UNDERGROUND vaults which will store low level radioactive waste have been officially handed over to Dounreay operators. Over 200 guests joined site staff for the official handover ceremony of the LLW vaults to Cavendish Dounreay Partnership and site licence company DSRL. Irish firm Graham Construction completed the £13 million contract for the construction to the immediate east of the licensed site, where they excavated a total of 243,000 cubic metres of rock during construction of the two vaults.
John O Groat Journal 15th May 2014 read more »
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has appointed a new Executive HR Director. David Vineall began his new role in April. Vineall joins the company from Tata Steel Europe and has previously held roles at BAE Systems.
HR Grapevine 15th May 2014 read more »
If you are a follower of the press and politics in the U.K. you might be forgiven for thinking that the country is against wind energy — but a new survey proves exactly the opposite. The survey — carried out by the U.K. government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in March 2014 — showed that 70 percent of respondents supported onshore wind energy, with 12 percent against it. Offshore wind energy received even greater levels of support — with 77 percent in favour and just 7 percent against.
Renewable Energy World 14th May 2014 read more »
The BBC reports that the UK will run out of oil, coal and gas in just over five years. But that isn’t true, according to an author of the study the story is based on. The problem is that the BBC confuses reserves and resources. It’s an easy mistake to make. Reserves are fossil fuels that are known to be recoverable given current costs, prices, technical abilities and other constraints. Resources are the often much larger amounts known or suspected to be available. These may or may not be recoverable, depending on advances in technology and future price fluctuations.
Carbon Brief 16th May 2014 read more »
Professor Victor Anderson, also from the institute, has urged a “Europe-wide drive to expand renewable energy sources such as wave, wind, tidal, and solar power.” “Coal, oil and gas resources in Europe are running down and we need alternatives,” said Professor Anderson. The Government has recently announced cuts in its subsidies for large-scale solar farms from next April, two years before they were projected to end, and the Conservatives have said they will not subsidise new onshore wind farms if they win the 2015 general election.
Independent 16th May 2014 read more »
Coal continues to reign supreme despite the obvious benefits of switching to nuclear and gas, and boffins at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are at least partly to blame. Or so Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins argues this morning. In a passionate piece, Jenkins says governments should do away with their renewable energy ambitions and focus on developing nuclear and gas power if they really want to address climate change. His reasoning? Investing in renewables is expensive and futile and has only served to open the door for the most polluting, most dangerous, energy source of all: coal. We take a look at three places his article is mistaken, as well as an important point it gets right. The IPCC doesn’t equate nuclear power with coal. Far from it. In its latest report on tackling climate change the IPCC says governments must triple or even quadruple low carbon energy generation by 2050 if warming is going to be curbed to two degrees. Its definition of low carbon includes wind, solar, hydropower and nuclear power. Jenkins goes on to argue that the IPCC has effectively given up on cutting emissions, instead encouraging approaches to combating the effects of climate change. He appears to offer this as evidence that the IPCC favours spending on adaptation over investing in nuclear or gas. However, the IPCC hasn’t given up on cutting emissions. Jenkins’ article is absolutely right about one thing, however. The government does need to find a way to phase out coal power if it’s serious about its climate commitments.
Carbon Brief 16th May 2014 read more »
Energy ministers meeting in Athens these past two days have had a lot on their plate. Officially, yesterday’s discussions took in energy security “with a particular emphasis on high energy EU dependency from imports”. Or in other words, “what on Earth are we going to do about Russia using its vast energy resources as a weapon?” Tackling energy waste from buildings and industry is also vital to meeting the EU’s energy efficiency target of a 20 per cent improvement by the end the decade, which member states are currently projected to miss by between three and four per cent. Energy efficiency is seen as an easier sell than renewable targets and according to EurActiv a number of countries are now showing interest in introducing a 30 per cent binding target for 2030 – a proposal that had struggled to gain momentum until the Ukraine crisis began to escalate.
Business Green 16th May 2014 read more »
While the current political tensions in Ukraine continue to threaten stability in the region, an even larger spectre looms in Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident. Nearly three decades later, recovery from the disaster continues, with construction currently under way on an immense shield designed to entomb the radioactive remains of the reactor that exploded all those years ago. At nearly 110 metres high and 275 metres wide, and weighing around 32,000 tonnes, the arch-like New Safe Confinement is one of the most complicated feats of modern engineering that, once complete, will be the largest movable structure ever built. It’s designed to last 100 years – the estimated time to finish clean-up at the site. But the project is already years behind schedule. Though plans have been in the works to contain the leaky, crumbling reactor since 1992, construction on the New Safe Confinement only began in 2010. Originally slated to be finished 2015, developers have now pushed the date back to 2017.
Sydney Morning Herald 17th May 2014 read more »
US – radwaste
Something could be missing from your next electric bill: a fee that electric customers have been paying for 31 years to fund a federal nuclear waste site that doesn’t exist. The Energy Department will stop charging the fee by court order on Friday. The amount is only a small percentage of most customers’ bills, but it adds up to $750 million a year. The fund now holds $37 billion. The money was collected to build a long-term disposal site for the highly radioactive nuclear waste generated by the nation’s nuclear power plants that is, by law, the federal government’s responsibility.
CBS 15th May 2014 read more »
World Nuclear News 16th May 2014 read more »
A radiation leak at the government’s troubled nuclear waste dump has been linked to a waste container shipped from Los Alamos National Laboratory, officials said Friday, raising questions about the safety of other barrels being stored on the lab’s northern New Mexico campus and at a temporary site in West Texas. Lab Director Charlie McMillan, in a memo Friday to lab employees, said Los Alamos “is fully cooperating” with state and federal officials and has taken extra precautions to ensure that similar waste drums at the lab and those sent to Waste Control Specialists in Texas “are in a safe and controlled configuration.” “Based on this,” he wrote, “we do not believe there is any imminent threat to the safety of our employees, the public, or the environment at this time.” But watchdog Don Hancock of the Southwest Research and Information Center in Albuquerque said that until more is known about the breach, “we can’t have assurances.”
