Patrick Merliaud, CFDT Secretary of the Works Council of the Creusot establishment is worried about how to prepare to carry out the order for the two Hinkley Point EPRs. “For a white object, you have to make white pieces,” pleads the elected CFDT. The group plans to make a test piece (a large metal tube) at the end of the year. “We must make several practice pieces to test out. The problem is, many people have gone into retirement with Creusot’s voluntary separation plan. “Forty employees out of the workforce of 270 people. “The conditions were good to leave and not good to stay”. Areva had also launched a programme with its historic supplier and neighbour Industeel (ArcelorMittal) to develop a new type of steel “ingot”. But it will not be available until 2018, when we hope to make the cap and bottom of the second EPR of Hinkley Point. At present, the EDF customer is not committing itself to when. Meanwhile, the parts for Hinkley’s first EPR will be outsourced to the Japanese JSW.
LesEchoes 22nd Nov 2016 read more »
COUNCIL bosses are paving the way for Bradwell’s Chinese-built nuclear plant by offering free Mandarin lessons to councillors. Last year, EDF Energy signed a deal with China General Nuclear Power Corporation for “Bradwell B”, a greenfield site next to the former station. Now Maldon District Council is offering its councillors the opportunity to learn Mandarin and gain and insight into Chinese culture. Under the course offered by Essex County Council, those signing up would learn basic Mandarin, get an overview of China, learn about its society and the workplace and gain an insight into Chinese business. Professor Andy Blowers, chairman of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group, has questioned the scheme. The group has been campaigning against a new nuclear power station at Bradwell. Prof Blowers said: “BANNG believes this project has the potential to devastate the Blackwater estuary area and affect communities. “BANNG is concerned it may be that neither council possesses expertise in understanding what is proposed. And learning Mandarin will not compensate for that.”
Braintree & Witham Times 25th Nov 2016 read more »
MILLOM could capitalise on improved facilities and infrastructure if plans go-ahead for the new nuclear plant at Moorside. Doug Wilson, mayor of Millom, said the investment following the three-reactor power station, on land near Sellafield, could bring huge benefits to the town. Project chiefs say the new power station could mean more people moving to the region, setting up home, having families and supporting the local economy.
NW Evening Mail 24th Nov 2016 read more »
Work on cutting up part of the nuclear reactor infrastructure at Dounreay in Caithness got under way yesterday as strike action threatened to disrupt decommissioning of the site. A remotely operated saw was used to make the first cut needed for separating the concrete liner of a fuel storage “pond” from the outer structure. The next step is to cut the wall into blocks that will be wrapped and transported to the site’s waste processing and disposal facilities.
Press & Journal 24th Nov 2016 read more »
Dounreay 23rd Nov 2016 read more »
A decision on the future of the UK’s carbon tax that had been due in the Autumn Statement has been delayed, drawing criticism from both those who support the levy and those who want it scrapped. Former Chancellor George Osborne announced the rates of the levy until 2020-21 in the Budget in March, pledging at the time that the “long-term direction” of the controversial tax on burning fossil fuels would be set out in the Autumn Statement. But instead his successor Philip Hammond only reconfirmed the previously announced rates until 2020-21, which he said would “provide certainty to business”. The Government would “continue to consider the appropriate mechanism for determining the carbon price in the 2020s”, it said. The carbon tax was originally due to keep rising until 2030 but has been frozen at 2015-16 levels to 2020-21. Energy utilities like SSE and Drax had been lobbying for the tax to be extended out til 2025, while manufacturers group EEF wants it scrapped.Dr Jonathan Marshall, of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “Despite claiming to provide certainty to businesses, Mr Hammond has failed to offer any clarity for the energy industry beyond the short term. “Vast swathes of the UK’s generating capacity are reaching retirement age, and long-term clarity on carbon pricing would provide investors with the platform to back much needed new low-carbon equipment.”
Telegraph 24th Nov 2016 read more »
A total of 5½ million customers have switched their gas and/or electricity supplier across the UK in the first nine months of this year as consumers shop around for household energy providers. This includes 2.3 million domestic gas switches, and 3.1 million domestic electricity switches, as customers changed supplier, said OFGEM. As of September 2016, around 56% of all switches went to Britain’s Big Six suppliers, around 20% to mid-tier suppliers and 23% to small suppliers.
