Commission Decision (EU) 2015/658 of 8 October 2014 on the aid measure SA.34947 (2013/C) (ex 2013/N) which the United Kingdom is planning to implement for support to the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (notified under document C(2014) 7142) (Text with EEA relevance).
Official Journal of the European Union 28th April 2015 read more »
The sponsors of the £24.5 billion ($37.5 billion) Hinkley C nuclear project are considering financing the project debt with a bond-only solution, a source close to the deal has told IJGlobal.
Infrastructure Journal 28th April 2015 read more »
One of Dungeness B nuclear power station’s reactors will be taken offline on May 1 as part of a major multi-million pound maintenance programme at the plant. Known as a ‘statutory outage’ the shutdown – which gives plant technicians the chance to examine areas of the reactor they wouldn’t be able to when working – will be worth around £30 million. Over 11,000 seperate pieces of work will take place during the shutdown, with inspections inside the reactor and also new equipment installations. Statutory outages are normally planned years in advance, taking place at plants around the country every three years. The plant’s workforce will be expanded during the shutdown, with an extra 500 staff joining the site’s normal 550 strong team. That, says the EDF Energy – the plant’s owner – will give a boost to the local economy.
Kent News 28th April 2015 read more »
A campaign group has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about an advert for the proposed Moorside nuclear project. Radiation Free Lakeland has made the complaint saying that the advert, which appeared in newspapers across Cumbria, included incorrect information. The advert was placed by NuGen, which is in charge of the Moorside project next to the existing Sellafield plant in west Cumbria. A spokesman for the firm said: “A recent newspaper advertisement, which sets out how NuGen will consult on our plans for a new nuclear power station in Cumbria, contains a statement which requires clarification. “The statement [that was published] says ‘NuGen’s Moorside Project aims to provide approximately seven percent of the UK’s current energy requirement’. It should read ‘…approximately seven percent of the UK’s current electricity requirement’. “We are taking steps to clarify the reference so it is clear it refers to electricity – and will update our consultation website.
Carlisle News and Star 28th April 2015 read more »
New Reactor Types
The next generation of nuclear reactors being developed in countries such as France, Russia, China and Japan may not be safer than those being built today, French nuclear safety watchdog IRSN said on Monday. In a study of six future reactor designs being worked on by the U.S.-led “Generation IV International Forum”, the IRSN said only the sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) model was far enough along in the development process to envisage building a prototype during the first half of this century. But it could not say whether it would be safer than models currently being built for service.
Reuters 27th April 2015 read more »
Enel may have to rejig its plans to sell 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) of assets after Slovakia spooked investors by cranking up its war of words with the Italian utility over the sale of the country’s biggest power company. State-controlled Enel, one of Europe’s most indebted utilities, has put the sale of its 66 percent stake in Slovenske Elektrarne at the heart of a disposal plan to cut debt and fund growth. But last week Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico topped a series of increasingly belligerent comments by saying he would “actively obstruct” the sale. On Tuesday Fico also demanded the return of more than 490 million euros he said Enel had earned “unjustifiably” while operating a local hydropower plant. Slovakia, which owns 34 percent of Slovenske, has said it is interested in buying Enel’s stake or a part of it to gain a majority. It has no formal right to prevent the sale but, as both a minority shareholder and regulator, its position is key to a deal.
Reuters 28th April 2015 read more »
Uniper will be the name of the non-renewable company to spin off from EOn. The name means ‘Unique Performance’ and the company will own stakes in 17 operating reactors across Germany and Sweden. The German Energiewende has forced the early shutdown of some nuclear units, curtailed the operating lives of others, and put commercial pressure on fossil generation by preferentially subsidising renewable sources. Formerly one of Europe’s strongest utilites, EOn has responded by splitting in two: a renewable and customer-focused company will continue with the name EOn, while a much larger company called Uniper will continue with coal, oil, gas and nuclear generation and engineering as well as energy trading.
