An investigation is under way after a radiation leaked at the Torness nuclear power station in East Lothian. According to the French state company that runs Torness, EDF Energy, radioactive tritium was discovered in water contained in part of the power station’s drainage system. The discovery was immediately reported to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) and the UK government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). A suspect waste discharge pipe at the plant has been taken out of service, and contaminated water has had to be been removed and disposed of. Government safety watchdogs have carried out an inspection and are being kept informed of investigations. The radiation leak was detected on February 11 and disclosed to a meeting of the Torness local liaison committee on March 19. Though the amount of radioactivity involved is said to be small, there are growing concerns that the ageing 27-year-old nuclear plant could develop more serious problems. Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, warned that Torness was “well into middle age and the cracks are literally beginning to show”. Jason Rose, Scottish Green candidate for MP in East Lothian, thought that the number of leaks and shutdowns showed that Torness was well past its prime. “Those of us who have to live with a nuclear plant on our doorstep need assurances from EDF that more effort will be made to prevent these sorts of serious incidents,” he said.
Herald 29th March 2015 read more »
Work to demolish the landmark Dounreay Fast Reactor dome could start in seven years’ time. The structure, also known as the sphere and the golf ball, has been a feature of the north Caithness coast for almost 60 years. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has recommended that the DFR be decontaminated by 2022 so it can then be demolished.
BBC 27th March 2015 read more »
Christopher Booker: One reason why this election campaign seems so trivial and unreal is the number of important national issues that will scarcely be mentioned. Several of these I shall cover in the weeks ahead. But high on the list is our reckless and dangerous national energy policy. Last week, scarcely noticed south of the border, came the news of the premature closure of Britain’s second largest power station. The giant Longannet plant in Fife, with its 2,400-megawatt capacity, can still supply two thirds of all Scotland’s average electricity needs. The reasons given for Longannet’s closure early next year were partly the crippling cost of the Government’s “carbon” taxes and the additional £40 million it is being charged for connection to the grid. But the immediate trigger for the decision was Longannet’s failure to win a contract to supply back-up for Scotland’s ever-rising number of wind farms at times when there is insufficient wind.
Telegraph 28th March 2015 read more »
While politicians in pre-election mode try to score political points over the imminent closure of Longannet, none are publicly shedding tears over the potential impact on Scotland’s indigenous coal sector, which has long had the Fife plant as its biggest customer. Although lacking in political friends, Scotland’s open cast coal mining sector (the last “pit” – ironically also at Longannet – closed in 2002), is nevertheless fiercely proud of its part in a diverse energy mix and its essential role in keeping the proverbial lights on.
Herald 29th March 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Public opposition to nuclear power in Japan remains strong, writes Jim Green, but piece by piece, Shinzo Abe’s right-wing government has been putting the country’s infamous ‘nuclear village’ back in control – boosted by draconian press censorship laws, massive interest-free loans, and a determination to forget all the ‘lessons’ of Fukushima. Is another big accident inevitable?
Ecologist 28th March 2015 read more »
There is growing optimism that an agreement can be reached on Iran’s nuclear programme ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, although some critical sticking points remain. Negotiators have started arriving in the Swiss city of Lausanne for the final days of talks.
BBC 29th March 2015 read more »
Guardian 28th March 2015 read more »
Any probable nuclear deal between the United States of America and Iran is likely to result in giving a new trajectory to their bi-lateral relations; however, it is not the US-Iran relations alone that would enter a new phase of political history. As a matter of fact, this deal is most likely to send political jolts across the entire Middle Eastern political landscape, with Saudi Arabia and Israel standing as the most sensitive areas to bear its shocks; and as such, are most likely to clutch their hands into an alliance against Iran, and by default, against the US ambitions as well. It is not, however, to suggest that Saudia and Israel would essentially adopt an anti-US strategic posture. What is becoming evident is that these three states will be re-negotiating the terms of their mutual relations to meet changing geo-political realities in a more ‘composite’ manner.
Global Research 29th March 2015 read more »
The biggest player in the beleaguered nuclear power industry wants a place alongside solar, wind and hydroelectric power collecting extra money for producing carbon-free electricity. Exelon Corp., operator of the largest fleet of U.S. nuclear plants, says it could have to close three of them if Illinois rejects the company’s pitch to let it recoup more from consumers since the plants do not produce greenhouse gases. Chicago-based Exelon essentially wants to change the rules of the state’s power market as the nuclear industry competes with historically low prices for natural gas. Dominion Resources Inc. recently closed the Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin for financial reasons, and Entergy Corp. likewise shuttered its Vermont Yankee plant
Herald News 28th March 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
We were pretty excited by last Friday’s solar eclipse, and thought it would be interesting to take a look at how it affected the UK’s solar farms. After all, this is the first time that solar technology has faced a mid-morning blackout. It might be hard to believe but there weren’t any solar farms operating in the UK during the last eclipse in 1999. Nowadays, the UK gets 1.5% of our total power output from the power of the sun’s rays – it’s a clean, cheap source of energy and the UK’s climate is sunny but cool, which is perfect for keeping panels in perfect working order.
Good Energy 27th March 2015 read more »
Renewables – wind
A plan to build a series of wind farms across a huge swathe of unspoilt countryside has been given the green light but the decision is being kept secret. The proposed turbines and almost 30 miles of pylons to connect them to the National Grid are so unpopular that Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary and a Liberal Democrat MP, has refused to commit to a planning decision ahead of the general election. According to sources, three giant wind farms, spread across an area of Mid Wales stretching from Machynlleth to Welshpool, have been agreed but will need rubber-stamping by the incoming secretary of state.
Telegraph 29th March 2015 read more »
The government’s plans for an £11bn rollout of the meters were announced nearly a decade ago by the then chancellor Gordon Brown and also stated in the coalition’s manifesto. Under the plan, a smart meter will be installed in every home by the end of 2020, unless the householder specifically refuses it. The main phase of the rollout, which was scheduled to start this year but has been pushed back to April 2016, has been heavily criticised. Many smart meters have already been installed in people’s homes as part of the early stages of the scheme. Last week the Institute of Directors (IoD) described it as an “IT disaster waiting to happen”, as well as “over-engineered and mind-blowingly expensive”, and said it should be “halted, altered or scrapped”.
Sunday Times 29th March 2015 read more »
Green Investment Bank
Chair of the bank since its inception in 2012, Smith has presided over what will amount to £2 billion of investment when GIB’s financial year closes on Tuesday. That money has been drawn down from the original £3.8bn provided by the UK Treasury for investment in renewable power and energy efficiency projects across the UK. With some of those projects now generating financial returns, Smith talks of a bank on the verge of sustainable profits. While the financial year now coming to a close will only see GIB break even, its recent run of profitability will gain momentum as 2015 progresses.
Scotsman 29th March 2015 read more »
Scottish ministers have been accused of “foot-dragging” after it emerged that the promised public consultation on fracking has been delayed until the autumn, pushing the outcome beyond the Scottish election in 2016.
Herald 29th March 2015 read more »