A Chinese-designed nuclear power plant could be built in the UK quicker than expected as a result of delays experienced at Hinkley Point project, which is to be built by France’s EDF Energy, said Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield. The potential site for the Chinese-designed nuclear power plant is at Bradwell, in Essex, and the forthcoming visit to China by the British Chancellor George Osborne will be focused on discussing the details of the Bradwell project, Burnett said. “Our chancellor has said that we can’t wait forever for Hinkley Point and he is going to China next week. He is signalling as far as he could that the possibilities to build with China is going up the agenda rapidly.” The China visit led by Osborne will be followed by visits by officials from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department of Business and Innovation; talks will be completed before the state visit by President Xi Jinping in October. This series of events lead to the increased probability of rapid progress for UK-China cooperation on nuclear power generation, Burnett said. The EDF-led Hinkley Point project has already attracted political support from the British government as the first in a new generation of UK nuclear power stations, but announcements by EDF earlier this month about potential delays has made industry experts and the UK government consider alternative options. One of these options is to accelerate progress on a Chinese-led nuclear plant project, and Burnett said he believes this is a viable option because of the proven efficiency and speed of the Chinese nuclear sector.
ECNS.cn 12th Sept 2015 read more »
Scores of electricity pylons will be removed from beauty spots at a cost of almost £11 million each despite plans being drawn up for more than 120 new ones in and around the Lake District. The cost to National Grid of taking down pylons and putting high-voltage lines underground has soared since last November, when the company published a list of areas that could benefit from its £500 million “visual impact provision” project. At that time, the same figure, which will be funded by households and businesses through electricity bills, was said to be enough to remove 65 pylons, and bury the cables in trenches, at £7 million each. National Grid now expects to remove only 45 pylons from 2018-21. The four areas where pylons will be taken away are within the New Forest national park, the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Dorset area of outstanding natural be auty near Winterbourne Abbas, it is announced today. Conservation groups have begun a campaign against National Grid’s plans to place up to 72 pylons inside the Lake District national park to connect up a proposed new nuclear power station at Moorside, near Sellafield. Friends of the Lake District said that up to 54 more pylons would be added close to the park’s western border and would be visible from large areas within it. Douglas Chalmers, the director of the group, said: “It is ridiculous to be pursuing a policy to bury cables in one national park while blighting the outstanding landscape in another by erecting pylons 50 metres tall.
Times 15th Sept 2015 read more »
Caroline Flint has become the latest high profile figure from the right of the Labour Party to rule out serving in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, confirming she has stepped down from her position as Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary. In a short statement on her website, Flint said that yesterday she informed Labour chief whip Rosie Winterton that “after careful consideration, I have decided I can best support the Labour Party and the leadership from outside the shadow cabinet”.
Business Green 14th September 2015 read more »
Lisa Nandy has been appointed as the new Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, as Jeremy Corbyn this afternoon announced his full shadow cabinet. Corbyn also confirmed Kerry McCarthy MP will serve as Shadow Environment Secretary, while Lilian Greenwood was awarded the Shadow Transport brief and Jon Trickett has been appointed Shadow Communities Secretary. Nandy was elected as MP for Wigan in 2010 at the age of 30 and previously served as Shadow Minister for Civil Society in Ed Miliband’s team. She has been tipped as a “rising star” of the left of the Labour Party.
Business Green 14th Sept 2015 read more »
On Saturday, Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party, winning 59.5% of the vote. Today, he appointed Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, as shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change. She has previously served as shadow charities minister, and has been tipped to be a possible future leader of the Labour party. In the past, Nandy has campaigned against profiteering by the Big Six energy companies and said that shale gas is “not the magic bullet the Coalition claims”. Corbyn has also appointed Kerry McCarthy as shadow secretary of state for environment. McCarthy is MP for Bristol East. She has written a Fabian essay on climate change campaigning, in which she says: “Securing a global climate deal in Paris in December 2015 will be one of the most pressing and immediate challenges facing the next government.” She has also regularly brought up the subject of climate change in Parliament.
