French president Francois Hollande will chair a meeting devoted to the future of state-owned utility EDF next week, Les Echos reported on Sunday. “The electricity company, which has an important investment programme in the works, wants to secure financial guarantees from the state,” the newspaper said, adding EDF would hold a board meeting on April 22. EDF had no immediate comment.
Reuters 17th April 2016 read more »
[Machine translation] A board of directors is scheduled on 22 April, following an arbitration meeting attended by the head of state. The week will be decisive for the future of EDF. While the public electrician seeking from the State guarantees its financial trajectory for years to come, an arbitration meeting to be held next week in the presence of François Hollande, “around April 20 “said a source. A board of directors is then scheduled for Friday 22 afternoon to approve the financing plan. Negotiations are continuing, decisions are not taken to date “, said a close case on the eve of the weekend. For EDF, this is to strengthen its balance sheet structure while the group will have to engage in heavy investment program (maintenance of the French nuclear fleet, English Hinkley Point EPR), and while its revenues are under pressure as a result of lower electricity market prices. “EDF is not threatened by short-term liquidity crisis, “it should be recalled within the group.” the subject is to maintain a level of debt to avoid a rating downgrade of the group over two notches. “
Les Echos 17th April 2016 read more »
[Machine translation] As announced in “Les Echos” this morning, the principle of a working meeting on EDF was acquired by the presidency, remained to specify the date. It’s done. François Hollande will chair the Wednesday morning meeting at the Elysee did on Monday. It must endorse its financing plan during a scheduled board on 22 April.
Les Echos 18th April 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has come under fire over “clandestine” work to upgrade an airport runway in northern Scotland amid plans to fly high-grade nuclear waste to America. A leading conservation group has hit out at controversial “ping pong” plans to transport highly enriched uranium from the Dounreay plant in Caithness to the US. The deal involves other radioactive waste from the US being flown to Europe. Even though no deal has been signed, the NDA is spending £8 million to upgrade the runway of Wick John O’Groats airport to allow it to take larger planes. Highlands and Islands Airports confirmed: “Work will get under way later this month on a project to refurbish the runway at the airport in order to enhance its operational capability to accommodate larger aircraft. This work will be carried out on behalf of the NDA. The majority of the work will be carried out overnight and the project is expected to be completed in August.” Paul Monaghan, an SNP MP, said that local residents deserved to be informed of the changes because of the potential risks of nuclear cargoes. Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Only the nuclear industry could think it was a good idea to risk playing ping pong with large quantities of one of the most dangerous materials on the planet across the Atlantic.”
Times 19th April 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has said radioactive material could potentially be flown to and from Scotland and the US. Last month, the UK and US governments agreed that material could be exchanged, with the UK receiving a type of uranium used to diagnose cancer. The NDA is funding improvement work to enhance the runway at Wick John O’Groats Airport.
BBC 18th April 2016 read more »
HANT has reacted to the headline “Nuclear Upgrade linked to nuclear waste flight plans” (Press & Journal 18/4/16) which reported that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority plans to spend £8 million to upgrade Wick Airport to allow large aircraft to collect 750 kg of uranium to be transported to the US in return for US uranium to Europe- described as “morally reprehensible” deal by Paul Monaghan MP. At the same time the NDA announced that no decision had been taken on which form of transport was to be used so why spend £8 million if it’s not to be by air? So one again the NDA in its usual cavalier attitude without any public consultation announces that an airport which normally has two routes per day is to get this huge investment What about the funding required to upgrade both the North Line and the A9? Most Caithness residents would consider these a much higher priority to assist local economic development.
HANT 18th April 2016 read more »
PLANS for the storage of intermediate level waste to increase at Bradwell-on-Sea have been given recommendation by Burnham Town Council. The application made by Magnox, who manage the safe running of 12 UK nuclear sites, requests from Essex County Council that a condition be removed from their existing planning application which will allow other packages of nuclear waste from a site in Suffolk and Kent to be stored at Bradwell. Intermediate level waste refers to used nuclear fuel left after it has spent about several years in the reactor generating heat for electricity.
Clacton Gazette 18th April 2016 read more »
Letter Professor Tony Trewavas: David Hay in response to my letter claims that we need politicians to control the excesses of scientists and engineers. He identifies Dounreay, an experimental but atyp ical nuclear station, as his reason for political control. Dounreay was not part of the SSE and North of Scotland hydro which I mentioned but controlled by the UK Atomic Energy Authority. Everything done at Dounreay, including the construction of the shaft for waste storage which energises Mr Hay, had to receive political approval by the UK government at the time before it could go ahead. It is always easy to point to errors in new technology but without experimentation we don’t progress and reap the benefits. Chernobyl was a reactor design rejected as unsafe by the West and the explosion caused by switching off safety systems. As for Fukushima, 20,000 died from the tsunami and none from the damage to the nuclear station. But thousands died from the unnecessary forced removal from nearby required by government as a result of unrealistic fear of radiation.
