There has been an unscheduled shutdown of one of the reactors at Torness power station in East Lothian. Reactor 2 stopped automatically during routine testing when an issue with an electrical system was detected. EDF energy which operates the plant said there were no health or environmental impacts. “Reactor 2 automatically shut down during routine testing when an issue was detected in an electrical system. Protection equipment, which is designed to ‘fail safe’, operated to automatically shut down the reactor. The reactor shut down safely and cooling to the reactor was maintained at all times. There were no health or environmental impacts.”
BBC 14th Dec 2015 read more »
There has been an unplanned shutdown of one of the reactors at Torness nuclear power station in East Lothian. Operators EDF energy have not indicated when Reactor 2 will return to service after the unit “tripped” on Monday. This refers to the reactor being rapidly shut down by the insertion of its control rods. The company said the cause of the incident is under investigation. WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “With this unplanned shutdown at Torness coming so soon after news of cracking in the bricks surrounding the reactor at Hunterston, nuclear power is once again revealing itself to be a creaking and increasingly unreliable source of energy. “It underlines why Scotland is right to be choosing to harness more power from renewable energy sources.”
STV 14th Dec 2015 read more »
Evening Express 14th Dec 2015 read more »
Scotsman 14th Dec 2015 read more »
Herald 14th Dec 2015 read more »
As infrastructure work on the new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C in West Somerset gathers pace, MPs Rebecca Pow and Paul Flynn discuss – will it offer the UK a bright future, or are the plans heading for meltdown? Mass delusion is an unrecognised malign force in politics, while shared accepted wisdom is often a harbinger of future catastrophes. Almost every time all major parties agree on any project, they are wrong: faith in the value of drugs prohibition is evidence-free and prejudice rich; three Prime Ministers and their parties were bewitched by the blandishments of Kids Company. And the Pied Power of nuclear power has enchanted and deceived with impossibilist promises. But the consensus of the gullible is breaking down. Boris Johnson spotted that the nuclear Emperor has no clothes; he said the mega-subsidy of taxpayers’ £2bn (perhaps rising to £10bn) is an “extraordinary amount of money to spend”. Treasury officials are becoming twitchy and nauseous at the prospect that they are incubating a looming financial cataclysm, and the magnitude of the future scandal could rival those of the Groundnut Scheme and the South Sea Bubble.
Politics Home 14th Dec 2015 read more »
Letter Steuart Campbell: Lesley Riddoch’s views on nuclear power and Hinkley Point C in particular (“It’s time to plan a future without oil”, Perspective, 14 December) are very confused and inaccurate.
Scotsman 15th Dec 2015 read more »
A campaign group has raised new concerns about the movement of waste materials from Dounreay by rail after major flooding in Cumbria. Spent “exotic fuels” are being moved from the Caithness site to Sellafield in the north of England by rail, as part of the decommissioning process. The first of a series of loads of unirradiated plutonium fuel from Dounreay’s Prototype Fast Reactor arrived at Sellafield last Monday. Around 13 tonnes is due to be moved between the north of Scotland and Sellafield over the next few years. Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) said the operation had gone “safely and securely”. But Cumbria-based campaign group, Core, condemned the decision to go ahead with the movement of the fuel after extensive flooding across Scotland and particularly in the north-west of England. The campaigners said the train journeys had the potential to compromise public safety. Core spokesman Martin Forwood said: “It beggars belief that the decision to risk the plutonium fuel transport was taken despite the widely-trailed storm evidence and rail warnings. “We condemn the perverse decision as being dangerously irresponsible and as a blatant breach of the stringent safety and security rules required for such transports. “Those responsible have shown a level of incompetence that verges on criminal and should be weeded out, so that public and rail safety is not similarly endangered again.
Press and Journal 14th Dec 2015 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has written today to Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) over its ongoing concerns with the transportation of radioactive materials– some of which includes unirradiated plutonium – out of the Dounreay site. The letter includes mention of the NFLA’s alarm that a transport of radioactive materials from Dounreay to Sellafield last week took place during intense inclement weather created by ‘Storm Desmond’. As the group CORE Cumbria commented, the rail transport occurred at a point when there was serious flooding taking place across northern England and south Scotland. As CORE note, on the day of the transport, a warning was given by Network Rail’s Route Managing Director that “the unprecedented amount of rainfall and high winds has taken a significant toll on the railway… North of Carlisle station, we have to wait for eight feet of water to recede before we can carry out extensive safety checks and repairs – including rebuilding a host of complex electrical and signalling equipment which is currently underwater. We have a lot of work to do to ensure the railway is safe and able to be used”.
