Plans for an £8bn nuclear power station on Anglesey go on display later with a series of exhibitions over ten weeks. Horizon Nuclear Power says its proposed Wylfa Newydd power plant will employ more than 1,000 people once it begins working in the first half of the 2020s. The current Wylfa power station will close in 2015 at the latest, after beginning operation in 1971. Horizon is a subsidiary of Hitachi which bought the site in 2012 for around £700m. Hitachi has opted to build a smaller plant, deciding to construct two reactors – called Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) – instead of three.
BBC 29th Sept 2014 read more »
This friday the campaign was launched to Stop Moorside.
Radiation Free Lakeland 28th Sept 2014 read more »
Balfour Beatty has won the £34m Solid Intermediate Level Waste Encapsulation contract at Hunterston A former power station in North Ayrshire. The project marks the final link in Magnox’s plans for encapsulating and storing intermediate level waste as part of the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant. Balfour Beatty will deliver the final design of the encapsulation process and construction of the SILWE plant including the complex mechanical, electrical control and instrumentation required. Work is expected to start on site this month and to be completed by the first quarter of 2017.
Construction Enquirer 28th Sept 2014 read more »
The days of large nuclear power plants could be numbered, especially in countries with a market-focused approach to energy. Tim Probert explores the development of small nuclear reactors, including Urenco’s efforts in the UK. Steve Kidd, independent nuclear consultant and former Deputy Director General of the World Nuclear Association is sceptical about SMRs and believes companies like Urenco will struggle to match government funding, as Babock & Wilcox – who announced in April it was cutting back mPower funding to about $15 million per year – found to its cost. “The big issue is not capex, but opex – the operation and maintenance costs,” says Kidd. “Unless there is a fundamental change to the regulatory regime, SMRs will still require control rooms, operators, maintenance and all the rigmarole of operating a large nuclear plant. Any gain from capex may be lost from opex for a piddling amount of power compared to large reactors.” Kidd believes the nuclear industry has come up with the wrong answer to the big question about nuclear – its high cost. “Rather than seek a business solution, they have come up with a technical solution to what’s fundamentally an economic problem, at least a problem in the Western world. Many of these ‘new’ SMR designs are actually forgotten relics from the 1950s, which were rejected for sound reasons. The industry has got to move on to Generation IV reactors”.
Tim Probert 28th Sept 2014 read more »
Letter Scientific Alliance: Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing’s claim that powers over hydraulic fracturing should be devolved to Scotland (Your report, 27 September) is merely grandstanding. The necessary planning laws in Scotland already cover this issue and ensure control remains in the hands of the Scottish Government and local communities. Mr Ewing’s message is therefore to our green contingent and the one green MSP without whose support this Government would collapse. As for the 99 per cent of those who apparently wrote to the UK government to oppose fracking, their well-known opposition is based on an ideological objection to all fossil fuels and the flawed supposition that in some way, never specified, electricity generation can be provided when needed without fossil fuels or nuclear power as back-up. One of the contradictions of the independence debate was the support the green party gave to the SNP whose avowed intention was to mine and sell every last drop of oil that could be gained from the North Sea. Mr Ewing’s and Mr Salmond’s policy of putting up wind farms everywhere in deference to this lobby has ensured that in over two-thirds of Scotland you are now not out of sight of turbines. Scotland the beautiful is rapidly degenerating into Scotland the ugly.
Scotsman 29th Sept 2014 read more »
Two Japanese utilities, responsible for about a fifth of the nation’s power, say they have had their fill of renewable energy, in a move that could add pressure on community leaders to allow idled nuclear reactors back on line. Japan’s utilities have been pushing back, imposing restrictions in certain areas on the grounds that taking on too much solar – where output varies according to weather – could risk instablity in the electricity supply. However, Kyushu Electric Power has gone further, saying it would stop processing new applications across its entire service region for an indefinite period from October, while Tohoku Electric has outlined a similar strategy. Analysts said the decisions would put a brake on solar project approvals, as Japan’s other regional power monopolies review the level of clean energy they can handle.
FT 29th Sept 2014 read more »
Japan’s plans to restart the Sendai nuclear reactor won’t be affected by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Ontake, the government said. The reactor is in a separate volcanically-active area, which rose concerns for its safety after the Saturday eruption.
