Sizewell B power station in Suffolk has been taken out of service while planned refuelling and maintenance work is carried out. More than a thousand specialists have been brought in to join the current workforce at Leiston for the next six weeks. The so-called “outages” happen every 18 months and are planned in advance with the National grid to make sure there is no risk to the electricity supply. One of the biggest projects will be to change the rotors on one of the turbines which converts steam into electricity to power 2 million homes.
ITV 13th Oct 2014 read more »
Heysham & Hartlepool
EDF Energy’s string of nuclear plant outages will end on schedule this winter, according to reports, as ongoing investigations show that two-thirds of the units under inspection have the all-clear. The nuclear operator lost 2.5GW of nuclear capacity over the summer after a crack was found in a boiler at Heysham-1. As a safety precaution all units of the same design were removed from service for safety inspections. EDF Energy initially gave a mid-October restart date for its Heysham-1 and Hartlepool nuclear power plants but later delayed the returns saying it would instead opt for a “phased return” between the end of October and the end of December 2014.
Utility Week 14th Oct 2014 read more »
HARTLEPOOL stands to lose out by £300,000 for every month the town’s nuclear power station is out of action. Council chiefs are preparing to lobby the Government for compensation of taxes they could miss out on because of the shut down. The power station’s second nuclear reactor is currently the subject of an unplanned shut down. EDF took the decision as a precautionary measure after a crack was found in a reactor at Hartlepool’s sister station, in Lancashire. Hartlepool Borough Council receives around £300,000 a month in business rates from the power station, off Brenda Road. The authority does not receive the significant sum during an unexpected shutdown and the station is not generating electricity.
Hartlepool Mail 14th Oct 2014 read more »
The parent company of one of the borough’s leading industrial enterprises has teamed up with a science body to launch an initiative to bring science and engineering into the classroom. Buckinghamshire-based URENCO, which has a major site at Capenhurst, has boosted its community engagement nationally following the introduction of a major programme for schools throughout the country. The nuclear fuel company’s complex at Capenhurst already runs science workshops for primary schools within a 15 mile radius of the site. The new initiative will be in addition to the local workshops.
Chester Chronicle 14th Oct 2014 read more »
In the nuclear energy industry more than most, safety is paramount and the design and specification used for equipment involved in nuclear generating plants are governed by a series of stringent regulations. The maintenance programs follow strict timetables with only certified contractors permitted to provide products and services, so when it comes to high voltage motors and generators, it is important to ensure that any repairs are going to make the grade.
Connecting Industry 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Teams from Cambridge, the UK and the US are exploring a radical new type of nuclear power station that is safer, more cost-effective, compact, quicker and less disruptive to build than any previously constructed. The University of Cambridge is looking at whether the element thorium could help meet the new design’s fuel needs. As well as being three to four times more abundant than uranium, thorium could potentially produce electricity more fuel efficiently – therefore more cheaply.
Business Weekly 14th Oct 2014 read more »
The Generation IV International Forum was created in 2000 to do research on new types of nuclear reactors to replace water-cooled models that make up the majority of today’s global nuclear fleet. The group has chosen the following systems to focus on.
Japan Times 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Coal power received as much public subsidy as onshore wind energy in 2012, according to a new interim study published this week by the EU. Of the total €120bn to €140bn in energy subsidies handed out by the 28 EU member states in 2012, coal accounted for €10.1bn, exactly the same amount as onshore wind, despite it being a markedly more mature industry and its central role in driving up greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Business Green 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Energy Business Review 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Onshore wind power is cheaper than coal, gas or nuclear energy when ‘external’ costs such as air quality, human toxicity and climate change are taken into account, according to a Commission analysis. The report, commissioned for the European Commission by Ecofys, shows that total direct energy subsidies in the EU in 2012 were estimated at €122 billion euros, with fossil fuels (coal and gas) and nuclear making up 36% (€43 billion euros) and renewables getting slightly less at 34% (€41 billion euros). These figures show that renewables cost the taxpayer less than dirty energy alternatives.
WWF Europe 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Large-scale solar and nuclear power have more or less the same levelised cost, according to a report by the European Commission. The commission’s internal energy market progress report looks at the levelised cost of energy. It found nuclear and gas to more or less match each other on €100/MWh with solar on €100-115/MWh depending on the size of the installation. Last week the European Commission approved state aid support for a new nuclear plant in the UK.
PV-tech 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Germany spent €3 billion on supporting coal in 2012, more than any other EU country. Across the EU, coal power generation got €10 billion, the same amount stumped up to support onshore wind. These figures come in an Ecofys analysis for the European Commission that shows coal is more expensive than many renewable sources when you factor in external costs such as climate change. Presenting the findings, energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger said: “We now have a set of data on subsidies and costs in the field of energy that is more solid and comprehensive than anyone before.”
