The Stop Hinkley Campaign has called on EDF Energy to give up its nuclear ambitions following a report from giant multinational investment bank, UBS, which declares that it is time to join the [solar] revolution”. UBS says large centralised power stations, like the proposed £16 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station could be obsolete with 10 to 20 years. Large power stations will soon become extinct because they are too big and inflexible, and are “not relevant” for future electricity generation, according to the bank. And yet, if the European Commission gives the deal between the UK Government and EDF Energy the go-ahead consumers could be paying for these redundant reactors until around 2060.
Stop Hinkley 28th August 2014 read more »
The last container of spent nuclear fuel has now left Sizewell A, removing 99% of the radioactive hazard from the former power station. The defueling was successfully completed ahead of a target set by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The site is now fuel-free for the first time in almost half a century and this marks a major milestone in the decommissioning process.
NDA 27th August 2014 read more »
CHINESE nuclear power giants want to build an atomic reactor at Bradwell, it has been claimed. The site, home to the partly decommissioned Magnox power plant, has emerged as a favourite for a new Chinese-built and designed plant, according to a report in the Sunday Times. Andy Blowers, chairman of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group, said: “We alerted people some months ago to the fact the Chinese were possibly eyeing up Bradwell. “It could still be speculation as there have been discussions about other sites in the UK.”
Essex County Standard 27th Aug 2014 read more »
Fairlie community councillor John Riddell believes EDF’s controversial proposals to transfer radioactive waste by road could have long term benefits for Hunterston. Mr Riddell, who is a former district councillor, said: “The basis of the licence is to allow ILW from Torness to be taken to Hunterston or vice versa, put into bigger package and moved away from both stations to Drigg – seven or eight sites are listed for this disposal. It seems to me to take ILW out of Scotland seems quite a good idea. If you can take it away for safe disposal or safe treatment somewhere then why not? Secretary Rita Holmes disagreed with Mr Riddell’s views, and said that neither the ONR or Scottish Government had given carte blanche for the movement of ILW, and said that specific agreements had yet to be made concerning safety and security of the transport movements. She added: “The ONR are not saying that it is ok, and they say that they need to be satisfied with the security and safety of the movements – its dangerous stuff.”And community councillor Steve Graham said: “Basically our view has always been that waste that arises from Hunterston should stay in Hunterston. Instead of consolidating it at Hunterston, why are they not just taking it directly from Torness to Drigg? Why would you come across from East to West, and then go south – I wasn’t quite sure of the logistics of that.
Largs and Millport News 29th Aug 2014 read more »
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA) have today announced that they have completed their initial high level assessment of Hitachi-GE’s UK-ABWR nuclear power station design. This is the first assessment step of the regulators’ Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process for new nuclear power station designs proposed for the UK. The regulators have not identified at this stage any fundamental safety, security or environmental issues that would mean that the UK ABWR is unacceptable for use in the UK. The regulators’ findings have been published in a series of reports. ONR’s conclusions, based on the information examined so far, include: Interactions with Hitachi-GE throughout Step 2 have been positive, and ONR generally considers Hitachi-GE to be responsive, determined to understand and meet UK regulatory expectations, and open to constructive challenge and engagement. Hitachi-GE has worked consistently hard throughout Step 2 to provide material that meets UK regulatory expectations. ONR have been able to highlight design modifications that will be required to enhance safety, which we consider a significant success so early in the process. There is a considerable amount of work to be undertaken by Hitachi-GE going forward, requiring significant capacity and capability across all of the topic areas for Hitachi-GE.
ONR 28th Aug 2014 read more »
Environment Agency’s initial assessment of Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd’s UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor
DECC 28th Aug 2014 read more »
New Nuclear Power: Support for Industry Development. DECC website updated.
DECC 28th Aug 2014 read more »
The new UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR) design proposed by Hitachi-GE has progressed to the third step in the regulatory approval process. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency have completed their initial high level assessment of the reactor design and have not identified any “fundamental safety, security, or environmental issues that would mean that the UK ABWR is unacceptable for use in the UK”. The Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process on the reactor, which is set to be used at Horizon Nuclear Power sites at Wylfa and Oldbury-on-Severn, can now enter its next, more detailed stage. The regulators are targeting completing the GDA of the UK ABWR in December 2017.
