Saudi Arabia has made a late attempt to bankroll EDF Energy’s project to build Britain’s first nuclear reactor for a generation. Saudi Electric, the national utility company, has moved after the French company balked at the demands of its Chinese partners. EDF wants the state-backed China General Nuclear and China National Nuclear Corporation to take a 40 per cent stake in the £24.5 billion development at Hinkley Point, Somerset. However, CGN and CNNC are demanding that Chinese manufacturers are handed a big slice of the contracts for the project and that EDF hands over another site, at Bradwell in Essex, where they can build their own reactor to their own design. EDF has rejected such conditions and begun talks with Saudi Electric about it taking at least a 10 per cent stake in the scheme, depending on how much the Chinese invest. If the deal goes ahead, it would be one of the biggest and most sensitive investments made by the Saudis in Britain. EDF hopes to make a final decision by next January or February. Saudi Electric hopes that its backing will help to secure French investment for its own domestic nuclear new-build programme to generate electricity, produce desalinated water and reduce the gulf state’s reliance on oil. The Chinese companies’ late demand for a share of the supply contracts has thrown the talks into disarray. EDF is planning to use its existing supply chain in France for the project instead, telling British companies hoping to win contracts to team up with French suppliers. An industry source said: “We are desperate. The Chinese are not going to invest in Hinkley Point unless they get a supply chain.” The Chinese companies are also sticking to their demand that EDF hands over Bradwell as part of the deal. There have been preliminary discussions with British regulators about clearing a Chinese reactor design for use in the UK.
Times 18th Nov 2014 read more »
SAUDI Arabian utility firm Saudi Electric is in talks to become one of the investors in the nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point. According to a report on Sky News, the firm is vying to buy a minority stake in the project, which got the go-ahead from the European Commission last month. As it stands, French energy firm EDF Group will own 45 to 50 per cent of the project, French nuclear developer Areva will own 10 per cent and two state-owned Chinese firms – the China General Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation – will together own 30 to 40 per cent.
City AM 18th Nov 2014 read more »
Sky News has learnt that Saudi Electric is among a small number of prospective investors in discussions about ploughing billions of pounds into the venture. A deal has yet to be finalised with EDF, the French group spearheading the project, but talks with Saudi Electric are understood to have been ongoing for some time.
Sky News 17th Nov 2014 read more »
Penn Energy 17th Nov 2014 read more »
Britain’s 550 megawatt (MW) Dungeness B22 nuclear power station has returned to the electricity grid, National Grid data showed on Monday.
Reuters 17th Nov 2014 read more »
A dressmakers, a silver ironing board cover and a duvet are playing a part in a £1.6bn project to demolish and clean up a Scottish nuclear power plant. The decommissioning of Dounreay includes the dismantling of the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR). A robotic camera built to explore pipes inside the reactor has to operate in high temperatures. The DFR team turned to Elizabeth’s Fabrics in nearby Thurso to create a hood from the cover and 7.0 tog duvet. The hood insulates and protects the camera and will allow staff at Dounreay to look for radioactive liquid metal coolant known as NaK inside the DFR.
BBC 17th Nov 2014 read more »
THE Ministry of Defence and Defence have applied for planning permission for two developments at Faslane. The first proposal by the MoD is for a Nuclear Support Hub building (NSH) on a concrete podium, with an access ramp constructed over the Gareloch and associated on-shore buildings, including two access control points, utilities building, and cycle shelter, at HM Naval Base Clyde, Faslane. The second proposal requests planning permission for the formation of vehicular access and erection of gate at the Faslane Viewpoint, Glen Fruin.
Helenburgh Advertiser 17th Nov 2014 read more »
Radiation Free Lakeland will be holding a demonstration and leafletting at Carlisle Railway Station on Monday 24th November from 11am to 1pm – Please come and join us. This demonstration in Carlisle coincides with a week of actions at train stations throughout the UK by groups and concerned citizens including in Wigan, Preston and Lancaster to oppose the continued transport of radioactive materials by train.
Radiation Free Lakeland 17th Nov 2014 read more »
Barack Obama has said he would order the U.S. army into ISIS territory if they got a nuclear weapon. The President and Commander-in-Chief was adamant that ground troops would be necessary if the United States were to discover the terror group had nuclear capabilities. Obama conjured the nightmare scenario to illustrate that circumstances do exist in which the United States military would enter a ground war with ISIS.
