The nuclear industry remains remarkably optimistic about its future, wrties Paul Brown – despite evidence that it is a shrinking source of power as renewables, in particular solar and wind power, compete with increasing success to fill the energy gap. The headline figures for 2014 from the nuclear industry describe a worldwide boom in progress, with 73 reactors presently being built and another 481 new ones either planned or approved.
Ecologist 2nd August 2014 read more »
The rise and fall of nuclear power in six charts.
Vox 1st Aug 2014 read more »
An Taisce has lost a fight to take its case over a new nuclear power station on the west coast of England to Europe. An Taisce contested the legality of a March 2013 decision by Britain’s energy secretary to grant development consent for the Hinkley Point project in Somerset – around 240km from Ireland. Its lawyers said there was a failure to undertake ”transboundary consultation” with the Irish people beforehand, as required by the European Commission’s environmental impact assessment directive. At a recent judicial review hearing in London before three appeal judges, counsel David Wolfe QC said the court was required to consider the meaning and application of Article 7 of the directive and, in particular, the way in which the secretary of state dealt with the potential for significant nuclear accidents. The British government argued that transboundary consultation was not necessary because nuclear accidents were not sufficiently likely due to the robustness of the British regulatory regime.
Belfast Telegraph 1st Aug 2014 read more »
A legal challenge by Ireland’s National Trust, An Taisce, to stop a new nuclear power plant being built in Somerset, has failed. It was contesting the legality of granting consent for Hinkley Point C, 150 miles (240km) from the Irish coast. The judicial review ruled its case should not be referred to the European courts and dismissed the application. The trust claimed, under EU directives, Irish people should have been consulted about the environmental risks.
BBC 1st Aug 2014 read more »
Henri Proglio, chief executive of French state-controlled utility EDF, said he expected the outgoing European Commission to decide on EDF’s 19-billion-euro project to build a nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Britain.”If I have to make a forecast, I expect it is most likely that the commission will make a decision before it leaves,” Proglio told an earnings news conference in reply to questions. A new European Commission will be formed this autumn.
Reuters 31st July 2014 read more »
Back in 2010, the UK Government announced an Electricity Market Reform (EMR) which was to transform the GB electricity system into one fit for the 21st Century. One of the four main planks of EMR is a capacity market (CM). It was argued that such a CM was necessary (1) in order to stimulate sufficient investment to ensure security of supply, and the Government’s original preferred option was a targeted strategic reserve mechanism (page 100, para 69). Since 2010, GB has moved from a preferred targeted strategic reserve mechanism (see below for explanation) to a market-wide auction, and we now know that the first auction will be for 53.3 GW in December 2014. The GB capacity market is another example of poor energy policy decision-making. It suits the interests of companies who are the losers in the move to a sustainable future whilst again being unsupportive to those actors within the energy world who are trying to be innovative. And of course, it is the customers who will pay considerable amounts for something they should not be paying for.
IGov 1st Aug 2014 read more »
Stuart Haszeldine: A proposal for radioactive waste to appear at a burial site nearby, would be likely to fill the great majority of the UK population with thoughts of danger, cancer – and falling house prices. This illustrates the huge problem of public misperception to overcome when disposing of radioactive waste. What to do with radioactive waste is a problem that has so far proved to be intractable to successive generations of civil servants and ministers. In the mid-1970s, it was decided that deep burial would provide the optimum secure solution. A review and public consultation was undertaken during 2013-14, from which emerged the White Paper “Implementing Geological Disposal” published in July 2014. The results show the government has done some serious listening, and it provides some distinctly new approaches. The search for a site will become national, with a two-year period of geological survey and screening to identify suitable regions (not specific sites). Identifying secure regions may become difficult if the extensive fracking of England goes ahead for shale gas and oil, as, any effect on the underlying geology could affect a site’s long term secure storage potential.