RTCC 13th Oct 2014 read more »
Political tensions and high prices from Gazprom are driving shifts that suggest Moscow does not hold all the cards. Scars from Russia’s gas cuts in 2006 and 2009 run deep across eastern Europe and, at first glance, the continent appears to be in danger again this year thanks to a seemingly unshakeable dependence on Gazprom, Moscow’s gas export monopoly. Europe’s imports from Russia rose 16 per cent last year to hit a record high. Overall, Gazprom supplies 30 per cent of Europe’s gas but, in many eastern states, the reliance is closer to 100 per cent. Half of Europe’s imports from Russia flow through Ukraine and that supply is always a potential hostage to politics. In June, Gazprom stopped gas sales to Kiev in a pricing dispute, raising fears that Ukraine will be forced to siphon off the EU’s transit gas if supplies are not resumed by winter. Moscow is also tightening the noose around Kiev by preventing EU countries from re-exporti ng Russian gas as a lifeline to Ukraine in so-called “reverse flows”. Hopes are rising among diplomats that the EU, Russia and Ukraine will strike an agreement on resuming gas supplies to Kiev in negotiations in Berlin next week. But even if there is a deal, most eastern European governments can hardly relax. “Our baseline scenario is no transit gas through Ukraine,” says Vaclav Bartuska, the Czech government’s energy ambassador. But it may be too late for the Russians to stop the gradual but profound shift away from Gazprom that is under way. Mr Rombaut’s plans at Agropolychim show that Moscow does not hold all the cards. Next year, he will switch from gas to biomass, running on straw and woodchips. That is highly significant for Gazprom because Agropolychim and Neochim, Bulgaria’s leading fertiliser plants, jointly consume about 25 per cent of the country’s gas. The story is similar in Poland, where Grupa Azoty, the country’s biggest gas consumer, is seeking to br eak its dependence on Russia. Grupa Azoty, also a fertiliser group, consumes 15 per cent of Poland’s annual gas imports but has vowed that half the 2.3 bcm will come from non-Russian sources by 2016. “I strongly believe that we will be able to get there,” says Pawel Jarczewski, chief executive officer. Gazprom is helping to kill off its own customers, with high prices accelerating deindustrialisation. Bulgaria’s gas imports fell to 2.7 bcm last year from 6.7 bcm in 1989, the last year of communist rule.
FT 14th Oct 2014 read more »
HOUSEHOLDERS are facing soaring energy bills and winter power cuts thanks to the “folly” of relying on wind power, experts said last night. The green crusade of successive governments is set to double electricity bills for households and cost homes £26billion a year by 2030, it was claimed yesterday. The cost of renewable energy and carbon taxes will put an extra £983 a year on household bills by then, compared to relying on a mix of nuclear and new gas-fired power stations, three experts told a Lords committee. They also said the “foolhardy” green policy will do little to cut emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. The Scientific Alliance report highlights warnings by the regulator Ofgem that the margin for electricityproduction for the 2015-16 winter will be at an all-time low of 2 per cent compared to the pre-privatisation requirement of at least 20 per cent.
Express 15th Oct 2014 read more »
Daily Mail 15th Oct 2014 read more »
There’s some good news. Experts from Greenpeace and the “big six” energy providers are united on one thing: the UK should be able to keep the power flowing – for now. “I think it is implausible that the lights are going to go out anytime soon,” says Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK. “What happens over the next decade is that the ‘supply margin’ gets tighter as coal plants are retired, [though] many nuclear plants will limp on.”
Guardian 14th Oct 2014 read more »
A host of Europe’s largest engineering and energy firms and trade associations have today called on the bloc’s heads of government to deliver a binding renewables target as part of the EU’s 2030 energy and climate change package, warning that without a specific target the continent will struggle to decarbonise its power sector.
Business Green 14th Oct 2014 read more »
South Africa has signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with France, opening the door to the possible deployment of French nuclear technology as South Africa looks to expand its nuclear power program.
World Nuclear News 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Iran’s foreign minister said Tuesday “numerous questions” remain as he arrived for fresh talks with the United States and the European Union aimed at breaking a deadlock in nuclear negotiations. The two sides have just six weeks to finalise an accord aimed at easing fears that Iran might obtain nuclear weapons after more than a decade of rising tensions.
Middle East Online 14th Oct 2014 read more »
EU Business 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Regular readers of GreenWorld know that we have dropped a lot of digital ink writing about Nuclear Matters, the astroturf group launched by Exelon early this year to try to make the case to save the utility’s aging and uneconomic nuclear fleet. Exelon and the PR firm Sloane and Company that runs the public end of Nuclear Matters have assembled a seemingly potent team of paid-for spokespeople to make the utility’s case: former Senators like Evan Bayh and Judd Gregg; former DOE secretary James Abraham; and the big catch, former EPA Administrator, Obama climate czar, and current League of Conservation Voters board chair Carol Browner.
Green World 14th Oct 2014 read more »
A PAIR of anti-nuclear protesters have once again appeared in court in connection with an incident outside the Devonport Naval Base. Nicola Clark, aged 39, and Theo Simon, aged 56, are charged with obstructing or disrupting a person engaged in lawful activity. The charges follow an incident at the Camels Head Gate entrance to the dockyard on July 25 this year. Clark and Simon are accused of intentionally obstructing the entrance.
