Isn’t the growing threat of floods, cancer infant mortality and tsunami in the UK enough to stop the Hinkley power station proposal? A report prepared for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, considered that the risk of flooding at Hinkley Point in Somerset was currently ‘low’ but would rise to ‘high’ by 2080, with an impact of storm surge height of 0.8m predicted, and impact of sea level rise of 6m, the worst case scenario for the end of the century. The Hinkley Point reactors overlook the Bristol Channel and are defended by a sea wall with additional defence structure behind it. The shoreline is subject to strong winds, powerful waves and storm surges: this means that the greatest current risk to the power station comes from inundation from extreme events.
Western Morning News 16th Sept 2012 more >>
A REVISED construction programme to build a radioactive waste store at Sizewell B nuclear power station has been given the green light. EDF Energy made the submission to Suffolk Coastal council after large amounts of concrete were discovered buried on the site. It means that the company had to revise its construction programme for the dry fuel store from one to two years.
Lowestoft Journal 15th Sept 2012 more >>
EDF Energy restarted its 550-megawatt (MW) Dungeness B22 nuclear unit on Saturday following an unplanned outage.
Reuters 17th Sept 2012 more >>
ONE of Scotland’s top energy executives has renewed calls for greater “transparency” in forthcoming electricity market reforms designed to unlock the £100 billion of investment required by the sector in the next ten years. ScottishPower chief corporate officer Keith Anderson said the flagship reforms due to go before the UK parliament in November needed to spell out specifics such as timing and funding mechanisms. Although this autumn’s bill will only be a first draft, addressing such particulars at an early stage would reassure investors and allow them to plan accordingly. His comments came as the Scottish Government threw its weight behind Westminster’s plans for electricity market reforms, albeit with come caveats. MSPs unanimously backed a motion calling for co-operation on the reforms following a debate yesterday in Holyrood.
Scotsman 15th Sept 2012 more >>
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) denied Dr Abdul Qadeer Khans earlier assertion that the latter transferred nuclear materials and technology to two countries on the orders former premier Benazir Bhutto. Khans assertion is a desperate attempt to wash his guilt over proliferating nuclear weapons, said Presidential Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar in a statement issued on Saturday. He said that people still remembered Khans public apology televised in February 2004 where he admitted his guilt. The spokesperson said that by implicating Benazir Bhutto, Khan was trying to lend a semblance of respectability to crime that brought huge embarrassment to Pakistan.
Tribune 16th Sept 2012 more >>
French nuclear group Areva expects to benefit in the medium-term from Japan’s plans to restart nuclear reactors that were taken offline following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Chief Executive Luc Oursel told Les Echos newspaper. Japan represented 8 percent of Areva’s revenues prior to the disaster. “We should return to that level,” Oursel was quoted as saying in the paper’s Monday edition.
Reuters 17th Sept 2012 more >>
French power group EDF denied it had requested compensation from the government over its decision to close the state-controlled energy company’s Fessenheim nuclear power plant. The comment followed an unsourced report in the newspaper Journal du Dimanche claiming EDF had asked for more 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) to cover its loss of profit from the closure as well as the cost of investments made to prolong the life of the plant.
Reuters 17th Sept 2012 more >>
French President François Hollande has vowed to shut down the countrys oldest nuclear power station by 2016, and in a wide-ranging speech on the environment, says his government would reject development of shale gas using a controversial extraction method known as fracking. France derives 75% of its electricity from nuclear production, more than any other country, and the issue of its nuclear dependency has become particularly sensitive in the wake of last year’s Fukushima disaster in Japan. Hollande repeated his pledge to cut the country’s share of nuclear power in the energy mix to 50%.