World Nuclear News 28th April 2015 read more »
A fire has broken out in woods near Ukraine’s disused Chernobyl nuclear plant, the site of a meltdown in 1986. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said about 400 hectares of forest was alight in the exclusion zone around the plant. Up to 200 firefighters, along with scores of trucks and aircraft, were tackling the blaze about 15 to 20km (9 to 12 miles) from the nuclear plant. Zoryan Shkiryak, head of Ukraine’s emergency services, said later the fire had been brought under “full” control. Mr Avakov said authorities suspected the fire was started deliberately and had tightened security around the exclusion zone.
BBC 28th April 2015 read more »
Firefighters in Ukraine are trying to prevent the country’s largest forest fire in decades from spreading towards the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Sky 29th April 2015 read more »
Reuters 28th April 2015 read more »
Sweden – reactor closures
Vattenfall has decided to change the direction of the planned operational lifetimes for Ringhals 1 and 2. The reason is declining profitability and increased costs. The new direction means that Ringhals 1 and 2 may be closed down between the years 2018 and 2020 instead of, as previously announced, around 2025. The closure decision will be made by the Ringhals Board of Directors and requires unanimity between the owners, i.e. Vattenfall and E.ON.
Vattenflall 28th April 2015 read more »
Sweden’s state-owned energy group Vattenfall on Tuesday said it planned to shut down two nuclear reactors in 2018 and 2010, up to seven years earlier than expected.
The Local 28th April 2015 read more »
US – radwaste
The United States has an opportunity to start disposing of defense nuclear waste, including Hanford waste, sooner and at less cost by abandoning a one-size-fits-all approach, a federal energy official said Monday night. Hanford’s high-level radioactive waste had been planned to be shipped to Yucca Mountain, Nev., for disposal with commercial fuel from across the nation, but the Obama administration moved to shut that project down. A simplified design could be used and disposal might start sooner if a waste repository accepted only defense waste vitrified — glassified for disposal — at Hanford or Savannah River, S.C., Wagner said. The 1,936 capsules of cesium and strontium stored underwater in central Hanford could be disposed of down a deep borehole drilled with commercial technology.
Tri-City Herald 27th April 2015 read more »
A method to safely bury the world’s most highly radioactive nuclear waste in holes five kilometres deep will be tested in the US next year. The technique, developed in the UK by researchers at the University of Sheffield, involves drilling a borehole around 0.6 metres wide and five kilometres deep, and lowering the waste into it. Known as deep borehole disposal (DBD), the technique is much cheaper than the mined repository proposed by the UK government for burying the country’s nuclear waste, according to its pioneer Fergus Gibb, emeritus professor of petrology and geochemistry at the University of Sheffield.
Engineer 28th April 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Approximately 20000 people are dislocated from their homes in the Iwate and Fukushima prefectures; a part of them because their homes were destroyed by the tsunami, but for the majority, they either lived in the 30km radius of the power plant that was declared uninhabitable by the government, or lived in a 40 to 50km radius from the plant, in areas that were not declared as risky by the government, but in which nevertheless worrying amounts of radiation were detected by independent groups. Faced with doubt, many families preferred to flee rather than try their luck. Or to be more specific, in many cases wives and children fled to other prefectures, while the fathers stayed to continue working. The long distances and arguments between couples have caused the number of divorces to skyrocket. But the majority of dislocated people are middle-aged or elderly people. Many of them feel lonely and depressed as they will probably die before they can return to their lands, and are separated from their former neighbors and community. Tepco envisioned a scenario of 30 years to decontaminate the area, but as of now, they are already 1 to 2 years behind schedule, and they themselves admitted to the press that there are no guarantees that this 30-year deadline can be met.
ARS Technica 25th April 2015 read more »
Japan – Energy Mix
The Japanese government will fail to reach its planned 2030 nuclear share of electricity generation, Greenpeace analysis has shown. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) today proposed a target of between 20-22 percent by 2030 to be generated from nuclear reactors. Due to the state of nuclear power plants in Japan, and the certain shutdown of many reactors, the range of electricity generation is more likely to be 6-7.9 percent. It could even be as low as 1.8 percent of total generation by 2030.
Greenpeace 28th April 2015 read more »
A fifth of Japan’s electricity supply should come from nuclear power generation, the country’s industry ministry said Tuesday, despite widespread opposition in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. With none of the nation’s viable nuclear reactors in operation, the target indicates an intention to bring most, if not all of them, back online. Environmentalists Greenpeace said the proposition showed the government was “deluding itself”.
