The UK’s ambitious plans for a new generation of nuclear reactors that could be fuelled using the country’s stockpile of waste radioactive material took an important step forward yesterday, as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) announced that it had identified three “credible” approaches for reusing separated plutonium. The NDA last year undertook a review of the government’s “preferred option” of reusing plutonium as MOX fuel, and also looked at the credibility of alternative proposals put forward by GE-Hitachi and Candu. The agency yesterday published a position paper on its review, indicating that a possible a U-turn could be on the cards as each of the three proposals represents a “credible reuse option” for the UK’s plutonium stockpile. “This work has resulted in NDA concluding that reuse remains the preferred option and, based on the information provided and against our definitions, there are three credible reuse options: – reuse as MOX in light water reactors, reuse in CANDU EC6 reactors and reuse in PRISM fast reactors,” the NDA stated. “We note all the technologies being considered have pros and cons and that no “perfect” solution exists. It may be that a multi-track approach offers best value for money.”
Business Green 21st Jan 2014 read more »
On 1 August 2013 the NDA announced that we had shared with the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) the conclusions of the work we have recently undertaken regarding the management of the separated plutonium stocks in the UK. This work consisted of: an updated assessment of the Government’s preferred option, which is the implementation of reuse of plutonium as MOX fuel; consideration of the credibility of alternative reuse proposals, for which the NDA has engaged GE-Hitachi and Candu to provide further information regarding their PRISM and Enhanced CANDU 6 (EC6) reactor proposals respectively; an outline of what further work is required including developing our approach to Justification. Today, the NDA has published a Position Paper on the progress on approaches to the management of separated plutonium, which summarises the conclusions of the work that we shared with DECC. In summary, this work has resulted in NDA concluding that reuse remains the preferred option and, based on the information provided and against our definitions, there are three credible reuse options: – reuse as MOX in light water reactors, reuse in CANDU EC6 reactors and reuse in PRISM fast reactors. We note all the technologies being considered have pros and cons and that no “perfect” solution exists. It may be that a multi-track approach offers best value for money. All options require further understanding to be developed regarding technical uncertainties and to support this we intend to undertake technical studies over the next 1-2 years with the technology suppliers to establish a consistent level of understanding of risks and uncertainties for each option.
NDA 20th Jan 2014 read more »
The United Kingdom’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said that GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s PRISM nuclear reactor is a “credible option” for managing the UK’s plutonium stockpile. The announcement follows a two-year review that approves PRISM to manage the plutonium stockpile at the Sellafield site in the UK. The plutonium can be reused in PRISM, which is a high energy, sodium-cooled reactor. The UK government previously had a preferred option to build a MOX plant at Sellafield.
Power Engineering 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Do you trust them – Toshiba, Hitachi GE and the dodgy nuclear cronies who built Fukushima? Well you’d better because having polluted Japan (and the Pacific) they are now setting their targets on the UK. Here in Cumbria Toshiba is being hailed by nuclear cheerleaders for putting money ‘and expertise’ into building a new nuclear plant right next to the most dangerous pile of nuclear crap in the world, Sellafield.This is beyond satire, instead of being lauded Toshiba should be facing criminal charges and have their assets seized to be donated to nuclear refugees. The cost of the Fukushima disaster will be ongoing – hundreds of billions of £s would not cover it.
Radiation Free Lakeland 17th Jan 2014 read more »
Bove and the other European Green party candidates lambasted Britain for backing nuclear power, describing it as “anti-democratic”. “Nuclear energy does not go with our ideas of democracy or local energy production. There is no sense of ownership with nuclear. It’s not clean and [uranium mining] is creating terrible landscapes,” said German MEP Ska Keller, a former spokesperson of the Federation of Young European Greens. Italian MEP Monica Frassoni accused commentators who backed nuclear power as a way to reduce emissions of “cheating”. Without naming anyone, she said: “They limit the discussions only to emissions, they forget how much it costs to build and to decomission plants, they try to win the argument by cheating. The nuclear business is exactly the opposite of sustainable energy.” “Hinkley B [the planned new nuclear plant in Somerset] is crazy. The more renewable energy there is, the cheaper it becomes. But we must not give all the advantages of low price energy to industry and load all the costs on to people,” said Rebecca Harms, co-chair of the Greens in the European parliament. “Nuclear is a high-risk energy model. We are going through a process of change, phasing out nuclear and fossil fuels and phasing in alternatives. The transition is difficult but you can see in Germany that it is working,” she said.