NFLA 14th Dec 2015 read more »
A site in Snowdonia could potentially be used as a future base for the development of small modular reactors (SMR), part of a new generation of nuclear power plants. The Snowdonia Enterprise Zone’s advisory board has said it is promoting the site in Trawsfynydd as “an ideal location” to host the first SMR of its kind in the UK.The site is currently a disused Magnox power station. SMR is an emerging technology and the UK government recently announced £250m funding over the next five years for nuclear research and development, including a competition to identify the best value small modular reactor design for the UK. “We have a unique location with an established nuclear site at Trawsfynydd with potential for future SMR deployment and associated R&D (research and development),” said John Idris Jones, chairman of the Snowdonia Enterprise Zone Advisory Board. “The local community has strong links to the nuclear industry and the decommissioning of the nuclear plant on site will release a potential transferable workforce of hundreds of skilled personnel.
Insider Media 15th Dec 2015 read more »
Wales Online 14th Dec 2015 read more »
The end of generation at Wylfa nuclear plant this month will leave electricity margins “tight but manageable” this winter. Wylfa – which provides enough power for a city the size of Manchester – will stop generating on December 30 after more than 40 years. This closure and other reductions in power supply will see the forecast capacity margin – the difference between available supply and expected peak demand – at 1.2% before additional measures, the lowest since 2005-6.
Daily Post 14th Dec 2015 read more »
There is public controversy over what level of radiation exposure kills–controversy typically generated by a self-serving nuclear industry which requires the weakest possible radiation protection standards in order to exist, much less expand, and by the radiation deniers who back that industry–but there is no controversy that at some exposure level, radiation kills. And, of course, the prevailing view (though not incorporated by government regulation) of the NAS and other global scientific bodies is that there is no safe level of radiation exposure, that every exposure, no matter how small, carries some risk of death from cancer or other disease. Receiving two real-life reminders on a Monday morning is particularly grim, evoking both empathy for the victims but, even more, anger at those who allowed–and continue to allow and even encourage–the atomic age’s legacy of death and destruction. Kudos to those who uncovered what should be scandals on par with the worst abuses of government and corporate wrongdoing in our planet’s modern history, starting with McClatchy News Service, which spent the past year investigating the U.S. victims of the Cold War–those people who worked for our nation’s nuclear weapons program.
Green World 14th Dec 2015 read more »
POLICE protecting Britain’s nuclear sites, army bases and train network could be cut after it emerged a pledge by George Osborne to protect force budgets does not include defence, transport and nuclear officers.
Express 14th Dec 2015 read more »
The Welsh Government has adopted a policy of geological disposal for the long-term, safe and secure management of higher activity radioactive waste. A geological disposal facility (GDF) will only be deliverable in Wales on the basis of a voluntary partnership with interested local communities willing to enter into discussions about potentially hosting a GDF and the successful conclusion of those discussions. Our Policy on the Management and Disposal of Higher Activity Radioactive Waste outlines our policy following public consultation. Following a separate consultation, we have subsequently adopted a policy on the Community Engagement and Implementation Processes.
Welsh Government 10th Dec 2015 read more »
Geological Disposal of Higher Activity Radioactive Waste: Community Engagement and Siting Processes
Welsh Government December 2015 read more »
Amidst all the media coverage of the Cumbria floods there is not one single raised eyebrow on the implications for the leaking nuclear dump sites of Lillyhall, Drigg and Sellafield. One excellent letter HAS made it into the national press. Written by Rae Street and reproduced below, it was published in the Guardian on the 8th December. Our thanks to Rae. Nuclear is Not the Answer to Climate Change. Dear Editor, Among the potential huge problems, for example, for the concentration of nuclear sites in Cumbria are the dangers from climate crisis and extremes of weather. On the front page of the same edition are accounts of the severe flooding all over Cumbria but nowhere is a link made to the nuclear sites. Perhaps if no comments are made by the nuclear industry, then no problem exists?
