Korea Electric Power Corporation will open a London office in the next few months to look at investment opportunities in building new reactors in the UK. The state-owned utility is understood to be interested in joining Hitachi’s Horizon venture to build several reactors in Anglesey and Oldbury, in Gloucestershire, and in Nugen, the reactor project at Sellafield. South Korea is intent on competing in the global nuclear industry and aims to build 80 reactors overseas by 2030. Executives also want to gain expertise in building and operating new nuclear power plants to help with South Korea’s own atomic programme. The country, which relies heavily on oil and gas imports, wants to build 11 more reactors over the next decade to add to its existing fleet. Kepco signed a $20 billion contract with the United Arab Emirates in 2009 for four reactors. The company is also expected to bid for a contract due from South Africa to build at least two more.
Times 2nd April 2013 read more »
EDF is locked in negotiations with the Government this weekend over the future of nuclear power generation. There are growing fears that the Government might have to pay a very high price to reach a deal. There are already concerns that this means the Government is in a difficult situation and has little choice but to agree a sky-¬high price for electricity generated at the plant. MPs claimed EDF could make as much as £90billion over the lifetime of the contract, though Energy secretary Ed Davey said he ‘did not recognise’ those figures. Today marks the end of EDF’s self-¬imposed deadline by which it had hoped to have concluded its talks with the Government.
This is Money 31st March 2013 read more »
The government’s Electricity Market Reform proposals, currently going through the House of Commons, are aimed at reforming the UK electricity market in order to meet UK carbon targets. But of course we are now operating in a wider European context where, with UK backing, the Commission has been promoting a single European electricity market. Is it possible to introduce fundamental reforms within only one part of this wider market? This Comment, by Malcolm Keay, explores some of the issues and tensions which the reforms may raise at a European level. Such issues may not be confined to the UK proposals, which may simply be revealing a more fundamental clash between liberalisation and decarbonisation agendas across the EU. As decarbonisation targets get tougher and more expensive, and momentum towards a single European market gets stronger, the strains are only likely to increase.
Oxford Institute for Energy Studies 28th March 2013 read more »
World Energy Supplies
Fatih Birol: We are seeing a very sharp increase in CO2 emissions worldwide on one hand. On the other hand, we see an increasing number of extreme weather events. Normally, increasing CO2 emissions and the increasing number of extreme weather events should put climate change higher in the policy agenda, but we see the opposite trend. We see that the importance of climate change is declining in the international policy agenda. This is definitely not good news, because in order to reverse the trend of increasing CO2 emissions we need growing public awareness and action from governments, business leaders and other key stakeholders. But I do not see this happening, and this is one reason why I feel pessimistic about this situation. The second reason is that a big chunk of the emissions are coming from developing nations in Asia, Latin America, Africa and so on. These countries are making huge infrastructure investments, and most of those investments are in fossil fuel–based technologies, so in a way we are locking in our future. I think the biggest threat is the fact that in many countries there are substantial subsidies towards consumption of fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) and electricity derived from them, which lowers artificially and significantly the price of fossil fuels. Our analysis shows that half a trillion dollars of subsidies — i.e., over $500 billion — are artificially lowering the prices of oil, gas, coal and electricity derived from them, which leads to inefficient use of energy and increasing CO2 emissions. I consider this as the public enemy number one for sustainable energy development.
Forbes 8th March 2013 read more »
North Korea says it will restart all facilities at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex, including a reactor mothballed in 2007. In a statement, it said the move would bolster North Korea’s nuclear forces “in quality and quantity”. The move is the latest in a series of measures by Pyongyang in the wake of its third nuclear test in February. It has been angered by the resultant UN sanctions and joint US-South Korea annual military drills. In recent weeks the communist state has issued a series of threats against both South Korean and US targets, to which the US has responded with high-profile movements of advanced aircraft and warships around the Korean peninsula.
BBC 2nd April 2013 read more »
Guardian 2nd April 2013 read more »
in the US, there’s no sign of any impending nuclear phaseout, despite the steady parade of meltdown scares reported in a new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists. UCS dug into public data from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the nuclear industry’s top federal regulator, and found that in 2012 twelve different nuclear power plants experienced “near miss” events, defined as an incident that multiplies the likelihood of a core meltdown by at least a factor of 10. The reasons range from broken coolant pumps to fires to “failures to prevent unauthorized individuals from entering secure areas;” in some cases aging equipment was at fault, and two plants were repeat offenders. One, a California plant, already ranks high in vulnerability to earthquakes. In most cases, the study charges, weak oversight from the NRC was to blame.
