Land and property owners and tenants in North West Wales have until Friday (December 16) to provide feedback on National Grid’s proposed North Wales Connection for the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station on Anglesey.
Farmers Guardian 13th Dec 2016 read more »
While the government is cutting vital public expenditure across the board there’s one industry for which no costs are too great, writes Martin Forwood. The price of an ‘evaporator’ at the Sellafield nuclear complex is escalating towards £1 billion, while billions more of taxpayer finance are being lined up to finance cooling systems, power lines and transport links for the adjacent Moorside new-build nuclear power plant.
Ecologist 13th Dec 2016 read more »
Tritium is the radioactive isotope of hydrogen, produced on a continuous basis in nuclear reactors as a by-product of nuclear fission. Tritium is not dangerous externally, but it is dangerous when we inhale air near reactors or we absorb it through our skin, or when we eat food grown near reactors or drink water that has been contaminated with tritium. This is because once tritium is inside us, it emits radiation: that is, it is an “internal emitter.” Tritium is a carcinogen (causes cancer), teratogen (causes deformations of the embryo during pregnancy) and mutagen (causes mutations to DNA). Even very low rates of tritium exposure can lead to cancer, leukemia, and birth defects.
Clear Air Alliance 9th Dec 2016 read more »
When the British voted for Brexit, they gave little thought to nuclear safety. But their decision last June likely means the U.K. will have to pull out of the 59-year-old Euratom Treaty as well as the EU. And there are consequences. Euratom — or the European Atomic Energy Community — is the lesser known of the three communities that led to the European Union’s creation. Many believe that leaving the EU will automatically trigger a Euratom exit, although some say maybe not. Brexatom would be legally and politically complicated and costly, putting pressure on the U.K.’s own Office for Nuclear Regulation to add enough staff to cover nuclear non-proliferation inspections and authorize the sale of nuclear material. The toughest question is who will inspect British civil nuclear sites that generate power, fabricate fuel and manage waste. Euratom and the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) oversee them now, although the IAEA has scaled back because of overlap. The U.K. — which has 15 nuclear reactors that account for 21 percent of its electricity needs — takes up about a quarter of the time Euratom spends on safeguard checks in the EU. Whoever picks up Euratom’s responsibilities in Britain — the IAEA or the national regulator — will likely need more staff and money to pay for it. The effects of a Brexatom would also reverberate across the Continent. Britain is the loudest nuclear advocate in Western Europe, even more than France, and Brexatom would tip the balance across the remaining 27 countries in favor of the heavily anti-nuclear energy camp.
Politico 12th Dec 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
Scotland’s renewables sector is having to weather some funding storms. “For the last year, I have had the dubious pleasure of shadowing Amber Rudd and Andrea Leadsom as they took the hatchet to Scotland’s renewable energy,” said SNP Westminster energy spokesperson, Calum McCaig MP at the SNP conference in October. “Onshore wind, solar, biomass – all cut. Industries which had the potential to flourish and bring down costs substantially while cutting carbon emissions were sacrificed on the Tory altar of austerity, at the same time as we are putting billions and billions of pounds – at a much, much higher rate – into nuclear power.” With its wealth of natural resources to generate power from, wind and water in particular, green energy is a potentially major growth area for Scotland’s economy. A report from Ricardo Energy and Environment, commissioned by WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland and RSPB Scotland, which was published in October, found that the most cost-effective way to meet climate targets would be to produce half of Scotland’s energy across heat, transport and electricity from renewables by 2030. But the sector has been beset by funding problems. And Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee reported in July that although progress has been made in expanding renewable energy capacity, recent cuts could cost Scotland up to Â£3bn in lost investment and put 5,400 jobs at risk. However, there has been good news too, particularly in offshore wind. In July, Swedish renewable energy developer Vattenfall confirmed it will invest £300m in building Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility. The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), based off the Aberdeenshire coast, will test and demonstrate cutting-edge offshore wind technology. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2018 with an operational lifespan of 20 years. This follows developments at Levenmouth, Hunterston and Statoil’s Hywind project. Hywind, in the Buchan Deep off Peterhead, which was licensed in November 2015, will be the largest floating offshore wind farm in the world when it’s built in 2017, while the Levenmouth offshore wind turbine in the Fife Energy Park near Methil is the world’s largest and most advanced open access offshore wind turbine for research and training. And just last week, approval was granted for a new 400MW pumped storage hydro scheme in Glenmuckloch, Dumfries and Galloway.