Euractiv 17th Sept 2012 more >>
Japan’s decision to phase out nuclear power by 2040 has left some of its biggest technology companies facing an awkward question: how do you sell a product that your own government has effectively banned? Toshiba, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are among the world’s leading builders of nuclear power plants. Since the accident at Fukushima last year, all have trimmed aggressive growth forecasts for their atomic-energy businesses. Yet their outlooks remain ambitious – plans published as recently as June promise to double revenues by the end of the decade, if not sooner. Japan’s policy shift, experts say, could force a deeper retrenchment. Even before Fukushima, Toshiba admitted it would take decades to recoup its Westinghouse investment. Now, it is looking to reduce its exposure by reselling Shaw’s stake, and possibly more, to a strategic investor, according to company insiders. In May, Toshiba pushed back a target date for achieving Y1tn in nuclear-business revenues by two years, to fiscal 2017. Hitachi has the least to lose. It is the biggest of Japan’s three nuclear builders but has the smallest atomic-power business, at less than 2 per cent of revenues, compared with around 10 per cent for Toshiba and MHI. Based on its business mix, it may even do better under the nuclear phase-out: 60 per cent of its energy-related income comes from thermal-power equipment, and another 20 per cent comes from transmission gear and renewables. Only the remaining fifth is from nuclear power. Indeed, the best hope for all of Japan’s nuclear companies may lie in their diversity. Toshiba, Hitachi and MHI make many of the technologies that are to replace nuclear power in Japan, from natural-gas turbines to solar panels and wind turbines, which under Japan’s policy shift would receive tens of trillions of yen in new investment.
FT 16th Sept 2012 more >>
What Japan needs, says Yoshihiko Noda, its prime minister, is “decisive politics that makes the necessary decisions without delays and procrastination”. So Mr Noda may have been a little embarrassed by the repeated delays and procrastination that marked his government’s efforts to draw up a new energy policy – a process marked by repeated failures to decide even when the plan should be decided. Then, on Friday – a full 18 months after meltdowns at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant blew a giant hole in Japan’s old atomic-heavy plan – the government finally unveiled a new policy. It even looked pretty decisive. Under it, the government declared, “every policy resource will be brought to bear” to phase out nuclear power by 2040. Yet the policy is also a somewhat messy compromise that will delight nobody. A generally pro-nuclear business establishment has been partly mollified by the opening of the way for the restart of currently idled nuclear plants – only two of Japan’s 50 remaining reactors are currently in operation – but it remains deeply concerned about long-term power supply and furious about the phase-out’s implications for exports of nuclear technology. Meanwhile, the anti-nuclear activists who have flocked in their thousands to unprecedented weekly protests outside Mr Noda’s office all fiercely oppose any reactor restarts, never mind the prospect that plants will be kept humming across the earthquake-prone archipelago for decades.
FT 16th Sept 2012 more >>
The Japanese government has confirmed it will phase out nuclear power over the course of the next 30 years, following the massive earthquake and tsunami which caused a meltdown at the Fukushima power plant in 2011. Late last week, prime minister Yoshihiko Noda confirmed the country’s first comprehensive energy review since the disaster in March last year.
Business Green 17th Sept 2012 more >>
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Iran would reach the brink of being able to build a nuclear bomb in just six or seven months, adding urgency to his demand that President Barack Obama set a “red line” for Tehran amid the worst U.S.-Israeli rift in decades.
Reuters 17th Sept 2012 more >>
Telegraph 16th Sept 2012 more >>
The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has renewed his demand that the US set out clear “red lines” for Iran over its nuclear programme, in remarks likely to put further strain on his relationship with Barack Obama in the runup to the presidential election. In interviews on American television networks to mark the Jewish new year, Netanyahu repeated his call for the US to clarify the point at which it would take military action rather than allow the Iranian nuclear programme to advance.
Guardian 16th Sept 2012 more >>
In a letter submitted Friday afternoon to internal investigators at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a whistleblower engineer within the agency accused regulators of deliberately covering up information relating to the vulnerability of U.S. nuclear power facilities that sit downstream from large dams and reservoirs. The letter also accuses the agency of failing to act to correct these vulnerabilities despite being aware of the risks for years.
