The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority which own the Sellafield site have said today that they will aim to achieve the recommendations laid out by the Public Account Committee but say they are already making progress. “The NDA welcomes the scrutiny of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) into our vitally important mission to decommission Sellafield. “We have made good progress towards implementing the recommendations laid down by the PAC following its original report into Sellafield last year and will now focus on achieving the aims of the six recommendations set out in this latest report.
ITV 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Costs on decommissioning and reprocessing at the Sellafield nuclear site are soaring to “astonishing” levels, with latest estimates putting the figure at £70bn, and rising, according to a committee of MPs. And the committee’s chairwoman, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, has dealt a serious blow to hopes that a new Mox plant might be built at Sellafield, saying the figures do not stack up.
NW Evening Mail 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Wolverhampton-based NES – Nuclear Engineering Services – has been working alongside the operators of the Sellafield nuclear power station to demonstrate the idea of using ROVs to extract intermediate level waste from pile fuel cladding silos, so it can be put in containers and stored in purpose-built facilities on the site. The silos, built more than 60 years ago, have been full of irradited fuel cladding since the early 1960s and were Sellafield’s first storage facility for this kind of waste.
Express and Star 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Ian Liddell-Grainger: The future of Hinkley Point C is apparently in the balance again. Brussels’ nosiest parkers – the Competition Commission – has been investigating the government’s deal with EDF. They think the agreement is riddled with generous subsidies. They are talking through their hats. EDF has a cast-iron explanation. Ministers have a copper-bottomed defence. But everything now depends on Europe’s energy commissioner. If he comes out against the deal it could ruin a decade of painstaking planning, put at risk tens of thousands of new jobs and might even push us into an energy future with precious little energy.
Construction News 11th Feb 2014 read more »
The UK’s entire energy strategy is in danger of being derailed after the European Union’s antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia commented that he wants the British government to clarify why state aid is needed to build the Hinkley Point nuclear power project in southwest England. “We need the UK authorities’ cooperation. My intention is to be able to adopt a final decision on this before the end of the year,” he told reporters in London on Friday.
Penn Energy 10th Feb 2014 read more »
UK support for new nuclear projects must abide by EU state aid rules, UK business, innovation and skills minister Vince Cable said today in Brussels. “Energy is a competitive industry. It has to satisfy the state aid rules requirements,” Cable said, speaking alongside EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia. Cable’s comments came in response to suggestions that UK support for new nuclear projects could constitute state aid. “We don’t dispute the necessity to have the overriding governance of the European Commission in this area,” Cable said. He added that the UK needs a “diverse” energy sector with traditional fossil fuels, notably gas, but also new nuclear and renewables. The UK also needs “proper” energy security, he said. Almunia promised neutrality in the commission’s investigation. “We’ll need to understand if there is a market failure to be tackled, the appropriateness of measures, the proportionality and incentive effect,” Almunia said.
Argus Media 11th Feb 2014 read more »
County chiefs have sent a strident message to developers of Suffolk’s proposed third nuclear power station over a long-anticipated but yet realised A12 improvement scheme.
East Anglian Daily Times 10th Feb 2014 read more »
The UK is borrowing heavily on French nuclear energy expertise, with the first third-generation nuclear power plant built in England likely to be EDF’s Hinkley Point C, designed around two Areva NP EPR reactors, and likely to come on stream in the early 2020s. Britain has also committed to French technology for the fourth generation of nuclear reactors. In early February the UK and French government agreed to deepen the scope of collaboration over the ASTRID fast reactor, with Britain’s National Nuclear Laboratory working closely with France’s CEA nuclear agency on this ambitious project. ASTRID is a sodium-cooled Fast Neutron Reactor (FNR) research design, and optimistic guesstimates hope it will be operational by 2020. FNRs offer the prospect of vastly more efficient use of uranium resources than in conventional power reactors. Other advantages include the ability to transform the nastiest elements in high level nuclear waste, the actinides, into less radioactive elements, and should have a much longer operational life than currently operational reactors. ASTRID will be built at Marcoule in the Rhone valley, and will be the prototype for nuclear plants that should provide half of France’s generation capacity by 2050.
