Dr David Lowry: All the ‘main’ political parties are backing nuclear power in bold defiance of all the evidence that it’s expensive, dangerous and not even low-carbon, writes David Lowry. Even George Osborne just admitted that Hinkley C is ‘unaffordable’ – but supports it anyway. For a rational nuclear policy, the way is Green. On Monday this week the Labour Party published its ‘Green Plan’, in which it stated: “Labour also supports the development of new nuclear in the UK as part of a more balanced, secure and low carbon energy supply for the future.” In a televised debate on green issues hosted on the BBC on the same day, Labour’s shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint pontificated, as if spinning from an EDF Energy briefing sheet, that “nuclear is an important part of the energy mix going forward.”
Ecologist 22nd April 2015 read more »
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has called on the British Government and associated contractors to abandon plans to create a new Nuclear Reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset amid safety concerns raised with comparable French models. She said “it is time to abandon the proposed nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point and others planned for Britain including two at Moorside near Sellafield.”
Newry Times 22nd April 2015 read more »
A host of projects from the electrification of the West’s railways to the proposed tunnel under Stonehenge would have to be scrapped if the Government was forced to step in and fund the building of a third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. That was the warning from the Chancellor on a visit to the West, as he backed the troubled project and said Hinkley Point was a ‘real opportunity’ for the region. But George Osborne said there was no way that Britain as a nation could afford to build it – so the British government would have to rely on the French state-owned EDF to raise the finance from China.With anti-nuclear campaigners claiming they are sure the struggle to get the finance and the latest safety implications mean Hinkley C won’t ever be built, George Osborne backed the project to overcome the obstacles – but only with someone else’s money.
Western Daily Press 21st April 2015 read more »
Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, launches a report on St George’s day that concludes the South West can produce 100% of its energy needs from renewables – and have some left over to export. The study shows that a renewable energy revolution could create 122, 000 jobs across the region and add over £4bn a year to the South West economy. Nuclear and fossil fuels are a distraction says the report: “We must slay those particular dragons” said Molly Scott Cato, “they are having a chilling effect, freezing out investment for renewable generation, as well as taking up all the additional grid capacity.” The report identifies that a mix of renewable energy resources could, in combination with energy saving, better-quality homes and improved methods of storage, address concerns about baseload and peaks in demand. The report identifies the potential to exploit as yet untapped resources, particularly tidal power, geothermal and offshore wind. Andrew Clarke, of The Resilience Centre in Gloucestershire, carried out the research for the report.
Molly Scott Cato MEP 22nd April 2015 read more »
The influence of the Big Six energy companies in Whitehall is so strong that they are dictating policy and preventing the electricity system from getting the radical overhaul it desperately needs, a leading environmentalist, has claimed. Sir Jonathon Porritt, a former chair of the Green Party, told The Independent that executives from the energy companies have permeated the civil service, locking the electricity system into a status quo that boosts their profits at the expense of UK households. He said the major challenge for the next government would be to break the dominance of the Big Six energy providers – British Gas, SSE, Scottish Power, RWE, E.ON and EDF – and totally change the way the electricity grid operates.
Independent 22nd April 2015 read more »
After the disappointment of yesterday’s BBC Daily Politics election debate on energy and climate change, which prompted RTCC’s Ed King to today observe that “voters – and future generations at risk from climate change – deserve better”, numerous questions remain unanswered. Here are 16 of them.
