Fears have been voiced that the proposed £14billion Sizewell C project will create few jobs for the people of east Suffolk – except the most menial. Leiston-cum-Sizewell town councillor Bill Howard said he was worried the jobs for local people would be low-skilled and amount to little more than “concrete pourers or cleaners”. He said at peak construction for the plant there would be 5,600 workers – 3,000 of them would live on a campus nearby, suggesting they would not be local, while up to 1,700 would be put up in lodgings, and only around 1,000 would commute each day from Suffolk.
East Anglian Daily Times 11th April 2014 read more »
A STUDY to assess any potential impacts on health and wellbeing has been commissioned as part of plans for a Wylfa Newydd power station. Andrew Jones, of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), is the independent chairman of the Wylfa Health Impact Assessment Steering Group, which will examine Horizon Nuclear Power’s proposals for a new station. He said: “Constructive suggestions in mitigation of any potential negative health effects will be made and opportunities to maximise beneficial health effects will be identified.
North Wales Chronicle 11th April 2014 read more »
THREE deer have been shot dead in a cull at Sellafield. It emerged in January that the West Cumbria nuclear plant planned to kill a number of the animals who were trapped between two security fences. Initially Sellafield said between five and 12 deer were involved but it turned out just three were trapped.
Westmorland Gazette 11th April 2014 read more »
There is enough uranium available on the planet to keep the world’s nuclear industry going for as long as it is needed. But it will grow steadily more expensive to extract, because the quality of the ore is getting poorer, according to new research. Years of work in compiling information from around the world has led Gavin M. Mudd from Monash University in Clayton, Australia to believe that it is economic and political restraints that will kill off nuclear power and not any shortage of uranium, as some have claimed. Writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology that renewables do not have the disadvantages of nuclear power, which needs large uranium mines that are hard to rehabilitate and which generates waste that remains dangerous for more than 100,000 years. In addition, research shows that renewable technologies are expanding very fast and could produce all the energy needs of advanced economies, phasing out both fossil fuels and nuclear. Mudd, who is a lecturer in the department of civil engineering at Monash, has compiled decades of data on the availability and quality of uranium ore. He concludes that, while uranium is plentiful, mining the ore is very damaging to the environment and the landscape. It is expensive to rehabilitate former mines, not least because of the dangerous levels of radiation left behind. As a result many of the potential sources of uranium will not be exploited because of opposition from people who live in the area.
Climate News Network 11th April 2014 read more »
With a UN resolution on DU munitions due this autumn, the European Parliament is demanding a strong EU position supporting their abolition, or at least strict controls on these fearsome weapons that can cause cancer, birth defects for decades after use.
Ecologist 11th April 2014 read more »
‘Each day you had to be scanned for radioactivity’: As Chernobyl anniversary approaches, urban explorer travels into site of worst ever nuclear disaster to see how it STILL has not been cleared.
Daily Mail 11th April 2014 read more »
Green energy firms have long been popular ventures for entrepreneurs, but nuclear power has largely been ignored, thanks to the extreme cost, safety issues and the worries about nuclear proliferation that are usually associated with such an undertaking. But a small group of nuclear scientists believe they can change things. By building new types of reactors, some of which reuse spent fuel rods from massive – and often ageing – power plants, they aim to commercialise cheaper, safer replacements to transform the industry. At the centre of conventional reactors are rods of uranium submerged in water. The rods contain about 5 per cent uranium-235, which readily sheds neutrons. As these neutrons fly into other uranium atoms, they knock loose more neutrons in a chain reaction that heats up the surrounding water. The steam this process creates is used to drive turbines to generate electricity. These reactors make up the vast majority in service globally. The trouble is that, by the time the rods need replacing, only about one-twentieth of the radioactive material they contain has been used up, and so these power plants quickly accumulate highly radioactive waste. Enter the Waste Annihilating Molten Salt (WAMS) reactor, which is being developed by Transatomic Power in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The design calls for uranium and plutonium in used fuel rods to be dissolved in a tank of liquid lithium-fluoride salts. Heat from the radioactive elements builds within the salt, which can then be circulated out of the reactor’s core to a heat exchanger, where water is turned into steam to drive a turbine.
New Scientist 11th April 2014 read more »
Russia cutting off European gas supplies would be so disastrous for both sides that it is unlikely to happen, BP said on Thursday, as the oil giant faced a major revolt from shareholders over chief executive Bob Dudley’s £6.5m pay package. Speaking at BP’s annual general meeting in London, Mr Dudley played down the risk of significant disruption to gas supplies as a result of the Ukraine dispute – even as Vladimir Putin appeared to threaten exactly that.
Telegraph 10th April 2014 read more »
Centrica has appointed headhunters to begin the search for a new chief executive, as Sam Laidlaw prepares to stand down from the energy giant by the end of the year.
