Porritt points out, the project still faces vast hurdles including securing a final investment decision from minority partners, obtaining a £10bn loan guarantee from the treasury, and finalising negotiations over a subsidy contract with the UK Gov. Citing a blog post by Sussex Energy Group’s Phil Johnstone, Porritt refers to the immense efforts that the UK government has gone to in its attempts to make nuclear work in the 21st century. This includes creating one of the best institutional contexts in the world, ‘streamlining’ planning, as well as establishing Contracts for Difference for nuclear power. However, despite these actions to ‘facilitate’ new nuclear, the Hinkley C project may be close to abandonment.
Sussex Energy Group 11th March 2015 read more »
The Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant never made sense, writes Jonathon Porritt, but as legal challenges gather, finance fails to materialize, the cost of renewable energy keeps on falling, and the ‘dead duck’ EPR design is prepared for burial, even nuclear fanatics are turning against the doomed project.
Ecologist 11th Mar 2015 read more »
A POWER station boss is putting together a business plan to keep a nuclear plant operating well into the 2020s. Hartlepool power station director Simon Parsons told the Hartlepool Mail he was determined to keep as many people in work in the town for as long as possible, before the day comes when the site has to consider decommissioning. The plant already has permission to operate until 2019 under its current life extension. But Mr Parsons said the aspiration was to operate beyond then. EDF Energy has stated an average life extension for its plants is seven years.
Hartlepool Mail 12th Mar 2015 read more »
Nuclear waste could be shipped across Suffolk and north Essex under new plans from the operators of the former Bradwell power station site. Magnox has unveiled proposals to store intermediate level nuclear waste from Sizewell A at the old nuclear power plant in Essex. If approved by the authorities, including the nuclear watchdog and Essex County Council, the process of transporting a maximum of 15 packages could begin next year. The move is expected to save tax payers around £15million in building costs for a waste store at Sizewell, with the material being held in surplus space at Bradwell, and result in 600 fewer lorry movements.
Ipswich Star 12th Mar 2015 read more »
Demonstrators took to the streets to mark the anniversary of the Fukushima disaster and opposed plans for Wylfa Newydd on the island.
Daily Post 11th Mar 2015 read more »
A row has erupted after a school refused to allow an anti-nuclear campaign group to hold a controversial public meeting on its premises. Keswick School’s headteacher Simon Jackson told Radiation Free Lakeland that an upcoming meeting, which would have heard from two international radiation experts about the proposed Moorside nuclear development at Sellafield, could not take place at the school. Mr Jackson said the school was following its policy which prohibited the hiring out of its facilities for any event which could disturb the “principles of community cohesion” or bring the school into disrepute.
Carlisle News & Star 11th Mar 2015 read more »
The North West has the potential to create a world-leading nuclear computing hub. That is the proposition that will be put forward by directors of the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) at Liverpool University’s School of Engineering tonight at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s North West Regional Lecture. Addressing the future of civil nuclear research in the UK, NNL managing director Paul Howarth, and chief engineer Richard Taylor, will highlight ways in which NNL’s work is central to the development of the Government’s Nuclear Industrial Strategy.
Liverpool Echo 11th Mar 2015 read more »
North East manufacturers looking to enter the nuclear sector will be given an insight into the £60bn market later this month. Fit For Nuclear (F4N) says it is hosting a special event on March 18th to provide firms with the latest information and guidance on what they need to do to prepare themselves for supplying into this expanding market.
Advanced Manufacturing 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Arni Gundersen: The Fukushima catastrophe four years ago today was no natural disaster, writes Arnie Gundersen. Operator TEPCO and nuclear regulators were well aware of the danger of tsunamis, but put money before safety. Nuclear power remains the only energy source that can destroy a country overnight – and it’s time to ditch it! When the American nuclear companies, General Electric and Ebasco, built Fukushima Daiichi for TEPCO, they knew that huge tsunamis were a real risk. Instead of designing for the worst imaginable consequences, which would make nuclear power unaffordable, the industry chose instead to save money, allowing economics to trump safety. The continuing problems at Fukushima Daiichi during the past four years stem from those skewed priorities.
