Electricite de France SA’s deal with the U.K. to build the nation’s first new nuclear plant in two decades will be probed by the European Union once an agreement is struck and regulators are informed, the EU’s antitrust chief said. “The U.K. government has announced to us that they will notify in the coming months a program linked with investments in nuclear energy, in new plants,” Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, said in the margins of a conference in Florence, Italy. “Once this notification will take place we will need to assess if this scheme, this program complies or not” with the EU’s rules.
Bloomberg 13th Sept 2013 read more »
The Government’s Energy Market Reform (EMR) is supposed to “solve our energy problems” but is it a solution for the next 25 years and is it going to make sure that we achieve our low-carbon transition, keep the lights on and ensure prices are affordable? Leigh Stringer talks to professor of energy policy at Oxford University Dieter Helm According to Helm, the EMR is “probably not going to achieve any of these things”. He projects that the Government will do little before the general election “but after the general election we’ll need a full energy review to sort the problems out”.
Edie 12th Sept 2013 read more »
Children living near nuclear power plants like Sellafield are not at greater risk of contracting leukaemia according to research in the British Journal of Cancer. There have been suggestions of a link for the last thirty years. Researchers studied 10,000 leukaemia cases over 40 years across the UK and found there was no apparent link with nearby nuclear sites.
ITV Border 13th Sept 2013 read more »
ITV 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Living next to a nuclear plant was does not increase the risk of childhood leukaemia according to the findings of a report out today. A possible link was highlighted in a television programme in the 1980s which prompted inquiries into cases of leukaemia in Seascale near the Sellafield planet, known then as Windscale. Then as now, no firm link was found, so today’s news has come as a reassurance to people living in the village.
ITV Border 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Letter Steuart Campbell: It is welcome news that, once more, no evidence has been found to support the idea that living near a nuclear power station brings a higher chance of children developing cancer.
Scotsman 14th Sept 2013 read more »
Living near a nuclear power plant does not raise the risk of leukaemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children aged under 5 years, a review of cases in Britain over 45 years has found. The incidence of leukaemia near nuclear power plants in Britain was first highlighted in a television documentary in 1983 that found an excess of cancer cases among young people living near the Sellafield plant in Cumbria. A year later a report confirmed a large and unexpected incidence of childhood leukaemia in the nearby coastal village of Seascale, which led to the establishment of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment.
BMJ 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Controversial plans to bury highly toxic nuclear waste under the Lake District are back on the table just eight months after being conclusively rejected. The proposals were dismissed by Cumbria County Council in January – but now the Government has enraged opponents by proposing to switch the final say to the district council. Geoff Betsworth, a local activist says “It is a shock. It is undermining democracy to remove a layer of government in Cumbria county council. It is Orwellian and they will push it through regardless.”
Independent 13th Sept 2013 read more »
CONTROVERSIAL plans for an underground nuclear dump could be back on the cards for the Lake District after the launch of a new government consultation into finding a suitable site. Attempts to create a ‘geological disposal facility’ (GDF) in West Cumbria collapsed in January this year when Cumbria County Council (CCC) excluded two districts from being considered as potential locations. Responding to the announcement, Friends of the Earth nuclear issues campaigner Ruth Balogh said the consultation was the government’s ‘last chance’ to get it right on nuclear waste policy. Marianne Birkby of Radiation Free Lakeland said: “Even if the government are hell-bent on a GDF, Cumbria should not be part of this consultation because it was rejected last time, and the majority of parish councils within Allerdale and Copeland said no to it.” However the idea of a GDF is backed by the Sellafield Workers Campaign, with news of the consultation being welcomed by workers’ union Unite. National officer Kevin Coyne said: “CCC’s decision earlier this year to pull out of the search for a waste repository was short-sighted because it does not magic the waste away.” CCC issued a cross-party response to the announcement, with council Leader Coun Stewart Young saying it would be ‘looking closely’ at the revised proposals to see if concerns raised in January had been addressed, including the ‘uncertainty on the right for communities to bring the process to a halt if they are not happy.’
