Cambridge nuclear engineer casts doubt on whether Hinkley Point EPR nuclear plant can be constructed. ‘The EPR is safe, very safe’ said Tony Roulstone at a lecture in Oxford on Tuesday 21st October. But the complexity of the design means it is extraordinarily difficult to build. This type of reactor is, he said, perhaps in an unguarded moment, ‘unconstructable’. Areva, the French company that owns the EPR design, is no longer actively selling power stations of this type. In those countries still looking to expand nuclear power, such as Saudi Arabia, China and Turkey, Areva is now pushing an alternative reactor. In China, where several EPRs are currently being constructed, the authorities have indicated that they will not use the design for future power plants. In other words, the Hinkley Point design is already regarded as a failure by those with most knowledge of it. In Finland and in Normandy, where the EPR is already under construction, delays of several years and enormous cost overruns are crippling the projects. Most scenarios, though not all, show the UK needing a large nuclear programme to meet its power and decarbonisation needs. But by focussing on the increasingly unpopular EPR design, the country may have saddled itself with an unmanageable and hugely expensive construction project that will sour the prospects of all other nuclear technologies for another generation. Perhaps those of us who still believe in the value of nuclear power should pray that sceptical investors refuse to commit their funds to the Hinkley project.
Carbon Commentary 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
Letter: The nuclear industry has an unrivalled record for completing new power stations late and over budget. It should keep those working on it employed for many more years than they initially expected. Based on its record to date my youngest son will be helping build it. Although peak electricity demand has dropped from 60gw in 2005 to 54gw our spare capacity is forecast to be only five per cent this winter and two per cent next winter. Whatever Hinkley C might do to help meet this shortfall, it will be years before it starts generating.
Frome Standard 23rd Oct 2014 read more »
BUSINESSES who want to be part of the Hinkley Point C project are being offered free training courses. European Union regulators have given approval to the construction of the nuclear power plant on the Somerset coast, at a cost of £16 billion. Thousands of workers will be needed on site, plus many more supplying goods and services as the build progresses. Weston College has received money through the European Social Fund to help businesses become “Hinkley-ready” – and will be focusing on companies hoping to provide goods and services to the site, ranging from bus driving to cleaning, catering and housekeeping at workers’ accommodation being constructed close to the new plant.
Bristol Post 21st Oct 2014 read more »
Homeowners who claim power plant proposals have left their properties unsaleable are preparing a class action lawsuit against those involved in the project. Leonora Van Gils, who owns a country house in Darsham, close to where EDF Energy is proposing to build a park and ride for Sizewell C construction workers, is leading the legal challenge and inviting others to join her. Speaking during a public meeting about Sizewell C in Yoxford last week, she said the behaviour of EDF and the government, in respect to the project, had been “absolutely scandalous”. “The people who cannot sell their homes because of Sizewell C are prisoners in their homes,” she said. “I’m hoping if we get enough people together to form a class action lawsuit it will cause huge embarrassment for the government and could maybe get us somewhere.”
East Anglian Daily Times 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
UK wind farms generated more energy than the nation’s nuclear power stations on Tuesday thanks to a huge surge in gale-force winds in the wake of Hurricane Gonzalo, the National Grid has said. While high winds and stormy weather caused disruption to UK flights, roads and rail links, causing one death and a spate of injuries, the renewable-energy industry found at least one silver lining amid the chaos. During a 24 hour period on October 21, wind energy was responsible for 14.2 percent of the UK’s total generated energy, whereas nuclear power created 13.2 percent. Nuclear reactors in Sizewell, Hunterston, Dungeness, Heysham and Hartlepool are all undergoing planned repair work, which has left the UK relying on less than 50 percent of regular nuclear output.
Russia Today 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
Cornishman 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
Western Morning News 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
NFU 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
Independent 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
The Week 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
Small businesses are planning to turn themselves into mini energy companies to generate and supply their own power because they are so worried about the threat of blackouts. The Federation of Small Businesses has held talks with Ofgem and the government about changing the rules that prevent small companies from selling electricity directly to customers. At present, businesses have to sell any electricity that they generate directly to National Grid or to large power generators at knockdown prices. Small businesses want to be allowed to sell power from their onsite solar panels, wind farms or combined heat and power plants to neighbouring factories and groups such as housing estates.
Times 23rd Oct 2014 read more »
Some 3.5 UK million consumers have switched their utility supplier over the past 12 months – with 1.2 million of them quitting Britain’s Big Six altogether. This was the key message from Ed Davey, British energy minister to the annual conference of Energy UK – the trade association which represents, among others, Britain’s Big Six energy suppliers – in London. He said a plethora of regulator fines for misleading sales and advertising gimmicks, coupled with inflation-busting price rises had resulted in the energy ‘six pack’ – which includes Scottish Power and Perth-based Scottish & Southern Energy – suffering from a commercial haemorrhage of customers.
