Members of construction union Ucatt employed by Amec Foster Wheeler Nuclear at Sellafield have voted to take action in a pay dispute. The 43 workers will begin a ban on weekend working from the 21st March 2015. The dispute has arisen after supervisors at the company were awarded a £1.75 an hour pay increase but the rest of the workforce was subjected to a pay freeze.
Construction Index 16th March 2015 read more »
Sellafield, Europe’s largest nuclear site, has utilised big data concepts, with the help of Informed Solutions, to help them make sense of their huge volume of land remediation data. More than 60 years of activity at the site have understandably created public anxieties about ground and groundwater contamination, in response to which longstanding monitoring and remediation programmes have been in place. These in turn have generated a wealth of data spanning more than 40 years and representing a £15million-plus investment. Unlocking that data investment without embarking on a costly and complex exercise to standardise its quality, consistency and completeness, meant drawing on the experience and practices of high risk industries as diverse as oil & gas exploration and defence, where big data techniques are more established, and all of whom share a common need to cost effectively and confidently make sense of high-volume, mission-critical and diverse data.
Information Age 16th March 2015 read more »
THE safety of the decommissioning process at Scotland’s largest nuclear plant in Dounreay has been branded “deeply worrying” by leading charity bosses. Workers at the site in Caithness have voiced “serious concerns” to managers over the safety of the procedures at the nuclear waste site. In a letter to the plant chiefs, workers reported an “increasing number of injuries” and attacked the quality of safety equipment which was available to them. The original date for the completion of the decommissioning of the site was 2038 but was brought forward to 2025. In the letter to management it was claimed the push to meet this target was “at the expense of safe processes and practices on health, safety and welfare”. Director of WWF Scotland, Lang Banks, said the concerns of the staff required the “urgent attentio n of Dounreay bosses” as well as regulators in the nuclear industry. “No employee, even those in the nuclear industry, should ever be forced to work in fear for their safety. The catalogue of safety concerns raised by staff is deeply worrying and calls into question the measures in place to protect people and the environment,” Banks said.
National 15th March 2015 read more »
Michael Meacher: On budget day this Wednesday (18th) I and 16 other contributors are launching in the House of Commons our book ‘What the Three Main Parties are not Telling You: A Radical Way out of Stagnation and Inequality’ as a counter-blast to Osborne’s demand for another 5 years of austerity. Alan Simpson in a scathing essay makes the case for a profound energy revolution, and Caroline Lucas urges the replacement of consumerism and obsession with GDP growth at all costs by a commitment to the real goals of equality, security and quality of life.
Michael Meacher 16th March 2015 read more »
Alan Whitehead MP argues the pipeline of green energy projects may expire in 2019 unless the next government takes some tough decisions.
Business Green 11th March 2015 read more »
Profits of the Big Six energy companies increased tenfold from 2007 to 2013, fresh analysis from the competition watchdog investigating the sector shows. The six largest firms earned a combined £110 million from their domestic gas and electricity supply businesses in 2007, before paying interest and tax. By 2013 that had increased to more than £1.1 billion, the analysis, published by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Monday night, shows.
Telegraph 16th March 2015 read more »
French nuclear group Areva is exploring the possibility of allowing Chinese investors to inject capital into the group, financial daily Les Echos reported on Monday. The loss-making state-controlled group could open talks with a Chinese sovereign wealth fund rather than with industrial companies, the paper said
Reuters 16th March 2015 read more »
Three ageing nuclear reactors in Japan will be decommissioned due to the high cost of upgrading them in line with tougher safety standards set after the Fukushima disaster, their operators said on Tuesday. Another two reactors were also likely to be scrapped, local media reports said, with announcements expected later in the week. The moves are the first concrete sign that Japan’s nuclear industry is heeding a government request to shut down older reactors that are considered more vulnerable to natural disasters in the hope that it will ease public concerns about a restart of other reactors.
Reuters 17th March 2015 read more »
Iranian diplomats twice confronted their American counterparts about an open letter from Republican senators who warned that any nuclear deal could expire the day President Barack Obama leaves office, a senior U.S. official said Monday. The official, noting the administration’s warnings when the letter first surfaced, said the GOP intervention was a new issue in the tense negotiations facing an end-of-month deadline for an agreement to reduce Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon in exchange for loosing Western sanctions.