Daily Mail 18th Nov 2014 read more »
The French government has decided on Philippe Varin, the former chief executive of carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroën, to become chairman of struggling state-owned nuclear group Areva, according to people close to the situation. The appointment is not due to be confirmed until a shareholder meeting later this year, but is expected to go ahead because the government has an 87 per cent stake in Areva. Philippe Knoche, chief operating officer, it set to become chief executive. Areva declined to comment.
FT 17th Nov 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Brian Jones of CND Cymru, who has just returned from a fact-finding visit to the tsunami-hit Fukushime region in Japan, tells Kirstie McCrum that life there will never be the same again. Brian Jones, vice-chair of CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) Cymru, has recently returned from a trip to the disaster-torn area and says that even though it’s three and a half years on from the tsunami which tore the heart out of the area and destabilised one of its nuclear plants, lives have not reverted to anything approaching normality. As a result of the trip Jones went on with charity Green Cross – as part of a small delegation from Wales – he will give an illustrated talk on Tuesday at the Swansea Environment Centre, jointly organised by Swansea Greenpeace, Swansea Friends of the Earth and Swansea CND.
Wales Online 15th Nov 2014 read more »
US – radwaste
Cumbria Trust followers will recall that back in February inside the Carlsbad Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, (GDF) a 55 gallon drum of waste shipped from LANL (Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory) burst, leaking radiation and contaminating more than 20 workers at the plant. Following a six month investigation, KOB4 and partners at The New Mexican have published their findings among which: Los Alamos Study Group executive director Greg Mello says: “One drum from Los Alamos… burst its lid, and it got very hot… the drum in question was basically kind of a time bomb.” A switch from clay-based kitty litter to a highly acidic organic kitty litter used to soak up excess liquid in the storage process created the volatile mixture.
Cumbria Trust 18th Nov 2014 read more »
How many shortcuts and secrets resulted in nuclear waste so volatile it’s been called a potential bomb by experts? Did Los Alamos National Lab cut corners to make money, and cause massive problems at the WIPP site? KOB’s partners at the Santa Fe New Mexican accessed thousands of internal e-mails and documents leading up to and following a February accident — when a 55-gallon drum of nuclear waste shipped from Los Alamos 300 miles away to the WIPP storage facility cracked open, and exposed workers to radiation.
KOB4 16th Nov 2014 read more »
A review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of the long-term safety of the Yucca Mountain repository for nuclear waste in Nevada has improved the chances that it may go ahead, despite the project being mothballed by the Obama administration back in 2010. The NRC’s “safety evaluation report” concludes that the repository, if built, would “meet the applicable [NRC] performance objectives” for environmental impact once it is permanently closed. However, that report does not actually state whether the NRC should give the green light to the repository being built.
Physics World 17th Nov2014 read more »
Germany plans to its cut emissions by 40 per cent by 2020. But three years of increasing emissions have raised questions about whether Germany can stick to its target. The country’s environment minister is adamant that Germany will not relax decarbonisation targets. Today the energy and economics minister dismissed reports the target would be weakened. The government is set to agree a new Climate Action Programme next month, designed to get the country’s emissions back on track. But a leaked draft shows a number of key issues are yet to be resolved.
Carbon Brief 17th Nov 2014 read more »
Reports Germany is planning to ditch its 2020 climate target of 40% CO2 reductions on 1990 levels are premature, a government official has told RTCC. On Monday the influential German daily Der Spiegel said economics minister Sigmar Gabriel believed the goal was impossible to meet given the country’s reliance on coal.“It’s clear that the target is no longer viable,” he was quoted as saying, adding: “We cannot exit from coal overnight.”But an official RTCC spoke to indicated the issue was still live. “It is not yet decided,” the official said, pointing to a Parliament vote on the issue at the start of December. Gabriel’s position has pitted him against SPD colleague and Federal environment minister Barbara Hendricks, who is clear she will not accept any backtracking.
RTCC 18th Nov 2014 read more »
When President Obama wrote last month to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urging him to overcome a decade of mistrust and negotiate a deal limiting Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, it was perhaps the president’s last effort to reach a reconciliation with Iran that could remake the Middle East. Today, Mr. Obama needs a foreign policy accomplishment more than ever, and he sees time running out on his hope of changing the calculus in a Middle East where Americans are, against his instincts, back on the ground. But the forces arrayed against a deal are formidable — not just Mr. Khamenei and the country’s hard-liners, but newly empowered Republicans, some of his fellow Democrats, and many of the United States’ closest allies.
