Energy giant EDF is confident the multi-billion Hinkley Point project, on which thousands of South West jobs depend, will go ahead, despite the Government’s eleventh hour review. This week saw the opening of what the company calls its Command Development Centre in Bridgewater House at Counterslip, Bristol, that will be home to 750 staff, overseeing the logistics of a £18billion build, from everything to laundry on site to factoring fuel rods. Commercial director Ken Owens said the number of new jobs generated by Hinkley and based in the city could rise to 1,500 once commercial partners are involved. EDF estimates the project will generate £120million a year in wages to the regional economy, which would add up to more than £1billion in the ten-year build lifetime of the project.
Bristol Post 17th Aug 2016 read more »
Alternatives to Hinkley
The District Heating & Green Gas Alternative to Hinkley. Several recent renewable proposals illustrate how we can avoid building a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Dong Energy for instance suggests building more offshore wind farms backed up with biomass or gas-fired plants. Lightsource says solar PV could match the output of Hinkley within just two years. Forum for the Future says we could get 20 GW of new capacity from farm-based renewables by 2020. But Theresa May’s delay in giving final approval to Hinkley also gives us a chance to look more holistically at future energy policy.
No 2 Nuclear Power 17th Aug 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) echoes the concerns of the largest trade union in the UK, Unite, over the recent court ruling against the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) on its awarding of the ‘clean up’ and decommissioning contract for 12 Magnox nuclear reactor sites. It also calls for the UK Government to conduct an independent inquiry into this troubling ruling.
NFLA 17th Aug 2016 read more »
HIGHLANDS and Islands politicians are calling on Westminster’s Transport Secretary to urgently reinstate a second emergency towing vessel (ETV) in Scotland following the grounding of the oil rig Transocean Winner. The semi-submersible was blown ashore in severe weather last week when it detached from its tug en route from Norway to Malta and a 300-metre sea and air exclusion zone is now in place around it. Politicians wrote to Chris Grayling yesterday, following a meeting of MPs and MSPs from across the region in Dingwall. Among its signatories are MSP Kate Forbes, and MPs Drew Hendry and Angus MacNeil, who say having one ETV covering the whole of Scotland is “utterly inadequate and unacceptable”. Their letter reads: “The recent incident involving the Transocean Winner oil rig clearly demonstrates how utterly inadequate and unacceptable the current provision of ETVs north of the Border are. The politicians’ fears are being echoed by two pressure groups. Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and KIMO International (a local authority organisation working to protect the marine environment) say they are alarmed at the grounding of the rig near Carloway, on the west side of Lewis. They have called for all shipments of nuclear waste on this route through the Minches to be halted until the outcome of this incident are fully known and understood. Local councillor Norman McDonald, who sits on both groups, said: “The damage this potentially preventable accident could cause is of great concern here in the Western Isles of Scotland. “It is clear evidence of the real need to restore the emergency towing vessel to Stornoway and of the ongoing risk around transporting hazardous materials through such treacherous waters. I believe the transporting of Dounreay’s waste to Sellafield through this channel should be halted now as a matter of some urgency.” NFLA Scotland convener Bill Butler added: “What if the grounding had actually been of the ship transporting nuclear waste from Dounreay to Sellafield? If it had taken 19 hours for an emergency tow vessel to get to the scene then the environmental impact would be of real concern. “NFLA has been urging NDA to end such shipments for some time, as we believe they are unnecessary with the waste rather remaining in Dounreay in safe storage.”
The National 17th Aug 2016 read more »
NFLA 16th Aug 2016 read more »
New Reactor Types
Most of Britain’s ageing reactors will be phased out over the next decade, leaving a gaping hole in electricity supply. By historic irony the country has drifted into a position where it now depends on an ailing state-owned French company to build its two reactors at Hinkley Point, with help from the Chinese Communist Party. The capital cost of new nuclear plants in Europe and the US has risen from $1,000 per kilowatt in the 1970s to around $5,500 today in real terms. Hinkley will be nearer $8,000. Hence the lapidary term ‘negative learning’ coined by Yale scientist Arnulf Grubler. The Washington think tank Third Way has identified fifty advanced reactor projects in North America, including eight based on molten salt fuel, ten on liquid-metal, and some based on fusion designs.The US Energy Department has thrown its huge research power behind this push for a “meltdown-free” reactor cheap enough for mass production. It even explored micro modular variants for large jet aircraft at a forum in March, and Boeing has filed a patent to do exactly that with a laser-powered fusion-fission engine. One of the US-backed projects is a “waste annihilating molten salt reactor”, which uses up spent nuclear fuel and lethal plutonium residue. As it happens, Britain’s start-up company Moltex Energy is working on similar lines, and this country needs the technology even more urgently than the US. “We have the largest plutonium stockpile in the world and we don’t know what to do with it,” said Stephen Tindale from the Alvin Weinberg Foundation. Moltex founder Ian Scott estimates that his molten salt design can cut costs to almost a quarter of the Hinkley tariff. “We think we can come in at a levelized £29 per megawatt hour,” he said. A gamble on the untested technology of advanced reactors might prove a costly flop but it is hard to see how it could be worse than a blank cheque for an obsolete nuclear model that will bleed us into the 2060s. At least we can take back our energy destiny.
