Listening to NuGen CEO Tom Sansom’s evidence to the Energy & Climate Change Committee last week (23rd March), MP’s might have gone home thinking that all was going swimmingly-well with the consortium’s plans for new-build at Moorside. However – and leaving aside the myths he peddled to the parliamentarians about three reactors being on target for operation at Moorside by the mid 2020’s, and the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors being a ‘proven technology’ (no such reactor has yet been built let alone operated anywhere in the world) – things are not exactly hunky-dory for NuGen who, as Sansom was singing its praises at Westminster, were forced into writing a grovelling apology to some local West Cumbrian residents. How come?
CORE 28th March 2016 read more »
That nuclear power’s miserable economics are pretty much killing the industry, especially in the western world, is a reality acknowledged by virtually everyone at this point. After the first burst of reactor construction from the late 1960s until the early 1980s collapsed under the weight of multi-billion dollar cost overruns and lengthy schedule delays, a decade ago the industry argued it had learned and incorporated its lessons and the result would be a nuclear renaissance. But before even a single reactor launched by this renaissance has begun operating (for a “renaissance that began more than a decade ago, this in itself is a telling point), bloated, untenable costs and delays from Georgia to Finland have again put the kibosh on the notion of any meaningful nuclear expansion in the west. And even in China, where transparency in economic data is literally a foreign concept, there are indications that costs and schedules for new reactors are not exactly meeting expectations.
Green World 28th March 2016 read more »
Pressure is mounting on Japan to explain itself regarding its considerable stockpiles of nuclear materials that could be weaponized and threaten the safety of the global community, against a backdrop of rising tensions in the region and a worldwide threat of increasing terrorism. Ahead of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit slated to be held in Washington, the United States, from March 31 to April 1, at which global powers will convene to discuss issues and mechanisms to prevent, among other potential calamities, nuclear terrorism, additional points that have been tabled include those designed specifically to prevent nuclear material production and smuggling and to thus lessen the inherent global threats.
Xinhuanet 28th March 2016 read more »
Monday marks the 37th anniversary of the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, the nation’s worst nuclear accident. A combination of human error and malfunctioning controls resulted in a partial meltdown of the Unit 2 reactor and caused tens of thousands of Central Pennsylvania residents to be evacuated or to flee the area for several days in 1979.
Lancaster Online 28th March 2016 read more »
A STATE of panic gripped America 37 years ago as news of a major accident at one of the country’s largest nuclear power plants started to leak out. On March 28, 1979, a cooling malfunction caused part of the core to melt in reactor Number 2 at Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station (TMI-2), in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Daily Record 28th March 2016 read more »
Belgian authorities have warned Islamic State (IS) terrorists could be attempting to attack nuclear plants or obtain nuclear materials. According to the New York Times, investigations into last week’s attacks on Brussels, has prompted worries that the extremist group could be looking to “infiltrate or sabotage” nuclear installations.
Energy Voice 28th March 2016 read more »
The French election may be more than a year away but companies and bankers are worrying about the rapidly closing window to do politically sensitive deals. Deals such as the partial sale of EDF’s electricity transport unit RTE or the privatisation of French airport in Lyon and Nice would all be hard to complete as the race begins in earnest after the summer, say bankers. “No government wants any fuss in the election period, especially with the unions, and so everything public is going to start grinding to a halt soon,” said one senior Paris banker about the politically tense environment. “It may already been too late for RTE,” he said. The offer is critical for EDF as it seeks to raise money to pay to built two nuclear reactors in Britain in a controversial £18bn project. It will also have to spend €55bn to upgrade its ageing French nuclear fleet as well as €5bn on the rollout of smart meters.
FT 27th March 2016 read more »
Canada needs to fix its nuclear safety law and put a stop to internal political strategizing by its industry watchdog that is putting public safety at risk, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was told in an open letter released on Tuesday.
National Observer 8th March 2016 read more »
The nuclear leak at the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) continues unabated more than a week later at the indigenously made 220-megawatt nuclear reactor in southern Gujarat. Despite best efforts, it continues to leak a mixture of light and heavy water. The exact cause of the leak also remains a mystery. India has another 17 reactors of the same Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) type that continue to operate and the big question is should the entire fleet be grounded until the mystery of the leak is fully resolved?
