Fabrication defects detected in the end of 2014 in upper and lower heads of the Flamanville–‐3 reactor pressure vessel are, by size and characteristics, very serious mechanical defaults. These phenomena strongly put into question the safety case of the EPR (European Pressurized Water Reactor) currently under construction in Normandy. The reason why a well–‐known material heterogeneity problem was not mastered during the forging of the pieces at Areva’s Le Creusot plant has yet to be investigated. The reason why the defects were detected or publicly released so late, at a moment when the pressure vessel was already in place in the reactor building, also needs to be scrutinised.
WISE Paris 12th April 2015 read more »
Energy Supplies – Scotland
THE Scottish government’s green energy dash will generate massive amounts of wasted electricity that cannot be used, sold or stored and will cost the taxpayer billions of pounds, according to a new report. The Scientific Alliance Scotland (SAS), a branch of the independent Cambridge-based body, warns that by 2020, wind farms will produce far greater levels of heavily subsidised power than needed. A lack of infrastructure will prevent excess energy from being exported to other countries but generous compensation payouts for wind farm owners who cannot find a buyer for their energy will continue to be borne by the consumer via their energy bills. Ponton suggests the closure of Longannet will mean Scotland will only be capable of providing 4.4GW of power at the “flick of a switch”, 1.6GW below the safe threshold. Although the 15.8GW of wind capacity operating above 10% capacity should cover the shortfall, in periods of low wind when wind farms operate below expected capacity, “significant shortfalls will occur”.
Sunday Times 12th April 2015 read more »
A background to the GDF issue and a questionnaire has been formulated by CT director Rod Donington-Smith. This has been approved by the board of Cumbria Trust and is being sent to all of the Cumbria general election candidates so we can be quite clear on their own opinions on the matter.
Cumbria Trust 12th April 2015 read more »
High-level radioactive waste (HLW) and spent fuel from nuclear power plants (SF) require very long duration disposal because of its long-lived toxicity. Specific repository design is necessary to accommodate the associated large heat generation from continual decay. Conceptual designs propose geological containment within salt, claystone, or crystalline bedrock. However, while many studies have investigated the safety of disposal in these host rocks, the interaction of near-field heat coupled to far-field groundwater flow for UK-relevant conditions has not been fully investigated. Using an excellent dataset from a repository investigation in saturated fractured rock at Sellafield, UK, with deep groundwater flow, a preliminary investigation of the effect of the addition of heat from HLW and SF on regional groundwater flow is undertaken. The results imply that in conditions similar to those modelled, the high-performance guarantee of the engineered barrier is essential to repository safety. A very good understanding of the coupled interaction of near-field heat and far-field groundwater flow will be important for safety cases, especially accuracy concerning heterogeneous fault discontinuities. It is necessary to model heat advection and faults at fractured sites.
Environmental Earth Science 21st Feb 2015 read more »
THE cost of looking after Scotland’s “nuclear graveyard” of decommissioned submarines has soared, with millions of pounds a year being spent to keep the vessels afloat, new figures show. The bill for maintaining and storing the seven subs at Rosyth dockyard has run to £13.5 million over the past five years, according to data released under freedom of information legislation. Environmental groups described the sum as an “eye-watering” but those who represent Rosyth’s constituents stressed that the money was going into the region’s economy.
Scotsman 13th April 2015 read more »
An intriguing process has begun in the EU, almost unnoticed outside the small world of Brussels and the shrinking circle of those who believe in an ever-closer European Union. The EU is asserting its role in the energy market. The policy was nodded through at the March meeting of the European Council on the basis of a paper published at the end of February by the new European commissioner for the energy union — Maros Sefcovic, one of the vice-presidents of the EU and also one of the most effective players in a Commission that is already showing itself to be stronger and more determined than its last three predecessors. I don’t see how energy security can be created unless there is a genuine single market that supplies all parts of the Union without interference from national-level regulations or tariffs. Britain should have had more to say, and should have helped shape the ideas that underpin the drafting. The reality though is that, seen from Brussels, the UK is semi-detached and in the eyes of some preparing to leave. The UK will no doubt have its debate on membership but if, as seems likely, the resulting decision is to stay in, we will find that Europe has moved on and that new policies are in place.