Russia Today 29th Sept 2014 read more »
In July 2014 Dr Shigeru Mita wrote a letter to his fellow doctors to explain his decision to move his practice from Tokyo to Okayama city in the West of Japan. In it, he appeals to their sense of duty to answer the anxieties of parents in Japan who do not believe the information coming from the authorities. He says “I must state that the policies of the WHO, the IAEA or the Japanese government cannot be trusted.” and “if the power to save our citizens and future generations exists somewhere, it does not lie within the government or any academic association, but in the hands of individual clinical doctors ourselves.” Mita claims that all 23 districts of Tokyo are contaminated, with the eastern area worst affected – up to 4 000 Bq/kg. (The becquerel is a unit of radioactivity. One Bq is the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second.) These findings confirm what the nuclear physicist Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Nuclear Education found in 2012, when he picked up five random soil samples in Tokyo from between paving stones, in parks and playgrounds. The levels of contamination were up to 7 000 Bq/kg; in the US, anything registering these levels would be considered nuclear waste. While practising in Tokyo, Mita also discovered changes in the white blood cells of children under 10.
Instiutute of Science in Society 24th Sept 2014 read more »
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted on Sunday as saying that the time had come for his country to modernise its nuclear and conventional arsenals.
ITV 28th Sept 2014 read more »
Reuters 28th Sept 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
Heineken has taken its sustainability strategy to the next level by becoming the first major brewer in the UK to implement a large-scale solar panel installation on the roof of one of its flagship production sites in North Yorkshire. John Smith’s Brewery in Tadcaster is set to power up over 4,000 solar panels that cover its huge corrugated iron roof; generating more than 876MWh of electricity each year which will be used to power the brewery’s bottling and canning departments.
Edie 26th Sept 2014 read more »
Renewables – wind
Banks Renewables has won planning consent from the Scottish government for the 51MW Middle Muir wind farm in South Lanarkshire. The award is a landmark decision as seven of the project’s 15 turbines have tip heights set at 152 metres, the highest approved to date on the UK mainland. The scheme, which was consented with a maximum capacity of 60MW, will be sited 2km from Crawfordjohn and is expected to create up to 50 jobs during construction.
Highland Pro-wind 29th Sept 2014 read more »
MSP Rob Gibson is backing a proposed 22-turbine wind farm on wild land in central Sutherland in defiance of Scottish Government planning policy which defines it as an area with “little or no capacity for new development”. He claims the scheme would reap economic benefit. Critics say it would backfire by affecting lifeline tourism. The Creag Riabhach scheme, slimmed down from a 38-turbine proposition two years ago, has been drawn up for Altnaharra Estate. A planning application has been submitted for turbines up to 410ft tall. Almost 150 people have responded via Highland Council’s planning website.
Highland Pro-wind 29th Sept 2014 read more »
At least 1,000 more onshore wind turbines will be built than are needed under the Government’s own green energy targets, official estimates disclose. All wind farm projects currently in the planning system are surplus to requirements, and, if built at the rate ministers expect, will see the UK exceed the upper limit of its planned onshore wind farm capacity by 15 per cent, figures suggest. In a letter seen by The Sunday Telegraph, Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, discloses government analysis of the proportion of proposed and approved wind farms that will be built. The figures show the UK is on course for a total of more than 15 gigawatts (GW) of onshore wind farms, compared with the total of 11-13GW Mr Davey says is needed by 2020 to meet EU renewable energy targets. The disclosure appears to confirm claims by the Conservatives that there is “no requirement for any more” wind farms, beyond those already approved, in order to hit the targets.
Telegraph 28th Sept 2014 read more »
One of Britain’s biggest industrial firms has been accused of taking a “bribes and bulldozers” approach to fracking after unveiling a multi-billion pound plan to compensate landowners and local communities affected by its plans to use the controversial drilling technique.
Guardian 28th Sept 2014 read more »
Independent 29th Sept 2014 read more »
Telegraph 28th Sept 2014 read more »
The oil and gas industry has reacted with apparent scepticism to a proposal by Ineos to kick-start Britain’s shale industry by paying landowners and communities 6 per cent of revenue from fracked sites. UK Onshore Oil and Gas, the lobbying group for the industry, said that the chemicals company’s plan was “some years off” from being realised, while Cuadrilla, one of the leading fracking companies in Britain, said that it “looked forward to seeing further details” of the Ineos “giveaway”.
Times 29th Sept 2014 read more »