Plymouth Herald 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Understanding the civilian and environmental risks from weapons before using them is a key part of the legal review process for new weapons – even if the bar is not set particularly high. However, when it comes to the toxic constituents of weapons, this process can take far longer to complete, as scientific research struggles to catch up with military enthusiasm. So it has proved with DU, where research was left behind in the rush to develop and deploy the weapons. Often factors relating to how the weapons are used in conflict and what, if anything, is done to reduce harm after they are used are not taken into account. Even decades on, significant uncertainties may still remain, for example the extent to which civilians have been, and continue to be, exposed to DU.
International Coalition to Ban Uranium Wespons 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
The UK’s wind energy industry will today welcome a major new player, as green energy supplier Ecotricity and engineering giant Skanska announce the launch of Skylark, a joint venture dedicated to accelerating the development of UK wind farm capacity. Precise details for the new venture were not disclosed, but the companies said Skylark would draw on Ecotricity’s expertise in getting green energy projects through planning and Skanska’s construction and engineering skills.
Business Green 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
An ambitious project to harness and export solar power generated in Middle East and African deserts has all but folded after the withdrawal of most of the Desertec Industrial Initiative’s shareholders. The multi-billion renewable energy project, founded in Germany to much fanfare five years ago, aimed to help to provide up to 15% of Europe’s power from solar and wind parks in North Africa and the Middle East by 2050. Desertec said on Tuesday that following a meeting in Rome this week only three of its 19 existing shareholders had decided to stay on board: Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power IPO-ACWA.SE, Germany’s RWE and China’s State Grid. They have decided to continue the project in an “adapted format“, Desertec said, adding that it would now function as a service company in the Middle East and North Africa.
Guardian 14th Oct 2014 read more »
As we are not first-time buyers, our best hope of saving money is by cutting our utility bills, exploiting the full Government subsidies in the process. The heating subsidy is called the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which differs from the feed-in tariff subsidy for solar panels. In theory, the RHI pays you for each kilowatt hour (kWh) of heat you produce, whereas the solar panel feed-in tariff pays for the energy fed into the grid for others to use. In practice, your RHI payments are estimated rather than actually based on your heat generation, unless you are selected for a random meter, under which the Government checks its assumptions. We did our homework, and then had a succession of green engineers traipsing through our home. Imagine our surprise when our assumptions were turned on their heads, and we were strongly advised to consider not applying for the RHI at all, but trying for the commercial rebate, which, we were told, could boost payments from the Government by a further 30pc.
Telegraph 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Insulation industry insiders have warned that a growing number of installers are reaching crisis point because of the failure of the government’s energy efficiency policies to drive uptake of green measures by homeowners, after Barnsley-based NWS became the latest firm to start insolvency proceedings. According to reports late last week, NWS, which is one of the UK’s largest installers of energy saving equipment, is seeking to come to a voluntary agreement with creditors in order to deal with its growing debts.
Business Green 14th Oct 2014 read more »
The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported last week that the energy efficiency market was worth between $310 billion and $360 billion in 2011; thanks to energy efficiency improvements in buildings, transport and appliances, total final energy consumption in IEA countries has reduced by 60% during the last 40 years. There is clear evidence that energy efficiency works, not only by reducing demand but also by contributing to a transition towards a more sustainable energy system. In the light of this, there is a clear need to have a more open debate about the role of energy efficiency in the UK’s energy policy. Do we want to keep committing UK’s energy policy to an energy generation technology that would inevitable lock us into uncertainty and economic risks? Instead of investing in technologies that may be operational in ten years’ time we need to look at the role that energy efficiency can have today, in reducing demand, reducing carbon emissions and helping the UK achieve its climate change targets.
Sussex Energy Group 14th Oct 2014 read more »
Landowners could be held liable for the costs of cleaning up any contamination caused by fracking under their land if the shale gas company becomes insolvent, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The shale industry fears that this liability could deter landowners from cooperating with companies and is lobbying ministers to change the law to grant them an exemption. The industry wants the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to be amended to remove liability from landowners for contamination caused by drilling for gas or oil under their land. The industry is also attempting to establish an insurance scheme, funded by contributions from all operators, which would cover the costs of a clean up if the company responsible for the contamination became insolvent
Times 15th Oct 2014 read more »
Letter: QUESTIONING the science of climate change, Councillor Cameron Rose refers to the statistical record for global average temperature expressed as a function of time, which has shown a steady rise for the past century or more. The hiatus in the upward trend since the turn of this century, to which Mr Rose alludes, is well explained by the science of thermodynamics and has been demonstrated to be attributable to heat transfer from the atmosphere into the oceans. Mr Rose should, perhaps, know that September 2014 has become the new warmest month on record and Nasa, which monitors these developments, anticipates that 2014 as a whole will also set a new record. So atmospheric warming is back on to its relentless upward trend.
Herald 15th Oct 2014 read more »