Controversial plans to allow Chinese investors to play a crucial role in the development of new nuclear power plants in the UK have taken a major step forward, after the two countries governments yesterday inked a major new civil nuclear co-operation agreement. The UK government said the deal, which was announced following the confirmation of a similarly wide-ranging climate change partnership between the two countries, could be worth “hundreds of millions of pounds to British companies over several years”.
Business Green 18th June 2014 read more »
The UK government has entered into a civil nuclear agreement with China which will strengthen the UK economy with hundreds of millions of pounds over several years to British companies. The agreement enables Chinese companies to invest in Hinkley Point C, the first nuclear reactor plant to be constructed in the UK for a generation. Additionally, the nations will also cooperate on the wider nuclear fuel supply chain cycle by developing and exporting innovative solutions jointly in areas such as waste treatment and decommissioning.
Energy Business Review 18th June 2014 read more »
The UK and China signed two agreements 17 June enabling Chinese companies not only to invest in nuclear power plant projects but also to build Chinese-design nuclear reactors in the UK, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said.
World Nuclear News 18th June 2014 read more »
Chemical Engineer 18th June 2014 read more »
Energy Live News 18th June 2014 read more »
Power systems giant Rolls-Royce has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chinese nuclear reactor vendor, CGN. Under the MoU, the companies will examine potential areas for collaboration between the two across a number of markets and areas, including engineering support, supply chain management and instrumentation and control technology. Jason Smith, Rolls-Royce’s President of Nuclear, said: “China represents one of the world’s largest civil nuclear markets in which Rolls-Royce has been supplying safety-critical technology and solutions for 20 years.
Share Cast 18th June 2014 read more »
BANNG is holding an open Public Meeting to try to discover what is going on with discharges of radioactive FED into the Blackwater.The meeting will be held in the MICA Centre, West Mersea, CO5 8QA, on 23 June at 7.30p.m. and will be addressed by Tim Deere-Jones, an expert on marine radioactivity, who will seek to answer the question – ‘Who knows what’s going on?’. Chair of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), Prof. Andy Blowers, who will chair the meeting, said: ‘There is a sense of frustration at the lack of detailed information or wider public engagement about the discharges.People are right to be concerned about what might be done to the estuary. This public meeting is our response to this concern’.
BANNG 10th June 2014 read more »
A North Wales nuclear power station has been closed for more than five months, it has been revealed. Reactor one at the Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesea was shut down on January 6 for maintenance work and the discovery of further problems has delayed re-starting the station twice, the BBC has reported. The latest repairs are to a damaged pipe which was spotted by workers on June 13 but there are hopes to restart the plant again in two weeks. The 43-year-old facility is planned to close later this year. A Wylfa spokesman said no radioactive material was involved in the incidents. He said reactor one was planned to be out of action for 100 days from January 6, but when staff tried to restart the station during the Easter Bank Holiday it was discovered that repairs were then needed to one of the turbines and a gas circulator.
Wales Online 19th June 2014 read more »
BBC 19th June 2014 read more »
The Office for Nuclear Regulation is investigating the adequacy of fire detection systems at the Atomic Weapons Establishment after two incidents when alarm systems in buildings holding radioactive materials were found to be defective.
Get Reading 18th June 2014 read more »
China is moving quickly to become the first country to operate the world’s most powerful atomic reactor even as France’s nuclear regulator says communication and cooperation on safety measures with its Chinese counterparts are lacking. In the coastal city of Taishan, 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the financial hub of Hong Kong, Chinese builders are entering the final construction stages for two state-of-the-art European Pressurized Reactors. Each will produce about twice as much electricity as the average reactor worldwide. France has a lot riding on a smooth roll out of China’s EPRs. The country is home to Areva, which developed the next-generation reactor, and utility Electricite de France, which oversees the project. The two companies, controlled by the French state, need a safe, trouble-free debut in China to ensure a future for their biggest new product in a generation. And French authorities have not hidden their concerns. “It’s not always easy to know what is happening at the Taishan site,” Stephane Pailler, head of international relations at France’s Autorite de Surete Nucleaire regulator, said in an interview. “We don’t have a regular relationship with the Chinese on EPR control like we have with the Finnish,”said Pailler referring to another EPR plant under construction in Finland. Calls and faxes to China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration regulator seeking comment went unanswered. China General Nuclear Power Corp., the atomic operator that is building the reactor with the French, didn’t responded to queries. The French regulatory agency has published hundreds of letters, reports and references on its own website about the Flamanville EPR, in Normandy. It has carried out 140 inspections since 2007 on building quality such as concrete, welding and cables, a regulatory spokeswoman said. Other probes were carried out on equipment suppliers, storage and design. The authority has ordered at least two construction halts after finding faults.