Ecologist 11th Mar 2015 read more »
The scale and complexity of what Japan is trying to do in the aftermath of the 2011 meltdown at Fukushima is mind-boggling. Decontamination plans are being executed for 105 cities, towns and villages affected by the accident at Fukusima Dai-ichi, 140 miles northeast of Tokyo. Many Japanese regard this massive undertaking as a solemn obligation to right a terrible wrong. Others, even some of the people directly affected, question whether it’s a quixotic waste of resources. Unlike the 1986 accident at Chernobyl, where authorities simply declared a 1,000 square-mile no-habitation zone, resettled 350,000 people and essentially decided to let the radiation dissipate over decades or centuries, Japan is attempting to make the Fukushima region livable again. It is an unprecedented effort. The sheer manpower and money dedicated to the house-to-house effort is staggering: In the last four years, the government has spent $13.5 billion on decontamination efforts outside the nuclear plant, and the budget request for the fiscal year starting in April is another $3.48 billion, said Seiji Tsutsui, director of the international cooperation office for radioactive decontamination at the Environment Ministry. At the peak, some 18,000 people were doing decontamination work; as of early February, that number had dropped to 12,000. But around Minamisoma, there are still so many workers that residents in the northern part of town – which is not under evacuation orders – complain of heavy traffic as laborers commute to job sites and orange, yellow and turquoise backhoes and other equipment is moved from field to field. The fruits of the laborers’ efforts are stacked in those giant sacks—5.5 million of them and counting. They are spread out across Fukushima province, along roadsides, in parking lots and backyards. They are tagged and bar-coded so authorities know what’s inside and how radioactive it is – and when the bags might start to wear out. A report by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation in October found the public health effects of the Fukushima accident to be much less severe than at Chernobyl. The panel predicted cancer rates would remain stable, and foresaw no impact on rates of birth defects, though there was a “theoretical” increased risk of thyroid cancer among the most exposed children. Still, Edwin Lyman, co-author of “Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster,” said the thoroughness of decontamination work would have a bearing on ultimate outcomes. “A significant part of the radiation dose to the public is still in the future,” after evacuation orders are lifted, he said. “It will depend on what standards are set.”
LA Times 11th Mar 2015 read more »
We have created a booklet entitled “10 Lessons from Fukushima: Reducing risks and protecting communities from nuclear disasters”. This booklet, which is based upon the experiences and testimony of local people, outlines the reality of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, ten lessons from this which should be shared for considering future response and prevention.
Fukushima Lessons 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Widespread environmental contamination largely remains. Decontamination efforts are, many times, missing the government’s targets. Massive amounts of highly radioactive water flow into the ocean from the reactor site every day. The location of molten reactor cores in Units 1-3 remains unknown – which is a problem that requires massive amounts of cooling water every day to minimize the risk of another major radiation release. In spite of these ongoing problems and the fact that many of the over 120,000 displaced nuclear refugees are still living in difficult evacuation conditions four years later, the Abe government in Japan is pushing to restart the country’s idled nuclear fleet.
Greenpeace 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Hundreds of thousands of people are still displaced from their homes and previous livelihoods; hundreds of tons of radioactive water continues to leak from the reactor site into groundwater and the Pacific Ocean; radioactive waste continues to pile up on the reactor site and surrounding communities–where it likely will stay for decades if not centuries; and there even remains some uncertainty about the exact location of the most lethally radioactive material–the molten fuel cores from the melted reactors. How far down did the molten fuel flow? Did it move horizontally? What further dangers does it pose now, and in the decades of clean-up to come? We don’t know, and neither do Japanese officials.
