Plans for Britain’s first nuclear reactor in almost 30 years have come under sustained attack from politicians and City bankers. A report from a top bank this weekend warned that the cost of the £25billion Hinkley Point C plant was ‘becoming harder to justify’. HSBC concluded: ‘We see ample reason for the UK Government to delay or cancel the project.’ Key to the criticisms levelled by HSBC’s analysts is that the electricity produced by the reactor is likely to be too expensive, as European wholesale prices are expected to fall along with demand for energy from UK users. It warned of ‘huge difference between UK forward prices and the Hinkley price’. Among HSBC’s eight key concerns is that the reactor will be economically unviable due in part to a rising number of electricity grid links with the Continent providing a ready source of cheaper supply. At the same time it said projections by National Grid to 2025 all point to flat or declining demand. HSBC said its demand estimates are for a fall of one per cent a year. HSBC also highlighted the ‘bleak’ future of large nuclear reactors which have a history of escalating costs and sliding deadlines.
Mail on Sunday 1st Aug 2015 read more »
According to trade union Prospect there is a skills challenge facing the UK now that the first contracts have been signed for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant Prospect, the trade union representing more than 21,000 members working in the energy sector, has welcomed the announcement of Hinkley Point C contracts being signed with key contractors. The skills challenge we face cannot be underestimated, especially given the potential convergence of competing major infrastructure projects.”We need to ensure we have the capacity and capability to prove the UK not only ‘has nuclear, but does nuclear’ and can be a world leader in the development and delivery of safe low-carbon nuclear power.”Graham said Prospect will be working with the industry to seek to ensure that we have construction, engineering, scientific and operational skills needed to secure our energy needs for the future.
Plant Engineer 31st July 2015 read more »
Development of Sizewell C took a huge step forward today as the companies were announced that will build its sister nuclear power station in Somerset. Construction of the new twin reactor on Suffolk’s coast has always hinged on the successful development of Hinkley Point C, which will be the UK’s first new nuclear plant in more than 20 years. Today French firm EDF Energy announced a number of national and Somerset companies or joint ventures as preferred bidders set to win contracts worth more than £1.3 billion at Hinkley. The firms include engineering giants Balfour Beatty, Doosan Babcock, Laing O’Rourke and Weir, and companies close to the Somerset site such as food producers Somerset Larder and bus organisation Somerset Passenger Solutions. It is now estimated that more than 60% of the construction cost will be placed with UK firms, 3% more than an initial estimate. People in east Suffolk will soon be asked to take part in further consultation on a number of major issues, including road improvements such as the Four Villages Bypass project, the sites for park and ride services to ferry workers to and from the site, and an accommodation village for workers.
Ipswich Star 31st July 2015 read more »
Hitachi-GE has requested an adjustment to their schedule for Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR). Their request to ONR will allow them to spend longer on Step 3 of GDA, now expected at the end of October 2015, and have a slightly shorter Step 4. Neither Hitachi-GE nor the regulators expect any change to the achievement of a Design Acceptance Confirmation, scheduled for December 2017, and a revised programme of submissions has been agreed with ONR. ONR and the Environment Agency will continue to engage with Hitachi-GE as the technical assessment of the reactor technology continues.
ONR 31st July 2015 read more »
Update on Hitachi-GE’s progress with Step 3 for GDA of the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR), and the progress of Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor design.
ONR 31st July 2015 read more »
The impact of nuclear disasters is even greater than previously realised – but not for the reasons you might think. As the world prepares to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the day America dropped a bomb on Hiroshima, doctors have published a study exploring the psychological impact of nuclear explosions. Published in the Lancet today, the research reveals the shocking extent of the mental health problems which followed both the Fukushima and Chernobyl accidents. Researchers claimed psychological effects might be more common than physical damage caused by radiation.
Mirror 31st July 2015 read more »
Daily Mail 31st July 2015 read more »
Medical News Today 1st Aug 2015 read more »
Thought large government agencies were the most alarming entities to fall victim to a cyberattack? Think again. According to new research set to be fully released at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas next week, Industrial Ethernet Switches (IES), which are responsible for maintaining the internal networks of today’s factories, refineries, ports, and other industrial organizations, are vulnerable to hackers and cyberattacks. As the Daily Dot reported, these lapses in security could allow ill-intentioned individuals to “gain access to the network, take full control, and cause potentially fatal damage.” But don’t worry — researchers and scientists may or may not be working on fixing that.