New York Post 16th May 2014 read more »
Iran and six world powers made little progress this week in talks on ending their dispute over Tehran’s nuclear programme, U.S. and Iranian officials said on Friday, raising doubts over the prospects for a breakthrough by a July 20 deadline.
Reuters 16th May 2014 read more »
A gathering of like-minded women at the Borders General Hospital Chaplaincy Centre knitting pink panels to join together to form a seven-mile scarf to be stretched from Aldermaston to Burghfield on August 9 – but much more is needed. It’s one huge woolly protest against the UK’s ongoing involvement with nuclear weapons.
Southern Reporter 17th May 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
By publishing its ‘reform’ proposals for the support of large scale solar PV in two separate documents on the same day, the Government managed to conceal its true intent from the industry, writes Chris Goodall. The truth is much worse than anyone realised. Another DECC document, put out on the same day as the subsidy withdrawal, makes clear that under the new scheme, starting in late 2014, solar will have to fight onshore wind and other cheaper technologies for budget. A limited pot will be made available in October for all ‘mature technologies’ such as wind, energy from waste, PV, sewage gas – and, controversially, field-scale solar. These are all grouped together in ‘Group 1’ and a solar development will only win funds if it bids for a lower subsidy than these considerably more mature alternatives. I contacted DECC and it confirmed this. “Technologies in group 1 will have to compete with each other. This will require projects in those technologies (to) submit bids, which will be assessed on the basis of price.” In effect, this probably kills stand-alone solar PV in the UK. Although solar has rapidly come down in price, well-located wind farms are likely to be able to substantially underbid solar PV for the subsidy funds.
Ecologist 17th May 2014 read more »
Renewables – wind
The number of onshore wind turbines in Britain has reached 30,000 after increasing by 13 per cent last year, according to research. The disclosure has prompted suggestions that the wind industry is encroaching upon the countryside by stealth. The figure dwarfs the total that is commonly quoted by the industry, which currently stands at 4,399. The discrepancy is because the lower figure does not include the vast numbers of small and mid-sized turbines that have the capacity to produce less than 100kW of electricity each. The smaller turbines range from “micro” roof-top turbines to those that can reach over 100 feet tall and have been installed by thousands of farmers and landowners across the UK. Data compiled by Earthmill, a specialist in farm turbines, showed a 60 per cent rise in the number of “live” planning applications for small and mid-sized turbines since October, with 810 applications in the system at the end of last month.
Telegraph 16th May 2014 read more »
Renewables – floating turbines
The world’s first floating wind turbines are being planned off northeast Scotland. Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Ltd, a joint project between Pilot Offshore Renewables and the construction giant Atkins, wants to put the eight turbines about ten miles off the fishing port of Stonehaven. Placing turbines on semi-submersible platforms would cut construction and installation costs and help to avoid planning disputes. The developers will enter into a consultation period, although Kincardine wants to start construction in the second quarter of 2016 and have the wind farm operating by the end of 2017. A report for planning officials states: “The project aims to develop a pilot-scale offshore wind farm utilising floating foundation technology, which will demonstrate the technological and commercial feasibility of floating offshore wind. This will be the world’s first array of floating wind turbines and will establish a leading position for Scotland in the development and deployment of this novel technology.” The project may pitch the Kincardine developers into a race with Statoil, Norway’s state oil company. The Crown Estate has already given permission for five turbines to be floated in the sea 18 miles off Peterhead.
Times 17th May 2014 read more »
THE world’s first floating offshore wind farm could be built in Scotland, it has emerged. Experts say the move would help promote the country’s reputation as a global leader in offshore wind production. It is claimed that placing turbines on semi-submersible platforms would cut construction and installation costs. Aberdeen-based Pilot Offshore Renewables aims to moor eight floating wind turbines ten miles off the Kincardineshire coast, south of Aberdeen.
Scotsman 17th May 2014 read more »
Renewables – jobs
With 45,000 workers required to meet the growth in offshore wind alone, we need all children to study three science GSCEs. Growth and jobs in the years ahead will depend on the UK having a labour force that can exploit new technologies and discoveries, so workers with a background in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) will increasingly be in demand. But the growing skills vacuum we face is threatening the recovery, and nowhere is this more obvious than in our energy sector.
Guardian 16th May 2014 read more »
Leading heating industry stakeholders (Heating & Hotwater Industry Council, Sustainable Energy Association, UKLPG, Baxi, British Gas, Calor, Robur, Viessmann and Worcester Bosch) have today joined forces to support the inclusion of gas absorption heat pumps (GAHPs) in the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) under the upcoming formal review of the scheme1. GAHPs are an available renewable heating solution that can readily deliver decarbonisation benefits for a wide range of properties on and off the gas grid without loss of comfort or infrastructure upgrades. By combining two established technologies, a high efficiency modern condensing gas boiler and an air source heat pump, GAHPs provide an efficient and low carbon way to utilise gas and LP gas in homes across the UK. Cost-effective use of gas has the potential to reduce energy bills immediately and the technology itself provides an easy transition from conventional boilers for consumers. A number of companies develop a range of highly efficient GAHP products with diverse sizes and technical characteristics suitable for commercial, industrial and community heating.
Ecuity 16th May 2014 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News.
Microgen Scotland 16th May 2014 read more »
There are welcome signs that coal – possibly the planet’s deadliest substance – is being sidelined in India and China.
Telegraph 16th May 2014 read more »