Carbon Brief 14th Sept 2015 read more »
Edie 14th Sept 2015 read more »
Ed Davey, the former energy secretary, is to start private work today for City lawyers connected with both Hinkley Point C nuclear plant and the Swansea Bay lagoon. Davey has been given clearance by the Cabinet Office to provide consultancy to Herbert Smith, a law firm that provides advice on the two power projects and where his brother is also employed. The Liberal Democrat minister, who lost his parliamentary seat in the spring general election, says he will only help Herbert Smith on renewable power projects, but not the Swansea Bay tidal project or Hinkley Point. Herbert Smith has a major energy practice.
Guardian 15th Sept 2015 read more »
What would be the energy policy of a UK Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn, its newly elected leader? Citing Corbyn’s recently published manifesto, Protecting Our Planet, Stephen Hall, Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, argues that it would be anything but a throwback to the past. On the contrary, it meets the issues of today in innovative and practical ways. It’s no aggressive nationalisation plan. What it is, is a manifesto for a more decentralised and democratically accountable system, inspired more by present-day Germany than 1980s Britain. So does Corbyn’s energy policy look like a throwback or a revolution? There are four reasons to suspect the latter.
Energy Post 15th Sept 2015 read more »
Jamie Reed has told Jeremy Corbyn that his stance over nuclear power is his reason for quitting Labour’s frontbench. Mr Reed, however, posted his resignation letter on Twitter. In it, he stressed only a Labour government could protect the NHS. But on the development of new nuclear reactors, which Mr Corbyn opposes, Mr Reed, who backed Andy Burnham’s leadership bid, wrote: “I entered politics to transform the constituency in which I was born. “Over 10 years I have managed to secure funding for new hospitals and schools and to establish new nuclear policy, the implementation of which I am immensely proud and which will enable my community to be one of the fastest-growing economies in the United Kingdom. “This will help re-balance the economy, enable us to better secure our energy supplies, help us achieve our international climate change objectives and reduce nuclear proliferation.
Carlisle News and Star 12th Sept 2015 read more »
Below is a report from France Bleu on the cargo of highly radioactive waste being transported by sea, rail and road from Sellafield via the port of Barrow across Europe. The vitrified waste is being ‘repatriated’ to Switzerland, to do this wastes have already been dumped out to the Irish sea to Cumbrian air and leaving highly radioactive material here in Cumbria such as a vast soup of radioactive nitric acid
Radiation Free Lakeland 14th Sept 2015 read more »
A reminder of the aims of Cumbria Trust.
Cumbria Trust 15th Sept 2015 read more »
A public consultation on nuclear waste storage has been launched. It aims to ensure the public plays a “central role” in the government’s plans to develop and operate geological disposal facilities (GDF) deep underground in different regions. The GDF would provide a permanent solution for the country’s radioactive waste, Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) stated. The 12-week consultation, which will run until 4th December, provides information on the geology of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Natalyn Ala, GDF Siting Director at RWM said: “As part of our stringent planning for a GDF, there are a number of factors that will be taken into consideration. Geology plays an important role. By providing existing and relevant geological information across regions of the UK, we will have a platform to inform early discussions with communities about the potential suitability to host a GDF in their area.”
