Britain needs a degree of energy security and that will be provided by nuclear base load.The mistake would be for policymakers to abandon long-term plans to address energy shortages simply because the oil price has tumbled over the past year. It is not so long ago that experts were predicting the world would reach peak oil production in the year 2000.The glib response to these changes would be for policymakers in Britain to say forget expensive plans for new nuclear and build a fleet of natural gas or oil burning plants instead. The debate is not made any easier by the struggle EDF is having in getting Britain first new nuclear plant at Hinckley Point in Somerset off the ground. Several objections are being raised. The first is that the proposed third-generation pressurised water reactor (remains a problem technology because of delays at plants in Brittany and Finland. It is not encouraging, but better the teething problems are resolved by engineers overseas rather than in the UK.
Daily Mail 11th Sept 2015 read more »
Lord Hutton: When, as Secretary of State for Business, I instigated the nuclear white paper in 2008 which opened the doors for companies to invest in building new nuclear power stations, little did I think that almost a decade later I’d be defending the start of the UK’s nuclear programme. This time, I am making the case as the chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association rather than as Secretary of State. But the arguments I made then, to reduce the use of fossil fuels to address climate change as well as secure the UK’s energy supplies, remain compelling. Those arguments are now compounded by the urgent need to replace the UK’s ageing energy infrastructure. Nuclear does provide a reliable, low-carbon source of baseload power which can complement the further expansion of renewables. The Hinkley Point project alone will provide 7pc of the UK’s electricity. We would need to have more than 250,000 acres of onshore wind farms to produce the same amount. For any low carbon technology, the strike price will provide the certainty investors need to be able to put huge sums into building new infrastructure. And in terms of Hinkley Point C, it will be the largest inward investment in the UK’s history. This investment will come from a global community. A community willing to invest in the UK to keep the lights on for the next 60 years and beyond. For the past few years, the nuclear industry was being hailed as a major part of the solution to our energy challenges. While this initial project has come under fire, the need is still there. There is no silver bullet for the energy challenges in the UK. But nuclear has to be a part of the answer.
Telegraph 11th Sept 2015 read more »
The construction of Hinkley Point C, the UK’s first power station in decades, has been halted, and will not be finished by 2023, the original date of completion. French energy company, EDF Energy who are responsible for the plant, released the news and said that they will provide, in due course, a revised timetable for the Somerset based project. This is not the first time the £24.5bn construction has been delayed: in a project beset with finanical difficulties many in the UK’s nuclear industry are becoming impatient. While EDF have been consulting local people on this project since 2009, they have still not even managed to give the formal go-ahead. This is no oddity, however, because nuclear power plant construction is known to be an incredibly long-winded processes.
Kettle Mag 11th Sept 2015 read more »
Letter Colin Wales: It was interesting to hear Professor Cherry Tweed (Chief Scientific Advisor to the NDA) on BBC Radio Cumbria explaining to the interviewer that, without wanting to pre-empt the national geological screening exercise, that “some parts of Cumbria would be suitable for a Geological Nuclear Waste Repository” and then to set that in the context of “volunteerism”. During the last failed attempt the MRWS geologist Dr Dearlove, was honest enough to explain which parts of West Cumbria might be suitable – the Solway Plain and the Ennerdale and Eskdale granites – but even he thought their prospects were low. Set in the context of “volunteerism” we all know what the communities in the Solway and Ennerdale thought of that prospect. I could be wrong, in that new areas which Dr Dearlove didn’t think worth exploring are now deemed to be suitable. Who knows? If the areas to which Cherry Tweed refers to are the same as those identified by Dr Dearlove it is to be hoped the notion of what constitutes a community isn’t the ability for your neighbour to volunteer the land you live on. Finding a politically, environmentally and ethical solution for radioactive waste going forward isn’t hard, unless of course you are wedded to the principle of burying nuclear waste in West Cumbria with its known complex geology. The IAEA guidelines are for simple and predictable geology. Sellafield’s risk to Copeland and beyond must be reduced to one which the everybody accepts is acceptable and while the NDA are working hard to achieve that objective but many argue that surface stores exposed to the elements and, by implication, not out of harms way from those who would seek to us harm are far from an ideal solution. I take the same view. As a part of reducing the “intolerable risk” Copeland finds itself under, consideration should be given to a near surface moniterable and retrievable store which isolates the waste for at least 100 years (The Dutch position) and coupled to that a community compensation package for doing so while simultaneously progressing the search for a GDF in known simple predictable geology elsewhere.
Whitehaven News 10th Sept 2015 read more »
This weekend has been chosen as the date to ship and truck Highly Radioactive Nuclear Wastes from Barrow in Furness in Cumbria to Switzerland. It certainly is a good weekend to bury bad news what with Jeremy Corbyn election fever gripping the country. I went to Barrow today to stage a one woman protest, no time to marshal a larger protest today, but I felt that this obscenity of high level nuclear waste being shipped across the sea and then trucked through towns and villages, should be marked somehow by someone. The bemused Barrow fishermen I spoke to had no idea that High Level Nuclear Waste was about to be shipped to Switzerland and one commented “better there than here” that is one way of looking at it but radioactive wastes are arriving here in Cumbria daily.