Utility Week 28th Aug 2014 read more »
Letter: Councillor Bill Butler (Letters, 22 August) repeats the mistake contained in your original article about decommissioning the Dounreay Fast reactor and which led to a number of statements being made by Dr John Large that were therefore based on an incorrect assumption. The mistake that has been made is that the camera survey of the reactor vessel did not find additional nuclear material. It revealed that more of the elements in the breeder zone than previously thought had swollen during reactor operations and will need to be cut out. Their number hasn’t increased. The swelling of the breeder elements has been public knowledge for many years – our website goes into more detail about this. The team at Dounreay have already developed a solution to this challenge. A purpose-built tool, with a variety of remotely operated cutting and retrieval heads, is now in place above the reactor, ready to descend into the vessel and begin removal of the elements. The camera survey that revealed the swelling has given our operators a much better understanding of the conditions they will encounter as we continue our efforts to establish Dounreay and Scotland as the European leader in safe and cost-effective nuclear decommissioning.
Scotsman 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Sellafield has completed construction of new facility at Sellafield, UK, to store nuclear waste safe and secure for many years. The Encapsulated Product Store 3 (EPS3) has been designed to store intermediate level waste (ILW) in purpose built above ground storage buildings on the Sellafield site. Sellafield project manager Ewan Smith said: “At the peak well over 200 people were working on the project and it is to their credit that we have delivered the project safely and to a high standard of quality. The facility can store over 29,000 waste drums.
Energy Business Review 28th Aug 2014 read more »
Nuclear vs Wind
China is the true experiment for maximum scalability of nuclear vs wind. It has a tremendous gap between demand and generation. It can mostly ignore democracy and social license for nuclear. It is building both wind and nuclear as rapidly as possible. It has been on a crash course for both for about the same period of time. It has bypassed most of the regulatory red tape for nuclear. Unlike nuclear power, most countries are perfectly capable of building wind farms and are doing just that, with utility-scale wind generation in 100 states globally so far. For the past five years, wind energy has averaged 40 GW of new operational nameplate capacity according to GWEC or 16 GW of median capacity and that is expected to grow. Meanwhile, globally nuclear capacity has diminished and is expected to continue to diminish for the next several years as France shuts off 33% of its fleet in favour of mostly wind energy, Germany shuts off its fleet entirely, Ontario intends to move from 55% to 42% supply from nuclear according to its draft long term energy plan and aging reactors globally reach end-of-life with no economic refurbishment possible. Japan will be able to restart at most a third of the reactors it shut down after Fukushima according to knowledgeable sources. In empirical terms, it doesn’t matter what anybody claims is theoretically possible: wind energy is growing rapidly while nuclear is going backwards. That’s reality.
Highland Pro-Wind 28th Aug 2014 read more »
Independent generator GDF Suez has secured a £90 million project financing deal while at the same time selling a 50 per cent stake in its UK windfarm portfolio, in a bid to raise the funds needed to invest in new UK renewables projects.
Utility Week 28th Aug 2014 read more »
Green Yes, the Scottish Green Party’s campaign for a Yes vote in the independence referendum, is dismissing the latest scare by Labour on energy. Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran claims power bills will rise in an independent Scotland due to renewables. “Labour’s claim flies in the face of the evidence, and demonstrates a real lack of ambition for Scotland’s clean energy potential. We know that thanks to the UK Government’s deal on new nuclear in England – supported by Labour – we face being saddled with massive costs over the coming decades; that’s a cost an independent Scotland wouldn’t have to shoulder. “Evidence presented to my committee in parliament showed that UK government policy decisions on energy mean Scottish consumers could face lower electricity prices under independence. All Labour are doing is reminding us that they support nuclear, with its eye-watering costs and toxic legacy.
