Small Modular Reactors
Up to 600 jobs could be created if the UK government locates a small nuclear reactor at a decommissioned Gwynedd power station, it has been claimed. Snowdonia Enterprise Zone chairman John Idris Jones is to address a government-sponsored conference on Monday as the Trawsfynydd site could be considered. The small reactors, used on nuclear submarines, are cheaper and generate as much power as the old reactors. Opponents claim the “experimental” technology is still untested. They also insist sites such as Trawsfynydd are only proposed due to their remote location and small population. “I would hope that Trawsfynydd will be one of the main sites for this type of reactor,” Mr Jones told the Newyddion 9 programme. “We have all the necessary resources, the lake for cooling water, we have connections to the national grid and we have an educated local workforce.
BBC 25th Feb 2017 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) notes two different reports that again emphasise the woes that are engulfing the private companies trying to deliver new nuclear power stations in England and Wales. NFLA reiterate that an alternative energy policy focused on a wide renewable energy mix and decentralised energy led by local authorities and energy cooperatives would be a sensible and effective way forward. The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report on government energy policies found them to be badly designed by successive administrations. They had not only neglected the excessive financial costs to consumers, but had failed to ensure the UK has a secure future energy supply that will ‘keep the lights on’. The Committee particularly focused on the Hinkley Point C deal between the UK Government and EDF Energy as the most obvious example of an ‘unbalanced’ scheme that paid little attention to value for money. The Committee called on the Government to set out how capacity from the nuclear power station will be replaced if the project does not come in on time, amid real concerns over long delays. It was also reported today that Toshiba, until recently planning to build three new nuclear reactors at the Moorside site close to Sellafield in west Cumbria, is exploring ‘Chapter 11 bankruptcy’ for its U.S. nuclear power unit Westinghouse Electric Company. This is among a number of options to rebuild the business. Toshiba recently said it would not construct reactors at the Moorside site, but would help develop the current phase of development. It is looking for a buyer of its 60% stake in the Moorside consortium. This news shows the extent of the crisis in the company and that the likelihood of developing the Moorside site must now have diminished significantly.
NFLA 24th Feb 2017 read more »
Failed EPR and AP1000 reactor projects have brought giant energy companies to their knees, and even pro-nuclear lobbyists now acknowledge that the industry is in crisis. Jim Green, editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter, takes stock of the crisis in the global nuclear sector and concludes that the industry’s likely response, a retreat from post-Fukushima efforts to strengthen safety standards, risks making a bad situation worse. The crisis over Toshiba that is it hitting the headlines is part of a much deeper crisis in the global nuclear sector. The venerable Japanese company is far from the only nuclear player in crisis. Take France. The French government is selling assets so it can prop up its heavily indebted nuclear utilities. Électricité de France (EDF) announced in 2015 that it would sell €10bn of assets by 2020 to rein in its debt, which now stands at €37.4bn. EDF is being pressured by the French government to purchase parts of its bankrupt sibling Areva, which has accumulated losses of over €10bn over the past five years. French EPR reactors under construction in France and Finland are three times over budget ‒ the combined cost overruns amount to about €15bn. Bloomberg noted in April 2015 that Areva’s EPR export ambitions are “in tatters“, and now Areva itself is in tatters.
Energy Post 23rd Feb 2017 read more »
This morning’s Tory victory sweep in the Labour stronghold of nuclear heartland Copeland has coincided with the publication of a Lords report criticising the government’s nuclear energy policy. Closer to Westminster, a damning report published today by the House of Lords has highlighted the government’s own problems when it comes to formulating viable nuclear energy policy. It accuses the government of “fragility” in its development of nuclear contingency plans, and criticises the priority given to the reduction of energy emissions over dealing with the risk of a supply gap created by the closure of every coal-fired power station in the UK by 2025. Last week’s announcement by Toshiba that it may renege on its commitment to financing the Moorside energy plant project has forced the government to consider taking on a minority stake in the £10 billion project. This raises the controversial spectre of public investment in a costly and risky industry. Foreign policy concerns have also come to the fore after the government’s recent decision to withdraw from Euratom, the European nuclear research agency. These are compounded by the security implications of building an energy strategy around foreign investment from countries like China, in the case of plans for a new plant in Essex.
City AM 24th Feb 2017 read more »
TOSHIBA has responded to media speculation that its US nuclear division is set to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy by saying it it is “not aware” of this action taking place. The embattled Japanese giant – which has a 60 per cent stake in Nugen, the company with plans to build a new nuclear power plant at Moorside, near Sellafield – was responding to a story in the Nikkei, Japan’s leading financial publication. Chapter 11 bankruptcy gives a company in financial difficulties protection from its creditors for a limited period to allow it to reorganise. This report suggested that the firm was looking into this course of action for its US subsidiary Westinghouse Electric, which would build the three reactors for the proposed Cumbrian new nuclear plant.
Whitehaven News 24th Feb 2017 read more »
Toshiba Corp. will explore Chapter 11 bankruptcy for U.S. nuclear power unit Westinghouse Electric Co. among options to rebuild the business while using proceeds from the sale of its mainstay chip business to continue operating it, sources close to the matter said Friday.
