Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) evidence to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in October 2013 shows a yawning gap between the level at which the commercial facilities were designed to operate and the level at which they are actually operating today.
No2nuclearpower 21st Feb 2014 read more »
China’s remarkable three decades of modernisation and enrichment, its economic miracle, is apparently drawing to a close, and why there is a serious risk of a calamitous crash.
Independent 17th Feb 2014 read more »
AN earthquake which struck off the coast of Devon was not detected by seismic monitors at a nuclear power station around 50 miles away. The 4.1 quake occurred in the Bristol Channel around halfway between the North Devon Coast and South Wales at 1.21pm on Thursday, the British Geological Survey said. Tremors were reportedly felt in Barnstaple, Exeter, Taunton, Bristol and Gloucester but not at EDF’s Hinkley Point power plant, near Bridgwater in Somerset. Gordon Bell, south west media manager for EDF generation, said the quake was not significant enough to have an impact on the power station.
Mid Devon Gazette 21st Feb 2014 read more »
Unless the public has a sound knowledge of how nuclear energy is produced, how can they be expected to make sensible decisions about its future use in this country? I grew up just 20 miles from a nuclear power station and yet new nothing of how they operated until I started working at The Engineer. If British industry wants a new nuclear future then it needs to do more – in partnership with government – to educate people about its advantages and safeguards.
Engineer 21st Feb 2014 read more »
Could those wanting more action on climate change and energy transition bypass the European Council to get there? Is such a strategy ultimately inevitable? And if so, rather than wait, why not demand to start now? No sooner than the ink was dry on the Commission’s 2030 document last month, key political figures were busy lowering expectations on the timing of next steps towards a new climate and energy framework. If present difficulties in achieving a consensus among all 28 government heads are expected still to be there in one or two years time, why wait around for such painful public failure to be played out in slow motion? People will simply get bored and walk away as frustration with inaction turns to disengagement. Remaining political actors will still be faced with the same dilemmas then as they are now.
Mark Johnston 21st Feb 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
When most of us think of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster we think about leaks of contaminated water, criminal gangs hiring ill-trained workers to work on cleaning up radioactive materials on the site, ice-dams to stop water flowing, or government announcements that never improve anything. What we often don’t think about are the victims. More than 150,000 people were made victims by this disaster, most are still victims. But these days there is little coverage of their daily lives and the problems they continue to face. They have compelling stories to tell. To learn about the stories, and to expose the shameful neglect of victims, Greenpeace Japan brought six international witnesses to tour the Fukushima area the week of 17 February 2014, and to meet five victims.
Greenpeace 21st Feb 2014 read more »
They have survived earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe, a disaster cocktail of unique power and menace. But the maladies that are killing the people of Japan’s Fukushima prefecture are something much more common and mundane – stress and depression. New figures show that more people in Fukushima have been killed by the pressures of displacement from their homes and communities than died in the 2011 triple disaster. The statistics suggest what many experts now believe – that the radiation leaking from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, whose reactors melted down after being hit by the tsunami, has done much less harm than the large-scale evacuation that followed it. According to information compiled by police and local governments, 1,656 people have died in the Fukushima prefecture as a result of stress and oth er illnesses caused by the 2011 disaster. This compares with 1,607 who were drowned by the tsunami or crushed by the preceding earthquake.
Times 22nd Feb 2014 read more »
US – Nuclear Subsidies
From 2011 through 2013, as the overwhelming majority of the new reactors that had been proposed as part of the “Nuclear Renaissance” were abandoned or delayed, the industry blamed low natural gas prices. In 2013, when five old reactors were retired early, and today with many old reactors being considered for early retirement, the industry blames low wholesale prices that result from a market that is distorted by the entry of subsidized wind power. The irony in these complaints is that for fifty years the selection of generating capacity has been rigged in favor of nuclear power with socialized accident insurance and waste management costs, forced purchase of overpriced power, and advanced recovery of construction costs. Nuclear advocates complaining about policies that balance things out a bit to give other generation resources a decent chance of delivering electricity would be laughably hypocritical, if it weren’t so important. In fact, if the playing field were actually level, nuclear would be in even more trouble than it is.
Forbes 20th Feb 2014 read more »
US – MOX
A consultant was recently brought in to the Savannah River Site to examine options for possibly terminating the MOX contract held by Shaw AREVA MOX Services, which is the contractor currently in charge of constructing the facility. According to an article from the Weapons Complex Monitor – a magazine that provides intelligence and inside information on cleanup and waste management within Department of Energy sites – the National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA, sent a consultant to the Site earlier this week.
Aiken Standard 21st Feb 2014 read more »
US – Renewables
More than 99 percent of new electric capacity added in the U.S. in January came from renewable energy sources, according to data released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday. Of the 325 megawatts of new capacity installed, solar led the way with 287 megawatts added in January. That was followed by geothermal power with three new units totaling 30 megawatts, one new unit of wind energy with an installed capacity of 4 megawatts, and three new units of biomass totaling 3 megawatts. In addition, there was 1 megawatt added that FERC defined as “other.”
Climate Progress 21st Feb 2014 read more »
The South Korean government plans to develop sophisticated cyber weapons similar to the notorious Stuxnet malware, according to reports from the country’s Yonhap news agency. The weapons are part of a wider government strategy to bolster the nation’s cyber-offensive capabilities.