Radiation Free Lakeland 14th Dec 2015 read more »
Craig Bennett: The prime minister is right. He concluded his speech at the start of the Paris climate change summit by saying: “Instead of making excuses tomorrow to our children and grandchildren, we should be taking action against climate change today.” Friends of the Earth could not agree more. So why is it that almost everything Cameron’s government has done on climate and energy since being elected in May has moved us in the wrong direction, towards pitiful excuse-making when we come to look our children in the eye, let alone our grandchildren? The UK has lost much of its reputation for climate leadership over the past seven months, as George Osborne has ordered the dismantling of climate and energy policies developed over many years and with cross-party consensus. First, he must write to the European commission president and all his EU counterparts and ask them to make good on their promises of moving to a higher level of European emission cuts if an agreement was reached. It has been. Move it on up, prime minister. Second, he must write to the committee on climate change – his government’s advisers on climate action – and ask them to design all future budgets around the 1.5C target. Failure to do so would be a travesty of the spirit of Paris. Third, the terrible damage that his government has done to the climate economy in the UK must be repaired. As soon as this week, his energy and climate change secretary is going to decide the future of UK solar power. Current government plans would see the industry brought to its knees. They must think again.
Guardian 14th Dec 2015 read more »
The government has been warned that a major U-turn in energy policy is required if it is to avoid charges of blatant hypocrisy following the commitments it made in the Paris climate deal this weekend. Critics say that the first test for Amber Rudd, the energy and climate change secretary, will come later this week, when she announces whether or not she plans to go ahead with a proposed 90 per cent cut in solar subsidies. Business leaders, academics and environmentalists all believe that a series of attacks on wind, solar and other “clean” technologies since the general election have undermined Britain’s ability to meet new CO2 targets. Craig Bennett, chief executive of Friends of the Earth, agreed: “It will be outstanding hypocrisy for the government to trumpet the new climate change agreement unless it does a U-turn on energy policy. Tomorrow morning ministers need to write to our climate change committee asking for advice on how to introduce radical new policies. Clearly George Osborne and others needs to end their love affair with shale gas, diesel farms and trying to expand airport runways.” Jeremy Leggett, the founder of world leading renewable energy company Solarcentury, spelled out the challenge for Rudd and George Osborne, the latter being seen as the real axeman of green policies. “The government has a huge credibility problem, having signed a treaty of historic importance, and yet [having] been pursuing a path of [energy policy] travel that is 180 degrees opposed to what is needed,” he said.
Business Green 14th Dec 2015 read more »
Catherine Mitchell: COP21 has led to a new climate change policy agreement. While it could have been stronger, it could also have been weaker. The world had already tipped to a global discourse towards a sustainable energy future, based on renewables. What the Paris Agreement has done has strengthened that global discourse. The dominant underlying energy technology pathways of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) is towards more renewables. There will of course be outlier countries, like GB, who choose nuclear over renewables but on the whole the Paris Agreement reflects an energy future of declining fossil fuels, with renewables rather than nuclear as the low carbon choice. Each country needs to understand what governance changes they need to undertake in order to implement their INDCs; and then they need to get on as quickly as possible to implement them. We can expect resistance from those who will lose from low carbon energy systems. Low carbon policies have caused existential impacts to companies or communities in only a few countries. This Paris Agreement will increase those impacts and can be expected to be resisted even more forcefully as a result. This is why a country’s attitude to ‘losers’ is so important. Country’s have to support the new energy system. The more they look after the ‘old’ energy system the longer it will take to make the transformation, but also the more costly the transformation will be. This is not to say that industry should not be given clear warning of policies and intentions to give them time to change – but country’s should not renegotiate once that warning period is over.
IGov 14th Dec 2015 read more »
The University of Exeter Energy Policy Group (EPG), and in particular the Innovation and Governance project (IGov) within the EPG, has been very involved in the ongoing CMA Energy Market Investigation. Our original submission to the CMA’s Statement of Issues paper highlighted the problem of Codes in relation to competition and innovation within the GB Energy System. We then gave oral evidence, the summary of which is now up on the CMA’s website. We then commented on the Updated Issues and finally we gave our views on the Provisional Findings and Possible Remedies paper. We have also written various blogs.
IGov 14th Dec 2015 read more »
Britain’s Aveva a maker of programs to design oil rigs, ships and nuclear power stations, and Schneider Electric have scrapped a tie-up, saying combining the software businesses would be too risky and costly. The pair agreed a deal in July that would have seen France’s Schneider pay 550 million pounds ($834.24 million) towards the issue of new shares in Aveva to take a 53.5 percent stake in a company comprising the British firm with Schneider’s software operations. The tie-up would have reduced Aveva’s exposure to oil and gas markets, the source of about 45 percent of its revenue, where lower oil prices have cut demand for rigs designed by its software. Aveva said on Tuesday both companies had agreed to terminate the deal.