Green World 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Government are keen to wipe away hard won planning controls in order to smooth the way for new nuclear build and geological dumping. The Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project designation was designed primarily to push new nuclear build – the normal planning regime protecting places and people is scrapped under NSIP. Now the government is about to add nuclear waste to the NSIP designation. This has already been nodded through the House of Lords and yesterday was nodded through the first stage of the House of Commons by a Committee of carefully selected MPs (selected by Government Whips) ensuring a nod of consent.
Radiation Free Lakeland 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Nuclear group does not need EDF merger but better managers and less interference. The paradox of Areva, the French nuclear group, is that it is a world leader in its sector but a company in crisis. So says Philippe Varin, who took over in January as Areva’s chairman. As a former chief executive of PSA Peugeot Citroen, the French carmaker bailed out under his leadership, Mr Varin knows a company in crisis when he sees one. But his elegant turn of phrase about Areva misses something out. First and foremost, Areva is a victim of political intrigue and interference, with a dash of managerial incompetence thrown in for good measure. What is more, these problems go all the way back to the company’s formation in 2001. According to Royal, France’s energy minister, who was speaking on Monday, the government is not ruling out an Areva-EDF merger. According to Emmanuel Macron, the economy minister, who was also speaking on Monday, the government is ruling it out. Perhaps, echoing Mr Varin, we should call it a paradox and leave it at that. This is no laughing matter for EDF, which has challenges of its own to deal with. In particular, it will have to find tens of billions of euros over the next 10 years to maintain the ageing nuclear reactors that supply three-quarters of France’s electricity. No wonder Jean-Bernard Levy, EDF’s chief executive, made it plain last month that he did not want to be hustled by the government into making an equity investment in Areva. For its part, Areva can blame some of its troubles on the downturn in the global nuclear industry that followed the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan. But that cannot excuse the delays and enormous cost overruns at two nuclear plants under construction in Flamanville, in northern France, and in Finland. To make a success of such big projects, Areva does not need to merge with EDF. It just needs better managers and fewer politicians sticking their noses in. The history of Areva suggests this is easier said than done.
FT 12th Mar 2015 read more »
The future of France’s nuclear industry has never looked bleaker, with a government pledging to wean the country off atomic power, cut-throat rivalry in world export markets and the debt of flagship nuclear group Areva in junk territory.But even with a painful overhaul and lean years ahead for the nuclear sector, the fuel which after World War Two powered France’s rise to the Group of Seven nations remains the bedrock of its energy independence and is so strategically vital that Paris will not let Areva fail.That is the premise underpinning a new industrial strategy due to be announced by Areva and domestic utility EDF in coming months, while President Francois Hollande is softening his resolve to reduce the share of nuclear in France’s electricity mix.
Reuters 11th Mar 2015 read more »
French nuclear group Areva is planing to cut about 1,500 jobs in Germany by the end of 2017, company officials said on Wednesday. Unions fear that some of the eight sites in the country may close.
RFI 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Eon, Germany’s biggest utility by market capitalisation, posted a record annual loss of 3.2bn euro on Wednesday as the shift to renewables in Europe’s biggest economy continues to squeeze the earnings of conventional power generating businesses. The net loss in 2014, down from a net income attributable to shareholders of â‚¬2bn the year before, is due to “significantly higher” impairment charges. Those came chiefly from Eon’s power generation business in the UK, Sweden and Italy, and lower proceeds from disposals, the company said. In a shift of strategy, Eon is expected to spin off its fossil fuel and nuclear generation business and focus on renewables. The move, which is expected to take place next year, will create a successor company keeping the Eon brand, which will focus on renewables, electricity distribution networks and services for customers. The spin-off company will combine conventional generation, global energy trading and exploration and production.
FT 11th Mar 2015 read more »
The two biggest utilities in Europe, German power giants E.ON and RWE – have further cleared the decks as they prepare to catch up with the country’s energy transition and focus on renewables and distributed energy.
