ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners are hoping to have the Hinkley Point C deal between the Government and EDF energy re-examined if Labour wins the next General Election. Members of the Stop Hinkley Campaign, along with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Nuclear Free Local Authorities, have written to the Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change asking for the deal to be scrutinised by the National Audit Office (NAO) if Labour is in power in May. In the letter to Caroline Flint MP, campaigners urge the Labour Party to commit to re-examining the deal while looking at other renewable alternatives. The letter comes after the deal was hit by more delays last month, meaning an agreement on the project will not now be reached before May 7. Roy Pumfrey, spokesperson for Stop Hinkley, said: “The recent renewable energy auction held under the new “contract for difference” pricing mechanism has now shown that without doubt, most renewable energy is cheaper than nuclear power and costs are continuing to fall. “The least that the Labour Party can do now is to commit to re-examining the Hinkley deal before consumers are forced to pay for overpriced and unnecessary electricity for the next 35 years.”
Bridgwater Mercury 13th March 2015 read more »
People living near the site of a new nuclear power station are set to be given earplugs to block out the noise of “24/7” construction. A £2,640 grant to pay for “bespoke earplugs” for residents near Hinkley Point C in Somerset has been approved by the local council cabinet. Energy firm EDF has already paid for new double-glazing in some homes. But councillors said outdoor noise was “very obtrusive” and further measures were needed.
BBC 13th March 2015 read more »
Somerset County Gazette 13th March 2015 read more »
Western Daily Press 13th March 2015 read more »
The Hinkley Point policing team doubled its capacity in January, with an increase from two officers to four. The team are here to support the community during the build of Hinkley Point C. This can be liaising with protestors, assisting local residents with concerns about the build, and engaging with the workforce from the UK and mainland Europe.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary 13th March 2015 read more »
A packed public meeting in Keswick on Wednesday evening heard two experts warn of the dangers of building new nuclear reactors in West Cumbria. Arnie Gundersen and Dr Ian Fairlie were introduced as two internationally-respected authorities on the nuclear industry at the event organised by Radiation Free Lakeland. They addressed more than 70 people at the Skiddaw Hotel about current plans to build third generation AP1000 reactors at Moorside near Sellafield. Mr Gundersen is a former nuclear industry executive, engineer and licensed reactor operator. He said the proposed new Moorside reactors had two design flaws and that there had been five international reactor meltdowns in 35 years – at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and three at Fukushima. Dr Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the atmosphere, said it was immoral to build nuclear power stations as he claimed they were “killing children.” He told the audience: “There have been four-fold increases in leukaemia in children who live within five kilometres of nuclear plants because of radiation leaks – and more than 60 world- wide studies either ignored or covered up by governments.”
Radiation Free Lakeland 13th March 2015 read more »
Magnox chose a special meeting of the Bradwell Local Communities Liaison Committee (LCLC) in the Victory Hall at Mundon near Maldon on 4 March to announce their plans for importing radioactive wastes from other sites for storage at Bradwell.The existing strategy of self-sufficiency, whereby sites are responsible for managing their own wastes, is to be replaced by a strategy where wastes are transferred from other sites creating what amounts to regional stores. ‘This a volte-face on the part of the NDA and Magnox’, said Andy Blowers, Chair of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG). ‘A precedent has been set for Bradwell to become a dumping ground for dangerous radioactive wastes from other sites for the indefinite future.’In a carefully choreographed, low-key introduction, the Bradwell Site Manager, Scott Raish, announced that discharges from dissolution of FED into the Blackwater estuary had recommenced the previous day after an eight month stoppage.The outage was described by Magnox as pretty standard for a new process though the Chief Executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) had previously indicated the plant had been shut down for ‘challenging’ technical reasons. Apparently the prolonged stoppage was necessary to enable the plant to reach its ‘full design capacity’.But, a consequence of this would appear to be the need for higher discharges into the estuary in order to complete processing in time for Bradwell to enter its Care and Maintenance phase. For months, at packed public meetings and through meetings with the Environment Agency as well as lengthy exchanges of correspondence, local protesters had tried to stop the discharges to no avail.
Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group 6th March 2015 read more »
BRADWELL power station is proposing to take radioactive waste from a second nuclear plant, prompting concerned campaigners to label the site a “nuclear dumping ground”. The company decommissioning the power plant, Magnox, had already proposed to transfer 150 packages containing Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) from Dungeness, but revealed a strategy to relocate an additional 12 from Sizewell. Professor Andy Blowers, chairman of Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), said: “We do not want Bradwell to become a nuclear dumping ground. “I cannot emphasise enough the potential threats facing the Blackwater communities from current nuclear policies.
