Nuclear Safety – Bradwell
A leading union is raising safety and job concerns over the technology to be used in a possible new nuclear power station. The GMB has written to the Government and safety bodies saying it feared the Bradwell nuclear site in Essex could be handed over “lock, stock and barrel “to China’s national nuclear corporation. The Chinese could then use their own technology, and possibly bring thousands of workers to the UK, dealing a blow to this country’s own nuclear industry, the union claimed. National officer Gary Smith said in a letter to Energy Secretary Amber Rudd: “The idea that a Chinese state company will be given a site in the UK, not far from London, where they can use Chinese labour to construct a reactor to be made in China and using Chinese components would in our view constitute economic madness and raises serious safety issues.
Energy Voice 10th June 2015 read more »
ITV News 10th June 2015 read more »
Lynn News 10th June 2015 read more »
Bedford Today 10th June 2015 read more »
COUNCIL members will next week discuss a motion to lobby the Government to include Dungeness C in any future nuclear build programme. The motion on notice from Cllr Rory Love calls on the council to “reaffirm its commitment” to a case for the new power station. It reads: “We resolve to continue to work for the long-term future of the nuclear power industry on the Romney Marsh. “To this end, the council will actively lobby Government and relevant partners and stakeholders to include Dungeness C in any future nuclear build programme, both through its own work and jointly with Damian Collins MP.”
Folkestone Herald 9th June 2015 read more »
M+W Group – a German engineering conglomerate – has been appointed as the lead design and safety case consultant for the Dounreay nuclear waste shaft and silo decommissioning project by Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) in Caithness. Used for over 40 years to store highly radioactive waste generated during the operation of Dounreay, the 65 metre deep shaft is the deepest storage area of its kind in the world. It has become a byword for sloppy safety practices and nuclear safety scares. Decommissioning both the shaft and silo – including safe retrieval of the waste from both these facilities, its repackaging and the clean-up – will present a number of unique and major technical and engineering challenges over the term of the seven-year contract.
Scottish Energy News 11th June 2015 read more »
Scottish Enterprise’s, in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Nuclear Supply Chain (NSC) project offers Scottish-based SMEs free, impartial advice to companies looking to enter the nuclear supply chain or to build on their existing experience. This project is in the second phase, following a successful first phase which ended in 2013. Commercial advice on market entry and technical advice on achieving high quality fabrication can be provided. By joining the project you will benefit from one-to-one support from industry experts along with a range of nuclear sector workshops, brokerage meetings and “Meet the Buyer” events as well as a series of useful guides for SMEs keen to operate in the nuclear sector.
Scottish Enterprise 10th June 2015 read more »
Pete Wishart and Angus MacNeil are to chair the two SNP-led House of Commons committees, it has been announced. Perth and North Perthshire MP Mr Wishart will chair the Scottish Affairs Committee. Mr MacNeil, the MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, will chair the Energy and Climate Change Committee. Mr Wishart said he was “delighted” at his appointment, while Mr MacNeil said he recognised the challenges ahead. Both candidates were the SNP’s sole nominees for the chairmanship positions.
BBC 10th June 2015 read more »
Energy Supplies – Scotland
Scientific Alliance – DASH for wind has left us facing a power supply crisis as generation is not balanced by demand, say Jack Ponton and John Williams. There is a developing crisis in Scotland’s electricity supply, created by the policies of successive UK governments but exacerbated by the Scottish Government. At times there will be a shortage which could lead to power cuts. At others, there will be an excess which cannot be used. This is a consequence of the huge increase in intermittent wind-generated electricity. Subsidies make wind power the logical investment for energy companies, while the preference given to it on the grid reduces the profitability of conventional generation. Hence no dependable generation is being built and Scotland’s largest such generator, Longannet, is almost certain to close due to lack of profitability. In committing the country to a blind dash for wind generation, our politicians sought no competent advice on how this could be integrated with existing generation, nor how it would affect the cost and security of our electricity supply. Not only is there no need for any more wind in Scotland’s energy mix but the country’s lack of conventional supply will ensure long-term reliance on the UK and Europe for the safety of Scotland’s electricity supply.