Japan Times 24th Feb 2017 read more »
THE company with plans to bring nuclear new build to Cumbria is seeking an early meeting with Copeland’s new MP.
Whitehaven News 24th Feb 2017 read more »
World Nuclear News 24th Feb 2017 read more »
HEAVILY armed police officers guarding Scotland’s nuclear plants have accused the UK Government of jeopardising national security by expecting them to work until their late 60s. The body representing the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), which has several hundred Scots-based officers at Hunterston, Torness and Dounreay Nuclear Facilities, said its members would lack the fitness and weaponry skills to carry out their duties while continuing to work as pensioners. It warned officers could not fully protect the public from terrorism if they worked beyond 60.
Herald 25th Feb 2017 read more »
Commercial operation dates for Vogtle units 3 and 4 have been put back to December 2019 and September 2020 respectively, Southern Company said on 22 February. These dates are six and three months later than previously expected.
World Nuclear News 24th Feb 2017 read more »
The UK’s biggest nuclear site is failing to cut radioactive discharges into the Irish Sea in line with international commitments, according to a new report. Sellafield, which was at the heart of the recent Copeland by-election, has been discharging more reprocessed nuclear fuel into the North East Atlantic in recent years than it was a decade ago, the latest available data shows. Anti-nuclear group CORE, which crunched the numbers, says that this means the UK has already violated the OSPAR convention to reduce radioactivity in the maritime environment, as was agreed nearly 20 years ago. There have been several surges in environmental discharges from Sellafield in recent years, which may go against the spirit of OSPAR, which orders a ‘progressive’ and ‘substantial’ reduction.
Energydesk 24th Feb 2017 read more »
The CBI has warned the government that capping the price of household energy bills would be a “strange” decision that would further hit fragile investor confidence. Britain’s biggest business lobby urged ministers to back the verdict of the Competition and Markets Authority, which concluded a two-year inquiry into the sector by rejecting a cap on standard tariffs and proposing reforms to encourage switching. Despite the previous Conservative government’s pledge to follow the CMA’s recommendations, Theresa May’s government is considering fresh intervention and has not ruled out a price cap. Josh Hardie, the CBI deputy director-general, told The Times: “It’s a strange position when you’ve just had a substantial and long-term study that came up with clear recommendations on a clear analysis, not to back that. “If you are setting a precedent that, for the CMA or others, you’re not going to back their recommendations, that’s something businesses will want to consider very carefully, because it adds more unpredictability into the system.”
Times 25th Feb 2017 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
Scots Tory party is challenged over its support for nuclear as renewables go begging. They have been criticised for announcing that they would build two new nuclear power plants as part of their energy strategy released yesterday. Opposing parties have expressed grave concerns over the affect the plans for new stations at Hunterston and Torness will have on the environment and the safety of Scotland’s energy supply. Hunterston and Torness are already the site of two plants which are seeing out their extended operational lives until around 2024.The two new facilities would be bulit near the existing nuclear sites in Ayrshire and East Lothian. The policy proposals come at a time when the UK Conservative Government has received heavy criticism for its consistent withdrawl of financial support for Scottish renewable energy through cuts to subsidies. “As soon as they got a majority on their own, the Tories made sweeping cuts in renewables.” Liam McArthur Commenting on the proposals, Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse MSP, Christina McKelvie told CommonSpace: “The proposals from the Tories to build two new nuclear stations, without any costed proposals or even a single mention of Scotland’s other energy and wind power capabilities, is actually a very fitting tribute to their party – out of touch, archaic and regressive.
Common Space 23rd Feb 2017 read more »
The UK’s inability to import radio-isotopes for cancer therapy is just the latest outcome of the UK’s decision to leave EURATOM to hit the headlines, writes Pete Roche. It may also put a brake on the UK’s plans to build new nuclear plants, and import and export nuclear fuel and wastes. The UK’s exit from the treaty, as a strongly pro-nuclear state, could also mark an EU-wide anti-nuclear swing.
Ecologist 24th Feb 2017 read more »
With Brexit the U.K. will pull out of the little-known European Atomic Energy Community and with that come some unintended consequences. Experts say it could threaten everything from cancer treatments to the integrity of nuclear power plants. Yet Euratom bears a lot of responsibility, governing everything from the transport of radioactive materials to access to parts for nuclear reactors. The danger in a speedy divorce where details fall by the wayside could have far-reaching effects. The imports of parts for existing and planned new nuclear reactors, as well as access to the fuel needed for Electricite de France’s planned new plant at Hinkley Point in southwest England, are also at risk.
Bloomberg 23rd Feb 2017 read more »
Green MEP Claude Turmes has led some of Europe’s key energy and climate policy reforms since 2000. Now for the first time in a book, which will be launched in Brussels on 1 March, he explains how and why Brussels has pioneered – and obstructed – the energy transition in Europe. In an exclusive interview and sneak preview with Energy Post, Turmes gives an insider account of dreams, lobbies, and political, economic and social realities. This book is full of original insights on how EU climate and energy policy came about and what we can still do to shape the future.
