Electricite de France SA and the French government are at odds over a financial deal that would allow the state-owned utility to give the final go-ahead next month to a 18 billion-pound ($25.5 billion) nuclear plant in the U.K. The government, which owns 85 percent of EDF, is resisting the company’s demand for a share sale to raise capital, arguing it has no immediate liquidity issues, said three people, who asked not to be named because the discussion isn’t public. For its part, the government is ready to take EDF’s dividend in shares rather than cash this year and next, two of the people said. The company, which wants to limit any credit rating downgrade to two levels, is also seeking additional savings and preparing asset sales, one of them said. These costs cuts may reach 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) by 2018 and would be on top of 750 million euros already announced, French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Friday, without saying where it got the information. EDF may hold a board meeting around April 22 to look into its financial plan, assuming that it’s reached an agreement with the French government, two of the people said. It would hold another board meeting at the end of the month or early May to vote on the final investment decision for Hinkley Point, the people added.
Bloomberg 15th April 2016 read more »
OPERATORS of Bradwell Power Station will meet with the community to outline its plans to hold nuclear waste from other plants on the site. Magnox has applied to Essex County Council to store intermediate level waste (IWL) from Sizewell in Suffolk and Dungeness in Kent. The company will now hold a community evening to allow the public to find out more information. Ben Bridgewater, Magnox waste consultant, said: “By transferring ILW packages to Bradwell we will avoid the construction of two ILW stores in the south east.
Braintree & Witham Times 15th April 2016 read more »
The UK has the advanced manufacturing capabilities to effectively manufacture critical systems for a small modular reactor (SMR), according to a study by the The University of Sheffield’s Nuclear AMRC for Westinghouse Electric Company.
University of Sheffield 15th April 2016 read more »
They live in Cotswold mansions a few miles apart and have grown rich on green subsidies. Now they are engaged in a dispute over who can claim to sell the greenest energy and get the right to billions more in subsidies. Dale Vince, a former New Age traveller, is fighting Mark Shorrock, a ex-film producer, and Juliet Davenport, his polo-playing wife. Mr Vince owns the green energy supplier Ecotricity and Ms Davenport heads Good Energy. They live on opposite sides of Stroud in Gloucestershire, where hippies flocked in the Sixties and which retains a New Age flavour. The local football club, Forest Green Rovers, owned by Mr Vince, sells only vegan food at the ground.
Times 16th April 2016 read more »
Ed Lyman and Frank Von Hippel: Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina have interpreted remarks by Russian president Putin on the 2000 U.S.-Russian Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA) as requiring that the United States continue with the costly MOX project in South Carolina. President Putin objected to the less costly dilute and dispose approach proposed by the Obama Administration because the plutonium could be recovered and “converted into weapons-grade plutonium again.” RT reported a Rosatom spokesman explaining, “The only way to irreversibly turn plutonium into a material not usable in a nuclear weapon is by changing its isotope composition. Any chemical method is reversible.” This position has little technical merit, because the plutonium that will be produced by Russia’s disposal approach, irradiation in its BN-800 plutonium breeder reactor, may not be weapon-grade but it will be weapon-usable. Furthermore, Russia, unlike the United States, intends to separate the plutonium in the irradiated BN-800 fuel and the weapon-grade plutonium produced in the plutonium-breeding blankets around the BN-800 core so that it can be reused, which will also make it susceptible again to diversion by non-state groups. If need be, Russia’s insistence that the isotopics of U.S. excess weapon-grade plutonium be degraded could be dealt with at a much lower cost than through irradiation in MOX.
