Firms working on the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant have admitted their finances have taken a hit due to the project’s delays. Consultant Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) had a contract on Hinkley Point C as a subconsultant and its chairman Ann Bentley has told Building the contract was cancelled when EDF paused work on the site as a final investment decision had still not been made. She added that the contract termination put a dent in RLB’s profit. Bentley said: “People we had allocated for years, instead of going to Hinkley they literally turned up in our office. They just sat there for two months until we were able to reallocate them. “Five people for two months, that’s ten months, almost a year’s salary that came straight off our profits.” A director at a contractor working on the project said their company will only move workers back to Hinkley when a final investment decision is made. He said: “We still feel pretty confident it will go ahead, but no matter how much EDF shout at us to mobilise, we are not going to actually do it until we see that money in our bank account.”
Building 10th Feb 2016 read more »
The builder of the £18 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is to tell its main contractor Areva to look at subcontracting major works for the plant to specialist British steelworks such as Sheffield Forgemasters, The Times has learnt. It is understood that EDF, the French state-owned energy company that is building Hinkley Point in return for government-backed susbsidised fuel prices, is revisiting its supply chain decisions after a row at Westminster in which the industry minister claimed British companies were incapable of taking on the work.
Times 12th Feb 2016 read more »
Nuclear & Climate
Meeting carbon reduction goals economically means no nuclear power. Cooper examines three recent studies taking different approaches to achieving deep decarbonization of our electrical system, two that reject nuclear power as part of the means of attaining massive carbon reductions and one that accepts nuclear power and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS) as pieces of the approach. He then lays over that two recent studies of the economics of electricity generation, along with the political structure for attaining carbon reductions established by the COP 21 climate agreement, to reach his conclusions. The central finding is this: the best way to achieve a carbon-free future from an environmental perspective is also the best way from an economics perspective. And the best way means rejecting nuclear power entirely. In other words, a nuclear-free, carbon-free approach to a clean energy future is not only environmentally preferable–avoiding radioactive waste generation, environmental damage from uranium mining and the rest of the nuclear fuel chain, proliferation concerns, and the constant threat of more Chernobyls and Fukushimas, and so on–it is cheaper as well.
Green World 11th Feb 2016 read more »
French utility EDF will need to spend some €100 billion ($113 billion) on upgrading its fleet of 58 nuclear power reactors by 2030, the country’s state audit office has said. The upgrades are needed to meet new safety requirements and to extend the lives of the units beyond 40 years. EDF announced its Grand Carénage life extension program for the existing fleet in France in 2011. Under this investment program, the company planned to spend around €55 billion on upgrading its plants to improve their performance and enable their continued operation. The program also includes safety upgrades in response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan. In its 2016 annual public report, released yesterday, the Cour des Comptes (Court of Audit) said it estimates that almost double this amount would have to be spent by 2030.
World Nuclear News 11th Feb 2016 read more »
[Machine Translation] Areva would have withheld information to the State on the redemption of Uramin. The daily Liberation accused on Thursday the nuclear group Areva to have cheated the state by concealing information on the acquisition, for € 1.8 billion, the Canadian company Uramin. The uranium deposits in Africa this company acquired in 2007 all proved unworkable. The daily recalls confidential notes, internal mails, redacted reports, which, he says, all of which reveal the extent of a scandal that Areva officials have long sought to stifle. Including Anne Lauvergeon, head of the company at the time of acquisition of Uramin. Also the heart of the matter Olivier Fric, the husband of Anne Lauvergeon. One that is as an “energy consultant” is suspected by Tracfin, the anti-money laundering service Bercy, tax fraud and money laundering have speculated on the acquisition of Uramin by Areva. During a search of the homes of two épous, the financial police would have got hold of dozens of documents – the most confidential – relating to this operation, says Libération. A note of Tracfin dated 31 July 2015, revealed by Charlie Hebdo, points to “atypical flow” on several accounts held by the husband of Anne Lauvergeon. “None found evidence to bring criminal jeopardize my client,” replies Mr. Mario Stasi, lawyer Olivier Fric. For his part, lawyer Anne Lauvergeon, Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi will probably continue Libération: “It is defamatory, he says. If it’s written like this, they will have to come to explain to the court, produce the documents and testimony that allow them to say what they have written. ” Areva is now in disarray. Virtually bankrupt public company forced the taxpayer to a massive bailout. The nuclear group needs nearly $ 5 billion in fresh capital. In the past five years, Areva has accumulated more than 8 billion euros of losses and recorded more than 9.5 billion euros of provisions and impairment. The bill will now worsen with the 2015 accounts and perhaps even then, because of the disastrous contract for construction of the Olkiluoto EPR reactor in Finland. The company is bloodless, subject to a restructuring plan affecting 6,000 employees including about 3500 in France, and will soon be dismantled – with the sale of its business to EDF reactors 2.5 billion.
