The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) is concerned to read the detail of an Environment Agency (EA) report that outlines that the Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) near Drigg in Cumbria is virtually certain‟ to be eroded by rising sea levels and to contaminate the Cumbrian coast with large amounts of radioactive waste, as the potential effects of climate change impact on the English coastline over the next few hundred years. NFLA is concerned that the EA appear to be downplaying the concept of intergenerational equity – the waste was created over the past 60 years and it is our responsibility to clean it up and make it safe for many sets of future generations.
Nuclear Free Local Authorities 22nd April 2014 read more »
A Cumbrian nuclear dump site is ‘virtually certain’ to be eroded by rising sea levels, according to the Environment Agency. A document seen by The Guardian newspaper says waste from the Drigg Low Level Waste Repository, near Sellafield, is going to start leaking on to the west Cumbrian shoreline in a few hundred to a few thousand years. The operators of the site say it will take a thousand years to erode and claims that even if waste is exposed the impact will be ‘very low’. The Environment Agency is also reassuring people that it is currently safe.
ITV 22nd April 2014 read more »
Irish Mirror 22nd April 2014 read more »
NW Evening Mail 22nd April 2014 read more »
Business Green 22nd April 2014 read more »
Environment Agency document available here.
RobEdwards.com 22nd April 2014 read more »
Scotland is the principal source of Britain’s renewable energy as well as its oil and gas. What would independence mean for the UK energy market? Would England struggle to source clean energy? Could Scotland continue to subsidise its wind turbines and tidal energy schemes? What would a split mean for energy prices in Scotland and in the rest of the UK? Tom Heap reports from Edinburgh on an energetic debate that’s certain to heat up as the Scottish independence referendum approaches. Dr Dave Toke 25 minutes in on how Scotland could have cheaper electricity without nukes.
BBC Costing the Earth 21st April 2014 read more »
THERE was good and bad news from Berlin this month. The bad news is global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels, despite government efforts globally to reduce human impacts on the global climate. The good news is that we have an increasing number of exciting and affordable options available to reduce emissions, whilst maintaining our high standard of life. The occasion for the news was the launch of the new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an organisation set up by governments to help review and translate the published scientific literature on climate change. Depressingly it shows that global emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades, to nearly 50 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. The report is a clarion call for clear international leadership and action. It also makes clear that issues of equity, justice and fairness are increasingly important for finding solutions that all countries can agree on. Scotland has some of the leading targets in the world for reducing emissions. It is widely admired for its efforts at increasing the generation of renewable electricity. But we are also seeing massive efforts from countries like China, who are the biggest investors in renewable energy in the world. This year they will be building more renewable energy generation than exists in the whole of the UK. But perhaps most importantly, using energy more productively is key. As a society, we waste vast quantities of energy. Yet with the availability of new energy technology, and availability of information, for example through smart phones, we can deliver the outcomes we seek – for warm homes and efficient mobility – with much lower energy use. So while the challenge is massive and serious, Scottish researchers are at the forefront of providing the evidence for sound government policies to build a low-carbon society. The solutions are many and have multiple benefits.
Scotsman 23rd April 2014 read more »
Since reading about the plight of Chernobyl children Karen Adcock has helped dozens to travel to Devon for medical checks and fun. Tina Penberthy reports A GAZETTE article written in 2001 so inspired a Sampford Peverell woman that 13 years later she has helped more than 100 children living in Eastern Europe to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience that has extended their lives. Karen Adcock, 56, became involved with Chernobyl Children’s Project UK after the newspaper advertised the charity’s need for Mid Devon host families to look after children living with the after effects of Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster in 1986.
Mid Devon Gazette 22nd April 2014 read more »
New-build wind and solar energy systems can generate electricity for up to 50 per cent cheaper than new nuclear power plants, a German study has found. The research, commissioned by German think tank Agora Energiewende, compares feed-in tariffs for new nuclear in the UK with FiTs for renewables in Germany, and finds that nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CSS) – a technology not yet available in Europe – are both more expensive than wind and solar as energy strategies for preventing climate change.