Guardian 20th Jan 2014 read more »
COMPENSATION will be sought by Maldon District Council if plans to transfer nuclear waste from other UK sites to Bradwell power station go ahead. The transfer of nuclear waste from Dungeness to Bradwell by rail and HGV has been identified as a preferred option by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in its latest consultation, which ends on Friday, January 31. And tonight (Thursday) the planning and licensing committee will finalise its response to the NDA into the controversial storage of Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) at the site. Independent councillor for Southminster, Brian Beale, said: “If we as a community are storing waste from other parts of the country then our district should be compensated. “The facility is already storing its own waste, so it will only add to what’s already there. “The HGVs will go through small villages on the way from the railway station and these people should see the benefits.”
Essex Chronicle 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Terry Jones poem: They didn’t want it in London There are too many folk there (with friends), And they couldn’t go and put it near Brighton, Because that’s where they spend their weekends. They ruled out all places near Windsor Where you just don’t know who it offends, And Berkshire is frightfully pretty And so are the Downs and the Thames. The Chilterns are too full of tourists On whom our whole country depends, And Kent has got such lovely houses, And it’s just far too wet in the Fens.And Henley and Sidcup and Finchley Are all places one…somehow…defends… So they thought that they’d dump it in Cumbria, Just where the rainbow ends.
Cumbria Trust 21st Jan 2014 read more »
The gap in energy costs between Europe and its leading trading partners is widening, according to an official paper to be released by Brussels that shows industrial electricity prices in the region are more than double those in the US and 20 per cent higher than China’s. Industrial gas prices are three to four times higher in the EU than comparable US and Russian prices, and 12 per cent higher than in China, says the European Commission paper, based on the most comprehensive official analysis of EU energy prices and costs to date. “While Europe has never been a cheap energy location, in recent years the energy price gap between the EU and major economic partners has further increased,” says the paper, a draft of which has been seen by the FT.
FT 20th Jan 2014 read more »
On Wednesday the European Commission will put forward its energy and climate policy package for 2030. Brussels should take this opportunity to close the huge cost gap that is threatening Europe’s energy-intensive industries, and to address the over-regulation that is harming the competitiveness of European manufacturing. Failure to act could erode Europe’s manufacturing base. ArcelorMittal is a global company. We produce and sell steel in developed and emerging economies. Despite the tough economic environment, we have done everything possible to preserve plants and jobs in Europe. The EU says the manufacturing industry is a motor for growth. Unfortunately, EU energy and climate policy is punishing the steel sector and other energy-intensive industries, which is having a profound impact on our competitiveness. Compare this with the US, where shale gas and more industry-friendly policies have led to much lower costs for industrial energy users. If we paid US energy prices at our EU facilities, our costs would drop by more than $1bn a year. At a time when market demand remains 25 per cent below 2007 levels, it is critical to address this imbalance.
FT 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, said it is investigating the source of another leak of radioactive water at the wrecked facility. Tepco said in a statement it is probing the origin and cause of the leak, which was discovered inside the No 3. reactor. The latest leak could have come from the containment vessel used to cool melted fuel at the reactor, according to reports.
IB Times 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Iran has begun curbing uranium enrichment under a deal which will also see international sanctions eased, says the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog. Earlier, centrifuges used for enrichment were disconnected at the Natanz plant, Iranian TV reported. The move is part of a six-month nuclear deal reached with the US, Russia, China and European powers last November. The US and the EU have now responded by lifting some sanctions on Iran.
