In a few days, during a Board of Directors scheduled on January 27, EDF must take its decision to invest in the project to build two EPR nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Britain. However, internally, this giant project estimated at 23.7 billion euros, raises concerns, particularly with the union executives, the CFE-CGC. According to the daily ‘Les Echos’, CFE-CGC has scheduled on Wednesday to question employees and the Board of Directors. According to the union, “Hinkley Point represents a huge investment in terms of market capitalization of the group (22.5 MDSE) and its financial position. We see financial risks, industrial and legal”. Meanwhile, the stock exchange continues to tumble, down 2.5% to 11.40 euros. While EDF is heavily indebted and that the group is called to the aid of Areva, its share price is at record low, after fears about higher than expected cost of storage of nuclear waste (Cigéo project). In early January, ‘Les Echos’ wrote that the electrician had scheduled no less than 6.5 billion euros in asset sales in its 2016 budget to finance its investments. The cost of UK EPR project is estimated at £ 18 billion (in current cost 23.7 billion euros at current prices), of which EDF will take 66.5%. The CFE-CGC is concerned, however a slip these costs, in case of delay in the construction schedule, as was the case in Finland (project led by Areva) and at Flamanville in France and to a lesser extent in China. “There has been in recent years construction time shifts on the three sites where EPR is under construction. However, management does not consider these calendar drifts for his project,” points the CFE-CGC.
Boursier 20th Jan 2016 read more »
The Welsh Affairs Committee has today launched an inquiry into the future of nuclear power in Wales. The Wales Green Party is the only party in Wales that remains staunchly opposed to nuclear power. Alice Hooker Stroud, Leader of the Wales Green Party said: ” The Wales Green party welcomes the inquiry into the future of nuclear power. Nuclear power presents an unacceptable risk to the people of Wales and should not be part of building a sustainable future for Wales. It is absurd that at a time where we have seen renewable energy projects slashed due to UK government policy that we pursue nuclear power, which is expensive, dangerous and does not help meet short term carbon reduction targets.” The inquiry will explore how decommissioning processes for old generators are carried out and what the environmental impact is. The inquiry will then look at the future of nuclear energy for Wales in terms of providing money and job creation.
Wales Green Party 20th Jan 2016 read more »
ENERGY giant EDF is to spend £500,000 creating a new control centre in Macmerry to deal with a potential nuclear emergency after ScottishPower closed EDF’s current back-up centre at the former Cockenzie Power Station. The owners of Torness, near Dunbar, have a statutory duty to maintain a strategic co-ordination centre independent of the nuclear power station’s site in case of an emergency considered large scale enough to put the public at risk. Now it has been revealed EDF has agreed to spend just under £500,000 upgrading rooms at the council-owned Penston House in Macmerry to create office accommodation to suit its needs. The firm will then enter into a 30-year lease with East Lothian Council, which will have free use of the office space when it is not required, paying the local authority just under £40,000 each year to retain the offices. The offices, which will be the Torness Strategic Co-ordination Centre (TSCC), will be retained for use should an incident occur at the nuclear power station which cannot be contained within the site. An off-site incident is described in the Torness Emergency Plan as when there is a “hazardous condition which results, or is likely to result, in the need to consider urgent countermeasures to protect the public outside the site security fence from a radiological hazard”.
East Lothian Courier 22nd Jan 2016 read more »
Engineers at the Dounreay power nuclear complex in Caithness have begun a crucial phase in decommissioning the site’s main reactor. The Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) was shut down in 1994 after 20 years in operation. Remotely-operated robotic tools have been specially designed for dismantling the reactor. The facilities at Dounreay, near Thurso, are being dismantled and the site cleaned. Among the most complex tasks involve dealing with the PFR and the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR). The DFR is contained within the site’s landmark dome. Graeme Dunnett, senior project manager of the PFR clean-up, said his team were using original schematics of the reactor to help them work out how to decommission it. He told BBC Scotland: “Since it was operational no-one has been in that area for over 40 years so everything is having to be done remotely. “We have gone back to the drawings and operating aspects of how it was put together. We are also fortunate enough to have senior members of the team who were present when it was operational and we have been able to use their experience to design and manufacture tools to take the reactor apart.”
