is a valuable national asset and could contribute to our prosperity. Chemically speaking, shale gas is extremely similar to the UK’s so-called conventional North Sea gas. It is not only valuable as a source of relatively clean energy but also for use in chemical processes: in the United States more than a third of natural gas is used to make products like plastics, fertiliser, anti-freeze and even fabrics. But in exploiting this opportunity we must be responsible. If we are, shale gas used to generate Britain’s electricity will emit significantly less CO2 than burning coal – 0.47kg of CO2 for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated compared with 1kg for coal. However, as with any fossil fuel, burning it will increase global emissions. So it is important that we in the UK stay focused on the continuing work on carbon capture and storage and other emerging techniques to reduce emissions.
Guardian 9th Sept 2013 read more »
In a year when three of the most important international financial institutions – the World Bank, the EIB, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – are reviewing their energy-lending strategies, political pressure to stop financing dirty coal plants is stronger than ever. Together, these institutions lend to most of the world’s poor countries and are influential actors in the development of these states. The EBRD operates in countries in eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and more recently, north Africa and the Middle East. Consequently, a decision to end financing for coal projects carries much significance. But since 1994, these institutions have pumped more than $37.5bn (£2.3bn) into coal projects. Pouring money into coal projects in countries with economies that are already highly carbon-intensive limits their chances of ever becoming competitive. Such lending also diverts valuable resources away from renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, which the UN has argued can play a central role in combating poverty and empowering women worldwide.
Guardian 10th Sept 2013 read more »
A study predicting a huge boom for the USA as a result of the exploitation of new sources of “unconventional” gas and oil fails to mention its effect on the climate. Americans will be a lot richer as a result of what analysts call the “unconventional oil and gas revolution” boosting jobs and reviving energy-intensive industries, according to a series of detailed reports. The reports, compiled by IHS, a US company operating in 31 countries specializing in business, energy and economics, says cheaper oil and gas will transform the fortunes of many companies and has already boosted the income of the average American household by $1,200 a year. This will rise to $2,000 a year by 2015 and $3,500 a year by 2025 because of lower energy bills and reduced prices for everyday goods. But the reports, a series of three on “America’s new energy future”, make no mention of the effect this oil and gas boom will have on climate change, although it is clear that emissions of greenhouse gases will increase substantially if its predictions are correct.
Climate News Network 10th Sept 2013 read more »