The level of man-made radioactivity to which people are exposed, remained below the EU legal limit during 2010, says a report published today. Radioactivity in Food and the Environment (RIFE) 2010 combines the Agencys monitoring results with those of the Environment Agency, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
Food Standards Agency 20th Oct 2011 more >>
The Burning Question featured in the October issue, Can nuclear power ever be 100 per cent safe? by Professor Paddy Regan at the University of Sussex, prompted many of you to write in expressing your opinions about nuclear energy. So we decided to post many of your letters here. In the article, Professor Regan said that no power production method can ever be 100 per cent safe and that the safety of nuclear reactors is improving all the time.
BBC Science Focus 20th Oct 2011 more >>
CALDER Hall, the worlds first commercial electricity producing nuclear station, is moving forward on its decommissioning programme. The latest development is the award of a major contract for the removal of all steelwork and pipework from two of Calders heat exchangers. Competitive tendering has seen Hertel UK partner with Jacobs Engineering Group and Studsvik UK secure the contract after forming a joint venture called Astrel Alliance. A team of up to 40 people will be employed on the project at any one time.
Whitehaven News 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Sellafield Waste Scandal
SHIPMENT of high level nuclear waste from Sellafield to Japan has hit a radioactive hitch. The shipment contained flasks of highly radioactive waste (HLW) which was turned into glass and stored on the Sellafield site for many years. The first of the returns was made in January 2010 but part of the second batch failed inspection on its recent arrival in Japan. Sellafield Ltd confirmed this week that higher than expected contamination was found on the surface of three of the vitrified waste containers out of 28 in one flask. Two were later cleared as being within the acceptance criteria and the third is subject to further checks. The cause is still being investigated both in the UK and Japan. Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment says that concerns have been raised in Japan over the raised radiation levels.
Whitehaven News 20th Oct 2011 more >>
WARRINGTON-BASED Boulting Group has formed a joint venture with French electrical engineering entity SNEF to target contracts in the up- coming UK nuclear power station building programme. Boulting is an engineering solutions provider, while SNEF specialises in electrical engineering. The new company, S&B Nuclear Services, will provide electrical and instrumentation services to companies involved in the construction of up to 10 new nuclear plants approved by the Government, as well as international opportunities. It is currently competing for the opportunity to be involved with the UK new- build of energy company EDFs pressurised reactor to be located at Hinkley and Sizewell.
Liverpool Daily Post 20th Oct 2011 more >>
If the EU is serious about meeting its stated energy objectives, the unit price of household electricity and gas must rise over the longer term. This does not necessarily mean proportionally higher average energy bills, as households will naturally invest in energy efficiency improvements. However it will inevitably mean significantly higher energy bills (or reduced energy comfort levels) for those who are unable or unwilling to adjust to higher energy prices.
Guardian 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Every day the people of Japan continue to live with the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The aftermath has brought many scary realities to day-to-day life: the nuclear contamination of food supplies, the existence of radiation hotspots in public areas, children returning to schools where dangerous radiation levels have been detected. In response, women from the Fukushima area are organizing a three-day sit-in, beginning on October 27th, in front of the Ministry of Economy in Tokyo, where they will protest against nuclear power and the threat to life it represents, not only to Japan, but to the whole planet. They are asking for your support, and you can send a message directly to the women via this e-mail address: email@example.com
Greenpeace International 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Even though Germany reduced its landmark solar incentives, the country is still experiencing a goldrush as a variety of renewable energies take hold and grow.
Sustainable Business 18th Oct 2011 more >>
China’s 2020 nuclear capacity targets are likely to be scaled down after the country imposed a moratorium on new project approvals following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March, industry officials said on Friday.
Reuters 21st Oct 2011 more >>
Taiwan and mainland China have signed a cross-Strait cooperation agreement on nuclear safety and emergency reporting during the seventh round of talks between the two sides in the past three years.
World Nuclear News 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Alex Salmonds credibility on fuel poverty is undermined by his decision to impose a 32% cut in Scotlands fuel poverty budget, Labour warned today. Comments from one of the UKs foremost experts on fuel poverty once lauded by Mr Salmond, Dr Brenda Boardman from Oxford University, describe his cuts as a real slap in the face for the fuel poor.
Scottish Labour 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Britains leading expert on fuel poverty has attacked Alex Salmonds government over budget cuts, describing them as a slap in the face for the poor. The comments, from Dr Brenda Boardman, emeritus fellow at the University of Oxfords Environmental Change Institute, came on the day that Mr Salmond told the SNP conference that fuel poverty amid energy plenty is unacceptable. Dr Boardmans remarks backed Labour claims that the Scottish government had cut its fuel poverty budget by almost a third, or £22 million. Dr Boardman, author of Fixing Fuel Poverty, said that Scotland had some of the worst fuel poverty in the UK and the recent price rises announced by the energy utilities meant that the number of fuel poor in Scotland was rising sharply.