Economic Times 20th March 2016 read more »
Outside the Westchester Diner in Peekskill, New York, about 40 miles from New York’s Central Park, a reactor dome crests the trees behind an overpass like a giant’s bald head. It’s one of two at Indian Point Energy Center, at the bank of the Hudson river in neighboring Buchanan, among the oldest nuclear power plants still in operation, and a monument to the energy industry’s resistance to years of work by concerned scientists, locals and state officials to close down a facility that only last month dumped a plume of radioactive waste into their groundwater. Indian Point’s two working reactors opened in the early 1970s and have had a lot of people worried for a long time. Five years ago the New York Times wondered if it was “America’s Fukushima” – the Japanese site of the world’s worst radiation crisis since Chernobyl. In February the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, called its operation “unacceptable” – he wants the plant closed.
Guardian 28th March 2016 read more »
TOKYO rejected yesterday US presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s suggestion that Japan and South Korea should acquire nuclear weapons.
Morning Star 29th March 2016 read more »
THE UK’s renewable energy industry could be harmed with the loss of incentives to develop a low-carbon economy if Britain leaves Europe, legal experts have warned. Law firm Pinsent Masons said a vote to leave Europe could remove legally binding carbon-free targets, which in turn could dilute the political will to deliver green power.
Herald 29th March 2016 read more »
Renewables – US
A major new study has significantly lifted the potential of rooftop solar PV in the United States, saying rooftop solar alone could provide 40 per cent of all the electricity needs of the world’s biggest economy, and around half if module efficiencies continued to improve. The study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory says the estimated potential from rooftop solar has been revised upwards by more than 80 per cent since the last study in 2008, mostly because of improvements of module efficiencies, building availability and solar modelling.
Renew Economy 29th March 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Developers of a new solar farm in Hampshire that reached completion this week have warned the site may be the last utility-scale solar park built in the UK for a long time, due to impending subsidy changes. Located in one of the sunniest parts of the UK, the 49MW installation was granted planning permission in July 2015 under the Renewables Obligation (RO) grace period rule and will shortly be accredited by the scheme which is set to be scrapped from start of next month.
Edie 28th March 2016 read more »
Policymakers worldwide are looking for ways to detect and solve public opposition. They offer financial stakes and try to play down impacts – but studies repeatedly find no empirical evidence, say, that placing wind turbines further from buildings increases acceptance. As that study puts it, “It’s not enough to want to win over residents by providing them with information early on. Instead, people need to be able to participate early on – and have real input.” Too often, policymakers and industry representatives assume that financial stakes are enough reward for the public. For instance, Denmark now requires various types of energy projects to offer 20 percent of the stakes to the public. But by the time those holdings are issued, the project is already well defined; citizens cannot shape the project’s design.
One Step Off the Grid 29th March 2016 read more »
Stirling Council looks set to reduce energy consumption in the city by 63% after securing a loan from the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB), which will see LEDs retrofitted in 12,000 lamps and 4,000 lamposts. GIB has revealed that it has provided a £9.87m Green Loan to help with the retrofitting process, a move which the council expects will save them £31m over the next 30 years. On top of the financial savings, the council is also expecting to reduce emissions by more than 14,000 tonnes over the course of the four-year project.
Edie 28th March 2016 read more »
Letter: Alan J Sangster AS a professional electrical engineer of some 50 years’ standing I think I can justifiably reassure Lewis Niven (Letters, March 25) that electrical engineering science can definitely guide mankind toward a future powered wholly by renewables. He is obviously correct to point out, as many previous contributors to the Letters Pages have done, that there is an intermittency and base load issue where renewable power systems are required to operate within a conventional electricity power grid. This is particularly true where wind is the primary source such as in Orkney. But this concern is only really serious when applied to single wind farms or small islands or perhaps to small countries such as Scotland. At the continental level, which is the direction of travel of the renewables industry in Europe, these problems largely disappear as power is gathered, from wind, solar, wave, tidal, geothermal and biofuel sources located in geographically diverse terrestrial and coastal regions, into a unifying “supergrid” (see Trans-Mediterranean Interconnection for Concentrated Solar Power, German Aerospace Centre (DLR), April 2006). This evolving scenario is a major reason why Scotland and the UK electorate would be wise to vote to reject Brexit in the European referendum in June. It is perhaps worth noting, in relation to the often expressed “base load” anxiety alluded to by Mr Niven, that developments in massive energy storage (MES) systems are evolving steadily with the possibility of technologically routine, but infrastructure intensive, sea-level pumped-hydro representing a significant break-through in this sector. As “fossil-based generation capacity is aggressively reduced”, to quote Mr Niven, so a Europe-wide renewable power supply and storage system should be aggressively implemented. Progress in realising such systems is limited only by the political w ill of governments to release or encourage investment.
Herald 29th March 2016 read more »