Energy Live News 14th Sept 2015 read more »
Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, the company that operates the gas and power transmission networks in the UK and in the northeastern US, believes the idea of large coal-fired or nuclear power stations to be used for baseload power is “outdated”. “From a consumer’s point of view, the solar on the rooftop is going to be the baseload. Centralised power stations will be increasingly used to provide peak demand”, he says, in an exclusive interview for World Energy Focus, a publication of the World Energy Council produced by Energy Post. The chief of National Grid also notes that energy markets “are clearly moving towards much more distributed production and towards microgrids”. For the UK National Grid works with four Future Energy Scenarios, which are available on the internet and updated every year. According to these scenarios, it is likely that by 2020 small-scale, distributed generation will represent a third of total capacity in the UK. Holliday: “This is a quadrupling in just a few years. It represents a massive increase from the old days of centrally dispatched generation.” Recent government measures in the UK to limit subsidies for renewable energy may affect the timing of this development, says Holliday, but not the trend. What is the future of baseload generation in such a system? “That’s asking the wrong question”, says Holliday. “The idea of baseload power is already outdated. I think you should look at this the other way around. From a consumer’s point of view, baseload is what I am producing myself. The solar on my rooftop, my heat pump – that’s the baseload. Those are the electrons that are free at the margin. The point is: this is an industry that was based on meeting demand. An extraordinary amount of capital was tied up for an unusual set of circumstances: to ensure supply at any moment. This is now turned on its head. The future will be much more driven by availability of supply: by demand side response and management which will enable the market to balance price of supply and of demand. It’s how we balance these things that will determine the future shape of our business.” “If you have nuclear power in the mix, you will have to think about the size of these plants. Today they are enormous. You will need to find a way to get smaller, potentially modular nuclear power plants. I suspect they are going to be associated with fixed demand for businesses rather than household consumers in future, for demand that’s locked in. For small consumers you need flexibility.” In the UK total electricity demand is expected to stay flat until the mid-2020s. Then it will take off again as “enormous amounts of heat and transport are likely to be electrified”. He is convinced “cars will go electric”. So will a major portion of heat.
Energy Post 11th Sept 2015 read more »
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) last week abruptly ended a study that it had commissioned from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that was purportedly being set up to determine whether cancer rates near nuclear reactors are higher than elsewhere and thus, supposedly, whether there is reason to be concerned about routine reactor operation. Well, we actually already know the answer to that question. Studies from Europe, as we’ve reported, show that cancer rates, especially among children, are definitely higher near nuclear power facilities. The biggest culprit appears to be refueling of reactors–an operation necessary every 12-18 months depending on the particular reactor’s cycle. When the top is taken off the reactor vessel to allow access to the core, and extraordinarily radioactive fuel rods are taken out of the core and moved to fuel pools, extremely high levels of radiation are freed from the reactor vessel. And some of that radiation does manage to get out into the environment.
Green World 14th Sept 2015 read more »
Health, Safety, Security Environmental Policy. The health and safety of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s employees, contractors and the public, the protection of the environment, and the security of our employees and assets is paramount in all that we do.
NDA 15th Aug 2015 read more »
Nuclear – Global
In a study published in the journal PLOS One, two researchers mapped out what exactly it would take for the world to go completely nuclear. Scientific American has the scoop.
Grist 14th Sept 2015 read more »
German energy companies are short of as much as 30 billion euros ($34 billion) of the money they need to set aside to build a safe disposal site for nuclear waste as part of the country’s exit from nuclear power, Spiegel Online reported on Monday. E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall are due to switch off their nuclear plants by a 2022 deadline set by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011. Spiegel Online reported that the provisional findings of an auditing company appointed by the Economy Ministry were that the energy companies were as much as 30 billion euros adrift of the money they need to set aside.
Reuters 14th Sept 2015 read more »
Russia’s Zheleznogorsk Mining and Chemical Combine is ramping up production of mixed uranium and plutonium oxide fuel, or MOX, in a push toward creating a closed nuclear fuel cycle, with the country’s BN-800 fast neutron reactor as its centerpiece. Russia’s Zheleznogorsk Mining and Chemical Combine is ramping up production of mixed uranium and plutonium oxide fuel, or MOX, in a push toward creating a closed nuclear fuel cycle, with the country’s BN-800 fast neutron reactor as its centerpiece. Zheleznogorsk’s general director, Pyotr Gavrilov, said in a side interview last week at the World Nuclear Association’s annual symposium that production of MOX by the MCC is expected to jump from 20 fuel assemblies this year to 400 by 2017. The hike requires regulatory approval, which Gavrilov said he expects, to get. His remarks signal a significant step forward in Russia’s decades-long flirtation with producing plutonium-based reactors whose spent fuel can essentially be reused as fuel, thus closing the nuclear fuel cycle.
