A new nuclear plant planned for Cumbria could explode in a disaster worse than the 1986 Chernobyl explosion, which killed dozens and spewed radioactive clouds across Europe. Nuclear expert Arnold ‘Arnie’ Gundersen, a renowned whistleblower on nuclear plant safety, claims that if reactors planned for the £10bn Moorside plant in Cumbria failed it would be like ‘Chernobyl on steroids’. Gundersen previously revealed serious safety violations at a nuclear power plant in 1990, claiming to have found radioactive material in a safe. Gundersen claims that the Westinghouse AP-1000 reactors planned for the plant require an additional £68m filter to defend against leaks. Gundersen said, ‘Evacuation of Moorside would have to be up to 50 miles.
Metro 16th March 2015 read more »
As expected, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (SCE&G, IDR ‘BBB+’; Rating Outlook Negative) requested approval from regulators of a revised cost estimate and construction schedule for the V.C. Summer nuclear construction project. The revised cost estimate of $6.8 billion for SCE&G’s 55% share of V.C. Summer units 2 and 3 is $1.1 billion greater than the $5.7 billion cost estimate previously approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Carolina in 2012 and about $500 million above the $6.3 billion initially approved in 2009. The revised schedule includes a delay in the substantial completion date of V.C. Summer Unit 2 to June 2019 from March 2017 and unit 3 to June 2020 from May 2018. The revised cost estimate and construction schedule is a refinement of the delays initially announced in August 2014 when Fitch revised SCE&G’s Rating Outlook, and that of its parent, Scana Corp. (SCG) to Negative from Stable. Fitch expects to resolve the Negative Rating Outlooks once the South Carolina PSC determines if the added costs are recoverable and the revised construction schedule acceptable. Lack of regulatory support for the increased cost and revised schedule will most likely result in a downgrade. Even with full cost recovery Fitch may consider a downgrade if financial recovery is delayed much beyond 2018. The plan for financing the additional cost will also factor into the ultimate rating decision
Business Wire 17th March 2015 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today a detailed assessment of the prospects for the development of what are called Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) – a technology mooted for use in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
NFLA 17th March 2015 read more »
Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, the UK’s long-term nuclear strategy and Ireland’s future energy mix debate.
NFLA 17th March 2015 read more »
The nuclear industry is getting very enthusiastic about small factory-built reactors, which could help its flagging prospects.
Climate News Network 18th March 2015 read more »
Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP) have agreed to work together to advance salt-cooled nuclear reactor technologies that operate at low pressures and with passive safety systems that don’t require human intervention. The Chinese Academy of Sciences already has plans to build a prototype of a fluoride high-temperature reactor (FHR) and hopes to learn from Oak Ridge’s experience of building and running the world’s only molten salt reactor in the 1960s. FHRs are an emerging class of salt-cooled reactors that feature low-pressure liquid fluoride salt cooling and solid coated particle fuel. The design provides a high-temperature power cycle that improves efficiency and a passive safety system designed to handle potential accident conditions without human intervention.
Engineer 18th March 2015 read more »
Outsourcing group Serco has lost around 5% on concerns about the future of its nuclear warhead contract. Its shares have fallen 10.1p to 172.2p after a report that the government may scrap the contract, where Serco is part of a consortium running the service.
Guardian 16th March 2015 read more »
Latest figures from the Scottish Government have revealed that a decade-long decline in greenhouse emissions has gone into reverse, with latest annual emissions increasing by 5.3%.
Scottish Energy News 19th March 2015 read more »
Guardian 18th March 2015 read more »
Scotsman 19th March 2015 read more »
A new shelter is being built to protect the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, at Chernobyl in Ukraine. The construction costs over £1bn ($1.46bn/1.38bn euros) and is intended to stop radioactive material leaking, and to allow the old reactor to be dismantled safely.