Business Green 21st April 2015 read more »
Having lobbied Mr Brown for the energy job — he was previously a minister at the Cabinet Office — Mr Miliband’s first task was creating a “Department of Energy and Climate Change” from parts of the business and environment ministries. His arrival marked an acute change of stance from John Hutton, his Blairite predecessor, symbolised by his decision to derail Kingsnorth, a proposed coal-fired power station that had been a target for environmentalists. Mr Miliband decided coal-fired power stations could be approved only if they used untested “carbon capture and storage” technology to reduce emissions. Energy companies fell behind the policy because the state would pay for the technology. The Treasury disliked the idea but was unable to stop it. “It was an interesting example of his creativity and stubbornness,” says Michael Jacobs, former climate adviser at Downing Street. “He was told by DECC officials he couldn’t do it, CCS wasn’t possible, but he was able to win over the Treasury and came out with all sides agreeing.” Mr Miliband was good at forming relationships at DECC and all officials called him “Ed”—– even the exiles from the business department who were wary about his enthusiasm for renewable energy. [Miliband] was obviously distrustful of the big corporates. He seemed much more comfortable with the NGOs and the green lobby
FT 21st April 2015 read more »
Scientists and campaigners have rounded on the Green Party by accusing it of turning its back on its main mission by largely ignoring the crucial issue of climate change in the run-up to the general election. Critics said that although the Green Party manifesto contains plenty of references to policies on global warming, the subject has gone largely unspoken in campaigning by the party and its leader, Natalie Bennett. Professor Peter Wadhams, of the University of Cambridge, who has edited highly influential UN reports on the subject, said: “The Green Party are grievously at fault in not talking about climate change. Its politicians should be saying that the most important and urgent problem facing the whole planet, including t he UK, is climate change and the speed at which it is happening.
Independent 22nd April 2015 read more »
On Earth Day today, international delegates from five continents signed the Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium, calling on all nations to put an end to the mining and use of uranium, the first link in the nuclear fuel chain for both civilian and military uses. Some 300 experts, members of civil society and indigenous peoples from around the world, meeting recently at the Symposium in Quebec City, launched this global appeal. The Government of Quebec will shortly be making a decision whether to maintain the existing moratorium against uranium mining in Quebec.
Uranium2015 22nd April 2015 read more »
When US Senate minority leader Harry Reid announced his imminent retirement last month, all eyes looked to Yucca Mountain. The long-time Senator from Nevada has spent much of his career opposing a long-term nuclear waste storage facility proposed at the desert site. With his sizeable influence set to disappear in 2017, many hope—or fear—that a Republican congress could reverse President Obama’s 2010 decision to defund the project for good. In Canada, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has viewed such drama with great interest. While America’s national nuclear waste repository has been hamstrung by decades of infighting and scientific controversy, mostly over its site selection failures, the NWMO is determined not to make the same mistakes up north. NWMO’s plan has been dubbed the Adaptive Phased Management (APM) program, and if completed it will store all of Canada’s spent nuclear fuel in a single, enormous underground repository. Only nine northern Ontario communities remain on the list of candidates that the NWMO hopes will be both willing and able to host this country’s stockpiles of nuclear waste, and a selection could be made as early as 2018.
Motherboard 22nd April 2015 read more »
A quadcopter drone marked with a radioactive sign has landed on the roof of the Japanese prime minister’s principle office and residence in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo in what could be a silent protest against the government’s nuclear energy plans. The police and the bomb squad were called in on 22 April. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which was carrying a small camera and a water bottle, tested positive for a “minuscule” amount of radiation, which is too low to be of harm to humans, according to Japanese media.
IB Times 22nd April 2015 read more »
Japan has moved closer to generating nuclear power for the first time since 2013 after a court approved the restart of two reactors. The court in Kagoshima, on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, rejected a petition by residents opposed to restarting the No1 and No2 reactors at the Sendai plant. All of Japan’s nuclear reactors remain offline, posing a serious challenge to a country with no fossil fuel reserves of its own.
FT 22nd April 2015 read more »
Homicidal Japan Court Approves Restart of Nuclear Reactor by Dangerous Decade Volcano.
Mining Awareness 22nd April 2015 read more »
South Korea may one day be able to enrich uranium to produce non-weapons grade nuclear fuel under a deal reached with the USA yesterday. The agreement also ensures that the USA will provide South Korea with a stable supply of fuel for its nuclear reactors. The deal reflects changes to a nuclear pact – a 123 agreement – the two countries signed in 1974 and which was scheduled to expire last month. A 123 agreement gets its name from a section of the US Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which establishes an agreement for cooperation as a prerequisite for nuclear deals between the USA and any other nation.
