THE Government needs to act now and make sure Hartlepool gets a new nuclear power station soon, campaigners have said. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) North East has called for action with its regional director Penny Marshall claiming: “We are facing crunch point.” She said: “The nuclear power station at Hartlepool more or less powers the whole of the North-East and we are very reliant on that. We are facing crunch point in terms of our reliance for energy supply. If we don’t do something really soon, we shall be in a position where the lights go out.” The Hartlepool Mail reported in May how power station bosses were putting together a £60m strategy to extend the life of Hartlepool’s nuclear plant. If it is granted, it would keep running until 2024.
Hartlepool Mail 16th July 2014 read more »
Ireland’s National Trust wants to challenge permission for a new nuclear power plant in Somerset in the European courts, a judicial review has heard. An Taisce is contesting the legality of granting consent for Hinkley Point C, 150 miles (240km) from the Irish coast. It claims under EU directives, Irish people should have been consulted about the environmental risks beforehand. At a hearing in London, its lawyers said the case should be referred to the European courts. In March 2013, Energy Secretary Ed Davey gave EDF Energy planning consent to build Hinkley Point C on the Somerset coast. But An Taisce claim the government failed to undertake a “transboundary consultation” with the Irish people as required by the European Commission’s Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. The government says that such consultation was not necessary because nuclear accidents are not sufficiently likely due to the robustness of the UK regulatory regime. Earlier, at the start of a two-day judicial review hearing in London, David Wolfe QC, for An Taisce, told the appeal judges the case turned on issues of European Union law.
BBC 15th July 2014 read more »
Letter to Hinkley Point Site Stakeholder Group from EDF Energy: in response to an article in the national press recently regarding weight loss in the graphite core of our gas-cooled reactors. While the story is balanced, the headline – ‘Safety Regulation Could Be Relaxed To Keep Nuclear Power Stations Open’ – is incorrect and misleading and may generate more interest in the media, particularly around our sites. Seven of our nuclear power stations – including Hinkley Point B each have two Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors that have a graphite core which acts as a ‘moderator’ slowing down fast neutrons during the operation to improve the efficiency of the nuclear reaction. The core is made up of 1000’s of interconnected graphite bricks and during normal operations graphite loses a very small amount of mass. This is a well-known phenomenon which was fully considered as part of the stations’ design and is factored into safety limits that are agreed with our independent regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). Graphite ageing is one area used to determine the lifespan of an AGR nuclear power station. Greater understanding of the ageing process by sampling and modelling can lead to them operating safely for longer, giving the UK secure, and reliable low-carbon electricity. The reactor cores are inspected, and the graphite sampled, on a routine basis and we work closely with scientists and UK universities to understand how materials in our nuclear reactors change over time and how that will affect the stations’ operations. We regularly refine our own safety assessments as we identify new information and we share our findings with the regulator and with the wider scientific community. All of our operations are closely scrutinised by the ONR. EDF Energy takes an extremely cautious approach and we operate our power stations with very large safety margins.
EDF Energy 14th July 2014 read more »
Three companies developing small nuclear power reactor technology have debated whether US and UK regulators – the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) – ought to work together to smooth their path through the licensing process. Bill Fox, chief executive of Generation mPower LLC, Thomas Mundy, vice president of the Program Office at NuScale Power LLC and Eric Loewen, chief consulting engineer at GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) spoke at an evidence session on small nuclear power held by the UK parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee on 8 July. The committee published a transcript of the session on 14 July. Asked by committee chairman Tim Yeo how the two countries might collaborate, Mundy said: “NuScale Power are receiving considerable support from the US Department of Energy (DoE). There are opportunities where the two governments could collaborate on that kind of support and also in the licensing and export areas for the technology itself, particularly between the NRC and the ONR and the licensing of this technology and also on the development side.”
