Solar power is expected to be the cheapest form of energy (not just electricity) everywhere in the world by around 2030.Yet the UK Government and the French nuclear industry continue to struggle on with failed nuclear technology. The Stop Hinkley Campaign says it’s a real story of good versus evil for the pantomime season.
No2NuclearPower 1st Dec 2016 read more »
Blue & Green Tomorrow 1st Dec 2016 read more »
There was a sense of excitement flowing through the delegates at the Nuclear Industry Association’s annual conference today. The government’s approval of Hinkley Point C in September has clearly injected a new belief and momentum into a sector all-too familiar with false dawns. And that momentum is now being felt on the ground at the £18bn Somerset plant. “1,000 workers currently on site” and “first nuclear concrete expected in Q1 2017” Mr Cadoux-Hudson told delegates. And as the workload grows, so do the opportunities. EDF Energy commercial director Ken Owens revealed that there was £3bn of work that still needs to subcontracted out by Hinkley’s main suppliers. So, with one nuclear plant now seemingly signed, sealed and in the early stages of being delivered, what about the rest of the nuclear new-build pipeline? Focus now switches to Horizon’s Wylfa Newydd plant in Anglesey. The Hinkley green light might have led to some in construction hoping for a flurry of opportunities from the £10bn project over the next 12 months. These aspirations might need to be dampened, however. While Hinkley could rely on China’s state-backed CGN and France’s state-backed EDF to help fund its delivery, Horizon does not have that luxury. Instead it will need to raise much more of its capital funding through attracting private investors – and proving to them it’s a safe bet. This is something Horizon’s CEO Duncan Hawthorne knows will be a challenge. “Quite honestly, we can’t point to a large parade of successful (nuclear) projects,” Mr Hawthorne acknowledged. “We have to have a credible story in order to get financial support for the build costs.”
Construction News 1st Dec 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG) today launched its Nuclear Skills Strategic Plan to ensure UK nuclear employers can “recruit skilled people at the required rate to meet the sector’s ambitious forward program”. The Strategic Plan was launched at Nuclear 2016, the Nuclear Industry Association’s annual conference in London.
World Nuclear News 1st Dec 2016 read more »
EDF has discounted a new road from the A12 to the coast, saying the B1122, with some safety improvements, will be perfectly adequate as the main route to and from the new nuclear power station. Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS) says the power plant’s traffic will have a “devastating impact” on the area. EDF says at peak construction there could be more than 1,500 lorry and bus movements a day – a 542% increase on current levels. TEAGS, which is not campaigning against the new power station and welcomes the benefits it could bring, wants to see a relief road, similar to the D2 route proposed but not built for Sizewell B. It said as well as being the main traffic route, the B1122, a narrow, winding country road, would also be the emergency and evacuation route.
Ipswich Star 1st Dec 2016 read more »
Greater transparency on the sourcing of work and materials for new nuclear projects and a reformed Nuclear Industry Council were announced by Energy Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe at the Nuclear Industry Association annual conference today. New nuclear power will play an important role in building a secure, affordable and clean energy system fit for the 21st century. In total, there are industry proposals for new nuclear developments at six locations, including Hinkley Point C, which would deliver around 18GW of capacity over the coming decades and a substantial opportunity for UK businesses in the supply chain. New nuclear developers are being encouraged to share supply chain information with industry in the early stages of development to ensure that UK companies are positioned and prepared to bid for these opportunities.
BEIS 1st Dec 2016 read more »
The nuclear industry has welcomed Government plans to boost work in the sector and improve the chances of UK firms winning contracts. Energy Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said the Nuclear Industry Council was being re-established in the new year. She told the annual conference of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) in London: “There needs to be a forum to provide strategic grip from the industry and Government and to provide good governance.
Energy Voice 2nd Dec 2016 read more »
The Government has been presented with a “very strong message” from the private sector, calling for European Union (EU) climate legislation to be retained post-Brexit, with the promised Industrial Strategy acting as an ideal vehicle to align policies to the low-carbon agenda.
Edie 1st Dec 2016 read more »
It’s the most unlikely bling since scientists worked out how to create canary yellow gems from human ashes. British researchers have found that nuclear waste can be converted into radioactive black diamonds that can be used as batteries lasting thousands of years. The scientists behind the discovery say that it tackles the problems of nuclear decommissioning, clean electricity generation and battery life. The batteries could last 5,000 years, powering equipment such as pacemakers and spacecraft components that need to last for long periods with absolute reliability. Tom Scott, a physics professor at the University of Bristol, said: “There are no moving parts, no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation. By encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds, we turn a long-term problem of nuclear waste into a nuclear-powered battery and a long-term supply of clean energy.” Britain has almost 95,000 tonnes of spent graphite blocks, used to house uranium rods in nuclear reactors. Extracting carbon-14 from the blocks’ surface decreases their radioactivity, reducing the long-term cost of safely storing the waste by billions of pounds. When the blocks are heated, much of the radioactive carbon is given off as gas. This can be collected and converted into radioactive diamonds using a high-temperature chemical reaction, in which carbon atoms are deposited on to a surface in small, dark-coloured diamond crystals.