Westmorland Gazette 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Nuclear workers hope a change that sidelines the county council will pave the way to create a massive underground atomic waste store in west Cumbria. All the councils affected are playing their cards close to their chests following confirmation of the consultation yesterday. In similar statements Copeland and Allerdale said the future of radioactive waste storage and disposal was of “great interest” to their areas. Both said they would be taking their time to consider the Government’s proposals before responding. But groups representing atomic industry workers have welcomed the development. Eddie Martin, the man who led the county council when it ruled Cumbria out of the last stage, today described any prospect of the authority’s right to veto being removed as an “affront to democracy”. He told the News & Star: “To remove the input of the county council is, in my view, foolish.” Energy Minister Baroness Verma has, however, insisted the county will still have a “significant role” to play, adding: “The county council would still hold the controls over planning.”
Carlisle News and Star 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Michael Fallon, the Business Minister, dropped in to address the World Nuclear Association, the international trade body for companies that run nuclear plants, in London today. He gushed about the great future this Government has planned for nuclear energy, but disappointed participants by then rushing off. “He was unique amongst the participants in not taking questions,” my spy tells me. “Even the Chinese stayed for questions, but he just marched off the platform and was never seen again.” But Mr Fallon is a busy man: he has the soon-to-be-strike-bound Royal Mail to privatise.
Independent 14th Sept 2013 read more »
The discussion on ‘Green growth and green jobs’ is up early on Sunday morning. It contains much that should be praised, a few targeted barbs at their coalition partners, and three radical policies which, if implemented, would mark a radical departure from what Chris Huhne and Ed Davey have managed to deliver from the seat of power. What emerges from Lib Dem conference will be significant if there is a second hung parliament in two years time. The Labour Party will be looking for areas of common agreement on energy and climate change that could be agreed on quickly. The Tories will need to decide how much ground they are willing to cede in exchange for policies they favour like a marriage tax break or the replacement of Trident. Three other, more radical areas may raise eyebrows among those uncertain about whether the Lib Dems are able to stick to their promises. First, the motion includes an option to reject the construction of a new generation of nuclear plant-a position last passed by a majority of two to one at the Lib Dem’s conference in 2009. Ed Davey will speak in favour of a separate option to accept a ‘limited role’ for nuclear power which would be consistent with government policy. Although the coalition agreement included an allowance for the Lib Dems ‘to maintain their opposition to nuclear power’, Ed Davey has positively embraced the technology. As recently as July he said: “We are still hopeful we could see new nuclear generating in maybe 2020, 2021.” Defeat would be personally embarrassing for Mr Davey but unlikely to shift government policy without a majority Lib Dem government since Labour and the Tories are both committed to new nuclear. The policy statement calls for total energy demand to be halved by 2030. It is unclear against which baseline this will measured but it is a policy which Sir Humphrey Appleby would describe as ‘bold’. DECC’s existing energy efficiency strategy sets out four scenarios for energy demand reduction to 2050, which, at best, implies a per capita demand reduction of 54 per cent relative to 2007. Bringing this forward by twenty years will be phenomenally expensive and would require a step change in energy efficiency policy beyond anything that the Lib Dems are proposing.
Business Green 13th Sept 2013 read more »
The Liberal Democrat autumn conference in Glasgow this year is likely to see protests from environmentalists as the party discusses relaxing its policies on both nuclear power and shale gas exploration with a policy paper saying that while there is “no realistic prospect of a shale gas revolution in the UK”, there is a value in “measured shale gas extraction”. It is a contrast to the Scottish Lib Dem conference in Dundee earlier this year which passed a motion that ruled out controversial processes like fracking. But demonstrates the growing pressure on politicians to explore this particular avenue.
Holyrood 9th Sept 2013 read more »
Greenpeace asked Populus to poll voters on their views about the Lib Dem stances and potential stances in the run-up to the next election. Because of their motion to conference coming up, we also identified how much appeal the different policy stances would have to the ‘defectors’; people who voted Lib Dem in 2010 but whose express voting intention has now changed. A few things are noteworthy in the results: On fracking the data is decidedly mixed, but it appears the issue angers those who are already alienated by the party: 61% of Lib Dem defectors think the Lib Dems support for shale has damaged the party’s green credentials (with 4% believing it has strengthened the party’s green credentials) 38 % of those still intend to vote Lib Dem say it has damaged the party’s green credentials, 19% say it has strengthened them. On commitment to renewable energy: 49% of Lib Dem ‘defectors’ would be more likely to vote for the party if it pledged to support an energy system based 100% on renewables. Compared with 13% who would be less likely to.
