The reactors of nuclear power stations across Britain have been shut down 20 times a year because of faults – prompting fears over safety and the UK’s energy supply. An analysis for local authorities reveals that 15 reactors have had 62 unplanned shutdowns in the last three years. They have been hit by electrical, boiler and valve defects, fires, storms, vibrations and the discovery of tiny cracks. The build-up of large amounts of seaweed has twice forced reactors at Torness in East Lothian to close, in May and November 2013. The seaweed clogs filters that are part of the plant’s vital seawater cooling system. The analysis was carried out by the Edinburgh-based nuclear consultant Pete Roche for a 50-strong group of nuclear-free local authorities. The councils are calling for an urgent review of whether nuclear power can be relied on to provide enough power over the winter, while raising concerns about safety. According to Roche, unplanned shutdowns cause “major headaches” for planners trying to ensure a consistent and reliable supply of electricity to homes and offices. He pointed out that on November 20, seven of the UK’s 15 reactors were offline while five were operating with reduced outputs, meaning that nuclear power was supplying only 43% of the electricity it should. Dr Richard Dixon, director of the environmental group Friends Of The Earth Scotland, welcomed Roche’s analysis. “Just like the big lie that nuclear electricity would be cheap, we now find that it’s not reliable either,” he said. “From storms and seaweed problems to major fires and reactor cracks, this is an impressive catalogue of vulnerabilities that can knock out more than half the UK’s reactors all at once. This unreliability can only get worse as these ageing reactors limp into extra time.”
Sunday Herald 14th Dec 2014 read more »
As we embark on a new year, there are distinct challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the nuclear power industry. Many industry experts believe that technology like Small Nuclear Reactors (SMR) represent a strong future for nuclear. Yet, rapidly growing renewable energy sources, a bountiful and inexpensive supply of natural gas and oil, and the aging population of existing nuclear power plants represent challenges that the industry must address moving forward. As 2014 concludes, many nuclear operators are evaluating their plants to determine if they will apply for a second license renewal to extent plant life from 60 years to 80 years.
Nuclear Energy Insider 5th Dec 2014 read more »
A response to the current MOD set of proposals as to where radioactive waste from decommissioned nukiller powered submarines might be stored.
Close Capenhurst 13th Dec 2014 read more »
Sam Laidlaw, the outgoing chief executive of Centrica, has warned that there will be “unintended consequences” of Labour’s energy freeze plan as a result of the recent fall in the price of oil. In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Mr Laidlaw said he believed that were Labour to come to power next May, its plan to freeze fuel bills for two years could actually hurt consumers. “I think we’re in a world now where because long term the market seems to be softer – and obviously you’ve seen the oil price phenomenon in the last month or so – the price freeze is probably going to have some unintended consequences if it were to be put in place.
Telegraph 13th Dec 2014 read more »
The rising concerns and complaints expressed on both sides of the Detroit River about a proposed underground nuclear waste repository in Ontario — less than a mile from the shores of Lake Huron — appear to be falling on deaf ears. The public’s perceptions of risk from nuclear facilities can be discounted because they are “not in line with facts” and are fueled by “pop culture and myths,” according to the head of Canada’s nuclear safety regulatory agency. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission “cannot be expected to reject a safe project due to lack of social acceptability,” agency president and CEO Michael Binder said during a presentation at the University of Calgary in October titled: “Is Social License a License to Stall?”
Detroit Free Press 14th Dec 2014 read more »
On 9 October 2011, Fukushima Medical University (FMU) started a two-stage programme of thyroid cancer tests for 368,000 minors in Fukushima Prefecture who were aged 18 or under on 11 March 2011. The first stage was the ‘Preliminary Baseline Survey’ and centred on residents in ‘high exposure areas’. The original plan had been to commence three years after the incident, but the testing was brought forward due to parental concerns.
Japan Focus 8th Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
Jeremy Leggett: Everyone who worries about climate change and development knows we are running out of time to act. This is why I am launching this campaign from the climate summit in Lima, Peru, where you can almost smell in the air how much we need examples of ambitious projects that work. I am living in hope that I have two. First, I want to form a club of companies donating 5% of their profits to the struggle against climate change and for development. Second, with this campaign, I want to turbo-charge an organisation, SolarAid, that demonstrates just how much social good you can create with 5% of a company’s profits.
Solar Aid 13th Dec 2014 read more »
Scientists all over the globe are working to develop sustainable new energy sources to reduce our dependence on dwindling fossil fuel supplies. In the UK, just 5pc of the nation’s energy comes from renewables. The Government has set a target of 15pc by 2020, but progress is slow. Some sustainable energy sources, such as solar energy, are mature marketplaces, with 60 years of research behind them. Others, such as antimatter, are more experimental.
Telegraph 13th Dec 2014 read more »
Renewables – biomass
WOOD-FIRED stoves, the hottest and supposedly greenest of middle-class fads, are causing a surge in air pollution in British cities at weekends, scientists have warned. Burning wood in stoves, boilers and open fires has increased sharply in urban areas, partly as a fashionable response to rising energy costs but also because the government is promoting wood as a carbon neutral fuel which can cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Sunday Times 14th Dec 2014 read more »
Negotiators adopted a course of action on Sunday that would for the first time commit every country to cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. The decision reached at United Nations climate talks on Sunday was seen as a significant first step towards reaching a global climate change deal in Paris at the end of next year – although negotiators acknowledged much of the hard work remained ahead. It is also far from clear that the actions sketched out on Sunday would be enough to limit warming to the internationally agreed limit of 2C above pre-industrial levels – or to protect poor countries from climate change.
Observer 14th Dec 2014 read more »
The United Nations climate talks in Lima were at risk of ending in frustration last night after running into extra time amid acrimonious accusations that the 12-day negotiations have caused some governments to move away from the measures needed to avert dangerous levels of global warming.The talks were due to end on Friday, but were extended into Saturday following squabbling, largely on the part of rich countries pitted again poor ones, over technical issues involving who should cut most greenhouse gas emissions, how these cuts should be measured and funding for developing nations.
Independent 14th Dec 2014 read more »
BRITAIN’S floods of last winter may have been partly caused by climate change, a group of scientists will claim this week. They will say that greenhouse gas emissions have raised the risk of extreme wet winters by 25% and could have played a part in last winter’s deluges. The finding will be announced at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco this week. It reflects a growing belief among scientists that climate change is having a direct effect on the weather, especially in making extreme events such as floods and droughts much more likely. The result emerged from a project led by Oxford University and the Met Office, which ran 40,000 computer simulations of the weather leading up to the winter of 2013-14.
Sunday Times 14th Dec 2014 read more »