WEST Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has called for an urgent parliamentary debate into the EU investigation surrounding Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. It comes just a week after former Liberal Democrat MP David Howarth, a legal academic, said the deal with EDF Energy over the new power station might not be valid under EU law. But David Cameron has said he is ‘confident’ Hinkley C will go ahead.
This is the West Country 18th May 2014 read more »
RADIATION specialists from the Aldermaston nuclear weapons factory were called in after a canister of radioactive material was found in a garden last night. Experts from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) were called to Giles Road in Tadley at around 10pm after the owner discovered the labelled canister in their shed. The alarm was raised at around 8.30pm and firefighters evacuated 16 homes, but after recovering the container the AWE team confirmed that despite being radioactive it was very low-level and harmless to the public.
Reading Chronicle 19th May 2014 read more »
PROTESTORS have blockaded the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) site in Burghfield this morning. Eight campaigners from ActionAWE, aged between 19 and 40, handcuffed themselves together at 7.20am to block the entrance of a construction site. Catherine Bann, 40, a mother of two from Todmorden, said: “The money we would spend renewing Trident could pay for all A & E hospital departments in the country for the next 40 years!
Reading Chronicle 19th May 2014 read more »
Ekklesia 19th May 2014 read more »
Scientists have been working for weeks to explain a radiation leak from plutonium-tainted waste buried 2,000ft below a hitherto safe US nuclear storage site in desert New Mexico, one which exposed 21 workers to risk. It is beginning to look as if a chemical reaction may have generated enough heat to melt seals on the drums holding the dangerous sludge. Among suspected culprits is the material now used to absorb liquids when packaging the waste: kitty litter. What else?
Guardian 19th May 2014 read more »
Los Alamos National Laboratory packed 57 barrels of nuclear waste with a type of cat litter believed to have caused a radiation leak at the federal government’s troubled nuclear waste dump, posing a potentially “imminent” and “substantial” threat to public health and the environment.
Telegraph 20th May 2014 read more »
It is unacceptable that the UK does not have comprehensive records of land potentially contaminated with radiation, a report has said. It said the failure meant such sites pose an unknown risk to the population. The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (Comare) investigated radium contamination at Dalgety Bay in Fife. Members said the Scottish government should consider building an offshore barrier on the affected coastline.
BBC 19th May 2014 read more »
RADIOACTIVE particles found at a beach pose a potential risk to public health and action should be taken to clean it up, a report has found. While investigations have concluded there was unlikely to be a link between cancer rates and radiation contamination at the Dalgety Bay site in Fife, the report did identify possible health risks through skin contact or ingestion. The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) was commissioned by the Scottish Government following the discovery of the radioactive particles and high-activity radiation in the area in 2011. It is thought to date back to instruments from Second World War aircraft dumped at the site.
Herald 20th May 2014 read more »
Scotsman 20th May 2014 read more »
Poland’s prime minister Donald Tusk will be in Brussels on 19 May to present his “Energy Union” proposal at the Commission’s energy security strategy meeting. What to make of the proposal and how to respond it? On first reading, it would be easy to dismiss the plan as a mixture of either unnecessary or unworkable ideas. Other than its slogan title (“Energy Union”) there is no unifying concept. And to a large extent, Europe is already pursuing most of the six elements the plan contains. It would not however be a surprise if Poland’s vociferous coal lobby did not allow Poland’s government to support a treaty amendment in favour of a genuine energy union, not least due to next year’s elections.
Mark Johnstone 20th May 2014 read more »
BAE Systems has launched Artful, the third of seven Astute-class submarines being built for the Royal Navy, into the dock at its site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. The 97m long, 7,400 tonne nuclear-powered attack submarine began edging out of BAE Systems’ construction hall last week and was lowered into the water over the weekend. Stuart Godden, Astute programme director for BAE Systems, said: “Building on past experiences we’ve been able to launch her in the most advanced state of construction of any submarine to be built in Barrow. This allows us to now fully concentrate on the test and commissioning activities required to get her to sea.
Professional Engineer 19th May 2014 read more »
Express 19th May 2014 read more »
Westmorland Gazette 19th May 2014 read more »
A small utility firm in Finland that sold its 1% interest in the country’s new nuclear power plant has announced plans to develop a solar pilot scheme. Etelä-Savon Energia Oy (ESE) and manufacturing equipment supplier Cencorp Corporation will initially develop a 49.5kW array. “Cencorp will use the plant for testing its new innovations in practice in Northern European conditions,” said Iikka Savisalo, managing director, Cencorp. “Even though the first phase of the delivery of the pilot solar power plant is not financially significant, it is a start for a long-term cooperation with ESE. The cooperation is aiming to develop solar energy markets in the region of South Savo.
