As widespread incredulity spreads about the UK Government’s insistence that the plan to build Hinkley C nuclear power station is still on track, we must wonder which country and which companies will take the hit in the event of the near certain financial catastrophe that will befall the project. It is near certain given that the first three reactor projects, in Finland, France and China, have all suffered delays and thus heinous cost overruns. Indeed the failure of the European Pressurised reactor (EPR) design, produced by the French state owned nuclear constructors, AREVA has so far ruined AREVA. This company is now being merged with EDF who are already set to fork out billions to plug the financial holes in the company.
Clean Techica 18th Aug 2015 read more »
The French ambassador in London Sylvie Bermann wasn’t contradicting her predecessor Bernard Émié, who in 2013 described Hinkley Point, the UK’s first new nuclear power station in over 20 years, as a “beacon for Franco-British collaboration”. “I can only rejoice,” he said, at a nuclear deal signed between EDF, the French state-controlled energy company, and the UK government. But Ms Bermann’s patriotism doesn’t seem to extend to using EDF as the embassy’s energy supplier. Yesterday, the embassy announced that since August 1 it had switched to Ecotricity, a provider of 100 per cent renewable electricity based in Stroud. “Our embassy now uses 100 per cent green electricity & has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30%,” it tweeted, also boasting that it was now “one of the first embassies of France to benefit from the label 100 per cent green electricity”.
Times 12th Aug 2015 read more »
In April the proposers of three AP1000 reactors on greenfields and floodplain near Sellafield, put out an advertorial in all Cumbrian newspapers. This double page advertorial stated that the proposed Moorside nuclear power station would provide about “7% of the UK’s energy requirement. ” We wrote to the ASA pointing out that NuGen’s advertorial was out by a factor of X 3.5 bigging up the importance of the scheme.The ASA reply of 7th August states: “Nugen have assured us that the ad has been withdrawn and that they will not repeat the claim “NuGen’s Moorside Project aims to provide approximately seven percent of the UK’s current energy requirement” in their future advertising. We consider that this will resolve the complaint without referring the matter to the ASA Council and will consequently be closing our file.” We do not consider this to have resolved the complaint in any way.
Radiation Free Lakeland 19th Aug 2015 read more »
NuGen has signed a contract with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to build three new nuclear reactors at Moorside in west Cumbria. The nuclear new-build developer, which is co-owned by Toshiba, said it is “confident that the location is suitable for three AP1000 reactors”. Chief executive Tom Samson said: “This is a key moment in our Moorside Project journey. Our board has reached a decision of significance that confirms the site is suitable.”
Machinery Market 19th Aug 2015 read more »
Toshiba has said it will record a net loss for last year because of $1bn in impairment charges for its nuclear and semiconductor businesses that have been incurred following an investigation into accounting malpractice. The Japanese industrial conglomerate has also proposed appointing seven outside directors to its new 11-member board to strengthen its governance structure after senior executives were found to have played a role in inflating profits over seven years.
FT 18th Aug 2015 read more »
A POLICE officer disciplined for using eBay has emerged as one of 51 disciplinary breaches across 11 nuclear power stations in Britain. The incidents all occurred in the past three years and were tracked by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), the police force that guards the UK’s atomic power plants. Another officer fell asleep on duty while yet another mishandled a firearm – incidents described by critics as “like something out of The Simpsons”. The breaches occurred since January 2013 at 11 civil nuclear sites across England, Scotland and Wales, although the data does not reveal the location of each incident. Worryingly, two constables and a sergeant were also convicted of criminal offences whilst employed by the CNC.
Scotsman 19th Aug 2015 read more »
Around 30 per cent of Britain might be geologically suitable a nuclear disposal facility, but towns around the UK aren’t lining up to host it. A facility will essentially be a massive complex of caverns, between 200m and 1000m below ground, where the most potent radioactive waste will be permanently buried while it degrades over many thousands of years. To give that some context, the deepest part of the London Undergound system is about 65m deep. On the surface will be a site approximately 1km2, where nuclear waste from all over the UK will be delivered by rail and stored temporarily before reaching its subterranean tomb. The estimated cost of building the entire facility is £4bn, with the lifetime cost of the project – over the next 150 years or so – pegged at around £12bn. Once filled, the underground facility will be sealed up and perhaps eventually even forgotten about over the coming millennia. In our poll yesterday we offered up a number of alternative solutions. Let us know how you’d feel about the facility being located in your vicinity, and if you feel there any better ideas for the long-term problem of nuclear waste.
