Queen’s Speech 9th May 2012: Bills foreshadowed; Energy Bill: Following on from the Energy Acts 2008, 2010 and 2011, the Government intends to introduce a further Energy Bill in the second session of this Parliament. This will pick up on areas not included in the Energy Act 2011, notably Electricity Market Reform (EMR). An Electricity Market Reform Consultation in December 2010 led to the July 2011 Energy White Paper. The Energy and Climate Change Committee has said that EMR presents a “once in a generation opportunity to shift our energy usage to a low-carbon, energy-secure and affordable future”. The Governments proposed EMR package includes a capacity mechanism, to include demand response as well as capacity payments for generation, and long-term contracts for difference to incentivise nuclear and renewable build. One aim is to maintain the UKs margin of spare capacity above maximum electricity demand. The Bill will introduce any measures requiring legislation. It may also introduce a demanding new emissions standard for coal-fired power stations, and contain provisions relating to the Green Investment Bank to ensure its “operational independence and enduring nature”.
UK Parliament 19th April 2012 more >>
The collapse of the Governments nuclear policy is a somewhat overlooked part of its current omnishambles. The Government from the Prime Minister down is talking to anyone who will listen about buying Horizon. Even if you thought that it was a good idea to hand over control of your energy policy to Russian gangsters or the Chinese government, the really big problem with nuclear remains unsolved. Horizon is a joint venture set up by the two German utilities. It has no assets. In order to borrow the £30 billion or so that would be needed to pay for the reactors someone with very deep pockets is going to have to guarantee the loans. It wont be the British Government. Whoever it might be would be taking a big bet that a company with no track record in building nuclear power stations would be able to do so on time and to budget something Areva with all its experience has so far found impossible. They would also be taking a very big bet that the Treasury will be willing to allow a 30 year lock-in to nuclear electricity costs that are on a par with off-shore wind.
TomBurke.co.uk 30th April 2012 more >>
The Fifth briefing by the four former FoE Directors – Why Nuclear Power is Not the Answer to the problems of Climate Change and Energy Security – has been released. It focuses on: Climate change The opportunity cost of nuclear; The technical debate: can nuclear and renewables co-exist? ; Is nuclear power really low-carbon. Energy Security Peak Uranium? ; Nuclear is not ever-ready; Nuclears nightmare scenario in the UK
Tom Burke 27th April 2012 more >>
An important conference is being held next month to bring together all the communities and other key local groups that could be affected by the proposals for a third power station at Sizewell. Suffolk Coastal District Council and Suffolk County Council are hosting the event on Monday, May 28 which will give all those invited the chance to discuss together what are the key issues facing their communities. They will also be able to find out first hand exactly what the current situation is regarding the proposed Sizewell C.
Suffolk Coastal 30th April 2012 more >>
Plans for an emergency response centre at the Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk have been unveiled. The centre will house back-up equipment including generators and be built a mile away from the power station, next to Sizewell Sports and Social Club.
BBC 1st May 2012 more >>
East Anglian Daily Times 1st May 2012 more >>
ANTI-nuclear campaigners were today due to question energy minister Charles Hendry about the future ownership of the company that pulled out of building a new Oldbury B atomic power station. Members of Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy (SANE) were set to meet the minister at Westminster after the withdrawal of energy firm Horizon from Britain’s nuclear programme. They will then head for Germany for a conference of shareholders of energy giant Eon, where SANE’s Reg Illingworth will suggest Horizon should switch from generating nuclear to tidal power at the site.
Bristol Evening Post 1st May 2012 more >>
A power firm said it could run parts of a new power line through North Somerset underground instead of using pylons. National Grid wants to link a new power station at Hinkley Point with Avonmouth. Campaigners objected to the proposal for a 50-mile (80km) stretch of pylons saying it would ruin the countryside.
BBC 1st May 2012 more >>
Work to clean-up the seabed around the former nuclear plant at Dounreay is getting under way for the third year in a row. Tiny radioactive particles lie in a “plume” on the seabed spread over an area equivalent in size to that of 600 Olympic swimming pools. The fragments, spread over 60 hectares (148 acres) of seabed, are thought to be the source of nuclear material that have been found on other, nearby beaches. Originating from the reprocessing of nuclear fuel, they were pumped into the sea up to 50 years ago, from a discharge point around 600m from the shoreline. An operation to clean up the seabed will resume this month for the third consecutive year.
STV 1st May 2012 more >>
French safety authorities have lifted their reservations on the digital instrumentation and control (I&C) system at EDFs Flamanville‐3. Concerns about the EPR I&C system were the subject of an unprecedented joint regulatory letter from the regulators of France, the UK and Finland in 2009. Separately, US nuclear regulators reviewing the EPR also had concerns. To date, only the French concerns appear to have been formally resolved, with questions or open items still remaining in the UK, Finland and the US.
i-Nuclear Monthly 1st May 2012 more >>
Hundreds of sites across England and Wales could be contaminated with radioactive waste from old military bases and factories, according to a new government report. Up to 1,000 sites could be polluted, though the best guess is that between 150 and 250 are, says a report on contaminated land by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), released last month, but previously unreported. This is far higher than previous official estimates, with evidence from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) last December suggesting that there were just 15 sites in the UK contaminated with radium from old planes and other equipment.
Guardian 2nd May 2012 more >>
Fukushima update 27th to 30th April 2012.
Greenpeace 1st May 2012 more >>
The closure of Japan’s nuclear reactors has prompted a hunt for alternative sources of energy in the resource-poor country. Japan has shut 53 of its 54 nuclear reactors after last year’s earthquake and tsunami resulted in radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. As a result, there is a wholesale review underway of Japan’s power supplies. Japan is looking at securing supplies from a diversity of sources from all corners of the globe.
BBC 2nd May 2012 more >>
Germany installed about 650 megawatts of solar panels in the first two months of the year, almost double the amount compared with the same period of 2011, the Bundesnetzagentur grid regulator said in a website statement.
Bloomberg 30th April 2012 more >>
A new report from the prominent global consulting firm McKinsey shows why solar photovoltaics have hit a tipping point. As the economics of solar PV continue to improve steadily and dramatically McKinsey analysts conclude that the yearly economic potential of solar PV deployment could reach 600-1,000 gigawatts (1 million megawatts) by 2020.
Climate Progress 30th April 2012 more >>
Green campaign group 10:10 will today launch a major new initiative to help schools “crowd-source” funding to support solar panel installations, following a successful trial of its Solar Schools programme.
Business Green 1st May 2012 more >>
Solar panel installations have fallen by almost 90% in the weeks since the government halved cut the subsidy available, according to Department of Energy and Climate Change figures. The change in financial support for solar power has been highly controversial and has seen the government lose a high-profile legal case in the high court. The new data lends support to the charge of some in the solar industry that the government cut the subsidy too far and too fast, endangering thousands of jobs.
Guardian 1st May 2012 more >>
A pioneering plan for Scotlands first people power wind turbine in an urban area has been blocked by Scottish Water because of an insurance hitch, undermining ministers attempts to boost locally-owned renewable energy developments. The voluntary groups proposing to build a large wind turbine at Seafield sewage works in Leith, Edinburgh, are furious that they have been thwarted by the government-owned company, despite having already received backing from the Scottish government and from the private sector.
Herald 1st May 2012 more >>