Times 2nd Dec 2016 read more »
Construction of the two Westinghouse AP1000s at Vogtle, near Waynesboro, began in 2013. Vogtle 3 is scheduled to start operations in 2019 and unit 4 in 2020. Two pressurised water reactors are already in operation at the site. Two AP1000s are also being built at VC Summer in South Carolina for Scana Corporation subsidiary South Carolina Electricity and Gas and co-owner Santee Cooper. Summer unit 2’s RPV was installed in August.
World Nuclear News 1st Dec 2016 read more »
Energy Business Review 1st Dec 2016 read more »
It’s been a long time coming, but the world’s top powers are now betting billions on the Iter collaboration to deliver clean, safe, limitless energy for the modern world.
Guardian 2nd Dec 2016 read more »
Thirty years after the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, the radioactive remains of the power plant’s destroyed reactor 4 have been safely enclosed following one of the world’s most ambitious engineering projects. Chernobyl’s giant New Safe Confinement (NSC) was moved over a distance of 327 metres from its assembly point to its final resting place, completely enclosing a previous makeshift shelter that was hastily assembled immediately after the 1986 accident. The equipment in the New Safe Confinement will now be connected to the new technological building which will serve as a control room for future operations inside the arch. The New Safe Confinement will be sealed off from the environment hermetically. Finally, after intensive testing of all equipment and commissioning, handover of the New Safe Confinement to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant administration is expected in November 2017.
EBRD 29th Nov 2016 read more »
The literature on EU energy regulations got longer by about a thousand pages yesterday, as the European Commission put forward its vision for achieving a “clean energy transition”. The vast collection of documents — including revisions to directives, impact assessments, enquiries and new regulations — will determine the future of energy in the EU up to 2030. It touches upon subjects including coal subsidies, bioenergy, grid access and rights for individual energy producers. Referred to as the EU’s “winter package”, the new rules will partly determine how successfully the EU meets its 2030 climate objectives, as well as setting out a common energy system for the EU’s 28 member states, known as the Energy Union.
Carbon Brief 1st Dec 2016 read more »
EU countries are on track to meet their 2020 targets for renewable energy and emissions cuts but could fall short of ambitious longer-term goals, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said on Thursday. “The EU’s 2020 targets on energy and climate are now well within reach,” EEA executive director Hans Bruyninckx said. “But certain trends are alarming, in particular for transport. In that sector, renewable energy use remains insufficient and greenhouse gas emissions are rising again,” Bruyninckx added. The bloc’s 2020 target calls for 20% of gross final energy consumption to come from renewable sources, and that number rose to 16.4% in 2015 from 16% in 2014, according to preliminary estimates cited in the report. The EU on Wednesday unveiled “clean energy” plans to boost renewables, cut waste and reduce subsidies for coal power in a bid to meet its commitments under the Paris climate deal. Binding energy efficiency targets would also be raised by 30% by 2030 under the sweeping package of measures from the European commission. But environmental groups have accused the bloc of doing too little to end subsidies for carbon-spewing coal power plants, and of undermining investments in renewables.
Guardian 1st Dec 2016 read more »
A bad nuclear incident near our shores has the potential to bankrupt Ireland, according to a research scientist at University College London (UCL). Even a relatively minor incident that does not cause any radioactive fallout here could still cost the State €4 billion, about as much as the annual yield from corporate taxation, said Dr Paul Dorfman who is based in UCL’s Energy Institute. He also sits on an Environmental Protection Agency advisory committee looking at radiological protection. The worst case, where Ireland experiences high levels of radioactivity contaminating food and water, could cost in excess of €161 billion. It would wipe out our significant export capacity for agricultural products and require us to import safe foodstuffs from outside a toxic zone.
Irish Times 1st Dec 2016 read more »
The liabilities of Électricité de France (EDF) − the biggest electricity supplier in Europe, with 39 million customers − are increasing so fast that they will soon exceed its assets, according a report by an independent equity research company. Bankruptcy for EDF seems inevitable − and if such a vast empire in any other line of business seemed to be in such serious financial trouble, there would be near-panic in the workforce and in governments at the subsequent political fall-out. But it seems that the nuclear-dominated EDF group is considered too big to be allowed to fail. So, to keep the lights on in western Europe, the company will have to be bailed out by the taxpayers of France and the UK. The French government, facing elections next spring, and the British, struggling with the implications of the Brexit vote to leave the European Union, are currently turning a blind eye to the report by AlphaValue that EDF has badly under-reported its potential liabilities. Mycle Schneider, a Paris-based independent international consultant on energy and nuclear policy, says: “The French company overvalues its nuclear assets, and underestimates how much it will cost to decommission them. “However, EDF’s biggest problem is the cost of producing power from these ageing power stations. The cost is greater than the wholesale price, so everything they sell is at a loss. It is impossible to see how they can ever make a profit.” He says that is not the company’s only problem: France has not dealt with the problem of nuclear waste, and has badly underestimated the cost of doing so. Schneider says: “With German electricity prices going down and production increasing in order to export cheap electricity to France, it is impossible to see how EDF can ever compete. It is really staggering that no one is paying any attention to this.”