Scottish Energy News 25th Nov 2016 read more »
Greenpeace said on Thursday that it filed a complaint against EDF and its CEO, Jean-Bernard Lévy, for “stock trading offences”. EDF responded by suing the court for “false allegations”. One week after unveiling an alarming study on the accounts of EDF carried out at its request by the firm AlphaValue, Greenpeace announced it has filed a complaint with the national financial prosecutor against the energy group as well as its CEO Jean -Bernard Lévy, for “misdemeanors”, pointing the finger “an inaccurate balance” and the dissemination of “misleading information”. The anti-nuclear NGO asked the public prosecutor “to open a preliminary investigation or to appoint an investigating judge”, saying that “shareholders, investors but also French citizens are misled by EDF and its CEO”.
Liberation 24th Nov 2016 read more »
Greenpeace goes on the offensive. A few days after publishing a critical financial analysis carried out by AlphaValue, the organization filed a complaint with the financial prosecutor against the energy company and its CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy for publication of inaccurate balance sheet and dissemination of misleading information. Based on the study, Greenpeace believes that the group does not give a true picture of its true situation in its accounts.
Bousier 24th Nov 2016 read more »
Brexit & Euratom
The general trend of “ever closer union” in Europe was abruptly upset on the 23rd June 2016, as British voters decided to withdraw from the European Union (EU) (commonly referred to as ‘Brexit’). While there are many important Brexit-related issues to be sorted, one of the most critical issues relates to the UK’s membership in the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), writes Vincent Zabielski. The Euratom Treaty predates the formation of the EU, and while it’s not considered to be a “foundational treaty” of the EU, the European Atomic Energy Community remains decidedly European – its members include all the members of the EU, and no country outside of the EU. The multi-billion-pound question is to what extent UK participation in Euratom should continue post-Brexit, and what happens if it doesn’t.
World Nuclear News 24th Nov 2016 read more »
A giant steel shield said to be the largest moveable structure ever built will in the coming days be fully placed over the remains of the devastated reactor at Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Thirty years after an explosion spread radioactive clouds across Europe, the internationally financed 1.5bn euro shield is designed to prevent radioactive material leaking out from the still highly contaminated site for the next century. The construction of the shield is one of the world’s most ambitious engineering projects. Once it is in place early next week, Ukrainian politicians and diplomats from around the world will visit the site to mark the occasion. “This is the culmination of many years of hard work by Ukraine and the international community,” said Vince Novak, director of nuclear safety at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The EBRD is the financial administrator of the project, which was funded by more than 40 countries. Work on the shield, which the EBRD says is the largest moveable land-based structure ever built, began in 2012 on a site close to the reactor. Spanning 257 metres, with a length of 162 metres, height of 108 metres and a total weight of 36,000 tonnes, it is now being slowly pushed into place – in 60cm bursts over a distance of 327 metres by a skidding system that involves 224 hydraulic jacks. Once it is in place, work will then begin on dismantling the shaky Soviet-built sarcophagus built in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.
FT 25th Nov 2016 read more »
A HARWELL scientist tasked with measuring radiation in workers involved with the former USSR nuclear weapons programme stabbed himself to death, an inquest found. Matthew Puncher, from Drayton, who discovered the amount of polonium found inside murdered Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, was found dead in his home in May with wounds from two kitchen knives. Oxford Coroner’s Court yesterday heard how the father-of-two worked for Public Health England in radiation protection dosimetry at Harwell and how his mood ‘completely changed’ after a visit to Russia before Christmas.
Witney Gazette 24th Nov 2016 read more »
Switzerland votes in a referendum on Sunday on whether to make a speedy withdrawal from atomic energy production, a move that would reduce nuclear risks but raise reliance on fossil fuels from Germany or imported nuclear power from France. The opposition Swiss Greens and Social Democrats have pushed for a vote since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, but the government and industry oppose a quick exit, saying Switzerland would be unable to replace power supplies with renewable energy. Recent surveys from the gfs.bern polling institute show the “Yes” and “No” camps in the referendum are neck and neck.
Reuters 24th Nov 2016 read more »
Solar panels could be fitted onto the roof of Buckingham Palace as part of a £369m renovation of the iconic building, according to a programme report for the proposed refit published last week by the Royal Trustees. According to the report, project consultants considered various alternative sources of electricity to supplement the Palace’s mains power, with the Household ultimately deciding to include solar electric panels and an anaerobic digestion unit in its plans for the reservicing.