International Panel on Fissile Materials 15th April 2016 read more »
Fissile material gets all the attention. Well, most of it anyway—whether at the Nuclear Security Summits or here in this roundtable. And that’s understandable. Substances that terrorists might fashion into nuclear bombs do deserve the lion’s share of attention whenever nuclear security is discussed. But radioactive sources—materials produced because they emit radiation useful in agriculture, industry, construction, medicine, mining, research, and transportation—are quite dangerous in their own right. They number in the millions. Tens of thousands of these sealed radioactive sources—small capsules of highly concentrated radioactive material in solid form—merit real concern. They can be vulnerable to theft and to black-market sale. Worse, they could be used by jihadists to make a radioactive dispersal device, otherwise known as a dirty bomb.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 12th April 2016 read more »
The Japanese government says there won’t be any catastrophic damage, this time, at its nuclear facilities following Thursday night’s devastating earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. Despite the ‘all clear’, dozens of potential atomic bombs operate along seismic fault lines. Here are eight of the most deadly, including one that may never be built because of Fukushima. Koeberg is the only nuclear power plant on the continent of Africa and just 8km from the Milnerton fault, which crosses Table Bay. Diablo Canyon’s two reactors lie in an earthquake red zone with the Hosgri fault, the Los Osos fault, the San Luis Bay fault, and the Shoreline fault all nearby – and the major San Andreas fault 80km away. The Empire State’s Indian Point is considered by many to be the next Fukushima. Jaitapur would be operating along by the sea. Critics say the 16 fault lines on the west coast pose a serious threat to safety. However, India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board are satisfied that there are no faults within 5km. The last nuclear power plant remaining in the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia Generating Station (CGS) could be a potential disaster because of its Fukushima-like boiling water reactor. A study of the US Geological Survey hazard map suggests the Arkansas state nuclear plant could be at risk from the New Madrid zone, one of North America’s most active areas for earthquakes. Sendai is currently the only nuclear power plant currently operational in Japan after the country’s other 50 reactors were shut down following the Fukushima meltdown. The US$20-billion Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant in Turkey slated to go up along the Mediterranean coast is a joint project with Rosatom. Foundations for the four reactor facility were laid in April last year despite opposition to its location, which is approximately 25km from the Ecemis fault line.
RT 15th April 2016 read more »
In areas contaminated by Chernobyl, wildfires are a common occurrence. Without good government management, these areas flame up every spring due to bonfires made by locals, and the fires can cover thousands of hectares. With the climate getting warmer and dryer, these fires have become more frequent and devastating in recent years. “Chernobyl-contaminated forests are ticking time bombs,” Ludmila Komogortseva tells me. A scientist and ex-deputy on Bryansk regional council – an area highly contaminated by Chernobyl – Ludmila knows the risks of Chernobyl’s fallout well. “Woods and peat accumulate radiation and every moment, every grass burning, every dropped cigarette or camp fire can spark a new disaster,” she says.
Greenpeace International 15th April 2016 read more »
Humanitarian Adi Roche is to make a landmark address to the UN General Assembly in New York to mark the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster the week after next. In an unprecedented move, the Belarusian government is to provide speaking time to Ms Roche, the voluntary CEO and founder of Chernobyl Children International (CCI), in recognition of CCI and Ireland’s role helping the victims of the accident. It is the first time an NGO has been given a country’s allocated speaking time at the assembly. CCI is the only UN-recognised NGO working in the Chernobyl-affected areas. Ms Roche will appeal for ongoing global support for the ‘liquidators’ whose heroism containing the fire and radiation in the crippled power plant saved Europe from a nuclear catastrophe. She will also press for the speedy completion of the €1.5bn sarcophagus which is being built to make Chernobyl safe for the next 100 years. Ireland has contributed €8m towards the massive international construction project which has been beset by delays.
Irish Examiner 16th April 2016 read more »
THREE decades after the incident which exposed radiation to millions of people across Europe, cancer and birth defects are still affecting families. THIRTY years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the children of Belarus continue to suffer from its fallout. Cancers and congenital birth defects have ruined thousands of lives, which had not even begun, when the world experienced its worst nuclear accident.The UN’s World Health Organisation and the International Atomic Energy Agency claim that only 56 people have died as a direct result of the radiation released at Chernobyl and that, ultimately, 4000 will die from it. But campaigners say the real number is closer to a million
Daily Record 15th April 2016 read more »
Two German state environment ministries have admitted that workers failed to carry out safety checks at two nuclear power stations, but registered them as done anyway. One power station has been shut down. German energy giants EnBW and RWE have admitted that employees did not carry out routine safety readings on equipment measuring radioactivity at their nuclear power stations, but pretended they had. Both workers were immediately barred from the premises and then dismissed.
Deutsche Welle 15th April 2016 read more »
Satellite images give away North Korea’s plans to produce more plutonium for nuclear weapons amid a flurry of weapons tests by secretive regime.
Daily Mail 16th April 2016 read more »
Herald 15th April 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has responded to the recent spate of job losses in the solar industry by insisting the sector must “stand on its own two feet”. Earlier this week Lightsource, the UK’s largest solar developer, announced that as many as 80 jobs – a quarter of its full-time workforce – were to be “reconsidered” following a strategic review of the business launched after a string of subsidy cuts.
Solar Portal 14th April 2016 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News.
Microgen Scotland 15th April 2016 read more »