Discussions continue in UNSCEAR, the organization of the United Nations responsible for assessing the consequences of nuclear disasters and radiation. The committee prepared a report submitted for discussion amongst experts from different countries at a recent meeting in Vienna – a report that has aroused the indignation of the Belgian delegation: “Everything seems to be written, its members say, to minimize the consequences of the Fukushima disaster. It even goes back behind the lessons of Chernobyl and other studies.”
Nuclear News 10th Aug 2013 read more »
A British press claim that Zimbabwe has agreed to export uranium to Iran is “a malicious and blatant lie,” the Associated Press quoted the African nation’s Mines and Mining Development Ministry as saying on Sunday.
NTI 12th Aug 2013 read more »
Fukushima was never properly brought under control. There are many reasons for this, but the most fundamental one is that the Japanese government left the job to the owner of the site, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). However, TEPCO was not the victim of an unforeseeable event – although the earthquake was exceptionally strong – but rather was guilty of a long list of blunders, encompassing planning, design and, especially, maintenance, through to poor response to the actual event. It was incapable, from every point of view, of dealing with the aftermath, as should have been obvious at the time, and many observers said as much. But the incompetent Japanese government left the incompetent Japanese utility company in charge of dealing with a mega-disaster that should have become a global effort, but it couldn’t, because then the Japanese would “lose face.”
Jerusalem Post 8th Aug 2013 read more »
Ten workers at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant were exposed Monday to small amounts of radiation while conducting cleanup activities, the plant’s operator said. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it is still investigating how the workers were contaminated at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, but that it may have been from radioactive dust. It said small amounts of radiation were found on the workers’ faces and hair.
Fox News 12th Aug 2013 read more »
Two-and-a-half years after the tsunami-induced triple meltdown at Fukushima, Japan’s once-vaunted nuclear industry remains a shambles. Just two of 50 reactors are operating. The effort to decommission the stricken Fukushima plant continues to resemble an episode of the Keystone Kops. A rat gnawed through a cable, causing a dangerous power outage. In July, after months of obfuscation, Tokyo Electric Power, the semi-nationalised operator, admitted the plant was leaking radioactive water into the ocean. This month the government stepped in to contain the leak with an untested process to freeze the ground around the plant. Current estimates suggest it will take decades and cost more than $10bn to decommission Fukushima. So much for cheap nuclear fuel. Some reactors, including those built above faultlines, should never be reopened. If the government wants to restart others, it must force a radical shift in corporate culture at utilities and further bolster the power and independence of the regulator. Public trust in the industry has been torn to shreds. The government could start by bolstering the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s staff, currently just 80. The regulator must be left to conduct robust, independent stress tests of reactors even if that means it shuts some down permanently. In the long run, Japan should seek to shift further to other power sources. Before that, a return to nuclear may be inevitable. But it cannot be business as usual.
FT 12th Aug 2013 read more »
JAPAN has formed a new research institute that will pull together experts from across the world to strategise on decommissioning the crippled nuclear reactors at the stricken Fukushima site. The International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning was established on 1 August and will be headed by Kyoto University’s Hajimu Yamana, who helped create national nuclear safety guidelines in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
Chemical Engineer 12th Aug 2013 read more »
The role that energy democracy will play in the transition to renewables: “The German government still believes energy corporations can implement the Energiewende. This is a fundamental error.” He believes it will only work with distributed renewables in the hands of citizens, coops and municipals. I find this stance a bit radical in Germany, but common enough. The more mainstream opinion is probably that it remains to be seen what role large energy corporations will play in a (nearly) 100% renewable future.
Renewables International 12th Aug 2013 read more »
EDF has handed over operation of three of its nuclear plants in the US, two in New York and one in Maryland, to its joint venture partner Exelon, citing higher profitability of generating electricity from gas and operational risks of nuclear reactors.
Gas to Power Journal 13th Aug 2013 read more »
Iran and Russia will soon sign an agreement to build a new nuclear power plant in the Islamic Republic, announced Tehran’s foreign minister and former nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi.
IB Times 12th Aug 2013 read more »
Labour politicians are still prevaricating and avoiding backing our country’s international negotiating obligations. They are doing this by backing Tory reasons to modernise Trident, rather than entering the nuclear WMD system into multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations “at an early date”. This is specified by article VI of the NPT and was promised publicly at the United Nations and privately to cabinet colleagues by Labour ministers in the 1960s Wilson government.
Open Democracy 12th Aug 2013 read more »
Alex Salmond’s drive to promote the rapid spread of wind farms is again under fire after energy companies were paid nearly £2 million to stop Scottish turbines producing electricity on a single day just over a week ago. A Scottish Government spokesman said “significantly more” money is paid to the generators of other forms of electricity. He added: “Grid upgrades will alleviate constraints and help Scotland to achieve its ambitious renewable energy targets.”
