NUCLEAR lobbyists are planning a “public information campaign,” they announced yesterday, to persuade the public that burying radioactive waste in Britain is safe. It is due to launch early next month after “experts” claimed that 30 per cent of Britain excluding Scotland was “suitable” for disposing of dangerous nuclear waste in boreholes and caverns 200 to 1,000 metres below ground. The £4 billion proposal for geological dumping declares that waste would remain safe for hundreds of thousands of years. But plans for such disposal in west Cumbria were scuppered in 2013 because of local opposition and planning and consultation will delay the first burial of nuclear waste until at least 2040.
Morning Star 18th Aug 2015 read more »
Plans costing £4bn to identify and create a geological disposal site for the UK’s radioactive waste are being hindered by a “nuclear perception problem” say experts. It is estimated that the lifetime cost of disposing of the radioactive waste accumulated to date will cost the taxpayer around £12bn, with £4bn estimated to be spent before the waste can be buried. Surveys available to date indicate that 30% of the UK, excluding Scotland, could be geologically suitable for such a site. But Alun Ellis, science and technology director of Radioactive Waste Management (RWM), the government-owned company asked to deliver a geological disposal unit, said that “the other half of the problem – the more difficult half – is how we overcome the social and political challenges.”
Guardian 17th Aug 2015 read more »
FT 17th Aug 2015 read more »
Telegraph 17th Aug 2015 read more »
Cumbria Trust was interested to read reports in several publications including The Guardian and F T yesterday of a briefing given to the media by Alun Ellis, Science and Technology Director of Radioactive Waste Management(RWM). We were very surprised to see that these articles acknowledge that 30% of the UK (excluding Scotland) has potentially suitable geology for geological disposal. That agrees very closely with Cumbria Trust’s view, and the conclusions of the Nirex investigation during the 1990s, which spent around a billion pounds in today’s money investigating Cumbrian geology as well as a national survey. The Lead Inspector of the Nirex Inquiry, Chris McDonald, has stated that the search process should move away from Cumbria to the east and south of England where the geology is simple and predictable. It is absolutely clear that West Cumbria would not be part of that 30% of the UK in any rational process, as Nirex concluded. Are we to assume that RWM has at last seen sense and now accepts the scientific consensus, amongst those without a vested interest, that Cumbria should be ruled out? Regrettably that seems unlikely.
Cumbria Trust 18th Aug 2015 read more »
A new plasma furnace system that can reduce the volume of nuclear intermediate level waste (ILW) by up to 90% could save the nuclear industry billions in waste storage costs, says Costain. ILW results from nuclear waste management and decommissioning, and includes materials such as radioactive sludge and contaminated equipment. By reducing the volume of ILW the cost of packaging and storing the waste materials is minimised. To trial the technology Costain collaborated with waste management firm Tectronics to adapt and enhance its existing plasma furnace technology to vitrify ILW. Tectronics built test facilities at Swindon over two years, with the trials taking two months. The furnace operates at around 1000⁰C to 1400°C, taking between six and 12 hours to reduce waste to a glass-like substance.
Professional Engineer 17th Aug 2015 read more »
Letter Pete Wilkinson: As a member of the Government’s committee on radioactive waste management from 2003 to 2007, I shared responsibility for examining the best way of dealing with radioactive waste generated by the nuclear programme of the time. The committee concluded that there is no best way but merely a “least worst” method, which is to commit the 500,000 cubic metres (more than 17 million cubic feet) of lethal waste containing 78 million terabecquerels (units of radioactivity) to deep geological disposal. That decision came with several caveats and was not supported by all the members of the committee. The new nuclear programme which the Government wishes to pursue will add only a further 50,000 cubic metres of waste but an estimated 800 million terabecquerels of radioactivity to the stockpile. Despite the absence of a community ready to host a deep geological repository and the many significant and as-yet unresolved risks associated with deep burial, the Government seems wedded to this antiquated and hugely costly technology.
Telegraph 18th Aug 2015 read more »
A plea by Ms. Aoki to the people living near the threatened Wylfa nuclear development, north Wales. On behalf of the 160,000 Fukushima evacuees following the nuclear disaster of 2011 – ”Please learn from Fukushima. Please learn from our mistake. You do not want to apologise to your own children, to your grandchildren for making the wrong choice before they were even born.I believe no one in this world should go through what Fukushima is going through right now. I deeply hope my voice helps you make a wise decision.”