New York Times 16th Nov 2014 read more »
American and Iranian diplomats – along with those from Britain, Russia and three other world powers – meet this week to start hammering out a comprehensive nuclear agreement, but what are the chances of success?
Telegraph 18th Nov 2014 read more »
Guardian 17th Nov 2014 read more »
Independent 17th Nov 2014 read more »
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced on Friday that it is spending $425 million for two supercomputers made by International Business Machines (IBM). The advanced technology will be used on research projects related to science and nuclear weapons.
HNGN 15th Nov 2014 read more »
There are three reasons for nuclear anxiety. First, the spread of nuclear weapons to unstable countries such as Pakistan and North Korea. Second, the growing body of evidence about how close the world has come, at various times, to nuclear conflict. My third reason for worry is more immediate: a significant increase in threatening nuclear talk from Russia. Both in private and in public, the Russians are now making increasingly explicit references to their country’s nuclear arsenal. A couple of weeks ago, I witnessed a prominent Russian warn an audience, at a private seminar in Washington, that “President [Vladimir] Putin has put the nuclear gun on the table.” The Russian president has indeed told an audience at home that outsiders should not “mess with us”, because “Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers”.
FT 17th Nov 2014 read more »
The Church of Scotland has called for an expansion of community-owned renewable energy developments to combat fuel-poverty – particularly in remote Highlands and Islands parishes. The Kirk is also keen to combat global warming and cut C02 emissions and urges Scot-Government to make community energy schemes a ‘central part of Scotland’s energy mix’. In its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on their Community Energy Policy Statement, a Kirk spokesman said: “Wewelcome the ambition of the Scottish Government and shares its aspiration to make community energy a central part of Scotland’s energy mix. “We recognise that this can help support local communities both rural and urban can make a considerable contribution to tackle fuel poverty.
Scottish Energy News 18th Nov 2014 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
UK offshore wind could be priced at £100/mwh by the early 2020s – £50 cheaper than it is currently – if a strong decarbonisation target is put in place by the next parliament, according to industry giant, Siemens. The comments came at an industry event sponsored by the Green Alliance. A number of big-six utilities have pulled out of high profile offshore projects in 2014 due to everything from birds to sharks – and concern over future government support. However in recent months the industry has received a boost. Danish giant Dong recently announced a series of deals, and Vestas said it would re-employ 800 workers at the Isle of Wight and Siemens said it would build a factory in Hull. Matthew Knight, director of strategy and government affairs at Siemens Energy said the UK has little alternative to wind, if it wants to cut emissions. “The government decarbonisation target is key to giving confidence to invest,” he said. “We can and are investing in improving technology to bring down the cost, but that’s not the only driver – it’s political uncertainty that adds a risk premium to the cost of finance, which can make up up to a third of the cost an offshore wind farm.” “The electricity market’s broken, it won’t deliver. No new power station gets built without government underwriting, but they are doing it blindfolded. We need a policy landscape to get us there efficiently. That includes a plan for turning all the coal off by 2030,” he said.
Energy Desk 14th Nov 2014 read more »
Britain’s 5m historic houses – defined by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings as anything built before 1919 – should not be treated like new ones, and that green deal-style modern technologies were often inappropriate. Indeed, they said, slapping insulation inside or outside solid brick or stone walls, even installing double glazing, might not just be inefficient, unaesthetic and expensive, but could add to damp problems and harm the fabric of an old building. Far better to use natural building materials, heat only what you need and use traditional shutters and heavy curtains, they said.
Guardian 18th Nov 2014 read more »
By 2040, the world will emit all the carbon it can afford while remaining within safe ranges of climate change, according to a report released last week. Scientists and policymakers have generally settled on 2°C as the amount of global temperature increase, over pre-industrial levels, the climate can take without creating truly dangerous upheavals. Because the effect of carbon in the atmosphere is cumulative, staying below that threshold requires a hard limit on the amount of carbon the world emits between now and 2100. We’ve already blown through a bit over half of that “carbon budget.” Last week’s World Energy Outlook 2014 from the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that, on our current course, we’ll chew through the rest by 2040. To remain under 2°C, all world carbon emissions would have to immediately drop to zero after that year, which of course they won’t. While IEA projects that renewables will grow aggressively between now and 2040, overtaking coal as the globe’s leading source of electricity, and that coal and oil use will effectively plateau by that point, fossil fuel use — and thus carbon emissions — will remain about 75 percent of the world’s energy consumption. That, according to IEA, puts us on course for roughly 3.6°C of global warming by 2100.
Climate Progress 17th Nov 2014 read more »