THE potential impact and benefits of EDF’s plans to build Hinkley Point C nuclear power station have been aired at a fiery meeting in Glastonbury – with the possible threat of a terror attack among the key concerns. Police stepped up patrols for last week’s Glastonbury Town Council meeting, knowing it would be packed with people frustrated at being unable to press the company at a public meeting which had been cancelled in the town. Members of the public were given the chance to quiz David Eccles, of EDF, before his presentation at the meeting. One addressed Mr Eccles and in relation to the cancelled public meeting said: “I would just like to voice the disappointment of this community. It is clear you feel the weight of opinion is against you.” Mr Eccles started his presentation by declaring: “I would like to start by saying thank you for your questions this evening, I respect your positions and views.” He then announced that he would alter his presentation with the aim of answering the public’s questions. “That is the biggest load of claptrap I have ever heard in my life,” said Councillor Ian Forster when the presentation was over.
Cheddar Valley Gazette 23rd March 2014 read more »
Many people recognise the ominous shape of Bradwell power station in the distance – conjuring up images of high-powered nucleur reaction – but in reality it is becoming a vast empty shell. The station is currently being decommissioned at a cost of around £595million following shutdown in March 2002. Decommissioning is expected to be completed next year 12 years earlier than was originally planned, when the station will begin the care and management phase from 2015 until 2087. This will mean only a handful of security and maintenance staff will be allowed on the site during that time, leaving hundreds of employers and contractors to find work elsewhere.
Maldon Standard 22nd March 2014 read more »
One of two reactors at Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent has been shut down for maintenance. EDF Energy said the “outage” had been planned for two years and would allow £25m of maintenance on the reactor and machinery, including the turbine. The company was criticised earlier this week by campaigners who claimed it did not give enough information about two shutdowns last year. EDF said it had ensured that everyone knew about what was happening. The latest shutdown, which began on Friday, is a three-yearly event. The other reactor and turbine will continue to generate electricity.
BBC 22nd March 2014 read more »
Next week, more than 50 global leaders will gather in The Hague for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. This year’s conference marks the initiative’s third meeting since 2010, continuing a process that seeks to raise awareness about the threat of nuclear terrorism and catalyze much-needed action to secure the materials that terrorists would need to make a weapon. But time is running out. Today, nearly 2,000 metric tons of plutonium and highly enriched uranium—the raw materials of a nuclear weapon—are spread across 25 countries. With an amount of plutonium the size of a grapefruit, or enough highly enriched uranium to fit into a five-pound bag of sugar, a terrorist could make a bomb that could level a city. We know that Al Qaeda, groups in the Northern Caucuses, and other terrorist organizations have tried to acquire these materials.
Wall St Journal 21st March 2014 read more »
BRITAIN’S big six energy companies will face the threat of break-up this week when their regulator calls in the competition watchdog. Ofgem, the body that oversees the gas and electricity industry, is expected to announce its intention to refer the big six to the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). It will stop short of an immediate referral, industry sources said, with a likely one-month consultation on the move. The CMA, which takes over from the Competition Commission next month, could break up the big six, forcing the separation of their power-generation and retail arms. Energy companies have faced repeated accusations that they have made excess profits as household bills have soared.
Sunday Times 23rd March 2014 read more »
Radwaste – Scotland
SCOTTISH ministers have been urged to start construction on a nuclear dump amid concern that the UK government will refuse to continue to store highly radioactive waste from Scottish nuclear reactors if the country becomes independent. At present, spent fuel from power stations such as Torness and Hunterston B is sent to Sellafield in Cumbria where plutonium is stripped out. The radioactive waste left behind is cast into giant glass cylinders and stored separately to the plutonium. John Large, a nuclear energy consultant and UK government adviser, warns this arrangement could end if Scotland votes for independence. He argues that, in common with agreements with countries such as Japan and Switzerland, which send spent fuel to Sellafield for reprocessing, Westminster could insist that the radioactive end products are sent back. If there is no facility to s afely store such waste, the Scottish government could find itself with little choice other than to pay huge storage charges set by UK ministers, which would likely run into tens of millions of pounds.
Sunday Times 23rd March 2014 read more »
David Cameron, who once promised that if you voted blue you would go green, now appoints Owen Paterson, a man who is not just ignorant of environmental science but proud of his ignorance, as his environment secretary. George Osborne, who once promised that his Treasury would be “at the heart of this historic fight against climate change”, now gives billions in tax concessions to the oil and gas industry, cuts the funds for onshore wind farms and strips the Green Investment Bank of the ability to borrow and lend.