FT 13th April 2015 read more »
A report written by the French Environment and Energy Agency (Ademe) has concluded that supplying the nation’s electricity demand with renewables by 2050 would cost about the same as the plan currently favored by President and the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, which is to meet France’s power needs with 50% nuclear, 40% renewables, and 10% fossil fuel by 2050. Ademe was reportedly to have shared the document with the public on April 14-15, but postponed it was not ready. However, a copy of the report was obtained by the French media and released to to the public, with the aim of raising the debate on French energy policy. The 120 page report was written with the contribution of the General Direction of energy and climate, which functions under the French Minister of Ecology, and with “an objective of robustness and scientific solidity, the hypotheses and results were vetted by a scientific committee of national and international experts.”
Go100%Renewable 12th April 2015 read more »
A remote-controlled robot inserted to survey the inside of the No. 1 reactor at the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has stopped functioning, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. As a first step in the utility’s effort to remove melted nuclear fuel from the bottom of the unit’s primary containment vessel, the shape-shifting robot was sent in Friday morning to find the exact location of the highly radioactive debris.
Japan Times 11th April 2015 read more »
TEPCO announced that the robot stuck in containment will not be recovered. They will send a team into the reactor building today to cut the cable for the robot and leave it in containment. Entry of the second robot was postponed. TEPCO has not made the data collected by the first robot public yet.
Simply Info 12th Feb 2015 read more »
Evaporation of tritiated water, being proposed for Fukushima, along with dumping, would result in tritiated water vapor and would poison Japan, depending on wind direction, and probably China, Korea, Russia and even the Americas, as well, if it does not rain upon the ocean first. Why is dumping or evaporation of tritiated water being proposed, rather than filtration? Why the misinformation regarding tritium filtration? Companies are being paid at Fukushima, supposedly to filter the tritium, among other radionuclides. Three companies are being paid by Japan to filter tritium! Russian State owned RosRAO (subsidiary of Rosatom); GE Hitachi Canada and Kurion, which is based in the US, but appears French owned and operated. Billions are being spent at Fukushima, as in the US Nuclear complexes and for what? So that contractors can take the money and run, rather than doing the work? Are they being paid to filter the tritiated water, only to dump it into the Pacific Ocean or evaporate it into the atmosphere?
Mining Awareness 13th April 2015 read more »
Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has announced signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with AREVA of France for co-operation to maximise localisation of the EPR nuclear power plant to be built at Jaitapur, Maharashtra. The MoU with AREVA represents a major step forward for L&T in the field of pressurized water reactor technology. “This is a significant addition to L&T’s existing capabilities and the lead role it has played in equipment manufacture, construction and project management for pressurized heavy water reactors in India’s domestic nuclear power program,” L&T said. “This partnership will add new dimensions to the capabilities of India’s manufacturing sector in the nuclear business,” M. V. Kotwal, Whole-time Director and President, Heavy Engineering, said. AREVA will transfer technology to utilise the forging capabilities of L&T Special Steels and Heavy Forgings (a joint venture with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.).
The Hindu 12th April 2015 read more »
Letter: Let us acknowledge that this culture needs to change: let us value people over profit; give the NHS the money it needs to do the job; uphold international law, which says targeting or threatening to target civilians (as is inevitable in a nuclear war) is unlawful; and resist the politicians who would frighten us into believing that if we do not have nuclear weapons we are undefended or uninfluential. Both premises are fallacious: we should not have weapons which cannot be used for our defence and we cannot influence other countries not to have nuclear weapons when we ourselves have them. The Trident debate has long been ignored by both politicians and the media. Let us join the peacemakers at Faslane on Monday in making it an electoral issue.
