Even before the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 11, prospects for nuclear construction were looking difficult in most of the developed world, mostly because of shaky economics. Weak power demand because of the recession, and cheaper alternatives such as gas and coal, made it difficult to justify investment in reactors. Around the world, countries that were in favour of new nuclear investment have had their confidence shaken. Sceptics have become more firmly opposed, while several of those on the fence have been tipped into rejecting nuclear power. The IAEA says about six countries interested in developing a civil nuclear industry have notified it that they have abandoned their plans.
FT 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Labour’s support remains steadfast but not without a few indiscreet words slipping out at Labour conference on subsidies and public consultations. Labour’s love-in with the nuclear industry continued at a fringe event at the party conference in Liverpool, though not without some indiscreet words slipping out. Public consultations on the building of new nuclear power stations are required by law, but would not cause problems in getting them built, Alan Raymant, COO of Horizon Nuclear Power said. “As a developer we are not obliged to follow the results of the public consultation. But we have to take it into account and explain why we have not include its recommendations,” he said. Horizon is the joint venture of E.on and RWE npower looking to build 6GW of new nuclear powers. Malcolm Grimston, of Chatham House: “Public consultations have become a type of referendum. What they should be is: This needs to be done, do you have better ideas of how to do it?” The panel also included Labour MPs Huw Irranca-Davies, shadow energy minister, and John Robertson, chair of a parliamentary nuclear group. Arguments were strongly made that nuclear power was needed in the UK as part of a balanced energy approach. Irranca-Davies felt secure enough in the industry’s affection to warn against it taking him for granted. The new nuclear plants had to be built on time and on budget, he said sternly. “And I don’t want nuclear to be used as a disguise for walking away from renewables. We will be watching with an eagle eye.”
Guardian 28th Sept 2011 more >>
It was possible to detect the foundations for a new pro green business left-of-centre philosophy, just as it was possible to see the outline of a green industrial policy in Ed’s criticism of the coalition’s refusal to extend a loan to nuclear engineering firm Sheffield Forgemasters.he problem for both Labour and those green businesses looking to make long-term investments is that while the party may be becoming increasingly adept at critiquing the coalition’s green record, it is still yet to provide a compelling alternative vision that goes beyond vague hints that it would take a more interventionist stance on industrial issues and would attempt to drive the low-carbon economy up the political agenda. Meanwhile, counter attacks from the Lib Dems and the Tories pointing out that major electricity market reforms are necessitated by the previous Labour government’s ridiculously laissez faire approach to the energy market continue to resonate. As climate minister Greg Barker tweeted this afternoon: “Energy market is ‘rigged’, says Ed. What exactly did he do about it in two years as Energy Sec?”
Business Green 28th Sept 2011 more >>
PROTESTORS are set to hold a symbolic mass blockade at the entrance of Hinkley Point on Monday. Anti-nuclear campaign group Stop Hinkley claims more than 100 people from across the UK have pledged to join the blockade, and says a march and rally will be held close to EDF Energy’s regional headquarters in Bridgwater on Monday.
Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Mitie Group has retained and expanded a contract to provide facilities management (FM) and energy services to the Cumbrian Collaboration group of nuclear-related organisations. The Cumbrian Collaboration includes Sellafield Ltd, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Direct Rail Services, Low Level Waste Repository Ltd and International Nuclear Services.
Construction Index 28th Sept 2011 more >>
An ambitious £1.75 billion scheme enabling Scottish electricity generators to use Norway as a giant storage “battery” and helping to keep down domestic bills has taken a dramatic step forward, it has emerged. NorthConnect, the company formed to examine linking Scotland and Norway with a 570km-long subsea electricity cable, has disclosed that it is applying to National Grid to get a connection into Britain’s grid at Peterhead. The Scotland-Norway inter-connector, once thought to be a pipedream, is expected to be of huge benefit to operators of wind and other renewable energy farms in Scotland, and could be in place by 2020. The cable, it is hoped, will enable electricity firms on each side of the North Sea to sell into each other’s market, taking advantage of situations when wholesale prices are high in one market, but not in the other.
Times 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Scotsman 29th Sept 2011 more >>
CLIMATE change campaigner and former US vice-president Al Gore has hailed Scotland as a world leader in renewable energy. The Nobel Laureate, who was speaking in Edinburgh at an international conference on green finance investment, said the world is facing a catastrophe if steps are not taken to reduce carbon emissions. However, in a speech heard by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, he said tremendous opportunities are emerging. He said: Scotland has unique opportunities with the natural resources, including the incredible percentage of the offshore wind resource and the excitement of the potential of wave and tide energy, although thats at an earlier stage of investigation and development.
