The Scottish government said it has “on-going regular dialogue” with the UK government on the transfer of nuclear material from Scotland to the US. Highly-enriched uranium was transferred from Dounreay, near Thurso, to the US via Wick John O’Groats Airport in 2016. The transfers were made following a deal agreed by UK and US governments. The airport, 30 miles from Dounreay, is run by Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (Hial), a public corporation owned by Scottish ministers. Further flights of the material, in exchange for a type of uranium from the US used to diagnose cancer, are expected in the future. Highlands Scottish Greens MSP John Finnie has raised concerns about the suitability of Wick John O’Groats Airport in a series of questions to the Scottish government. The MSP does not believe the airport to be safe for the large aircraft involved. In answer to one of his questions, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “There will be on-going regular dialogue between the Scottish government and the UK government on the programme of movements of nuclear materials from Dounreay. “The Scottish government will continue to seek assurances on the safety and security of any movements.” Mr Finnie has also asked what role Hial played in negotiations about the flights and also what extra costs Police Scotland has incurred in helping to provide security for the flights. The government is expected to release responses to his other questions later on Tuesday. Dounreay, near Thurso, is being decommissioned and the site cleaned up. Most of the radioactive materials held there, such as fuel, are being moved to other locations, including Sellafield in Cumbria where it will be reprocessed or stored. These shipments are being made by rail. Other material has been returned to nuclear sites overseas. During the 1990s, nuclear material was sent from abroad to Dounreay for reprocessing. The customers included power plants and research centres in Australia, Germany and Belgium. Dounreay said the priority “at all times” was to comply with regulations governing “the safe and secure transportation of nuclear material, both in storage and transit”. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority provided Hial with funding to upgrade the airport in preparation for the US flights.
BBC 17th Jan 2017 read more »
The National 18th Jan 2017 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
The Scottish government is due to publish its climate and energy plans in the next week. Ahead of that, BBC Scotland has been looking at two radical schemes proposed by environmental groups. The second is a district heating scheme used in Norway. For most of us, heat is something generated within the confines of the homes we occupy; coal fires, gas-powered boilers, oil, electric storage units. But in the town of Drammen in Norway it is a shared commodity, created off-site and piped into homes. District heating is considered to be much more efficient – and therefore more environmentally friendly – than all of the above. And if you can create that heat with less reliance on fossil fuels, the carbon footprint is reduced even further. In Scotland, heat accounts for more than half our energy use and so decarbonising it will have to become a priority if climate change targets are to be met. The irony is that while district heating is not in widespread use here, the system in Drammen was installed by a Scottish firm. Glasgow-based Star Renewable Energy installed the heat pumps in 2010/11.
BBC 18th Jan 2017 read more »
Scotland must set tough new energy goals that are in harmony with nature in its forthcoming energy plan, according to environmentalists. Climate change is hailed as the single biggest threat to people and nature worldwide. In an effort to slow the global rise in temperature, Scotland has set a world-leading goal to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Decarbonising the energy system is a key element in achieving the challenge. The goal is for the ‘equivalent’ of 100 per cent of domestic electricity to come from renewable sources. Scotland has already reached its 2020 interim target of 50 per cent, with the latest figures showing renewables met 59.4 per cent of electricity demand in 2015. But there is currently no target for heat, transport and power generation. Now, with publication of the draft energy strategy expected next week, campaigners say the bar should be raised to include all power needs. They are calling for a tough new target to be set, requiring half of all energy to come from renewable s by 2030.
Scotsman 17th Jan 2017 read more »
A troubled nuclear power station strategy in the USA has Toshiba considering the partial sale of its Japanese semiconductor business. Nikkei names Western Digital as a potential buyer along with several investment funds. The company hopes to get between US$1.77 and $2.65 billion for a 20 per cent stake in the business, Nikkei reckons. Memory is the bulk of the company’s chip business, which had revenue of 1.57 trillion yen (nearly $14 billion) in 2015. Western Digital would be a logical partner, since the two companies run a flash memory plant in Yokkaichi in the Mie Prefecture.
The Register 18th Jan 2017 read more »
A nuclear energy partnership between the UK and Japan has been officially agreed. A total of 100 companies from the nuclear industries of both nations came together in Tokyo this week to start the process of strengthening existing ties and sharing expertise. The move aims to maximise the economic potential that each country’s sector could offer to the other, focusing on research and development, new nuclear builds and decommissioning. The long term collaboration is expected to build upon the hundreds of millions of pounds worth of activity already being conducted between the countries. Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), said: “Both Japan and the UK have a wealth of experience in the civil nuclear sector and their supply chains have the experience and skills to complement the programmes of work ongoing in each country. “The UK’s world-class decommissioning experience is well regarded in Japan and two Japanese-led consortia have plans to build new nuclear in the UK that we need for a reliable and always available low carbon source of power for the future.”