Scotsman 11th June 2015 read more »
Letter Scientific Alliance – IT IS only to be expected that representatives of the wind industry such as Andy Drane should be concerned by the likely derailment of the onshore wind subsidy “gravy train”, but the arguments he advances for its continuation are spurious. Firstly on costs, onshore wind’s current renewables obligation payments make its cost on the grid slightly greater than the strike price for Hinkley C. However, this is only about half the cost which ends up on consumers’ bills, as we must also pay for the additional grid infrastructure to bring power from remote wind sites and the additional costs of gas back-up and stand-by generation for when the wind is not blowing, as on the morning of last Thursday, 4 June, when the UK’s wind turbines were operating at less than 5 per cent of their capacity. Intermittency of supply is fundamentally an economic issue. Hinkley will i ncur none of these costs as it would be on an existing site with good grid connections and should generate reliably 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Furthermore, the strike price does account for the legacy issue of decommissioning as the operator will be required to make payments to the Funded Decommissioning Programme to cover this. Secondly in the “wider context” the increasing proportion of intermittent wind generation, its subsidies and the priority given to it on the grid are a major, probably the major, cause of our looming electricity supply crisis. Wind is so profitable for developers that there has been no investment in new gas or coal generation. On the contrary, we are seeing the premature closure of Longannet for whose reliable 2.4 gigawatts no number of wind ¬turbines can substitute.
Scotsman 11th June 2015 read more »
More than 1.5 million customers have switched electricity supplier this year – many of whom have stampeded away from the ‘Big Six’ in a flight over ‘lack of consumer trust’ issues. This ‘stampede’ is caused by the ‘prices rise like rockets, but fall like leaves’ effect whereby householders no longer trust the Big Six suppliers ( which dominate the UK retail gas and electricity supply markets) to ‘play fair’ with them. According to Energy UK, the latest electricity switching data shows 251,318 households chose a new supplier in May 2015, slightly up from May 2014 when 243,736 switched.
Scottish Energy News 11th June 2015 read more »
The Isis militant group has seized enough radioactive material from government facilities to suggest it has the capacity to build a large and devastating “dirty” bomb, according to Australian intelligence reports. Isis declared its ambition to develop weapons of mass destruction in the most recent edition of its propaganda magazine Dabiq, and Indian defence officials have previously warned of the possibility the militants could acquire a nuclear weapon from Pakistan. According to the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, Nato has expressed deep concerns about the materials seized by Isis from research centres and hospitals that would normally only be available to governments.
Independent 10th June 2015 read more »
Express 11th June 2015 read more »
France – EDF
Electricite de France SA’s sale of atomic power to competitors for the second half of the year has sunk to a fraction of what it was in 2014, signaling nuclear energy may be losing competitiveness. The state-controlled utility sold a quarter of the volume, or 4 terawatt-hours, to rivals, according to energy regulator Commission de Regulation de l’Energie. The 12.3 terawatt-hours sold for the first half was also less than half the 34.6 terawatt-hours for the second half of 2014. The drop signals obstacles ahead for Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy, who is pushing for higher power prices to help pay for tens of billions of euros of maintenance and safety upgrades on EDF’s aging fleet of French nuclear reactors, which account for three-quarters of the country’s electricity production. The utility, the world’s biggest nuclear operator, is required to offer about a quarter of its annual French atomic output to rivals under a regulated system known as Arenh that’s aimed at increasing competition on the domestic market. They can buy it at the current price of 42 euros ($47.44) a megawatt-hour or turn to the market where prices are lower.
Bloomberg 10th June 2015 read more »
Utility Electricite de France must improve its offer for nuclear engineering group Areva’s reactor unit and relations between the two firms need to improve in order to reach a swift agreement, Areva’s chairman said on Wednesday. Last week, the French government approved EDF’s plan to take a majority stake in Areva’s nuclear reactor business and gave the two state-owned firms a month to do a deal. “We need an equitable negotiation with EDF about the valuation of Areva’s reactor unit,” Areva Chairman Philippe Varin told the French parliament on Wednesday. “EDF has made a proposal, this proposal must be reviewed,” he added. Relations between the two state-owned firms have been strained for years over EDF’s desire to take control of Areva’s reactor design and lead France’s nuclear export drive, and the state put new management in place at both firms to end the strife.
Reuters 10th June 2015 read more »
Any deal with Iran must be verifiable and there are no guarantees on this yet, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday. “We must be able to verify the sites,” Fabius told BFM TV. “We don’t yet have certainty on this.”
Reuters 11th June 2015 read more »
An ambitious bid to spy on foreign ministers as they negotiated over Iran’s nuclear programme came to light on Wednesday when a cyber security firm uncovered new malware called “Duqu 2”. The company which found the highly sophisticated virus, Kaspersky Lab, said that only a state could have been responsible for its development – but declined to name the country involved. However, Kaspersky disclosed enough evidence to implicate Israeli intelligence. Israel has closely followed the talks over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, denouncing a possible agreement as a “historic mistake”.