Telegraph 13th Aug 2013 read more »
California’s utility-scale solar PV & CSP (concentrating solar power, also known as solar thermal electric) output peaked at 2.57 GW shortly before 1 PM. This follows a string of records in late July and earlier in the week. This means that utility-scale solar generation met 8.3% of demand. Later that afternoon, total utility-scale renewable energy output, including hydro, peaked at 27% of demand. These numbers are not yet to where Germany is, where wind and solar have peaked at 60% of demand, or Italy, where renewable output has at least once met the nation’s entire electric demand. But it is substantial progress for the state. California got through the summer just fine with only one nuclear power plant, following the shut-down of San Onofre. Stay tuned for another round of solar records in 2014, after some very large PV and CSP plants come online in California.
Energy Media Society 13th Aug 2013 read more »
Centrica, the UK’s biggest energy retailer, has launched an attack on a flagship government policy aimed at making houses more energy efficient, saying it is far more costly than ministers anticipated.Sam Laidlaw, Centrica’s chief executive, called for an overhaul of the initiative – which requires power suppliers to fund energy efficient home improvements – saying it was more expensive and less effective than the scheme it replaced. Mr Laidlaw said the Energy Company Obligation (Eco) was “complicated” and “expensive to administer”. The cost of carbon abatement under the scheme was £100-£120 per tonne, compared with £25-£30 for an earlier programme, known as Cert, increasing Centrica’s environmental costs by £100m this year, he said.
FT 11th Aug 2013 read more »
Craig Bennett: here, are my top five reasons why I think drilling for shale oil or gas is fracking silly: 1. Climate change. Recent modelling carried out by internationally respected climate experts at the Tyndall Centre has found that burning just 20 per cent of the gas that Cuadrilla claim to have found in its licence area in Lancashire would take up 14.5 per cent of the UK’s total carbon budget necessary to deliver on our legally binding obligations under the Climate Change Act – and that’s not even including fugitive emissions (e.g. methane leakage). 2. Timescales. Even with a fair wind, no one would expect shale gas to make a significant contribution to our energy mix until the mid to late 2020s. Promises being made about how it might benefit our economy, or reduce gas prices, are – at very best – a long way off. And, by then, we will be living in a very different context. 3. Threats to water security. Each fracking operation can involve around 75,000 litres (20,000 gallons) of fracking chemicals, many of these known to be toxic. Vast quantities of fresh water are required. 4. It’s unlikely to cut energy bills. Failing to provide British consumers with an alternative to gas, leaves them vulnerable to unpredictable price volatility. 5. Old thinking stuck on repeat. Tackling our “energy crisis” of declining North sea oil and gas, and rising energy prices – over-reliance on fossil fuels – by becoming reliant on fossil fuel.
Business Green 12th Aug 2013 read more »
The question I’d really like answered is why you think fracking will lead to “cheaper” energy bills? Have you got some evidence to support this suggestion? Because if so it would really help your case if you shared it.
Business Green 9th Aug 2013 read more »
Shale gas has become a national talking point in recent weeks. The media debate has hit overdrive, with strong rhetoric occasionally displacing the facts. And now the UK Prime Minister has got in on the act – throwing his weight behind the creation of a UK shale gas industry.
Carbon Brief 12th Aug 2013 read more »
Fracking could lead to air and water pollution, water shortages and pose a threat to human health, argue protestors. But the UK Prime Minister David Cameron says the process is safe – because the system for regulating it in this country is one of “the most stringent in the world”.
Carbon Brief 12th Aug 2013 read more »
Fracking could overtake wind farms as a source of public anger in the Conservatives’ rural heartlands, a senior Tory MP has warned David Cameron. The advice comes as the prime minister takes an increasingly aggressive stance in favour of exploiting Britain’s shale gas reserves, despite concern over the environmental impact of fracking.
FT 12th Aug 2013 read more »
Letter: the pursuit of shale gas is wrong-headed because it distracts from the overriding public policy objective of de-carbonising the economy. You report today how the surge of efficient Chinese production of solar panels has led to an 80 per cent drop in the ca pital cost of solar photo-voltaic production and how Germany is already producing 22 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, manifestly without any noticeable impact on overall German competitiveness. Consequently, the suspicion is that the UK government’s support of shale gas is a political sop to its climate-change-denying supporters – led by Lord Lawson – which, however, may yet backfire as it becomes clear that it risks industrialisation of the English countryside. With a global glut of conventional gas, which has seen the value of Russia’s Gazprom slashed, the sensible course is to continue to work with our excellent Norwegian and Qatari friends to secure plentiful gas imports by pipeline and liquefied natural gas transportation.
FT 13th Aug 2013 read more »
SCOTLAND will never meet its climate change targets if the SNP supports David Cameron’s call for fracking to be used UK-wide to meet growing energy demand, campaigners warned yesterday. Friends of the Earth Scotland renewed calls for the Scottish Government to rule out all unconventional gas exploration. Director Dr Richard Dixon said: “Scotland is so well placed with renewables it would be a terrible mistake to put political will and investment into shale gas when we should be concentrating on renewables. These claims that it will be clean, cheap and plentiful are all wrong.”
Scotsman 13th Aug 2013 read more »