Renew Economy 23rd April 2014 read more »
The Germans are replacing fossil fuel imports with renewables and reducing consumption to improve their economy, not to hurt it. With each year, renewables become more affordable; conventional energy, less so. It will take some time, but within the next 10-20 years – a short timeframe for infrastructure – economies banking on shale gas today will wish they had gone renewable earlier. Solar and wind have helped bring down wholesale prices for four years in a row. So while we continue to hear complaints about the Energiewende driving away energy-intensive firms, they have actually benefited considerably from lower wholesale prices. Bloomberg reported that “the competitiveness of large French power consumers” has “dropped off in a way that is extremely worrying,” according to a French industry lobby group. The article adds, “Large German industrial power users will pay 35 percent less for their electricity next year than those in France.”
Energy Transition 22nd April 2014 read more »
The G7 will consider ways to reduce reliance on Russian oil and gas to prevent the country wielding its vast energy supplies for political ends. UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey told The Times that a package of measures to boost energy security will be considered at a meeting in Rome on May 5 and 6. This could see the UK expedite electricity interconnectors to Belgium, France and Norway, accelerate UK exploration of shale gas as well and alternative gas supplies, and boost energy efficiency through already announced schemes such as offering stamp duty rebates for homeowners installing insulation. Davey added that Japan, which switched off all its nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, may consider bringing some reactors online.
Business Green 22nd April 2014 read more »
IB Times 22nd April 2014 read more »
Gas storage developers have hit back at Ed Davey after the energy secretary called for more facilities to be built to combat the prospect of Russia turning off gas supplies to Europe as the conflict in Ukraine escalates. The developers said that when they made the same argument about security of supply last year – which was put forward by Mr Davey in The Times yesterday – it had “fallen on deaf ears”. The industry had been lobbying the government to grant subsidies to ensure that building the projects, which would bolster Britain’s gas reserves, was economic.
Times 23rd April 2014 read more »
The Western powers are scrambling to bolster defences against a halt in Russian gas supplies after the Kremlin tightened the energy noose on Ukraine, and paramilitary actions in eastern Ukraine increased the risk of a full-blown sanctions war. European regulators and power companies are battening down the hatches in case the crisis escalates. Gas flows from Britain to Europe through the UK’s Interconnector pipeline have soared over the past three weeks to almost 10bn cubic metres (bcm), a sign that countries are boosting reserves even though stocks are high. “Utilities have contingency plans,” said an Interconnector official. Europe is in a strong position to withstand a gas shock. Inventories are unusually high at 36bcm after a mild winter. Seasonal demand is low over coming months. Stocks are enough to plug the gap through the summer even if there is a total cut-off. “The key to avoiding a gas crisis is to ensure supply security for next winter,” said Gunther Oettinger, the EU energy commissioner. The pieces are falling into place. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s premier, announced last week that his country will reopen many of its 48 nuclear reactors once cleared by safety regulators, despite the Fukushima disaster in 2011. “This could have a huge effect. Japan is the world’s largest importer of LNG,” said Prof Alan Riley, from City University.
Telegraph 22nd April 2014 read more »
Today’s entry reports on an announcement on infrastructure projects by the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer. In a rare appearance together – the first time since the general election in 2010, no less – the Prime Minister and Chancellor visited Skanska’s headquarters in Rickmansworth today and declared that over 200 infrastructure projects will start construction this financial year (2014-15) and 200 will finish this year. The two lists of projects can be found here. The press release says that over 200 projects will start and ‘another’ 200 projects will finish, but I’ve checked the two lists and of 220 on the start list, 78 of them appear on the finish list as well. A bit of double counting there, and it suggests they are fairly small projects if they will start and finish in the same year. Enough of such pedantry. Perhaps most significantly, although there are six energy projects on the finish list, there are no energy projects on the start list. I probably wouldn’t have noticed had there not been some text on page 9 of the document explaining why this is the case – it says that the number of expected projects previously mentioned exceeds expected demand, and although it is still anticipated that some projects will start, they haven’t been listed (I suppose on the basis that they can’t predict which ones will start). Why is there low demand for energy projects, when the energy National Policy Statements say that all forms of energy infrastructure are urgently needed? The fact that demand does not match need appears to be something that should be addressed. Nevertheless, the priority that the government is giving to infrastructure in general is surely a good thing.
