Cumbria’s cash-strapped local authorities could miss out on a multi-million pound windfall from nuclear new build at Sellafield. At present, local authorities receive 50 per cent of the business rates from the nuclear industry in Cumbria, with the rest going to central government. But ministers are proposing that Whitehall keeps all the rates received from Moorside, Sellafield, where NuGen plans to build the UK’s biggest nuclear power plant. This would amount to many millions of pounds – Sellafield’s annual rates bill is £32 million. Workington Labour MP Sue Hayman is demanding a rethink. She said: “One of the areas that our local community gets the most funding from is the nuclear industry, in order to fund vital public services in Cumbria. “With the swingeing cuts being imposed upon local government, it is more important than ever that we receive assurances that the services that our local councils can provide will not have to be cut further.
Carlisle News and Star 19th Jan 2016 read more »
As another defence nuclear emergency planning exercise raises concerns with the nuclear regulator, NFLA calls for an urgent review of defence site safety and emergency arrangements. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) notes with concern reports published in The Herald, and detailed in The Ferret that outline a recent demand by the UK nuclear regulator for the repeat of parts of an emergency planning exercise at Rosyth after failings were found. For NFLA, such news is part of a growing body of evidence which suggests more systemic concerns around defence site nuclear safety may require attention. It calls on a joint review to be held on nuclear emergency planning arrangements by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator and the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to allay public concern and to seek significant improvements.
NFLA 18th Jan 2016 read more »
What would it take for you to accept nuclear waste in your backyard? The country has created quite a bit of the stuff and the government is searching for someone willing to take it.
Cumbria Trust 19th Jan 2016 read more »
Big six supplier EDF faces further industrial action following a five-day strike last week unless it returns to the negotiating table. Around 70 smart meter installers, members of trade union Unite, downed tools across Bexley Heath, Kent, and Canning Town last week in protest at altered working hours and the use of telematics which could affect nearly 500 staff. A Unite spokesman told Utility Week that unless the energy supplier returned to negotiations, they “might pull out other key areas of the business that will have a significant impact”.
Utility Week 18th Jan 2016 read more »
China is working on a floating nuclear power plant that could sail to specific sites and anchor offshore to produce power for various needs. China General Nuclear expects to complete construction of this small modular offshore multi-purpose reactor by 2020, and demonstrate its utility for a variety of purposes. Construction of the first floating reactor is expected to start next year with electricity generation to begin in 2020.
Forbes 18th Jan 2016 read more »
ONR has announced today that Acting Chief Executive, Les Philpott, intends to leave ONR in April 2016. In a message to ONR staff, ONR Chair Nick Baldwin said: “I am announcing today that Acting Chief Executive and ONR Accounting Officer, Les Philpott, intends to leave ONR in April 2016. I want to put on record the Board and my personal thanks for the accomplishments that have been achieved under Les’s leadership since he joined the then Nuclear Directorate of HSE in 2009. He has made a huge contribution to nuclear regulation, especially in setting up ONR as a new independent statutory regulator from 1 April 2014, and in running ONR in the role of Chief Executive this past year. On behalf of all of us, I want to wish Les good fortune for the future”. Les Philpott will be succeeded by Adrienne Kelbie on 18 January 2016, who has been recruited to the role of ONR Chief Executive via an open competition.
ONR 12th Jan 2016 read more »
DECC launches consultation to ensure regulation in the energy sector encourages innovation, and invites views on effectiveness of current regulatory framework in enabling innovation.
DECC 15th Jan 2016 read more »
Business Green 19th Jan 2016 read more »
The government is expected to be forced into a renewed standoff with the House of Lords over David Cameron’s reversal on green energy subsidies. After a series of constitutional rows, the tensions between the government and the upper chamber will reach a new flashpoint as the energy secretary, Amber Rudd, presses ahead with a scheme to end subsidies for new onshore windfarms.
Business Green 18th Jan 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
Officials figures show spending on climate change mitigation will be cut from £502m in 2015/16, to £456.2m in the 2016/17 draft budget The Scottish Government plans to cut spending on climate change mitigation by nearly 10 per cent, according to new analysis by WWF Scotland. In October, Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, told parliament: “We will ensure that climate change is a top priority through a cabinet agreement to embed it in the autumn budget process”. But Scottish Government figures show spending on measures aimed at reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced from £502m in 2015/16, to £456.2m in the 2016/17 draft budget.