PV-Tech 19th May 2014 read more »
Canada – Radwaste
Ontario Power Generation has been planning, studying and reviewing the possibility of a nuclear waste site near Lake Huron for about 12 years. The deep geologic repository would store about 7 million cubic feet of low- and intermediate-level waste about a half-mile below ground and three-quarters of a mile off Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario.
Cumbria Trust 20th May 2014 read more »
Ontario Power Generation proposes to store about 200,000 cubic meters of low and intermediate level nuclear wastes in a “deep geological repository” to be carved out of a thick layer of limestone 2,230 feet below ground, near the western base of the Bruce Peninsula, less than a mile from Lake Huron. Above the limestone will sit a 200-meter cap of shale. After 30 or so years, OPG plans to close and abandon the site.
The Voice 16th May 2014 read more »
A controversial proposal by a Canadian utility to store radioactive waste underground within a mile of the Great Lakes is prompting legislation in Lansing — albeit largely symbolic legislation. State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, and other Thumb-area lawmakers announced Monday a package of resolutions and bills that would expand Michigan’s prohibitions on storing low-level radioactive waste, while calling attention to the Canadian proposal and urging President Barack Obama and Congress to take action.
Detroit Free Press 20th May 2014 read more »
Germany is well advanced towards closing all its nuclear plants, but their absence is leaving a gap to fill in terms of baseload power and back-up for renewables. Peter Taberner reports.
Utility Week 16th May 2014 read more »
Germany’s two big utilities, Eon and RWE, have been cutting dividends and shutting down capacity in response to a slide in profits in conventional power generation. However, there is a glimmer of hope amid the gloom for investors as German politicians have begun to debate the idea that the government might share the burden of the country’s nuclear phase-out. The chief executives of three German utilities, Eon, Rwe and EnBW, have discussed the creation of a state-owned foundation to oversee the demolition and disposal of nuclear plants. Under the plan, the utilities would transfer the billions of euros in reserves they have set aside for decommissioning to a public sector bad bank for nuclear power. That proposal was rejected by Germany’s environment minister, while Angela Merkel’s spokesman said there had been “no negotiations or decisions on this topic”. However, politicians are urging further discussion of the idea. While many know that taking on risks for the utilities would be unpopular, the debate has been prompted by concern that the companies’ reserves may prove insufficient.
FT 19th May 2014 read more »
Economics is no longer the only issue East Coast reactors have to face (although, in the nuclear power business, nearly all issues make their way back around to economics). Outright public and governmental opposition to continued reactor operation, especially at New York’s Indian Point and, again, Pilgrim, also jeopardizes the future of some reactors. Since many of the most endangered reactors are Fukushima-clone GE Mark I designs, they’re eventually going to have to comply with post-Fukushima safety requirements–and that will cost money, a problem for reactors already operating on the margins and thus something the utilities will fight as long as possible (see how it comes back to economics?….). Add two more issues to the list threatening East Coast reactors: earthquakes and rising seas caused by climate change.
Green World 19th May 2014 read more »
The US government has charged five Chinese military officials with carrying out cyber-attacks against six US companies, one of which builds nuclear power plants. A grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania indicted five Chinese military personnel on charges of computer hacking, economic espionage and other offences directed at six American companies involved in the nuclear power, metals and solar products industries.
IB Times 19th May 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
A report presented at the Scottish Parliament heard that fitting solar panels on 250,000 homes north of the Border could contribute significantly to the Government’s renewable energy targets. Researchers, including scientists from Edinburgh University, business leaders and public sector experts, have contributed to the report, which sets out how Scotland could benefit from solar power. The study was supported by the Scottish Institute For Solar Energy Research, the Scottish Solar Energy Group, the Energy Technology Partnership, AES Solar and the Scottish Universities Insight Institute. Dr Neil Robertson, of Edinburgh University’s School Of Chemistry, said: “The plummeting cost means large-scale solar power is coming to Scotland whether we realise it or not. “The key priority is to recognise this, so we can start planning to maximise the social, environmental and business benefits it will bring us.” The report concluded 16.6 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demands could be met by fitting solar panels on a quarter of a million roofs, and could ease the plight of one in three Scottish households that struggle to provide themselves with enough heat and hot water.