Bircham, Dyson, Bell 22nd April 2014 read more »
A PEACE campaigner will bring his anti-nuclear weapons crusade to Darlington this week. Bruce Kent, one of Britain’s best-known peace campaigners, will be at the Friends’ Meeting House, in Skinnergate, at 7pm, on Wednesday (April 23). He is on a national tour, to speak for those who want parliament to scrap Trident – Britain’s nuclear weapons system. Parliament will debate and vote on whether Britain should replace Trident with a new system in 2016.
Darlington & Stockton Times 22nd April 2014 read more »
The corporate media is focused on the question of how or if Iran could ever break out of its promise under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to eschew nuclear weapons and use reactors only for civilian purposes. So many headlines refer to sanctions imposed against Iran that millions of people mistakenly think Iran has a nuclear arsenal. It doesn’t. Meanwhile the Congress in January fully funded production of a new B61 thermonuclear gravity bomb, a program dubbed “Life Extension.” This year’s $537 million is the down payment on the 12new version of the B61 that the millionaires in DC agreed should get $11 billion over the next few years. Dubbed the “solid gold nuke” by critics, the 700 pound H-bomb is running $28 million apiece at the moment. That much gold bullion is only worth $16 million.
Counterpoint 18th April 2014 read more »
Pakistan military says it successfully test fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile.
Reuters 22nd April 2014 read more »
Now we know just how desperate the Department of Energy was to give a taxpayer loan to Southern Company and others for construction of two new reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia. Like a car dealer trying to sweep unsold autos off the lot, DOE gave Southern Co. the loan with nothing down. Nada. Zero.
Green World 22nd April 2014 read more »
The Obama administration has finalized a $6.5 billion loan guarantee to Georgia Power to build two new nuclear reactors near Augusta, Georgia. But in a surprise move, the Department of Energy will not charge a credit subsidy fee. The fee, intended to account for the risk borne by U.S. taxpayers, usually amounts to several hundred million dollars. But the Department of Energy agreed to provide the loan guarantee for the project for free, as reported by Environment and Energy Publishing (E&E) on April 21.
Oil Price 22nd April 2014 read more »
All sides in the effort to resolve the stand-off between the West and Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons ambitions have agreed to hold a new round of expert-level negotiations in New York beginning 5 May amid tentative indications that so far, at least, positive progress is being made.
Independent 22nd April 2014 read more »
North Korea could be preparing for its fourth nuclear test in seven years, according to South Korea’s Ministry of Defence. A spokesman from South Korea’s Ministry of Defence said that the country’s intelligence agencies have detected a lot of activity in the Punggye-ri area of the country, the place where North Korea’s nuclear test site is situated.
Independent 22nd April 2014 read more »
Nuclear vs solar
As utilities find nuclear power less and less cost effective, new solar photovoltaic installations in the United States are springing up. New solar installations in 2013 reached a record 4.2 gigawatts, bringing the total to 10. On average, one gigawatt of solar photovoltaics powers 164,000 U.S. homes. That means power for 1.6 million homes. Worldwide, in 2013, solar power installations grew by 38 gigawatts, from 96 to 134. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013, in the preceding year, 45 gigawatts of wind and 32 gigawatts of solar power were installed worldwide, compared with a net addition of just 1.2 gigawatts of nuclear. Hastening this energy revolution is the nuclear industry’s Achilles heel: an aging, dangerous reactor fleet that is increasingly uncompetitive and new reactor designs that are too expensive to build.
CNN 22nd April 2014 read more »
Eight major renewable energy projects, expected to support 8,500 jobs, have been given government approval. The contracts, which include offshore wind farms and conversions of coal-powered plants to run on biomass, are the first awarded under the government’s energy market reforms. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the projects would help power up to three million homes. He also expects them to attract £12bn in private investment. The eight projects will all receive one of the government’s Contracts for Difference (CfDs), which effectively guarantee prices for renewable energy suppliers. These could cost up to £1bn each year in subsidies, but the government says they would encourage firms to invest much more than that in low-carbon electricity generation. The approved schemes include offshore wind farms in Liverpool bay, and off the Moray, Norfolk and Yorkshire coasts.