Holyrood 18th Jan 2016 read more »
Analysis by WWF Scotland of Scottish Government figures shows that the Scottish Government is planning to reduce the amount of money it spends on policies that help to tackle climate change by almost 10%. It follows a commitment from the Scottish Government, first made last summer and repeated in the run up to the international Paris climate change conference, that climate change would be embedded throughout its Draft Budget. Previous analysis by the Existing Homes Alliance had already shown that the Scottish Government is currently planning to reduce future funding for fuel poverty and energy efficiency by 13%, in comparison to their spending in the current financial year. This is despite a commitment made last year to make energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority. With almost half of Scotland’s climate change emissions coming fr om heating our homes and businesses, improving energy efficiency is the essential foundation to tackling climate change, cutting fuel poverty and reducing fuel bills.
Blue and Green Tomorrow 18th Jan 2016 read more »
New Reactor Types
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected projects to develop a pebble bed reactor and a molten chloride fast reactor to receive multi-year cost-share funding worth up to a total of $80 million. The DOE will fund cost-shared research and development activities with industry to support X-energy’s Xe-100 Pebble Bed Advanced Reactor and Southern Company Services’ Molten Chloride Fast Reactor (MCFR). The projects were selected following a competitive process. The DOE’s initial investment will be $6 million for each project. According to the DOE, the possible multi-year cost-share value for the research is up to $80 million.
World Nuclear News 18th Jan 2016 read more »
Preventing a country’s production of nuclear materials that can be used in weapons is just one counter-proliferation measure. Another is to protect against current stockpiles falling into the wrong hands, or better yet, to ensure countries have nothing to steal by eliminating their stocks altogether. This has been the purpose of the international nuclear security summits that have been held every two years since 2010, the last of which will be held in Washington, DC, in March 2016. On these measures, Iran does not fare well. Of the 24 countries that had nuclear stockpiles of at least 1kg in 2015, Iran is second-worst in the world at securing these from theft, according to an index from the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Economist Intelligence Unit, our sister company.
Economist 18th Jan 2016 read more »
An icy January wind races across the dockyard at Barrow-in-Furness, chased by pellets of rain. Thirty years ago Brian would have struggled to keep his balance as he clambered over half-built submarines lying in the open berths of the remote Cumbrian shipyard. Today the labourers building the Royal Navy’s newest class of nuclear-powered Astute submarines are working in the relative comfort of the Devonshire Dock Hall, a vast hangar the size of several football pitches. “It is much better here,” says the former welder, who has worked at Barrow for 38 years. The expected bill for renewing Britain’s nuclear deterrent — the successor to the four Vanguard submarines currently carrying Trident II D-5 nuclear-tipped missiles — was revised last autumn from £25bn to £31bn, with a further £10bn for unforeseen risks. The rise has given anti-Trident campaigners, including Labour’s new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, ammunition to question renewal ahead of this year’s parliamentary vote to launch construction. It has put the onus on the industrial partners — BAE Systems, owner of the Barrow shipyard; Rolls-Royce, maker of the nuclear reactors that power the subs, and Babcock International, which will maintain the boats — to explain how they intend to contain costs once a commitment to renewal is made.
FT 18th Jan 2016 read more »
It’s fair to say that nuclear fusion is the holy grail of clean energy production, with the potential to provide limitless clean energy, but right now there are a fair few barriers to making it a reality. An international team of researchers has inched the dream one step closer to reality, creating a method by which energy dispersal can be observed during ignition attempts, paving the way for improved energy delivery during the process. The breakthrough relates to a process known as fast ignition, which is one of the leading approaches focused on achieving controller nuclear fusion. A two-stage technique, it involves using hundreds of lasers to compress a small amount of fusion fuel (a mix of tritium and deuterium) inside a tiny spherical plastic fuel capsule, before employing a high-intensity laser to deliver a second burst of energy that ignites the fuel.