Stop Wylfa 11th Aug 2015 read more »
Letter: I applaud your work in highlighting the impending losses to taxpayers and electricity consumers if Hinkley Point C proceeds with the European Pressurised Reactor design. Losses could extend far beyond the estimated £16 billion cost of the build, especially if the reactors fail to work, as all the other EPRs have done. The latest EPR, at Flamanville, near Cherbourg, is more than five years late. Its original €3.3 billion (£2.3 billion) budget has risen to more than €9 billion. Earlier this year, the French nuclear inspectorate condemned all its steel as unfit for purpose. Apparently the same source for the steel is earmarked for the Hinkley Point reactors – a cause for concern. The EPR design also leaves an expensive nuclear waste legacy. Meanwhile, energy policy looks set to fall short in terms of economy, self-sufficiency and security in electricity supply, with 2016 the watershed year. Imported electricity bought from the surplus of other European countries not only costs more; it could fail to materialise in a really cold winter. An interim gas-fired power station building programme could buy the time to ensure we develop and build thorium-powered nuclear stations. A gas-fired programme could be financed, independent of the taxpayer, on a normal commercial basis. Combined-cycle power stations could be manufactured by British companies and built by British engineers within two and a half to three years. We can source the gas, if not the engineering skills, from the North Sea or our onshore resources.
Telegraph 18th Aug 2015 read more »
Oldbury nuclear power station will be completely defueled by October, the site’s operators have said. Once the process is complete, Magnox, which runs the plant in South Gloucestershire, said it can begin essential decommissioning work and care and maintenance preparations. “Our aim is to ship all the remaining fuel to Sellafield by the early part of next year. Everyone on site is working hard to achieve this target,”
Process Engineering 17th Aug 2015 read more »
Scottish businesses hoping to reduce their emissions will now be able to apply for up to £100,000 to switch their transport fleet to electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, under a new Scottish government loan scheme announced last week. The Energy Saving Trust, which has secured funding from the Scottish government’s Transport Scotland agency, has set aside £2.5m to encourage drivers to move from diesel and petrol vehicles to cleaner alternatives.
Business Green 17th Aug 2015 read more »
Americans know the clean energy economy is here and they are embracing it. More than seven out of 10 of us want more emphasis on wind and solar energy, while only about a third favor more nuclear energy, according to the latest research from the Gallup poling organization. Gallup also found that support for nuclear power dropped by 11 percentage points in the United States in the last five years. Meanwhile, the struggling nuclear industry is trying to pitch its product as a viable low-carbon alternative to clean energy, rather than the dangerous and expensive choice that it is.
Miami Herald 9th Aug 2015 read more »
The South African government is forging ahead with its plan to procure 9600 MW of nuclear power, even though the idea is extremely unpopular in most sectors of South African society. So far, several vendors have paraded their technology and Intergovernmental Framework Agreements have been signed with Russia, China, France, the United States and South Korea. The contents of which were kept secret from the South African public up until very recently–except for the Russian one which was leaked by Vladimir Slivyak of Ecodefense to the South African based environmental justice organization, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg. The agreements with the United States, France and China were finally tabled at Parliament last week where the Minister of Energy announced that the nuclear procurement will proceed as soon as next month. The contents of the agreements show that Russia’s Rosatom is clearly leading the pack.
Green World 17th August 2015 read more »
On August 11th a nuclear reactor on the southern island of Kyushu became the first to come back on-stream since the Fukushima disaster in 2011 barring a limited resumption in 2012-13. Three-fifths of Japanese polled oppose restarting nuclear plants, and the LDP worries that the anti-nuclear movement will now unite with those opposed to the defence legislation. For all the popular grumbling, Mr Abe knows that he faces little challenge either from within his own party or from a hopeless opposition. Still, next summer elections will be held for the Diet’s upper house, where the government’s majority is slim. Just because the opposition is unattractive does not mean the public will not vote for it, says Gerald Curtis of Columbia University. If voters have shown themselves to be anything in recent elections, it is volatile.
Economist 15th Aug 2015 read more »
Japanese utility Kyushu Electric Power said on Monday that it was monitoring activity at a volcano near its Sendai nuclear plant, but did not need to take any special precautions after authorities warned of the risk of a larger-than-usual eruption.