Bloomberg 19th June 2014 read more »
Many youngsters do not feel they are studying subjects relevant to the nuclear industry and have never heard of careers in the sector, according to a study by the Nuclear Industry Association. Research among 1,300 young people studying science, engineering and maths, showed that 35% of students do not believe they can work in the nuclear industry, while 43% do not believe they are studying a relevant subject. The study found that 14% of students have never heard about the careers options available in the nuclear industry. When they were told about the options, 30% said they were more likely to consider a career in the nuclear industry. The NIA said the findings were “worrying”, as up to 140,000 workers could be needed to build new nuclear power plants over the next 15 years as well as decommission current power stations.
Professional Engineer 18th June 2014 read more »
France – nuclear reduction
France is to introduce a cap on nuclear generation capacity as it targets a big reduction in the country’s heavy reliance on atomic power. A so-called energy transition law, unveiled by the Socialist government on Wednesday, reiterated an election pledge by President Francois Hollande to cut the share of nuclear power in French electricity generation to 50 per cent by 2025 from about 75 per cent today, the highest level among developed economies. Critics say the government is compromising a vital strategic asset that has allowed France to charge among the lowest prices in Europe for electricity. But, under pressure from the left and its Green party allies, the government insists the country needs to rebalance its energy mix to boost its lagging performance in non-nuclear renewables and meet ambitious environmental targets.
FT 18th June 2014 read more »
World Nuclear News 18th June 2014 read more »
A new French energy bill aims to cap nuclear power production at current level and leave any reactor closures to be decreed later in five-year programming plans, according to measures unveiled by Energy Minister Segolene Royal on Wednesday. The cap will be set at 63.2 gigawatts (GW), effectively forcing EDF to shut some nuclear capacity if it wants to connect its Flamanville reactor under construction to the grid in 2016 as planned, making the closure of the Fessenheim plant on the German border inevitable. But apart from Fessenheim, which President Francois Hollande promised during his presidential campaign to shutter, the fate of other nuclear reactors will be left to so-called “multi-year energy plans” to be passed by decree later on.
Reuters 18th June 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
A particle that barely ranks as a footnote in a physics text may be about to lift the cleanup of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in Japan over a crucial obstacle. Inside the complex, there are three wrecked reactor cores, twisted masses of hundreds of tons of highly radioactive uranium, plutonium, cesium and strontium. After the meltdown, which followed a tsunami and earthquake in 2011, most of the material in the plant’s reactors resolidified, in difficult shapes and in confined spaces, wrapped around and through the structural parts of the reactors and the buildings. Or at least, that is what the engineers think. Nobody really knows, because nobody has yet examined many of the most important parts of the wreckage. Though three and a half years have passed, it is still too dangerous to climb inside for a look, and sending in a camera would risk more leaks. Engineers do not have enough data to even run a computer model that could tell them how much of the reactor cores are intact and how much of them melted, because the measurement systems inside the buildings were out of commission for days after the accident.
New York Times 17th June 2014 read more »
More than 90 percent of hospitals around six nuclear power plants seeking to restart their reactors have not worked out evacuation plans for a possible nuclear accident, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed. About 75 percent of social welfare facilities, including nursing homes, in the same areas also lack such plans, the survey found. The central government has ordered municipalities near nuclear facilities to compile more efficient evacuation plans after many elderly people and patients died during the prolonged and chaotic evacuation process when the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant unfolded in March 2011. However, some municipalities say the government’s demands are unrealistic. For example, some local officials say they simply do not have the personnel or equipment available for such a large-scale task.
Asahi Shimbun 18th June 2014 read more »
The Russian environmental group Ecodefense, whose anti-nuclear campaigns derailed the building of a controversial nuclear power plant, received a so-called inspection report from Russia’s Ministry of Justice declaring it a “foreign agent,” Vladimir Slivyak, the group’s co-chair told Bellona Monday night. Especially astonishing is that Ecodefense also becomes the first environmental group in Russia to be named a foreign agent. The group is the fifth in eight days to be designated a foreign agent, following a new law signed by President Vladimir Putin on June 4 giving the Justice Ministry the authority to declare NGOs to be foreign agents.
Bellona 17th June 2014 read more »
Is Germany building new coal plants to replace nuclear despite the country’s green ambitions? Many observers conclude so. But an in-depth look reveals that the growth of renewables has more than replaced nuclear power over the past decade. Coal is not making a comeback in Germany. However, German policymakers should reduce the country’s coal dependency sooner than scheduled.
