New Reactor Types
The Generation IV International Forum (GIF), created in 2000 by the United States Department of Energy (US/DOE), coordinates research and development work aimed at deploying Generation IV nuclear energy systems (reactors and the related fuel cycle facilities), by the second half of this century. In this framework, the GIF has selected six systems among those proposed by the participating countries, including France: Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors (SFR); Very High Temperature Reactors, with thermal neutron spectrum (VHTR); Gas-cooled Fast Reactors (GFR); Lead-cooled Fast Reactors or Lead-Bismuth Eutectic (LBE) cooled Fast Reactors (LFR); Molten Salt Reactors (MSR), with fast or thermal neutron spectrum; SuperCritical Water Reactors (SCWR), with fast or thermal neutron spectrum. IRSN carried out a review of these systems from the point of view of safety and radiation protection. On the basis of its examination, IRSN considers the SFR system to be the only one of the various nuclear systems considered by GIF to have reached a degree of maturity compatible with the construction of a Generation IV reactor prototype during the first half of the 21st century; such a realization, however, requires the completion of studies and technological developments mostly already identified.
IRSN 27th April 2015 read more »
The documentary film Pandora’s Promise provided a platform for nuclear advocates to speak up for nuclear power as a green technology, prompting discussion and raising awareness of nuclear energy. A new organisation hopes to continue the momentum, explains Kirsty Gogan.
NEI Magazine 22nd April 2015 read more »
The British government has long considered democracy a threat to “the existing order”. Recently, the UK Parliament voted to override county and local democracy, in order to facilitate the dumping of its nuclear waste on communities. On the 25 Mar 2015, Ayes were 277 and Noes 33, for the dumping of democracy, along with the nuclear waste. Already in 1984, Hilda Murrell spoke of the “inbuilt tendency to dictatorship”, as an outgrowth of the nuclear industry. Since no one in their right minds wants a nuclear waste dump near them, they must either send all nuclear waste to landfills, as they’ve started doing already, or force nuclear dumps on communities. Sending nuclear waste to landfills involves extermination of the inhabitants of the British Isles over time; the second involves the dumping of democracy.
Mining Awareness 27th April 2015 read more »
Something is missing from the British general election campaign. Climate change had its 3.5 seconds of fame during the seven-way leaders’ debate, but has barely been heard of since. Save for the occasional specialist hustings, and the odd supplementary manifesto, climate change – allegedly the defining challenge of the 21st century – is missing in action. But strangely, the problem seems largely one of style rather than substance. Putting the climate-sceptic UK Independence party to one side (the current Department for Energy and Climate Change would be abolished if they had their way), there are no shortage of climate policies in the parties’ manifesto pledges. So while there appears to be a robust political consensus around the importance of climate change, it is a silent consensus – which from the point of view of public engagement, may as well not be a consensus at all. Studies show that people routinely overestimate the prevalence of climate sceptic views in society, and underestimate levels of support for things like renewable energy. Distorted social inferences like these are fuelled by the absence of positive dialogue on climate change.
Guardian 27th April 2015 read more »
Today, the European Commission will step up its contribution with €70 million to ensure the complete return to a safe environment at the Chernobyl site (Ukraine). European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: ” The European Union already provides unprecedented financial support to Ukraine and today we continue along this path. Today we have pledged another €70 million to ensure a complete return to a safe environment at the site of the devastating accident at Chernobyl. Our actions speak louder than our words. The EU is helping to make Chernobyl safe again.” The €70 million pledge, announced at the EU-Ukraine Summit, amounts to some €360 million provided already for the completion of a number of projects, including the New Safe Confinement being built to enclose the existing ‘sarcophagus’ and reactor 4 destroyed during the 1986 accident.