Hazardex 10th Feb 2014 read more »
Letter (Prof) Tony Trewavas: COUNCILLOR Bill Butler (“Facts that make nuclear future fanciful”, Letters, 6 February), merely exposes the mythology on which his anti-nuclear stance is founded. Based on fatalities/kiloWatt hours of electricity generated, nuclear is one half that of wind and the safest of all generating methods. When the total system cost of wind or solar energy is properly estimated, renewables are twice or more the cost of nuclear. If as he thinks the price is coming down, remove all subsidies; the industry is mature now. Radioactive waste from power stations is transported in massive steel containers. Real tests between a fast speeding locomotive and these steel containers showed they survived unharmed. Known uranium reserves have actually increased threefold since 1975 due to increased exploration. The oceans offer virtually unlimited uranium supplies if needed. GE and Hitachi have offered to build a small prism reactor at Sellafield to dispose of its waste and to generate 60 years worth of electricity. Fast-breeder reactors leave almost no waste and what remains has a very short half-life. As a scientist I used radioactive materials throughout my career and know the fears expressed by Mr Butler are greatly exaggerated. Finally the Fukushima tsunami killed 20,000, the damaged power station killed none. If the concern is to ban supposed risks then we better start with aeroplanes worldwide and cars on UK roads. In each case the death totals are about 2,000 a year. From UK nuclear power stations, none.
Scotsman 12th Feb 2014 read more »
The European Commission’s new 2030 climate & energy plan launched 22 January includes something it calls “European governance for the 2030 framework” (cf. part 3, page 12). An accompanying press release goes even further labelling this concept a “new governance system“. But what if anything is meant by this? And, as it is described, is such a thing even possible? So far the Commission offers only vague indications.hnson
Mark Johnston 11th Feb 2014 read more »
And now concerns are growing… a new source of leakage” at Fukushima; “The situation could become even more serious” — Groundwater Expert: “I doubt even experts could have imagined”
Enenews 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Yoichi Masuzoe was the clear winner in the gubernatorial election in Tokyo. With his promise to gradually reduce Tokyo’s dependence on nuclear power, Masuzoe took the wind out of his rivals’ sails. The former health minister explained that he intends to increase the amount of power generated in Tokyo from renewable energy from currently six percent.
Deutsche Welle 10th Feb 2014 read more »
TEPCO has revised the readings on the radioactivity levels at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant well to 5 million becquerels of strontium per liter – both a record, and nearly five times higher than the original reading of 900,000 becquerels per liter.
Russia Today 8th Feb 2014 read more »
Opposition inside Iran to the interim nuclear agreement between the administration of Hassan Rouhani and six world powers has gathered strength after the Iranian president labelled his domestic critics “a bunch of uneducated people”. As hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied across the country to mark the 35th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on Tuesday, Rouhani’s critics distributed leaflets asking whether his government had made too many concessions in the Geneva negotiations last year.
Guardian 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Britain will not attend an international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons ministers will tell the Commons on Wednesday. The decision will anger MPs across the political spectrum who say Britain should participate in the conference, due to be held in Mexico on Thursday. “We should be there. I cannot understand why we are not [going]”, said James Arbuthnot, Conservative chairman of the Commons defence committee and a former defence minister.
Guardian 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Workers at the Faslane nuclear naval base in Scotland are to stage a two-hour strike in a row over pay. Unite said hundreds of its members at the base, and at another site in Coulport, will walk out at 10:00 on 19 February. A work to rule, call-out ban and a ban on all non-contractual overtime will also begin next week.
BBC 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Britain’s secretive nuclear weapons research organisation gives over £8m a year in research funding to more than 50 universities, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), a private consortium that runs nuclear plants at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), puts most of the money into five of the UK’s leading universities with which it has formed “strategic alliances”. They are Imperial College in London and the universities of Cambridge, Bristol, Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh and Cranfield in Bedfordshire and Wiltshire. The money helps fund research into plasma physics, high-performance computing, materials science and hydrodynamics, all of which are important for designing and making nuclear weapons. The report, which is being launched on Wednesday at University College London, claims to be the first to expose the extent of AWE’s links with universities and is based on responses to freedom of information requests from the MoD and universities.