BBC 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Herald 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Scotsman 21st Jan 2014 read more »
City AM 21st Jan 2014 read more »
Morning Star 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Iran’s curtailment of uranium enrichment has been hailed as ‘an historic step on the path to peace and security in the Middle East’. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today confirmed that Iran had ceased enriching uranium above the threshold 5% purity, with centrifuges disconnected at its Nantaz and Fordo facilities. The deal, reached in November following lengthy negotiations with international powers, will also see Iran diluting its stockpile of 20% uranium – curbing its nuclear activities in return for a gradual easing of sanctions.
CND 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Leading engineering consultancy Frazer-Nash has competitively secured a place on the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy’s (CCFE) Framework to provide professional technical services to the Centre’s fusion related activities. CCFE appointed Frazer-Nash due to the consultancy’s technical expertise and experience of the fusion and nuclear sectors. The engineering consultancy has worked with CCFE previously to provide them with thermal, design and structural analysis packages, in support of the ITER Organisation’s planned nuclear fusion react.
Process Engineering 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Renewables – Targets
High gas prices and crippling economic problems have left European countries unwilling to renew binding requirements to increase renewable energy generation in 2020. But critics say the likely alternative – an overall target with no country-specific requirements – offers no incentive for countries to up their game. Could a platform for trading renewable-sourced energy rekindle member states’ enthusiasm for country-level targets? Steering member states toward agreeing to renewable energy targets will take some persuading. Renewables trading could offer a potential lifeline to those who still want binding country-based pledges, but proponents will have to work fast to flesh out the proposals.
Carbon Brief 20th Jan 2014 read more »
What would the UK be like in 2030 with a simple greenhouse gas target and no binding 2030 renewables targets? I can think of several Tory backbenchers and Telegraph bloggers who would dream of a glorious new Britain, with no more wind and solar farms “blotting the landscape”, which is instead vastly improved by a fleet of new nuclear and gas power plants (with carbon capture pipelines out to the coastline) and a “frack pad” in every town. A new era of affordable energy, where “costly renewables” are a thing of the past thanks to supremely affordable nuclear, CCS, and shale gas. Hmm. It’s a pretty incoherent vision, isn’t it? It doesn’t chime with public opinion, with polls frequently showing that communities prefer neighbouring renewable energy projects to shale gas wells or nuclear power stations. Nor does it chime well with the true economics and past experience of delivering major infrastructure projects. CCS and nuclear are not going to become cheap any time soon (I know – I’ve worked in both industries), and while shale gas may bring some economic benefits, cheaper bills is not one of them. In the face of this, there is strong evidence that the costs of nearly all renewables will continue to fall, with several technologies expected to be cheaper than conventional energy by 2030, some well before.
Business Green 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Renewables – Offshore Wind
Two companies planning to build wind turbine factories in Scotland are in talks to form a joint venture, which could mean reduced manufacturing plans. Gamesa of Spain and French firm Areva both announced in 2012 they planned manufacturing in the east of Scotland.They have committed to “fulfil existing industrial development commitments in the UK and France”. The Scottish plans, for manufacture on two sites, are not yet firm commitments. That suggests the joint venture makes it less likely the companies will wish to build both planned Scottish plants. A spokeswoman for Gamesa, which said nearly two years ago that it aims to create 1000 jobs by building in Leith, said it is too early in the joint venture talks to say what effect it could have on manufacturing. Areva said in November 2012 that it wants to build a plant, and could create up to 750 jobs. This was expected to be in Dundee though it could be in Edinburgh’s docklands. Although the UK market for offshore wind developments is expected to become the world’s biggest, it is only one part of the new joint venture’s global reach. The two main focuses are in northern Europe and in Asia. The agreement announced on Monday is to negotiate on a 50/50 joint-venture company.