V3 21st Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
London Array and Forewind ditch plans for 2.2GW of new offshore wind capacity in one day, but DECC maintains the industry has a bright future. this recent erosion of the development pipeline is in stark contrast to the optimism displayed by the government and industry as it seeks to ensure that the UK is not only installing offshore wind farms, but hosting the factories and creating the jobs that will generate real green economic growth. The Offshore Wind Programme Board’s new report, which Fallon published yesterday, highlighted how the UK could install another 7.6GW of offshore wind capacity by 2020, taking the total capacity by the end of the decade to 10GW. But even this is far short of the 32GW by 2020 that the then government initially predicted when it launched the so-called Round 3 wave of projects in 2009. There are fears that for a manufacturer like Siemens, 10GW might not be enough to justify moving forward with plans to build a factory in Hull, while similar plans by Gamesa and Areva also still remain in doubt. However, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the offshore wind industry are continuing to downplay the impacts of the recent announcements, maintaining that attrition of the development pipeline is “perfectly normal” in any maturing industry. Mainstream Renewable Power announced yesterday that it had selected Siemens as the preferred contractor for its 450MW Neart na Goithe offshore wind farm in Scotland, confirming that it remains on track to reach financial close for the project by the end of the year, even though the project was not selected by DECC for early support under the provisional FID enabling list. each hit to the project pipeline prompts some observers to ask how long the government can put a brave face on problems that could undermine the UK’s ability to meet its renewable energy and carbon emission targets for 2020. The industry remains well positioned to play a major role in the UK’s long-term decarbonisation efforts, but frustration over the delays to investment caused by the long-running Electricity Market Reforms and the failure to build any domestic turbine factories are still evident across the sector.
Business Green 20th Feb 2014 read more »
The UK has the oldest housing stock in Europe. It also has among the mostly badly insulated properties. As a result we are second worst in Europe for fuel poverty, beaten only by Estonia and we have among the highest rates of winter deaths. Last winter, 31,000 people dies of the cold. That is nothing short of a national disgrace. Scandinavian homes are three times more energy efficient than UK homes. If we don’t fix our housing stock and bring it into the 21st Century we will never end the energy bill crisis and we will never solve fuel poverty. We need green business to move to the forefront of this campaign and make the call for this to be the UK’s priority infrastructure investment. No other investment could achieve so much for so many. We need you in the fight for jobs, the fight against fuel poverty and climate change. Join the revolution now.
Business Green 20th Feb 2014 read more »
The number of energy efficiency measures installed through the Energy Companies Obligation plummeted following the government’s announcement of cuts to the scheme, official figures have revealed. The latest Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) and Green Deal figures showed there were 66,480 retrofit measures installed in December, a fall of 19% on the number installed the previous month. The fall followed the government’s announcement in December of major cuts to the scheme, although the Department of Energy and Climate Change attributed the fall to a hiatus in work over the Christmas period. However, as Building revealed last month, work contracted under ECO collapsed following the announcement of government plans to slash the scheme, with just £1.2m of ECO work contracted through the government’s brokerage system in December, compared with £57.6m in November. The latest figures showed there was a light pick up in the amount of work contracted through the ECO brokerage system in January, with the amount of work rising to £14.9m, up from £1.2m in December. However this is still down 74% on the £57.6m of work contracted in November.
Building 20th Feb 2014 read more »
“Up to 80% of energy costs can be saved by switching to low energy street lighting” says Local MP Norman Baker who is challenging the County Council to hit this target. LED street lights are over six times more efficient than standard street lights. Furthermore, the nationwide savings in green house gas (CO2) emissions if lights across the UK were upgraded would result in the equivalent of taking 330,000 cars off the roads. The money saved from these changes would be massive (a predicted £200 million nationwide) and would pay for itself many times over in the medium to long term. Norman has now written to East Sussex County Council to challenge them and speed up efforts to make our street lights greener? The figures have been released by The Green Investment Bank; a project created by the Lib Dems in government, and show the benefits of low energy street lighting. The bank has a fund of £3.8 billion from the UK Government to invest in sustainable projects as part of a goal to create 200,000 new green jobs.
Norman Baker 21st Feb 2014 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News: Given giant technological leaps, rapidly changing economics, and new potential applications, capitalist pioneers have begun to make solar competitive. Ignore it at your peril.
Microgen Scotland 21st Feb 2014 read more »
One of the leading fracking companies in Britain has accused the BBC of bias in a programme that claimed that the process could damage children’s health. Cuadrilla Resources has written to the BBC to complain about the Inside Out regional current affairs programme shown on BBC One Yorkshire and Lincolnshire last month. The 17-minute programme, which was broadcast last month, said in its introduction that it was investigating “claims that unregulated fracking could lead to environmental disaster”.
Times 22nd Feb 2014 read more »
Leading Met Office scientists have said that there could be a connection between climate change and the recent storms to batter Britain. Dame Julia Slingo, chief scientist at the Met Office, is among those to have signed a letter in The Times today stating that the risk of serious flooding is increasing with climate change. The letter states: “We have looked at the potential influence of climate change and all the evidence from the observations, theory and models which show that a warming world leads to more intense daily and hourly rainfall. When we add rising sea levels, then the risk to our communities from serious flooding and coastal inundation are increasing with climate change.”
Times 22nd Feb 2014 read more »