Guardian 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – Pumped Storage
Scottish Power, the Spanish-owned energy group, is to consider a major expansion of “pumped storage” hydroelectric power in Scotland that would help to smooth electricity supply amid increasing reliance on highly volatile wind. The feasibility study for an expansion of an existing pumped storage plant – a project that if realised would cost hundreds of millions of pounds – is a boost to nationalist first minister Alex Salmond as he seeks to paint an optimistic picture of Scotland’s energy future ahead of a referendum on independence from the UK. Ignacio Galan, chairman and chief executive of Scottish Power parent Iberdrola, said Mr Salmond had prompted the utility to consider a possible 600MW expansion to its 440MW pump storage plant at Cruachan in the Highlands.
FT 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Scotsman 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Herald 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Scottish Power has today revealed plans to more than double the size of the iconic Ben Cruachan hydro electric power station, in a move that would help balance supply from more intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind farms. The Scottish government has today backed the expansion, which could see the pump storage station near Oban offer 1,040MW of capacity, up from 440MW currently.But Scottish Power has said it still has two years of feasibility studies to carry out before making a final investment decision. As such, the project is likely to depend on the finalisation of the government’s planned capacity mechanism, which will provide financial support for projects that deliver back up power capacity. It could also be affected by the result of this year’s Scottish independence referendum, which energy industry experts have said could lead to a major shakeup of Scottish clean energy policy.
Business Green 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – Trump
A legal challenge to a planned offshore wind farm which could be seen from Donald Trump’s golf resort in Aberdeenshire has been rejected. The US businessman claims the Â£230m European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) would spoil the view from his golf course at Menie. His bid to overturn approval for the project was dismissed by Lord Doherty. Mr Trump has said he will appeal and in the meantime focus instead on a new development in Ireland.
BBC 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Green campaigners in Scotland have urged the Scottish government not to “waste another second” on Donald Trump and his controversial golf resort development, after he lost a legal challenge to an offshore wind farm project. US billionaire Trump has lost a legal challenge to an offshore wind farm project within sight of his Scottish golf resort. The businessman’s legal team went to court in November to oppose the 11-turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre off the Aberdeenshire coast, claiming it would spoil the view from his luxury golf course.
Huffington Post 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Daily Record 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Scotsman 12th Feb 2014 read more »
Times 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Herald 12th Feb 2014 read more »
You wouldn’t normally associate nuclear power with green energy. But a little-known radioactive element called thorium could supply the world with all its energy requirements for 10,000 years. That’s according to Huddersfield University dean and leading energy expert, Professor Bob Cywinski. Nuclear technology may be infinitely safer and more refined than it was in the days of Chernobyl or Three Mile Island – but old images persist. Prof Cywinski says people’s perceptions of nuclear energy as dirty, dangerous and uncontrollable are out-of-date but they are what keeps nuclear power off the mainstream energy agenda.
Huddersfield Examiner 11th Feb 2014 read more »
Legendary hedge fund investor Jeremy Grantham says there is no doubt that solar and wind energy will “completely replace” coal and gas across the globe, it is just a matter of when. The founder of $100 billion funds manager GMO Capital is known as a contrarian. But he suggests that the pace of change in the fuel supply will surprise everyone, and have huge implications for fossil fuel investments. “I have become increasingly impressed with the potential for a revolution in energy, which will make it extremely unlikely that a lack of energy will be the issue that brings us to our knees,” Grantham writes in his latest quarterly newsletter. “Even in the expected event that there are no important breakthroughs in the cost of nuclear power, the potential for alternative energy sources, mainly solar and wind power, to completely replace coal and gas for utility generation globally is, I think, certain.
Renew Economy 11th Feb 2014 read more »