BBC 22nd Jan 2016 read more »
The current global system for securing nuclear materials has major gaps that prevent it from being comprehensive and effective: No common set of international standards and best practices exists, there is no mechanism for holding states with lax security accountable, and the legal foundation for securing materials is neither complete nor universally observed. Most worrying, as my center reported in our own state of play on nuclear weapons last year, 83 percent of all fissile stocks are military materials and thus remain outside existing international security mechanisms. Moreover, participation in international peer review — a very effective tool for improving performance and building confidence in others about the integrity of a state’s security remains —limited: only 16 of the 24 states with weapons-usable nuclear materials have had a nuclear security peer review in the past five years, and seven have never had one. An act of sabotage against a nuclear facility could result in a significant radiological release, similar in scale to the release when a tsunami hit the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. The 2016 index for the first time assesses nuclear security conditions related to the protection of nuclear facilities against acts of sabotage for 45 countries with nuclear power plants or research reactors. The index finds troubling shortfalls in how well countries are protecting nuclear facilities against sabotage and the emerging threat of cyberattacks. Twenty states lack even basic requirements to protect nuclear facilities from cyberattacks and score zero. Too many countries remain unprepared to deal with cyberattacks that might lead to sabotage.
Japan Times 20th Jan 2016 read more »
NuScale Power’s small modular reactor (SMR) has the capability of using mixed uranium-plutonium oxide (MOX) fuel in addition to conventional light water reactor fuel, a study by the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) has confirmed. NuScale Power said in a statement yesterday that the study commissioned from the NNL supports the suitability of the company’s NuScale Power Module – a 160 MWt, 50 MWe integral pressurized water reactor with natural circulation – for the effective disposition of plutonium. NNL business leader for fuel and reactors Dan Mathers said, “The National Nuclear Laboratory has been pleased to work with NuScale on a commercial basis to help demonstrate the capability of their SMR in relation to MOX fuel.” He added, “Reuse of the plutonium for low carbon power generation could be a valuable way forward for dealing with the UK’s nuclear legacy.”
World Nuclear News 21st Jan 2016 read more »
With a major effort now underway to build 19 GWe of large nuclear reactors over the next two decades, the UK appears to be headed towards doubling down on its atomic energy bet with a push to open up opportunities for small modular reactors (SMRs). UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd told Parliament in November 2015 that SMRs have “excellent” potential and that the current government of UK Prime Minister David Cameron “is doing as much as it can” to support the technology. To that end the UK government announced £250m ($378m) funding over the next five years for nuclear research and development including a competition to identify the “best value small modular reactor design for the UK.” The UK is doubling funding for the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC’s) energy innovation program to £500m over five years, including research into SMRs.
Energy Post 21st Jan 2016 read more »
The head of the Parliamentary committee that holds DECC to account has launched a scathing attack on the Department which he says is held captive by the treasury and lacks a coherent strategy. Speaking at an energy storage event hosted by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) in London, Energy and Climate Change Committee chief Angus MacNeil criticised the “pennywise and pound-foolish” cost-cutting approach taken by DECC in recent months. “Reason does not work with this Government,” said MacNeil. “They have a mantra, an obsession with balancing the books. They are like a farmer who thinks that seeds in the springtime are an unnecessary extravagance.
Edie 21st Jan 2016 read more »
We, the Energy Policy Group of the University of Exeter, welcome the NIC’s investigation. We argue that the fundamental problem for GB energy infrastructure and the balancing of supply and demand within markets is that the current GB governance system is not fit for purpose. IGov, a project within the EPG, has put forward an alternative governance framework (as shown in Figure 1, 2 and 3). We believe if this governance framework were put in place, competition between the various energy resources – whether they be demand side or system capabilities, such as interconnection or storage – would be improved, as would operation, security and environmental outcomes. We would also see this as the long term cost minimisation strategy to meet the GB carbon commitments. The transformation to an energy system capable of meeting the environmental, security and social goals – and the infrastructure and market needs of that – should be overseen by an Independent and Integrated System Operator (an IISO), as the technical executor of Government policy. It should be a state owned not for profit IISO created from the SO functions of National Grid. This alters the balance of power between institutions in the GB energy system. We do not believe that Ofgem should continue with multiple competing Duties. It should revert to being an economic regulator. These two institutions should be on the same level of institutional hierarchy.
IGov 21st Jan 2016 read more »
A French minister says that a bitter, protracted dispute between a Finnish nuclear utility and its French contractor should be resolved soon. The two are wrangling over vast cost overruns and delays on the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor, which is nearly a decade behind schedule. French nuclear reactor maker Areva and Finnish utility customer Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) will try to settle mutual claims over the long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor within a month, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday. TVO and an Areva-led consortium with Siemens are claiming billions of euros from one another in an arbitration suit over cost overruns and delays to the reactor, which is nearly a decade behind schedule. Both groups reject responsibility for delays and cost overruns, and took their dispute to an arbitration tribunal. Areva is claiming 3.4 billion euros while TVO claims 2.6 billion.