BBC 18th March 2015 read more »
BBC 18th March 2015 read more »
There remains “a substantial funding gap” of €100 million ($106 million) for the project to transform the Chernobyl nuclear power station into a safe and secure state, said the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is administering the Chernobyl decommissioning fund.
Nucnet 17th March 2015 read more »
George Osborne handed out £1.3bn worth of tax breaks to the North Sea oil and gas industry in a Budget that contained little of substance for the green economy. The widely trailed big ticket item of the government entering formal negotiations over the £1bn Swansea Bay tidal lagoon scheme was confirmed, alongside small investments in energy research, company car tax relief for ultra-low-emission vehicles and the promise of a “comprehensive Transport Strategy for the North”, to be published later this week.
Business Green 18th March 2015 read more »
Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Chugoku Electric Power Co. decided Wednesday to decommission two aging reactors, following a similar move the previous day by the operators of two other nuclear power plants, amid safety concerns in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis. Kyushu Electric’s board decided to scrap the No. 1 reactor at the Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture, and Chugoku Electric Power Co. decided to decommission the No. 1 reactor at the Shimane plant in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture.
Japan Times 18th March 2015 read more »
Turkey faces a number of unique security threats that it will have to contend with as it continues to develop nuclear power and “comprehensive policies” are needed to protect the country’s future nuclear power stations and related infrastructure, a study by an independent think tank says. The study, by the Istanbul-based Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (Edam), says Turkey, as a prospective holder of nuclear energy infrastructure and as a state that has suffered from terrorism for decades, will need to develop “a sophisticated risk assessment for its nuclear programme that goes well beyond conventional security strategies”.
Nucnet 16th March 2015 read more »
A MOVE to create a £25 million fund for ‘elderly veterans’ in the UK has been dismissed as a ‘drop in the ocean’ by one of the nuclear test veterans who would benefit from the amount. Archie Ross, from Church Gresley, said it would go no way to compensating for the continuing suffering of the men who were sent to witness explosions in the Pacific in the 1950s and 60s. He told the Mail: “I’m absolutely furious. For years the British Government has been denying all responsibility for the suffering caused to veterans. Now they have admitted it, and this £25 million has been offered to placate us and stop us campaigning. It won’t work.”
Burton Mail 19th March 2015 read more »
Telegraph 18th March 2015 read more »
The true cost of UK renewables policy is massively understated and household bills could be £214 per year lower if renewables were dropped in favour of gas, according to a report published today by the Centre for Policy Studies, a free-market thinktank. The report has been covered by the Telegraph, with a focus on the cost of renewables, and by the Daily Mail, which says “Green targets ‘cost £214 a year'”. The report’s cost estimates are out of line with government figures and its proposed alternative to renewables of relying on gas would be incompatible with UK climate targets. Carbon Brief takes you through some of the details with the help of several energy policy experts. The CCC says the most cost-effective route to a low-carbon UK includes a decarbonised power sector in 2030 using a combination of nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and storage. Today’s report is the latest in a long line of similar studies to disagree. They offer apparently cheaper alternatives that are either politically infeasible, like renationalisation, or amount to abandoning the UK’s low-carbon ambition.
Carbon Brief 18th March 2015 read more »
A city in Texas – home to the “Gusher Age” of American oil – is aiming to become 100 per cent renewable within two years, after finalising a deal with SunEdison to supply it with solar power for 25 years. Georgetown – population 54,000 – will take the output from the 150MW solar plant and another 144MW from a new wind farm to source its needs from renewables. The local utility saying it has turned to wind and solar because it is cheaper and more reliable, and requires a lot less water.
Renew Economy 19th March 2015 read more »
Renewables – Geothermal
WATER in disused mines warmed by the heat of the earth could be used to create a new energy source under plans by the country’s first geothermal power company. The Edinburgh-based firm hopes to help establish a new industry in Scotland that one report suggested could supply up to a third of the country’s heating needs. The firm called Town Rock Energy is one of the founding members of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation’s Low Carbon Ideas Lab and is also a family venture that is to pitch its idea as an alternative to fracking.
