The UK could be primarily powered by renewable energy by 2030 without the need for new nuclear power plants, according to a report commissioned by WWF. Between 60% and 90% of the nation’s electricity could come from wind, solar, tidal and other sustainable sources, with the rest supplied via an international supergrid and gas power stations. David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK says “Failure to commit to a high-renewables future would leave us facing the prospect of dangerous levels of climate change and high energy prices.” The new report notes that meeting an existing 2020 renewable energy target will increase household bills by 4%, but that this could be more than offset by cuts in usage through better energy efficiency. WWF’s Positive Energy report differs from previous analyses by including a continuation of renewable energy building after 2020, as well as big increases in energy efficiency. The energy scenarios at the core of the report were developed by GL Garrad Hassan. In the highest renewables scenarios (90% of capacity), ambitious action on energy efficiency reduces the capital costs of renewables, gas and supergrid interconnectors from £216bn to £170bn. The report calls for a firm renewable target for 2030, to give long-term and stable financial support for the renewable industry. The warning that a new “dash for gas” could lock in high carbon emissions is echoed by the Commons select committee on energy and climate change.
Guardian 25th Oct 2011 more >>
The campaign group will use the report to call for the government to install a 60 per cent minimum target for renewable electricity by 2030, well above the 40 per cent goal proposed by the CCC in May and the 35 per cent set out by the government in its electricity market reforms. The report reasons that reducing energy demand through the use of financial incentives could cut the need for new generating infrastructure, saving up to £40bn.
Business Green 25th Oct 2011 more >>
High reliance on wind power supported by a portfolio of pan-European interconnections is the most effective route to a low-carbon future for UK electricity, according to a new report. The Positive Energy report, released by environmental group WWF based on modelling by consultants GL Garrad Hassan, finds that a not-too-ambitious scenario that includes 105GW of renewables, 20GW of gas and 35GW of interconnection would deliver near-decarbonisation by 2030, without the need for nuclear energy or carbon capture and storage. With sufficient interconnection, the report says, the UK could become a net exporter of renewable energy, particularly offshore wind power. The investment required for the high-wind, high-interconnector, low-gas scenario would amount to 212 billion (243.3 billion), 165 billion of which would be for renewable generation. Under this scenario, renewable source s would generate 61% of electricity demand.
Windpower Monthly 24th Oct 2011 more >>
The Government needs to step up its efforts to protect the UK’s energy supplies from short-term shocks, with the country’s “dangerously low” gas storage capacity leaving it prone to supply interruptions and sudden price spikes, an influential group of MPs will warn this morning. The Energy and Climate Change Committee will also point out that, while the UK is growing increasingly dependent on energy imports, the Department for Energy and Climate Change has not “published a strategy for achieving energy security”, in contrast to its approach to climate change. France’s storage capacity amounts to 87 days’ worth of supply. Germany boasts a capacity of 69 days. Moreover, more action was needed to cut waste. “The Government could be doing a lot more to reduce unnecessary energy wastage. It needs to look at how it can use building regulations and energy efficiency standards for electrical appliances to cut waste and save cash on people’s energy bills,” Mr Yeo said.
Independent 25th Oct 2011 more >>
Scotsman 25th Oct 2011 more >>
Three British nuclear power units restarted at the weekend, increasing nuclear power production availability by 1,500 megawatts (MW) and weighing on short-term power prices on Monday. EDF Energy restarted its Sizewell B2 nuclear reactor on Sunday morning, after a seven-week refuelling outage, while reactor B21 at its Dungeness site restarted on Sunday afternoon. “Sizewell B resynchronised to the National Grid at around 0500 GMT (on) Sunday 23 October, following its planned refuelling outage which started on 2 September,” a spokeswoman for the operator said. Nuclear operator Magnox also restarted its 310-MW Wylfa unit 4, which had been out of service since an unplanned outage on Oct. 16.
Reuters 24th Oct 2011 more >>
East Anglian Daily Times 24th Oct 2011 more >>
After 44 years of operation, unit 1 of the UK’s Oldbury nuclear power plant will be permanently shut down in February 2012, ten months earlier than expected, Magnox Ltd announced.
World Nuclear News 24th Oct 2011 more >>
This is Gloucestershire 24th Oct 2011 more >>
Leeds University has formed a Sludge Centre of Expertise aimed at helping nuclear engineers work out how to dispose of nuclear waste safely and efficiently. The centre has teamed up with Sellafield Ltd to clean up radioactive waste produced by the UK nuclear industry. Sludge wastes have built up at nuclear power plans such as Sellafield after years of operation and the experts from Leeds will provide the plants nuclear engineers with information on the sludge that needs to be removed.