Scottish Energy News 23rd Oct 2014 read more »
Former environment secretary Owen Paterson continues to make headlines following his speech last week in which he called for the UK’s Climate Change Act to be scrapped. His argument rests on the idea that decarbonising the UK economy will cost trillions of pounds: he says it will cost £1.3 trillion by 2050. This figure has attracted attention, and been reproduced in articles for The Telegraph, the Spectator, the Telegraph again, The Times, the Daily Mail and a Daily Mail editorial. But it is potentially misleading. The figure is based on a partial reading of analysis by the European Commission and the International Energy Agency and ignores the conclusion of both studies – that far from costing trillions, decarbonising could save trillions by reducing spending on fossil fuels.
Carbon Brief 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
Household gas and electricity bills are expected to rise by £150 a year by 2020 because of European Union energy and environment policies, according to a European think-tank. The average British household paid an extra £59 last year thanks to EU-related targets and regulations, research by Open Europe indicated. The think-tank, which wants reform in the EU, said environmental decisions made by Brussels would also raise small businesses’ energy bills by 25 per cent in the same period. Four per cent of the UK’s energy consumption comes from renewables, but this will have to rise to 15 per cent by 2020. The UK has pledged a larger increase in renewable energy consumption than any other EU member.
Times 23rd Oct 2014 read more »
A second major energy company has admitted it would be cutting prices were it not for Labour’s price freeze proposal, energy minister Amber Rudd has revealed. The Conservative MP said that two Big Six chief executives had told her privately that the threat of Labour’s freeze was preventing them passing on recent reductions in wholesale prices.
Telegraph 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
Ed Davey, the energy and climate change secretary, has accused his coalition government partners of “reckless” behaviour for their manifesto commitment to end subsidies for onshore wind. The Lib Dem MP said Britain needed as many renewable energy technologies as possible but his attack was immediately dismissed as “his view” by one of his own ministers, the Tory MP Amber Rudd. The war of words broke out at the Energy UK annual conference in London, only days after stormy weather helped wind power to set a new daily record by generating 24% of the country’s electricity. In a speech Davey dismissed fears of the lights going out this winter, attacked Labour over its proposals to freeze domestic prices and insisted his own policies were sucking in much-needed investment.
Guardian 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
UK ethical investors have warmed to nuclear power as doubts have grown over the adequacy of wind and solar power as substitutes for carbon-based energy sources, Kames has found. Almost half (44%) of the 50 of prominent ethical investors surveyed said that they had softened their stance on nuclear power. Although previous surveys suggested outright opposition to nuclear, there is a growing acknowledgement that the UK needs to find alternative energy sources to meet climate change targets, according to Kames.
Global Investor 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
Nearly a million potential jobs will be lost if EU leaders fail to agree strong climate and energy targets at a summit starting on Thursday, according to the head of Europe’s trade union movement. Europe’s heads of state are set to sign a deal which, the Guardian understands, proposes a binding 40% greenhouse gas cut by 2030 and two goals which will not be binding on member states, one for a share of 27% of energy coming from renewable sources and another for a 27% improvement in energy efficiency. Disagreements with eastern European states on ‘burden sharing’ to meet the targets and energy security issues in the final package are said to be narrowing. But Bernadette Segol, the leader of the European Trade Union Confederation which represents around 60 million workers, warned that the proposed targets were too low to reap the benefits of a new clean energy economy. “Energy efficiency and renewable energy targets create jobs,” she told the Guardian. “The lower the target, the fewer the jobs that are created. Governments opposing ambitious and binding targets are wasting an opportunity to reduce Europe’s shameful levels of unemployment. Politicians risk throwing away up to 823,000 new jobs that could be created by more ambitious targets.”
Guardian 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
Finnish energy consortium Teollisuuden Voima Oyj said Tuesday it had increased its claim against nuclear supplier consortium Areva – Siemens to €2.3 billion ($2.9 billion) from its earlier claim of €1.8 billion. TVO is seeking compensation from Areva-Siemens for financial losses stemming from delays in building a 1,600-megawatt nuclear reactor on Olkiluoto, an island along Finland’s west coast. The new reactor, dubbed Olkiluoto 3, was originally slated to start operations in 2009, but it is now expected to come online in late 2018.
Wall St Journal 21st Oct 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Gov’t report reveals Fukushima radioactive release much larger than Chernobyl — Japan reactors could have emitted nearly four times as much caesium.