World Nuclear News 15th July 2014 read more »
ALMOST 100 thefts at a major Cumbria employer have been reported to police in less than five years. A total of 97 thefts at Sellafield were recorded between January 2009 and June this year. The figures were revealed in a freedom of information request which the Evening Mail submitted to Cumbria police. Most of the thefts occurred in 2012 when there were 39, and 2013 when there were 37. Only seven of the 97 items were recovered and only twice – when two electrical goods were stolen – were arrests made. Both were later charged. The most common thing to go missing was money. Forty-one sums of cash were stolen on the site and only two were recovered. Twelve items of clothing were also stolen.
NW Evening Mail 14th July 2014 read more »
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee is to question Dame Sue Ion, Chair of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board. On Tuesday 15 July the Committee will hold a one-off evidence session to get an independent update on the Government’s long-term nuclear strategy. The Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB) is the Government’s principal adviser on nuclear strategy, and the Committee hopes to hear from the chair on research priorities, progress on an international strategy for research and development, and the overall health of investment levels in nuclear R & D.
Parliament 15th July 2014 read more »
Climate change minister Greg Barker has resigned from his post while energy minister Michael Fallon has been moved on to head up the ministry of defence, and environment secretary Owen Paterson has been sacked. Barker, who has been a prominent green Tory, had been in his post since the 2010 election, but announced via twitter he was standing down from Decc. He also announced he would not be standing for re-election in next year’s general election. The environment secretary Owen Paterson, who had been in the post since 2012, was another victim of Cameron’s reshuffle. He was replaced by the former education minister Liz Truss, who will now head up the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra). The South West Norfolk MP was elected in 2010 and was a member of the justice committee between 2010 and 2012. Truss is not a supporter of large scale solar farms, having expressed her concerns hi April this year about the impact they have on green field sites and on agricultural land. She said: “There are so many more options for the sitting of solar panels, for example utilising existing industrial locations and commercial premises, not to mention residential roofs.” Truss has also voiced concerns about the impact of biomass plants on the rural economy. In January last year, she said: “I am keen to ensure that prime agricultural land is not lost to fuel production.”
Utility Week 15th July 2014 read more »
Liz Truss replaces Owen Paterson as environment secretary, while William Hague and Greg Barker – rare strong green voices in the Conservative party – also leave government.
Guardian 15th July 2014 read more »
The new set of Conservative environment and energy ministers announced on Tuesday bring a track record of opposing renewable energy, having fought against wind and solar farms, enthusiastically backed fracking and argued that green subsidies damage the economy. New energy minister, Matthew Hancock, signed a letter to David Cameron in 2012 demanding that subsidies for onshore windfarms were slashed. “I support renewable energy but we need to do it in a way that gives the most value for money and that does not destroy our natural environment,” he said at the time. Hancock, who takes over from Michael Fallon, also opposed new turbines in his Suffolk constituency, arguing: “The visual and other impact of the proposed turbines is completely unacceptable in this attractive rural corner of Suffolk.” New environment secretary and former Shell employee, Liz Truss, dismissed clean renewable energy as “extremely expensive” and said it was damaging the economy during an appearance on BBC Question Time last October.
Guardian 15th July 2014 read more »
Carbon Brief 15th July 2014 read more »
For Greg Barker to have lasted four years is pretty exceptional. And the thing is, he’ll be missed. For all the arguments and disagreements, he did at least believe in a low-carbon economy, and have an idea of how to get us there. So what will Amber Rudd and Matthew Hancock, the new ministers at DECC, need to do? Above all – set the tone. Tackling climate change and decarbonising the energy sector will require big action, and a big vision. We need to move away from the fudge which says we need a little more of everything, and less of nothing. The future is renewable, and we need Energy Ministers with the courage to stand up and say so. Friends of Earth believes that all communities should have the opportunity to Run on Sun, starting with schools. That’s why we’ve been calling on the government to change the rules to make it possible for every school in the country to install solar power. And once the schools are done, we can move on to hospitals, and factories and villages.