Huffington Post 14th Sept 2012 more >>
On Friday, September 14, wind and solar power reached a new record high of combined production at 31,818 megawatts at 1:30 in the afternoon, compared to 37,916 of conventional power. At the beginning of April, Germany drew worldwide attention when the combined output of solar and wind power exceeded the need for conventional power for a couple of hours around 4 PM, with conventional power production dropping to around 23 gigawatts compared to around 26 of combined wind and solar. But that was on a Sunday, when power production is relatively low; it was below 50 gigawatts at the time. In contrast, the early afternoon on a Friday is generally a time of relatively high consumption, so the combined 31.8 gigawatts of wind and solar at 1:30 PM on Friday pushed demand for conventional power down to 37.9 megawatts, with total power demand coming in at just under 70 gigawatts at the time. The result was relatively low prices on the exchange at below 40 euros per megawatt-hour in the afternoon, with a peak coming in at only 52.56 euros at 8 PM.
Renewables International 16th Sept 2012 more >>
For a good few years now, nuclear fusion has looked like offering a solution to the problem. For every 100 tonnes of coal we burn, fusion has the potential to deliver the same amount of energy, without any carbon dioxide emission, using a small bath of water and the lithium contained in a single laptop battery. Moreover, it would be inherently very safe and would not produce any significant radioactive waste. Lest there be any confusion, the science behind this way of harnessing the energy locked away inside the atomic nucleus is entirely different from that used in current nuclear fission reactors. It almost seems too good to be true but it isn’t. A fusion reactor called Iter is currently under construction in France and is due to start operation in 2020. Its principal goal is to determine the viability of fusion at the scale of a power station. Success is widely anticipated and there are already plans afoot to build a “demonstration power plant” to start operating in the 2030s.
Observer 16th Sept 2012 more >>
MORE pressure has been piled on the SNP leadership over its controversial proposal to keep an independent Scotland in Nato after a top Scottish defence analyst claimed this would lead to nuclear weapons staying on the Clyde for longer. Dr Phillips O’Brien from the Scottish Centre for War Studies at Glasgow University, appearing before the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, was asked if being in Nato would make it more likely nuclear weapons would stay in Scotland longer. “I would say yes,” he replied. “I would say if Scotland were to go independent and leave Nato, both the domestic pressures within Scotland to get them out and the strategic need of the rest of the UK to rebase them would be raised.” Dr O’Brien suggested Nato membership was central to the independence debate. He explained: “It would be easier for the rest of the UK to negotiate the security arrangement if Scotland remained in Nato – If Scotland is outside Nato, a lot of bets are off. “That’s why no-one in the US State Department and Defence Department will go on the record about this. They are very worried about a non-Nato Scotland.”
Herald 17th Sept 2012 more >>
Declassified documents have revealed for the first time how the Carter administration planned to fight a nuclear war. Presidential Decision Directive 59, signed by President Jimmy Carter on July 25, 1980, was one of the most controversial nuclear policy documents of the Cold War and aimed to give presidents more discretion in planning for and executing a nuclear war.
Daily Mail 16th Sept 2012 more >>
In a Sheffield church hall on Saturday, about 100 people were offered the opportunity to be part of England’s largest community-owned hydro scheme. But to have a role in a national movement that fundamentally changes the way that energy is generated, the Jordan Dam project needs to reach a much bigger audience and that is where Microgenius comes in. Like many people I had looked into the possibility of installing solar panels on my roof, but the first installer took one look and shook his head. “Too angular,” he said. So I started to look at other ways to invest in renewable energy and stumbled upon the community energy movement. Co-operatives have been around since the 19th century, and increasing numbers of both co-operatives and community benefit societies (Industrial & Provident Societies) are being formed to install sustainable energy microgeneration using modern hydro, wind, solar and biomass technologies. They are selling community shares to ordinary people to make these projects a reality. There are at least 59 energy co-operatives already registered across the UK, according to the Community Shares Action Learning Research Project and that’s just the tip of the iceberg there are many more bubbling under the surface. The co-operative movement in general is going through a renaissance, both in the UK, where it has outperformed the economy for a fourth year running, and internationally, with 2012 being the UN’s International Year of Co-operatives.
Guardian 17th Sept 2012 more >>