Energy Transition 17th June 2014 read more »
Germany has now become the world’s first modern renewable energy economy, according to the experts. The Federal Republic of Germany already obtains 29 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, meaning photovoltaic, hydro and wind power, and power produced by burning wood or other biomass. Perhaps even more importantly, the national average hides significant regional differences. German states have strong identities and quite a lot of independent decision-making power. The state of Saarland only produces 15 percent of its electricity from renewables and Rheinland-Pfalz only 21 percent, while the figures for Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are 54 and 56 percent respectively. The most impressive case is the state of Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin, the capital of the Federal State. In Brandenburg, 78 percent of all electricity now comes from wind turbines, photovoltaic panels or from burning biomass.
IPS 16th June 2014 read more »
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week denied a petition filed by Oregon/Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility and other groups asking for a shutdown of Washington’s Columbia reactor until it demonstrates it can meet seismic standards. The petition was based on a study that found that earthquake risks for the reactor have been greatly underestimated, as reported here in March. The NRC’s denial asserted that PSR had provided no new information and that the agency is already re-examining earthquake and flooding risks at the nation’s reactors, including Columbia. Flooding is a related issue at the site since it sits downstream from a major dam that could be affected by an earthquake and perhaps even without one—a major crack has been revealed in the dam. It’s not only Columbia that is at risk here, however. It’s the entire sprawling Hanford nuclear reservation, home of leaking barrels of liquid high-level radioactive waste, a mélange of nuclear weapons production facilities and a clean-up effort currently projected by the DOE to take until 2090 to complete.
Green World 18th June 2014 read more »
Iran and world powers started drafting a comprehensive nuclear agreement on Wednesday but still face many sticking points, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said. “Today we have slowly begun to draft the final agreement … but there are still many differences” over the text, ISNA news agency quoted Mr Zarif as saying from Vienna. “This does not mean we have reached an agreement,” said Mr Zarif, according to IRNA news agency.
Telegraph 19th June 2014 read more »
Australia’s first nuclear waste dump will not be at Muckaty Station after the Northern Land Council (NLC) withdrew its nomination of the site following a lengthy legal battle launched by four clans of traditional owners in the area. The settlement was announced on Wednesday by lawyers acting for the four groups after the case reached the federal court earlier in the month.
Guardian 19th June 2014 read more »
Policies to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from commercial property need to be better understood, monitored, and enforced, an industry report will warn today. The paper, produced by Deloitte for the Green Construction Board, the Property Industry Alliance, and government, suggests the potential to reduce energy consumption in the £647bn commercial property industry may not be realised unless policy-makers can produce a consistent framework to attract investment and spur innovation. Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, added that “a lack of consistency, clarity and enforcement of environmental policy” is currently preventing the industry from realising the full benefits of more sustainable operations. “Industry is clear in its preference for good regulation and policy direction, to create a level playing-field for investment and innovation – which makes the government’s insistence on reducing red tape, changing policy, and watering down regulation all the more frustrating,” he said.
Business Green 18th June 2014 read more »
Does Vladimir Putin secretly want you to get your walls insulated? He certainly seems to be doing his best to encourage strong EU energy efficiency legislation. But if the EU does raise its ambition on energy efficiency as part of its 2030 climate and energy package, UK energy saving policies would also have to become much more ambitious. How big a task would it be to meet an EU energy saving goal, and how would the UK go about it? The UK’s current progress on energy efficiency has received a mixed review. The Committee on Climate Change says it could and should do more, with progress so far patchy in both buildings and industry. These are the main areas where the non-transport efficiency target will be tackled. How much potential there is to improve energy efficiency cost-effectively in industry is not well understood. DECC expects its industrial energy efficiency policies to meet 12 per cent of the 2020 target, even though industry accounts for nearly a third of non-transport energy use. But two of the main schemes supposed to drive industrial efficiency were weakened by recent changes to policy, while investment in new, more efficient industrial plant has slowed since the 2008 financial crisis. The government expects tighter regulations for the energy efficiency of new buildings to drive about two-fifths of planned energy savings for 2020. But these rules are much less ambitious than originally planned and to have the biggest impact would require old building stock to be bulldozed. Public service union Unison reckons there is much greater potential for energy efficiency retrofits of the UK’s ageing building stock to take a bite out of home energy use. It has proposed a massive 15 year, £68.5 billion door-to-door scheme offering free retrofits to all low income households and interest free loans to cover works for everyone else. This could push all homes up to an efficiency rating of C from the current average of D. Unison says this would save homes £300-600 on average. Its proposal is closely related to the Energy Bill Revolution plan that we looked at in detail last year. The opposition Labour party is due to publish a green paper on energy efficiency shortly. Both Unison and Energy Bill Revolution advocates have or will meet with Labour to encourage it to adopt their ambitious plans.
Carbon Brief 18th June 2014 read more »