Scottish Energy News 29th Aug 2014 read more »
A new process to find a site for an underground repository for high-level nuclear waste is lacking detail, it has been claimed. Leader of Copeland Council, Elaine Woodburn, has expressed concern about the White Paper published last month, and feels the council’s views put forward after the previous failed search process were ignored. At the council’s Executive meeting on Tuesday, she said: “They seem to have come up with a process that I’m not convinced that they will deliver.” The new White Paper aims to find a site for a geological disposal facility (GDF), which would provide long-term storage for higher activity radioactive waste. Coun Woodburn said numerous questions need to be asked including which level of local authority has the final say, and what form a test of public support would be. The council will now write to the Department of Energy and Climate Change to raise these fresh concerns.
Whitehaven News 28th Aug 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
More than 100 youngsters in Japan have been ¬diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown three years ago .The plant north of Tokyo spewed out radioactive material in the tsunami. Joseph Mangano, of the Radiation and Public Health Project, said the expected number of this type of cancer would be seven of the area’s 300,000 youngsters. He said: “The rising number of thyroid cancer cases in Fukushima area children exposed to the meltdown is disturbing.
Mirror 28th Aug 2014 read more »
TEPCO made the startling admission today at a press conference that the plant is leaking 8 billion bequerels per day. (8 gigabequerels) 5 billion bq of strontium 90; 2 billion bq of cesium 137; 1 billion bq of tritium * (later corrected to 150) This is the ongoing daily release to the Pacific. These release numbers are also within the realm of what some oceanographers have been warning about since last year, that there was an ongoing and considerable leak to the sea.
Simply Info 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Japan is facing the toughest test yet in its effort to restore nuclear energy more than three years after the Fukushima disaster: scrutiny from a skeptical population. The Nuclear Regulation Authority vouched last month for the safety of two reactors in Sendai, the first to pass inspections. Still, with Japan going through its first summer in 48 years without atomic power, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is among those predicting more delays to restarts as government approval becomes increasingly dependent on public opinion. The focus is now on city and prefecture governments and whether they will approve the restart of the Sendai units. More than half of the population remains opposed to resuming nuclear generation after the March 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi reactors.
Bloomberg 27th Aug 2014 read more »
Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom has said that negotiations are still underway on expanding Ukraine’s Khmelnitsky Nuclear Power Plant despite reports this week that Ukraine had cancelled the project. As tensions mounted in Ukraine yesterday, with its government announcing the capture of nine Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory, a Rosatom representative told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that it had not received any notice about Ukraine’s pulling out of the construction project to build the third and fourth power units at the plant, and that both sides are continuing negotiations.
Global Construction Review 27th Aug 2014 read more »
In a report written last year but not made public until Monday, a former federal inspector expresses uncertainty over whether California’s last operating nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, could withstand strong shaking from nearby earthquake faults. In a 42-page document filed in July of 2013, Dr. Michael Peck, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s former senior resident inspector at Diablo Canyon, calls for the plant to be shut down “pending demonstration that…safety functions can be met at the higher seismic stress levels.”
Common Dreams 26th Aug 2014 read more »
Areva has been awarded contracts to provide nuclear fuel fabrication, outage services and used fuel management solutions to a major US nuclear utility. The contracts, worth more than $100m, will optimize the competitiveness of power generation operation while meeting the ever-increasing safety requirements of the nuclear industry.
Energy Business Review 28th Aug 2014 read more »
OKG AB has awarded a contract to Westinghouse Electric to provide replacement nuclear fuel deliveries for all of their three reactors, Oskarshamn Units 1, 2 and 3, in Sweden. Under the contract, Westinghouse Electric will deliver fuel for their reactors, annually, during the five-year period of 2016 to 2020.
Energy Business Review 29th Aug 2014 read more »
And while deliberations continue about Scotland’s big decision, a warning in Business Insider magazine: “Why Independence Could Put Scotland In Danger Of Russian Invasion” is the spectre raised. “Put simply, the Russians sail their submarines into Scottish waters on a regular basis. Russian vessels approach Scottish waters about once or twice a year, close enough to require the Royal Navy to perform counter-manoeuvres.” Who knows what Putin will do next. “Russia has a recent history of military adventurism, in the Ukraine. Although there is absolutely no reason for Russia to invade Scotland, the departure of Trident from northern waters could – in theory – let the Russians do whatever they like up there.” Alistair Darling didn’t even mention that. D’oh!
