The new delays and bumper cost overruns of EDF’s new reactor in France make it very hard to believe that nuclear power can fulfil the promises its supporters make. The Flamanville fiasco shows once again that new nuclear power plants are not being built on time or on budget, diminishing the arguments in favour of them. The only other new nuclear plant being built in Europe is at Olkiluoto in Finland. Areva, like EDF a state-controlled French company, told me this will be connected to the grid no sooner than 2013 and costs are now estimated at 5.6bn. That is four years late and 2.6bn over budget. I wanted to understand better the effect of the delay and ballooning costs at Flamanville 3 on the ultimate cost of the electricity produced, and Jim Watson, professor of energy policy at the university of Sussex, kindly agreed to help.
Guardian 22nd July 2011 more >>
Huge delays and cost overruns totalling billions for nuclear reactors under construction in Finland and France are once again demonstrating that nuclear power is no match for renewables in the fight against climate change. Since construction started on these two reactors global capacity of renewables like wind and solar has grown at rates between 15% to 50% a year – way ahead of even the Chinese economy. In the same period, new solar plants alone have added more electricity generation to the grid than nuclear plants.
Greenpeace International 22nd July 2011 more >>
Oxera considers the White Paper, highlights the risks and sets out issues still to be determined.
Oxera July 2011 more >>
The big six energy giants should be broken up to help to cut household bills, Ed Miliband insists. The Labour leader says that energy producers should be forced to pool the power they generate and make it available to any retailer rather than keeping supply a virtual closed shop. Opening the market so that companies such as Tesco and Virgin could compete as suppliers of household energy would amount to the most radical reform in the provision of power since electricity privatisation in the 1990s. Mr Miliband, in an interview with The Times, turns his guns on the six main suppliers.
Times 23rd July 2011 more >>
A fighting fund could be launched to support campaigners in their bid to stop a 400,000 volt overhead power line cutting through swathes of North Somerset. Nailsea Town Council is considering earmarking cash to support the work of the Nailsea Action Group which was set up 18 months ago to campaign against plans to erect a new power line from Bridgwater to Avonmouth, which would link the proposed Hinkley C nuclear plant to the grid.
This is Somerset 22nd July 2011 more >>
Caribbean officials want an immediate halt to a European shipment of reprocessed nuclear waste that will pass near the islands on its way to Japan, saying its a risk to the regions people. Caribbean Community trade bloc spokesman Leonard Robertson said yesterday regional officials had been informed by British authorities that a radioactive waste shipment would soon pass through on the way to the Panama Canal.
Morning Star 22nd July 2011 more >>
Trains carrying highly radioactive nuclear waste which normally pass through the Olympic Park are to be suspended for the duration of the Olympics, in a move long called for by anti-nuclear campaigners. Despite this decision, the trains are due to return after the games, bringing with them the risk of an accident or terrorism contaminating some of the most densely populated areas of East and North London. The risks to these trains have been highlighted a number of times, for instance in 2006 a Daily Mirror journalist planted a fake bomb on a nuclear waste train stopped in a London depot to show how vulnerable the trains are to a terrorist attack.
CND 22nd July 2011 more >>
Letter from Marianne Birkby: Nuclear decommissioning, or as it is increasingly called cleanup, sounds great. The reality is less great. Instead of containing the Sellafield site as safely as possible as a monument to folly, the radioactivity is dispersed to the wider environment. Following changes to the law, private companies are now chasing obscenely lucrative government contracts which cover anything from dumping radioactive wastes into landfill and old coal-mines, to “recycling” radioactive scrap metal into consumer goods. The big one of course is the plan for the geological disposal of high-level wastes. This proposal would really clean up Cumbria and return the lakes to that earliest time when the land was too fiercely radioactive for life. Hot on the heels of Nirex’s 1997 failure followed The Pangea Project, the diabolical plan to dump high-level nuclear wastes in Australia, which local and national Australian politicians threw out in 2000. The British Nuclear Fuels – now the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority – sponsored Pangea Project produced a video which informed Australians that areas of “high rainfall, permeable rocks and mountains to drive the water flow” would lead to high-level radioactive wastes percolating back up to the surface, which is why arid, remote areas were being proposed. Geological disposal in leaky Cumbria is only on the agenda to satisfy the government’s wish list for a “solution” at any cost.