European Commission 27th April 2015 read more »
Energy Live News 28th April 2015 read more »
British Gas-owner Centrica was hit by the City’s latest pay revolt yesterday, over incentives handed to its new chief executive, the former BP man Iain Conn. Overall, 33 per cent of investors failed to back the energy supplier’s remuneration policy at its annual meeting in London, following a critical report by the influential advisory group, ISS. British Gas now has 14.8 million customers, down from a peak of more than 17 million. It cut its bills by 5 per cent in February but has yet to see customers returning. Customer numbers have also been falling in North America due to competition from rivals.
Independent 28th April 2015 read more »
Times 28th April 2015 read more »
Here is a fun idea. We need energy companies to make more money, not less. If you want to understand why, take a look at Centrica’s latest numbers. The energy company, which owns British Gas, among other assets, isn’t doing very well. Some consumers and many politicians will rejoice, of course, but an unhealthy energy sector is bad for the British economy and in the long term for the public.
Telegraph 27th April 2015 read more »
Keeping the lights on is one of the core responsibilities of any government. If the lights go out, the government soon follows. Concern about energy security has grown in the UK over recent years with repeated suggestions that demand is pushing dangerously close to the capacity of the power grid. That is why the commitment from Ed Balls, shadow chancellor, to create an Energy Security Board is more interesting than most of the announcements made during the election campaign. Much, though, will still depend on the detailed remit given to the board and on the policy framework behind that remit. An ESB cannot work effectively if the policies in place are wrong or have been overtaken by events. The reality is that whoever is in power after May 7 will have to rethink substantial elements of current policy. I will come back to that agenda when the crazy war of the general election is over.
FT 27th April 2015 read more »
Europe will remain dependent on Russian gas for years to come, energy giant Centrica has warned, dismissing suggestions the EU can replace it with other sources as “unrealistic”. European leaders have scrambled to try to cut reliance on imports from Vladimir Putin’s Russia since the Ukraine crisis escalated last year, with Ed Davey, the energy secretary, suggesting loft insulation and wind farms were needed to “take on the Kremlin”. But Rick Haythornthwaite, Centrica chairman, told shareholders on Monday: “Whatever we might want as Europe, we need to be very careful about being pragmatic about the realities of it… I think it’s unrealistic to think that Russian gas is going to be replaced in the near-term.”
Telegraph 27th April 2015 read more »
The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference begins today at the United Nations headquarters in New York. This conference is held every five years to take stock of disarmament progress under the NPT, which 189 states have signed. Despite having signed the NPT in 1968 and therefore committing to disarm, the UK continues to possess nuclear weapons. Since then, the current system Trident has entered into service and the government want to spend £100 billion on another system. Ahead of the conference, campaigning network Peace and Planet arranged a programme of protest events, at which CND participated, which included a conference, rally and march. Civil society had come together to call for the elimination of nuclear weapons and therefore the possibility of catastrophe through nuclear war or accident.
CND 27th April 2015 read more »
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to New York to convince the world that the United States is working toward a world free of nuclear weapons. He has a stronger case than you might think.
Foreign Affairs 22nd April 2015 read more »
Japan – Energy Storage
Kyushu Electric, the Japanese utility which last year temporarily suspended new grid applications for large-scale solar, sparking a wave of similar suspensions by other utilities, will install a huge battery project aimed at integrating a higher capacity of renewable energy generation. The company last week confirmed reports that it will install a 50MW/300MWh electric battery storage system at a power station in Fukuoka Prefecture. Like the rest of Japan’s 10 regional utility companies, Kyushu Electric is responsible for the grid network in its service area as well as electricity sales. Elsewhere, some news outlets have reported that Tohoku Electric Power, the utility responsible for the northeastern area of Japan’s main island Honshu, will undertake a similar battery storage project to Kyushu. The reports come a month after Tohoku published its ‘Electricity Supply Plan for Fiscal Year 2015’, in which the utility said it still planned to construct the Higashidori 2 nuclear power station. The utility has not been able to provide a timeframe for this project. Tohoku’s service area includes the power plants at Fukushima.