Radiation Free Lakeland 11th Sept 2015 read more »
In his opening address to the Board, Mr Amano said that his “final annual report on the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety shows that progress continues to be made in improving nuclear safety throughout the world. Issues highlighted under the Action Plan will continue to be addressed through the regular work of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and other relevant departments.” More than 1000 activities have been undertaken and implemented under the Action Plan, including international experts’ meetings, conferences, workshops and strengthening the IAEA safety standards. The Action Plan has delivered concrete results, said IAEA Deputy Director General Denis Flory, Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. “I believe that nuclear power plants have already become safer as a result of the measures taken outlined in the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.”
IAEA 11th Sept 2015 read more »
As Beyond Nuclear notes below: “a recent pattern of dismissing public engagement and canceling minimal safety measures at U.S. nuclear plants is a worrying trend.” Beyond Nuclear today decried the outrageous decision by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to cancel a study that would have examined cancer incidence and mortalities and the connection to U.S. nuclear facilities. The US Nuclear Reg Commission is currently accepting comments on a proposal to increase radiation exposure to 100 mSv per year, which is 400 times the EPA standard of 0.25 mSv per year, and, over a lifetime, would result in approximately 80 additional cancers per 100 people, according to conservative, government funded, BEIR report estimates. In this context should it be a surprise that they canceled this research study?
Mining Awareness 11th Sept 2015 read more »
The nuclear industry has many opportunities to build a sustainable and competent workforce to avoid a future skills shortage, Callum Thomas, CEO of recruitment consultants Thomas Thor Associates told delegates at the World Nuclear Association’s Symposium in London.
World Nuclear News 11th Sept 2015 read more »
The government wasted no time after the election in killing the country’s onshore wind power sector and is now taking its wrecking ball to the solar industry, despite the energy and climate change secretary, Amber Rudd’s call only months ago for a “solar revolution” . Her claim, repeated this week, that this is the greenest government ever , is a bad joke. The problem is that the Tories’ actions, far from pushing down electricity prices, will push them up. They are playing politics with our money. Why? Because they are culling cheap forms of renewable power, the costs of which are falling rapidly, in favour of ruinously expensive nuclear power, never-likely-to-happen fracking and schemes like the overpriced Swansea tidal lagoon , all of which will suck more money out of our wallets than onshore wind or solar ever could.
Renewables Biz 9th Sept 2015 read more »
Shares in E.ON tumbled to a 20-year low after the biggest German utility abandoned plans to spin off its domestic nuclear power plants and accepted liability for decommissioning costs put at €16.6 billion. E.ON reversed plans to put its nuclear assets into a new entity, called Uniper, after the German government proposed legislation last week to make companies permanently liable for the costs of dismantling reactors.
Times 11th Sept 2015 read more »
HUMANS should blast Mars with nuclear weapons in order to create a liveable atmosphere, according to a tech billionaire Elon Musk.
Express 12th Sept 2015 read more »
Japan – reactor restarts
Nuclear fuel rods have been installed at a second reactor at the Sendai nuclear power plant in preparation for a planned restart in October. The fuel rods, bundled together into assemblies, began being loaded in the No. 2 reactor on Sept. 11, a day after Kyushu Electric Power Co. officially restarted commercial operations at the No. 1 reactor. The reactor in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, was the first to go back online in Japan for about two years. Kyushu Electric plans to reactivate the second of the two reactors at the plant in mid-October and start official commercial operations in mid-November.
Asahi Shimbun 12th Sept 2015 read more »
The RAF intercepted two Russian long-range supersonic nuclear capable bombers flying off the coast of Northumbria and escorted them away from the UK area of interest. The Ministry of Defence released photographs of one of the Cold War era aircraft being intercepted by the Typhoons which were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth.
Daily Mail 11th Sept 2015 read more »
Express 11th Sept 2015 read more »
THE renewal of Trident could lead to a second Scottish independence referendum, Alex Salmond has indicated, saying opposition to the nuclear deterrent was “in the SNP’s DNA”. In an exclusive interview with The Herald to mark the anniversary of the 2014 referendum, the former First Minister said that renewing Trident – alone or in a combination with other issues – could result in a fresh poll, saying there were “now at least four material circumstances bubbling away at the present moment; they all explain the engine behind the SNP’s post-referendum (success)”.
Herald 12th Sept 2015 read more »
A coalition of British investors have written to Chancellor George Osborne, urging him to boost support for the UK’s renewable industry following a summer which has seen successive subsidy cuts hit the sector. Thirteen investors signed the letter sent today and co-ordinated by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), which highlights concern over recent policy changes affecting the renewables sector, including aggressive cuts to solar and onshore wind subsidies.