Herald 19th April 2016 http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/14435794.The_idea_that_wind_farms_are_destroying_our_tourist_industry_is_simply_untrue/
As some governments press on with new nuclear installations to address climate change, a multi-billion dollar industry will be needed to make safe old power plants and their hazardous waste. The market for decommissioning nuclear sites is unbelievably large. Sixteen nations in Europe alone face a €253 billion waste bill, and the continent has only just begun to tackle the problem. In total, there are 200 reactors worldwide due to be shut down by 2025. But while the primary task of the current decommissioning programme is to make reactors safe by removing their old fuel and storing it, one of the major problems of the industry is nowhere near solved. All over the world, governments have tried and failed to find sites where they can store the vast quantities of radioactive waste that has arisen from nuclear weapons programmes, nuclear submarine and ship propulsion systems, and the civil nuclear industry. The waste needs to be isolated from human beings for as much as 250,000 years to make it safe.
Climate News Network 18th April 2016 read more »
Decommissioned nuclear power plant Sellafield has teamed up with Lasersnake 2, a flexible, snake-arm robot which can navigate through small spaces to inspect, fasten, clean and laser cut material.
New Civil Engineer 18th April 2016 read more »
Detecting nuclear materials when they’re shielded by steel shipping containers is a difficult task, but a novel low-energy imaging technique might just take away the headache. The method works by firing a combination of neutrons and high-energy photons, and looking for a unique emission signature released in response.
Gizmag 18th April 2016 read more »
A global defence firm has developed a system which stops terrorists from using unmanned aerial vehicles to attack airports or nuclear power plants.
Mirror 18th April 2016 read more »
A novel technique that can detect weapon-grade nuclear material through layers of heavy metal shielding could help stop smugglers in future. The technique, developed by a team of American researchers, has so far only been tested in laboratory conditions, but the team believes it could be used to efficiently scan cargo containers to prevent the dangerous materials from getting into the hands of terrorists.
Engineering & Technology 18th April 2016 read more »
The UK has the capabilities to produce the reactor pressure vessel for Westinghouse’s small modular reactor (SMR) design, according to an independent assessment by the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC). Westinghouse announced in early March that a manufacturing study to investigate the fabrication of reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) for its SMR in the UK would be carried out through a collaboration with the NAMRC. The RPV is “one of the largest and most demanding parts of any reactor”, they said.
World Nuclear News 18th April 2016 read more »
Swedish state-owned energy giant Vattenfall said on Monday it had reached a deal to sell its German coal operations, employing 8,000 people, as it moves away from activities blamed for climate change. Vattenfall said it would sell its German lignite, or brown coal, business – opencast coalmines and two power plants close to the German-Polish border – to Czech operator EPH. The coal operations represent about one-tenth of Vattenfall’s power production in Germany, where it is the third-largest energy supplier.
Guardian 18th April 2016 read more »
The Swedish Government wants to deliver on the Paris Agreement on climate change, but it must come clean on its coal responsibilities. Selling Vattenfall’s lignite assets to a privately owned company that aims to prolong their polluting lifetimes undermines Sweden’s climate credibility.
E3G 18th April 2016 read more »
As energy secretary he threatened to break up the Big Six energy suppliers. Now, Sir Edward Davey – who was knighted after losing his seat in the general election – has decided to take on the power suppliers at their own game. Mongoose Energy, the small community energy generation company that Sir Edward joined as chairman last year, is to launch as a retail gas and electricity supplier. Consumers who wish to buy their energy from the former energy secretary have been told they will have to wait until later in the year for details of the deals on offer. However, Mongoose said that “the new supply business will source its electricity from renewable sources” and has pledged to offer a “competitively priced range of tariffs”.
Telegraph 18th April 2016 read more »
Electricity nerds were getting excited (April 17th) as the national grid issued a ‘negative reserve active power margin’ notice, meaning that for North West Scotland there was too much power on the grid. According to the Daily Torygraph, who write for the renewable hating Tory hordes in darkest Surrey, this crisis is the fault of renewable energy. The ’emergency’ scenario is marked by the fact that the National Grid: ‘could be forced to issue unprecedented emergency orders to power plants to switch off……..Businesses will also be paid to shift their power demand to times when there is surplus electricity, as the UK energy system struggles to cope with the huge expansion in subsidised renewable power.’ Later on in the same article, there is an obscure mention to the fact that wind and solar farms may be encouraged to turn down their generation because of ‘inflexible’ generation, which of course is mainly nuclear power. So let’s get this right, the Torygraph is saying that nuclear power plant can’t or won’t turn down their power stations, so it’s windfarms and solar farms that are the problem? The strange thing is I often hear nuclear power industry representatives going on about how nuclear power is flexible and can turn up or down when required, except that in the UK it doesn’t happen, not even with the newest station Sizewell B. There is confusion over whether future nuclear power stations will be able to vary their power, but I am pretty confident they won’t.
Dave Toke’s Blog 18th April 2016 read more »
Catherine Mitchell: IGov has been advocating an institutional framework which it argues will better meet the challenges faced by the GB energy system, whilst also opening up new opportunities and enabling their capture. However, from the point of DECC and the Minister, one can understand if they ask: what is the cost of this, and is it worth the effort? We argue that we cannot know what the true ‘total’ benefits would be in terms of money, but there are reasons for thinking that they would be very large, as set out below. The framework would open up, rather than close down, the opportunities presented by an increasingly decentralised energy world. Moreover, the costs of the counterfactual – keeping going with an increasingly not-fit-for purpose governance – are also uncertain, and certainly large.