Gizmag 18th Jan 2016 read more »
IB Times 18th Jan 2016 read more »
Taiwan’s installed solar PV capacity has reached 728.4MW, according to the latest government statistics. The Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs has set an annual install target of 500MW as it looks to reach 8.7GW by 2030. The potential for solar power in Taiwan received a further boost with the Democratic Progressive Party winning the weekend’s election. The party is firmly against the construction of a controversial fourth nuclear power plant that was halted after mass protests. With the island prone to earthquakes, the party’s “nuclear free homeland” stance was emboldened by the Fukushima accident in Japan. Candidate Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s first female president with 56% of the vote.
PV-Tech 18th Jan 2016 read more »
Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are all concerned about the re-starting of Belgian nuclear reactors. The government there promises better communication, but seems to feel little urgency to act. One and a half hours by car – that’s how long it takes to drive from the site of Belgium’s nuclear reactors at Tihange to neighboring Luxembourg. One and a half hours, or 160 kilometers (100 miles), that’s not enough to put the mind of Luxembourg’s state secretary for infrastructure at ease. Which is why Camille Gira, together with parliamentarians and nuclear safety and health experts, came to Brussels on Monday, to meet Belgium’s interior minister, Jan Jambon, for an “exchange of views.” “We had a couple of questions concerning the safety of Tihange 2,” spokesman Olaf Münichsdorfer told DW, “and we wanted to remind our Belgian counterparts that our citizens are also at risk should there be a nuclear accident there.”
Deutsche Welle 18th Jan 2016 read more »
Greenpeace East Asia activists today entered the restricted zone of the Kori nuclear power plant (NPP) near Busan, South Korea’s second largest city, to protest the country’s expansion of nuclear and its risk to the public. The protest aims to ramp up pressure on the South Korean government, which is about to give permission for the construction of two additional reactors.
Greenpeace 13th Jan 2016 read more »
France – Radwaste
French energy minister Ségolène Royal has signed a decree setting the ‘reference cost’ of a national repository for the disposal of high- and intermediate-level waste at €25 billion ($27 billion). The parties involved in the project had earlier estimated the cost at between €20 billion and €39 billion. France plans to construct the Centre Industriel de Stockage Géologique (Cigéo) repository – an underground system of disposal tunnels – in a natural layer of clay near Bure, to the east of Paris in the Meuse/Haute Marne area. The facility is to be financed by radioactive waste generators – EDF, Areva and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) – and managed by waste management agency Andra. In 2005, Andra estimated the cost of the facility at between €13.5 and €16.5 billion ($14.6 and $17.9 billion). However, in 2009 it re-estimated the cost at around €36 billion ($39 billion).
World Nuclear News 18th Jan 2016 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Toshiba has unveiled a remote-controlled robot called the Fuel Removal System (FRS), which has been specially designed to help with the clean-up of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The Japanese government intends to begin decommissioning reactor 3, considered to be filled with harmful radiation, in 2017. The entire clean-up process is expected to take up to four decades and involves completing tasks that can be too dangerous for human beings. The nuclear power plant went into meltdown after being hit by a devastating tsunami in March 2011. The Japanese government’s clean-up crew has been restricted to clearing surface debris as some parts of the power plant still have toxic levels of radiation.
IB Times 19th Jan 2016 read more »
World Nuclear News 18th Jan 2016 read more »
A Labour former defence minister has described leader Jeremy Corbyn’s suggestion that nuclear submarines could be retained without having to carry warheads at all times as “ill-informed”. Kevan Jones, who quit the Labour frontbench after pro-Trident Maria Eagle was removed from her shadow defence secretary role, warned that you cannot turn the nuclear deterrent “on and off like a tap”. He spoke as Ms Eagle’s replacement and Trident sceptic Emily Thornberry made her Commons debut at defence questions. Mr Corbyn’s plan appeared designed to win over trade unions who fear that scrapping Trident – as the Labour leader wishes – would destroy tens of thousands of jobs in the defence industry. Ms Thornberry, who is leading the party’s defence review, has confirmed she is looking at the “Japanese option” – retaining the capacity to build nuclear weapons without actually possessing them.