Renew Economy 12th Mar 2015 read more »
Longannet power station will close by the end of March next year unless it secures a short-term contract with the National Grid, MSPs have heard. They were told the plant was competing for a contract to help maintain voltage levels in the electricity supply. A Holyrood committee heard that an announcement on the contract is expected by the end of this month. And they were told Peterhead power station is also facing “economically-challenging” circumstances.
BBC 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Times 12th Mar 2015 read more »
Herald 12th Mar 2015 read more »
Scotsman 12th Mar 2015 read more »
Letter Prof Paul Younger: Lang Banks paints a bucolic image of a Scotland free from any non-renewable power stations (Agenda, The Herald, March 10). Yet the crux of Mr Banks’s argument is that Scotland can afford to dispense with all its baseload and dispatchable power sources (which account for about two-thirds of all electricity used here) and rely on imports from England whenever the wind doesn’t blow. However, the vast bulk of English baseload and dispatchable power – as in all of Europe – will remain non-renewable, for want of sufficient alternatives at the required scale and cost. Under this scenario, we will not genuinely de-carbonise Scotland’s electricity supply at all. We will simply import fossil and nuclear power from England, and export the jobs currently held at Longannet, Hunterston and Torness to power stations south of the border. No Scottish government that presides over such a descent into chaos is likely to last in power long. But that needn’t concern Mr Banks as the Scottish public get no vote on the leadership of pressure groups.
Herald 12th Mar 2015 read more »
Costs are coming down in the renewables industry, which is good news for individuals and business alike, writes Niall Stuart. For four years, largely out of sight of the power-consuming public, Britain’s energy system has been changing. The Electricity Market Reform (EMR) process has been a seismic shift for those who generate our electricity – a shift designed to drive investment into the energy markets of the future, as well as to protect consumer bills. Few in the industry would argue with those objectives, and last month saw EMR finally come into being. The UK Government’s first blind green power auction through the Contracts for Difference scheme, which concluded at 7am on 26 February for technologies such as onshore wind, offshore wind and solar, reinforced how far costs are already being driven down by the industry. Under the new Contracts for Difference funding regim e, each contracted unit of power from onshore wind and solar will be around 10 per cent cheaper than the agreed cost of electricity from the proposed new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point. Notably, renewables projects are now forced to compete in an annual blind auction for contracts to support their investment, with future nuclear and carbon capture and storage projects still negotiating with government a suitable “strike price” – the amount paid for each unit of power generated. Offshore, Scotland’s renewables industry also received a welcome boost from the auction process when the Neart na Gaoithe wind farm in the Firth of Forth was awarded a contract to sell the power it will generate for the next 15 years. The project is expected to create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs during its construction, as well as throughout its operational life.
Scotsman 12th Mar 2015 read more »
Members of Heriot-Watt University’s Energy Academy were the guests of Joan McAlpine MSP in the Scottish Parliament where they discussed the future of energy storage in Scotland. They were joined by Brian Richardson who is Chief Executive, Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce and Director of Energy Storage Scotland CIC. Together, Richardson and Energy Academy Professor Sue Roaf and Dr .Eddie Owens told Holyrood MPs that Scotland could not deliver its 2020 targets without using energy storage. Professor Roaf highlighted that Scotland has “an opportunity to join world leaders in the field – but we need to embrace building and community level solar, wind and small scale hydro potentials too”.
Scottish Energy News 12th Mar 2015 read more »
Renewables provided 15% of the EU’s energy in 2013, according to new data published yesterday by Eurostat, the EU’s official statistical body. The figures show the EU is on track to meet its 20% renewables target in 2020. Transport and heat lagging are behind progress in electricity, where wind and solar remain relatively small contributors. The figures also show that the UK is further behind its 2020 renewable energy target than all other member state.
