Russian, Chinese and South Korean nuclear companies should be offered subsidy contracts to build reactors in the UK if they are cheaper than other projects already under development, a prominent nuclear lobbyist has said. Tim Yeo, the former chairman of the House of Commons energy select committee, said EDF’s proposed £18bn plant at Hinkley Point, which is expected to get the go-ahead this week, should be allowed to proceed, but he urged the Government to rethink its approach to future projects. Mr Yeo, the MP for South Suffolk for 32 years until the 2015 general election, now chairs New Nuclear Watch Europe, a lobby group whose members include the Korean nuclear firm Kepco. He urged the Government to “urgently examine which nuclear vendors can deliver the cheapest electricity, maximise the number of UK supply chain jobs and minimise the risk of construction delays”.
Telegraph 23rd July 2016 read more »
When Greg Clark touches down in Tokyo tomorrow, he will have the weight of Britain’s creaking power grid on his shoulders. The new business and energy secretary is flying to Japan on a three-day mission to reignite Britain’s long-delayed nuclear renaissance — and keep the lights on in our homes. At the top of his list is convincing Hitachi and Toshiba of the government’s commitment to new nuclear power stations in Wales and Cumbria and drumming up funds for the reactors, which are needed to replace Britain’s ageing coal and nuclear plants. His visit comes before a board meeting at EDF on Thursday, when the French energy giant is set to decide whether to proceed with the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in Somerset. Companies including Hitachi are understood to be concerned over Britain’s commitment to nuclear power, while Nissan, Toyota and Honda fear tariffs could dent their sales to the EU. Hitachi and Toshiba are planning Britain’s next two plants after Hinkley — the Horizon project on Anglesey in north Wales and the NuGen plant in Cumbria respectively. They hope to use the reactors as a showcase for their nuclear technology. The funding for the schemes has yet to be found, however, and both are scrabbling for investment.
Times 24th July 2016 read more »
The People against Wylfa B (PAWB) group leafleted railway stations across North Wales. Demonstrations have been held against radioactive waste being transported by rail along the North Wales coast. Members of PAWB (People Against Wylfa B handed out leaflets at train stations including Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay and Rhyl on Saturday morning, alerting commuters of the nuclear waste that is transported up to twice a week from Wylfa to Sellafield in Cumbria. The Nuclear Decomissioning Authority (NDA) say such waste has been transported since 1962 without a single accident. But PAWB argues that if a train carrying waste was to be involved in a collision, residents would be exposed to “highly dangerous and lasting radiation”.
Daily Post 24th July 2016 read more »
Japan’s use of nuclear power is unlikely to meet a government target of returning to near pre-Fukushima levels and the world’s No. 3 economy needs to get serious about boosting renewables, a senior executive at a top business lobby said. Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energy policies, nuclear is supposed to supply a fifth of energy generation by 2030, but Teruo Asada, vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said Japan was unlikely to get anywhere near this. The influential business lobby has issued a proposal urging Tokyo to remove hurdles for renewable power amid the shaky outlook for nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The move shows how business attitudes are now shifting as reactor restarts get held up by legal challenges, safety issues and public skepticism.
Japan Today 24th July 2016 read more »
The amount of radioactive substances in seabed off Fukushima is hundreds of times higher than before the disaster, a report issued by Greenpeace reveals. The figures mean that there is absolutely “no return to normal after nuclear catastrophe” in the area. On Thursday, the environmental group released a report addressing the results of the study during which scientists analyzed radioactivity levels along Fukushima’s rivers and in the Pacific seabed off the coast.
Russia Today 22nd July 2016 read more »
Ed Davey: Signals matter in politics. And for investors. That’s why Theresa May’s decision to abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has put her government on the back foot when it comes to the environment and green investment. For most environmentalists and climate campaigners, the strong impression is that this was a signal to the many Tory Brexiteers for whom climate scepticism was ranked a close second to their Euroscepticism in their priorities. For investors, there is genuine alarm that the business climate for low carbon energy in the UK—regarded during the Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition as amongst the most stable and attractive in the world—has just become even worse than it was in the first disastrous 14 months of Conservative majority rule. Brexit and DECC abolition looks radioactively toxic to international green capital. In the real world, those perceptions matter. Long term capital-intensive investments can suddenly become even more expensive when the risk premium rises. The cost of decarbonising Britain may just have gone up. Yet as we are increasingly finding with our new Prime Minister, the truth may be a little more complex—and the signals even fuzzier. For her decision to appoint Greg Clarke as the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has helped to reduce the adverse reaction to the abolition. Clarke is remembered positively from his days shadowing the DECC in David Cameron’s Opposition days. And coupled with the appointment of Nick Hurd as Minister of State for the new department, who likewise has a strong record on climate change, many feel the situation can be rescued.