Herald 20th May 2014 read more »
There’s no doubt that last week’s government announcement about proposed changes to solar subsidies from April next year means there’s a lot of discussion going on at Good Energy. We have always been of the opinion that the government should be providing solid, stable support for such developments and not disadvantaging a sector that is growing, attracts investment, creates jobs and has a real contribution to make towards a low-cost, low-carbon. We believe if properly supported now, solar could compete equally on cost with other technologies by the end of this decade. Some industry experts already estimate that solar costs have fallen by as much as 30 per cent in just two years. We think it represents a great low cost, low carbon option. Of course, we’d like to see a stable policy framework from which the solar sector can grow and we’ve already been talking to DECC as part of its consultation. We will continue to engage in discussion with policy-makers to ensure a more stable transition and a vision for solar PV going forward. It’s in all our interests – and in those of a more stable and secure UK energy future – to come up with a solar solution that delivers long-term, cost-effective, low carbon energy.
Business Green 19th May 2014 read more »
The solar trade world is rightly up in arms about the latest lurch in solar PV funding policy from DECC. This time it is set to tip field solar deployment off a cliff. Policy lurches are always a bad idea in the development of new forms of energy production, where the need to have a calm and measured forward regime for development, investment and deployment is central to the prospects of a technology gaining sustainable momentum. And solar in the UK has suffered more than most from a lack of such certainty but it has (just about) been possible to excuse changes in feed in tariff, or limits to eligibility as constituting a response to the escalating competitiveness of newer solar installations. However, this latest change in policy, on any reckoning, just looks plain daft.
Alan Whitehead MP 19th May 2014 read more »
Government schemes to encourage energy-efficient home makeovers will fall far short of the carbon emissions reductions promised by David Cameron, according to a leading industry body. Starting next month, homeowners and social landlords will be able to apply for thousands of pounds to cover the cost of fitting measures such as insulation and new boilers through the £150m Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF), part of efforts to address the UK’s draughty housing stock, which accounts for about 17 per cent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The scheme is designed to bolster the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) initiative, which mandates utilities to insulate vulnerable households but was hit by the government’s decision last year to cut so-called ‘green levies’ that had been blamed in some quarters for forcing up domestic energy bills. At the time, the energy efficiency and insulation industries complained that extending energy companies’ insulation deadlines by two years constituted an effective cut to the scheme, which would result in higher bills in the long term for households and smaller-than-expected emissions reductions. But Cameron and other ministers insisted the changes would prove carbon neutral, as the cuts to ECO would be offset by improvements to other schemes. The government’s own figures estimated an extra 2.9 million tonnes of CO2 would be emitted than under the scheme’s original parameters, but it claimed this would be balanced by alterations to the Green Deal, energy-efficiency improvements in the public sector, and savings from transport policies. However, the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) has calculated that far from being carbon neutral, the new GDHIF can replace only 15 per cent of the emissions reductions lost through the changes to ECO.
Business Green 19th May 2014 read more »
Patients suffering from respiratory diseases exacerbated by cold homes could be “prescribed” a new boiler or insulation, under plans being trialled by the NHS. GPs in north-eastern England have been asked to identify patients to receive NHS-funded energy efficiency improvements to their houses, to test whether a warmer home helps them to better manage their symptoms and reduce their need for medical attention.
Telegraph 19th May 2014 read more »
Households living near fracking sites could be offered free home insulation, under plans from shale gas explorer IGas. Andrew Austin, the company’s chief executive, said it was in discussions with councils about how promised cash benefits for communities near drilling sites might be spent and was considering measures such as loft insulation. Shale gas explorers have promised that communities will get £100,000 for every exploratory well that is fracked, and then a 1 per cent share of revenues if gas or oil is produced. Mr Austin, whose company has the rights to explore 1 million acres across Britain, said IGas had been lo oking at whether the community benefit schemes could play some part in “rolling our more insulation and similar [energy] demand reduction measures”. He said it was looking at any use of funds that “would be appreciated by the local community”. Energy efficiency work, such as loft insulation, was “one thing that a couple of local authorities have suggested would be interesting so therefore we are considering it”, Mr Austin said.
Telegraph 19th May 2014 read more »
The number of people in favour of fracking for shale gas in the UK has fallen below 50%, a new poll suggests. Just 49.8% were in favour of shale gas extraction when researchers from the University of Nottingham asked 3,657 people earlier this month. This is the lowest number in support of fracking since the university started its poll on the issue in 2012. The latest results found 31.4% were against fracking, while 18.4% were undecided.
BBC 20th May 2014 read more »
An energy company is to submit the first application to frack in Britain since minor earthquakes halted drilling in 2011. Cuadrilla said it would submit a planning application to Lancashire County Council to drill up to four shale gas exploration wells near Blackpool. It also intends to install a network of seismic monitoring stations within a 4km radius of the proposed exploration site at Preston New Road. Cuadrilla said it expected a decision would be made within 16 weeks.
Times 20th May 2014 read more »