PV-Tech 27th April 2015 read more »
A reactor at a nuclear power plant in Taiwan has reportedly been forced to shut down after a fire broke out yesterday. Reports claim the fire at the 951MW Maanshan Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County was caused by a short-circuited transformer. It was said to have been put out by the plant’s own firefighters and is estimated to take two weeks to get the second reactor operational again.
Energy Live News 27th April 2015 read more »
Russia is looking to deploy a floating nuclear reactor that could help power ports, industries, and also offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. In what sounds like a horrible nightmare for environmentalists, floating nuclear reactors could help produce more oil in the Arctic.
Oil Price 27th April 2015 read more »
The United States and five other major powers are closer than ever to a deal with Iran that would end a 12-year-old standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program, though more tough negotiations lie ahead, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.
Reuters 28th April 2015 read more »
Iran on Monday demanded that countries possessing nuclear weapons scrap any plans to modernize or extend the life of their atomic arsenals, while branding Israel a threat to the region due to its presumed nuclear stockpile. Speaking on behalf of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told signatories to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that there should be no limits on the transfer of nuclear technology and know-how to NPT signatories.
Reuters 27th April 2015 read more »
A CAMPAIGN group have set up camp at the Blitzed Charles Church in protest of government spending on nuclear submarines. But despite using the bombed out shell for symbolic reasons, the peaceful group have been met with fierce opposition. Edmund Shillabeer, a city vet and Conservative councillor candidate, said the church is a “sacred” place and a “memorial to those who died during the Blitz”.
Plymouth Herald 27th April 2015 read more »
Yet another major investment bank has concluded that renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar are now competing with fossil fuels in many parts of the world, and will play a critical role in helping meet ambitious climate targets to be negotiated in Paris later this year. HSBC, in a research report entitled “The Rise of Renewables,” says renewable energy is now becoming mainstream, boosted by a shift away from “green idealism” – that underpinned many over-generous and badly managed subsidy schemes – to “hard economics”, where the costs of the technology will win out over fossil fuels.
Renew Economy 28th April 2015 read more »
Demand Side Management
British consumers do not trust energy companies to control their fridges and other home appliances in order to save energy, according to research published on Monday. More than 40% of respondents rejected the idea of energy companies turning off their fridge for short periods at times of peak electricity demand or choosing when their boiler heats their water. Less than a third thought these measures acceptable, according to the study in the journal Nature Climate Change, which also found around a fifth of respondents were unwilling to share their household energy use with the government or energy companies. A range of technologies known as demand-side management (DSM) have been suggested for managing home energy use, and smoothing out the peaks and troughs of energy demand on the national grid. While handing over control and information to the energy companies proved unpopular, about 80% of the 2,441 people surveyed for the study said that they would be happy to have appliances that automatically switched off after they had been on standby for an extended period. The UK government estimates that devices on standby mode account for around 5% of household power use.
Guardian 27th April 2015 read more »
Nearly half of the world’s biggest investors have been accused of failing to protect their portfolios from climate change and of “gambling” on companies heavily exposed to environmental risks. The Asset Owners Disclosure Project(AODP), a non-profit group that collects information about institutional investors’ exposure to environmental risk, said investors are demonstrating an “extraordinary” level of complacency. For the third year running, AODP has compiled an index of the world’s 500 largest investors and ranked them according to the level of effort they put towards mitigating climate change risk. These efforts could include engaging with the companies they own, divestment of heavily carbon-exposed assets such as coal companies, or deploying hedging strategies. The investors were given a score ranging from AAA to D based on the feedback they provided and publicly available information. The 232 investors that made no effort to recognise or address climate risk received a score of X.
Financial Times 27th April 2015 read more »
The former chairman of Shell UK has argued the entire oil and gas industry needs to “strengthen its voice” in its response to climate change and step up efforts to develop low carbon technologies. Writing in BusinessGreen, James Smith, who now serves as chairman of green consultancy Carbon Trust, warns that the increasingly high-profile divestment and “unburnable carbon” campaigns had focused attention on whether oil and gas companies can survive in their current form.
Guardian 27th April 2015 read more »