Digital Trends 29th July 2015 read more »
Nuclear power is not only too expensive, it is extremely risky from a financial perspective. Private investors will not finance or insure it. It does not scale down, except in submarines where cost is not the primary issue. The cost to decommission the reactors is high and rising and no one has yet satisfactorily figured out what to do with the mounting collection of wastes, some of which will remain lethal for eons.
Oil Price 31st July 2015 read more »
A memorial to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War Two is set to take place in Wimbledon next week. Organised by the Wimbledon Disarmament Coalition (WDC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the ceremony will remember more 135,000 people who were killed in the destruction of the Japanese city.
Wimbledon Guardian 2nd Aug 2015 read more »
Ameren is not moving forward with plans for a second reactor at its Callaway Nuclear Power Plant in mid-Missouri near Fulton. Ameren’s application for a second reactor at Callaway was filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2008. But funding issues hampered the project. State lawmakers have balked at the utility’s efforts to allow Ameren to charge customers for the facility as it was being built.
St Louis Public Radio 31st July 2015 read more »
US – WIPP
The planned March 2016 reopening of an underground nuclear waste dump in New Mexico has been pushed back indefinitely because of unanticipated challenges, U.S. officials said.
Business Insider 2nd Aug 2015 read more »
Greece is facing a depression on a scale arguably comparable to the US Great Depression of the late 1920s. Huge unemployment rates and a dramatic drop in family incomes of over 40 percent have Greek citizens pondering what the impacts will be of the new bail-out agreement. Unending austerity and lack of hope are all it seems the future has to offer. But there is a way to start changing things for the better. With energy poverty emerging as one of the most dramatic symptoms of the recession – six out of every 10 households are struggling to pay their energy bills – it is high time that Greece seized upon its greatest and still largely unexploited asset: the Sun. The new ‘Solarize Greece’ campaign by Greenpeace Greece aims to bring together all those who dream of a brighter and more sustainable future, not only for Greece but for all European countries. Its objectives are to help Greece kickstart solar power as a driver of the economy, to rid the country of the burden of fossil fuels that are holding it down economically and for Greece to fight its way back out of the crisis.
Greenpeace 31st July 2015 read more »
The exclusive use of energy from renewable resources in at least one sector has now become a feasible goal for 8 countries. Diane Moss, Founding Director of Renewables 100 Policy Institute, discussed this remarkable development at one of the conference sessions at Intersolar North America 2015. Denmark, Scotland, and Aruba are among the nations with 100 percent renewable energy targets. Besides the 8 nations, the Institute has so far mapped 55 cities, 60 regions and 9 utilities across the world that have officially established 100 percent RE goals, and Moss points out that there may be more and that those numbers are steadily increasing.
Renewable Energy World 31st July 2015 read more »
The UK economy saved nearly £250m in fuel costs last year by generating its energy more efficiently, Government figures show. This saving is equivalent to the gas bills of more than 350,000 homes. The Digest of UK Energy Statistics, published annually by DECC, reported an increase in combined heat and power plants, with 54 new schemes built in 2014. However, some industrial sectors saw limited new investment and some key industrial sectors saw significant reductions in CHP capacity and generation. ADE director Dr Tim Rotheray said: “There are hundreds more commercial and industrial sites that could benefit from generating their own heat and power locally by putting the right policy framework in place.
H&V News 31st July 2015 read more »
Unlike solar panels or wind turbines, fuel cells are usually hidden from sight. But a growing number of big companies are relying on these mini power plants for a steady supply of electricity with a lower carbon footprint. Fuel cells, which date back to the 1800s, generate electricity by putting natural gas through a chemical reaction. They release about half the emissions of a conventional power plant, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Lately, fuel cells have emerged as a feasible alternative to solar-, wind- or grid-powered electricity because of lower-cost financing, generous federal and state subsidies, and the desire by companies to reduce their carbon footprint and, in some cases, their energy costs.
Guardian 31st July 2015 read more »