YLE 20th Jan 2016 read more »
The Finnish government has no role to play in the dispute between French state-owned nuclear reactor builder Areva and its Finnish customer TVO, a Finnish government source told Reuters on Thursday. French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday he had agreed with his Finnish counterpart Olli Rehn to give the companies and shareholders one month to find the conditions for an agreement. Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) and an Areva-led consortium with Siemens are claiming billions of euros from one another in an arbitration suit over cost overruns and delays to the reactor Areva is building in Olkiluoto, Finland, for TVO. TVO’s claim is holding up a planned takeover of Areva’s reactor building unit by fellow state-owned utility EDF, which does not want to take responsibility for it.
Reuters 21st Jan 2016 read more »
France’s EDF plans to build two new nuclear reactors by 2030 in a bid to start renewing its existing fleet of 58 ageing reactors, the state-controlled utility said in a document released to its unions on Thursday. The two new French reactors are part of a plan bring up to 10 European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) designed by French nuclear technology company Areva on line by 2030, EDF said in the document, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters. EDF did not detail its forecast, but four EPRs are already under construction: one in Olkiluoto, Finland and one in Flamanville, France — both years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget — and two in Taishan, China. EDF hopes the Flamanville reactor will be in service by the of end 2018.
Reuters 21st Jan 2016 read more »
Radwaste – US
The United States Department of Energy is trying to change the rules on nuclear waste disposal – for the better. Instead of the old top-down decision-making, DOE is going to implement a consent-based strategy. This means that instead of ordering some individual state like Nevada to take all of the Nation’s high level nuclear waste, whether they like it or not, we’ll instead ask “Who would like to take this waste? It will create fantastic jobs, will bring huge economic benefit to the region and, contrary to popular opinion, it’s safer than putting in a Mall.” This new strategy comes from the failure of our previous disposal program that ended in the suspension of the Yucca Mountain site, the proposed nuclear repository that came out of the 1987 Amendment to the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act. This suspension was not a bad thing since the Yucca Mountain tuff really is such a lousy rock that the level of re-engineering required would make the project way too expensive, about $100 billion too expensive.
Cumbria Trust 22nd Jan 2016 read more »
Forbes 21st Jan 2016 read more »
This is the face of nuclear development in the United States today: slow, over-budget, economically untenable. Yet the dream of a nuclear-powered society is still alive. Nationwide, we get about 20 percent of our electricity from nuclear. It produces the lion’s share¬ (64 percent) of our clean energy, provided that by “clean,” you mean anything but fossil fuels. In addition to Watts Bar 2 there are four other reactors currently under construction in this country, signaling that perhaps America has a renewed interest in going nuclear. Look abroad and there’s even more reason for nuclear advocates to be hopeful. China is leading a renaissance in nuclear energy: Today that country gets only 2.5 percent of its electricity from nuclear, but it has 21 reactors under construction, more in the works, and a growing business selling reactors to countries like Pakistan, Argentina, and the United Kingdom. This vigor marks a level of nuclear investment the world has not seen since the heyday of American atomic enthusiasm, when 58 reactors came online between 1965 and 1980.
Popular Mechanics 21st Jan 2016 read more »
At least 200 people attended a meeting in Bergen op Zoom on Tuesday to find out what is going on with the Belgian nuclear power plants. Dutch residents are concerned about their safety due to the growing number of incidents and stations such as Doel, just across the border from Bergen op Zoom, Omroep Brabant reports. The meeting was organized by various environmental organizations from the Netherlands and Belgium. Attendees included people from Zeeland, Bergen op Zoom, Woensdrecht and Steenbergen. The attendees were particularly concerned about the safety of the nuclear power plants. Incidents over the past year at the Doel plants included a sudden shutdown, an explosion and sabotage. The Doel plants started operating in 1975 and were intended to close last year, after 40 years of service. But the Belgian government decided to extend the operation until 2025.
NL Times 20th Jan 2016 read more »
Excavation work has started at the construction site of the planned Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, Finland. A ceremony was held to mark the start of work to dig the foundation pit on 19 January.
World Nuclear News 21st Jan 2016 read more »
With its slightly chipped red grip and retro look, it could be the hand control for a Scalextric set or games console. In fact, the device seen here for the first time is the trigger to Britain’s nuclear deterrent, a button that when pressed could destroy hundreds of thousands of lives. It is in the hand of Lieutenant Commander Woods, the weapons engineer officer on HMS Vigilant, one of four Vanguard class submarines that carries up to eight Trident missiles armed with nuclear warheads
Daily Mail 22nd Jan 2016 read more »
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon takes a tour of HMS Vigilant, one of Britain’s four nuclear submarines, as he visits the Faslane naval base on the Clyde.