Engineer 19th Aug 2015 read more »
A retired medical professor thinks she has discovered a method for vaccinating against the effects of a nuclear fallout – and has been slowly poisoning herself in a bid to prove it. Professor Brenda Laster’s theory, so far tested only on herself and mice, is that the body can be taught to react to radiation in the same way that traditional vaccinations can teach it to react to diseases. Studies from nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima have shown that high doses of radiation cause the body to produce large and ultimately fatal quantities of hydrogen peroxide. But experts say that less research has been done on lower doses of radiation – if, for instance, a person was an intermediate distance from the fallout itself. Before Professor Laster retired, she was the director of the radiology lab at the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. And she believes that delivering the body small doses of hydrogen peroxide, over a long period of time, would teach it how to respond in the event of a much larger attack.
Independent 19th Aug 2015 read more »
New York State (NYS) Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) was first formally put forward on 24 May 2014 by the NYS Department of Public Service (The Public Service Commission. On 25 July 2015, the overarching NY State Energy Plan was published which has targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030; for renewables to provide 50% of electricity by 2030; and to reduce total energy use by 23% from 2012 levels by 2030. There are multiple sub papers on the REV Homepage, and numerous submissions to each stage/discussion of the process – and these are also available either on the REV homepage or under the REV-related proceedings Tab. A trial for the REV started in December 2014 – the Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management Programme (BQMP). As the REV Vision said: its role was to question the two assumptions of the traditional utility paradigm: (1) that there is little or no role for customers to play in addressing system needs; and (2) that the centralised generation and bulk transmission model is invariably cost effective due to economies of scale. It argued that the traditional utility model should be challenged and it also argued that: the role of a utility; the role of a regulator; the role of an innovator (or innovation); and the role of a customer should be re-thought. The Vision concluded that the PSC expected that the regulatory paradigm and the PSC’s expectation of utility performance will have to change to a more outcome-based regulation. For further background see my previous IGov blog.
IGov 19th Aug 2015 read more »
Dazed and confused? The UK’s energy policy needs a sense of direction: In relation to the rest of Europe, the UK’s role as market champion, nuclear champion and shale gas champion has brought its policies into sharp relief in contrast to countries such as Germany and Austria. In particular the decision to approve Hinkley Point has been challenged on the basis of the subsidies it requires, although it was allowed by the European Commission. Anti-fracking campaigners will ensure that unconventional fossil fuels remain high on the political agenda, and the pure cost of new nuclear may render it unaffordable. Most political parties in the UK are committed to ‘community energy’ but whether the changes required to grid and connection regulation, as well as supply will happen slowly or quickly depends on how willing the politicians are to take on the vested interests of existing suppliers. The UK needs to put renewable energy first in connecting to the grid, make it mandatory for schemes to offer a share to local communities, and make it simple and affordable for local projects to supply their local community. If this happens, community energy will start to transform the system as it has in Germany.
Energy Transition (accessed) 19th Aug 2015 read more »
Letter: Longannet pays £40 million a year to connect to the National Grid while an equivalent generator in Yorkshire would pay £15m and a power station in London would receive a subsidy of around £4m. It is nonsensical to lose such a huge capacity at a time of tight supply margins and it is vital that the UK Government ends once and for all an iniquitous charging regime that discriminates against all forms of power generation in Scotland. To add insult to injury UK Government proposals for the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset will see French and Chinese corporations receive a subsidy of between £800m to £1bn a year for generation costs, double the present going rate. For those who fought to retain the Union under a slogan of “Better Together”, this clearly did not extend to the transmission charging regime which is illogical, unfair and if we are to keep the lights on in need of urgent reform.
Scotsman 19th Aug 2015 read more »
Herald 20th Aug 2015 read more »
Britain’s latest nuclear-powered submarine has arrived at its new home on the Clyde. Artful, a 7,400-tonne attack submarine, was received during a ceremony at the Faslane naval base near Helensburgh. The third boat in the seven-strong Astute Class was welcomed by Scotland’s senior naval officer Rear Admiral Jon Weale.
Herald 19th Aug 2015 read more »
STV 19th Aug 2015 read more »
Aberdeen has joined an international peace project to grow seeds from trees damaged by atomic bombs. Mayors for Peace, based in the Japanese city of Hiroshima where the first atomic bomb was dropped more than 70 years ago, offered the ginkgo tree seeds to the city’s Lord Provost, George Adam. The gesture was made as part of the United Nations ‘green legacy Hiroshima’ project which aims to spread the seeds and saplings worldwide. The seeds sent to Aberdeen come from a 250-year-old ginkgo tree, which stands in Hiroshima’s Shukkei-en Garden – less than a mile from the epicentre of the atomic blast which obliterated the city on August 6, 1945.