Telegraph 10th June 2015 read more »
Japan needs about 35 working nuclear reactors by 2030 to achieve the government’s long-term energy strategy to return the country’s dependence on nuclear energy to slightly under the level it was before the 2011 Fukushima disaster. That many would be required for nuclear energy to provide between 20 and 22 percent of the country’s electricity, said industry minister Yoichi Miyazawa at a Lower House committee session on economy and industry. Currently, there are 43 nuclear reactors in Japan with three more under construction, but none are actually operating.
Asahi Shimbun 11th June 2015 read more »
Shares of China National Nuclear Power (CNNP) made a roaring debut in the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The stock opened at 4.07 yuan a share, 20% above the offer price of 3.39 yuan. They eventually rose to 4.88 yuan, 44% above the offer price, closing limit-up. CNNP is a subsidiary of state-owned China National Nuclear Corp., and is the country’s second-largest nuclear power company. It develops and invests in nuclear energy, as well as builds, operates and manages facilities.
Nikkei Asian Review 10th June 2015 read more »
IB Times 10th June 2015 read more »
The tax levied on nuclear fuel in Germany does not contravene European law. This was the conclusion of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 4 June. But what about German law and the consequences for nuclear power plant operators across Europe, asks Tobias Leidinger. The Hamburg Finance Court had doubted whether the country’s Nuclear Fuel Tax Act was compatible with European law. In the context of an action lodged by a nuclear power plant operator against this tax, the court had suspended the legal action and submitted various legal questions to the ECJ. The decision now taken by the ECJ is not really surprising considering that in his opinion, in February, the Advocate General had already argued that the tax was compatible.
World Nuclear News 10th June 2015 read more »
In the same week that the US suggested siting cruise missiles in the UK and British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond warned that the West should not ‘make unnecessary provocations’ against Russia, it has emerged that the US has landed nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 bombers at RAF Fairford, in preparation for participation in NATO military exercises this month. Three Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses (pictured above) were deployed to the airbase on Friday 5 June, ahead of the BALTOPS and Sabre Strike operations, and were joined on Monday (8 June) by two B-2 stealth bombers.
CND 10th June 2015 read more »
Strong winds and a sunny day on Saturday helped renewable energy in the UK set a new record, official figures have shown. According to trade association RenewableUK, wind and solar power peaked at 12GW on Saturday, equal to 40 per cent of power generation on the grid.
Business Green 10th June 2015 read more »
Strong growth in solar and wind was accompanied by stalling growth in fossil fuels use and energy-related emissions last year, the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 shows. Solar continues to exceed expectations, with output expanding by 38% during 2014. Wind also grew in double digits, though its 10% growth rate was down on the 24% average rate seen in the previous decade. Coal demand growth slumped from 3.6% over the decade to just 0.4% last year. Oil and gas also grew by less than 1%, far below historical averages – in line with predictions from the International Energy Agency.
Carbon Brief 10th June 2015 read more »
Renewable energy provided 13.4 GW, or 43%, of British electricity at 2pm on Saturday. I believe this is a new record. A windy day, combined with strong sun and low weekend levels of demand meant that fossil fuels delivered only 26% of total supply in the early afternoon. The remainder was delivered by nuclear, imports and power from the UK’s storage reservoirs in North Wales and Scotland. The glut of wind and solar power almost pushed coal-fired stations out of the picture. At 3pm, coal was providing only 7% of British electricity, a total of just over 2.3 GW. I think this is also an unprecedented low and something to be actively celebrated. I don’t have the precise information but I believe only one coal-fired power station – Drax – was operating. If the country chooses to invest in wind, solar and other renewables, it can push coal-fired generation out of the generation mix completely.
Carbon Commentary 7th June 2015 read more »
Babcock International has won a contract to build an offshore substation for Eon’s 400MW Rampion offshore wind farm. The £1.3 billion project is set to support more than 100 jobs during the construction of the 2,500-tonne offshore substation platform topside and jacket at its facility at Rosyth.
Scottish Energy News 11th June 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
Solar developers are turning their backs on a new government green energy support scheme as they do not feel it will work for them, according to the results of a new industry survey. The poll of 29 developers and investors responsible for adding over 1GW of solar energy generation to the grid in the past six months finds most will not be looking to secure support for larger projects through Contracts for Difference (CfD) in the year ahead. CfDs replaced the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) scheme for solar developments above 5MW from the start of April, with ROCs set to end entirely in 2017. The contracts require developers to bid to supply electricity at a certain “strike price”, which is then guaranteed by the government, as part of efforts to drive down the cost of clean energy. Five solar projects were awarded CfDs earlier this year, but two of the projects – Wick Farm Solar Park in Somerset and Royston Solar Farm in Hertfordshire – have since been scrapped, with industry experts saying their agreed CfD strike price of £50 per megawatt hour of electricity generated was not commercially feasible, despite a 75 per cent fall in solar costs over the past decade. The remaining projects secured a higher strike price that was broadly in line with that offered to onshore wind farms, but concerns are widespread across the industry that only a handful of developers are in a position to take on the risk involved in bidding for CfD contracts at auction for projects that may then not secure the financial support they need.