Reuters 15th Dec 2015 read more »
Disagreements over valuation and charges related to a Finnish reactor project are likely to delay French utility EDF’s acquisition of Areva’s nuclear reactor business until next year, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. In late July, EDF agreed to buy 51 to 75 percent of the Areva NP reactor unit based on a value of 2.7 billion euros ($2.96 billion) for the entire division. But the sources, confirming press reports, said EDF had revised that valuation down to 2.2 billion to 2.3 billion euros in recent months, and that the utility would make a firm offer for Areva NP early next year instead of in the last quarter of 2015 as originally planned. EDF and Areva declined to comment. One of the sources said there was a “substantial” disagreement between the two sides on the value of the unit and that the talks “remain very complicated”. “The disagreements are about the amount, but especially about Finland,” another source said, adding that the French government prefers to clear the Finland issue with Areva before finalizing the sale of Areva NP. Finnish utility TVO has a 2.6 billion euro ($2.8 bln) claim against the Areva-led EPR consortium at the International Chamber of Commerce’s arbitration court. Areva-Siemens has a 3.4 billion euro counter-claim.
Reuters 14th Dec 2015 read more »
It emerged last week that Japan’s nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is failing to conduct adequate safety checks at the country’s nuclear reactors. It’s like this: in 2012, in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, the then nuclear watchdog (more like nuclear lapdog), the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) was abolished. NISA was a branch of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and also had the responsibility to promote nuclear energy in Japan. You can see the problem. An organisation that was supposed to hold the nuclear industry to account while promoting nuclear energy? NISA had to go. And so the NRA was born with a mandate enshrined in law to draw up and police safety procedures and protocols that would aim to prevent another Fukushima. In the light of recent events, it would seem the NRA is failing miserably in its duty. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has announced that approximately 2,000 cables have been incorrectly installed at two of its nuclear power plants – Kashiwazaki-Kariwa and Fukushima Daini (the sister plant of Fukushima Daiichi which was destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami). It was found that cables used for the day to day running of the plants’ reactors were not separate from cables for the safety systems as they should be. It’s basic common sense: if the safety cables aren’t separate from the rest of the system and there’s an accident, the safety system is compromised along with everything else. If your safety system is compromised, you’re in big trouble. The kicker? The Nuclear Regulation Authority failed to conduct on-site inspections to determine if safety equipment cables were installed separately from other cables.
Greenpeace International 14th Dec 2015 read more »
China expects by 2030, to have 110 nuclear reactors operational, according to China Daily, citing unidentified sources in Power Construction Corporation of China Ltd., a power plant construction company. According to Chinese government plans, six to eight nuclear reactors are expected to be added every year for the next five years, Kallanish Energy learns. China currently has 31 operational nuclear reactors and 21 more are under construction, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Kallanish Energy 15th Dec 2015 read more »
There is no reason to halt the planned Akkuyu nuclear power plant with Russia, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday, after Turkish officials said last week that Russia had stopped construction work.
Reuters 14th Dec 2015 read more »
Dr Paul Dorfman summarises how Europe is striding towards clean energy, especially in light of Germany’s significant progress.Germany (Europe’s dominant electricity user) has made its choice. Its decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 and to invest in renewables, efficiency measures, grid infrastructure and energy storage, is a game-changer. Clean energy from wind, solar and biomass is generating windfall sales for German power exports, with a very recent report by the Fraunhofer ISE institute showing that net sales this year may grow to as much as 2 billion Euros. Underpinning this surplus is a surge in renewable energy. True to form, German nuclear generation shrank by 41 terawatt-hours to 92 terawatt-hours in the four years through 2014 while clean energy grew to 138 terawatt-hours from 20 terawatt-hours in the same timeframe. Renewable energy is set to cover around 33% of Germany’s gross energy demands this year, or 193 billion kWh, up a fifth on 2014, with PV and wind the main contributors. A key Energiewende driver is local democracy – with power devolving to the community level, as they secure political agreements under which the Bundesländer (federal states) set goals and locations for renewable generation. This ensures that local energy resources and financial subsidies – paid for by customers (through feed-in tariffs), or taxpayers, (through cheap loans provided by KfW, the government development bank) – benefit not only the energy companies but also the local people, with profits and employment kept in the region.Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid (the company that operates all the gas and power transmission networks in the UK and in the Northeastern US), who says that the idea of large coal-fired or nuclear power stations for baseload power is past it’s sell-by date, with energy markets clearly moving towards much more distributed production and towards microgrids: ‘The idea of baseload power is already outdated. The future will be much more driven by availability of supply: by demand side response and management.’ The very last thing we need is risky, expensive, centralised and inflexible technology. The renewable evolution is here, and we should embrace its creative possibilities. In doing so we change forever our relationship with the key driver of modern economies – power.