Herald 17th March 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
The utility and fossil-fuel industries continue to spread a crude canard against the growing popularity of rooftop solar across America. The lie goes something like this: Households and business that install photovoltaic panels are doing so at the expense of other electricity ratepayers because they are “subsidized” by those that don’t have solar panels. The truth is this: Rooftop solar provides substantial benefits for everyone, regardless of who installs it. It helps power the homes and shops that adopt it, to be sure, but it has far-reaching benefits for other customers as well. If Jane Doe in Anywhere, USA, puts a solar panel on her roof, every other electricity ratepayer within the footprint of whatever regional grid Jane Doe is tied into will benefit as well.
Green World 18th March 2015 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Chancellor George Osborne has thrown his weight behind the start of negotiations that could deliver taxpayer support for the construction of a tidal lagoon off Swansea, capable of delivering large volumes of renewable energy to the UK grid. Backers of the scheme, which involves building a six-mile horseshoe-shaped sea wall designed to power turbines through tidal movements of water, have previously suggested the government guarantee of £168 per megawatt hour for 35 years – the highest levy of subsidy secured by a large-scale commercial green energy project. Ed Davey, energy secretary, said on Wednesday: “Britain has some of the best tidal resources in the world – tidal lagoons could provide 8 per cent of our electricity needs, replacing foreign fossil fuels with clean, reliable homegrown electricity and creating fantastic economic opportunities.” The formal go-ahead for talks follows the launch of consultations in January aimed at establishing whether a potential tidal lagoon would “be affordable and provide value for money for energy consumers”. The lagoon, which has won broad support from local politicians and environmental groups, has an estimated construction cost of £1bn and could produce about 0.5 terawatt hours each year – enough to power 120,000 homes.
FT 18th March 2015 read more »
Renewables – wind
More than seven in ten Scottish adults now say they are in favour of the continued development of wind power as part of the nation’s energy mix, a year-on-year rise in the level of public support. The independent survey conducted by YouGov, and commissioned for industry body Scottish Renewables, comes as figures reveal the capacity of onshore wind in Scotland rose by 20% in the same time period.
Click Green 18th March 2015 read more »
Decentralisation is the key to energy success and development, Søren Hermansen said in an exclusive interview with EurActiv. Instead of focusing on Putin’s gas, the EU should create its own independent energy grid, including the national feed-in tariffs the Energy Union project opposes, he said. Søren Hermansen is director of the Samsø Energy Academy. Samsø is the world’s first 100% renewable-energy powered island. He spoke to deputy news editor James Crisp.
Euractiv 16th March 2015 read more »
The argument for divestment from fossil fuel companies -oil, coal and gas – is based on earlier campaigns that succeeded by pulling money out of tobacco, arms, apartheid South Africa, and even slavery. If eventually the companies for the sake of human survival are prohibited from extracting a great many of the assets that they own, many of those assets will in time become valueless. In other words, they will be left with stranded assets. Long before that, those with a fiduciary duty to manage endowments, pension funds and other investor portfolios will rush to get their money out before the bubble bursts. The divestment campaign, now backed by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is aimed to make investors aware of this sooner rather than later. Over time this could well turn out a decisive factor against the fossil fuel industries, arguably the most powerful lobby in the world after the banking and finance sector.
Michael Meacher 18th March 2015 read more »
E3G’s latest analysis reveals how a lack of responsibility and funding leaves the majority of European cities unprepared to deal with the worst impacts of climate change. Continued government inaction could see our economic hubs face billions of Euros in damages each year by the second half of the century. As delegations of cities and regional authorities gear up ahead of the UN Climate Conference in December, a new analysis by E3G highlights how ill prepared European cities are to deal with the growing risks from climate impacts.
E3G 18th March 2015 read more »