BBC 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Renewables – Marine
THE European Commission has unveiled a new action plan for the fledgling renewable ocean energy sector in Europe, which could create up to 20,000 jobs in the UK in the next two decades. The drive to harness Europe’s “blue energy” potential is to be led by the establishment of an Ocean Energy Forum, and Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, today claimed that Scotland would have a major role to play in the Commission’s renewable energy initiative. A European Commission spokesman said: “Ocean energy has the potential to create new, high-quality jobs. Indicative job estimates show that 10,500 – 26,500 permanent jobs, and up to 14,000 temporary jobs, could be created by 2035. Other estimates suggest that it could lead to the creation of up to 20,000 jobs by 2035 in UK alone and 18,000 in France by 2026.”
Scotsman 20th Jan 2014 read more »
There are also lessons to be learned from the mistakes made in the first phases of the wind farm industry – the most important of which is that owning an energy resource is not the same as maximising it s economic potential. In the 1970s, Scotland built up an impressive infrastructure to exploit its oil and gas but in the case of wind farms, much of the infrastructure and technology ended up being developed and owned abroad. The same must not be allowed to happen with the nascent tidal industry, but it will require more money for research and development, particularly by Scottish firms. As for public acceptance of the technology, tidal energy has some obvious advantages over wind energy. Wind farms have met with understandable opposition in many communities and the accumulation of turbines near national parks and in other scenic areas is a cause for concern. The problems with storing electricity from wind power are also well-known. Tidal power, on the other hand, has potentially none of these problems as the tides are predictable and constant and the technology is hidden away on the sea bed, out of sight of any communities that could object. On the down side, there are still some unanswered questions about the potential risk the tidal turbines pose to marine life.
Herald 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Renewables – Solar
The number of solar farms will more than double this year despite a Government pledge to stop them from blighting the countryside. The average size of a solar farm has doubled in the past two years to about 40 acres and the panels expected to be placed in fields this year will cover an area equivalent to more than 5,000 football pitches. There are currently 120 large solar farms of 10 acres and above. Analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers of schemes awaiting construction or in planning shows that another 150-200 will be in operation by the end of 2014.
Times 21st Jan 2014 read more »
The Government has been urged to make household energy efficiency the UK’s top infrastructure priority. Calling on the Government to back energy efficiency, the UK Green Building Council says that a national retrofit programme that focuses on energy efficiency will help permanently reduce consumers’ energy bills and create thousands of new jobs. UK-GBC chief executive Paul King said: “Improving the energy efficiency of our cold and draughty homes is the only way to permanently cut households’ spiralling energy bills and will be a major driver of economic growth. He added that Government must make energy efficiency a top national infrastructure priority, “as important as decisions on HS2 or aviation expansion”.
Edie 21st Jan 2014 read more »
At least four of the “Big Six” energy companies could be able to meet their energy efficiency targets by undertaking lower numbers of insulation upgrades than had been expected, under controversial reforms that could represent a major watering down of the government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) policy. According to figures released last week, SSE, Scottish Power, EDF and EON are all on track to achieve more than 25 per cent of their targets for installing solid wall and hard to treat cavity wall insulation under the ECO scheme. Under proposals that are currently under consideration exceeding the 25 per cent target could qualify them for a new bonus scheme where every additional insulation measure installed before April 2014 would count as 1.75 or even double the measures towards their overarching ECO targets.
Business Green 20th Jan 2014 read more »
The National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework (NEED) published by the DECC late last year. It examined “observed” savings from loft insulation in 21,000 homes, new boilers in nearly 14,000 homes, and cavity wall insulation installed in 16,000 homes, and compared them with properties that did not have the measures installed. It found that on average, loft insulation decreases home gas consumption by 1.7%, cavity wall insulation by 7.8% and a new boiler by 9.2% (median figures were slightly higher). Installing all three produced greater savings. It concluded that: “There are significant savings from installations of all the energy efficiency measures considered in this report, and provides further support for the value of installing each individually or in combination.” But environmentalist Chris Goodall, author of How to Live a Low Carbon Life and who stood as a Green Party candidate in the 2010 general election, says that while the measures undeniably cut energy consumption, they come nowhere near the financial savings claimed by the energy industry. “Home insulation measures deliver half the savings that are claimed,” he says, adding that households that take out the government’s Green Deal, far from saving money, will actually be worse off by around £200 a year. His analysis is published on his blog, carboncommentary.com.