Bellona 14th Sept 2015 read more »
North Korea has claimed its main nuclear complex is fully operational as the country remains prepared to launch a nuclear attack on the US “at any time”.
Independent 15th Sept 2015 read more »
Daily Mail 15th Sept 2015 read more »
Telegraph 15th Sept 2015 read more »
North Korea says it has revamped and restarted all its atomic bomb fuel production plants. Tuesday’s announcement will further worsen ties between Pyongyang and the outside world, and an analyst says it is likely meant to put pressure on Washington to restart talks that could eventually provide the impoverished North with concessions and ease rigid international sanctions.
Guardian 15th Sept 2015 read more »
South Africa’s 9,600 megawatts (MW) nuclear build programme will be transparent and there is no reason for anxiety, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Tuesday.”We have a transparent budgeting process. I don’t see the reason why there should be this anxiety,” Nene said on Talk Radio 702.
Reuters 15th Sept 2015 read more »
On Monday, Mount Aso, a volcano found on Japan’s main southern island of Kyushu erupted, spewing out a plume of grey smoke 2 kilmometers (1.2 miles) high. So far, no casualties or serious damages have been reported, and the 30 tourists who happened to be hiking there at the time have been whisked out of harm’s way. The region is also home to a nuclear power station, which was only recently restarted, amidst a considerable amount of public outcry, in August 2015. It gives rise to the question, as Japan rethinks its relationship to nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima crisis: how logical is it to have a power station in the vicinity of a bunch of active volcanoes?
Motherboard 14th Sept 2015 read more »
A leading Scottish defence expert has warned that there is no evidence the Scottish public are opposed to Trident and that it would be “very risky and probably unwise” for the SNP to base a second independence referendum on opposition to the renewal of the nuclear weapons system. Over the weekend former SNP leader Alex Salmond indicated that a £100bn renewal of the UK’s nuclear deterrent could prompt a second Scottish independent referendum, telling The Herald that opposition to weapons of mass destruction was “in the SNP’s DNA.”
This was followed by party leader Nicola Sturgeon saying that Chancellor George Osborne was “arrogantly pressing ahead” with Trident investment “even though the House of Commons hasn’t decided to renew Trident”.
Independent 14th Sept 2015 read more »
With attention firmly focused on Jeremy Corbyn’s appointment of John McDonnell as shadow chancellor, his less-noticed appointment of Trident–supporting Maria Eagle as shadow defence secretary alongside the re-appointment of the similarly Trident-backingr Hilary Benn as shadow foreign secretary, begs the question: of what will Labour policy on Trident replacement be? Corbyn has been a longstanding opponent of all nuclear weapons, joining CND in his teens. He currently chairs the Parliamentary CND group, and is a vice chair of national CND as well as chairman of the Stop the War Coalition. He is Parliament’s and Labour staunchest opponent of renewing Trident. This could be one of the trickiest policy conundrums for which Corbyn now has to find a political answer.
David Lowry’s Blog 14th Sept 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
Wind energy projects that could power 1.2 million Scottish homes have been put at risk after a cut in subsidies by the UK Government caused an “investment hiatus” in the industry, a major new report has found. Investment in Scottish wind farms has stalled after UK ministers announced in June that any new wind projects would be excluded from a subsidy scheme for renewable energy from April 2016. Ministers cuts the scheme after complaints, mainly from England, about the impact of wind farms on the countryside. At the time Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that as 70 per cent of planned wind farms are set for Scotland, the country would be disproportionately affected. Research carried out for trade body Scottish Renewables has confirmed the fears of green campaigners after it found that investors who fund wind farms are less likely to lend capital for new projects, after the Government move had a “significant impact on investor confidence”. More than half of the major lenders said they were not prepared to fund new wind farms until the new UK Energy Bill receives Royal Assent next year. They say the current political situation and “regulatory risk” are to blame for the delays in funding.