IGov 18th April 2016 read more »
The European Commission estimates that nearly three quarters of a trillion Euros will need to be spent on nuclear power over the next decades to enable it to maintain a market share of about one-fifth of the EU electricity mix in 2050. At the same time it notes that the cost of building new nuclear plants has risen 50% in the last decade. Critics say the Commission is too optimistic and has not analysed what the advent of renewables and changing electricity market mean for nuclear power.
Energy Post 19th April 2016 read more »
This month the media and social networks are busy remembering Fukushima on the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, but what we are really observing is the beginning of the work of forgetting Fukushima. Fukushima is taking its place alongside the many forgotten nuclear disasters of the last 70 years. Like Mayak and Santa Susana, soon all that will be left of the Fukushima nuclear disaster are the radionuclides that will cycle through the ecosystem for millennia. In that sense we are internalizing Fukushima into our body unconsciousness. Forgetting begins with lies. In Fukushima the lies began with TEPCO (the owner of the power plants) denying that there were any meltdowns when they knew there were three. They knew they had at least one full meltdown by the end of the first day, less than 12 hours after the site was struck by a powerful earthquake knocking out the electrical power. TEPCO continued to tell this lie for three months, even after hundreds of thousands of people had been forced to or voluntarily evacuated. Just last week TEPCO admitted that it was aware of the meltdowns much earlier, or to put it bluntly, it continued to hide the fact that it had been lying for five years
Asia Pacific Journal 1st March 2016 read more »
Giant construction as high as St Paul’s Cathedral designed to enclose Chernobyl reactors and stop further radiation leaking.
Daily Mail 18th April 2016 read more »
France – renewables
French authorities have green-lighted a draft proposal to triple current solar PV capacity by 2023 to 20.2 GW, according to a report by Reuters. Consultative industry body the Conseil Superieur de l’Energie (CSE) has approved ambitious new green energy targets that include bold goals for offshore wind energy. However, the CSE has confirmed that there will be no nuclear plant closures planned before 2019 as France looks to transition its energy mix slowly. The French government is preparing an official decree that will outline these revised renewable energy targets. This decree will be published over the next few weeks outlining further details of France’s energy transition law. In it, clarification on upcoming clean energy tender volumes will be set out, building on last year’s energy law plans, which specify a 40% renewable energy penetration volume by 2030. Over the same timeframe, nuclear’s share of the French energy mix should fall to 50% by 2025. Currently, nuclear power meets 75% of France’s energy demand.
Renew Economy 19th April 2016 read more »
Despite official assurances of no abnormalities at nuclear power plants in Kyushu and nearby areas after a series of earthquakes rocked the region, calls in and outside of Japan are growing to shut down the nations’ only two operating reactors at the Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture. Since Thursday, the Meteorological Agency has recorded nearly 530 quakes at level 1 or above on the Japanese intensity scale in Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures. This includes more than 80 registering a 4 or higher on the scale. The agency has warned that seismic activity in the region may continue over the next week, possibly prompting more deadly landslides.
Japan Times 18th April 2016 read more »
Telegraph 18th April 2016 read more »
US – radwaste
The Department of Energy (DOE) has a new generation of leadership; “larger than life” John Kotek is promoting nuclear energy via selling a “durable solution” to the problem of deadly radioactive waste that is the direct result of generating electric power from the heat of fission. Without a perceived solution to handling this existential problem, promotion of more nuclear energy usually falls on deaf ears. After all, wastes that will be a hazard to all life on Earth over the next million years, even when contained, do pose a threat. And the DOE’s track record on radioactive waste, exemplified by the failed Yucca Mountain project, hardly inspires confidence.
Safe Energy 18th April 2016 read more »
The biomass industry has called on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to re-examine its proposed reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) set out last month. At a conference on the future of renewable heat, biomass supplier Billington Bioenergy’s strategy director Ed Billington said the reforms had given the industry “major causes for concern”. “The first is that the reforms are built on some assumptions that we simply don’t recognise,” he said. “The second is that biomass is somehow a transition and not a strategic technology. This does not reflect the experience throughout the rest of the world. “The third assumption that was made is that biomass is not cost effective.” Billington said that the current RHI will affect millions of rural customers by “defectively locking them into only fossil fuels for the foreseeable future”.
Edie 18th April 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Scottish Solar Power is to build a new solar farm for ABP plc in north-west England – which will generate up to 220,000 kWh. The solar panels will be linked to the network which powers the port estate, providing sustainable energy and cutting the port’s carbon footprint. Surplus electricity will be exported to the national grid. A total of 960 solar panels are due to be installed on the northern side of Marshall Dock, adjacent to Carr’s Flour Mill at Port of Silloth, near Carlisle. Work will be completed in the coming months.
Scottish Energy News 19th April 2016 read more »