Energy Live News 17th Jan 2017 read more »
The 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine led to the destruction of one of its four generating units. Radioactive contamination spread for several hundred kilometres around the site, resulting in tonnes of nuclear waste and spent fuel being left without protection or control. A large part of Europe was seriously contaminated by the cloud. A team of engineers was established in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to manage a fund provided by the Group of Seven donor countries with the purpose of decommissioning several Soviet-built nuclear power plants built in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Russia, Lithuania and Slovakia. Chernobyl included a major site remediation and the construction of several facilities to process and store the spent fuel and the radioactive waste, as well as to protect damaged structures. This paper reports on the accident and on the progress with the design and construction of a new interim spent fuel storage facility, liquid and solid radioactive waste treatment plants, a solid waste storage complex and a unique and very large safe confinement that will be moved over the destroyed reactor in 2017. The major facilities have been designed for a 100 year life.
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers February 2017 read more »
Nocturnal local winds carried radioactive material from Fukushima to Tokyo following the 2011 Fukushimia Daiichi nuclear accident.
Asian Scientist 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Russia is to extend a $11.4bn loan to Bangladesh to spend on the Rooppur nuclear power plant. A draft agreement between the two states was published on the government’s website, according to the Tass news agency. The loan will be drawn down between March 2017 and 2024, and repaid over 20 years. The 2.4GW Rooppur nuclear plant, which was first proposed 56 years ago, will be Bangladesh’s first. It will have two VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors, the latest iteration of one of Rosatom’s main export designs.
Global Construction Review 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, is seeking up to $50bn (about £40.1bn) of investment in solar and wind energy, while also drawing up plans for the country’s first nuclear power stations. Oil minister Khalid al-Falih, who has spoken of his ambition to turn the petrochemical state into a “solar powerhouse”, said they would start issuing tenders for major renewable projects “within weeks”, the Financial Times reported. The decision comes amid a slump in oil revenues that has forced the Government to drawn on more than $100bn of its reserves and increasing concern that clima te change is becoming a more pressing problem. Mr Falih said the tenders would be worth between $30bn and $50bn by 2030. Speaking earlier this month, he said: “We are committed to expanding renewables, we are committed to turning Saudi Arabia into a solar powerhouse.”
Independent 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Nuclear Transparency Watch (NTW) has reviewed the draft “Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Plan for the Belgian Territory”, which was presented on 10 January 2017 to the subcommittee on Nuclear Safety of the Belgian Federal Parliament. NTW has written a position paper on the new plan for emergency preparedness and response (EP&R) to nuclear accidents. NTW’s main observation is the lack of public participation and consultation during the development of the plan. In addition, response measures are not scaled to face a severe nuclear accident.
Nuclear Transparency Watch 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Dave Toke’s new book: China, a still developing economy comprising a fifth of the world’s population, will play a key role in the global movement towards reducing carbon emissions. The aims of the Paris Agreement may stand or fall with China, both for its own contribution and the example it will set the developing world. China’s Role in Reducing Carbon Emissions discusses the prospects for China achieving radical reductions in carbon emissions, within the context of the current economic and political landscape. With a particular focus on technologies such as such as wind power, solar power and electric vehicles, Toke examines how China is transitioning to a state of stable energy consumption via a service-based economy and heavy investment in non-fossil energy sources. The book concludes that China may be set to reduce its carbon emissions by approximately two-thirds by 2050. This book is a valuable resource for students and scholars of climate change, sustainable development, political science and energy, as well as energy professionals seeking to understand the implications of recent developments in China.
Routledge 17th Jan 2017 read more »
ENGINEERING giant Amec Foster Wheeler has been awarded a £35m contract to supply the Ministry of Defence with research and technology services over five years on its Naval Nuclear Propulsion Programme. The contract will sustain about 70 jobs at Amec Foster Wheeler’s offices and laboratories in Warrington and Dorchester, Dorset where experts carry out desk-based analysis and laboratory testing and also provide programme, project and technical management services.
The Business Desk 18th Jan 2017 read more »
The Conservative Government’s “shameful” renewable energy policy record risks threatening the UK’s economic prosperity and investment opportunities in a “thriving” industry, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has warned. In a letter sent to Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Secretary Greg Clark this week, SNP Energy spokesperson Callum McCaig highlighted an “appalling” lack of action from Ministers to support the renewables industry. With figures showing that investment in wind, solar, biomass power and waste-to-energy projects could decline by 95% between 2017 and 2020, McCaig believes it is “absolutely clear” that the time to act is now.
EDIE 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Renewables – floating wind
Norwegian oil giant Statoil has taken on a strategic partner as it prepares to build the world’s first floating wind farm off the east coast of Scotland. It has agreed to sell 25% of its assets in Hywind Scotland pilot park to Abu Dhabi renewable energy group Masdar. Statoil said the 30MW wind farm, which will lie about 15 miles from Peterhead, could power 20,000 households. Production is expected to start in late 2017. Under the transaction, Statoil and Masdar have agreed to share the development risk, with Masdar covering 25% of previous and future costs. Statoil will continue to hold a 75% share in Hywind Scotland.
BBC 17th Jan 2017 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Tidal energy is at risk of being priced-out of an increasingly cost-competitive low-carbon market in the UK, unless a successful Contract for Difference (CfD) agreement can be implemented, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has warned.
Edie 17th Jan 2017 read more »
International climate experts are expected to confirm today that 2016 was the hottest year since records began more than a century ago. Early analysis has suggested soaring temperatures around the world last year set a new high for the third year in a row, with the global temperature running at around 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels.
Scotsman 17th Jan 2017 read more »