CONTROVERSIAL plans to ferry radioactive nuclear fuel and waste by sea from Dounreay to England have come under fire. Bosses at the Caithness plant, which is currently being decommissioned, insist a successful trial could give them two potential routes for transporting the material for reprocessing at Sellafield in Cumbria – with contentious shipments already being made by rail. But critics are warning against the risks of navigating rough seas around Cape Wrath and the Minch of the west coast of mainland Scotland. Highland MSP John Finnie said he had particular concerns, given the loss of the Coastguard’s Stornoway-based emergency tug, which went to the aid of the nuclear-powered submarine HMS
Scotsman 21st July 2014 read more »
Herald 22nd July 2014 read more »
Former Garstang resident Mo Kelly is taking her campaign on safety at Heysham nuclear power stations to Parliament. The Lancaster-based architect plans to raise her concerns with her MP Eric Ollerenshaw and write to the Parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Select Committee to highlight her fears about the long-term sustainability of the Heysham 1 and 2 power stations, safety and maintenance issues and the need for more openness about these issues.
Garstang Courier 21st July 2014 read more »
Nuclear power has a lot of the best Public Relations (PR) workers in the world, but nothing they can do can obscure the difference between the facts of UK nuclear performance and what is now wishful consensus thinking of the UK state. Should one get too annoyed with this? Or just smile? There is a cynical argument that one might as well not bother campaigning against nuclear power if you don’t like it because its best enemy and destroyer is itself. In Britain nuclear’s recent record for availability is not outstanding – 65 per cent according to the Digest of UK Energy Statistics for the year 2008-2012. Remember this is for a technology that is supposed to be on for as much as the time as is possible, and the bulk of the downtime on the figures is accounted for by unplanned, often sudden, outages that jeopardise electricity grid stability. At least you can usually make a reasonable prediction about wind output for particular windfarm, but you cannot predict sudden unplanned outages from nuclear. But we are told that nuclear is necessary as a ‘baseload’ plant. Well I suppose it is baseload as much as it operates some of the time, but not really if it often does not work when you want it to!
Dave Toke’s Blog 21st July 2014 read more »
GE Hitachi (GEH) and Iberdrola have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on an energy from nuclear waste project. The firms have agreed to work together on GEH’s PRISM technology, which would dispose of nuclear waste by turning the plutonium into a fuel for a new 622MW nuclear plant at Sellafield. Jay Wileman, GEH Senior Vice President, said: “Iberdrola’s experience and expertise in plant operations and power generation coupled with GE Hitachi’s advanced technology is a powerful combination that we believe will further strengthen PRISM’s position as the best solution for plutonium re-use in the UK.”
Utility Week 21st July 2014 read more »
The Energy and Climate Change Committee will take evidence on Small Nuclear Power on Tuesday 22 July 2014 in the Grimond Room, Portcullis House. Today the Committee will take evidence from the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Parliament 22nd July 2014 read more »
The Committee on Radioactive Waste Managment (CoRWM) response submitted to the Welsh Government’s call for evidence on the disposal of higher activity radioactive waste.
CoRWM 21st July 2014 read more »
Is it possible to predict the future of UK energy? A couple of weeks ago, the Guardian reported National Grid forecasting energy prices will double by the end of the decade. Other media reported the grid operator found that UK shale gas could supply much of our future needs, the UK’s gas supply could be held to ransom by Russia, solar power will fail to take off, and the UK can afford to meet green energy goals. It all sounds quite colourful. So does National Grid really expect to see such wildly different events unfolding in the near future? Well, no. The media reports were based on a series of scenarios prepared by the grid operator. To understand the difference between scenarios and forecasts – it goes beyond mere semantics – we take a look at why it’s so difficult to predict the energy future, and why such a range of possibilities are thrown up when we try.
Carbon Brief 21st Jult 2014 read more »
The Committee on Climate Change sixth annual report includes the latest findings on the UK’s progress towards meeting emissions targets. Findings cover overall progress and include chapters on reducing emissions in the power sector, from buildings, from industry, transport emissions, emissions from agriculture and from Waste and F-gases. This summary focusses on emissions in buildings.