The Conversation 1st Aug 2014 read more »
As the UK’s electricity supply margins drop to new lows, the government’s punitive approach to renewables will only make matters worse, write Peter Strachan & Alex Russell. Likewise its threats to boycott Scotland’s wind power is utterly irrational – we will need it to keep our lights on.
Ecologist 1st Aug 2014 read more »
Bulgaria, one of five EU states that depend totally on Russia for nuclear fuel, and Westinghouse Electric Company signed a shareholder agreement on Friday paving the way for construction of a new nuclear reactor estimated to cost $5 billion. The deal, which still requires the approval of Bulgaria’s next government, will help the Balkan country reduce its energy dependence on Russia at a time of increased tensions between Moscow and the European Union over Ukraine.
Reuters 1st Aug 2014 read more »
Engineering and Technology 1st Aug 2014 read more »
WHEN he was a student in Satsumasendai, Ryuichi Somekawa was taken on trips to the nuclear-power museum next door to the reactors of the Sendai plant. The museum, which is still open, amounts to a lavish public-relations effort extolling nuclear safety, yet he remained fearful. Now Satsumasendai in Kagoshima prefecture, on the southern tip of Kyushu, southernmost of Japan’s four main islands, is likely to be the country’s first city to approve the restart of a nuclear plant. The Fukushima disaster in 2011 led to the mothballing of all of Japan’s 48 reactors. Like many residents, Mr Somekawa, who is now 47, is dismayed at the news, but he says the decision is well-nigh inevitable.
Economist 2nd Aug 2014 read more »
Information on plans for Trident nuclear weapons system if yes vote in the Scottish referendum.
FCO 1st Aug 2014 read more »
Electricity Demand Reduction
The government confirmed on 29 July that the first auction for its Electricity Demand Reduction (EDR) pilot was open to expressions of interest. The pilot seeks to examine the viability of EDR within the government’s upcoming capacity market, as well as to inform the future delivery of EDR schemes. The pilot is expected to consist of at least two auctions: the first, for a total of £10mn, will be held on 12 January 2015, with the second scheduled for the following year. Expressions of interest for the first pilot must be registered by 30 September, with applications submitted before the end of the following month. The total budget for the EDR pilot is £20mn.
Cornwall Energy 1st Aug 2014 read more »
Big six utility SSE has acquired energy management firm Energy Solutions Group (ESG) for £66 million, to build on its offering to industrial and commercial customers.
Utility Week 1st Aug 2014 read more »
Andrew Simms: Why is the UK government seeking to exploit more fossil fuels when we can’t burn what we already know is there? An energy policy that guarantees we will burn more fossil fuels than it is safe to burn can never be reasonable. Promising to protect national parks in this instance is like saying it is okay to burn a house down with the people inside as long as you promise not to touch the garden. Often against enormous odds, and in some of the poorest parts of the world, people are finding ways to combat climate change. Dinosaurs apparently, were simply unlucky, hitting extinction when they experienced an extreme form of climate change that was not of their own making, at an inconvenient evolutionary moment. Unless we start loudly humming a new tune, like community-controlled renewable energy, you have to wonder what our excuse will be.
Guardian 1st Aug 2014 read more »
The High Court has today confirmed the grant of permission for the Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association (FFBRA) to challenge the decision by West Sussex County Council to grant planning permission to Cuadrilla, to undertake works at Lower Stumble in Balcombe.
Leigh Day 1st Aug 2014 read more »
Fracking firm Cuadrilla’s attempts to test for oil in protest-hit Balcombe could be thrown out in court, after campaigners were granted the right to bring judicial review against the plans. The energy company was granted planning permission for the tests by West Sussex council earlier this year, despite opposition from residents in the village, which became the centre of anti-fracking protests last summer. Campaigners from Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association (FFBRA) sought judicial review of the decision and on Friday were granted permission for their legal challenge by the High Court. The judicial review will take place later this year.
Telegraph 1st Aug 2014 read more »