Plans for Hinkley Point are creating turmoil within EDF, which also needs to spend €50 billion ($56.5 billion) to renovate its network of French nuclear reactors by 2025. In March, EDF’s chief financial officer quit rather than continue with the U.K. project. Ratings agencies have warned of a possible credit downgrade, and employee unions are threatening to strike. Private investors, who own 15 percent of EDF shares, are spooked: The stock is down 50 percent over the past year. On April 22, EDF said it plans to sell €4 billion in new shares to raise cash. News of the plan caused shares to drop even further. Even in France, says Simon Taylor a professor at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School who specializes in energy finance: “there are voices in the nuclear industry saying, ‘We must come up with a plan B.’ ”Public support for the project in Britain has fallen to 33 percent, down from 57 percent in 2013, according to a YouGov poll released on April 26 commissioned by New Nuclear Watch Europe, a pro-nuclear group. Britain can offset the closure of old nuclear and coal plants and put off the need for new reactors for another decade by increasing its investment in renewable energy, says Deepa Venkateswaran, a utility analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in London. New, less expensive technologies might be developed to store energy from wind and solar, helping to ensure reliable supply. Building Hinkley Point now, she says, “is not make-or-break.” “The decision-makers on both sides (France and Britain) are totally underestimating” the risks, says Mycle Schneider, an independent nuclear analyst in Paris. “But the farther they go on, the more difficult it is to pull out.”
Bloomberg 29thApril 2016 read more »
EDF Energy continuously monitors public opinion towards nuclear energy, our nuclear power stations around the UK, and our nuclear new build project at Hinkley Point C. This research by independent polling company ICM Unlimited continues to indicate stable levels of support for the Hinkley Point C project, as well as existing nuclear power. A poll published by The Times (29th April 2016 ) on public support for Hinkley Point C only uses results collected on two separate dates, rather than a long term series of polling data. One of the dates chosen by their poll coincides with a particular spike in support for the project that followed the agreement with the UK Government on the Hinkley Point C Contract for Difference in October 2013. More accurate analysis requires multiple polling dates that can take into account short-term changes in support.
EDF Energy 29th April 2016 read more »
French state-controlled nuclear group Areva said first-quarter sales from its nuclear fuel and uranium unit fell 0.8 percent to 826 million euros ($936 million) as uranium deliveries slowed. On a like-for-like basis, sales of the unit fell 2.2 percent. The company said in a statement that sales of its reactor building unit – which it is set to sell to utility EDF early next year – fell 5.8 percent to 885 million euros. Areva also confirmed its target for net cash flow from company operations of -2.0 billion euros to -1.5 billion euros at the end of 2016. The company said it had recorded close to 700 new departures during the first quarter, in line with its target of 6,000 job cuts by the end of 2017.
Reuters 28th April 2016 read more »
The risk of terrorists obtaining nuclear material to make a dirty bomb, or hijacking a nuclear plant, is real, observes Allison Macfarlane, a Professor at George Washington University and former Chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. According to Macfarlane, countries with nuclear plants need to improve security quickly before it’s too late. They can learn from the United States, whose nuclear power plants are among the most well-guarded facilities in the world.
Energy Post 26th April 2016 read more »
This week marks 30 years since an accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine led to a huge leak of radiation across eastern Europe. The disaster is thought to have caused thousands of cancer cases. It was the only event classed as a “major accident” by the International Atomic Energy Agency until the 2011 meltdowns in Fukushima, Japan. The data demonstrates its impact: in the 32 years before Chernobyl, 409 reactors were opened, but only 194 have been connected in the three decades since. There were other factors in play, too. Yes, some of the change was directly down to the disaster in Ukraine. Italy, for example, voted in a referendum soon afterwards to stop producing nuclear energy. However, consultant nuclear engineer John Large says that regulations and transparency demands introduced in the wake of a 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania actually had a bigger impact. “Fukushima will have the same effect,” he says. The disaster in Japan prompted the German government to phase out its plants, with the last one closing in 2022. “Nuclear energy is failing because it is simply too expensive,” says Dr Paul Dorfman, senior research fellow at the Energy Institute, University College London. “If there’s another nuclear accident in the next five or 10 years, you can say goodbye to the industry.”
Guardian 30th April 2016 read more »
Chernobyl 30 years on: The people of Gomel who live every day in the fallout of a nuclear holocaust. Babies born with rare-muscle wasting condition have soared 80 per cent in the city of Gomel, Belarus, 70 miles away from the nuclear disaster.
Mirror 29th April 2016 read more »
The Dutch government has ordered 15 million iodine pills to protect people living near nuclear power plants in the event of an accident, the health ministry announced Friday. The move comes as concerns rise about aging reactors across the border in Belgium. Maggie De Block, Belgium’s health minister, on Thursday announced that she is considering handing out iodine tablets to vulnerable citizens in the event of a nuclear emergency.
