“Nuclear installations are uninsurable in normal commercial terms. Only gullible governments can bear the enormous risk. If operators paid for their own insurance indemnities, their case for economic production of nuclear electricity collapses,” said Flynn. He dismissed government comments downplaying the risk: “If risk is minimal, nuclear sites could be insured commercially.” His comments came after the government revealed that private contractors taken on to decommission the UK’s fifty-year old Magnox nuclear plants would be indemnified against liability in the event of a radioactive incident. Flynn claimed the indemnification exposed the public purse to potentially enormous costs as witnessed following Japan’s catastrophe at Fukishima. “The cost of the Fukushima cleanup and damages ranges from £150 billion to £300 billion and rising,” Flynn said
Utility Week 25th Feb 2014 read more »
NFLA response to Nuclear Decommissioning Authority credible options for FED and ILW in England and Wales.
NFLA 25th Feb 2014 read more »
NFLA / KIMO report on radioactive discharge concerns at Sellafield to the OSPAR Commission Radioactive Substances Committee.
NFLA 25th Feb 2014 read more »
In light of the emissions targets in The Climate Change Act, and reflecting the fact that the majority of UK emissions come from the production of energy, it is clear the energy sector will play a central role in the transition to a low carbon economy. In addition to the need for decarbonisation, energy must also be made secure, and affordable. These three goals are complex and often conflicting; however this paper proposes that reducing total final demand can be highly conducive to meeting all three aims of this trilemma. The paper goes on to demonstrate by means of scenario analysis that much potential exists for the UK to reduce total final energy demand, particularly in the residential and transport sectors. A comparison of levels of final demand between twelve different scenarios, produced by four different organisations is given, followed by analysis of the finer detail of each of the scenarios. The system costs of five of the scenarios are then set out, and a number of ‘hybrid’ scenarios are produced, demonstrating that additional demand reduction measures can be supportive of reduced system cost. Finally a comparison between levels of demand in the scenarios and in DECC’s 2030 demand projections suggest that new policies must be introduced if the UK is to follow a pathway consistent with meeting the 2050 targets.
IGov 25th Feb 2014 read more »
A transatlantic coalition of centre-right figures including Sir James Dyson, former M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose and Arnold Schwarzenegger today launches a damning environmental indictment of Conservative politicians around the world. Arguing that the environment has traditionally been the preserve of the conservative parties, the coalition says right wing parties have neglected green issues in recent years and calls on them to reclaim the agenda from the political left. The head of the coalition, Ben Goldsmith, warns that the neglect is so serious that the Tory party could lose the next UK election if it doesn’t come up with a grand plan to tackle “the great environmental crisis” – and says the “tools of competition and the free market” must play a leading role.
Independent 26th Feb 2014 read more »
The divide between environmentalism on the left and rapacious, resource-looting big business on the right is not as inevitable as it seems. David Cameron’s promise to lead “the greenest government ever” was the high-water mark of efforts to modernise the Conservative Party that embraced huskies as well as hoodies. Since then, the trend has been almost entirely downhill. From the debacle over subsidies for household solar panels, to incentives for shale-gas development, to the reduction of green levies on energy bills, the Coalition has proved a disappointment at almost every turn.
Independent 26th Feb 2014 read more »
Mott MacDonald has appointed Andrew Taylor as a projects director in its programme and commercial management team. He will lead the firm’s nuclear decommissioning projects and support its work in the construction of new nuclear power stations, working alongside nuclear programme director Paul Roberts. Mr Taylor has spent nearly 20 years in the nuclear sector and joins from CH2M Hill, where he was responsible for the development of the company’s nuclear strategy. He has also previously worked for Sellafield Ltd and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Construction News 26th Feb 2014 read more »
The “big six” energy suppliers are to face further scrutiny of their finances by energy regulator Ofgem. The regulator has outlined measures to improve the transparency of the firms’ accounts and make it easier for new suppliers to enter the market. The big six are being warned to trade fairly with independent suppliers, or face financial penalties. The firms, such as Eon and British Gas, will have to publish wholesale power prices two years in advance. This will make it easier for small companies to buy energy and then re-sell it to domestic and industrial customers.
BBC 26th Feb 2014 read more »
US – radwaste
New tests reveal low-levels of radiation in the air after a leak at a southern New Mexico nuclear waste disposal facility, leaving residents on high alert. The leak of radioactive material happened earlier this month at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, where waste from defense research and nuclear weapons is disposed of underground.
Cumbria Trust 26th Feb 2014 read more »
Two projects crucial to the Department of Energy’s multi-billion dollar program to dispose of surplus weapons-grade plutonium have already soared $3 billion over budget and are nowhere near completion.That’s according to a report from the Government Accountability Office that reviewed the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Plutonium Disposition program, which includes constructing the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility that produces fuel for nuclear reactors, and the Waste Solidification Building, which disposes of liquid waste from the first facility— based in South Carolina.