Ecuity 21st July 2014 read more »
The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee has today launched an inquiry into the resilience of the UK’s electricity system, asking how science and technology can help with future needs. The Committee will investigate whether there will be enough electricity to meet demand as the UK reaches a critical pinch point over the two coming winters. The Committee will look at whether Government policies will be effective in ‘keeping the lights on’ in the short term and through to 2030. The inquiry will ask how resilient the UK’s electricity generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure is to sudden, unexpected events such as severe weather, power station failure or cyber attack. It will ask how resilience will be affected in the medium term as electricity generation is decarbonised and becomes more distributed. In addition, it will examine the impact of new demands such as electric vehicles and smart appliances giving consumers more control over their electricity use. The Committee will look at the role of science and technology in ensuring a resilient electricity system and ask how well the UK is placed to exploit new technologies.
House of Lords 21st July 2014 read more »
Ovo Energy is expanding its external relations team with a series of new appointments, including Guy Newey, head of the energy and environment practice at centre-right think-tank Policy Exchange.
PR Week 21st July 2014 read more »
When the foundation of your world view is crumbling under the weight of inconvenient truths, you can do one of two things: revise your world view or descend into paranoia. The extraordinary outburst by the recently sacked environment secretary Owen Paterson is the latter choice. His unburdening is peppered with the language of conspiracy, decrying a “powerful self-serving caucus” of environmentalists and warning of “a mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups… who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape.” The ground zero of Paterson’s meltdown is his denial of climate change. By definition, action on global warming requires communal action and that, to Paterson and a few other politicians from the right, sounds disturbingly like communism. He, like the others, tellingly tends to cite North Korea as the obvious end result of green policies. Like the long-gone Soviet bloc and its remnants, the “nationalised industries and obstructive trade unions of the 1970s” are another ancient stick Paterson uses to beat environmental campaigners.
Guardian 21st July 2014 read more »
Following the loss of the Malaysian airliner last week, European leaders are once again wrestling with the question of how to respond to Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis. They are reluctant to get tough, much more so than the United States. The EU could easily end up doing itself a lot of economic harm, most obviously if Russia were to respond by turning down the gas. Russia is a very important oil exporter too, though that is a more liquid market – to coin a phrase – where it is not so hard to find alternatives if you fall out with one major supplier. But there is also a significant role in Europe’s energy sector for Russian nuclear supplies and the potential for significant disruption in the EU. Nuclear energy is an important source of electricity in the EU. Russia comes into this picture at several points. First, it is an important supplier of the raw material for nuclear fuel, uranium. There is an international market for uranium, so there are alternative sources, but Russia accounts for 18% of EU supplies (behind Kazakhstan and Canada), so switching is not that simple. Second, there is the business of enrichment to make the uranium suitable for power generation – and 30% of this work is done by Russian companies. There is another potential source of vulnerability, too. The EU has a significant number of older, Russian-designed nuclear reactors – 18 in all. This is a reflection of past political relations with the Soviet Union.
BBC 22nd July 2014 read more »
French nuclear power output Monday morning was almost 4 GW below availability forecasts published late last week after EDF notified the grid of new reactor limitations and delayed restarts, the latest data from grid operator RTE showed. French nuclear power output was 46.3 GW at 08:30 Monday (0630 GMT), compared with Friday’s availability forecast of 50.2 GW. Over the weekend, EDF delayed the restart of its 1.3 GW St Alban 1 reactor until Tuesday and postponed the restart of the 900 MW Gravelines 5 unit to Monday.
Platts 21st July 2014 read more »
It’s not just from the nuclear giants Exelon and Entergy–energy efficiency and renewable energy programs are under attack from nuclear and fossil fuel-dominated utilities across the country. In Florida, Tampa Bay Times reporter Ivan Penn, who last month won the prestigious Loeb award for business reporting for his work examining the Levy County and Crystal River nuclear power reactors, is back with an excellent new article on new efforts from Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light and Tampa Electric to slash energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in the state.
Green World 21st July 2014 read more »
Iran has converted its most enriched uranium to less harmful forms such as fuel, according to the UN nuclear agency. This marks significant progress as Iran and six world powers continue to try and reach an agreement about Iran’s nuclear programme. The US has said that it will unblock $2.8bn worth of frozen Iranian funds as a result of this latest move.
City AM 21st July 2014 read more »
Middle East Online 21st July 2014 read more »
The terrible fate of Earth after a nuclear war has been mapped out using computer models for the first time. Worldwide famine, deadly frosts, global ozone losses of up to 50 per cent and more would greet any inhabitants of the planet still remaining after a nuclear conflict. And the researchers hope their study of what they call a relatively ‘small’ nuclear war will serve as a deterrent against such weapons being used by any nation in the future.