Politico 29th April 2016 read more »
Guardian 30th April 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 29th April 2016 read more »
The entire population of Belgium will be given iodine tablets to combat radiation over fears ISIS will attack the country with a dirty bomb. The pills, which help reduce radiation build-up in the thyroid gland, have only previously been issued to people living near the country’s two ancient nuclear power plants.
Mirror 29th April 2016 read more »
Independent 29th April 2016 read more »
Express 29th April 2016 read more »
Belgium is planning to stock iodine pills in all pharmacies to be issued to the country’s 11 million inhabitants in the event of a nuclear accident. The measure is part of a national nuclear disaster plan and follows German protests last week over the safety of Belgium’s ageing reactors at power plants in Doel and Tihange. “Every country has updated its plans for a nuclear emergency,” said Maggie De Block, the Belgian health minister. Pharmacists carry stocks of iodine pills for everyone who lives within a 12-mile radius of a nuclear power station, in Belgium or the neighbouring Netherlands, a zone that will be extended to a 60-mile radius.
Times 30th April 2016 read more »
At first glance, Gilani Dambaev looks like a healthy 60-year-old man and the river flowing past his rural family home appears pristine. But Dambaev is riddled with diseases that his doctors link to a lifetime’s exposure to excessive radiation, and the Geiger counter beeps loudly as a reporter strolls down to the muddy riverbank. Some 50 kilometers (30 miles) upstream from Dambaev’s crumbling village lies Mayak, a nuclear complex that has been responsible for at least two of the country’s biggest radioactive accidents. Worse, environmentalists say, is the facility’s decades-old record of using the Arctic-bound waters of the Techa River to dump waste from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, hundreds of tons of which is imported annually from neighbouring nations.
The Big Story 29th April 2016 read more »
South Africa – uranium
Almost entirely unknown to the outside world, and even to most local residents, hundreds of square kilometres of South Africa’s Karoo dryland have been bought up by uranium mining companies, writes Dr Stefan Cramer. With no strategic assessment of the industry’s devastating impacts and massive water demand, official permission could soon be granted for vast open pit mines.
Ecologist 28th April 2016 read more »
When Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor exploded in 1986, much of the radiation was blown north to Belarus. But despite being devastated by the fallout from the world’s worst civil nuclear disaster, the country is now building its own nuclear power plant near the town of Ostrovets.
BBC 30th April 2016 read more »
The Australian government has shortlisted a voluntarily nominated site in Barndioota, South Australia, as a possible site for a national radioactive waste management facility, minister for resources and energy Josh Frydenberg announced today. Barnidoota was one of six voluntarily nominated sites shortlisted by the government for community consultation in November 2016, alongside two other locations in South Australia and one each in New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
World Nuclear News 29th April 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore Wind
Fife Council has once again been asked to comment on a proposed windfarm which would sit just 1.5k from the Methil shore if approved. The proposal, submitted by Forthwind, a subsiduary of 2-B Energy, is for two wind turbines with an installed capacity of 9MW each. They would sit at a height of just over 198m, making them even taller than the existing Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) turbine, now owned and managed by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult. The proposal also includes an on-shore plant related to electricity generation from the turbines, to be located at the Fife Energy Park.
Fife Today 27th April 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) launches today a new initiative centred on local authorities to continue the impressive and rapid deployment of renewable energy projects across the UK and Ireland in the face of subsidy cuts. Get it from the Sun (GIFTS) is a new initiative put forward by Professor Keith Barnham that aims to provide information and encourage cooperation among local authorities, town councils, charities, community energy groups, environmental NGOs and individuals working towards all-renewable electricity supplies at the local level, in spite of the extensive subsidy cuts to renewable energy by the UK Government. Renewable electricity is the quickest way to achieve the carbon reductions the government agreed at COP21. In the NFLA‟s view, such local initiatives can overcome government opposition.
NFLA 29th April 2016 read more »
A NEW project is set to examine the possibility of using Scotland’s vast renewables potential to link local energy generation to local energy use. The initiative Algal Solutions for a Local Energy Economy (ASLEE) will be discussed at the All-Energy conference in Glasgow next week, organised by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC). It is no secret that the west coast and islands of Scotland have some of the best potential for renewables in Europe – 25 per cent of wind and tidal energy and 10 per cent of potential wave energy. However, many schemes are constrained or delayed because of weaknesses in the electricity grid and ASLEE will consider how constraints could be removed if more energy was used locally. The project will examine the technical and economic viability of using renewable energy and grid balancing to reduce manufacturing costs in remote areas.
The National 30th April 2016 read more »
A HYDROGEN fuel technology project in Orkney has been awarded more than 2 million euros in EU funding. The initiative, entitled Big Hit, will see a device which converts electricity to hydrogen fuel being installed. The project aims to use an electrolyser to convert excess electricity generated on the islands. As part of it, 10 electric vans will be fitted with equipment which means they can use the hydrogen fuel to extend their range.
The National 30th April 2016 read more »