Fiscal Times 25th Feb 2014 read more »
Officials investigating a leak from the US government’s only underground nuclear waste dump tried in vain on Monday night to reassure sceptical New Mexico residents that it posed no health risk. More than 250 people attended a two-hour meeting to ask questions about recent back-to-back accidents at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad and the release of radiation. An increase in airborne radiation was detected in New Mexico on Monday. The US Department of Energy said the results were from samples collected last week at nearby air monitoring stations.
Morning Star 25th Feb 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Residents around the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan will finally be allowed to return to their desolate homes, three years after the plant was struck by a tsunami, causing a meltdown and massive radioactive emissions. Thousands of people were evacuated from a 20-kilometre (12 mile) radius around the plant in March 2011. The Japanese government says that following the easing of the evacuation order, people could decide whether or not to return home. About 138,000 people are living in temporary accommodations provided by the government which has already spent about $14.63bn as compensation to displaced residents of 11 municipalities, according to the Asahi Shinbun, a local newspaper. About 350 people are expected to return home from 1 April after the evacuation order is lifted, Japan’s Reconstruction Agency officials said at a meeting. According to a survey conducted by the government in 2013, 44% of the former registered residents wanted to return home, and about 31,000 people will be back in the next two years.
IB Times 25th Feb 2014 read more »
Japan said Monday it would lift an evacuation order around the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant allowing residents to return home despite radiation concerns. Up to 30,000 residents are expected to get back to the current “no-go zone” in the next two years. Mycle Schneider, lead author of The World Nuclear Industry Status Reports, shared his take on the issue in an interview with the Voice of Russia. Is the area around the Fukushima plant is suitable for habitation today? No, absolutely not. I don’t think there is any question about that. I think that unfortunately there are economic considerations that come into play here because basically people moving back to their homes means they would not get compensated for loss. And thus this is very major savings for TEPCO and Japanese government. But I think it is very clear that this is not safe. In fact, people have to realize that there were hot spots identified as far away as 70 km (43 miles) from the site that were beyond the level of contamination within the exclusion zone of Chernobyl. So, there are up to now very high levels of radiation that are certainly not suitable for living. So, is Japan willing to take the risk of human health and lives for financial benefit?
World Nuclear Industry Report 25th Feb 2014 read more »
TEPCO suspended the removal of spent nuclear fuel rods at its wrecked Fukushima plant after a cooling system failed due to a damaged power cable, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The cooling system at reactor No. 4 was halted at about 9:45 a.m. local time and it would take around two hours for it to be replaced by a backup system, the company known as Tepco said. The water is cool enough to remain at a safe temperature until the backup system is operating, it said. The failure occurred after a power cable was damaged during excavation work at another building at the plant, Tepco said. No abnormalities were found at the spent fuel pools at the other three reactors, or at the plant’s shared pool.
Bloomberg 25th Feb 2014 read more »
The likely scale of the radioactive plume of water from Fukushima due to hit the west coast of North America should be known in the next two months. Only minute traces of pollution from the beleaguered Japanese power plant have so far been recorded in Canadian continental waters. This will increase as contaminants disperse eastwards on Pacific currents. But scientists stress that even the peak measurements will be well within the limits set by safety authorities. Since the 2011 Fukushima accident, researchers from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography have been sampling waters along a line running almost 2,000km due west of Vancouver, British Columbia. And by June of last year, they were detecting quantities of radioactive caesium-137 and 134 along the sampling line’s entire length.
BBC 25th Feb 2014 read more »
Japan – energy policy
Japan has unveiled its first draft energy policy since the Fukushima meltdowns three years ago, saying nuclear power remains an important source of electricity for the country. The draft, presented to the cabinet on Tuesday for approval expected in March, says Japan’s nuclear energy dependency will be reduced but that reactors meeting new safety standards set after the 2011 nuclear crisis should be restarted. Japan has 48 commercial reactors, but all are offline until they pass the new safety requirements. The draft of the Basic Energy Plan says a mix of nuclear, renewables and fossil fuel will be the most reliable and stable source of electricity to meet Japan’s energy needs.
Guardian 25th Feb 2014 read more »
Japan has confirmed nuclear power will remain an important source of electricity generation for the country in its first draft energy plan since the Fukushima disaster three years ago. The plan was presented to the cabinet yesterday with approval expected in March and effectively overturns a pledge made by the previous government to phase out nuclear. Outside of hydropower, renewables represent just two to three per cent of the overall power mix and while a number of high profile solar projects have been initiated since 2011 they are not expected to become significant contributors to Japan’s energy supplies in the near term. However, the expansion in solar projects has pushed Japan into fourth place in an EY ranking of the most attractive countries for renewable energy investors. The new strategy will provide a further boost to renewables investors, but the continued focus on coal is likely to further anger environmental campaigners already frustrated by Japan’s controversial decisoin late last year to water down its emission reduction targets.