Essex Chronicle 14th March 2015 read more »
John Clarke, NDA’s Chief Executive, appeared before the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to give evidence to the committee’s investigation into progress at Sellafield. Despite the unprecedented and unique challenges at Sellafield, the world’s most complex nuclear decommissioning programme, we are making good progress towards cleaning up the site and we are pleased that the National Audit Office (NAO) has recognised performance improvement in the last 12 months particularly. Estimates for the 100-year plus programme are likely to continue to undergo further revisions as we develop a greater understanding of the complexities and uncertainties of the Sellafield programme, and the technical approach required to tackle these unique facilities that date back to the 1940s and 50s. The changes to the management model announced by Government earlier this year will give us a greater chance of achieving the long-term performance improvement we require in order to further drive forward progress on site, and we are making good early progress as we transition towards the new arrangements. In the meantime, we remain on track to deliver a decommissioning programme across the rest of our estate at a considerable saving to the taxpayer compared to previous plans.
NDA 11th March 2015 read more »
Cumbria Trust response to CoRWM review: In normal circumstances the scrutiny and advisory functions that CoRWM is tasked to provide SHOULD help in the management of higher activity radioactive waste.But in reality its effectiveness is dependent on the calibre of the members involved and the Governmentt willingness to take heed of their advice or recommendations. Sadly history shows that significant recommendations made in the past have been downplayed or simply ignored.
Cumbria Trust 13th March 2015 read more »
The Conservative party is failing to stand up to energy companies because its election campaign is reliant on donations from the industry, the shadow Cabinet Office minister Jonathan Ashworth has said. The Tories have taken donations worth more than £2.5m from the energy sector since the last election, leading them to “prioritise a privileged few”, according to Labour. Ashworth’s comments come after the Conservatives attacked Labour plans to freeze energy bills within months of taking office. Labour has insisted it would press ahead with plans to give the regulator Ofgem the power to force firms to pass on wholesale energy pri ce cuts to customers, despite the Conservatives insisting it would cause chaos.
Guardian 13th March 2015 read more »
E.ON has accused the Labour party of undermining confidence in the energy markets after Ed Miliband promised to give powers to the regulator to drive down household bills before the end of this year. Shares in energy firms fell on Friday as it emerged that the Labour leader was following up his promise of a price freeze with a commitment to make energy suppliers cut their bills by a further £100 per customer. E.ON, one of the big six suppliers, said it had already taken a risk by cutting its prices by 3.5% from January and it was unrealistic to demand more, especially ahead of findings from a Competition and Markets Authority probe.
Guardian 13th March 2015 read more »
Floating power plants – essentially giant barges or ships with diesel generators on them – have saved lives and propped up economies from Gaza to Panama. Now, sources have revealed, the emergency technology is being mooted as stop-gap solution for Scotland’s electricity needs. Power transmission giant National Grid is considering three contract proposals to maintain voltage in the power network north of the border for the next two years. Two are known: the existing conventional stations at Longannet, in Fife, and Peterhead. Without this contract Longannet will have to close, says its owner, Scottish Power. National Grid has not revealed the third but The Herald understands it is power barges. Energy industry sources say they are not convinced by the proposal.
Herald 14th March 2015 read more »
Letter Lang Banks: I’m pleased that my Agenda article (March 11) has sparked a healthy debate about the transition of Scotland’s electricity system. On the issue of restarting the grid (Letters, March 13), National Grid made clear in its evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Energy Committee just this week that Longannet and Peterhead are not needed to “black start” the Scottish region of the UK grid in the event of a catastrophic system-wide failure. National Grid made clear it would be possible to bring the grid back up in Scotland through interconnection, albeit marginally slower than the rest of Britain. They also emphasised that there has never been a system-wide failure of that magnitude. Professors McInnes and Younger (Letters, March 12) argue that Scotland would be importing polluting fossil fuelled electricity from the rest of the UK if it generated most of its power from renewables by 20 30. Crucially, this ignores the fact that the UK needs to de-carbonise its power sector at roughly the same rate as Scotland by 2030, according to the Committee on Climate Change, to cost-effectively hit legally-binding targets under the UK Climate Change Act. While it’s true that, on some days, power would flow from south to north, this is entirely routine, and the balance will still be in Scotland’s favour. It is clear that Scotland’s power sector is in transition and the commercial realities weigh heavily against building new fossil fuel or nuclear generation in Scotland. This suggests we should embrace Scotland’s renewables strengths as part of a UK grid.
