The UK’s “nuclear renaissance” will fail to materialise unless government and industry step up efforts to tackle a looming nuclear skills shortage. That is the stark warning delivered by energy minister Charles Hendry as part of a speech to the UK Nuclear Skills Awards Dinner in Manchester last night, during which he argued that efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions through the development of a new fleet of nuclear reactors were dependent on the industry’s ability to attract greater numbers of graduates to the sector.
Business Green 11th March 2011 more >>
Conditions for a “Nuclear Renaissance” are falling into place in many countries. New nuclear build, financed by private investment, is now recognised by UK Government to have a clearrole as part of the future energy mix, with the benefits of building and operating newreactors in the UK clearly outweighing the detriments. Nuclear energy is now viewed as affordable, dependable and safe, while also being capable of providing a low-carbon energy and increasing diversity thereby reducing the UK’s dependence on any one technology or country for our energy or fuel supplies. In order to implement a workable strategy, there are several areas which need to be considered and addressed. This paper sets out the National Nuclear Laboratory’s assessment of these areas and proposes options for moving forward. The analysis and views contained in this paper are those of the UK National Nuclear Laboratory and not necessarily the view or policy of UK Government.
National Nuclear Laboratory March 2011 more >>
The employer-backed Nuclear Island skills project is being moved to the next stage following a successful funding bid by Cogent and Imperial College London to the National HE STEM programme.
The Nuclear Island will become an integral part of a number of UK STEM undergraduate courses: making nuclear safety culture an essential part of construction engineering courses, embedding critical safety behaviours from day one.
The Engineer 10th March 2011 more >>
Rolls-Royce is to become a strategic partner on France’s new third generation nuclear reactor under an agreement set to be signed on Friday between the aero-engine maker and Areva, the French nuclear group. The deal will allow Rolls-Royce to take part in France’s push to dominate the global nuclear market with its new heavy-duty, 1600MW EPR reactor. Areva’s ambition is to have one third of the global market for new reactors by 2020.
FT 11th March 2011 more >>
A CONFERENCE is being staged in Coventry this month for firms to learn what opportunities are open to them in the nuclear supply chain.
Coventry Telegraph 10th March 2011 more >>
Westinghouse Electric Company has awarded Emerson Process Management contracts totaling approximately $17 million to supply its Ovation expert control technology at four new Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors in China. The award continues a long relationship between the two companies, with the Ovation control system or its predecessors already installed at most existing Westinghouse nuclear reactors.
Process & Control Technology 10th March 2011 more >>
Electricity Market Reform
The Government’s carbon price floor policy, as currently proposed, is unlikely to command investor confidence. It needs to gain credibility if the Government wants to successfully attract new low carbon investment into the UK, says a report published today by Climate Change Capital (CCC), the investment manager and advisory group. Investors will highly discount the value of the current policy because it will be implemented through the tax system. Investors would have to hope that every year Parliament will continue to vote for increasing carbon price support until at least 2030. This is highly unlikely say the authors. They also cite a recent study commissioned by the Government that says a non-credible carbon price policy would actually lead to reduced investment in renewables and reduced security of power supply in the long term.
Climate Change Capital 11th March 2011 more >>
Spend Easter weekend camping on the beach at Sizewell and show your opposition to new nuclear power and the need for sustainable energy solutions. This weekend also marks the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster. The weekend includes a protest at the nuclear power station entrance, A public meeting, workshops and skill shares, woodland and beach walks, vegan grub and networking.Now is the time to take action against new build – come join us to say ‘Nuclear power – No thanks!’
UK Indymedia 9th March 2011 more >>
Japan was reeling Friday after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit the northeast of the country, causing many injuries, fires and a 12m tsunami along parts of the country’s coastline. The Japanese utility Hokuriku Electric Company said that all three of its nuclear reactors at its Onagawa plant in northern Japan had shut down automatically. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) reported that 4.5m homes lost power in the capital area, and many northern districts were without electricity entirely. A nuclear plant in Fukushima prefecture operated by Tepco shut down automatically, but at least one diesel generator needed to cool its reactors failed, though Tepco said safety had not been compromised.
FT 11th March 2011 more >>
The U.S. government is concerned Iran may be working with Chinese companies to obtain sensitive technology that may be useful for developing a nuclear weapons capability, Robert Einhorn, the State Department’s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, said yesterday.
Bloomberg 10th March 2011 more >>
American utilities and regulators have both filed lawsuits against the Department of Energy (DoE) for continuing to charge for the halted Yucca Mountain project. Funding for Yucca Mountain has come from a levy of 0.1 cents per kWh of nuclear power, which currently adds up to about $770 million per year. Nuclear utilities – and therefore their customers – have now paid a total of over $31 billion into the Nuclear Waste Fund.
World Nuclear News 10th March 2011 more >>
REACTORS powering Devonport-based submarines are “potentially vulnerable” to fatal nuclear accidents, an internal defence document has revealed. In it the Ministry of Defence’s senior nuclear safety expert warns the safety of reactors aboard the British submarine fleet compares ‘poorly’ with that of nuclear power stations, and there could be dangerous leaks of radioactivity. There was also a risk of “multiple fatalities” from submarines failing to surface, he said. Despite the damaging assessment, MoD officials insist all its nuclear reactors meet strict safety standards. It is reported the reactors are being fitted in the new £10 billion fleet of Astute attack submarines. They are also being considered for the replacement vessels for the existing Trident-armed Vanguard-class submarines, which undergo refit and maintenance at Devonport. The report, released under freedom of information law and given to Channel 4 News, revealed that arguments over the reactor designs have delayed decisions on replacing Trident by 18 months, and added more than £260 million to the bill.
Plymouth Herald 11th March 2011 more >>
MOD Oracle 10th March 2011 more >>
Guardian 10th March 2011 more >>
Report can be downloaded here.
RobEdwards 10th March 2011 more >>
The Renewable Heat Incentive, which was unveiled yesterday, has an £860 million pot to fund green technology in homes, businesses and other organisations, with the first payouts due to start in September. Anyone using solar panels, ground-source heat pumps or similar renewable technology will be in line for cash bonuses. Controversially, it will also pay out for incinerators, which green groups warned would do little to encourage recycling and waste reduction. The scheme, which is UK-wide, was originally proposed by the last government at Westminster. Chancellor George Osborne agreed last year to keep it, but scrapped proposals to fund it through a levy on bills because it would be “overly complex”. Instead, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said it will be taxpayer funded as part of the “Green Deal” which aims to improve energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions from homes.
Herald 11th March 2011 more >>
Telegraph 11th March 2011 more >>
Juliet Davenport, chief executive of renewable energy supplier Good Energy, said: “We are concerned that the full scheme won’t start until October 2012, a lengthy gap which may spook potential investors. We are also concerned that excluding agents from supporting RHI customers will increase the volume of enquiries Ofgem will face, which may result in delays and confusion similar to those currently experienced by Feed-in Tariff customers. And we don’t understand why Ofgem cannot pay customers monthly – which is in the best interests of consumers.” The Renewable Energy Association said the rates of subsidy for solar heating systems was too low.
Guardian 11th March 2011 more >>