Ministers appear to have left the door open for a re-tendering of big steel contracts for the £18 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Under questioning from MPs on the business select committee, and as the row deepens over the bidding process run by the French energy company EDF, Sajid Javid denied claims that Sheffield Forgemasters had not been given the opportunity to tender for some of the largest, highest-value steelwork for Britain’s first new nuclear plant in more than two decades. “My understanding is that EDF has not made any decisions, has not made a firm decision on the procurement of these issues,” the business secretary said. Pressed by Paul Blomfield, the Sheffield Central MP, Mr Javid added: “You are suggesting EDF has made decisions. I am not sure where you are getting your information from. I am not aware they [EDF] have ruled out one company or another. What we do know is Sheffield Forgemasters is perfectly capable of producing 80 per cent of the forgings required.”
Times 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Hungarian government says in its communication on the Austrian opinion on Paks II state aid that Hungary joins the Hinkley Point case on the British side.
Hungarian Government 10th Feb 2016 read more »
Staff at Hunterston B power station have been marking 40 years of safe and reliable electricity generation. Workers at the EDF Energy plant attended a celebration in the canteen on Friday 5 February where they were treated to birthday cake and an exhibition of photos of the station from construction to completion and other highlights from the station’s life. Each member of staff was also gifted a copy of a commemorative book created to mark the event.
Largs & Millport Weekly News 9th Feb 2016 read more »
French utility EDF is facing a €100m m bill for upgrading its nuclear power stations. The report by Cour des Comptes comes at a bad times as the company tries to raise £18bn to fund Hinkley. This is well above the €55bn previous estimate. The audit office also said the law passed last year to reduce the share of nuclear from 75 to 50% could lead to the closure of 17 to 20 reactors.
FT 10th Feb 2016 read more »
A new Euratom regulation on maximum permitted levels of radioactive contamination in different types of foodstuffs following a nuclear accident or a radiological emergency entered into force on 9 February 2016. The regulation, which was adopted by the Council of the European Union on 15 January 2016 and published in the EU’s Official Journal on 20 January, repeals three previous Euratom regulations on the same topic. According to the new regulation, in the event of a nuclear accident or a radiological emergency the European Commission has the right to issue regulations on contamination levels in foodstuffs without exceeding maximum levels set out in the new regulation. The European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) was established under the 1957 Euratom Treaty, which governs the civilian use of nuclear energy in the EU. Euratom is a separate legal entity from the EU, but it is governed by the EU’s institutions.
Nucnet 10th Feb 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) notes with real concern reports published in ‘The Guardian’, and detailed in ‘The Ferret Scotland’ investigative news agency website, that outline further disturbing findings from defence nuclear emergency planning exercises. This new information indicates to the NFLA that the defence nuclear sector is struggling to maintain its safety systems and potentially putting the public at risk. Just last month, NFLA commented on failings from a Rosyth Ministry of Defence (MOD) submarine base exercise. NFLA felt it formed part of a growing body of evidence suggesting more systemic concerns around defence site nuclear safety may require attention. NFLA called on a joint review to be held on nuclear emergency planning arrangements by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator and the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to allay public concern and seek significant improvements. That growing body of evidence has expanded after information has been provided to ‘The Ferret’ and published today in ‘The Guardian’ which highlights further serious failings found in three other exercises. The NFLA is also concerned that it has taken two years to release this information under the Freedom of Information Act, highlighting how the use of ‘national security’ issues is continuing to be given as a reason to prevent openness and transparency of important safety issues by the MOD.
NFLA 10th Feb 2016 read more »
US President Barack Obama wants to scrap the Department of Energy’s project at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina that was designed to take plutonium no longer needed for nuclear weapons and turn it into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.
World Nuclear News 10th Feb 2016 read more »
In August 2010 the NDA published the UK Strategy for the Management of Solid Low Level Waste from the Nuclear Industry; identifying a review cycle in line with that for the review of the NDA Strategy. The review process commenced in April 2014 and the resulting consultation document was published in January 2015 by Government. The consultation closed in April 2015. Government has now published the consultation response, updated strategy and updated SEA documents including a post adoption statement.