Guardian 12th April 2015 read more »
Letter: If David Cameron is so persuaded by the democratic inclusiveness of having a referendum on being part of the European Union, perhaps he would commit now to a referendum on the renewal of Trident, and allow the people to decide whether our security is enhanced or diminished by renewing an absurd weapon system, or whether the money saved might be better spent on health, education, police, the arts, welfare, the coastguard service – and improving the morale of our conventional armed forces.
Guardian 12th April 2015 read more »
Anti-nuclear activists are taking part in a blockade of the Faslane naval base on the Clyde.The Scrap Trident Coalition’s Bairns Not Bombs demonstration aims to shut down the base, which is home to the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system. Protesters were due to gather outside every gate to the base from 07:00 in an attempt to stop workers from entering. The blockade, which is part of a series of events organised by Scrap Trident, is due to last until 15:00. It is aimed at focusing attention on the UK’s nuclear deterrent in the run up to next month’s general election. Groups of protestors chained themselves together outside the gate ahead of the shift change at the base. About 40 police officers were standing in front of the entrance.
BBC 13th April 2015 read more »
Scotsman 13th April 2015 read more »
Press and Journal 13th April 2015 read more »
Daily Record 13th April 2015 read more »
This book examines Britain’s nuclear experience by moving away from traditional interpretations of why states develop and maintain nuclear weapons by adopting a more contemporary approach to political theory. Michael Warren finds this is a thorough, yet accessible examination of the thought processes of the decision-making core of politicians, civil servants and military leaders.
Democratic Audit 12th April 2015 read more »
Evening Express 13th April 2015 read more »
U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell denied a request to halt new uranium mining at the Canyon uranium mine, located only six miles from Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim. The Havasupai tribe and a coalition of conservation groups had challenged the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to allow Energy Fuels Inc. to reopen the mine without initiating or completing formal tribal consultations and without updating an obsolete federal environmental review dating to 1986. At stake are tribal cultural values, wildlife and endangered species, and the risk of toxic uranium mining waste contaminating the aquifers and streams that sustain the Grand Canyon and Colorado River.
Mining Awareness 11th April 2015 read more »
Seven renewable energy trade associations across the UK have combined to publish a joint ‘manifesto’ for the general election next month. The associations which have combined under the umbrella body Action for Renewables comprise the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association; British Hydropower Association; British Photovoltaic Association, the Renewable Energy Association, Renewable UK, Scottish Renewables and the Solar Trade Association. The top six actions which these associations want the next UK government to take are: Support the Climate Change Act to keep us on course to meet carbon commitments and back global efforts to tackle climate change; Set a new renewables target for 2030 of 30% of UK energy; Back the Independent Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation to set a binding target for low carbon electricity by 2030; Fund the Renewable Heat Incentive for new applications after 2016; Boost the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation to reach the 10% renewable energy target for transport by 2020; Reform the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to ensure the market takes account of all sectors’ polluting cost of carbon emissions.
Scottish Energy News 13th April 2015 read more »
Renewables – wave
Business consultancy TBAT Innovation is encouraging energy companies to enter a funding competition to help capture and develop tidal energy into a commercially viable energy source. Wave Energy Scotland (WES), funded by the Scottish Government, has launched four new competitions with a total budget of up to £7 million to fund the development of new energy conversion solutions in the wave energy sector.
Scottish Energy News 13th April 2015 read more »
Molly Scott Cato: The British fossil fuel industry is rubbing its hands in glee. UK Oil and Gas Investments has described massive oil reserves discovered in the south-east of England as a “world-class resource”. Already, excitable reports are painting a picture of Dallas come to Dorking, a new era of big oil and big money in a normally sleepy part of the country. What the discovery does provide is an opportunity to look at what kind of energy future we want – indeed, what sort of environment and economy we want to pass on to future generations.
Guardian 13th April 2015 read more »
When Russia declared war on Greenpeace: The story of the Arctic 30 captured on a Gazprom drilling platform and sentenced to years in jail. A brilliant new book by Ben Stewart recalls the global campaign to free the activists. In this extract, he hears from Frank Hewetson, who wrote at the time to The Independent on Sunday about his ordeal
Independent 12th April 2015 read more »