Herald 18th Jan 2016 read more »
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon will address a major anti-nuclear weapons demo in central London next month alongside trades union and party leaders. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which is organizing the Stop Trident demonstration, says the event could be the largest mobilisation against nuclear weapons in a generation. It has attracted the support of over twenty organisations, including War on Want, Greenpeace, Pax Christi, Stop the War Coalition, Friends of the Earth, Quakers and the People’s Assembly Against Austerity. CND says it has called the 27 February demo to oppose government plans ahead of a parliamentary decision later this year on whether or not to replace Trident, the UK’s nuclear weapons system. Nicola Sturgeon will join Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood, the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas MP, as well as Mark Serwotka from the PCS union and Christine Blower from the National Union of Teachers.
CND 18th Jan 2016 read more »
JEREMY Corbyn’s proposal to build a fleet of Trident submarines without nuclear warheads will “rip the Dockyard’s heart out”, a Plymouth MP has warned. The Labour leader told the Andrew Marr show that protecting defence jobs was his “first priority”, but said he was considering a “de-escalation” of Britain’s nuclear-armed submarines. His controversial comments have been jointly-ridiculed by the city’s Conservative politicians, who fear future job losses at the naval base. Gary Streeter, who represents South West Devon, urged the Labour Party to dispose of their “maverick leader” before national security is compromised. “This is one of the most ridiculous ideas I have ever heard in 20 years in frontline politics,” he said. “It would obviously be no deterrent at all and I am certain that it would quickly lead to the Trident submarine being phased out.
Plymouth Herald 18th Jan 2016 read more »
Any hopes by the leadership that it would defuse potentially the most divisive issue facing the party were quickly dashed as pro-Trident MPs rushed to pour scorn on the plan. John Woodcock, the MP for Barrow and Furness, where the replacement submarines will be built, said it was completely implausible. “Having a deterrent that has no ability to deter because it has no missiles is like having an army with broken rifles and no ammunition,” he said. “It is deeply frustrating because every day that we spend debating implausible schemes like this is a day we are not able to hold the Conservative Government to account.”
NW Evening Mail 18th Jan 2016 read more »
Not only was December 2015 the UK’s wettest month on record, but it was also exceptionally stormy. Bad news for many, but great news for the country’s wind power and hydro generators. In fact, storms Desmond, Eva and Frank meant that throughout December, more than 19% of Great Britain’s (not the UK’s – as Northern Ireland is not included in the underlying data) electrical energy came from wind, solar and hydro combined. That’s the highest ever figure for a calendar month. It was an exceptional end to an unusual year that saw several new records set within Britain’s power sector as the transition from dirty to clean energy continued. Here are a few of the most notable outcomes.
Scottish Energy News 19th Jan 2016 read more »
Renewables – Onshore Wind
RWE Innogy, the renewables arm of RWE, has put plans for up to 12 onshore wind farms in Wales and Scotland – representing about 400MW of clean power generation capacity – on hold until the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirms whether they will have any route to market, the German energy giant said yesterday. The news is in addition to nine projects in England, representing about another 120MW of clean power, which RWE Innogy announced it was completely scrapping in October. In its immediate development pipeline RWE Innogy has six onshore wind farms that are certain to be built, and one more which has secured planning consent but currently has no route to market under either the Renewables Obligation or a Contract for Difference (CfD).
Business Green 19th Jan 2016 read more »
Telegraph 18th Jan 2016 read more »
Renewables – Denmark
2015 was another record year for wind power in Denmark, where turbines generated 42 percent of demand, topping the old record of 39 percent from the previous year. No other country has such a large share of wind power.
Renew Economy 19th Jan 2016 read more »
Independent 18th Jan 2016 read more »
Guardian 18th Jan 2016 read more »
The battery storage market in the UK could deliver over 1.6GW of capacity by 2020, regulating grid frequency and making it easier to integrate increasing levels of renewable energy into the energy mix. That is the conclusion of a new report from environmental consultancy Eunomia, which predicts the level of installed battery capacity in the UK will rise rapidly over the next five years from just 24MW currently. Eunomia reckons the market will take a “major step forward” in 2017 as National Grid brings in new Enhanced Frequency Response contracts that aim to incentivise operators to keep grid frequency within an acceptable range.
Business Green 18th Jan 2016 read more »