The Engineer 24th Oct 2011 more >>
Scientists at Northwestern University, Illinois, have outlined a new method for detecting electromagnetic radiation at the high energy end of the spectrum. The work could lead to the development of a small, hand held device able to detect this “hard radiation” and has implications for the detection of radioactive materials which could potentially be employed in terrorist weapons, such as nuclear bombs or radiological dispersion devices, as well as materials employed in clandestine nuclear programs.
Gizmag 24th Oct 2011 more >>
EDF has made what it hopes will be the decisive offer to end its long-running battle to take control of Edison, Italys second biggest utility by market capitalisation. EDF is keen to use Edison as a vehicle to develop its gas business. The French company is best known for its nuclear power plants, which supply 85 per cent of Frances electricity, but there are long-term concerns about the atomic energy market following the meltdown at Japans Fukushima plant.
FT 24th Oct 2011 more >>
North Korean and US diplomats began talks in Geneva today on Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, the second meeting in less than three months. US diplomats refused to state their specific goals for the two-day talks but have in the past said they want the country to stick to a 2005 deal requiring “verifiable denuclearisation.”
Morning Star 24th Oct 2011 more >>
The U.N. nuclear watchdog is expected to publish intelligence soon pointing to military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear activities but stopping short of saying explicitly that Tehran is trying to build atom bombs, Western diplomats say.
Reuters 24th Oct 2011 more >>
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has urged Iran to reassure the world about the nature of its nuclear drive but there is little hope talks will resume any time soon, diplomats said Monday.
EU Business 24th Oct 2011 more >>
The 1,027MW Almaraz 2 nuclear reactor in western central Spain was shut down yesterday because of overheating in a cooling pump. All parameters were stable when the unit was disconnected from the grid and it went into cold shutdown as a precautionary measure, the plant operators said.
Argus Media 24th Oct 2011 more >>
Construction of the first EPR unit at the Taishan nuclear power plant in China’s Guangdong province has reached a major milestone with the dome of the reactor building being lowered into place. First concrete was poured in October 2009, and unit 1 should begin operating in 2013, with unit 2 in 2014. The construction of two further EPRs at Taishan is expected to begin by 2015.
World Nuclear News 24th Oct 2011 more >>
The nuclear reactor at Oskarshamn was closed down late on Saturday night after a fire broke out at the plant. Although the fire, which broke out in the turbine hall of Unit 2, was quickly put out by the plants own emergency services, the reactor and the turbine were closed down as a precautionary measure. It is still unclear when the reactor 2 can be restarted again, with investigations ongoing.
The Local 23rd Oct 2011 more >>
Dominic Lawson: Last month, the exploration company Cuadrilla announced it had discovered a shale gas field potentially containing a scarcely comprehensible 200 trillion cubic feet of the stuff. Not only is this vastly bigger than any of our remaining North Sea reservoirs: it is not even in deep waters. Cuadrilla’s discovery lies beneath and around Blackpool, Lancashire, offering the prospect of cheap, secure energy to homes and businesses for decades to come and perhaps centuries, since this geological formation is not peculiar to subterranean Blackpool but extends from just south of the Scottish border to Derbyshire, with another shale layer ranging from the East Midlands to the South Coast. It doesn’t take a degree in economics to realise that if the Government is genuinely concerned about rising energy prices and fuel poverty, it should immediately abandon the fatuous and massively subsidised wind-power experiment and instead dash for gas. I realise that some are genuinely concerned by the so-called “fracking” required to release shale gas, but the Environment Agency has reviewed Cuadrilla’s operations and said it does not consider that they are a risk to the environment including water resources. The Government’s whole carbon-reduction plan based on hugely expensive “renewable” energy is on life-support and will soon have the plug pulled. Chancellor Osborne’s declaration at the Conservative Party Conference that “we will cut our emissions no faster than our fellow countries in Europe” sounded the death knell to the hubristic policy of being “a world leader in climate change”; and last week it emerged that the European Union is finally questioning its own policy of cutting emissions regardless of what the rest of the world does.
Independent 25th Oct 2011 more >>
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond announced an £18m boost for marine renewables, the same day he it was announced he is to be the recipient of an international climate change award. The investment will be used to establish a wave and tidal commercialisation fund to help develop Scotland’s first commercial wave and tidal power arrays. It forms part of the £35m provided to enterprise agencies by the Scottish Government over the next three years to directly support the marine and tidal industry including planned projects in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. Speaking yesterday, Mr Salmond said: “I am delighted to announce an £18m commercialisation fund which will help developers to unleash the power of Scotland’s seas, as part of our biggest financial commitment to date of Â£35m for this sector.
Edie 25th Oct 2011 more >>