Telegraph 21st Jan 2016 read more »
Nuclear watchdogs are to lift a warning of legal action against the UK’s nuclear submarine refit base following safety improvements. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) issued an improvement notice to Devonport in December 2014 after a worker received a dose of radiation. The ONR said the dose was “very small” but it “highlighted shortfalls” in safety standards at the yard. The regulator said the notice would be lifted “at the end of this week”.
BBC 21st Jan 2016 read more »
NUCLEAR weapons convoys pose a danger to the public because they are “a moving target for terrorists”, Midlothian SNP MP Owen Thompson has told the House of Commons.
Edinburgh Evening News 21st Jan 2016 read more »
The Djibouti Government has announced work is underway on a 300 MW solar PV plant. Around EUR 360 million will be invested in the project, which is being undertaken by Switzerland’s Green Enesys. The goal of the African country is to procure 100% of its energy from renewables. Djibouti’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has announced that initial construction work is underway on what is planned to be a 300 MW solar PV plant. If completed, it will become one the biggest of its kind in the world.
Renew Economy 22nd Jan 2016 read more »
In 2013, Greensburg, KS — a town of less than 800 residents about 100 miles from Wichita — became the first city in the United States to go 100 percent renewable, powering their homes, businesses, and municipal buildings via wind power. In 2014, Burlington, VT joined Greensburg, becoming the largest city in the United States to be powered by renewable energy sources. A year later, Aspen, CO, joined the coalition, becoming the third city in the United States to go 100 percent renewable. It took just three years for three U.S. cities to make the transition to 100 percent clean energy — and experts in the field of renewable energy, as well as several prominent environmental groups, expect that pace only to quicken in the coming years. Just last month, San Diego — the country’s eighth-largest city — made a legally binding commitment to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. In total, 12 U.S. cities — including San Francisco, CA, Georgetown, TX, and Ithaca, NY — have made commitments to transition to 100 percent clean energy, though many have yet to solidify those commitments as law. Hoping to push more cities toward this renewable energy transition, several environmental groups are launching campaigns this year aimed at garnering commitments from cities and institutions like universities and corporations. The Sierra Club — one of the country’s largest grassroots environmental organizations — just launched a new #ReadyFor100 campaign, a nationwide effort aimed at getting 100 cities and 100 organizations to commit to transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy.
Renew Economy 22nd Jan 2016 read more »
Climate Progress 21st Jan 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar thermal
The Solar Trade Association has called on the UK Govt to include solar thermal heating in to the Renewable Heat Initiative. Solar thermal power can be a key technology for tackling fuel poverty, especially when fitted to high-density social housing. Solar thermal can be an attractive technology for under-priviledged households as it uses the sun as a free energy source to heat hot water. That hot water can then either be stored in a hot water tank or fed into an existing combi-boiler, thereby minimising the plumbing work required in installation.
Scottish Energy News 22nd Jan 2016 read more »
Two new best practice guides have been launched by the BRE National Solar Centre to help solar installers and consumers select, install and operate battery storage systems so they work at optimum levels with solar PV systems. The guides are issued at a key time in the market with almost 1 million PV installations now in place across the UK with 10GW of capacity.
Scottish Energy News 22nd Jan 2016 read more »
Costs have fallen so rapidly for battery storage capacity that within two years the technology will be cheap enough for households with existing rooftop solar systems. That is according to a new report published today by the Renewable Energy Agency (REA) and consultancy KPMG, which found that by around 2017 the cost of lithium ion storage technology will have fallen low enough for early adopter households and businesses to retrofit it onto existing energy generation systems.
Business Green 20th Jan 2016 read more »
In November 2015, financial advisory firm Lazard released its first-ever Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis (LCOS). Well known for its Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE) analysis—now out in version 9.0—Lazard publishing an analysis of storage is a major sign that it considers battery energy storage a critical technology that’s here to stay. But a closer look at Lazard’s LCOS shows something RMI’s October 2015 Economics of Battery Energy Storage report noted: a) battery economics are usually evaluated on the basis of single-use cases, b) stacking multiple uses can greatly enhance battery economics, and c) evaluating those economics gets difficult quickly. It’s the use cases and stacked value streams—in addition to per-kWh cell cost declines—that offer tremendous opportunity.
RMI 21st Jan 2016 read more »
The Government’s controversial decision to scrap carbon capture and storage (CCS) funding in the UK could add £1bn-2bn a year to the cost of decarbonisation throughout the 2020’s, new analysis from the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has warned.
Edie 21st Jan 2016 read more »