Energy Desk 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Miliband and many of his colleagues may be committed in principle to a progressive green economic strategy, but it has not yet been established as a central component of Labour’s proposition to the country. There have been several policy indications that have demonstrated the party’s desire to lead on green issues, not least among them the challenge to the government to adopt a decarbonisation target for the power sector. But Miliband’s failure to deliver a set piece speech on environmental issues in many ways crystallises the party’s failure to properly define its green strategy. Labour can only steal a genuine green march on the coalition parties if it urgently starts to explain how it would deliver a more successful green economic vision. The failure to offer a clearer dividing line on green policy and a harder hitting critique of the government’s mixed messages risks leaving green voters disillusioned and centre ground voters unclear of where the party stands on this most crucial of issues. When it comes to the green economy, Miliband simply can’t afford to fluff his lines in this year’s speech.
Business Green 11th Sept 2013 read more »
We are faced with the twin urgent challenges of delivering a low carbon and secure energy system. The last few years have seen Britain moving from being a net exporter to a net importer of energy. The threat of climate change has led to the slow but inexorable inclusion of environmental concerns in mainstream energy policy. Against this backdrop, economic and political power around the globe has altered, creating a complex, multipolar world. Rising concerns about the long term availability and price of oil, gas and uranium only add to the challenges facing Britain. This timely volume brings together key researchers and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines, including energy policy, international relations and supply chains, to explore the practical policy options in addressing energy security in Britain.
IGov 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Thirty-five years ago, Washington launched a program to minimize the civilian use of highly enriched uranium (HEU)—a terrorist’s material of choice for constructing nuclear weapons. Though the program struggled for funding, nongovernmental organizations and several Congressional champions kept it alive, and in 2004, attempts to reduce HEU stores began to blossom. That’s when the National Nuclear Security Administration launched the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, which works to remove weapons-grade fuel and convert HEU-powered research reactors to reliance on less-enriched fuels. In 2009, these efforts received a boost when US President Barack Obama announced a new goal to lock down all “vulnerable nuclear material around the world in four years” and Washington launched a series of head-of-state-level meetings, the Nuclear Security Summits.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 10th Sept 2013 read more »
England would need Scotland to maintain a secure energy supply in the event of independence, an SNP minister has claimed. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said there was no question of the rest of the UK breaking links with Scotland if there was a yes vote in next year’s referendum, In an interview with Holyrood he said the two countries would still be inter-dependent and connected up to the National Grid, with the cost of maintaining shared out across all consumers. Ewing said: “From the discussions I’ve had with the National Grid, the Scottish and English markets are, and have been since 2005, increasingly inter-dependent. In other words, England needs Scotland’s electricity to maintain security of supply,
Holyrood 9th Sept 2013 read more »
World electricity demand is likely to grow by over 80% by 2040, and nuclear energy capacity will need to double to help to meet it, according to figures from Exxon Mobil. The company’s analysis triggered a lively exchange at the WNA Annual Symposium in London.
World Nuclear News 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Japan’s cash-strapped utilities are facing increased pressure to bring down the cost of replacement fossil fuels as the country shuts its last operating nuclear reactor. Kansai Electric’s 1,180-megawatt No 4 reactor at the Ohi plant in Osaka will be idled from Sunday for safety inspections. Before the Fukushima crisis of March 2011, nuclear power accounted for about 30 per cent of Japan’s electricity generation. The nuclear freeze will last until January at the earliest, exceeding a two-month hiatus last year, and will force utilities to rely more on expensive imports of liquefied natural gas, crude oil and coal through the winter months.
FT 13th Sept 2013 read more »
A senior official of the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Sept. 13 disputed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assertion to International Olympic Committee members that the Fukushima crisis is under control, which helped Tokyo land the 2020 Summer Games.