Energy News 20th Oct 2014 read more »
Opposition to nuclear energy is growing but can the country afford to keep its reactors idled? When asked why it is taking so long to bring nuclear power back to Satsumasendai, Daisaku Fukuyama blows out his cheeks and throws up his hands. The 64-year-old head of the innkeepers’ union in this remote city in the deep south of Japan has seen several members shut up shop, as the mothballing of the city’s reactors ended a cycle of maintenance checks that saw thousands of inspectors pass through for weeks at a time. “The plant has passed test after test and still it is not running,” he sighs, adding that he hopes for a return to normal service within a few months, bringing to an end Japan’s longest stretch without atomic power for almost 40 years. And if not? “I don’t want to think about it.”
FT 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
In the 1970s, France started a revolution in its national energy policy, installing nuclear power plants at a speed and on a scale unprecedented anywhere in the world outside the US. Some 40 years later, it could be on the brink of another: a bill passed last week in the lower house of parliament envisages Europe’s second-largest economy halving its energy consumption by 2050 compared with 2012 levels and putting renewable energy sources centre stage. France’s energy transition bill, one of the most ambitious legislative changes proposed for the three remaining years of Socialist President Francois Hollande’s term in office, contemplates a 30 per cent reduction in fossil-fuel consumption by 2030, thanks in large part to incentives to switch to electric cars.
FT 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
Allison Macfarlane plans to leave on 1 January after serving 2 1/2 years at the helm of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that oversees an industry unloved by the public and hard-pressed by competition from gas and renewable generators in most US power markets.
Argus Media 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
NUCLEAR fusion is never an easy subject to explain to the average citizen. So Oxfordshire’s Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) has used Lego to give an insight into a day at the lab. Graphic designers at Culham Studio, based on the site, made an animation featuring Lego fusion scientists getting to work after Culham’s human staff have gone home for the night.
Oxford Mail 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
The world would be a much safer place without nuclear weapons but nuclear-armed states’ belief in the efficacy of “deterrence” continues to stymie progress at the UN. States are gathered at the United Nations in New York for the 69th session of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, to discuss various international-security matters. But among the issues under debate in the four weeks to 5 November, implementing nuclear disarmament remains the most contentious. While divergence on how to achieve progress is not new, a simmering, fractious discontent is reaching boiling point. Strongly worded statements to the general debate in the first week of the meeting—in this forum where words matter—revealed the growing frustration of most of the world’s states with the slow pace of implementing disarmament commitments by states with nuclear arms.
Open Democracy 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
Renewables – wind
Wind energy could supply up to 19% of the world’s electricity by 2030 – if the world implements policies to limit emissions, according to a new report from GWEC, Greenpeace and the German Aerospace Centre. The report finds China is likely to dominate wind power, increasing output by five times between now and 2030. In addition to policy measures, the projections include continuing falls in the cost of wind power and advances in technology.
Energy Desk 21st Oct 2014 read more »
Three major renewable energy groups have come out in support of the World Wildlife Fund’s call for for stronger government action to tackle the carbon emissions from heating homes. The WWF-UK’s report ‘Warm homes, not warm words’ calls for stronger government action to tackle the carbon emissions from heating homes. It states that the roll-out of low carbon heat networks must be a “national infrastructure priority”.
Scottish Energy News 23rd Oct 2014 read more »
The UK needs 4 million heat pumps. The UK is way off track to meet its target to have 25 per cent of heating provided by low carbon sources, such as heat pumps and biomass boilers, a new report from WWF has revealed. The Warm homes, not Warm Words report was released yesterday and shows that just two per cent of UK heating demand currently comes from low carbon sources. Consequently, it calls for a drastic scaling up of heat networks and renewable heat technologies across the country in a bid to ensure the UK remains on track to meet its overarching emissions target.
Business Green 23rd Oct 2014 read more »
Blue & Green Tomorrow 23rd Oct 2014 read more »
Thomas Piketty, one of the world’s most influential economists and author of the ground-breaking Capital in the 21st Century, has waded into the debate on climate change and its impact on the global economy for the first time, calling on European leaders to this week deliver an ambitious new energy and climate change package. Piketty, Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and Paris School of Economics, today joined with Claudia Kemfert, director of Energy, Transport and Ecology at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), and Cameron Hepburn, professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Oxford, in a letter to the Financial Times urging Brussels to approve plans for a new target requiring member states to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40 per cent against 1990 levels by 2030.
Business Green 22nd Oct 2014 read more »
An open letter (22nd Oct. 2014) to both the UK’s Prime Minister and the Secretary of State at the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC). The letter summarises why the IPCC’s carbon budgets for a “likely” chance of not exceeding the international community’s 2°C commitment, requires the EU to reduce the emissions from its energy system by 80% by 2030, with complete decarbonisation just a few years later.
Kevin Anderson 22nd Oct 2014 read more »