Holyrood 13th Dec 2016 read more »
Trade unions and environmental campaigners have joined forces to call for increased nationalisation of climate change and green energy projects. In a joint statement, Friends of the Earth Scotland and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) accuse the government of lacking ambition and making generally slow progress on moving to a low-carbon economy. The statement, also backed by WWF Scotland and the Unite, Unison, PCS, UCATT, UCU and CWU unions, said: ” We share a concern that plans for this transition so far have not been ambitious enough and that progress has been slow except regarding onshore wind. “There has been little planning to ensure the protection of the people most affected, in particular those who work in sectors reliant on fossil fuels. “It is necessary to confront the danger of losing a large part of the industrial base as employment in traditional sectors declines. “Workers, if losing their job in these sectors, should be able to redeploy to new sectors and opportunities for retraining must be expanded. “As a new Scottish energy strategy and climate change plan is being drafted we hope to see a pipeline of ambitious investment projects and the capacity to finance them put in place.”
Scotsman 13th Dec 2016 read more »
Left Foot Forward 13th Dec 2016 read more »
Renewables – Island Energy
IN May 2013 this columnist opined it was difficult to overstate the anger and sheer frustration felt in the islands, particularly across the Minch. This because the much-vaunted vision of creating an age of prosperity founded on wind, wave and tidal energy appeared to be disappearing over the horizon. There was still no commitment to laying the subsea cable necessary to take the extra power generated by the green energy projects in the islands to the mainland to connect with the national grid. An important deadline for signing a contract for the work had been missed. Three and a half years on, the anger and frustration have intensified. The Western Isles faces a 13.7% decrease in population by the year 2039, and desperately needs an economic catalyst. But the UK Government’s plans to curb subsidies for new onshore wind farms mean energy companies believe it’s too expensive to start laying cables without the subsidies. But there is one glimmer of hope, a new consultation seeking views on whether island wind developments should be treated differently than those on the mainland. There have been discussions about laying ‘interconnectors’ to the islands at least since the ultimately unsuccessful plans for the first giant wind farm for Lewis were unveiled in 2001. That’s 15 years – the total time it took to build the Forth Rail Bridge (six years), the Channel Tunnel (six years) and the Skye Bridge (three years); or indeed to fight the Boer War, the two world wars and most of the Korean campaign.
Herald 14th Dec 2016 read more »
In an address to the United Nations General Assembly yesterday in New York, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, highlighted the role of nuclear science and technology in sustainable development. Amano noted there are currently 450 nuclear power reactors in operation in 30 countries, with a further 60 under construction.
World Nuclear News 13th Dec 2016 read more »
Inspectors from China, the US and other countries are investigating a long-standing cover-up of manufacturing problems at a key supplier to the nuclear power industry and whether flaws introduced in a French factory represent a safety threat worldwide. The team visited Areva’s Le Creusot Forge site this month to examine quality controls and comb through its internal records, The Wall Street Journal said. A string of discoveries triggered the expanded review. First, French investigators said that they found steel components made at Le Creusot and used in nuclear-power plants in France had excess carbon levels, making them more vulnerable to rupture. Then, the investigators discovered files suggesting that for decades Le Creusot employees had concealed manufacturing problems involving hundreds of components sold to customers around the world.
