The Scottish National Party has raised new concerns over the future of the UK’s nuclear power station at Hinkley following the news EDF Energy – the company behind Hinkley- has suffered a five-year delay and escalating costs at its flagship project in northern France. Hinkley Point C in Somerset will be the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK in a generation, and could be eligible for consumer funded payments of around £1 billion per year – totalling around £35billion over the 35 year length of the contract. This is compared to the 15 year contracts being offered to renewable energy projects. The European Commission has previously warned that Hinkley C will push up consumer bills, stating the power station “could hardly be argued to contribute to affordability – at least at current prices, when it will instead and most likely contribute to an increase in retail prices”. The Commission’s warning was backed by the Delivering Renewable Energy Under Devolution report, which found that the UK Government’s recent decisions on nuclear power could increase energy bills. Commenting, SNP spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change, Callum McCaig MP said: “The financial crisis surrounding the future of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant demonstrates yet again the folly of the UK government’s decision to spend huge amounts of public money to subsidise new nuclear power stations. “Despite the mounting evidence that it is hugely expensive with other stations going vastly over budget and being years behind schedule, the UK government are determined to continue to throw billions of pounds into promoting new nuclear. “By diverting money away from renewables to new nuclear the UK Government’s plans are also damaging the renewables sector. “Hinkley is a bad deal that will push up bills and cost the taxpayers a fortune for many, many years to come. “Scotland neither needs not wants new nuclear. We have huge potential in renewables that can generate clean green energy for the future.”
SNP 15th June 2015 read more »
New Reactor Types
Federal officials are preparing for a future in which small nuclear reactors are a key piece of the United States’ energy policy. The technology, known as the small modular reactor, has attracted the attention of regulators, lawmakers, utilities, manufacturers and others. The reactors are less than 300 megawatts in capacity and usually manufactured away from the place they’re operated. A handful of companies are working to design such reactors, though none is ready for operation yet. Proponents say the reactors, less than a third the size of a reactor at a standard power plant, could bring the greenhouse gas and other benefits of nuclear power with a lower cost. But the same problems that have slowed development of full-size nuclear reactors to nearly a halt — safety and cost — could keep delaying or even kill the potential for small modular reactors to take off. The nuclear industry’s congressional supporters see a role for the federal government in enabling development of small reactors.
The Hill 15th June 2015 read more »
The Pentagon’s top arms provider and firms partly funded by Silicon Valley billionaires Bill Gates and Paul Allen are among dozens of companies collectively betting more than $1.3 billion that a new wave of nuclear power can be a force to fight climate change. Advanced nuclear power plants, which will employ techniques such as using fuels other than uranium and coolants other than water, have attracted private investments from more than 40 companies from Florida to Washington state, the Third Way think tank says in the first report specifying the number of firms and total money invested in the technologies.
Reuters 16th June 2015 read more »
Business Insider 16th June 2015 read more »
There have been important developments in the management of radioactive waste in recent years, but the wider public is often unaware of them, said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at the opening of an international conference on spent fuel management today in Vienna, Austria. Significant progress has been made in the development of deep geological disposal facilities for high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel, especially in France, Finland and Sweden, he said. Facilities to store low- and intermediate-level waste have long been in operation around the world. “It will still be some years before the first deep geological repositories for nuclear spent fuel become operational, “Mr Amano said. “But the progress being made in this area deserves to be better known.”
IAEA 15th June 2015 read more »
Five ways George Osborne will fail the next generation.The environment must be a concern for future generations. That means investments in carbon-free energy generation and heat conservation. All the budgets in these areas have been cut, leaving private contractors to bid for a small number of high-profile projects. Carbon-free energy generation comes in the form of Hinkley point nuclear power station and the Swansea tidal lagoon, which cost twice and three times as much as solar power and onshore wind, neither of which are getting much government support. All the previous government attempts to get people excited about heat conservation flopped for lack of funds.
Guardian 15th June 2015 read more »
Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. looks certain to face a fresh delay in the completion of its spent fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, as regulators are unlikely to end their safety checks by the end of this month, as the company had expected. With no prospect in sight for the end of the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety screening, it is uncertain whether Japan Nuclear Fuel will be able to complete the plant by the end of March 2016, as currently scheduled, sources familiar with the situation said Monday. The plant, a core facility of Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle project, is designed to extract uranium and plutonium from spent fuel, while solidifying other high-level radioactive waste from the reprocessing process by mixing them with glass to make their storage easier.
Jiji 15th June 2015 read more »
More than 7,000 residents of northern Tochigi Prefecture sought government mediation for an out-of-court settlement with the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in their quest for 1.85 billion yen ($14.99 million) in compensation.