Le Figaro 11th Feb 2016 read more »
More than 1,600 jobs could be created in the far north economy, a new report has predicted. The forecast is on top of 1,100 already created or planned in the area. The Caithness and north Sutherland economy has made progress in its move away from reliance on the Dounreay nuclear complex, according to an annual review. Dounreay is being decommissioned in a £1.6billion clean-up expected to last until 2030. The complex currently employs around 2000 workers – including contractors. But an umbrella group of stakeholders has been looking at helping support the area to diversify away from relying on Dounreay – one the most important employers in the far north – into other economic generators. The Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership’s 2015 Annual Review outlines the progress made on a number of enabling projects, such as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Nuclear Archive, tidal energy in the Pentland Firth, Developing the Young Workforce and North Highland College. Since the CNSRP was formed in 2007, over 200 companies have committed to creating around 1,100 jobs in the economy. The report predicts that a further 1,600 jobs could be created in the area over the next 15 years.
Press & Journal 10th Feb 2016 read more »
Sellafield & Chernobyl
Nick May’s utterly stunning, moving, but disturbing film about the unseen horrors of radiation on the Cumbrian hills, not only from Chernobyl but from nearby Sellafield, is a lesson that despite British Nuclear Fuel’s high powered PR machine, you cannot pull wool over a sheep-farmer’s eyes. The film was made in 1989, a few years after Chernobyl. Men from the Ministry check the sheep, rather than humans, for radiation. In 2016 contamination remains and site investigations to build three nuclear reactors at Moorside are already underway. No one knows what additional contamination will lead to – but as this film demonstrates the real experts are the unrepresented communities forced – or bribed to live with the burden.
CORE 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Animals living in the Chernobyl exclusion zone appear to be going blind as a result of the radiation from the nuclear disaster in 1986. Scientists found bank voles at the site had high frequency of cataracts, and that this is likely the result of background radiation that lingers there. An international team of researchers led by Philipp Lehmann and Tapio Mappes from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, said the prevalence of cataracts in mammal populations and their ecological significance is not well understood. Cataracts (clouding of the lens, which reduces light transmission to the retina) have been found to arise from high levels of oxidative stress – and one major cause of this stress is ionising radiation.
IB Times 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Independent 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Five years after the Fukushima nuclear plant was crippled during a devastating earthquake and tsunami, the plant operator has admitted that only a fraction of the clean-up has been accomplished to make the site safe. As Japan prepares to mark the anniversary of the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster, it is clear that the progress to date – clearing up debris, and installing protective structures around the four reactor buildings that were destroyed – is largely skin deep. The most technically complex and dangerous tasks, including locating and removing the nuclear fuel that has burned through the pressure vessels of three of the reactors and is believed to have pooled at the bottom of the containment chambers, are yet to begin.
Telegraph 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Sellafield Nuclear Facility, in the UK, has its own gas-fired power station! While this appears mostly for “reprocessing” as well as the cooling of “spent” nuclear fuel (i.e. nuclear waste), operating nuclear reactors are also dependent upon outside sources of power. Thus, the need of nuclear power stations to be connected to the electrical grid. This dependence upon other sources of power is one of the most bizarre aspects of nuclear power. In the event of electrical grid failures, nuclear cooling systems can be powered with backup generators, which sometimes fail to start up and require diesel fuel to run. This is a major achilles heel of nuclear power.
Mining Awareness 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Dependence upon external sources of power is one of the most bizarre aspects of nuclear power stations. In the event of electrical grid failures, nuclear cooling systems can be powered with backup generators, which sometimes fail to start up. They also require diesel fuel to run. This is a major achilles heel of nuclear power. In a 1998 near miss, severe winds knocked out all external power lines; emergency diesel generators failed to start; computer system failure due to lack of electrical power caused “considerable confusion and delay“ at Hunterston B in Scotland.
Mining Awareness 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Russia’s gross domestic product gains three roubles for every one invested in building a nuclear power plant in the country, and two roubles for units built abroad, Rosatom deputy director general Kirill Komarov said in an interview with Vestnik Atomproma published on the state nuclear corporation’s website yesterday. “Our calculations speak for themselves: the construction of nuclear power plants in Russia with the national localization of production rate of 95-98% creates an additional seven to ten jobs in other industries […], boosting the socio-economic development of the country as a whole,” Komarov said. “At the same time, when we build nuclear power plants abroad, Russian companies account for 60-70% of the work.”