21st Century 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Why can’t you breathe in Beijing? Why are governments wrangling over the Arctic seabed? Why have we ever more extreme weather worldwide? The answer is fire. Fire in heaters, furnaces, engines and power stations is poisoning air in megacities everywhere. Feeding fire is why governments worry about fuel supplies. Fire produces the carbon dioxide upsetting planetary systems. Fire threatens our future. We think of fire as welcoming. But fire is violent, extreme, rapidly turning resources into wastes, toxic and pernicious. Yet we still rely on fire, even when we need not, and despite the ever intensifying problems fire creates. To address pollution, security, and climate we need to minimize human use of fire. Fire, however, has let us control electricity. Electricity, in turn, may save us from fire. Electricity Vs Fire is The Fight For Our Future.
Walt Patterson (accessed) 15th Dec 2015 read more »
An £11 billion plan to install 50 million smart meters in homes in England, Wales and Scotland by 2020 has been thrown into chaos by proposed EU reforms to Britain’s electricity market. Many of the two million meters that have already been installed may have to be removed or reprogrammed under the scheme, experts warned. Wholesale electricity in Britain is traded in half-hourly intervals, unlike in Germany and most of the EU, where it is in 15-minute periods. The EU wants to harmonise the UK’s electricity market with the rest of Europe, which would mean smart meters having to record data every 15 minutes compared with the present 30 minutes.
Times 15th Dec 2015 read more »
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Germany say they have reached a milestone in a quest to derive energy from nuclear fusion by starting up one of the world’s largest nuclear fusion machines for the first time and briefly generating a super-heated helium plasma inside a vessel – a key point in the experimental process.
Nucnet 14th Dec 2015 read more »
Carbon Brief is collating reactions from around the world, starting with newspaper editorials and front pages. We will continue adding reactions from columnists, thinktanks, scientists, NGOs and others.
Carbon Brief 14th Dec 2015 read more »
Saving the world isn’t going to be cheap. If you sell oil, coal or old-fashioned cars, that threatens disaster. For makers of stuff like solar panels, high-tech home insulation, and efficient lighting, it’s a potential miracle.
Bloomberg 14th Dec 2015 read more »
The industry-funded Task Force on Shale Gas has recommended fracking should get underway to establish a clearer picture of how much gas there is in the UK. But its chair, Lord Chris Smith, has criticised the government decision to cancel a £1 billion competition to develop technology for carbon capture and storage and questions the medium-term viability of shale gas without it.
Drill or Drop 15th Dec 2015 read more »
The UK is going into reverse on renewable energy while pressing the accelerator on fracking, according to former Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith. The final report of a shale gas taskforce led by Lord Smith concludes that the UK should be pursuing both fracking and green energy. It finds shale gas could be safely and usefully produced in the UK, providing strict environmental protections are in place. But it warns that the government’s recent cancellation of a Â£1bn competition to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology – which could trap climate-warming CO2 from gas-burning – has damaged the v iability of a large shale gas industry.
Guardian 15th Dec 2015 read more »
A leading academic who was an advisor to the Scottish Government on fracking no longer believes that unconventional gas development is viable, saying it has been“fatally undermined” following an energy policy U-turn by the UK Government. The Ferret can also reveal that Professor Paul Younger – who holds the Rankine Chair of Engineering at the University of Glasgow – has resigned as a director from a company that wants to practice Undersea Coal Gasification (UCG) in Scotland. Professor Younger is an expert on systems, power and energy who was appointed to the Scottish Government’s expert panel on unconventional gas to advise on fracking.
Ferret 14th Dec 2015 read more »
Times 15th Dec 2015 read more »