Britains new generation of nuclear reactors will be delayed by at least two years in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown in Japan, according to industry insiders. To fill the gap, Britain is making another dash for gas. The problem is that so is everyone else. Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises advanced nations, published a 131-page report predicting a Golden Age of Gas thanks to giant new discoveries in America, Australia and China. It predicted that by 2035, global consumption will rise by 50% a greater increase than for any other energy source. After Fukushima, and Germanys decision last month to shut down its nuclear fleet over the next decade, competition will be fierce. Andrew Horstead, analyst at Utilyx, the consultancy, said: The energy outlook for Britain is bleak. Our North Sea gas and oil supplies are in decline and our energy import requirements are increasing year on year. Combined with recent events in Japan, unrest in the Middle East and Germanys decision to abandon nuclear energy, these conditions have created the perfect storm of uncertainty in energy markets. He added: The [Scottish Power] price hike perfectly illustrates how global events have an impact on UK energy prices. End-users need to brace themselves for another round of price increases. There are other reasons we are in for more pain. Next month, the government will publish its final plan to reform the electricity generation market. The framework designed to hasten the death of coal-fired power and accelerate the introduction of cleaner alternatives such as offshore wind, nuclear, and gas stations fitted with experimental carbon capture technology represents the biggest regulatory change since privatisation two decades ago. It will be expensive. Each nuclear station will cost an estimated £5 billion. That would buy gas-fired power stations capable of producing three times the amount of energy. If Britain is to meet the EUs pollution reduction goals, many of our power stations will have to be fitted with carbon-capture technology, an enormously expensive and still unproven technology that strips carbon dioxide from power plant exhausts and buries it underground.
Sunday Times 12th June 2011 more >>
Letter: The scale of change that will be required for Germany to meet its renewable energy targets is unprecedented. In September 2010, the conservative government outlined plans to reduce carbon emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 (and 80% by 2050) in part by increasing the national share of renewable electricity to more than 35% in 2020 and to 80% by 2050. Within four decades, one of the worlds leading economies will be powered almost entirely by wind, solar, biomass, hydro, and geothermal power. If Germany can do it the UK can too.
Hebden Bridge Times 11th June 2011 more >>
The government has intervened dramatically in the row over spiralling energy prices by urging consumers to desert companies, such as Scottish Power, that impose substantial increases in the cost of gas and electricity. As concern grows that the other five major energy companies are preparing to follow Scottish Power and announce big rises within weeks, the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, told the Observer that consumers should not accept the increases “lying down” but “hurt” their supplier by finding cheaper alternatives.
Observer 12th June 2011 more >>
Households should be prepared for further rises in their power bills of the magnitude of Scottish Power’s inflation-busting 19pc increase in gas prices and 10pc hike in electricity tariffs, Centrica chairman Sir Roger Carr has warned.
Telegraph 12th June 2011 more >>
Sir Roger Carr warns in an interview that the Coalition must give “some sort of support” over rising energy costs to UK manufacturers or else risk seeing businesses relocate abroad with the consequential loss of jobs. “Not every country in the world has the same commitment to climate change [as the UK] and therefore you may feel commercially disadvantaged,” Sir Roger says, adding: “That gives you cause for thought as to where you want to invest.”
Telegraph 12th June 2011 more >>
PROTESTERS held mass demonstrations across Japan against nuclear power yesterday, the three-month anniversary of the powerful earthquake and tsunami that killed over 23,000 and triggered one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters. Streets in parts of Tokyo were jammed with thousands of chanting demonstrators, paralysing sections of the city. Some marchers called for the country’s nuclear plants to be shut down immediately and for the government to introduce stricter radiation tests.
Scotland on Sunday 12th June 2011 more >>
Reuters 11th June 2011 more >>
Three months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake triggered a nuclear crisis that shows little sign of ending anytime soon. This is the fourth installment in a series that examines what caused the unprecedented crisis, which has dealt a fatal blow to the myth of the safety of nuclear power plants in this country.
Yomiuri 12th June 2011 more >>
Yomiuri 11th June 2011 more >>
Yomiuri 10th June 2011 more >>
Yomiuri 9th June 2011 more >>
While workers and remote-controlled robots were struggling to grapple with the hydra-headed reactor troubles, a separate story went viral on YouTube, where a movie uploaded by a user named “yuunosato” on May 21 had already been viewed more than 1.8 million times as of June 9. Titled “Tokyo Denryoku Fukushima Genpatsu Jiko-go ni Umareta Mimi-Nashi Kousagi,” (“Earless Baby Rabbit Born After the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Reactor Accident”), it shows a cute albino bunny at a farm in Namie-cho, a village just outside the 30-km exclusion zone.