Reuters 17th Aug 2015 read more »
Authorities triggered an emergency response on Monday — including barring all incoming traffic — at a South Carolina nuclear site because of what was described as “a potential security event.” “Electronic and canine scans of a vendor delivery truck indicated a possibility of explosive residue on the truck.” That hit spurred authorities from South Carolina and Georgia to join the site’s security contractor, Centerra, according to the Savannah River Site release.
CNN 17th Aug 2015 read more »
BBC 17th Aug 2015 read more »
Reuters 18th Aug 2015 read more »
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has submitted a letter needed to obtain operating license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for the new 1,200MW unit 2 of Watts Bar nuclear power plant, located near Spring City, Tennessee, US. The letter confirms that the construction of nuclear reactor is substantially complete, while outlining remaining key activities that will be finished prior to the start up of the reactor.
Energy Business Review 17th Aug 2015 read more »
The South Australian government is conducting a royal commission into expanding the nuclear industry in the state. If the pro-nuclear positions taken by the majority of the commission’s advisory committee are anything to go by, this would mean two things: expensive nuclear power, and expensive nuclear waste. The economic case for nuclear power is already shaky. Respected financial advisory firm Lazard recently gave their assessment of the unsubsidised cost of energy. They found that existing renewable and gas technologies are already cheaper than nuclear power. And while renewables are getting cheaper, new nuclear builds are getting more expensive. Flagship projects in the US and Europe are suffering from chronic cost overruns, while the UK’s Hinkley Point C project is in doubt, despite the UK government signing a 35-year deal to buy electricity at nearly twice the current market rate.
Guardian 18th Aug 2015 read more »
Indonesia’s regulations for nuclear and radiation safety “can be improved”. A team of experts said the current framework “protects public health and safety” and there are a “number of good practices” but gave recommendations on how to strengthen it. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) advised the government to “develop a national policy and strategy for safety, supported by a co-ordinated national action plan”. It added the country should ensure national legislation for safety, including relevant regulations and guides, are kept up to date with current IAEA Safety Standards.
Energy Live News 17th Aug 2015 read more »
Europe’s five biggest energy markets have added 8GW of wind and solar capacity in the first half of 2015, a new report has found. The wind and solar capacities of the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain have grown to a combined total of around 175GW.
Edie 17th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – Scotland
In 2015, we have entered a new phase for renewable energy and its practical application to decarbonise the Scottish energy mix. We have already achieved high penetration of renewables electricity, but future decarbonisation will have to come from increasing that penetration and pulling in other sectors: heat and transport. Much easier said than done, but it’s where our focus must now shift if we are to continue our considerable progress.
Scottish Energy News 18th Aug 2015 read more »
A trial of heat meters in 227 council homes in Sheffield has cut heating bills by approximately £238 per house. Sheffield City Council says it plans to roll out the pay-as-you-go meters to all 6,000 homes on its district heating network, saving up to £1.6m a year.
Edie 17th Aug 2015 read more »
Switching to LED street lights could save millions of pounds a year for local authorities across Scotland, new figures suggest. Of the country’s 890,820 street lights, 5% are currently run using the more energy-efficient bulbs, according to Scottish Futures Trust (SFT). The organisation’s data shows that £40million is spent every year on energy for street lighting, and it said 50-70% could be saved by switching to LEDs – or £19million to £26.6 million. The cost of running a conventional street light is 13p per night, which could be cut to 9p using the alternative lamps. The figures emerged ahead of a conference hosted by Scottish Renewables in Edinburgh next month where speakers from across the world will gather to look at ways to tie together energy, transport, industry and civic society to save energy.
Aberdeen Press & Journal 17th Aug 2015 read more »
At least 2,400 square kilometres of the English countryside will today be thrown open to oil explorers as the government announces a new drive to encourage fracking in Britain. Dozens of 100-square-kilometre licence blocks will be handed out to fracking companies in an announcement from the Department for Energy and Climate Change. Companies involved in the bidding, thought to include Total of France, Cuadrilla Resources and IGas, stand to benefit from fast-track planning laws unveiled last week. These will allow the government to overrule local councils if they fail to decide on planning applications from frackers within 16 weeks. The government believes that fracking could create up to 60,000 jobs and billions of pounds worth of investment for local economies. Opponents claim that it will contaminate water sources and potentially trigger earthquakes. Samantha Faulder, a campaigner with Frack-Off, predicted that today’s announcement would trigger an explosion of local opposition.
Times 18th Aug 2015 read more »