World Nuclear News 22nd April 2015 read more »
Tighter environmental standards coupled with an industrial slowdown in China contributed to 3.3GW of coal-fired capacity retirements in 2014, a government report says. The retirements come as China prioritizes reductions of particulate air emissions in major metropolitan regions, while aiming to lower its economy-wide energy intensity, or energy consumption per unit of GDP, by 16pc from 2010 levels by the end of 2015, consistent with its current 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015). Nuclear and solar could benefit the most from the retirement of more coal-fired capacity after 2015. China’s nuclear generating fleet totaled 21.4GW in 2014, with another 28.5GW being developed across 26 facilities expected to start up by 2020, according to a report released today by the China Nuclear Energy Industry Association. The country expects to add as many as eight new nuclear reactors by the end of this year.
Argus Media 22nd April 2015 read more »
Barack Obama has issued a presidential determination, published in the Federal Register yesterday, on a proposed agreement for cooperation between the USA and China concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. A presidential determination is a document issued by the White House stating a determination resulting in an official policy or position of the executive branch of the US government. Presidential determinations may involve any number of actions, including setting or changing foreign policy.
World Nuclear News 22nd April 2015 read more »
A recent series by Thomas Elmar Schuppe about the energiewende in Germany illuminates the complexity of energy transformation. As he shows, it is not just that decision-makers have had to be constantly vigilant about the unforeseen impacts of the policy – and then they must be prepared to make changes to counter those unforeseen effects. BUT also the German energy industry is continuously forced to react and adapt their businesses to these policy changes and market impacts. Part 3 powerfully illuminates just what problems have arisen for companies (RWE, E.on, Vattenfall and EnBW (the big 4)) because they did not take the right strategic decisions at the right time.
IGov 22nd April 2015 read more »
China’s top nuclear experts have increased their estimates of North Korea’s nuclear weapons production well beyond most previous U.S. figures, suggesting Pyongyang can make enough warheads to threaten regional security for the U.S. and its allies.
Wall St Journal 22nd April 2015 read more »
Pyongyang could have more nuclear arsenal than previously thought, believe Chinese experts and suspect that North Korea may already have around 20 nuclear warheads and a uranium enrichment capacity of doubling that number by next year. This exceeds the US Congressional estimate of the country possessing around 10 to 16 nuclear weapons.
IB Times 23rd April 2015 read more »
Guardian 23rd April 2015 read more »
Renewables – Solar
Building work on Scotland’s largest solar park is to begin at the end of year, when it is hoped to become the first commercial solar park operating in Scotland.
Scottish Energy News 23rd April 2015 read more »
Renewable – small hydro
WITH THE reduction in feed-in tariffs for new renewable energy projects as the number of installations increase, there is a view that if you are not already on board you have missed the boat. This may be the case for more marginal sites, but good sites can still provide an attractive return when compared with other investments on the farm. With all the pressures on farm incomes from CAP reform etc, the option of having an additional income stream from a renewables project where the income can be predicted for 20 years is an attractive one to many.
Scottish Farmer 6th April 2015 read more »
A NEW national fuel poverty scheme has come a step closer with the announcement of a £224 million contract to deliver the programme over seven years. The contract awarded to Warmworks Scotland by the Scottish Government will begin in September, and as many as 28,000 fuel poor and vulnerable households could make their homes easier and cheaper to heat. The scheme will install insulation, heating and low carbon or renewable measures in the homes of households who are identified as living in fuel poverty, with a wider range of options for people living off the main gas grid including solar thermal and biomass systems. People living in more remote parts of the country will get the same level of service, as the agent will be able to vary the delivery costs between six regions. The new scheme encompasses all the measures that were avail able under the previous Energy Assistance Scheme, which closed in March, with the addition of new measures like flat or pitched roof insulation, glazing and hybrid wall insulation. Warmworks Scotland is comprised of the social enterprise Energy Saving Trust, Changeworks charity and Scottish SME Everwarm. Mike Thornton, Energy Saving Trust director of government services, said: “This will give people living in fuel poverty really practical support. We’ve combined the expertise in working with householders of two leading social enterprises and the delivery skills of the private sector to create a high quality public service to tackle fuel poverty.
National 23rd April 2015 read more »
Scottish Government 22nd April 2015 read more »