Herald 29th Sept 2011 more >>
SCOTTISH Chambers of Commerce chairman Mike Salter last night warned that the Holyrood Governments ambitious renewable energy targets could damage the economy north of the Border by hiking electricity costs for businesses. Mr Salter, an Aberdeen-based veteran of the oil services industry who has nearly 40 years of experience in the energy sector, told an audience of about 400 at Scottish Chambers annual dinner in Glasgow that the cost of renewable energy projects was going through the roof. He said: The Scottish Government have committed to have the majority of generation coming from this very expensive source by 2020.
Herald 29th Sept 2011 more >>
ALEX Salmond’s aspirations to make Scotland a world leader in renewables have been both damned and praised as a business leader warned the commitment was “misguided” hours after Al Gore applauded the country’s green energy plans. Mike Salter, chairman of the Scottish Chamber of Commerce (SCC), warned the cost to businesses of subsidising Scotland’s renewables ambitions could leave them bankrupt due to massive hikes in electricity bills. His criticism came as a dampener to an impassioned speech yesterday from Nobel Laureate and former US vice-president Mr Gore in which he described Scotland’s response to climate change as “inspiring”.
Scotswman 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Telegraph 29th Sept 2011 more >>
OUTPUT from renewables in Scotland rose by 50 per cent in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2010. Between March and June, the sector generated 5,593 gigawatt hours of electricity, compared to 3,719 GWh during the same months in 2010. Scottish Renewables, which commissioned a report into power generation, said the change was as a result of windier, wetter conditions in 2011, and a larger number of renewables installations.
Scotsman 29th Sept 2011 more >>
A timely warning on the dangers of over- reliance on renewable energy and its costs came in a speech last night by Scottish Chambers of Commerce chairman Mike Salter. The recent sharp increases in electricity prices are due in part to the government’s Renewables Obligation by which the consumer subsidises renewable generation. The cost of electricity from a recently announced wind farm project in the North Sea is now approaching 19p per kilowatt-hour against the current wholesale spot price of between 1.75p and 2p per kilowatt-hour. With the Scottish Government now committed to having most of our energy from such sources by 2020, Mr Salter’s warning “Have a care!” is well made. The pace and scale of this development must be determined by what the economy and householders can afford – not just abstract, lofty targets that could put growth in danger and hit the least well-off the hardest.
Scotsman 29th Sept 2011 more >>
The inspiring story of how Fintry in Stirlingshire has benefitted from investing in renewable energy.
Rob Edwards.com 27th Sept 2011 more >>
British households could be forced to subsidise the home improvements of their continental counterparts under controversial plans being drawn up by the European Commission. The proposal – part of an EU energy efficiency drive – could add up to £60 a year to household energy bills, adding to the strain on families that are already facing rocketing gas and electricity prices. The Commission has drafted a new legal requirement for energy companies operating in each member state to cut the amount of electricity and gas they sell by 1.5 per cent each year until 2020. The Commission has set a target of cutting energy consumption by 20 per cent across the EU. The Times has learnt that, under one proposal, companies would be able to meet their national targets by paying for equivalent savings elsewhere in the EU instead.
Times 29th Sept 2011 more >>
A riposte of the BBC Horizon programme – Fukushima, Is Nuclear Power Safe?
Goddards Journal 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
As Fukushima continues to spew more radioactivity into the air and trust in the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. plunges, the mood in Japan is slowly shifting away from nuclear power. On Sept. 19, the mounting anger and fear culminated in a rally of some 60,000 anti-nuclear protesters in Tokyo the largest such gathering since the March 11 quake and tsunami. The protesters included the elderly, families with children and a large contingent from the towns near the reactor. A surprising number were local government officials and members of RENGO, the 6.8-million-strong federation of labor unions. “Normally RENGO never goes against nuclear power because many members are nuclear industry emploTyees,” says Satoshi Kamata, a journalist and atomic energy opponent who organized the rally. “I’m guessing about 10,000 to 15,000 RENGO members were at the rally.”
Time 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Japan’s Geothermal Developer Council recently announced that six Tohoku prefectures could be capable of generating about 170 MW of energy and a total of 740 MW, including sites in national parks, where geothermal plants are currently restricted. Due to the last massive earthquake produced in Japan in March, the country has lost power plants which generated almost 6800 MW of electricity. It is estimated that Japan’s future geothermal plants will be able of generating 85,000 MW, enough to replace all of the existing nuclear energy power plants.
IB Times 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Japan needs to remove and dispose of 29 million cubic metres of soil contaminated by the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years from an area nearly the size of Tokyo, the environment ministry has said. Six months after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami triggered reactor meltdowns, explosions and radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Japan’s north-east coast, the scale of the clean-up is only now becoming clear. Contaminated zones where radiation levels need to be brought down could top 930 square miles, sprawling over Fukushima and four nearby prefectures, the ministry said in a report yesterday.