Japan Today 28th April 2015 read more »
Reuters 28th April 2015 read more »
Fossil fuels will remain behind the bulk of Japan’s electricity generation by 2030, scaling back its carbon slashing ambitions as the future of nuclear power hangs in the balance.Atomic energy is forecast to power 20-22% of the country’s electricity in 15 years, and clean energy as much as 24%, according to a draft report published today by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.That ‘energy mix’ sets the terms for Japan’s anticipated pledge to cut emissions together with almost 200 nations ahead of a UN summit in December.
RTCC 28th April 2015 read more »
Areva has secured a contract for the supply of enriched uranium to Ukrainian utility Energoatom for use in nuclear power plants.
Energy Business Review 27th April 2015 read more »
Yesterday was a full and busy day at the United Nations. Opening statements from each of the participating countries will be heard until Thursday and CND enjoyed observing some of these in the General Assembly Hall.
CND 28th April 2015 read more »
In a speech to the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York earlier today, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry disclosed new information about the size of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.
FAS 28th April 2015 read more »
In March, The Economist cast a critical eye on developments in the area of nuclear weapons and the prospects for future conflict involving these weapons of mass destruction. The assessment made for ominous reading. A leader article, titled ‘The new nuclear age’, described a world characterised by rising instability where nuclear weapons seem to be regaining prominence. In the West, the United States will, over the next 30 years, spend one trillion dollars on maintaining and upgrading its considerable nuclear arsenal. France is engaged in a similar process – President Francois Hollande has committed some 180 billion euros by 2019 to upgrading France’s nuclear weapons and, in the UK, the renewal of Trident looks almost certain to go ahead. To the East, China has invested much of its defence budget in expanding its nuclear options, including work on a submarine-based deterrent that can deliver a secure second-strike capability. For its part, Russia is modernising existing forces and reviving old delivery systems. Moscow is increasing the number of warheads carried on submarines, and recently announced its intention to reintroduce rail based intercontinental ballistic missiles in a move designed to make its nuclear forces harder to target. This also bolsters the Russian policy of ‘de-escalation’, the idea that faced with an overwhelming conventional attack, Moscow could respond with a limited nuclear strike that would restore the status quo.
Telegraph 29th April 2015 read more »
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has refused to confirm the Conservatives would vote with a minority Labour government to renew Trident. After his opposite number Vernon Coaker affirmed Labour’s commitment to maintaining the nuclear deterrent, Mr Fallon asked how this could be achieved when the SNP – predicted to hold the balance of power after May 7 – was so set against it. He told the BBC Daily Politics election debate on defence and security: “How can you get renewal of Trident if you are a minority Labour government? You can’t get power on your own, you are being propped up by the SNP.
Argus 28th April 2015 read more »
On six occasions the Defence Secretary refused to confirm whether they would vote with a minority Ed Miliband government to renew the system.
Mirror 28th April 2015 read more »
Green energy specialist Good Energy has revealed around 100 renewable energy generators and customers have so far signed up to an innovative pilot project designed to allow organisations to directly purchase power from specific clean energy projects. The company announced last month that it has teamed up with smart grid specialist Open Utility to trial a new “eBay-style” service, dubbed Piclo, which allows renewable energy generators to sell their power directly to local customers.
Business Green 28th April 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
The UK installed more new solar power capacity than any other European country last year and is on track to retain its top-ranking position this year, due to a rush to complete projects ahead of deep cuts to subsidies at the start of this month. However, the strong performance from the UK comes in the midst of a challenging period for the European solar sector. Preliminary figures by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) show installation rates across Europe have fallen sharply over the past four years. The analysis, due to be published nex t month and shared with BusinessGreen, reveals less than 7GW was installed in the bloc in 2014 compared to 21GW in 2011. The EPIA blames the fall in installation rates on a range of policy challenges, including some governments retroactively cutting subsidies and the introduction of import tariffs on low cost Chinese solar panels. James Watson, chief executive of EPIA, told BusinessGreen the UK installed more than a third of new European capacity last year, making it the biggest market ahead of traditional solar powerhouses Germany and France. Estimates show the UK installed 2.5GW last year and has already installed 2GW this year, as solar farm developers rushed to complete projects ahead of subsidy cuts for large solar farms. From 1 April 2015, the government closed the Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy scheme to ground-mounted solar schemes of 5MW in capacity or larger.