Business Green 26th Feb 2014 read more »
It looks increasingly likely Japan is rowing back on plans to completely scrap nuclear power. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 the country’s then-prime minister was urged to ditch the energy source which faced a surge of public opposition. The country was forced to fall back on foreign gas supplies to cope with electricity demand. But a draft energy policy given to Japanese ministers yesterday states that “nuclear power is an important baseload electricity source”, according to reports. Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi also told reporters: “It was impossible to plan any energy mix, as it’s been unclear how many reactors can come back online.”
Energy Live News 25th Feb 2014 read more »
World Nuclear News 25th Feb 2014 read more »
Korea – nuclear weapons
According to a report from Yonhap News Agency, South Korea has announced its intention to create a sophisticated cyberwarfare virus designed to undermine North Korea’s advancing nuclear program. The Ministry of Defense in putting forward its proposal to the South Korean Parliamentary Defense Committee, stated that it would attempt to design the cyber weapon on the Stuxnet model.
Gizmag 25th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – marine energy
Marine Power: First commercial deals announced Marine power: Funding for new engineering hub announced. New investment in the marine energy sector will help establish a global engineering hub in Edinburgh, the Scottish Government has said. Tidal power company Atlantis Resources Corporation is to receive £2m from the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) to set up the centre of excellence, which is expected to create around 20 new jobs. A further five marine energy projects will also benefit from a £2.8m share of the Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF). Energy Minister Fergus Ewing will announce details of the two initiatives at the RenewableUK Wave and Tidal Conference and Exhibition in Belfast on Wednesday. Mr Ewing said: “Scotland is at the forefront of developing offshore and low carbon energy generation technology with some of the world’ s greatest wind, wave and tidal resources heavily concentrated in the waters around our country.
STV 26th Feb 2014 read more »
Scotsman 26th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – Solar
Solar developers around the world will install record capacity this year as a thriving Chinese market drives growth, a Bloomberg survey showed as manufacturers in the $102 billion industry began to return to profit. About 44.5 gigawatts will be added globally, a 20.9 percent increase on last year’s new installations, according to the average estimate of nine analysts and companies. That’s equal to the output of about 10 atomic reactors. Last year new capacity rose by 20.3 percent, after a 4.4 percent gain in 2012.
Bloomberg 26th Feb 2014 read more »
Why the snail-like progress with connections to Iceland because of course you couldn’t even start to argue that an Iceland interconnector might go two ways – what would a country that can hardly move for hydro power and a population the size of Cardiff want with ever importing electricity? The clue, I think, is in the Icelandic President’s reported ‘ask’ of the UK government: that the project is somehow underwritten in order to go out to tender. Tricky, because in recent years the assumption has always been that interconnectors should essentially be ‘merchant undertakings’ at no risk to consumers. Furthermore it was assumed that the money to pay off the investment should come from what the December DECC strategy paper calls ‘price arbitrage opportunities’. Another way to put it is that interconnectors should make their living out of speculation as to price differentials between the UK and Europe.
Alan Whitehead MP 25th Feb 2014 read more »
American regulators have ordered emergency tests on oil extracted from a fracking site in North Dakota, amid fears that it could be dangerously explosive. The probe follows a series of accidents involving crude oil from the Bakken Shale formation, including one in Quebec last summer, which destroyed a town and claimed 47 lives. The incidents occurred when the oil was being transported from the site by rail, and are thought to have been triggered by equipment failures. However, such equipment failures should not have had such severe consequences, because oil does not usually explode unless it has a higher than normal gas content.
Telegraph 26th Feb 2014 read more »
The North Sea is facing its “biggest challenge for 50 years” with tax receipts from the sector set to plummet this year, an industry body has warned. Publishing its annual report on the state of the North Sea, Oil and Gas UK said that thanks to falling production, the industry would pay £5 billion in tax this financial year, compared with £6.5 billion last year. Exploration in the mature basin has been the lowest on record over the past three years and the long-term outlook is bleak. Malcolm Webb, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, said: “Even if planned wells proceed, the rate of drilling is still too low to recover even a fraction of the estimated 6-9 billion barrels yet to be found. He blamed the slowdown on a shortage of rigs and cash, but added: “Britain’s waters contain an abundance of oil and gas and it is critical we find the means to turn the current state of exploration around.”
Times 26th Feb 2014 read more »
Scotsman 26th Feb 2014 read more »
Herald 26th Feb 2014 read more »