When RWE and Eon, Germanys two biggest power producers, reported plunging first-half profits and radical restructuring plans earlier this week, the news raised doubts over the billions of pounds of investment needed to renew the UKs energy infrastructure. The two companies are big providers of power in Britain. Their UK subsidiaries are among the Big Six utilities, and both are planning to build new nuclear power stations, as well as renewable energy assets and gas-fired plants. But questions have mounted about their investment plans in the UK. Some analysts argue it would still make sense for RWE to consider a sale of Npower given its overall performance in recent years. Another possibility could be for Gazprom, the Russian company, to take a stake in some of RWEs plants in the UK as part of a wider alliance being discussed between the two companies. The biggest potential issue for Mr Hendry and his colleagues is how committed RWE and Eon are to building new nuclear reactors in the UK given the substantial sums required. Analysts point out that the two companies do not need to commit substantial sums at this stage as a final investment decision is not due for another two to three years.
FT 12th Aug 2011 more >>
EDF Energy is being urged to consider including a Bridgwater Northern bypass as part of its transport plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley. Sedgemoor District Council wants more studies carried out before the plans are submitted to an independent body. The company said it had reviewed the idea but ruled it out for environmental reasons and the length of time it would take to construct. In July, the county council also called for EDF to consider the bypass.
BBC 12th Aug 2011 more >>
This is the West Country 12th Aug 2011 more >>
Vinci is understood to have clinched the contract to fit metal jackets over the old Bradwell nuclear power station in Essex. The huge overcladding job is worth more than £22m and will see the firm build a steel frame over the existing reactor buildings, boiler house and circulator hall. This will then be fitted with an estimated 34,000 sq m of aluminium cladding to encapsulate the radioactive buildings.
Construction Enquirer 11th Aug 2011 more >>
EDF Energy reduced output from its 660-megawatt (MW) unit Heysham 2-7 for refuelling on Friday.
Reutes 12th Aug 2011 more >>
Speaking to the FT Energy Weekly podcast, Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins explained that more energy should be produced in Britain. “I think there is a big national concern about energy security and that is something reflected in the views of residents in my constituency as well,” he said. “People don’t want to be reliant upon imported Russian gas. People have concerns about whether renewables – particularly wind energy – is really going to meet the energy gap.” He pointed out that proposals for a new nuclear station in Dungeness received lots of support, which he believes is due to people realising the importance of investment in the local economy. Mr Collins added that the building of a new power facility can help local businesses and supply chains as well as creating jobs for nearby workers.
Energy Helpline 12th Aug 2011 more >>
The Nuclear Regulatory Commissions staff declared Aug. 9 that the AP1000 design by Toshibas Westinghouse Electric unit is safe, and also supported its first planned use at a plant under construction in Georgia by Southern Co., the largest U.S. utility owner by market value. The full commission still must vote to approve the reactor design and a plant license.
Bloomberg 11th Aug 2011 more >>
An international treaty banning nuclear weapons tests could scupper proposals for wind turbines at Hallburn, east of Longtown. Planning officers say that vibrations or seismic noise from the turbines might prevent scientists at Eskdalemuir, 25 miles away, from monitoring nuclear tests on the other side of the world. As such, it could prevent the UK from meeting its obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Cumberland News 12th Aug 2011 more >>
Energy giants RWE and E.ON are blaming the German governments decision to phase out nuclear power for exacerbating poor economic conditions that have pushed both companies into the red. RWE cited decommissioning and nuclear fuel tax costs totalling around 900 million as factors in the decrease of its operating results of 33% to 3.3 billion. The shutdown of RWEs Biblis nuclear power station in the wake of the Fukushima crisis in Japan cut the companys electricity output by 7% compared with last year, while mild weather precipitated an 18% decrease in gas sales.
Energy Efficiency News 12th Aug 2011 more >>
Japan’s parliament is set to approve a landmark bill on renewable energy that was championed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan as a way to reduce the nation’s dependence on nuclear power, and which would break the monopoly of the 10 major utilities. The final passage of the bill, which aims to bolster investment in renewable energy following the worst nuclear-plant accident in the country’s history, is expected by the end of the month. Its approval also paves the way for the unpopular prime minister to step down. Mr. Kan has predicted the legislation would spark “explosive growth” in solar and wind power. He made a commitment to raise the share of renewable energy to at least 20% of total power supply by early 2020s.
Wall Street Journal 13th Aug 2011 more >>
The operator of Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant is building a huge tent to cover one of the worst-hit reactors, officials said. Officials hope the cover will keep radioactive materials that have already leaked from spreading, prevent rainwater seepage and offer a barrier from possible leaks or blasts in the future.
Wall Street Journal 13th Aug 2011 more >>
The Fukushima Daiichi accident was a big setback for nuclear power in Japan. But the industry’s hamfisted efforts to maintain support in the aftermath of that disaster may have an even bigger impact in eroding the public’s confidence in the sector. After a series of disclosures in recent weeks painting government regulators and electric utilities as collaborating to stage-manage public community forums on local nuclear power, efforts to restart idled Japanese nuclear reactors have screeched to a halt.
Wall Street Journal 13th Aug 2011 more >>
Japan will set up a new nuclear safety watchdog under the auspices of the Environment Ministry, it said on Friday, part of an effort to tighten safety standards after an earthquake and tsunami triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years. The Environment Ministry, while less powerful than the trade ministry which previously both regulated and promoted nuclear power, is seen as relatively untainted by the collusive ties with industry which plagued the existing safety agency.
Alert.net 12th Aug 2011 more >>
As nuclear waste lasts around 24,000 years, shopping for a potential nuclear meltdown was not easy. Questions like: “what do you buy for a nuclear meltdown?” popped into my head. I decided oats and vegetables were a good bet. In hindsight, it sounds ridiculous. But I really didn’t know if I would see fresh uncontaminated food again. Anything could have been happening over in Fukushima, and no one knew what that was exactly.
Guardian Weekly 12th Aug 2011 more >>
Kocen of South Korea has won a contract for a range of quality-control services supporting the forthcoming Braka nuclear power plant in the UAE, including on-site checks at manufacturing bases. The 25 million ($35.5 million) contract will see Kocen supervise the suitability of materials and equipment to ensure parts meet specification in liaison with Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco), the leader of the consortium building the Braka units. It will also operate a concrete laboratory for analysis of samples throughout the construction period.
World Nuclear News 12th Aug 2011 more >>
UN Secretary-General: This years observance of the International Day against Nuclear Tests marks the twentieth anniversary of the closure of the nuclear weapons test site at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan. Over the course of the cold war, hundreds of nuclear weapon tests left behind a devastating legacy for local citizens and their natural environment. Having visited the scene of this dark chapter in human history, I wish to emphasize my support for the Government and people of Kazakhstan as they continue to cope with the aftermath. I commend efforts to ensure that something positive may result from highlighting the horrific effects of these tests. We urgently need new progress in achieving a world free of both nuclear tests and nuclear weapons. Current voluntary moratoriums on nuclear weapon tests are valuable, yet they are no substitute for a global ban. This is why it is urgent that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) enters into force as early as possible. It is a major element of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime, and it deserves the active support of all States.
IEWY News 12th Aug 2011 more >>
This weeks Micro Power News now available: Includes an interesting story from Germany where the solar association says that the rapidly falling costs of photovoltaic systems could lead to new solar power plants built in Germany not requiring financial support mechanism to operate profitably in 2017, and the cost of rooftop systems installed have more than halved since 2006. Also Brentwood Council considering installing panels on the Town Hall.
Microgen Scotland 12th August 2011 more >>