Campaigners are calling on energy investors to “cut their losses” on plans for a new reactor at Hinkley Point after a “very serious” fault was discovered in a similar French scheme. Members of the Stop Hinkley group say project backers EDF should “give up” on plans for two new nuclear reactors at the Somerset plant and pursue a more “sensible” sustainable energy strategy. The comments come as French officials revealed details of an anomaly that occurred during the construction of an identical EPR power plant in Normandy. EDF Energy, which will own and operate the Hinkley plant, said further investigations would be carried out on the development as soon as possible. Pierre-Franck Chevet, head of France’s nuclear safety inspectorate, said it was potentially “very serious” as it involved “a crucial part” of the reactor. He added that the same manufacturing techniques had been used for the identical casings intended for Hinkley Point, which “have already been manufactured”. Alan Jeffery, spokesman for Stop Hinkley, suggested the company should abandon its plans for the Somerset plant and start pursuing alternative options for the Westcountry. “EDF Energy should cut its losses and give up on Hinkley C now, so that the South West can get on with developing a sensible sustainable energy strategy,” he said. “To tackle climate change effectively we need to get started on energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes now, not waiting around for the nuclear industry to sort out its problems first. “We don’t need this massive project that is going to leave us with a legacy of highly dangerous nuclear waste and radioactive emissions into our environment.”
Western Morning News 18th April 2015 read more »
Burnham-on-sea.com 19th April 2015 read more »
Western Daily Press 20th April 2015 read more »
The future of the Hinkley Point C Project is hanging in the balance this week-end after further details emerged about problems at a similar nuclear plant being built at Flamanville in Normandy. Anomalies have been found in the bottom and lid of the reactor vessel which could reduce the strength of the metal according to the French regulator ASN. ASN says that a similar forging technique may have been used for the reactor vessels for Hinkley Point C, but Areva has not confirmed whether the Hinkley vessels have already been manufactured.
Stop Hinkley 17th April 2015 read more »
Further doubt has been cast over the future of three nuclear reactors under development in the UK, after the discovery of a a potentially catastrophic mistake in the construction of an identical power plant in France. French regulators have been informed of “manufacturing anomalies” in components “particularly important for safety” at the Flamanville 3 power plant, in Normandy – a prototype of France’s new generation of European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), touted as a safer and more efficient nuclear technology. “It is a serious fault, even a very serious fault, because it involves a crucial part of the nuclear reactor,” said Pierre-Franck Chevet, head of France’s nuclear safety inspectorate. The anomalies have prompted a second investigation into the quality of the steel used to make a 50ft-high safety casing, or “pressure vessel”, which encloses the groundbreaking new reactor at Flamanville.
Renew Economy 20th April 2015 read more »
There’s a 50:50 chance of a Three Mile Island-scale disaster in the next 10 years, according to the largest statistical analysis of nuclear accidents ever undertaken.
Technology Review 17th April 2015 read more »
Labour has promised to retrofit 5m homes over the next decade, making them warmer and cheaper to heat, and to create a million new green jobs. Launching its green manifesto nine years to the day after David Cameron’s hug-a-husky photo opportunity in the Arctic, the party said it would establish energy efficiency as a “national infrastructure priority”. The manifesto promises to provide half a million home energy assessments a year to help homeowners understand how they can save money; free home retrofits for 200,000 households a year on low incomes; and one million interest free loans to support similar measures for better off homeowners over the parliament.The party has also reiterated its promise to make the UK’s electricity supply virtually zero carbon by 2030 (something the coalition did not do) and to make the development of carbon capture and storage a priority.
Guardian 20th April 2015 read more »
Nearly 5GWe of onshore wind power schemes already given planning permission and a further 5 GWe awaiting planning consent face the prospect of not having the finance to be installed if the Conservatives win the election in May. The Tories are promising that onshore wind will not be funded after 2020. Their manifesto proclaims a desire ‘to halt the spread of onshore windfarms’. But they will back nuclear power and gas fired power stations. Yet the Conservative manifesto pronounces that; ‘We will cut emissions as cost-effectively as possible’. The contrast between the pledge to give local people a say over proposed windfarms and a refusal to allow the same for fracking is breathtaking. So, how can nuclear power, whose already expensive Hinkley C government price tag is proving an underestimate as the scheme falters, be ‘cost-effective’, even when the government claims for its cost are a lot more than onshore renewables? And how can more gas fired power stations cut carbon emissions when the average amount of carbon per kWh of electricity consumed is already down to the level of power from a gas fired power station? There is no mention at all of solar power in the Conservative manifesto, and the only specific renewables that appear in the manifesto are offshore wind and the Swansea tidal power scheme, for which, as mentioned in a recent blog post, there is no prospect of of necessary government support. So, the Conservatives, even on paper are heading for a more expensive carbon reduction strategy. Given the likely failure of the nuclear new build programme, even the claimed carbon reductions from that will not happen.
Dave Toke 19th April 2015 read more »
Walt Patterson’s new book: The Fire Age began before the Stone Age. It began even before Homo sapiens – but we are still in it. We take fire for granted. Most of the time, in rich countries, we no longer even realize when we use it. We think of fire as a key to civilization. But fire’s greatest contribution may be making possible the human control of electricity. Electricity, in turn, may save us from fire. For all its usefulness and appeal, fire is violent and extreme. Fire in car engines, household heaters, factory furnaces and power station boilers is making the air in major cities around the world poisonous. The commonest gas that fire produces, carbon dioxide, is heating up the planet. The way we now use fire threatens the future of human society. Much of what we do with fire we can now do with electricity – making light, exerting force, moving things, managing information. But we still use fire far too much, and we still make too much of our electricity with fire. If we are to keep our planet habitable, that must change. We need urgently to move beyond the Fire Age.