Telegraph 18th August 2016 read more »
The UK is in the midst of an energy revolution. Since the late 1990s the Government has committed to using cleaner energy, and using less of it. Billions of pounds have been invested in renewable energy sources that generate electricity from the wind, waves and plant waste. At the same time the UK has managed to cut its energy use by almost a fifth as households and businesses have steadily replaced old, inefficient appliances and machinery with products that use far less energy to run. Energy demand has also fallen due to the decline of the UK’s energy-intensive industries, such manufacturing and steel-making. But Government data shows that the UK’s reliance on energy imports is at its highest since the energy crisis of the late 1970s, raising serious questions over where the UK sources its energy and what a growing dependence on foreign energy means for bills and for security. Imports accounted for just under 40pc of UK energy supplies last year. The country’s largest energy imports are crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products such as petrol and diesel. The last time the UK exported more electricity than it imported was the winter of 2009/10 – since then it has consistently been a net importer of power through giant sub-sea cables to France and the Netherlands. It’s a far cry from three decades ago, when Britain’s North Sea reserves made it a major energy player.
Telegraph 18th August 2016 read more »
Rewilding Ennerdale is a cause we can all get behind and was featured tonight on the ITV’s Countrywise programme. DEwilding is the opposite of REwilding. Incredibly there is a dewilding project going on right now in Cumbria. The rewilding and dewilding projects have one thing in common…..the insidious grip of the nuclear industry.
Radiation Free Lakeland 17th Aug 2016 read more »
Nuclear radiation is dangerous. It can cause cancer, birth defects and (in the sci-fi-movie world) 50-foot-tall humans and man-eating insects the size of buses. Such a dark view of radiation has shaped public fears, and for decades it has been part of the foundation of nuclear policies. It has been accepted by an alphabet soup of federal agencies as well as national and international scientific bodies. It has affected how old atomic-weapons sites are cleaned up, nuclear power plants operated and radiation used in medicine. The scientific basis for this view is known as the linear no-threshold model, or LNT, which holds that any amount of radiation increases someone’s cancer risk, with the danger rising along with the dose. But Carol Marcus scoffs at the LNT model. As science, it’s “baloney,” she said, essentially in the same category as “the Earth is flat.” The white-haired, 77-year-old professor of nuclear medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, with both an M.D. and Ph.D., is on a campaign to change the way America treats radiation. In a pending petition, she is asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to abandon the LNT model, which her filing, quoting another critic, calls “the greatest scientific scandal of the 20th century.” Two similar petitions, signed by about two dozen academics and others, are also under NRC review. Dr. Marcus advocates an approach that holds that low radiation doses aren’t harmful and could even benefit people’s health—a phenomenon known as “hormesis,” possibly reducing cancer rates by stimulating the body’s protective systems. Among other things, she wants the NRC to raise by 50-fold its allowable annual radiation dose to the public.
Wall Street Journal 12th Aug 2016 read more »
A collapse in the price of uranium has not yet stopped Australian mining company GME from trying to press ahead with a massive open-pit uranium mine on an Arctic mountain in southern Greenland, writes Bill Williams – just returned from the small coastal town of Narsaq where local people and Inuit campaigners are driving the growing resistance to the ruinous project.
Ecologist 17th Aug 2016 read more »
Unit 4 of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant started operating at 100% power for the first time today. The BN-800 fast neutron reactor is scheduled to enter commercial operation later this year.
World Nuclear News 17th Aug 2016 read more »
NORTH Korea has resumed production of highly enriched uranium necessary to make a nuclear bomb after insisting it will continue to test ballistic missiles in preparation for a strike against the US.
Express 17th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
Scotland needs to install a new generation of larger wind turbines – both in new projects and in re-fitting ageing plant – to cut costs. This is one of a series of recommendations which could make Scotland’s next generation of onshore wind projects at least 20% cheaper if Scottish and UK Governments work with industry and regulators to remove a series of barriers, a new report has found. Onshore wind is already one of the lowest-cost forms of new electricity generation and the expert report shows that industry could cut costs by a further £150 million a year. That saving would come from making a series of changes including installing the latest – and bigger – wind turbines and extending the life of existing ones.
Scottish Energy News 18th Aug 2016 read more »
A series of changes could cut the cost of onshore wind projects in Scotland by more than a fifth (22 per cent), a study from Scottish Renewables has found. The total cost of Scotland’s 7GW project pipeline could be slashed by as much as £150 million each year, if they are implemented. Reforming the planning system to make it “smarter” offers the largest savings. The most effective single change would be to use planning guidelines to encourage developers to use the latest technologies featuring larger rotor diameters and hub heights. This alone could cut the levelised cost of energy by as much as £11/MWh. The report said guidelines should be established to make it easier to redevelop existing sites, and that doing so could add 1GW of capacity to the existing pipeline. The consent process should be improved to make it more “coherent” and “consistent”.
Utility Week 17th Aug 2016 read more »
Sadiq Khan today named charity director Shirley Rodrigues as London’s new deputy mayor for environment and energy, in the latest addition to his team at City Hall. Rodrigues worked in several senior environmental policy roles under the Mayoralties of both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson from 2005 to 2009, helping to implement the Low Emission Zone in Central London alongside programmes to retrofit residential and commercial buildings. Having also previously helped provide policy advice and research to the UK government as director of policy at the Sustainable Development Commission, Rodrigues is now set to focus on air pollution and clean energy policies at City Hall. She will also oversee the delivery of Energy for Londoners – Khan’s proposal for a not-for-profit clean energy company aimed at promoting low carbon technologies and community energy generation across the city, including making use of Transport for London (TfL) land and buildings for solar power.
Business Green 17th Aug 2016 read more »