PROTESTERS braved wind and rain on New Year’s Eve to demonstrate against the construction of three nuclear reactors in some of Britain’s most picturesque countryside. Preparatory work has started on the 500-acre site in Cumbria between the Lake District and the Irish Sea. The campaigners walked to the site from the nearby village of Beckermet. Radiation Free Lakeland (Rafl) says the development has bypassed usual planning processes. Rafl’s Marianne Birkby said: “Moorside is the innocuous name the nuclear developers are calling the plan for three new nuclear reactors and associated sprawl.
Morning Star 2nd Jan 2015 read more »
PPS has been a part of the EDF Energy team delivering the new nuclear power station since 2008. Central to our role over the past six years has been the work we have done to support EDF Energy’s pre-application community consultation programme. Permission for the station was delivered under the then brand new Planning Act 2008, which classed Hinkley Point C as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) and made the consultation undertaken for the scheme a statutory requirement. PPS helped to design and implement a multi-stage consultation process covering the construction of two new nuclear reactors on the main site, plus a range of associated developments that include workers’ accommodation campuses, freight-handling facilities, park and ride sites and new road infrastructure across eight separate locations and three principal council areas.
Planning Resource 2nd Jan 2014 read more »
A recent civil contingencies drill to prepare the south coast for a catastrophic explosion aboard a nuclear submarine descended into a farce worthy of Dad’s Army. A newly released report into Exercise Short Sermon, held every three years to prepare local officials for an accident at a Royal Navy dockyard offers a chilling foretaste of the chaos and confusion that could unfold. Officials gave the order to evacuate the wrong village, caught hospital staff off guard after an worker posing as an irradiated victim arrived at A&E, and struggled to understand which way the radioactive cloud was travelling.
Telegraph 1st Jan 2015 read more »
When the UK’s coalition government came into power in 2010 it faced many challenges. Not the least of these was the need to inject some purpose into Britain’s languishing energy policy. The previous Labour administration had allowed the UK’s power infrastructure to run down in the 13 years after 1997, dithering about setting a sensible framework for renewal while intervening selectively to stimulate investment in costly renewable energy. The incoming administration offered a more hard ¬headed strategy. It would bolster energy security by building the new capacity Labour had neglected to foster, while simultaneously decarbonising the economy. Nearly five years on, it is possible to judge the coalition’s progress, and the verdict is not kind. In spite of rising household bills, energy security has declined to the point where the energy regulator is now warning of a possible crisis, with the supply margin falling to between just 2 and 4 per cent next winter. As for the money thrown at decarbonisation – a contributor to those rising bills – progress has been minimal. On the government’s own figures, greenhouse gas emissions are down only fractionally – a fall mainly attributable to low economic growth. Coal consumption is up more than a fifth. True, the lights are unlikely to blink off in the near future. Under most scenarios Britain will muddle through, perhaps by placing some restrictions on industrial customers, albeit at a risk both to the recovery and to the prospect of further investment in more energy intensive businesses in the UK. But the bigger concern is the framework the government’s reforms have put in place. It is hard to see how Whitehall could avoid becoming more intimately involved in directing power investment, given the obligations Britain has entered into to reduce its emissions. Imposing a carbon floor price would, of course, be the cleanest way to achieve these aspirations, allowing the market to decide which new technologies to pursue. But this is hard without international agreement – given the opportunity for mobile users simply to switch their operations to places where the rules are less stringent. And such co-¬ordination remains beyond reach. The next stage on Britain’s decarbonising journey anticipates heavy investment in renewables such as offshore wind, and in nuclear energy. To make private generators bow to public plans, Whitehall proposes to offer deals guaranteeing revenue for long periods to private investors without imposing significant incentives to cut their own costs in future. The new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, for instance, will enjoy indexation from a start point well above current market prices for the next 35 years. Utilities will need to be given incentives to build the back-¬up capacity a market more dependent on intermittent renewables will require. A better course would see Britain loosen the environmental corset, while investing in science to deliver the sort of technologies that can decarbonise at reasonable cost. In this context, the Labour party’s promise to go the other way, delivering zero carbon electricity by 2030, shows it has not lost its taste for green posturing. Short of changes to Britain’s commitments, however, more must be done to restore competition to the system, not least by imposing performance incentives that would allow consumers to benefit as costs come down. The rules need to be rewritten in order to spur investment in the most efficient way. What is clear is that the coalition’s reforms require a thorough review before more commitments are entered into. When the next election is over, this must proceed without delay.