Daily Mail 21st July 2014 read more »
Renewables – offshore Wind
Wind farms have an unexpected benefit if you happen to be a harbour seal hunting for food in British waters, according to a new study. They are a magnet for hungry seals eager to take advantage of the fact that fish and crustaceans tend to cluster on the structures – which become artificial reefs for marine life over time. Offshore wind farms can be fertile feeding grounds for seals who choose to seek them out – concludes the study, by an international team of researchers from Britain, Holland and the US, published yesterday in CurrentBiology Journal.
Independent 21st July 2014 read more »
BBC 21st July 2014 read more »
Times 22nd July 2014 read more »
Government cuts to key policies have hit the UK’s efforts to become more energy efficient, a new report says. A series of policy rollbacks have seen the UK fall from first to sixth in a ranking of 16 of the world’s leading economies by US thinktank the American Council for an Energy Efficient-Economy (ACEEE). Germany now tops the list, with Italy, China, and France all coming in ahead of the UK.
Carbon Brief 21st July 2014 read more »
Every year thousands of people die from living in cold homes. Millions more can’t afford to keep their homes warm, and suffer not only from the cold, but from the myriad physical and mental health problems that fuel poverty brings. There is a solution, and it isn’t rocket science. A major, publicly-funded energy efficiency programme to insulate every home in the country would save the average household £300 on their energy bill and bring millions out of fuel poverty. It would also significantly increase energy security, and help us to hit the carbon emissions reduction targets set in the Climate Change Act, Labour’s most important environmental achievement in its last term of office. So, why aren’t we getting on with it? The usual answer is “it’s expensive!”. On the one hand, that’s true – a really effective scheme would need a secure funding stream of about £4bn per year until 2025. But on the other hand, on closer examination, it isn’t. A long-term, large-scale insulation programme would bring major, long-term, financial benefits which would pay back the initial investment. It would do, in spades, everything Infrastructure UK says major investment is meant to, and which the country needs so badly: strengthen the economy, create jobs, and increase living standards.
Compass 21st July 2014 read more »
A Green Alliance report is an analysis of the potential of energy saving (negawatts) to reduce peak electricity demand in the UK. Drawing on experience from the US, it also recommends ways to improve the government’s two year pilot scheme, launched in July 2014, to test energy demand reduction in the capacity market.
Green Alliance 18th July 2014 read more »
Europe’s biggest consumer electronics maker hinted that it may close some of its factories producing traditional lightbulbs as consumers switch increasingly to energy efficient LED products.
Times 22nd July 2014 read more »
Scientists for Global Responsibility and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. This report reviews current evidence across a number of issues associated with shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). These include environmental and public health aspects, and socio-economic considerations. Importantly, the report is an independent assessment which draws heavily on academic research. It highlights: major shortcomings in regulatory oversight regarding local environmental and public health risks; the large potential for UK shale gas exploitation to undermine national and international efforts to tackle climate change; the water-intensive nature of the fracking process which could cause water shortages in many areas; the complete lack of evidence behind claims that shale gas exploitation will bring down UK energy bills, and concerns that it will impact negatively on UK energy security.
Scientists for Global Responsibity 21st July 2014 read more »
Coal power plants across the EU are undermining climate change efforts, according to a far-reaching energy report released today (22 July). The ‘Europe’s Dirty 30’ report, compiled by the Climate Action Network (CAN), exposes the top 30 most polluting power plants in the EU, ranked according to their total CO2 emissions in 2013. It reveals that Germany and the UK rank joint-first for the number of dirty coal power plants, with nine each.
Edie 22nd July 2014 read more »
Business Green 22nd July 2014 read more »
RTCC 21st July 2014 read more »
Scotland’s Longannet power station has been named as one of the top 30 polluting power plants in the EU. Europe’s Dirty 30 report is by WWF, CAN Europe, the European Envionmental Bureau, the Health and Environment Alliance and Climate Alliance Germany. The report looks at CO2 emissions from coal power plants in the EU. Scottish Power said “substantial investment” had been made to ensure Longannet operated within “strict” environmental legislative limits. The report shows the top 30 polluting power plants in the EU, ranked according to their total carbon dioxide emissions in 2013.
BBC 22nd July 2014 read more »
The Global Calculator is an open-source model of the world’s energy, land and food systems that allows you to design your own version of the future up to 2050 and see the implications for the climate.
DECC 21st July 2014 read more »