Energy Post 24th Feb 2017 read more »
Full operation of CGN Power’s Taishan nuclear power plant, an $8.7 billion effort to construct two EPR reactors in Guangdong province, China, has been pushed back six months, the company said in an announcement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange February 20. Completion of Taishan Unit 1 had been expected in the first half of 2017, but commercial operation has now been pushed to the second half of the year. Unit two was intended to be completed in the second half of 2017, but is now scheduled for completion in the first half of 2018.
Power Mag 23rd Feb 2017 read more »
Year over year, ever since 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown grows worse and worse, an ugly testimonial to the inherent danger of generating electricity via nuclear fission, which produces isotopes, some of the most deadly poisonous elements on the face of the planet. Fukushima Diiachi has been, and remains, one of the world’s largest experiments, i.e., what to do when all hell breaks lose aka The China Syndrome. “Scientists still don’t have all the information they need for a cleanup that the government estimates will take four decades and cost ¥8 trillion. It is not yet known if the fuel melted into or through the containment vessel’s concrete floor, and determining the fuel’s radioactivity and location is crucial to inventing the technology to remove the melted fuel,”
Counterpunch 20th Feb 2017 read more »
New York could do without the power generated by the Indian Point nuclear plant, but making up for the loss of all that cheap electricity would be much easier if state officials changed their energy-efficiency policies. That is a conclusion of a report issued on Thursday by two environmental groups on the implications of the long-running campaign to shut down Indian Point. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced last month that the two reactors at the plant in Buchanan, about 30 miles north of Manhattan, would cease operating by 2021. Mr. Cuomo and environmental groups — including the two that issued the report, Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council — have railed against Indian Point for years, arguing that it posed a significant hazard in such a populous area. But supporters of the plant questioned how the state would replace the low-cost, carbon-free power produced there.
New York Times 23rd Feb 2017 read more »
It takes nearly five minutes for the lift to reach the foot of the mineshaft. The ride down is solemn and quiet, the silence broken only by the gentle clanking of the cage on its vertical tracks. Light from the torches hanging around our necks sways across the lift’s floor as we descend. At the bottom, we pass a few old carts that used to ferry iron ore back and forth through these dim, rust-coloured tunnels. The Konrad mine in Salzgitter, Germany, produced iron for more than a century, from 1867 to 1976. Over the years its labyrinth was extended to depths up to 1,300m (4,300ft) below street level. But the disused mine now has a new role – one that could last hundreds of thousands of years.
BBC 16th Feb 2017 read more »
Anyone doubting the potential of renewable energy need look no further than the Danish island of Samsø. The 4,000-inhabitant island nestled in the Kattegat Sea has been energy-positive for the past decade, producing more energy from wind and biomass than it consumes. Samsø’s transformation from a carbon-dependent importer of oil and coal-fuelled electricity to a paragon of renewables started in 1998. That year, the island won a competition sponsored by the Danish ministry of environment and energy that was looking for a showcase community – one that could prove the country’s freshly announced Kyoto target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 21% was, in fact, achievable. The contest didn’t bring with it funds to bankroll the energy transition. But it did pay for the salary of one person tasked with making the island’s 10-year renewables master plan a reality. Electricity generation wasn’t the only goal. Between 2002 and 2005, three district heating systems were built. These now supply – via “miles of miles of piping” – three-quarters of the island’s houses with heating and hot water from centralised biomass boilers fuelled with locally grown straw. Meanwhile, houses outside of the heating districts have replaced old oil furnaces with solar collectors or biomass boilers of their own.
Guardian 24th Feb 2017 read more »
Sunamp has led a successful funding bid jointly with Glasgow University and partners in China to boost the performance of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power plants that use clean, although intermittent, renewable heat sources for distributed heat and power supply in China. By integrating Sunamp’s heat storage technologies with the ORC, according to the company it is possible to produce a more dependable distributed heat and power supply using a wide range of renewable heat sources, such as solar energy. ORC has the same working principle as a steam power cycle, except it uses organic compounds with low boiling points as working fluids. It is believed to be among the most promising technologies to use sources of renewable heat and cut pollution generated by fossil fuels, and it perfectly fits the needs of a country like China, still mainly relying on coal for its heat and power needs, but with big plans to increase penetration of renewables.
Renewable Energy Focus 22nd Feb 2017 read more »
As renewable energy projects are rolled out in cities around the world, we spoke to companies and organisations working in the sector to find out what’s happening and what to expect. Here’s what they said.
Guardian 22nd Feb 2017 read more »
The energy regulator has ordered National Grid to return the cash it has claimed through energy bills to fund a £168.8m gas pipeline project it decided not to build. Ofgem agreed the amount National Grid could charge customers for upgrading and maintaining the grid in 2013, when the network operator’s plans included a high pressure gas pipelines project in Avonmouth. The pipeline work is no longer needed but National Grid argued that it should be allowed to keep around £87m which it had already claimed through energy bills to fund the shelved project.
Telegraph 24th Feb 2017 read more »