Times 21st Oct 2011 more >>
The consultation on banding levels for Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs), announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, proposes lowering the amount of support which onshore wind generators will receive from 1 ROC per megawatt hour (MWh) to 0.9 of a ROC. For offshore wind, the support level would be reduced from 2 ROCs to 1.9 ROCs from April 2015, and to 1.8 ROCs in April 2016. Wave and tidal projects will receive 5 ROCs, with no overall cap. Research by RenewableUK shows that this cut of 0.1 of a ROC for onshore wind could reduce deployment from 12 gigawatts (GW) to 10.4 GW by 2017. The lost 1.6 GW could have provided electricity for nearly a million homes. A reduction of 0.2 of a ROC for offshore wind in 2016 would make more projects in the ambitious Round 3 marginal. Developers are already seeking cost reductions to make them viable under the current 2 ROC banding. Consumer bills are likely to remain unaffected by these changes. In the average annual domestic electricity annual bill of £5811, the total cost of the RO is just £20. Wind receives less than half of that £20 (or 1.8% of current consumer bills). By 2017, the RO will cost some £50 with the cost of supporting going up to around £30 a year or 60p per week, which would be the equivalent of 5.2% of electricity bills if other fossil fuels remain flat.
Renewable UK Press Release 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Ministers have been reviewing renewable obligation certificates (ROCs), which are worth around £40 per megawatt-hour on top of the £55 price of electricity. Offshore wind farms and solar installations will still receive the same support of two ROCs, although financial support will decrease gradually from 2015. But onshore wind will see a small cut to 0.9 ROCs, which could kill off around a fifth of projects. Wave and tidal power benefited most from the review, as subsidies more than doubled to five ROCs. Drax’s share price rose 10pc to 529.87p after the Government said it would give support of one ROC to “co-firing” biomass alongside coal. It will still be difficult for Drax to build dedicated biomass plants on the current subsidies. Landfill gas and energy-from-waste projects saw their subsidies cut.
Telegraph 21st Oct 2011 more >>
If offshore wind and marine energy are clear winners, and biomass and onshore wind projects can live with the proposed reforms, the prospects for a raft of other technologies look pretty bleak. Retaining or cutting the level of support for waste-to-energy plants, hydroelectric systems, anaerobic digestion and geothermal energy is unlikely to stimulate any new investment in technologies that could play a significant part in the UK’s clean energy mix. Meanwhile, the decision to axe all support for landfill gas capture plants is a huge blow to a technology that could deliver deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions if widely adopted. Some of these technologies may still secure a future in the UK as costs fall and the price of fossil fuel-generated energy rises. But the proposed cuts suggest the government has little interest in establishing the UK as a world leader in any of these unfortunate technologies.
Business Green 20th Oct 2011 more >>
First Minister Alex Salmond today welcomed an announcement by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) that it intends to test its new tidal energy system in Scottish waters. Japan’s KHI will test its new technology at the world-leading European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, using its expertise in engines, marine propulsion and gas turbines systems to develop a tidal power generation system.
eGov Monitor 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Scotsman 21st Oct 2011 more >>
AMBITIOUS plans have been unveiled to transform the mothballed Nigg fabrication yard on the Cromarty Firth into a service hub for the energy industry. The announcement, which includes a pledge to create 2,000 jobs in the next four years, was hailed by First Minister Alex Salmond as marking the potential renaissance of marine engineering in the Highlands.
Scotsman 21st Oct 2011 more >>
The solar industry is braced for severe cuts to feed-in tariffs, which in turn threaten the industry just as it becomes efficient.
Guardian 20th Oct 2011 more >>
With wild claims that the feed-in tariff rates for microgeneration-level solar energy will be slashed to just 9p, todays media has all but knocked the stuffing out of an already nervous UK solar industry. These reports are not, Im pleased to say, based on any fact. While it is perfectly possible that DECC will indeed reduce the FiT to 9p, the current rumours are, well, rumours. On speaking with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), we were told the following: As weve previously said, all tariffs in the scheme are being considered in the Comprehensive Review and we will be consulting on proposals later this year. Weve made clear that tariffs will remain unchanged until April 2012 unless the review indicates the need for greater urgency. There has been no announcement about the review so any rumours about its content are just that, rumours and speculation.
Solar Power Portal 20th Oct 2011 more >>
At a time when Britain’s national security is threatened by global financial meltdown, soaring unemployment, the rising cost of energy and extreme weather events, public spending must be aimed at tackling these threats. We need public works programmes that will mobilise a “carbon army” of “green-collar workers” and offer major incentives to environmentally friendly businesses. Britain’s buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of the nation’s toxic emissions. The need for a countrywide insulation programme to improve energy efficiency in 24 million leaky household units is urgent. We should refurbish buildings in a city the size of Nottingham every month – 50,000 teams working on each building for a two-week period and keeping that rate up, non-stop, for the next 250 months. Second, we need a programme to transform every building into a mini power station, to save on energy transmission leakages between power stations and buildings. These programmes will provide high-skilled jobs in energy analysis, design and hi-tech renewable alternatives. There will be jobs and profits in large-scale engineering projects, such as combined heat and power and offshore wind. Lower-skilled work will include loft lagging, draught stripping and fitting energy-efficient systems in all UK homes, offices and factories. This Plan B – a proper “green new deal” – addresses the main threats to the UK economy, energy and environment. We elect the government to defend our national security. To do so, it needs to be willing to finance such a plan B.
New Statesman 18th Oct 2011 more >>
The curse of the UK’s first carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition has struck for the final time. Wednesday’s announcement that funding will not be awarded to the sole remaining bidding project at Longannet confirmed what had been expected. Many initial reactions have proclaimed this to be the death of CCS in the UK, but that simply isn’t the case. A quick tour of the recent history of UK CCS policy helps us see how.
Guardian 20th Oct 2011 more >>
The cause of congenital anomaly and cancer in Fallujah Iraq is identified as Enriched Uranium from novel weapons systems deployed by the US.
LLHRC 17th Oct 2011 more >>