Business Green 22nd Nov 2016 read more »
The Welsh counties of Gwynedd and Mid Glamorgan are the regions in England and Wales which have delivered the most progress in solar and onshore wind power installation over the past year, according to a new league table published by think tank Green Alliance. The ranking puts Gwynedd as the top county for solar progress, followed Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire, and Norfolk.
Business Green 22nd Nov 2016 read more »
A Finnish energy company has devised a plan to create renewable fuel using Christmas dinner leftovers. The revolutionary anti-waste campaign, Kinkkutemppu – or “Ham Trick” – will take unwanted fat from Christmas hams donated by Finnish households and convert it into renewable diesel at the company’s Porvoo refinery. Experts at Neste, which hosts the campaign, calculate that the waste fact from roasting a single joint of ham can be converted into approximately two miles’ worth of fuel for a car. With almost seven million kg of ham cooked in Finland each Christmas, the company hopes to produce enough fuel from food waste to fuel a car driving three times around the world.
Independent 24th Nov 2016 read more »
Almost 100 per cent of the power needs of a remote Pacific island in American Samoa are now being met by renewables after the installation of a solar farm and battery storage facility by clean tech firm Tesla. Located more than 4,000 miles off the West Coast of the USA, Ta’u’s 600 residents had previously relied on boats to deliver all the island’s food and energy needs, including diesel fuel for electricity generators – a situation that posed potential power intermittency problems. However, over the past year Tesla and its newly-acquired sister firm SolarCity installed a solar powered and battery storage-enabled microgrid, which the companies said this week could provide a cost-saving alternative to diesel and remove the issue of power intermittency and outages.
Business Green 24th Nov 2016 read more »
Wired 22nd Nov 2016 read more »
Ministers deliberately delayed a controversial fracking report it was being forced to publish until after crucial council decisions on planning permission, according to newly revealed documents. The documents also show ministers acknowledged they were open to a charge of double standards, having granted local communities the final say over windfarm applications but overruling fracking decisions. The documents reveal “dirty tricks” and “deceit”, according to shadow ministers, councillors and green campaigners, which strengthen fears that the government is determined to force shale gas exploration on communities. The report on the impact of fracking on the rural economy was produced by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and published in 2014 in heavily redacted form. But Greenpeace used freedom of information rules (FOI) to force the publication of the full report a year later. The report said fracking could cause house prices to fall and risk damage to health and the environment, but that it could also generate new jobs. Lancashire county council (LCC) was considering the UK’s first major planning applications from shale firm Cuadrilla in June 2015 and requested to see the full report. But new documents released by the energy department to Greenpeace under FOI rules show Andrea Leadsom, then energy minister, asked to delay the publication of the full report until after the LCC decision. Alan Whitehead, Labour’s shadow energy minister, said: “These documents represent an astonishing catalogue of attempts to subvert and impede a reasonable debate about the merits and demerits of fracking. Altogether this is a sorry saga of evasion and deceit, which only serves to strengthen the now widely held opinion that government is determined to push through fracking regardless of facts or debate, and has actively connived to subvert inconvenient analysis when it surfaces.”
Guardian 25th Nov 2016 read more »
Arctic scientists have warned that the increasingly rapid melting of the ice cap risks triggering 19 “tipping points” in the region that could have catastrophic consequences around the globe. The Arctic Resilience Report found that the effects of Arctic warming could be felt as far away as the Indian Ocean, in a stark warning that changes in the region could cause uncontrollable climate change at a global level. Temperatures in the Arctic are currently about 20C above what would be expected for the time of year, which scientists describe as “off the charts”. Sea ice is at the lowest extent ever recorded for the time of year.
Guardian 25th Nov 2016 read more »
The case for building a third runway at Heathrow has been called into question by the government’s advisers. Lord Deben, chairman of the committee on climate change, has written to Greg Clark, the business secretary, raising concerns that the new runway would undermine efforts to meet Britain’s legally binding emissions targets. The peer, a former Conservative environment secretary, identifies a potential serious flaw in the Department for Transport’s business case for building the third runway.
Times 25th Nov 2016 read more »
BBC 25th Nov 2016 read more »