Observer 22nd March 2014 read more »
As Doug Parr (Chief Scientist and Policy Director at Greenpeace UK) pointed out of George Osborne’s budget: “My list of winners so far in Budget 2014: coal industry & importers, big energy users, fossil fuel extraction, drivers, aviation industry.” Oh well, he had told us it was time to “ditch the green crap”. He was of course quite right and the biggest event of the week wasn’t Ed’s content-free speech in Perth, or Labour’s Devolution Commission report, or the Tories coming to Edinburgh, or even the Budget. The biggest event of the week was largely ignored by the media and the politicos, and for very good reason. It was about our future, and nobody’s really that interested. While Scotland was unveiling a massive opportunity for our long term future instead, both sides are still just obsessed by oil. The biggest event of the week – lost in the constitutional scrum – was the announcement of the world’s third largest offshore wind farm, with up to 326 wind turbines on the Moray Firth. The developments, sited off the Caithness coast, are capable of generating up to 1,866 MW of electricity, that’s enough to power over one million homes, and will be worth up to £2.5 billion to the Scottish economy.
Bella Caledonia 21st March 2014 read more »
Green groups have accused the EU of “kicking climate action into the long grass” after member states postponed a decision on the bloc’s 2030 climate and energy policy package until the autumn. Heads of state meeting in Brussels over the past two days were considering proposals from the Commission to cut emissions 40 per cent across the 28 members, as well as a binding target to obtain at least 27 per cent of their energy from renewable sources and a non-binding target encouraging countries to improve their energy efficiency by 25 per cent through the 2020s.
Business Green 21st March 2014 read more »
US – radwaste
Employees at the federal government’s troubled nuclear waste dump in New Mexico are planning to enter the underground facility for the first time since a radiation leak contaminated a number of workers last month. The U.S. Department of Energy announced on Saturday that workers have been training at a Potash mine before re-entering the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) next week. Officials said employees trained for various scenarios in a two-hour underground session using protective gear and air-breathing units.
Cumbria Trust 23rd March 2014 read more »
Japan – Smart Meters
Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s 27-million-unit smart meter project isn’t just about smart meters. It’s also about creating an end-to-end, citywide energy management platform, meant to link meters, utility enterprise platforms and smart devices in homes and businesses. And, if the project’s open standards efforts pay off, it won’t just work with a select set of technologies, but remain open to future versions of “internet of things” deployments for years to come.
Energy Collective 21st March 2014 read more »
Twenty-three US senators kept the spotlight on Iran nuclear negotiations on Saturday with a letter to President Barack Obama urging that he stand firm, after a second round of talks wound up in Vienna. The letter, from Democratic senators and one independent, was identical to one sent to Obama earlier this week by the House of Representatives, asking that he insist on a final agreement in which Iran would not be able to build or buy a nuclear weapon.
Guardian 22nd March 2014 read more »
Renewables – heat pumps
Millions of homes across the UK could be heated using a carbon-free technology that draws energy from rivers and lakes in a revolutionary system that could reduce household bills by 20 per cent. The Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, has described the development as “game changing” in relation to Britain’s need for renewable energy against the backdrop of insecurity in Russia, which supplies much of Europe’s gas, and the political row at home over soaring fuel bills. In the first system of its kind in the UK, a heat pump in the Thames will provide hot water for radiators, showers and taps in nearly 150 homes and a 140-room hotel and conference centre in south London, saving 500 tons of carbon emissions from being released every year into the atmosphere. Mr Davey has asked officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) to draw up a nationwide map showing where renewable heat can be drawn from water to explore the potential of heat pumps. In theory, any body of water, including tidal rivers as well as standing water such as reservoirs and lakes, can be used as long as they are in the open and heated by the Sun. The Government has a target of 4.5 million heat pumps across Britain, although some will be using heat from air as well as water. David MacKay, the chief scientific adviser to Decc and professor of engineering at Cambridge University, has described a combination of heat pumps and low carbon electricity as the future of building heating.
Indedpendent 23rd March 2014 read more »
Some scepticism is required about the heat pump system about which, as we report today, Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, is so excited. It seems too good to be true that this technology can take the latent heat from Thames river water and concentrate it to produce domestic hot water at 45C for 140 homes. But this time, the “futurephoria”, even if it should be prudently restrained, does seem justified. This is not a miracle solution to the problem of climate change, but it is an important breakthrough that could make a big contribution to lower carbon dioxide emissions. The technology requires a small amount of electricity for the pumps, but even if that electricity comes from fossil-fuel sources the overall carbon output of the system is significantly lower than gas water heating, for taps and central heating, and the cost is 20 per cent lower.
Independent 23rd March 2014 read more »
Renewables – wind
A MASSIVE Highland wind farm proposal which could make the Scottish Conservatives’ environment spokesman more than £8 million has been damned by the nation’s environment watchdog.
Sunday Herald 23rd March 2014 read more »