FT 1st Jan 2015 read more »
The Vermont Yankee atomic reactor goes permanently off-line today, Dec. 29, 2014. Citizen activists have made it happen. The number of licensed U.S. commercial reactors is now under 100 where once it was to be 1,000. Decades of hard grassroots campaigning by dedicated, non-violent nuclear opponents, working for a Solartopian green-powered economy, forced this reactor’s corporate owner to bring it down. Entergy says it shut Vermont Yankee because it was losing money. Though fully amortized, it could not compete with the onslaught of renewable energy and fracked-gas. Throughout the world, nukes once sold as generating juice “too cheap to meter” comprise a global financial disaster. Even with their capital costs long-ago stuck to the public, these radioactive junk heaps have no place in today’s economy—except as illegitimate magnets for massive handouts.
Ecowatch 29th Dec 2014 read more »
Deficiencies in OKG’s safety assessment of its Oskarshamn-2 nuclear reactor unit are serious enough for another assessment to be submitted by the end of 2017 instead of the scheduled 2020, the Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) said. Every 10 years nuclear power station operators in Sweden make an overall assessment of their reactors, detailing how they meet safety requirements set down in law. The assessment must also cover the implementation of scientific and technological developments that result in safety being further increased. SSM said it has reviewed OKG’s assessment and found “flaws” in it and in the plant’s operation methods.
Nucnet 22nd Dec 2014 read more »
Householders on Orkney are to trial a revolutionary scheme to help overcome grid capacity problems plaguing renewable generation across northern Scotland. Currently the islands’ generators, which are potentially the powerhouse of European green energy, often have to switch off because cables linking the islands to the mainland cannot carry all the clean electricity they produce. That means that wind turbine owners, including community energy firms, lose income while rigid tariff rules mean there is no way to incentivise local consumers to use up more power when the wind blows most. Now charity Community Energy Scotland and its partners have come up with what Orkney Island Council admits is a “sneaky” scheme top get around it. They are to hook up homes and other consumers on the islands of Hoy and Rousay to a sophisticated IT scheme that “tells” storage heating systems when turbines are generating too much power for the grid and will have to shut if there is no outlet for their electricity. Consumers will pay for the extra power to their normal provider – but local generators will then compensate them separately, allowing producer and user to share in the benefit of using electricity that would otherwise not be generated.
Herald 2nd Jan 2014 read more »
Much of Scotland’s tremendous green energy resource lies away from our largest towns and ci ties, and transferring the vast amounts of power produced by hydropower stations and wind turbines to where it is needed calls for a step-change in the way we work with energy. If we are to maximise the benefits of moving towards decentralised local renewables generation, and away from more traditional sources of power, we must change the way in which we transmit and distribute that power across the network. Scotland’s islands have some of the best wind, wave and tidal resources in Europe and it is particularly exciting to see them leading the way with innovative solutions to these thorny challenges. Orkney already generates more renewable electricity than it can use. But like most of the Scottish islands it remains ‘locked in’ – unable to reach the rest of the UK network at all for lack of a fit-for-purpose interconnector cable. These challenges, though, are not insurmountable. And in finding solutions we can also find new opportunities. In 2009, Or kney became home to the UK’s first smart grid, which has allowed increased deployment of renewables generation at a fraction of the cost of transmission hardware upgrades. The project saw SSE Power Distribution working with the University of Strathclyde on what is now known as an Active Network Management approach, where generators control their output, in real time, to match available network capacity.
Herald 2nd Jan 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
Letter: Ofgem, the electricity regulator, has reported that more than 35,000 Scottish homes and 600 businesses now get most of their electricity from the sun. This is minuscule. The main reason for the uptake of solar panels is that people with money take it out of the bank and get a far higher return, tax- free, than bank interest and it is guaranteed for 20/25 years. Their less well-off neighbours pay. Sunny Spain has abolished solar panel subsidies and companies are bankrupt. If that happens here, where are the householders’ guarantees? Campaigners, including WWF Scotland, are urging the Scottish government to do more. What they really mean is they want larger mouth-watering subsidies. WWF Scotland has become a propaganda machine for the renewable industry and moved away from its core ethos.
Scotsman 2nd Jan 2014 read more »
This time next year, the Paris summit that holds out the best hope for a broad, UN-brokered agreement on cutting carbon emissions will be over. It is of universal importance th at a deal is struck that is ambitious and achievable. There are several reasons why that looks more possible now than it has done for years. President Barack Obama clearly hopes that he can make climate change part of his legacy. He is reportedly ready to use his powers to override Congressional opposition to his proposal for a cut in carbon emissions, by 2025, of between 26% and 28% over the 2005 level. The US readiness to make a commitment was matched by China’s president Xi Jinping, for the first time, offering a date for “peak” carbon emissions of 2030. The agreement, announced in November after the two leaders met in China, was welcomed by the UN’s climate change chief, Christiana Figueres, who said it would make a real contribution to the success of the Paris conference. And the EU has agreed to a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared with 1990, as well as to new targets for the generation of renewable energy.
Guardian 1st Jan 2014 read more »