Carbon Brief 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Germany’s Economy Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, has slammed proposals to use taxpayers’ money to fund nuclear power as “absolutely out of the question.” His comments came ahead of talks in Brussels, where the European Commission (EC) met to discuss proposals for a new energy union. Previous attempts have been met with opposition, as member states fight to retain the right to choose the kind of energy they use. “There are countries in the EU that want to support nuclear power with tax money. We think that is absolutely out of the question,” Gabriel was quoted by Reuters as saying. “We will not agree by any means that nuclear energy be supported by public money. Nuclear energy is the most expensive kind of generation. It has now been around for 50 years, it is not new and it is dangerous.”
Tax News 11th Mar 2015 read more »
China need to construct as many as 100 new nuclear reactors over the next decade as it bids to bring nuclear power’s share of its total generating capacity to around 6 percent by 2030, an industry chief told state media on Wednesday. He Yu, the chairman of the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), said China’s low-carbon roadmap leading up to 2030 would need as much as 150 to 200 gigawatts (GW) of installed nuclear capacity, up from around 20 GW at the end of last year.
Reuters 11th Mar 2015 read more »
The government in Vietnam has ambitious targets to see the country’s first new reactor generating electricity by the early 2020s – ambitious, because currently it has just one research reactor, which supplies radiation sources for medicine and industrial programmes. But Vietnam’s economy is growing rapidly – at about 7% a year – and with it demand for electricity is increasing. The government has plans to establish new reactors at seven sites.
Institute of Mechanical Engineers 6th Mar 2015 read more »
Defence Nuclear Safety
Concerns over nuclear dangers on the Clyde have been played down by the Ministry of Defence, after figures revealed number of radiation safety incidents had leapt by more than half in a year.
Dumbarton Reporter 12th Mar 2015 read more »
The threat of nuclear war is higher now than at any time in the last 25 years.
Economist 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Nuclear arms will place the world in “incalculable dangers” if an agreement isn’t reached on Middle East disarmament, an Islington MP has said. Speaking at a Parliamentary debate ahead of a conference reviewing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, due to begin at the end of next month, Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, told the Commons disarmament was crucial.
Islington Gazette 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Defence giant BAE Systems has snapped up £257million of Government funding for the final stage of work designing the next generation nuclear submarine for the Royal Navy.
Daily Mail 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Telegraph 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Reuters 11th Mar 2015 read more »
A nuclear action group is claiming the £600 million construction project at the atomic bomb factory in Aldermaston is on hold following design problems, project management failures and regulatory setbacks.
Get Reading 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Bristol approves UK’s first municipal energy company Wholly-owned by the council, Bristol Energy will provide local people with low carbon electricity and support energy efficiency.
Building4Change 13th Feb 2015 read more »
The UK Government has increased its support of renewable heat networks by awarding an extra £3m of funding to local authorities to set up heat networks across England and Wales. The funding, announced this week by Energy Secretary Ed Davey, will support 74 low-carbon heat projects in 55 local authorities designed to heat homes and businesses by renewable, sustainable or recoverable energy sources.
Edie 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Biomass combined with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) remains the only credible route to deliver negative emissions to help meet the UK’s 2050 climate change targets, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has reiterated. The public-private partnership, which connects global energy and engineering companies such as BP, Rolls-Royce and Shell with the UK Government, has released a second report in the space of a month that stresses the importance of biomass to the UK’s future energy mix.
Edie 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Green-leaning Tory MP and chairman of parliament’s energy and climate committee says fracking is safe and will benefit UK’s economy and enivronment. Shale gas exploration can be environmentally sound, and should be the centrepiece of the next government’s energy policy, the Conservative’s most senior green-leaning MP has urged. Tim Yeo, the Tory former minister, and chairman of parliament’s energy and climate committee, said the time had come to make the “green” case in favour of fracking, and that the incoming government after the general election must seize on the technology for the good of the UK’s environment and economy.
Guardian 12th Mar 2015 read more »