Herald 14th March 2015 read more »
Hungary and Brussels denied Friday that the EU has blocked Budapest’s 12.5 billion euro ($13 billion) nuclear deal with Russia, saying that talks were still ongoing to resolve disputes over the plan. The denial came after the Financial Times newspaper reported Friday that the bloc had vetoed the deal as its nuclear watchdog Euratom rejected Hungary’s plans to import nuclear fuel exclusively from Russia. Dismissing the report as “false and completely misleading,” Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said: “Ongoing talks do not block the project.” “Our expectation is that, following intensive negotiations, the fuel supply contract will be finalised in line with Euratom requirements in a matter of weeks,” added the spokesman.
EU Business 13th March 2015 read more »
Hungary said Friday it expected EU objections over its planned nuclear project with Russia to be resolved ‘in a matter of weeks’, and called a newspaper report that the deal had been blocked ‘false’.
EU Business 13th March 2015 read more »
US – AP1000s
The company that owns a majority stake in new nuclear reactors in South Carolina wants approval to spend more on the project and finish construction later than expected. SCANA Corp. CEO Kevin Marsh said Friday he’s asked for a hearing before state regulators regarding the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, about 25 miles northwest of Columbia.
WLTX 13th March 2015 read more »
The cost for completing the new nuclear units at the Jenkinsville plant are likely to rise by $1.2 billion from its initial $9.8 billion price tag – to $11 billion. Completion of the Unit 2 reactor will be pushed back three years from 2016 to 2019.
The State 12th March 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
The Environment Ministry said Friday that storage of nuclear waste from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and surrounding areas in interim facilities has begun—nearly four years after the disaster that devastated the Tohoku region. The government is building storage units on an area of 16 square kilometers near the power plant between the towns of Futaba and Okuma. They will hold about 22 million cubic meters of contaminated soil and debris.
Japan Today 13th March 2015 read more »
Internet data from the UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment and other sensitive information was being sent through Ukraine, by mistake, all last week. As well as the nuclear weapons body, which is “responsible for the design, manufacture and support of warheads for the United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent”, traffic from the Post Office and elsewhere was accidentally being sent through Ukrainian providers. The BT internet traffic should was being rerouted through Ukrainian internet provider Vega, but security experts believe that the problem was a mistake.
Independent 13th March 2015 read more »
26 senior figures from various faith groups published a letter in The Times newspaper calling on the UK government to join with others “to develop a robust plan of action that will lead us to a world free of nuclear weapons”.
Ekklesia 13th March 2015 read more »
MOD officials have told the Smith Commission they are concerned that devolving more powers to Holyrood could compromise the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrents and military activities.
Daily Record 13th March 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
Eric Pickles has approved a 24MW solar park in Suffolk 18 months after intervening to block the development. The Communities Secretary rejected Lark Energy’s plans to install solar panels at Ellough Airfield in 2013, even though it had been recommended for approval by the local planning inspector, after deciding it could “have an adverse effect” on the character of the site.
Business Green 12th Mar 2015 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News.
Microgen Scotland 13th March 2015 read more »
Ofgem has granted the NSN project funding through its cap and floor regulatory regime, giving the go-ahead to an interconnector between the UK and Norway. The NSN project is scheduled to begin operating in 2020 and would have a capacity of 1.4GW. The decision follows Ofgem’s consultation on its proposals in December last year, where it analysed development costs, design specifications, and tendering arrangements to ensure these would deliver good value for money for customers.
Utility Week 12th March 2015 read more »
The Scottish government’s policy on fracking is ill-informed, short-sighted and “ethically appalling”, according to one of Scotland’s leading engineering experts. Rebecca Lunn, of the University of Strathclyde, who was named this week as one of ten outstanding women in Scotland, said that the government had ignored advice from scientific institutions as well as its own working group by declaring a moratorium on fracking, despite evidence that, if properly regulated, it posed little environmental risk. “It’s an extremely ill-informed debate,” she said. “They’ve been fracking in the US for 50 years, and until recently nobody noticed.” Scotland would need to import shale gas from overseas if its energy needs were to be met, she said, and by refusing to grant licences in this country it might have to fall back instead on gas from poorly regulated fracking operations in politically unstable countries. The environmental costs of shipping it from abroad rather than producing it at home would be enormous.
Times 14th March 2015 read more »
Ineos made a statement of intent this week by striking the biggest deal yet seen in Britain to drill for shale gas. But there are doubts whether it will ever be viable or if environmentalists will ever be placated.
Independent 13th March 2015 read more »