Business Green 10th June 2015 read more »
The UK solar sector has seemingly become a victim of its own success, with big developers and investors now claiming they will not be making use of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme for large projects over the next year. According to a new survey conducted by PwC in conjunction with the Solar Trade Association (STA), the majority of developers who were responsible for adding more than 1GW to the grid in the past six months have said they will be focusing on smaller projects in the short-term, due to the recent closure of the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) support mechanism for large-scale solar farms.
Edie 10th June 2015 read more »
Renewables – CSP
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have seen explosive growth because of their stunning 99 percent price drop in the past quarter century. As a result, the other form of solar power — concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) — is a small fraction of the solar market. But the International Energy Agency (IEA) says CSP has a very bright future too because it enables cheap, efficient storage, which allows CSP plants to provide electricity long after the sun has set. According to the IEA’s 2014 CSP Technology Roadmap, 11 percent of global electricity will be generated by concentrating solar thermal power in 2050. In this post, I review the basics of CSP and look at how its recent resurgence portends a big future.
Climate Progress 10th June 2015 read more »
Atmos Consulting has welcomed the recent £60 million boost for community-scale renewables committed by the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank. Dr Greg Fullarton, the consultancy’s Inverness-based Regional Director for the Highlands, said community scale projects may ‘not have the glamour of the big offshore and infrastructure projects’, but they do bring the benefits of renewable energy development to the grass roots level. The £60m will provide equity funding of between £1m and £10m for a broad range of community-scale renewable construction projects including run-of-river hydro-power, onshore wind on brownfield sites such as industrial estates and biogas projects including anaerobic digestion and landfill gas. Fullarton also said that boom in small hydro projects is far from over. There may be a bit of a ‘gold rush’ to take advantage of best tariff rates, but even at lower rates, Atmos expects that run of river hydro schemes will continue to be attractive in the longer term – despite recent gloomy forecasts from Scottish Renewables.
Scottish Energy News 11th June 2015 read more »
A new ground-breaking report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) provides clear direction on how to advance storage systems as part of the infrastructure for a sustainable energy future. Renewables and Electricity Storage, released today on the side lines of IRENA’s ninth Council meeting, prioritizes 14 action items across five priority areas where governments and industry can work together to facilitate the development of policies on electricity storage for renewables. The report is part of IRENA’s REmap 2030 program. To avoid the worst effects of climate change and accelerate sustainable energy transformation and economic growth, IRENA’s REmap 2030 report finds the share of renewables in the electricity sector must double to 45 per cent by 2030. To do so, an estimated 150 GW of battery storage and 325 GW of pumped-storage hydroelectricity will be needed, making storage a vital element in the expansion of renewable energy.
Irena 9th June 2015 read more »
Climate – Scottish Targets
Gina Hanrahan Climate & Energy Policy Officer at WWF Scotland – It was Groundhog Day on climate change targets this week as the Scottish Government again failed to meet its legally binding annual climate change goal for the fourth year in a row. However, the cycle of annual failure could have been broken if ministers had responded to the repeated advice of its independent advisers, the UK Committee on Climate Change, and introduced policies to cut emissions from areas such as transport, agriculture and housing; not only would we be making progress in tackling climate change but people would also be starting to see the tangible benefits a low carbon economy will bring to Scotland. The missed targets prompted a promising commitment from the Scottish Government to designate energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority (Nip). If done properly, this will help to cut bills for the 940,000 homes in fuel poverty in Scotland, create new jobs in the insulation sector, cut excess winter deaths and other health problems associated with cold homes, relieving pressure on the NHS, and cut emissions. WWF Scotland, as a member of the Existing Homes Alliance (EHA), comprising environmental, anti-poverty, consumer, housing and building organisations,has been calling for this to happen. But it’s critical to get the detail right if it’s really to represent a step change in ambition. The EHA believes that designating energy efficiency as a Nip should mean the Scottish Government putting together a comprehensive plan to upgrade some 130,000 homes a year, so that all homes achieve a C energy performance standard by 2025; invest substantially more funding from its capital budget; and make available a mix of grants for the fuel poor and low interest loans for those who are able to pay. Private funding will also have an important role to play.
Herald 11th June 2015 read more »