DECC 10th Feb 2016 read more »
The European Commission (EC) should establish clear guidelines on investment for nuclear new build in the forthcoming Illustrative Programme for Nuclear Energy (Pinc), the Brussels-based industry group Foratom said. In contrast to renewable energy projects, which enjoy “clear guidelines”, investments in the nuclear sector are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and this deters potential interest in new build, Foratom director-general Jean-Pol Poncelet said. The EC is mandated to periodically issue a new Pinc to indicate targets and programmes for nuclear production and any necessary investment. The new document is expected to be published on 29 February 2016, nine years after the release of the last Pinc in 2007. Foratom also said the current EU emission trading system (ETS) does not provide “sufficient incentive” for developing low-carbon energy.
Nucnet 8th Feb 2016 read more »
The EU has today released statistics for 2014, showing its progress in boosting the share of renewables in its overall energy mix. The UK — the third biggest underachiever after France and the Netherlands — has already privately indicated that it will struggle to meet its 2020 target. The UK is among the countries currently missing its 2020 target by the widest margin, yet it also increased its share of renewable energy in 2014 by one of the widest margins.
Carbon Brief 10th Feb 2016 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
The installation of the equipment required for forming a wall of frozen soil at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to prevent groundwater entering the reactor buildings has been completed. Approval from the Japanese regulator must be sought before the creation of the wall itself can begin.
World Nuclear News 10th Feb 2016 read more »
The Areva-Siemens consortium building the Olkiluoto-3 nuclear power plant in Finland has updated its claim at an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration proceeding to “approximately €3.52bn ($3.96bn) in total” from €3.5bn in 2014, a statement by nuclear operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) said. TVO, for whom Areva-Siemens is building the EPR unit, said the sum is for delays to the Olkiluoto-3 project and is based on the supplier’s updated analysis of “events that occurred through September 2014, with certain claims quantified to 31 December 2014”.
Nucnet 9th Feb 2016 read more »
The Areva-Siemens consortium has updated its arbitration claim against Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) to some €3.52 billion ($3.96 billion). The claim relates to delays in the construction of the first-of-a-kind EPR unit at Olkiluoto.
World Nuclear News 10th Feb 2016 read more »
France’s energy transition law could force state-controlled utility EDF to close up to a third of its 58 nuclear reactors by 2025, the state audit office said in its annual report on Wednesday. The Cour des Comptes estimates that the planned reduction of the share of nuclear in French energy production to 50 percent by 2025 from more than 75 percent now could lead to the closure of 17 to 20 reactors if power consumption and exports remain at current levels.
Reuters 10th Feb 2016 read more »
The story has been covered extensively in Germany and even in Israel, but it seems to have largely escaped notice in the United States: Israel has acquired a fleet of advanced German submarines that—Prime Minister Netanyahu has signaled—carry nuclear weapons pointed at Iran. The Obama administration’s pretense that it knows nothing about any nuclear weapons in Israel makes intelligent discussion about the dangers of nuclear weapons in the Middle East all but impossible. It has also vastly diminished respect for America’s broader worldwide effort to control the spread of nuclear weapons.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 8th Feb 2016 read more »
US – solar
Solar energy is ballooning across the United States with California and Massachusetts leading the way, according to a Solar Foundation report unveiled Wednesday. The U.S. solar industry now employs slightly over 200,000 workers, representing a growth of 20 percent since November of 2014. What’s more, last year the industry added workers at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy. “We are seeing solar in Arkansas, Virginia, Kentucky, all over the place. Arkansas in fact just broke ground on their first community solar project,” said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of the Solar Foundation.
Climate Progress 10th Feb 2016 read more »
Entergy Corp said on Wednesday it found elevated levels of tritium, a weak radioactive isotope of hydrogen, in groundwater samples at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York state. The company said the tritium has not migrated off site and poses “no threat to public health or safety.” The company first announced it found tritium in groundwater samples on Feb. 6.