Times 14th Dec 2016 read more »
Inspectors from the U.S. and other countries are investigating a decades long cover up of manufacturing problems at a key supplier to the nuclear power industry, probing whether flaws introduced in a French factory represent a safety threat to reactors world-wide. Inspectors from the U.S., China and four other nations visited Areva SA’s Le Creusot Forge in central France earlier this month to examine the plant’s quality controls and comb through its internal records. A string of discoveries triggered the newly expanded review: First, French investigators said they found steel components made at Le Creusot and used in nuclear-power plants across France had excess carbon levels, making them more vulnerable to rupture. Then, the investigators discovered files suggesting Le Creusot employees for decades had concealed manufacturing problems involving hundreds of components sold to customers around the world. The disclosure of flaws covered up by Le Creusot led to two reactor shutdowns this summer in France, and in September authorities ordered Areva to check 6,000 manufacturing files by hand, covering every nuclear part made at Le Creusot since the 1960s. “I’m concerned that there keep being more and more problems unveiled,” said Kerri Kavanagh, who leads the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s unit inspecting Le Creusot. Regulators are considering returning to Le Creusot or inspecting Areva’s Lynchburg, Va., offices to deepen their probe of the plant, a U.S. official said. On Wednesday, Paris prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into whether Le Creusot’s activities were fraudulent and dangerous, according to a spokeswoman for prosecutors. Beyond France, regulators are trying to determine whether other nuclear facilities that relied on components from Le Creusot are safe. Finnish inspectors visiting the forge last week said they learned of potential flaws in a component slated for a reactor in the southwestern island of Olkiluoto. In the U.S., the NRC has identified at least nine nuclear plants that use large components from Le Creusot. Officials and experts said the instances of manufacturing problems at Le Creusot are rare in the nuclear industry, where strict adherence to production and operating rules forms a crucial buffer against nuclear accidents. “Having worked for over 30 years in France, I did not think this was possible for this country,” said Mycle Schneider, an independent nuclear energy consultant. “Likely we have seen only the tip of the iceberg.” Of the nine plants in the U.S. with parts from Le Creusot, at least one has a component with documentation problems, according to the NRC. Areva informed its owner, Dominion Resources Inc., that a manufacturing problem wasn’t detailed in final documents given to Dominion for its Millstone plant in Connecticut. Areva and Dominion say the discrepancy isn’t a threat to the safety of the Millstone reactor.
Wall St Journal 13th Dec 2016 read more »
France’s EDF asked nuclear safety authority ASN to postpone the outage of the 1.5-GW Civaux-1 and the 900-MW Tricastin-2 reactors to March and February respectively, while confirming the restart of the remaining four reactors due back online on December 31. “We asked for Tricastin-2 to be delayed towards February and Civaux-to to March,” an EDF spokesman said Monday, speaking during a press call. “If the reply is positive it will be easier for us.” The Civaux-1 and Tricastin-2 reactors are currently both due to go offline December 23 and return on January 15.
Platts 13th Dec 2016 read more »
France is set to have its usual nuclear power capacity almost completely restored by mid-January, after a number of plants come back online following inspections. Only 4 out of 58 nuclear power plants will be offline by the middle of next month, and power prices have fallen sharply, as worries about shortages eased. EDF confirmed on Monday that seven nuclear reactors shut down for safety checks would be up and running again by the end of December and there would be no problem with power supplies this winter. The company said its reactors were safe and also confirmed revised 2016 targets for nuclear production of 378-385 terawatt hours, as well as for its core earnings. Grid operator RTE said that three of the seven reactors offline – Gravelines 2, Dampierre 3 and Tricastin 3 – would resume production from December 20th and that four more would restart before December 31st. The seven reactors are among 12 that have been slated for inspections under orders from the nuclear regulator ASN following the discovery of high carbon concentrations, which could weaken their steel.
Power Engineering International 13th Dec 2016 read more »
Major components installed in all Japanese nuclear power reactors are at risk of catastrophic failure, due to potentially flawed manufacturing and quality controls exercises at the forging stages, a technical assessment commissioned by Greenpeace Japan has concluded. Documents supplied to the Japanese nuclear regulator, (the NRA) by the Japan Casting and Forging Company (JCFC), Japan Steel Works (JSW) and JFE Holdings all show the potential for excess carbon in their large steel forged components, so called positive macrosegregation, according to the report by nuclear engineering consultancy Large&Associates of London.
Greenpeace Japan 13th Dec 2016 read more »
Irregularities and anomalies relating to nuclear reactor primary coolant circuit components installed in Japanese nuclear power plants by Large Associates.
