The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) is considering using a price band rather than a single strike price for its contract for difference (CFD) mechanism to guarantee revenues to low-carbon power projects. The CFD is a central part of the UK government’s electricity market reform, now in the legislative process, and is aimed at effectively fixing power sales prices for new nuclear power plants, offshore wind farms, biomass firing and other low-carbon generation. Decc’s plan involves the generator receiving the difference between the market price and an agreed CFD strike price if the market price is below the strike price. Should the market price rise above the strike price, the generator will pay out the difference, in a mechanism that effectively locks in the agreed strike price for the generator. Decc is to negotiate strike prices for different projects initially, before moving to a competitive process for setting them. Decc is considering setting a band rather than a strike price for projects after 2017, a department spokesman told Argus today. This would include two 1,650MW nuclear reactors that French state-controlled utility EdF is planning to build at Hinkley Point in Somerset and for which it is negotiating the CFD details with Decc. It is still unclear how such a band might work. The bandwidth structures still have to be defined through negotiations, EdF chief executive Henri Proglio said when answering analysts’ questions at the half-year financial results presentation on 31 July. EdF is looking for a guaranteed power sales price for its nuclear plants below £140/MWh (177/MWh), but declined to be more precise.
Argus Media 29th Aug 2012 more >>
The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research centre gained a new member today as Edgecam signed up to support the future of the UK nuclear industry. Edgecam, the industry-standard CAD-neutral production CAM system, joined the Sheffield-based Nuclear AMRC today in order to participate in the refinement of machining capabilities for the UKs growing civil nuclear industry.
The Manufacturer 29th Aug 2012 more >>
US senator Richard Lugar and former senator Sam Nunn were honoured on Wednesday for their role in helping ex-Soviet states secure and dismantle huge stocks of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The pair became the first recipients of a new prize, to be awarded every two years, to people or groups whose work prevents the proliferation of nuclear weapons and cuts the risk of their use. The two authored the Nunn-Lugar Act in 1991 which set up the Co-operative Threat Reduction Programme that is credited with helping former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan rid their territories of nuclear weapons.
Guardian 29th Aug 2012 more >>
More than 10 years into the job, Bechtel National Inc. has been described as incompetent to complete the $12.2 billion nuclear waste treatment plant at Hanford, Wa., the nations largest radioactive waste site, according to an internal Department of Energy memo. In the Aug. 23 memo, the DOE official responsible for supervising engineering at the facility, Gary Brunson, calls for Bechtel to be immediately removed as the design agent for the novel Waste Treatment Plant (WTP), which was supposed to begin operation last year.
Forbes 29th Aug 2012 more >>
US-based Exelon will withdraw its early site permit application, for an 11,500-acre tract, which had been submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the proposed construction of a new nuclear facility in Victoria County, Texas. Low natural gas prices and economic and market conditions were cited as the reason for withdrawal.
Energy Business Review 29th Aug 2012 more >>
Japan’s government, wary of public opinion ahead of an election, is leaning toward setting a target to eliminate atomic power by 2030 – a major policy shift for an economy that had planned to boost the role of nuclear energy before the Fukushima crisis.Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is expected to call a snap election within months and with his Democratic Party’s (DPJ) ratings sagging, pressure is mounting to respond to a growing grass-roots anti-nuclear movement and surveys showing that most voters want to abandon atomic energy eventually.
Reuters 29th Aug 2012 more >>
The government said Wednesday in a draft report that public consultations on the future of nuclear power show that most people favor doing away with all reactors. In formulating a new energy policy following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the government has held public hearings nationwide, conducted a poll and solicited comments via the Internet and through other means. People were asked their views on the degree that Japan should rely on nuclear power by 2030
Japan Times 29th Aug 2012 more >>
A United Nations report is expected to detail how Iran is continuing to expand its nuclear programme despite painful economic sanctions and the spectre of Israeli military action. Just as Iran seeks to improve its image by hosting a Non-Aligned Movement summit attended by Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, the report will show how Tehran is boosting uranium enrichment in defiance of Security Council resolutions.
Telegraph 29th Aug 2012 more >>
Guardian 29th Aug 2012 more >>
The U.N. nuclear watchdog is establishing a specialized team to inspect and investigate Iran’s nuclear program, which diplomats say is expanding despite tough Western sanctions and the threat of an Israeli attack.