Reuters 10th Feb 2016 read more »
The US Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to tighten economic sanctions on North Korea, seeking to punish the reclusive Asian nation for its provocative recent nuclear test and rocket launch. The measure, which now must be reconciled with a similar House version that passed last month, would slap sanctions on any person or entity importing goods, technology or training related to weapons of mass destruction, or engaging in human rights abuses, US lawmakers said.
Guardian 11th Feb 2016 read more »
German utilities will be anxiously watching Berlin on Friday when a government-appointed commission looks at ways to safeguard the billions of euros they have set aside to pay for the country’s nuclear exit. Germany’s “big four” utilities – E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall – have earmarked nearly 40 billion euros (30 billion pounds) in provisions to pay for the dismantling and waste storage of their nuclear plants, the last of which will be closed in 2022. But concerns over their financial health have fuelled fears that the power firms may be unable to turn the provisions — mainly cash, assets and shares — into liquidity, eventually leaving taxpayers to foot all or part of the bill. The commission, consisting of 19 politicians, lawyers, academics and businessmen, is scheduled to meet on Friday, Feb. 12, and aims to present recommendations by the end of the month.
Reuters 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
The future of a revolutionary plan to generate electricity from a lagoon in Swansea Bay has been thrown into further doubt after the UK government unveiled plans for a six-month review of the wider tidal power sector. The promoters of the £1bn plan, Tidal Lagoon Power, said it welcomed any extra focus on this type of renewable energy but needed a final decision from ministers on its south Wales project within six weeks. The government has been in negotiations with Tidal Lagoon Power for more than a year and has repeatedly failed to meet company expectations about when it would agree a final subsidy necessary to make t he project commercial. A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokeswoman said talks would continue with Tidal Lagoon Power but there would be no final decision on Swansea Bay aid till the review ended in the autumn. Energy minister Lord Bourne argued that government still needed to make sure that tidal power was in the interest of the country and household energy consumers.
Guardian 10th Feb 2016 read more »
Telegraph 10th Feb 2016 read more »
Renewables – wind
China has overtaken the EU to become the world’s top region for wind power, thanks to a burst of turbine installations in the past year, a new report has found. China installed nearly half of the 63 gigawatts of wind power added globally in 2015, the Global Wind Energy Council said on Wednesday, and now accounts for about a third of the world’s installed wind power capacity. That is almost twice the figure for the US (17 per cent) and three times that of Germany (10 per cent), the biggest by capacity, according to the council’s data. Worldwide wind capacity rose 17 per cent to 432GW in 2015, as governments and corporations pushed towards low-carbon energy ahead of international negotiations in Paris aimed at curtailing emissions from fossil fuels. China was not the only emerging market to show rapidly rising wind power installation. India now outranks Spain as the fourth-largest market.
FT 10th Feb 2016 read more »
Energy MPs in the House of Commons have warned the UK government that its ‘last-minute’ decision to drop its support for the £1 billion carbon-capture project at Peterhead will delay the development of the technology in the UK and could make it challenging for Britain to meet climate-change commitments agreed at the Paris global environment summit.
Scottish Energy News 10th Feb 2016 read more »
The National 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Drill or Drop 10th Feb 2016 read more »
BP has today offered its most upbeat assessment to date of the propsects for the clean energy sector, acknowledging that a low carbon transition is underway, while highlighting stellar growth rates for the renewable energy industries and predicting the rate of emissions growth over the next 20 years will halve compared to the previous 20 years. However, any cause for celebration among environmentalists will prove short-lived as the oil giant also predicted global carbon emissions will rise by 20 per cent through to 2035, far exceeding emissions goals compatible with less than 2C of warming. BP expects renewables to account for a quarter of global primary energy growth out to 2035 and over a third of the growth in global power generation. In contrast, the coal industry is predicted to continue its recent crisis, with BP projecting its share of the global energy mix will fall below 25 per cent in 2035 – its lowest level since the Industrial Revolution. The report said the continued shift from coal to gas and renewables means the recent trend whereby emissions growth and economic growth have decoupled will continue over the next two decades.
Business Green 10th Feb 2016 read more »