FoE 15th July 2014 read more »
Congratulations, Liz Truss, on becoming the new environment secretary. So long, Owen Paterson: we won’t miss you. You were truly the worst environment secretary for decades. With that act to follow, Ms Truss might be tempted to relax; hardly much to live up to. That would be a mistake. There’s already a lot in her in-tray and a lot of mess to clean up from her predecessor. Here are some of the challenges Friends of the Earth would like to see the new Environment Secretary getting to grips with – and some recommendations.
Huffington Post 15th July 2014 read more »
What are the implications of the government’s dramatic reshuffle for the green economy? The truth is that this is a reshuffle that is thus-far defying attempts to impose upon it a clear narrative – beyond Number 10’s heavily spun suggestion that it is replacing middle aged white men with more women – and this appears to be particularly true for environmental and climate change policy.
Business Green 15th July 2014 read more »
Britain’s new Environment Secretary is young (38), female, blonde, believes in climate change, and has floated imaginative policies to deal with it from a carbon tax to ‘personal carbon allowances’. As for badgers … her silence on the topic promises well.
Ecologist 15th July 2014 read more »
Chancellor’s allies Matt Hancock and Amber Rudd join energy department.
Telegraph 15th July 2014 read more »
In the most concrete step toward reviving nuclear power in Japan since the Fukushima meltdown in 2011, regulators gave the green light to an atomic plant in the south of the country to resume operations. The decision by the Nuclear Regulation Authority announced on Wednesday marks the first time that a Japanese nuclear facility has been certified as safe under the stricter post-accident standards, which took effect a year ago. In its decision, the NRA said upgrades at the Sendai nuclear power station, located in Kagoshima prefecture on the island of Kyushu, were sufficient to protect it against extreme natural disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima accident three years ago, as well as terrorist attacks. A final decision on brining Sendai back on-line will rest with Mr Abe’s government and local leaders in Kagoshima, a politically conservative region where the governor and local mayors have indicated support for Kyushu Electric’s restart plans.
FT 16th July 2014 read more »
Reuters 16th July 2014 read more »
BBC 16th July 2014 read more »
The Nuclear Regulation Authority accepted a 418-page report that found that design upgrades and safety improvements at Kyushu Electric Power’s two reactors at the Sendai Nuclear Power Station have complied with the requirements introduced last July.The regulators said the plant was now deemed capable of avoiding severe accidents such as the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdowns in an equally serious situation.
Irish Independent 16th July 2014 read more »
Belfast Telegraph 16th July 2014 read more »
Reindeer farms and grazing Holstein cows dot a vast stretch of rolling green pasture here on Japan’s northern tip. Underground it’s a different story. Workers and scientists have carved a sprawling laboratory deep below this sleepy dairy town that, despite government reassurances, some of Horonobe’s 2,500 residents fear could turn their neighborhood into a nuclear waste storage site.
Cumbria Trust 16th July 2014 read more »
Japan Today 15th July 2014 read more »
Canada – radwaste
A retired nuclear scientist has slammed Ontario Power Generation over its proposed $1-billion nuclear waste burial site on Lake Huron, saying the utility’s safety assessment contains some dangerous errors. In a submission to a federal review panel, nuclear chemist Frank Greening said OPG’s contractors seriously underestimated the potential impacts of a bombing in the vicinity of pressure tubes that have been removed from reactors and stored as waste. In contrast to OPG assurances, Dr. Greening said the zirconium in the tubes would burn fiercely, setting off chain reactions similar to those in cluster bombs.
Globe and Mail 14th July 2014 read more »
Negotiators trying to hammer out a comprehensive agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program have made “tangible progress” on some key issues but “very real gaps” remain, US secretary of state John Kerry said today. Emerging from lengthy discussions in Vienna, Austria, with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of negotiations involving Iran and six global powers, Kerry said the parties are still aiming to reach an agreement by a 20 July deadline.