Press & Journal 19th Aug 2015 read more »
Britain and Germany will line up on opposite sides of a European Union green energy debate starting next month on how to meet agreed renewable energy targets for the next decade. The 28 member states agreed climate and energy goals last October, but to make it easier to get a deal, the decision went only as far as a framework. In outline, the 2030 agreement includes cutting greenhouse gases by at least 40 percent versus 1990 and raising the share of renewable energy to at least 27 percent from 20 percent by 2020. The emissions target will be mandatory in the wider framework of U.N. climate goals to be reviewed in Paris at the end of the year. So far, the 2030 renewable goal is binding only at EU-wide level and the challenge is to ensure it is met as the bloc as a whole cannot be fined for infringement.
Reuters 19th Aug 2015 read more »
In the decades after the nuclear bombings, Japan has emerged as a leader in global nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. At the same time, North Korea and China’s nuclear weapons programs have called into question Japan’s reliance on the nuclear umbrella of the United States. That, along with Japan’s increasing stockpile of separated plutonium, is fanning concerns about Tokyo’s ultimate nuclear intentions. Could Japan play a role in bridging the nuclear weapon states (mainly the United States) and the non-nuclear weapon states—in particular, the countries in the Non-Aligned Movement?
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 19th Aug 2015 read more »
Switching to a low-carbon energy system immediately could save the planet $1.8trn by 2040, global investment bank Citi has claimed. The bank this week released a report, Energy Darwinism II: Why a Low Carbon Future Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth, comparing a business-as-usual scenario to one where the planet invests heavily in renewables and energy efficiency in the short-term. The total spend on energy over the next 25 years is found to be “remarkably similar” in both scenarios with the ‘Action’ scenario implying a total spend of $190.2trn compared to $192trn for inaction. Having outlined this vision of transformative change in the global energy market, the report questions how it is possible to mobilise the investment needed in the short term. “There is a clear need for the investment, balanced by enormous investor appetite for these types of investments; the missing link has been the lack of, and quality of, the investment vehicles available” The report suggests: “Financial markets must innovate to facilitate investment via the creation of new instruments, vehicles and markets……We see the greatest opportunity in the credit markets”.
Edie 19th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – Scotland
New figures have revealed the massive amount of small-scale renewable projects deployed in Scotland, but industry figures warned that further development could be crippled by recent subsidy cuts. Scotland is now home to around 660,000 250W solar panels, 2,557 small wind projects, 204 hydro-electric schemes and three anaerobic digesters, according to figures released today by Scottish Renewables and Scotland’s Rural College. The announcement was made on the day that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) finishes a consultation on plans to end Feed-in Tariff ‘pre-accreditation’, which gives renewable energy generators a guaranteed tariff level in advance of commissioning their installation. DECC is also set to begin a wholesale review of the Feed-in Tariff subsidy in the next few days.
Edie 19th Aug 2015 read more »
Scotsman 19th Aug 2015 read more »
A new group has been established by the Scottish Government to find ways of making it easier and more affordable for people in rural and remote Scotland to heat their homes. The Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force, which will have its inaugural meeting in Inverness on August 20, will explore the issues facing people in fuel poverty and prepare a report on its findings over the next year. The new short-life group will be chaired by Di Alexander, Chair of the Rural and Highlands Housing Associations’ Forum and will look at ways of building on the Scottish Government’s on-going work. Di Alexander, the new chair of the Task Force, said: “Affordable warmth is still presenting a major problem for far too many rural and island households, especially those living in doubly disadvantaged off-gas areas. “The job of the Task Force is to come up with practicable and deliverable solutions to all aspects of the problem and I’m delighted that we will have so much problem-solving experience to draw upon when we set to our task.”
Scottish Energy News 20th Aug 2015 read more »
US banking giant Citigroup says the global coal industry is set for further pain, predicting an acceleration of mine closures, liquidations and bankruptcies. The value of listed coal companies monitored by Citi has shrunk from $50bn (£32bn) in 2012 to $18bn in 2015, a trend it believes will continue. “On the demand side we think thermal coal is cyclically and structurally challenged and that current market conditions are likely to persist,” it says in a report released on Tuesday.
Guardian 19th Aug 2015 read more »
An influential group of Islamic leaders has urged world governments to prevent human-caused climate change forcing global average temperatures more than 2°C above the pre-industrial level. In a radical advance on the position of most developed countries, the group says it would be better to aim for 1.5°C ̶ the lower limit that many climate scientists say would offer a stronger chance of preventing climate change reaching dangerous levels, but to which few governments have so far agreed.
Climate News Network 19th Aug 2015 read more »