Morning Star 19th July 2011 more >>
IT has been dubbed the most sophisticated Swiss army knife ever built. The 16-piece tool is designed to reach deep inside one of Britains earliest atomic experiments and harvest the nuclear material that once promised to revolutionise how the nation generated its electricity. Measuring 40ft in length, each of its tool-bits has been designed to withstand the harsh operating conditions inside Dounreay Fast Reactor. The reactor shut down in 1977 after almost 20 years of experiments and its decommissioning is allowing energy bosses to reap the last of the plutonium and uranium from its unique “breeder” zone.
John O Groat Journal 20th July 2011 more >>
DOUBT is being cast on the adequacy of the operation to recover rogue radioactive hot spots on the seabed off Dounreay. Shetland Islands Council is concerned about the performance of the remote-control device used to detect and recover the off-site pollution. It also fears the pollution may have spread outwith the area which has been subject to monitoring. The authority is further unhappy the current strategy will not return the seabed to the pristine state demanded by Scotlands anti-pollution agency in 1998. The council claims the end state for Dounreay can be fixed only when agreement is reached on the extent of the recovery work. Dounreays site licence company, DSRL, maintained good progress is being made with its multi-million-pound clean-up and said it was impossible to recover all the pollution. SICs disquiet is raised in a letter from its environmental liaison officer, John Mouat, to Dounreay Stakeholder Group. Mr Mouat said SIC had long-standing concerns about the historic large-scale release of particles from the site and the associated risks both real and potential to the environment, human health and the North economy. He states: There has to be concerns over the unknown location of the vast majority of the particles, which may have spread over a very wide area. Recovery work has only taken place where monitoring of the seabed, foreshore or beaches has been carried out around the north coast of Caithness and close to Dounreay in particular.
John O Groat Journal 15th July 2011 more >>
37 nuclear reactors in Japan, or nearly 70 percent of them, remain shut. This includes 2 reactors operated by Kansai Electric Power Company in Fukui Prefecture that were recently closed for regular inspections. According to the plant operators, inspections for 11 of the 37 reactors will finish by August. But it is still unknown when any of these will be resumed due to the government’s new stress-test requirements announced earlier this month. The remaining 17 reactors that are currently in operation will also be brought to a halt for regular inspections every 13 months. Among these is the Kansai Electric Ohi power plant No. 4 reactor in Fukui Prefecture that will shut down by Saturday. An additional 3 reactors will be brought to a halt by August.
NHK 22nd July 2011 more >>
Nuclear envoys from North and South Korea emerged smiling from a face-to-face meeting yesterday, saying they were ready to work together to resume disarmament talks. The meeting was the first between the two nations since 2008, when international efforts to end Pyongyang’s nuclear arms programme collapsed, and the announcement was certain to be welcomed in regional capitals and Washington. But diplomats also have long experience with seeing the North engage in negotiations and seemingly making concessions before ultimately throwing up roadblocks that prevent real progress.
Independent 23rd July 2011 more >>
This weeks Micro Power News is now available with news of the Governments renewable heat incentive and the rush by large-scale solar projects to be the cut in the feed-in tariff on 1st August. Eleven projects have connected to the grid in the last ten days and another ten are expected before the beginning of August. And there seems to be a fight to decide whose project is the largest roof-mounted PV project in the UK. A reminder that energy efficiency is more than just loft insulation -Bath and North East Somerset council has installed a smart street-lighting system with 70 LED lights the brightness automatically adjusts depending on how dark it is at a cost of £36,000 the system will save £4,500 a year. Also the Carbon Trust has published a guide on the huge savings to be made on refrigeration. Micro Power News we 15th July and 8th July also available.
Microgen Scotland 22nd July 2011 more >>
Chris Huhne has ordered a private inquiry into which fossil fuel lobbyists “got to” the Conservative MEPs who defied David Cameron and voted down an ambitious carbon emissions target in the European parliament on 5 July.
Guardian 22nd July 2011 more >>
British Gas is to start offering customers low-cost loans to allow them to “green” their homes. As the government continues to deliberate on the details of its own Green Deal, the Centrica-owned company is giving customers the chance to invest in energy-saving measures such as a new boiler or insulation in the knowledge that the loan’s repayments will be offset by the resulting lower bills.
Guardian 23rd July 2011 more >>