Business Green 11th Sept 2015 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
The government has turned down an application to build a £3.5bn windfarm off the south coast of England in another major blow to the green energy industry under the Conservatives. The decision on the Navitus Bay project off Dorset was unveiled by Lord Bourne, the energy minister, even as 13 leading financial investors urged the chancellor to adopt a more positive stance on renewables. Bourne ruled against the 121 turbines, each 200 metres high, being erected, arguing they would undermine the local tourism industry, which benefits from the nearby Jurassic Coast, a Unesco world heritage site.
Guardian 11th Sept 2015 read more »
Telegraph 11th Sept 2015 read more »
Times 12th Sept 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
A LONG-SERVING Tory MSP who is stepping down from Holyrood has suffered a blow after rejection of a wind farm development on his land cost him a deal worth £8 million. Sir Jamie McGrigor, who has been MSP for the Highlands and Islands Region since 1999 and is his party’s environment spokesman, had struck a lucrative agreement with developer RWE Innogy which wanted to build a 45-megawatt wind farm on his sprawling 3500-acre Ardchonnel estate at the east of Loch Awe. The plans were strongly opposed by many of Sir Jamie’s neighbours and were thrown out by Argyll and Bute Council due to fears over the impact on the landscape, but RWE appealed to the Scottish Government which has the power to overturn the decision. But it ruled that the proposed 15-turbine windfarm on the Tory grandee’s land would not be going ahead, after a Government reporter, Dan Jackman, backed the council’s decision. He said that the project would create “unacceptable significant adverse landscape and visual effects” and that concerns expressed by the council, Scottish Natural Heritage and some other objectors were “well founded”.
Herald 12th Sept 2015 read more »
This week’s micro power news: council scraps solar plan due to FiT changes; could storage save solar; Tate goes solar; energy efficient lighting.
Microgen Scotland 11th Sept 2015 read more »
The more renewables a country deploys, the more efficient its energy use, according to a study of the eight countries that consume half of the world’s electricity. The researchers estimate that by combining investments in renewables and in energy efficiency, the world’s total energy demand can be reduced by 25% by 2030. In practical terms, it cannot happen all at once, but the adoption of modern technology such as efficient cooking stoves instead of open fires in India, and the use by all countries of renewable energy to power energy-efficient lightbulbs, refrigerators and factories, would prevent the world from dangerously overheating. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency and the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency, which combined to produce the study, this is the first time that anyone has tried to link the benefits of investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Climate News Network 11th Sept 2015 read more »
This week, Labour shadow energy minister and environmentalist Bryony Worthington dismayed green groups by backing fracking as a way to reduce carbon emissions. Following a speech on the Energy Bill in the House of Lords on Wednesday, Baroness Worthington told the Today Programme: “There are legitimate concerns, absolutely correct, that we need to do this safely, but we shouldn’t take an in-principle objection to the technology and nor should we do that for any other of the low carbon technologies. Because [climate change] is the big challenge we face.” She said that the “common enemy” is very cheap coal which entails much higher carbon emissions. Her former Friends of the Earth colleague, now the organisation’s CEO, Craig Bennett who was also a guest on Today said: “No one thinks it’s low carbon. It’s equivalent to saying if you’re addicted to cigarettes, shall we move from high tar, to medium tar. We actually have to kick the habit. We have to end the addiction. The problem with shale gas is that it binds us into yet more fossil fuel infrastructure for decades to come.” Worthington’s enthusiasm for a well-managed, home-grown shale gas industry – as opposed to other sources of gas – is due to the extra emissions generated by the process of compressing and transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Middle East. The MacKay report, published by the UK government in 2013, found that from its extraction to its use shale gas generated 200 to 253g CO2 equivalent for every unit of energy. LNG (which accounts for roughly a quarter of UK gas supply today) emissions range from 233 – 270g. Carbon Brief editor Leo Hickman pointed out that those who use the MacKay report as justification for fracking forget that it concludes that shale gas’s contribution to the climate fight depends on it keeping British coal in the ground. The report concluded that without a global emissions deal the coal displaced by shale gas in the UK will simply be burnt elsewhere. This has happened in the US, which remains one of the world’s biggest exporters of coal despite the crunching decline of its domestic coal power industry. UN negotiations continue to provide weak assurance that such a deal will be achieved in Paris in December.
Guardian 11th Sept 2015 read more »
London, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong are some of the cities that would be submerged under the sea if the world burns all of its accessible fossil fuel reserves, a new report has warned. The carbon emissions given off by the coal, oil and gas would fuel global warming to such an extent that virtually all of the Antarctic ice sheet would melt, pushing the sea level up by 60 metres and flooding the homes of more than a billion people worldwide, the researchers found.
Independent 11th Sept 2015 read more »
Scotsman 12th Sept 2015 read more »
There are enough fossil fuels buried in the ground to melt the whole of the Antarctic ice sheet – should we choose to burn them, according to new research. Though it may take thousands of years, that future would see sea level rise by more than 50 metres – inundating cities from London to Barcelona and Tokyo to Washington D.C.
Carbon Brief 11th Sept 2015 read more »