Guardian 18th Jan 2014 read more »
British Gas has revealed that over 50,000 Brits are now using its apps to control their heating, less a week after Google spent $3.2 billion (£2.5bn) on ‘smart’ home appliance maker Nest. Over 10,000 homes have installed British Gas’ new ‘smart’ thermostat, Hive Active Heating, since its launch last September, while tens of thousands have also installed an earlier product, Remote Heating Control.
Independent 20th Jan 2014 read more »
The battle against global warming is being put at risk by far-left extremists in the green movement who are resisting a moderate consensus on issues such as fracking, the government’s independent adviser on climate change has warned. Lord Deben, who is chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said those who condemn fracking as extremely damaging are taking a “nonsensical position” and called on environmentalists who take a more “sensible” view to disassociate themselves from these groups. In an interview with the Guardian, the Conservative ex-cabinet minister, formerly known as John Gummer, argued that the best way of protecting the planet is broad agreement about practical solutions, including exploitatio n of Britain’s shale gas reserves. He said the fight against climate change will not be won if moderates allow their position to be associated with campaigners who have “extremist” views close to Trotskyism that are not really connected to the environment. The chairman’s remarks are likely to prove controversial with groups that strongly oppose fracking, such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the Green Party, whose MP Caroline Lucas was arrested during an anti-shale protest in Balcombe in August. They have raised worries about the carbon emissions and potential for water contamination, air pollution, flaring and visual impact on the landscape. However, Caroline Lucas, Britain’s only Green party MP, rejected the idea that strongly opposing fracking in Britain is nonsensical or in any way extremist. “Of course we have to find practical ways of stopping climate change. That’s what the whole opposition to fracking is about – not ‘Trotskyite’ dogma,” she said. “The fact is that up to 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground if we are to have any hope of avoiding dangerous levels of climate change. The widespread use of shale gas is quite simply incompatible with our international commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Standing up against a process which the evidence tells us undermines those efforts is a position based on logic – not theology.”
Guardian 20th Jan 2014 read more »
A British shale gas boom is a far more distant prospect than ministers have suggested, with at most one or two wells likely to be fracked this year, according to industry experts.
Telegraph 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Reports suggest ministers have overplayed benefits of fracking for communities as Green Party threatens State Aid investigation over incentive scheme.
Business Green 20th Jan 2014 read more »
Tom Greatrex: On Tuesday the Telegraph runs a revealing story, the thrust of which is becoming increasingly familiar: Tory Ministers in the Government have again overstated the evidence on shale gas. While today it is on the likely timetable for fracking, in recent weeks we have seen similar exaggerations on the impact on bills, on the level of community benefit and on the number of jobs that might be created. Unsubstantiated claims degrade the quality of the public debate on shale gas. They provoke more extreme reactions from critics, marginalise moderate voices and inflate a bubble of expectation that is highly unlikely to ever be met. Unfortunately, shale gas is an issue in which overstatement appears to have be come the default setting of the government. For this, David Cameron must accept a sizeable share of the blame. His promises concerning the potential benefits of shale gas frequently outrun the evidence or the likely reality. It is not him alone – while his first Energy Minister Charles Hendry wisely warned against betting the house on shale prospects – other Ministers including George Osborne, Owen Paterson, and Michael Fallon, the part time part time Energy Minister, are less measured. By shamelessly cherry-picking their figures and focussing on the most optimistic assessments, this group of Ministers are guilty of making statements that contradict the evidence produced by relevant government departments.
Telegraph 20th Jan 2014 read more »