Walt Patterson (accessed) 20th April 2015 read more »
We pay Scots £60m but get no energy in return: SNP government milks wind farms for cash. The Scottish government has been accused of milking energy customers in England by encouraging the growth of wind farms even though much of the electricity cannot be delivered to homes in the South. A record £61.4million was paid to wind farm operators to turn off their turbines in the past year if their electricity was surplus to requirement – up 32 per cent on the previous year. The vast majority of this handout, funded through a charge on customers’ energy bills, goes to huge wind farms that have been built across Scotland.
Express 20th April 2015 read more »
Fallout from the world’s worst nuclear accident just won’t go away. Radioactive clouds may once again spread over Europe, as rising fires release radiation locked up in the upper layers of soil in the dense forests near Chernobyl in Ukraine and Belarus Forest fires there have already been re-distributing that radioactivity over Europe. But the situation is set to worsen with climate change, political instability – and a bizarre effect of radiation on dead leaves.
Stop Oldbury 19th April 2015 read more »
Back in 2013, when everyone was focusing on the price of the Energiewende, I pointed out that Germany would only be the 16th most expensive US state in terms of monthly power bills, primarily because the Germans consume so much less electricity than Americans do. There simply is a difference between prices (which admittedly are relatively high in Germany) and costs (which are prices x units consumed – in other words, the actual power bill). This month, the BDEW announced that the average German power bill fell from 85 to 84 euros in 2014. Note that this figure is an abstraction, not a true statistical average; specifically, it is based on the abstract assumption of 3,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity consumed over the year. In other words, lower consumption did not reduce power bills in Germany in this calculation. There is no region of the US where power bills would be lower than in Germany right now.
Renew Economy 20th April 2015 read more »
Hanford workers have removed all the highly contaminated “pencil tanks” from the Plutonium Finishing Plant, a key step toward having the plant torn down in 2016. “This was really a significant achievement,” said Mike Swartz, vice president in charge of work at the plant for CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. CH2M Hill started work toward removing the pencil tanks in 2008. Initially, the project was expected to be completed in spring 2012. But the remotely operated crane needed to maneuver the long, skinny tanks has shown its age. Work has repeatedly stopped through the years for repairs to the crane.
Tri City Herald 18th April 2015 read more »
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told military commanders on Sunday the US had created the “myth” of nuclear weapons to portray Iran as a threat, hardening his rhetoric before nuclear negotiations resume this week.
Guardian 19th April 2015 read more »
Independent 19th April 2015 read more »
The date is already forgotten, but its significance may return to haunt us. On March 29, 2004, Britain promised to fight for Estonia just as surely as we would defend the White Cliffs of Dover. That was the day when the Baltic country joined Nato and fell under the protective umbrella of Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, obliging Britain and 26 other allies to defend Estonia with “armed force”.
Telegraph 20th April 2015 read more »
Scotland must kick its addiction to conventional gas-fired boilers and embrace renewable heat if it is to achieve challenging 2020 targets. Progress in the sector so far has been slow, with just 3% of heat coming from renewable sources against a target of 11% – which must be achieved in just over 2,000 days. A spokesman for Scottish Renewables said: “More than half of the energy consumed in Scotland is in the form of heat. As a society, we take warm homes and workplaces and constant hot water for granted, but the time is now right for us to re-think our relationship with heat and the way it is generated, transported and used.
Scottish Energy News 20th April 2015 read more »
Renewables – south west
An organisation which represents the renewable energy has written to all parliamentary candidates in the Westcountry urging them to support the development of a world-leading renewable energy industry in the next Parliament. Regen South West is asking candidates to sign the South West Renewable Energy 2015 General Election Manifesto and show their commitment to the growing industry. Candidates have been asked to pledge their support for the manifesto’s eight specific commitments, which could help deliver to the South West more than £10 billion of investment, 34,000 jobs and energy security to thousands of local communities.
Western Morning News 20th April 2015 read more »
For the last year the Youth Community Energy Catalysts programme has been supporting 20 young people to start their own community energy projects. After months of training and peer mentoring these projects are beginning to get off the ground – and if there is one thing they have in common, it’s innovation. They push the boundaries of community participation and self-management, fiercely refuse to leave anyone marginalised and even recognise a role for art in the energy system.
UK Youth Climate Coalition 17th April 2015 read more »
Private and state-owned energy companies own reserves of fuel containing more than 3,200 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide – nearly five times the amount that can be burned if the global temperature is to be kept to within safe levels, according to a report. The World Bank and Bank of England have warned that the need to tackle climate change could render some fossil fuels worthless – potentially costing investors trillions of dollars. The top 200 private coal, oil and gas firms currently own fuel reserves containing 555 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, which is close to the maximum amount that scientists believe can be emitted into the atmosphere while still keeping th e rise in average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, The Guardian reported. The carbon in privately owned reserves has gone up by 10 per cent in the last five years.
Independent 20th April 2015 read more »
The carbon locked up in coal, oil and gas reserves owned by the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies has swollen by 10% in the last five years, despite warnings from the World Bank and others that most existing reserves cannot safely be burned.
Guardian 19th April 2015 read more »