Guardian Diary, 29 August 2014 read more »
UK wind power shattered records last week, spinning out 22 per cent of electricity demand for a day. One in five of our morning cups of tea was renewably-powered, if you like. Sound familiar? It should, because renewables keep breaking records. In 2013 records were smashed. The same was true in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In fact, the amount of power generated by renewable sources of electricity in the UK was record breaking through much of the 1990s… and in every single year since 2004.
Carbon Brief 28th Aug 2014 read more »
Europe will miss its legally binding renewable energy target for 2020 because of a slowdown in the construction of wind farms and a slump in power prices, the International Energy Agency has warned. The rising cost of renewables, especially the UK’s offshore wind farms, and cuts in subsidies are expected to slow the dramatic growth in green energy. The IEA, which represents the biggest energy consuming countries in the West, downgraded last year’s forecasts for the amount of renewables that will be installed over the rest of the decade.
Times 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Wind, solar and other renewable power capacity grew at its strongest ever pace last year and now produces 22% of the world’s electricity, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday in a new report. More than $250bn (£150bn) was invested in “green” generating systems in 2013, although the speed of growth is expected to slacken, partly because politicians are becoming nervous about the cost of subsidies. Maria van der Hoeven, the executive director of the IEA, said governments should hold their nerve: “Renewables are a necessary part of energy security. However, just when they are becoming a cost-competitive option in an increasing number of cases, policy and regulatory uncertainty is rising in some key markets. This stems from concerns about the costs of deploying renewables.”
Guardian 28th Aug 2014 read more »
Renewables – Fuel Cells
Installing small fuel cell units across the country could cut small businesses’ energy bills by more than 20 per cent and deliver huge emissions savings, according to a new industry report. The paper, developed by Ecuity Consulting on behalf of a number of UK fuel cell developers, says that greater government support for the technology would “revolutionise the energy market” by helping the UK switch to a more decentralised energy system. But it concludes tailored support, including a distinct subsidy band, may be needed to realise the technology’s full potential. Fuel cells use a highly efficient electrochemical process to convert chemical energy from hydrogen-rich fuels into an electricity supply and useable heat while boasting very low emissions. They can be run on natural gas as well as lower carbon alternatives such as bio-methane and hydrogen.
Business Green 28th Aug 2014 read more »
A JOINT venture between energy giant SSE and Intelligent Energy which is developing technology to change the way domestic energy is generated and consumed has received £800,000 in fresh funding. Bellshill-based IE-CHP will use the latest funds from its backers, which also include the Scottish Investment Bank, to develop its mini power station or smart power unit prototype. It says the fuel cell technology, which works alongside existing heating systems, has the potential to reduce the fuel bills of millions of home owners. Herald 28th Aug 2014 read more »
The EU could ban popular hairdryers, kettles and smartphones to try to slow climate change, it has been revealed. It follows the outlawing of vacuum cleaners with motors above 1,600 watts. The new EU energy rules being discussed in Brussels, referred to as the “Ecodesign” directive, could ban up to 30 home appliances. The power of hairdryers could be reduced by as much as 30 per cent. Gunther Oettinger, the German EU energy commissioner, said that stopping people from buying household appliances with exceptionally high wattage was necessary. EU legislation at present covers televisions, washing machines, refrigerators and vacuum cleaners. A spokeswoman for the European Commission said: “It’s a big question mark if we go to regulate hairdryers at all. It’s a study we have asked consultants to do. In the fina l report they will reduce 30 products to 20.”
Times 29th Aug 2014 read more »
Telegraph 28th Aug 2014 read more »
Green New Deal
Letter Colin Hines: A new form of quantitative easing to fund green activity would strengthen the economy not only of the UK but also of the rest of Europe, were it to be introduced continent-wide. This approach would be preferable to the proposed “helicopter money” solution, whereby newly printed money is showered indiscriminately on the majority of EU inhabitants. This would suck in more imports rather than paying for the kind of labour-intensive, green infrastructure programme that could help provide every community in Europe with a sustainable local economy.
Guardian 28th Aug 2014 read more »