Prospect 22nd July 2016 read more »
Letter: Geoffrey Bailey: If Trident were not built, the resources that would have been spent on it would still be there. It would, of course, be soul destroying simply to continue paying those who had lost their jobs: other work should be found. After the second world war, redundant armament/aircraft factories made huge numbers of much-needed houses – “prefabs” – which, in spite of initial criticism, were very successful and lasted much longer than intended. In the present state of housing in the UK, something like that is needed: the building industry seems unable to cope.
Guardian 23rd July 2016 read more »
Gentle pips emit from a red speaker at the entrance to the Neptune nuclear reactor test centre with the frequency of a dripping tap. The sound is soothing to staff inside the drab 1960s building, which sits behind a 12ft electric fence on an industrial estate in Derby. You want to worry if the pips stop, said Martin Smith, a stern Rolls-Royce veteran of 25 years who runs the test reactor facility. “Then we know there’s a problem.” Neptune, which resembles a university laboratory inside a large concrete box, sits at the heart of one of Britain’s most secretive, expensive and important defence initiatives: the nuclear submarine programme. The reactor core for every British submarine is built at Rolls-Royce’s Raynesway site. The reactors are then assessed at Neptune before they are sealed within the vessels they will power for decades. Last week MPs secured Raynesway’s future when they voted overwhelmingly to renew the Trident nuclear deterrent. Four submarines, armed with nuclear missiles, will be built under the Successor programme. It will cost up to £41bn, said the Ministry of Defence. Other estimates put the cost nearer to £170bn including development and the submarines’ 30-year lifespan.
Times 24th July 2016 read more »
Juliet Davenport: In its 2009 National Action Plan for renewable energy, the UK government set out aims for 30% of electricity demand, 12% of heat demand and 10% of transport demand to be met with renewable sources by 2020. While it looks likely that the electricity target will be hit, progress on heat (currently at 4.8%) and transport (which recently fell back to 4.1%) remains slow. Increasing both of these percentages won’t be easy but there are several opportunities that could really help change that. Over 70% of the UK’s heat generation is for use in our homes. While the UK has excellent gas-grid connectivity and some of the lowest domestic gas prices, many houses are poorly built and insulated, ranking amongst some of the worst in Europe. This makes efficient heating technologies such as low-temperature heat pumps and underfloor heating ineffective.
Good Energy 21st July 2016 read more »
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, The Architecture Centre in Bristol, is a charity that champions better buildings and places, and encourages everyone to enjoy and learn about architecture and design. We’d love to install solar panels on this amazing community space in the heart of Bristol’s Harbourside – but we need your help to reach our crowdfunding target by 31 July.
Bristol Energy Co-op 13th July 2016 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
The Scottish Government’s decision to grant consent for a 67-turbine wind farm was lawful, judges have ruled. Scottish ministers and SSE have won an appeal against an earlier ruling that the approval of Stronelairg wind farm in the Highlands was “defective”. The John Muir Trust opposed the granting of consent in June 2014 for SSE’s development, located south-east of Fort Augustus in the Great Glen.
Scotsman 23rd July 2016 read more »
A new bill has been introduced in the US Senate and House of Representatives that could boost energy storage markets. The US Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act is a bill which focuses on tax credits for both residential and business systems. Martin Heinrich, a Democratic New Mexican Senator, put through the bill, which is modeled on the US solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Residential storage systems greater than 3 kWh (battery only), and 5 kWh for business systems, would be eligible for the proposed ITC. Sample energy storage systems include: thermal energy systems, flywheels, grid-based energy storage systems, pumped hydro, and behind-the-meter batteries.
Clean Technica 20th July 2016 read more »
Much vaunted plans to set fire to coal under the sea around Scotland look set to be dealt a blow by an independent review for the Scottish Government, the Sunday Herald has learned. The review’s author, Professor Campbell Gemmell, has indicated that he shares concerns about climate pollution and the safety standards associated with underground coal gasification (UCG) abroad. This has raised the hopes of environmentalists that he will come down against the controversial technology.
Herald 24th July 2016 read more »