Atlantic Cities 11th March 2013 read more »
An accident at an Arkansas nuclear power plant at 7:45 a.m. local time resulted in the death of one worker and left three injured, but did not cause radiation and it is not a public health risk, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. “There was no nuclear release of any kind,” said Ed Barham, a spokesman for the Arkansas Health Department. The accident took place in Russellville, a city with 28,000 residents, about 81 miles from Little Rock.
NBC News 31st March 2013 read more »
Solar panels line Germany’s residential rooftops and top its low-slung barns. They sprout in orderly rows along train tracks and cover hills of coal mine tailings in what used to be East Germany. Old Soviet military bases, too polluted to use for anything else, have been turned into solar installations. Twenty-two percent of Germany’s power is generated with renewables. Solar provides close to a quarter of that. The southern German state of Bavaria, population 12.5 million, has three photovoltaic panels per resident, which adds up to more installed solar capacity than in the entire United States. Already, Germany’s power companies are closing power plants and scrapping plans for new ones. Germany had a national freak-out after the Fukushima disaster and decided to abolish nuclear power by 2023. Meanwhile, energy prices continue to sink, and solar installation continues to grow. By decentralizing power generation, the renewables boom could do to the power industry what the internet did to the media: put power in the hands of the little guy, and force power companies to rethink how they do business. As soon as the sun comes out, that is.
Grist 1st April 2013 read more »
Japan plans a radical overhaul of its electric power sector after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet approved a plan to split utilities’ generation and transmission businesses and open the residential electricity market to competition. The changes, which will be implemented over five years from 2015, mark the most comprehensive restructuring of the industry since the 1950s, when Japan split its national power provider into 10 regional utilities. The move reflects dramatic shifts in the domestic power industry since the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. The break-up of Japan’s regional power companies, which operate as quasi-monopolies in spite of halting deregulation efforts that began in the 1990s, is seen by many as the political price being paid by the industry in return for government support after Fukushima.
FT 2nd April 2013 read more »
Thousands of campaigners protested against the Trident nuclear weapons system in Berkshire. The group met at the UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment’s (AWE) UK headquarters at Aldermaston earlier. They are urging the government to scrap the UK’s nuclear deterrent developed at AWE – and cancel its replacement. The demonstration was organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) at the start of the month-long Stop Fooling With Nuclear Weapons protest.
BBC 1st April 2013 read more »
BBC 1st April 2013 read more »
CND 1st April 2013 read more »
The UK’s newly-privatised nuclear bomb store on the Clyde has wriggled out of independent safety regulation, sparking fears about accidents and leaks. The Sunday Herald can reveal that the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport has narrowly avoided being licensed for inspection by the UK government’s nuclear safety watchdog. This is despite its operation being taken over in January by a group of private companies headed by the US arms dealer, Lockheed Martin. The revelation has prompted one former senior MoD safety official to warn that workers and the public are being put at risk by lower safety standards. It has also angered politicians and trade unions, who suspect a “cosy stitch-up” to save money.
Sunday Herald 31st March 2013 read more »
Energy analysts at global investment bank Citigroup suggest that the cost of solar PV modules could fall beyond most expectations in coming years – and reach a cost of just 25c a watt by 2020. Citi’s estimates on the cost of solar PV are intriguing, because they are well below most forecasts. The rate of decline in the cost of solar PV in recent years has confounded most experts, even the optimists within the solar industry itself, and it has certainly taken the conventional power industry completely by surprise. Yet there is still great divergence of opinion about what the future holds, and what the anticipated rationalisation among solar module manufacturers might mean.
Renew Economy 1st April 2013 read more »
Shale gas extracted by fracking could be supplying homes in Britain within three years, the chief executive of energy firm Cuadrilla says. Fuel produced by the controversial technique, which has been blamed for causing two minor earthquakes around Blackpool, could be feeding domestic central heating systems by 2016, it was claimed, despite suggestions from senior industry figures it would be a decade at least before it came on-stream in significant quantities.
Independent 1st April 2013 read more »