Asahi Shimbun 16th June 2015 read more »
The state of Virginia has the potential to be a nuclear energy leader in the USA, according to a position paper published by the state-based Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. Titled Virginia can lead the nation’s nuclear renaissance, the study is authored by Donald Hoffman, chair of the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority and a past-president of the American Nuclear Society, and Robert Hartwell, a former Congressional Chief of Staff and lobbyist. The state’s four operating nuclear units – two each at North Anna and Surry power stations – between them provide some 3500 MWe of generating capacity and produce nearly 36% of Virginia’s electricity. Citing a 2011 report, the authors note that by 2021 the state will require a further 4000 MWe of generating capacity “just to meet demand”.
World Nuclear News 15th June 2015 read more »
A $150 million (£94.5m) reserve for nuclear fuel is to be built in Kazakhstan. The project has been approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which said it is funded by voluntary contributors who have donated the cash to operate it for at least 10 years. The IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank will be located at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Oskemen in northeastern Kazakhstan.
Energy Live News 15th June 2015 read more »
MBDA’s new ASMPA air-launched nuclear weapon has been test-fired, defence officials announced in mid-June. Based on the same manufacturer’s ASMP, the ASMPA (Air-Sol Moyenne Portée Amélioré) is becoming the backbone of France’s air-launched nuclear strike capability.
Copybook 15th June 2015 read more »
Amec Foster Wheeler selected Capula as part of an alliance to development and deliver the neutral beam cell remote handling system on the ITER fusion reactor at Cadarache in the South of France, on behalf of Fusion for Energy (F4E). Fusion for Energy (F4E) is the European Union’s Joint Undertaking for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) – an international research and engineering project, which involves building the world’s largest experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor aimed at demonstrating the technical feasibility of nuclear fusion as a future power source.
Energy Business Review 12th June 2015 read more »
The UK is falling behind on two out of three of its 2020 renewable targets, according to analysis from energy watchdog Keep on Track. In an effort to comply with a legally binding EU target to source 15% of energy from renewables, the UK has set itself subtargets of 30% of electricity from renewables, 12% of heat, and 10% of transport fuel.While the UK is on track to hit its electricity targets, Keep on Track claims the growth rate of the renewable heat and transport markets must increase. In 2013, the most recent year for which figures were available for the study, the percentage of electricity coming from renewables stood at 13.9%, with transport at 4.4% and renewable heat at 2.6%.
Edie 15th June 2015 read more »
Climate change is a global challenge and the Scottish Government has set a target reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 42 per cent by 2020. Last week, the Scottish Government also announced that it would be increasing its efforts to tackle climate change with new measures across the transport, environment and energy sectors. One of the core mechanisms in reducing emissions is the move towards a low carbon economy and the Scottish Government also published its heat policy statement last week, which reiterates its commitment to its target of largely decarbonising heat by 2050. According to the Scottish Government, heat currently accounts for roughly half of Scotland’s emissions and more than 55 per cent of energy demand. Alongside the challenges of climate change, decarbonisation and the drive to reduce emissions , the public sector more widely is still facing significant budgetary challenges in terms of generating savings across the board. Is it possible that the transition to a low carbon model could present opportunities to the public sector that might assist in generating long term savings? I consider that the answer may be yes, and this article looks at one of the tools available to both the public and third sectors in taking forward low carbon initiatives which have the potential to generate those savings; the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP). The LCITP is a Scottish Government initiative which is intended to provide support mechanisms to assist developing innovative low-carbon projects. It is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Futures Trust and others.
Scotsman 16th June 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
Renewable energy providers are helping their local communities to reap the benefits of clean energy more than ever before, according to the Local Energy Scotland Community Renewables Register. The wind energy industry, which dominates the list of 134 community funding providers on the register, now invests nearly £9m a year in supporting a range of local community projects, the latest data from the register shows.
Business Green 16th June 2015 read more »
Fracking for gas is likely to take place in Britain for the first time since the technique caused minor earthquakes in 2011 after officials gave it the green light in Lancashire. Local authority planning officers recommended that Lancashire county council accept an application to drill up to four exploratory wells and pump down water, sand and chemicals to fracture layers of shale containing trapped gas. If Cuadrilla’s application for Preston New Road, near Blackpool, is approved at a meeting next week, it would start drilling in the autumn and begin fracking in July next year. If gas flows successfully, Cuadrilla may apply to develop up to 100 other Lancashire sites. Officials recommended that an application for a similar site at Roseacre Wood should be turned down because of a “severe” increase in traffic of up to 50 lorry journeys each day. The Preston New Road site is by a main road, while Roseacre Wood is accessible only via narrow country lanes.
Times 16th June 2015 read more »
FT 15th June 2015 read more »
Guardian 15th June 2015 read more »
Independent 15th June 2015 read more »