Scotsman 29th Sept 2011 more >>
The September/October edition of the Citizens Nuclear Information Centre Tokyo newsletter is available.
CNIC 28th Sept 2011 more >>
The Swiss parliament’s upper house on Wednesday approved plans to phase out the country’s nuclear plants over the next two decades in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. It followed a June vote by the lower chamber to back an exit from nuclear energy recommended by the government, which had earlier frozen plans for a new construction programme after the Fukushima atomic plant explosion.
AFP 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Saudi Arabia plans to complete construction of its first nuclear power plant within nine years although it will take longer to become fully operational and add capacity to the kingdoms over-stretched grid.
FT 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Argentina’s third nuclear power plant in a move she says helps diversify her country’s energy sources. The German-designed Atucha II plant is expected to be fully operational in six to eight months after engineers run a series of tests. Construction on the plant began in the early 1980s, but worked soon stopped and did not resume until 2006, when then-president Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007), the current leader’s late husband, ordered the plant to be completed.
AFP 29th Sept 2011 more >>
French utility EDF said it had ordered 44 steam generators for its 1,300 megawatt nuclear power plants in France in a deal worth over 1.5 billion euros ($2.04 billion)for suppliers Areva and Westinghouse . The steam generators will be installed from 2017 onwards, said EDF of the order which it said was part of a programme for the gradual replacement of major plant components.
Reuters 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Britain’s outgoing diplomat to Pyongyang has cast doubt on North Korea’s willingness to denuclearise, saying its officials believe Col Muammar Gaddafi would have survived the Libyan uprising had his regime kept its weapons.
Telegraph 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Prediction of Cs-137 deposition from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. The methodology uses a ratio of Cs-137 deposition and precipitation measured at Milford Haven by the Atomic Energy Authority extrapolated across Great Britain using a 5 by 5 km resolution UKCIP precipitation dataset. The prediction is for 31 December 1985. Details of the methodology used can be found in Wright, S.M., Howard, B.J., Strand, P. Nylen, T & Sickel, M.A.K. 1999 Prediction of 137Cs deposition from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests within the Arctic. Environmental Pollution, 104, 131-143.
Data.gov.uk 28thSept 2011 more >>
JOBS redeveloping Barrows waterfront and marina would help make-up for employment losses if the next fleet of nuclear submarines was scrapped, it has been claimed. Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament chairwoman Dr Kate Hudson said the regeneration project would create enough jobs to make up for axing the Trident replacement. Dr Hudson said: If Trident were to be scrapped the current Astute building programme could be slowed down so that a core workforce could be retained at least until 2020. In addition, the yard could adapt to building surface ships to transport freight and deep water drilling ships for use in oil exploration. The skills of the workforce could be adapted to the manufacture of turbines to harness marine and wind.
NW Evening Mail 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, blogs for endsreport.com on the governments Green Deal scheme. The governments forthcoming Green Deal scheme is primarily designed to save energy used for heating and hot water. Households will borrow money to finance major energy saving improvements to their home, then pay the loan back gradually through a charge on their energy bills. Across Britain, most heating and hot water is provided by natural gas. So why, then, is the government insisting that all Green Deal charges must be placed only on the electricity bill? The same question occurred to Caroline Lucas MP, who on September 14 sought to amend the bill creating the Green Deal to allow householders the right to choose. Under her proposal, they could decide which of their fuel bills they wanted to use to pay back the money borrowed. If their home is off the gas mains, they would have no option but to follow the governments preferred route the electricity bill. But if, like four out of five households, their home is heated by gas, they would be advised to opt for that bill, which is most likely to be reduced after a Green Deal makeover. That would be the logical bill to carry the loan repayments in the vast majority of cases, rather than the one least likely to be affected by the energy saving investments which will be made under the deal.
Ends 26th Sept 2011 more >>
Figures from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) suggest that larger solar PV installations such as those on businesses will reach grid parity in terms of cost effectiveness as soon as 2013 in Italy and Spain with the UK following suit in 2017 rest of Europe catching up by 2020. This is good news and its not pie-in-sky thinking either. The figures factor in gradual reduction in government incentives like Feed-in Tariffs while taking account of projected rises in electricity cost and falling cost of solar equipment.
EST 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Wave & Tidal
Wave and tidal power devices are close to producing electricity for mass consumption for the first time after a surge in investment, Alex Salmond has predicted. The first minister said that the latest wave and tide machines being tested in Scottish waters were expected to become commercially viable by 2015 with several hundred megawatts of installed capacity, in a major breakthrough for the green energy industry. Salmond’s prediction came as it emerged that one developer, Aquamarine Power, which has one of the most advanced wave power machines being tested off Orkney, had won fresh investment of £7m in its latest design and pledges of another £18m by 2014.
Guadian 27th Sept 2011 more >>