Greenpeace Japan 13th Dec 2016 read more »
South African power utility Eskom will this week invite bids to build nuclear reactors in the government’s push to increase nuclear capacity, its acting CEO said on Tuesday, despite the concerns of campaign groups and economists. South Africa, which has the continent’s only nuclear power station, has earmarked nuclear expansion as the centrepiece of a plan to increase power generation to ease the country’s reliance on an ageing fleet of coal-fired plants and has asked Eskom to procure an additional 9,600 megawatts (MW) of capacity. Russia’s Rosatom is expected to be among the bidders, along with companies from South Korea, France, the United States and China.
Daily Mail 13th Dec 2016 read more »
Hungary’s commitment to nuclear power reflects its dedication to meeting ambitious global climate change targets as outlined by the International Energy Agency (IEA), government officials told delegates at the Budapest Energy Summit last week. Hungary joined the IEA in 1997.
World Nuclear News 13th Dec 2016 read more »
IRAN risked scuppering a landmark nuclear deal credited with preventing a Third World War today after officials ordered scientists to start developing systems for nuclear-powered marine vessels.
Express 13th Dec 2016 read more »
BBC 13th Dec 2016 read more »
Camden Council has this week announced it has teamed up with Islington Council and Waltham Forest Council to deliver a pilot programme designed to reduce the fuel bills of residents at risk of fuel poverty. The ’24/7 Solar’ initiative is being part-funded by national fuel poverty charity National Energy Action and will utilise solar panels and energy storage systems to test the potential benefits of storing solar electricity to supplement a householder’s evening power use. The aim of the trial is to see if there is evidence that integrated solar and storage technologies can effectively reduce the energy bills of fuel poor households. The panels, ranging from 1.62kWp to 3.78kWp, are being tested using three different battery types from Maslow, Growatt and Sonnen, to compare performance during the lifetime of the project. Installations have already taken place at 41 low income households across the three boroughs, the local authorities said. Comparative data will be generated to assess the performance of each brand of battery storage set against key parameters such as installation, reliability and savings generated, the councils said.
Business Green 13th Dec 2016 read more »
Plans for one of the world’s first kite power stations in south west Scotland have secured £5m of new investment. Kite Power Systems (KPS) has gained backing for its project at West Freugh near Stranraer from E.ON, Schlumberger and Shell Technology Ventures (STV). Paul Jones of the company said it was an “endorsement” of its research and development work on the technology. A demonstration system will be put in place next year with further systems planned in years to come. The technology uses two kites tethered to spool drums and as they fly they turn the drums to produce electricity. A full-sized kite could generate two to three megawatts of electricity, which KPS said was comparable to a 100m conventional wind turbine. The company has said it could eventually employ up to 500 people by 2025.
BBC 13th Dec 2016 read more »
The business world is pressing ahead with the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy despite the election of climate change denier Donald Trump as the next US President. Royal Dutch Shell, fellow oil firm Schlumberger and energy giant Eon have announced they will invest in a novel form of wind energy – high-altitude kites. This comes after Microsoft founder Bill Gates and other leading business tycoons, including Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma, revealed they had set up a fund worth more than $1bn (about £790m) to invest in clean energy. And new figures revealed investors are pulling ou t of fossil fuels at an increasing pace, with funds held by institutions and individuals committed to divestment doubling to $5 trillion. Google is also planning to run entirely on renewable energy within a year.
Independent 13th Dec 2016 read more »
Kite Power Solutions plans to open the country’s first kite-driven power station in Scotland next year. A pioneering British company that plans to open the country’s first high-altitude wind generation plant has won the backing of oil majors E.ON, Shell and Schlumberger. The three companies have invested £5m in Kite Power Systems’ (KPS) pioneering project to bring “kite power” to UK shores, with plans to deploy the first system next year in Scotland well underway. KPS said the investment, announced yesterday, will be used to support the technical and commercial deployment of the technology, which uses giant kites to harness wind energy at higher altitudes than traditional wind turbines.
Business Green 14th Dec 2016 read more »