Guardian 28th April 2015 read more »
Business Green 28th April 2015 read more »
A crowd-funded investment to build a solar-heating project in Berwickshire has now reached £1.3 million towards its £3 million target. The project – ‘Oakapple Berwickshire’ – is being developed by Oakapple Renewable Energy and Edison Energy, and aims to install some 750 roof-mounted solar PV systems with a total capacity of 2,595kW. The solar systems are to be installed on social housing owned by Berwickshire Housing Association, reducing household energy bills for the tenants, while also selling power back to the grid.
Scottish Energy News 29th April 2015 read more »
Climate change campaign group will tomorrow launch the latest phase of its Solar Schools initiative, calling on schools across the country to sign up to the nationwide fund-raising scheme. First launched in 2011, the Solar Schools campaign provides schools seeking to raise funds for investment in solar arrays with support and guidance on how best to generate the necessary funds and maximise the educational and environmental benefits that come from solar installations.
Business Green 28th April 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
SCOTLAND gains over £7 billion of economic benefit from the much-criticised development of onshore wind farms, according to new figures released by the industry body. Almost £250 million of the total goes directly into local communities as a result of the turbines erected in their area, the figures from RenewableUK show. They follow claims wind farm development in Scotland is out of control after official figures published this week showed that there are 2,622 wind turbines already installed in Scotland, more than double the number in England. Another 2,669 are either in the planning process, are already consented or are now under construction. RenewableUK said that Scotland is the leading country for onshore wind in the UK with just over 4,918 megawatts installed. This can power 200,000 more households than the 2.4 million recorded by the 2011 census north of the border. Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK, said: “This report also shows that onshore wind really does bring benefits to the UK – with £7 in every £10 spent on projects invested in the UK.
Herald 29th April 2015 read more »
On Thursday it’s widely expected that future-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk will launch a home energy storage pack. Musk, who has long been bringing down the cost of battery storage with his electric vehicle venture Tesla, will almost surely expand the domestic power-storage market, in which there has been limited activity. There’s potential that widespread deployment of storage in homes and businesses coupled with increasingly cheap solar power will decentralise much of power generation and lead to a seismic shift across the energy business. It may also represent a disruption to traditional fossil-fuel based energy supplies. It’s one thing for demand to ‘disappear’, as far as conventional utility suppliers are concerned, in the middle of the day. It’s something else entirely if that disappearance extends into the evening and overnight thanks to storage — a large chunk of utility revenues would vanish. Shifting demand around further through new smart grid technologies, potentially to match peaks in solar output would further amplify just how much cheap solar could be installed and used locally.
Energy Desk 27th April 2015 read more »
ENERGY Minister Fergus Ewing has been accused of being a “fracking fan” following remarks he made to a BBC television documentary due to be screened this evening. In an interview about fracking for underground shale gas Ewing says that “we need to think how it will be, how it may be, applied to Scotland” and talks about the “opportunities” the industry could bring. The comments have been seized on by campaigners as evidence that the minister thinks fracking has a future. Ewing announced a temporary moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and coalbed methane developments on 28 January. He promised a health investigation and a public consultation, which is not now expected to begin until the autumn. In March INEOS, the Swiss-based firm that runs the Grangemouth petrochemical complex, launched a charm offensive in a bid to win community support for fracking across the Central Belt. The firm has bought licences for shale gas exploration across 700 square miles of Scotland and aims to become “the biggest player in the UK shale gas industry”. In the BBC One programme, The War over Fracking, Ewing declines to say whether he will introduce a permanent ban if the Scottish public clearly rejects fracking. “Let’s look at the opportunities but also look very carefully at what it might mean for Scotland,” he says. “We think it’s right with a technology, hydraulic fracturing, which is not new but it’s new to Scotland, we should proceed with care. We should proceed on the basis of evidence, and we should have a national debate about the topic.”
National 29th April 2015 read more »