Climate News Network 2nd Dec 2016 read more »
THESE are difficult times for Electricité de France (EDF), the country’s quasi-monopolistic electricity provider, serving 88% of homes. Outages at no fewer than 18 of the 58 EDF-owned nuclear reactors that provide three-quarters of France’s electricity have meant a slump in production: the company says annual nuclear output could fall to 378 terawatt hours (TWH), from 417 TWH last year. Eight reactors are currently lying idle and several may not restart for weeks or months. Power stations are burning coal at a rate not seen since the 1980s. As electricity imports and prices soar, officials are having to deny that a cold snap could bring blackouts. The cause of the crisis—possibly faulty reactor parts throughout EDF’s fleet—suggests it may not be easily contained. France’s nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), this summer ordered urgent tests of reactor parts, mostly bases of cylindrical steam generators. Inspectors are worried about high carbon levels found in steel forged by Creusot Forge, which is owned by Areva, another French firm, and by Japan Casting & Forging Corporation, a Japanese supplier. In some pieces carbon deposits are over 50% above permitted levels, risking fracture in case of a sudden change in the temperature of the steel. The regulator will rule on Flamanville’s future in mid-2017. More tests or design changes may mean putting off its opening far beyond 2018.That would also deliver another blow to France’s reputation in nuclear power. The only other EPR in Europe, that at Olkiluoto, Finland, is years overdue and three times over budget. Delays might also hinder EDF in its plan to build two EPRs at Hinkley Point, in Britain, for £24.5bn ($30.7bn). British loan guarantees need certain conditions to be met, and these reportedly include seeing Flamanville operate by 2020. Steve Thomas, an energy expert in London, concurs with the opinion of many in the nuclear-power industry when he calls the EPR a dud. EDF is pushing on regardless, but the financial strain is mounting. In March, EDF’s then chief financial officer, Thomas Piquemal, quit, calling Hinkley Point unaffordable. The future looks bleak. Some four-fifths of French nuclear plants were built in a decade from the late 1970s. The plants have a 40-year lifespan, meaning that several a year face retirement over the next decade. Energy planners have assumed there will be extensions to 50 years or more. But the ASN may hesitate after the forging problems, or impose higher costs. Cyrille Cormier, a nuclear engineer who is now at Greenpeace, a campaign group that opposes nuclear power, says a total refit could cost EDF an extra €60bn-200bn.
Economist 3rd Dec 2016 read more »
The UK’s Climate Change Minister Nick Hurd has joined major businesses in signalling support for the commitment of UK cities and local authorities to shift towards 100% clean energy by 2050. The proposals from UK100 – a network of 67 British city and local council leaders – have been welcomed by Hurd, who promised to collaborate on a transition to a low-carbon economy as the Government implements its Industrial Strategy. Speaking at a Westminster roundtable in London yesterday (30 November), Hurd said: “Cities and communities are important partners for the Government as we transition to a global low carbon economy. Together we can demonstrate that cutting emissions is compatible with economic growth as we build a diverse energy system fit for the 21st century.
Edie 1st Dec 2016 read more »
Renerwables – offshore wind
Siemens has opened a £310m wind turbine blade factory in Hull with a warning that any EU tariffs will damage its prospects. The plant will create 1,000 jobs to service offshore wind farms, and the first 75-metre blade left the production line on Thursday. Juergen Maier, Siemens UK chief executive, hailed the plant as the “best example of industrial strategy in action we have in the UK today” in a speech before Greg Clark, the business, energy and industrial strategy secretary. Mr Maier told the FT the original investment decision was made in 2014 with exports in mind. “We have a full order book of British orders for three years. We are ready to export. We have some work to get costs down. If by that point we find that tariffs have offset the cost savings we have made it will be a problem. Siemens will assemble 7MW and next-generation 8MW turbines beside the factory and supply the Race Bank wind farm being built by Denmark’s Dong Energy off Norfolk and Lincolnshire. The site at Hull’s Alexandra Dock is the size of 78 football pitches and one of Siemens’ largest investments worldwide in manufacturing facilities. The blades are made of balsa wood, resin and fibreglass. The city hopes it will attract other investors even though Dong Energy scrapped plans to assemble turbines on the south bank of the Humber in August.
FT 1st Dec 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Thousands of off-grid projects being rolled out across Myanmar as part of a huge government-led scheme, which involves private companies too, to bring electricity to the entire country by 2030. As of 2014, only 16% of rural households had an electricity connection. Myanmar Eco Solutions, a for-profit renewable energy firm, is part of a burgeoning industry looking to contribute to the development of off-grid solutions. It recently set up a solar-powered irrigation system for rice farmers near Pathein, a remote agricultural region in the Ayeyarwady delta in southern Myanmar. The submersible pump is mounted on a raft, meaning it can travel up and down the river supporting multiple villages.
Guardian 2nd Dec 2016 read more »