Asahi Shimbun 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Fukushima Crisis Update 10th to 12th September Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assertions last week that the Fukushima nuclear disaster is “under control” and that highly radioactive water has been “completely blocked” within a .3 km square area of TEPCO’s port on the Pacific Ocean are coming under fire, with international parties, government officials, and even TEPCO questioning the claims. Abe was delivering a presentation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Buenos Aires, in an effort to secure a bid for Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Games. Tokyo was eventually awarded the honor.
Greenpeace 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Vapour has begun rising again from a reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, more than two-and-a-half years after its core melted down, the site’s Japanese operator said Friday. Tokyo Electric Power said it believed the steam was coming from a puddle sitting atop the reactor, but has not been able to clarify why vapour started appearing occasionally from July this year. TEPCO said the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant remained stable, with sensors in and around it showing no increase in levels of radioactive release. The steam appeared as TEPCO found more evidence that radioactive waste water at the plant was contaminating groundwater that is on its way to the sea.
Fox News 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Green New Deal
Today sees the launch of the latest report from the Green New Deal Group: A National Plan for the UK, and a strategy to kick-start the nation into the age of the ‘Green New Deal’. Unveiled on the 5th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, the plan is designed to fundamentally transform a still-broken financial system and reduce the deficit, while revamping the UK’s aging infrastructure to meet a range of environmental and social challenges. Rising to the challenges of climate change is a central tenet of the report, and it draws heavily on the work of the latest report from the Centre for Alternative Technology – Zero Carbon Britain: Rethinking the Future (ZCB). The proposed £50 billion-a-year programme boosts real economic activity and provides quality jobs across the country by galvanizing key infrastructure projects and initiatives needed to reach zero emissions.
Centre for Alternative Technology 9th Sept 2013 read more »
Prices of solar hot water systems could fall 30% if the market expands tenfold as a result of Renewable Heat Incentive. Telford & Wrekin Council considering building a solar farm; Waitrose& Ecotricity launch a major campaign to encourage its customers to switch to green energy; John Lewis to trial efficient appliance labelling; Westminster-based thinktank ResPublica has published a report claiming that local councils are the greatest barrier to the growth of community energy; Community-owned renewables have the potential to hit a total installed capacity of 5.27GW in the UK by 2020; Tamar Energy’s plans to build the UK’s largest network of anaerobic digestion plants;
Micro Power News we 13th September 2013 read more »
SSE Power Distribution is expecting to connect 14.5GW of solar PV and low carbon generation capacity to the grid by 2023, its latest business plan reveals. The number of households and businesses on its southern England and northern Scotland patches generating their own power will soar tenfold to 800,000, the distribution network operator (DNO) predicts.
Utility Week 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Rising energy bills, security of supply, fuel poverty and the need to reduce carbon emissions are among the biggest issues facing the UK. Communities that generate their own energy using renewable technologies can form a big part of the solution, bridging the gap between high-level international climate talks and smaller actions taken at an individual level. Such projects can also provide huge social benefits, bringing people together and providing an opportunity for local ownership and investment. But the sector remains a long way from fulfilling its potential. To discuss how this situation might be improved, the Guardian, in association with Co-operative Energy, brought together community energy groups, government, NGOs and developers at a roundtable event in London. The discussion was held under the Chatham House rule, by which quotes are published without attribution to encourage open debate.
Guardian 13th Sept 2013 read more »
The costs of delaying climate action could be equivalent to the financial crisis, a new paper warns. Each year, world leaders meet to try and agree new targets to prevent the world from warming by no more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels. Progress has been slow, however – and the longer the impasses persists, the more costly climate action could become.
Carbon Brief 13th Sept 2013 read more »
Until now, Eccles has been best known for its cakes. However, the Greater Manchester suburb is set to earn fame of a different kind as the UK’s next fracking hotspot. IGas, the AIM-quoted shale gas explorer, announced yesterday that it would begin drilling a well to explore for shale gas next month at the Barton Moss site on the edge of Eccles.
Times 13th Sept 2013 read more »