BBC 23rd April 2014 read more »
Renewables – wind
Britain must learn to “embrace” onshore wind farms because they can “make a difference” and produce significant amounts of energy, Ed Miliband has said. In a clear dividing line with the Consevatives, Mr Miliband said suggested that a commitment onshore wind farms are likely to form part of Labour’s manifesto for the next election. David Cameron is expected to go into the next election pledging to “rid” the countryside of onshore wind turbines amid growing anger from rural communities. Mr Miliband said that while he “understands” why people object to wind turbines, if they are “situated in the right way” they can “make a difference”.
Telegraph 21st April 2014 read more »
The number of onshore wind turbines will almost double over the next five years despite attempts by leading Conservatives to impose a moratorium on new projects, according to the energy secretary. Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat, said the Conservatives would not succeed in blocking his department’s plan to increase the total capacity from onshore wind farms from seven gigawatts to 13GW by 2020. This would mean an additional 3,000 turbines, bringing the total in the countryside to more than 7,000. The average height and capacity of onshore wind turbines has more than doubled since the 1990s and a typical new one produces enough power for 1,500 homes. Mr Davey is also expected to announce today that several large offshore wind farms and other renewable energy projects have qualified for billions of pounds of subsidies, funded by levies on consumers’ bills.
Times 23rd April 2014 read more »
The National Trust has announced today that it will sell renewable energy generated from its estate through a new trading company, National Trust Renewable Energy Ltd. Money raised from selling the electricity will be ploughed back into conservation projects, such as footpath repairs and habitat management. The charity’s first large-scale renewables project – a new hydro-turbine which has been installed at the National Trust’s Hafod y Llan farm in Snowdonia, Wales – will be the first to sell electricity through the new trading company.
Edie 23rd April 2014 read more »
A hydroelectric turbine in Snowdonia, Wales will begin generating power on Wednesday in the National Trust’s first large-scale renewable energy project. Power generated by a turbine installed on a river at the trust’s Hafod y Llan farm on the south flanks of Snowdon will be sold via the grid to energy company Good Energy.
Guardian 23rd April 2014 read more »
I’ve asked a couple of questions recently about when DECC intends to end the suspense over the commitment they made in the Energy Act before last (the Energy Act 2011). This commitment requires landlords of private rented properties to bring their houses up to scratch, as far as energy efficiency is concerned, or risk not being able to let them after 2018. Now I was on the 2011 Energy Bill Committee and naively, thought that this would be fairly simple to make happen. So simple, in fact, that, along with some other colleagues in the Bill Committee, I proposed an amendment pulling the date for compliance forward to 2016. At the last DECC questions before the recess, I was very pleased to hear my colleague, Jonathan Reynolds, receive a clear commitment from the Minister, Greg Barker, that DECC will definitely be consulting on the matter this summer. Just …er…two years and eight months after the Act became law. So that’s all fine then. Well not exactly – when the original clause went into the Bill, the Minister guiding it through (yes it’s our old friend Greg Barker again) seemed pretty certain that it applied to all rented property and all landlords. And I am afraid to say, the committee did not then examine the issue much further. But in fact, if you read the legislation fairly carefully, it doesn’t appear to apply to the whole sector.
Alan Whitehead MP 22nd April 2014 read more »
Methane emissions from some shale gas wells could be up to a thousand times higher than official estimates – meaning they have a warming effect orders of magnitude higher than previously thought. But the finding only refers to a few ‘super-emitter’ sites, a tiny proportion of the total number of drilling locations, according to a recent study. The government argues that the UK could burn gas instead of coal as a way of cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the energy system. That includes domestically produced shale gas. But some academics argue that gas leaks during the process of extracting shale gas from rock – known as fracking – could make the fuel far more climate-polluting than its supporters claim.
Carbon Brief 22nd April 2014 read more »
Ministers want to give energy companies the right to run shale gas pipelines under private land, Whitehall sources have confirmed. The planned move – aimed at kick-starting the fracking industry – will be included in the Queen’s Speech as part of an Infrastructure Bill. The companies will still need planning permission to drill for shale gas. But they will be able to install pipes to transport the gas under private land without fear of breaking trespass laws.
BBC 22nd April 2014 read more »