Independent 14th Sept 2015 read more »
Daily Record 14th Sept 2015 read more »
Edie 14th Sept 2015 read more »
Click Green 14th Sept 2015 read more »
Business Green 15th Sept 2015 read more »
The National 15th Sept 2015 read more »
Scottish Renewables, which represents the sector, has warned investor confidence has already been hit by the UK Government’s decision to exclude new onshore wind farms from a subsidy scheme from April 2016 – a year earlier than expected. Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, has asked the Scottish Affairs Committee to give “full consideration” into holding an inquiry on the matter, which she said would have a disproportionate impact on Scotland. The announcement that the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme, which is funded by levies added to household bills, would be withdrawn a year earlier than planned could cost up to £3 billion of investment and puts at risk 5,400 jobs which are reliant on the onshore wind sector, she said. Further changes, such as the UK Government’s decision to postpone the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction for large renewables projects, also mean two large projects in Scotland which have already received planning consent are now “facing enormous uncertainty”, Ms Hogan added. It is not known when the next allocation of the CfD scheme, which awards subsidy contracts for green energy developers, will take place. Ms Hogan’s appearance at the committee meeting held in Edinburgh came as Scottish Renewables published the findings of a survey of lenders to the renewable energy sector.
Herald 15th Sept 2015 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
The £3bn project proposed the installation of up to 121 wind turbines, each 650ft high, about a dozen miles off the historic Jurassic Coast of Dorset and East Devon. The plans had excited strong opposition locally from people who felt the development would destroy their coastline’s wonderful natural setting. The independent planning inspectorate agreed with them, and last Friday the Government agreed with the planners’ recommendation and threw out the plan for Navitus Bay. But what made the decision controversial was the policy context, because it is increasingly clear that Cameron’s administration has a damaging ideological hostility to renewable energy in all its forms – the renewable energy which will be vital if we are to meet our climate-change targets: since taking office in May it has already halted subsidies for onshore wind and solar power and energy-efficient homes. The cancellation of Navitus Bay was seen in this light by Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth, and the Green Party, and was fiercely criticised by them. But personally, while I strongly support renewable energy as essential, I feel that the cancellation of Navitus Bay was right, as it was simply in the wrong place. Its forest of huge turbines would have industrialised one of the most noble marine vistas in Britain and transformed a natural setting into a man-made one.
Independent 14th Sept 2015 read more »
The number of American cities that run entirely on renewable energy is growing. Last week, the city of Aspen, Colorado declared it had become the third municipality to receive all of its power from renewable sources. Aspen’s energy portfolio now primarily consists of wind power and hydroelectric, with smaller contributions from solar and geothermal. The announcement came after the city’s decade-long effort to shift toward renewable energy. David Hornbacher, Aspen’s Utilities and Environmental Initiatives Director, told the Aspen Times that “It was a very forward-thinking goal and truly remarkable achievement.” Burlington, Vermont and Greensburg, Kansas were the first two cities to achieve all-renewable energy portfolios.
Climate Progress 14th Sept 2015 read more »
Nicola Sturgeon today unveiled a new £224 million national drive to help thousands of Scots heat their homes. The new fuel poverty scheme will help as many as 28,000 people to stay warm over the next seven years. Measures such as insulation, heating and domestic renewables are to be installed in households identified as fuel poor, as part of the Warmer Homes Scotland initiative. The proposals were unveiled by Ms Sturgeon as the Scottish Government met in Coatbridge earlier today. “Nothing is more important to me than responding to the real pressures that individuals and families across Scotland face,” Ms Sturgeon said.
Scotsman 14th Sept 2015 read more »