Argus Media 15th July 2014 read more »
A deal on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme is improbable by a July 20 deadline and talks between Tehran and six world powers are likely to be extended for some months, a Western diplomat said on Tuesday.
Reuters 15th July 2014 read more »
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has suggested that talks on Iran’s nuclear programme could be extended beyond a 20 July deadline.
BBC 15th July 2014 read more »
The top diplomats from the US and Iran have hailed the progress made so far at nuclear talks in Vienna but say more time may be needed to close the remaining gaps between the sides.
Guardian 15th July 2014 read more »
PGE EJ1, a subsidiary of Polish state-controlled Polska Grupa Energetyczna, has selected UK engineering company AMEC to support development of Poland’s first nuclear power plant over the next 10 years. The 10-year technical services contract, to be confirmed in the next few weeks, is worth £39m for the initial required scope of work, with further options up to £255m. Two locations have been shortlisted which include Choczewo and Zarnowiec, both close to the Baltic coast for the construction of the nuclear power plant.
Energy Business Review 15th July 2014 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
A project aimed at cutting the cost of offshore wind by at least 10% has been awarded £2.2m by the Scottish Government. The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme will receive more than two million pounds between 2014 and 2016 to support the commercialisation of floating offshore wind turbines and to improve wind farm maintenance and operations to reduce financial costs.
Edie 15th July 2014 read more »
Renewable Energy Focus 15th July 2014 read more »
The UK will miss its legally-binding carbon budgets in future without new policies, according to the government’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The UK’s first ever carbon budget running from 2008 to 2012 was met, the CCC says in its latest Progress Report, and there has been good progress on car fuel efficiency, installing more efficient boilers and building wind turbines. But that’s about where the good news for government ends. The first budget was met largely because of the 2008 economic crisis slashing industrial output and ripping a hole in consumers’ pockets, the CCC says. Lower output and lower demand reduced the need to burn fossil fuels in power stations, cars and boilers. Without the impact of the crash and a particularly cold winter in 2010, emissions would have fallen by around 1 per cent per year between 2007 and 2012. To meet the fourth carbon budget in 2027 that rate will need to triple.
Carbon Brief 15th July 2014 read more »
The Government is on course to significantly undershoot a legally binding target to reduce carbon emissions, after the coalition scrapped a successful subsidised home insulation programme and replaced it with the failing Green Deal commercial loan scheme, according to a hard-hitting report. Under the current rate of progress, the UK will only reduce its carbon emissions by 21- 23 per cent between 2013 and 2025, leaving it nearly a third short of the 31 per cent drop required over the period, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) warns. The committee blames most of the shortfall on the Government’s failure to set a renewable energy target after 2020 and its removal in January last year of heavily subsidised and free cavity wall and loft insulation, which helps households save energy.
Independent 16th July 2014 read more »
The US shale revolution has averted the threat of a global oil crisis caused by growing levels of conflict and instability. In the sleepy farmland of south Texas, near the ghost town of Helena, the 18 gleaming towers of ConocoPhillips’ oil stabilisation plant are an incongruous sight. Three years ago, there were only fields here but facilities have sprung up to handle the flood of oil pouring out of the Eagle Ford shale region south and east of San Antonio. These are exciting times in the US oil industry; the new plants are proof of that.
FT 15th July 2014 read more »
Matt Hancock’s first major task on stepping into Michael Fallon’s shoes at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) will be to persuade world-scale oil and gas companies to bid in the biggest auction yet to develop shale resources. However, the horse racing enthusiast faces a tough challenge convincing a sceptical industry to bet on fracking in Britain. The Conservative MP for West Suffolk , who joins the department with no direct energy experience, will have a steep learning curve getting to grips with Fallon’s old upstream oil and gas beat. He takes up the role ahead of what is arguably the most important licencing round for new fossil fuel development in the UK since the Government first opened up the North Sea in the 1970s.
Telegraph 15th July 2014 read more »