Reuters 29th Aug 2012 more >>
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon met Iran’s president and supreme leader in Tehran on Wednesday to urge them to take concrete steps to prove the country’s nuclear program is peaceful and to use their influence to help end Syria’s 17-month conflict.
Trust 29th Aug 2012 more >>
Indias nuclear regulator has received harsh criticism from the countrys main auditing institution, in a report (available at go.nature.com/srxnu3) that will provide fresh ammunition to opponents of the construction of nuclear reactors in Kudankulam and elsewhere in India.
Nature 29th Aug 2012 more >>
SCOTTISH independence could lead to “unilateral nuclear disarmament” for the rest of the UK or mean Britain’s nuclear weapons being based abroad for many years while a suitable site in England is found, a Labour MP has claimed. Ian Davidson, the Labour chairman of the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, made the claim after the group visited Faslane yesterday, the home to the UK’s nuclear deterrent. The committee is looking at implications for the UK’s defence and its defence industry should Scotland become independent. The SNP has made clear it wants to see nuclear weapons removed from the Clyde as soon as possible should Scots back independence. Mr Davidson said: “We have been told Faslane’s facilities could be replicated at an existing English naval base but the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport is unique in the UK. It could mean that effectively the UK’s nuclear weapons will be based in a foreign country for many years. There are also of course huge cost implications of making such a transition.
Herald 30th Aug 2012 more >>
THE transatlantic treaty is committed to nuclear weapons, so it is laughable to think we could join while opposing them, writes Michael Kelly Somewhere among the proposed SNP volte-face on Nato membership, has a principled reason been unearthed? Last week in these pages George Kerevan dug deep to find it. Most of us who oppose breaking up the UK see Alex Salmonds attempt to reverse long-standing opposition to this nuclear alliance as an attempt to remove another of the bogey men that might frighten voters into marking a No on the ballot paper. A pledge to quit Nato could easily be presented as leaving Scotland defenceless with no big brother to fall back on for protection. The idea of the new state being able to support its own effective army, navy and air force is already a joke worthy of winning an award at the Edinburgh Festival. So, given that Scotland alone would be unable to defend itself the SNP had to devise a policy that at least seemed credible. The obvious choice would be to strike an alliance with what remained of the UK. However, such a plan, despite being the most feasible, would make an even greater farce of independence after concessions on the Queen, monetary and fiscal policies.
Scotsman 30th Aug 2012 more >>
Bavarian village Wildpoldsreid, with a population of about 2,600, has created a local economy that produces 321 per cent more energy than it needs, selling the excess back to the national grid at a rate of $US5.7 million annually. This little German powerhouse has utilised solar, biogas digesters, windmills, hydro power plants, and a natural wastewater system to reduce its own use and increase its energy positive output. Every hamlet, township, city, metropolis, and megalopolis can learn something from Wildpoldsreid.
Renew Economy 30th Aug 2012 more >>
A new study into the efficiency and reliability of wind farms has concluded that a campaign against them by Conservative backbenchers and others is not supported by the evidence. The report, from the left-leaning thinktank IPPR in association with the leading energy consultancy GL Garrad Hassan, concludes there is no technical reason why turbines should not be supported. Reg Platt, an IPPR fellow, said government and local communities were right to scrutinise costs and planning issues, but that the report showed “unequivocally that wind power can significantly reduce carbon emissions, is reliable, poses no threat to energy security and is technically capable of providing a significant proportion of the UK’s electricity with minimal impact on the existing operation of the grid”. Claims to the contrary are not supported by the evidence, said Platt, who pointed out that the study had been peer-reviewed by Nick Davis, the head of the Institute of Energy at Cardiff University.
Guardian 29th Aug 2012 more >>
The UK renewable energy sector remains beset by concerns over policy clarity and the central role some ministers are planning for gas power, according to Ernst & Young’s latest quarterly report on the most attractive markets globally for clean energy investment. the consultancy giant warns the consensus across the industry is that the Draft Energy Bill in particular has failed to deliver the promised stability, due to the omission of both much-needed details on the new “contract for difference” feed-in tariff mechanism designed to replace the current ROC banding scheme and a commitment to decarbonise the UK’s electricity supply by 2030 in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations. The potential for greater cuts to the new ROC bandings for wind, following a review of costs later this year, has also spooked the industry, the report says, while government infighting over Chancellor George Osborne’s apparent desire to make the UK a “gas hub” has created even greater uncertainty.
Business Green 29th Aug 2012 more >>