Japan Times 12th June 2011 more >>
One issue which has been largely sidelined from the debate is the government’s proposals to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plants, which they expect to provide a fifth of the country’s energy by 2020. But last Friday a group of environmental activists – from groups including Greenpeace and the Turkish Green Party – set up camp in Istanbul’s Taksin Square in opposition to the AK Party’s plans to build a nuclear reactor in partnership with the Russian government Now numbering over two dozen tents and with more sleeping by night, the protestors are calling on the main political parties to withdraw the proposals which they argue are scientifically unsound, and to instead consider renewable energy alternative.
Red Pepper 11th June 2011 more >>
The recent ratcheting up of tensions over Irans alleged nuclear ambitions. Since the 2009 elections the democratic issue has taken priority over the nuclear issue for many ordinary Iranians. However, there is huge popular support for Irans civil nuclear programme across a broad spectrum of opinion in Iran. Nuclear fuel production is regarded as a sovereign right and a source of great national pride and many Iranians believe that western allegations of a weaponisations programme are being used for political purposes. According to Paul Ingram, international attempts to punish Iran for pursuing nuclear fuel production simply strengthen the legitimacy of the governments stance to defy those attempts, as well as the very legitimacy of the government itself.
Open Democracy 11th June 2011 more >>
A scientist whose research into Britains nuclear test veterans was rubbished by the Government has been honoured for his work by the Queen.Professor Al Rowland led a groundbreaking study which proved men present at the atomic blasts in the 1950s were left with serious genetic ¬damage which could have caused the legacy of cancers and rare diseases they now suffer from. Faced with a multi-million-pound payout the Ministry of Defence tried to damn his work, insisting the research proved nothing. This has left thousands of vets fighting a lawsuit for compensation. Dozens have died waiting for it to come to court.
Mirror 12th June 2011 more >>
Imagine a safe, clean nuclear reactor that used a fuel that was hugely abundant, produced only minute quantities of radioactive waste and was almost impossible to adapt to make weapons. It sounds too good to be true, but this isnt science fiction. This is what lies in store if we harness the power of a silvery metal found in river sands, soil and granite rock the world over: thorium. One ton of thorium can produce as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, or 3.5 million tons of coal, and the thorium deposits that have already been identified would meet the entire worlds energy needs for at least 10,000 years. Unlike uranium, its easy and cheap to refine, and its far less toxic. Happily, it produces energy without producing any carbon dioxide: so an economy that ran on thorium power would have virtually no carbon footprint. Better still, a thorium reactor would be incapable of having a meltdown, and would generate only 0.6 per cent of the radioactive waste of a conventional nuclear plant. It could even be adapted to burn existing, stockpiled uranium waste in its core, thus enormously reducing its radioactive half-life and toxicity.
Daily Mail 12th June 2011 more >>
The Green Energy Act laid down in law that families would not need planning permission to install rooftop windmills or air-source heat pumps. The Government was legally bound to lay an order implementing it before Parliament by July 12 last year. But nearly 11 months later, Mr Pickles still shows no sign of doing so.
Telegraph 10th June 2011 more >>
My friend Kerr MacGregor, who has died aged 70, was Britain’s leading solar inventor. His most successful invention was Solartwin, a solar water-heating panel which is freezable, unlike most others. By putting water inside his panel, Kerr dispensed with antifreeze, a viscous and unstable chemical gloop. This meant water could circulate more easily, so that a miniature, highly efficient pump could be used, instead of a big clunker. The pump can be powered by just five watts via a small solar electric panel. More than 5,000 Solartwin installations are in place across the world. Kerr’s diverse energy-saving inventions included: solar clip fins (used in DIY solar collectors worldwide); underground solar heat storage (for greenhouses); low-cost large solar collectors for swimming pools; and transpired fabric solar collectors for drying timber. His thermal slates are used in hundreds of hard-to-heat Scottish hom es, where they dehumidify and heat air, at low cost.
Guardian 12th June 2011 more >>
The governments waste review, to be published this week, will say that local authorities should collect slops to produce methane with a technology called anaerobic digestion. The gas would be used to generate power. The proposal is also designed to encourage people to cut down the amount of food they throw away. A study by Wrap, the governments adviser on waste, found that Britain generates 16m tons of food and drink waste each year, with more than half coming from homes. The review will encourage local authorities to start food waste schemes with weekly collections to prevent bins getting unhygienic. Councils will be allowed to impose charges to promote recycling.
Sunday Times 12th June 2011 more >>