Telegraph 11th April 2014 read more »
Knitters and crocheters from across the region descended on Bradford’s Centenary Square yesterday to stage a ‘knit-in’ in protest against spending on nuclear weapons. The Bradford demonstration was one of hundreds taking place across the globe as part of the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending.
Bradford Telegraph & Argus 12th April 2014 read more »
Japan – energy policy
Three years after the Fukushima accident, which led to calls for Japan to phase-out nuclear power, the country’s cabinet has given its approval to an energy policy that recommends the restart of its idled nuclear reactors. The policy has been three years in the making, and is Japan’s fourth Basic Energy Plan – previous plans were passed in 2003, 2007 and 2010. It is the first to be approved since the Fukushima nuclear accident of 2011 prompted the extended shutdown of the nuclear power plants on which the country had hitherto relied for some 30% of its electricity. A draft of the plan was published by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in February.
World Nuclear News 11th April 2014 read more »
There is speculation that the government plans to revive Japan’s nuclear industry, which supplied 30 per cent of the nation’s electricity output pre-2011, may remain fraught with challenges. Plant operators have already paid out hundreds of millions of pounds on replacement fossil fuels, with media reports estimating that more than £9 billion will need to be spent on facility upgrades to meet required safety standards. “I think it is unavoidable that the Japanese utilities will write off most of their nuclear ‘assets’ and move on,” said Mycle Schneider, an independent energy consultant based in Paris.
Telegraph 11th April 2014 read more »
Westinghouse Electric Company has extended a contract with Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear power operator, to supply fuel to plants until 2020. The deal struck on Friday, valued at between $100m and $200m, will see the Toshiba-owned company supply 15 annual fuel supplies for initially two reactors, easing Ukraine’s dependence on Russia for fuel supplies as disputes between the two countries rumble on.
FT 11th April 2014 read more »
The Czech energy giant ČEZ announced on Thursday it was cancelling a tender on two new nuclear reactors at the Temelín nuclear power plant. The deal – estimated as worth hundreds of billions of crowns – was shelved a day after the government stated it would not offer any state guarantees in the project. There were two remaining bidders in the deal, the US-based Westinghouse and Russian-led consortium MIR 1200, who have been left empty-handed.
Radio Praha 10th April 2014 read more »
How China’s coal control measures could help avoid catastrophic climate change in five charts.
Energy Desk 10th April 2014 read more »
The domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI), which was first proposed in 2010, was finally launched this week. Ministers say it is the first scheme of its kind in the world offering financial incentives to householders to install low-carbon heating systems. So do the figures add up for householders?
Guardian 12th April 2014 read more »
Renewables – Biomass
Britain’s biggest biomass developers are quitting the country after accusing the government of discriminating against them in favour of the offshore wind industry. David Williams, the chief executive of Eco2, a renewables developer, blamed a government U-turn on capping subsidies for small biomass plants fuelled with local supplies of straw or wood. He and his fellow Eco2 executives, who have developed more than half Britain’s small biomass plants, have vowed to halt all activity from next year and are scouring the globe for new projects. MPs said that snubbing such biomass projects was “absolutely bonkers” when the UK desperately needed new power generation to head off the threat of blackouts as Britain continues to close down coal-fired power stations. Replacing them with more offshore wind farms, which earn subsidies that are nearly 50 per cent more expensive than biomass, will push up energy bills even more, claimed Jackie Doyle-Price, the Conservative MP for Thurrock, who campaigned against the closure of a dedicated biomass plant in her Essex constituency.
Times 12th April 2014 read more »
Hundreds of scientists and policymakers are meeting in Berlin this week to discuss a major new UN climate change report. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release the third and final instalment of its review of the current state of climate change research on Sunday. While the first two reports aimed to better define the climate change problem, Sunday’s report focuses on potential solutions. The first part of the report, released last September, covered the physical science of climate – from extreme rainfall to Arctic ice melt. The second part of the report – released at the end of March – looked at how rising emissions could affect extreme weather, food production, and human security. Sunday’s report will focus on what governments need to do to avoid the worst of those impacts. It is expected to emphasise the need for international cooperation to curb emissions, suggesting a variety of ways countries can decarbonise their economies.
Carbon Brief 11th April 2014 read more »
Hot on the heels of its grim prognosis of just how bad things are going to get, and who it will affect (summary: very, and mostly the poor), the UN is set to release its next major climate report this Sunday. This one will focus on what it’d take to avoid dangerous climate change – including, inevitably, the costs of acting versus the costs of sitting back and trying to mop up the mess.
Business Green 11th April 2014 read more »
Clean energy will have to at least treble in output and dominate world energy supplies by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic climate change a UN report is set to conclude on Sunday. The report produced by hundreds of experts and backed by almost 200 world governments, will detail the dramatic transformation required of the entire globe’s power system, including ending centuries of coal, oil and gas supremacy.
Guardian 12th April 2014 read more »