Daily Mail 17th March 2015 read more »
The EU’s diplomatic chief and the foreign ministers of Germany, Britain and France began nuclear talks with their Iranian counterpart in Brussels on Monday with “important points” still to thrash out, officials said. Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif flew to Brussels after a five-hour meeting in Switzerland earlier Monday with US Secretary of State John Kerry aimed at pushing through a deal before a March 31 deadline.
EU Business 16th March 2015 read more »
The US secretary of state, John Kerry, and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have resumed nuclear talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne to try to narrow the gaps before a 31 March deadline for a political agreement.
Guardian 16th March 2015 read more »
Hungary must renegotiate the fuel supply portion of a deal for two Russian reactors at the Paks nuclear power plant after terms proved unacceptable to the Euratom Supply Agency. An intergovernmental agreement signed in early 2014 would see Russian enterprises supply two VVER-1200 reactors at Paks, as well as a loan of €10 billion ($10.5 billion) and €12 billion ($12.6 billion) to finance the majority of the project. While it is normal for vendors to supply a new reactor’s first load of fuel as well as some subsequent reloads, rules in the European Union require all power plants to have more than one fuel supplier in the long term.
World Nuclear News 16th March 2015 read more »
The Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) –which is funded by the Scottish Government – is holding its annual conference in Stirling today and tomorrow (Wed). Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing is expected to announce the winners of recent challenge fund bids for Scottish Government innovation and development projects. The conference will also hear from real community success stories, like the Harlaw and Callander community hydro schemes, and the Point and Sandwick Windfarm, currently under construction which will see another nine megawatts of windpower in community ownership contributing to Scotland’s renewable energy future.
Scottish Energy News 17th March 2015 read more »
The amount of electricity produced by projects owned by local communities has increased by more than a quarter in the last year, the Scottish Government has revealed. Ministers have set the target of having plants producing 500 megawatts (MW) of power in communities and local ownership by 2020. The latest figures show such schemes can generate 361MW, up from 285MW in the previous year. The increase was revealed by energy minister Fergus Ewing ahead of the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme conference in Stirling. Mr Ewing said: “The Scottish Government is driving forward a community energy empowerment programme to ensure that local communities derive maximum benefits from the local energy resources around them.
STV 17th March 2015 read more »
The world has much more coal, oil and gas in the ground than it can safely burn. That much is physics. Anyone studying the question with an open mind will almost certainly come to a similar conclusion: if we and our children are to have a reasonable chance of living stable and secure lives 30 or so years from now, according to one recent study 80% of the known coal reserves will have to stay underground, along with half the gas and a third of the oil reserves. So the argument for a campaign to divest from the world’s most polluting companies is becoming an overwhelming one, on both moral and pragmatic grounds. But the divestment movement is sometimes misunder stood. The intention is not to bankrupt the companies, nor to promote overnight withdrawal from fossil fuels – that would not be possible or desirable. Divestment serves to delegitimise the business models of companies that are using investors’ money to search for yet more coal, oil and gas that can’t safely be burned. It is a small but crucial step in the economic transition away from a global economy run on fossil fuels. The usual rule of newspaper campaigns is that you don’t start one unless you know you’re going to win it. This one will almost certainly be won in time: the physics is unarguable. But we are launching our campaign today in the firm belief that it will force the issue now into the boardrooms and inboxes of people who have billions of dollars at their disposal.
Guardian 16th March 2015 read more »
ENERGY union Prospect has urged politicians to stop treating the troubled Longannet power station like a “political football” and work together to secure its long-term future. Last week, it emerged that the Fife plant will close by the end of March next year unless owner Scottish Power secures a short-term contract with the National Grid to help maintain voltage levels in the electricity supply. Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited the plant yesterday and blamed the current crisis on UK energy policies which saddle Scottish generators, which provide 12 per cent of the UK’s energy supply, with “35per cent of the charges”.
National 17th March 2015 read more »
Scotland’s back-up energy supply could be provided by three to 10 gas-fuelled power stations on coastal barges. The plan is being put forward by a London firm as an alternative to keeping Longannet power station open. The giant coal-burner in Fife faces closure within a year unless it wins an auction to provide back-up supply. That would keep it going for at least two years while grid connections between Scotland and England are improved. Only once more transmission capacity is in place can Scotland be sure of maintaining voltage. A sub-sea link is being installed between Ayrshire and Merseyside, and cross-border links are being upgraded.
BBC 17th March 2015 read more »
Deputy first minister of Scotland John Swinney has said the Scottish government is “determined” to “do all it can” to avoid the premature closure of the Longannet power station.
Utility Week 16th March 2015 read more »