World Nuclear News 11th Feb 2016 read more »
A tax on nuclear power in combination with falling electricity prices have put the Swedish nuclear power industry in a “critical position,” according to state-owned power company Vattenfall. The warning by Vattenfall’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Magnus Hall, follows the announcement that the company made a record net loss of SEK19.8bn (USD2.3bn) in 2015, which the company has blamed on regulatory changes and the nuclear tax.
Tax News 11th Feb 2016 read more »
A commission in Germany is meeting on Friday to discuss the final plan for nuclear decommissioning, as part of the country’s nuclear power phase-out. The outcome is causing some concerns among Germany’s top utilities as the government-appointed body looks at the funds set aside to pay for the clean-up. The countries top four, E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall – have earmarked nearly $45bn 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. Reuters reports that the commission, consisting of 19 politicians, lawyers, academics and businessmen aims to present recommendations by the end of the month.
Power Engineering 11th Feb 2016 read more »
South Africa will procure nuclear energy at an affordable pace and scale, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday. “We will procure nuclear energy on a scale and pace that the country can afford,” Zuma said in his annual state of the nation address to parliament. South Africa hopes to install 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power in the next 15 years to address chronic electricity shortages but the cost of the project estimated at about $100 billion has raised budgetary concerns.
Reuters 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Hilary Benn rebukes Jeremy Corbyn over Trident as he warns no-one wants to live in a world where only North Korea has a nuclear weapon.
Daily Mail 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Hilary Benn has said he does not think any other state would abandon its nuclear weapons just because the UK had decided to throw its system in the dustbin, in a rejection of the unilateralism associated with his leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The shadow foreign secretary’s remarks come as the shadow cabinet prepares to discuss whether to back Corbyn and call for the non-renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system.
Guardian 11th Feb 2016 read more »
The Obama administration is pushing ahead with an expensive plan to modernise the country’s nuclear arsenal despite criticism from within the Democratic party and from some nuclear experts who fear it could spark a new arms race. The Pentagon budget for 2017 includes funding for a controversial new air-launched cruise missile that can carry nuclear weapons and for a new nuclear bomb, as well as new submarines and long-range bombers.
FT 11th Feb 2016 read more »
The UK Government is being criticised today by the European Commission for failing to make sufficient progress towards EU-wide renewable energy targets – adding to calls for the Tories to reverse their damaging cuts to renewables support. Statistics show that the UK are among those countries furthest away from reaching their renewables targets, with only France and the Netherlands further from their 2020 goal. Each EU country has a target for renewable growth, which takes into account the different starting points, renewable energy potential and economic performance.
Scottish Energy News 12th Feb 2016 read more »
Renewables – wind
AFTER almost eight years of planning, work has finally begun to re-power a windfarm which could quadruple the site’s electricity production. Furness Wind Farm, which will be spread across two sites, will be completed by the end of March, after work began in December. The development intends to replace the existing Harlock Hill Wind Farm, near Ulverston, which has been owned and operated by the community-based Baywind Energy Co-operative since 1997.
NW Evening Mail 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
A MULTI-BILLION pound tidal power project off the Workington coast has been put on the back burner by the company behind it. Tidal Lagoon Power announced its proposals in 2014 for the tidal lagoon to be created between the Port of Workington and Dubmill Point, just north of Allonby. Despite feasibility studies being carried out, the firm has decided to concentrate on its first two lagoon project in Swansea Bay and Newport, in Wales. It was approved by energy ministers last year but this week, Tidal Lagoon Power said the project been set back 12 months, after negotiations over how much public money it would need stalled. Mark Sharrock, chief executive, said a definitive answer about how much cash would be forthcoming in the next four to six weeks, or the project would run into major problems. The firm wanted to create six lagoons across the UK.
Carlisle News and Star 11th Feb 2016 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News.
MicrogenScotland 11th Feb 2016 read more »
An Edinburgh-based smart grid specialist has developed a new system which claws back currently ‘wasted’ wind energy. Flexitricity – Britain’s largest demand response provider has developed ‘Footroom’ – an automated service that helps manufacturers and other industry increase demand and therefore production – when wind turbine output is highest. Flexitricity has been providing “headroom” to National Grid – extra energy from industrial users when there’s not enough coming from traditional power stations – since 2008.
Scottish Energy News 12th Feb 2016 read more »