The COP 21 negotiations in Paris should reach an agreement that encourages a transition to a low carbon society by making better use of nuclear energy alongside other mitigation options, according to the World Nuclear Association. Director General Agneta Rising said “To implement the goals of an ambitious COP 21 agreement governments need to develop policies that encourage investment in low carbon generation, especially nuclear energy. We need 1000 GWe of new nuclear capacity by 2050 to combat climate change. This will require effective regulation and markets that value low carbon emissions and reliable supplies.”
World Nuclear Association 30th Nov 2015 read more »
Letter Alan Bucknall: Your Leader is correct in calling for new energy sources and for a step-change in nuclear capacity to mitigate climate change. However, current nuclear technology cannot deliver this alone: the scale of a nuclear power station limits its application; its vast, upfront financing is only possible if subsidised by government funds or guarantees. Subsidised current technology cannot compete with fossil fuels and renewables. The capacity of engineering to fabricate key components on the scale demanded has been questioned. What is needed is a competitive low-cost nuclear technology that can be rapidly disseminated worldwide. We must lookto series production, building to Airbus/Boeing standards and volumes, to match this challenge. Containment of climate change will bring most benefit to non-OECD countries. We have the necessary R&D skills and there is a good case for directing some of our £11 billion foreign aid to supplement and accelerate existing research.
Times 29th Nov 2015 read more »
Bill Gates has joined forces with Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Mukesh Ambani and a roll call of other billionaires in a push for billions of dollars of new private and public investment in “clean energy”. The initiative includes $10bn of new spending commitments from 20 governments — among them the US, China, India and Brazil — and will be unveiled at the start of talks in Paris on Monday to create the first new global climate accord in 18 years. The billionaires are vowing to build on government research with their own capital to help commercialise low-emission technology, bridging what they call a “near impassable valley of death” between promising concepts and viable products. The movement’s definition of clean energy includes not only renewable power, such as wind and solar, but also nuclear energy, power grid technology, advanced transportation systems, and ways of capturing carbon from fossil fuel combustion.
FT 30th Nov 2015 read more »
The operator of Britain’s biggest power station has warned that meeting the nation’s electricity needs will be a close-run thing for years as ageing coal plants are retired from service. Dorothy Thompson, the chief executive of Drax, the North Yorkshire power plant that generates 7 per cent of the country’s electricity from burning coal and wood, said there was “no question we are getting to a tight situation”. Speaking ahead of the United Nations climate talks that begin in Paris today, she said that the remaining coal-fired stations, including Drax, Britain’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, would play a critical role in ensuring continuity of supply. She added that inherently intermittent supplies from wind and solar power would be of limited use in bridging the gap. “What we are going to need is plant that is flexible and that supports the system.”
Times 30th Nov 2015 read more »
It may sound a bit like the turkey voting for Christmas, but the chief executive of Europe’s biggest coal-fired power station says that she welcomes plans to close down the nation’s huge, ageing and polluting coal plants. According to Dorothy Thompson, it provides “greater clarity” on Britain’s future energy policy. Mrs Thompson, though, can be forgiven for feeling that she is ahead of the game. Appointed as boss of the giant Drax station in North Yorkshire in 2005, she foresaw relatively early the revolution that is now facing Old King Coal. The coal-burning power industry is, she admits, “in decline. If you are in a market where you aren’t making any money, then you have to close.” Yet Mrs Thompson and Drax embraced a partial switch to biomass fuel, burning wood chips rather than coal in three of the power station’s six boilers. Although burning wood remains controversial environmentally, her strategy, ridiculed when it was first announced a decade ago, has helped Drax to duck some of the worst headwinds now buffeting the industry.
Times 30th Nov 2015 read more »
A New Mexico nuclear waste repository isn’t suited for the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium that the U.S. government must get rid of as a part of an agreement with Russia, according to a new report produced for the consortium constructing an alternative project.
Disposing of diluted weapons-grade plutonium at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant outside Carlsbad could “introduce a new accident scenario … that would significantly increase the environmental impact and threaten the continued operation of WIPP,” according to the report, which was issued this month by consultant High Bridge Associates Inc. High Bridge prepared its report for the board of governors of MOX Services, a consortium behind the disposal plan known as the MOX program.
Albuquerque Journal 29th Nov 2015 read more »
An AIM-quoted miner will set out its stall today as the lowest-cost producer of uranium needed to feed the world’s growing number of nuclear reactors. Berkeley Energia, which aims to begin construction of its Salamanca mine in northwestern Spain next year, will announce the results of additional work on its Zona 7 deposit, which it says will enable it to bring down operating costs by 40 per cent, making it a lower-cost producer than the Toronto-listed Uranium One. The mine also would give Europe’s 160 reactors, which rely almost entirely on imports, chiefly from Kazakhstan, Russia and Niger, a source of uranium on their doorstep.
Times 30th Nov 2015 read more »
Germany could share responsibility for phasing out nuclear power with energy firms by setting up a publicly managed trust, the environment minister said on Sunday. Barbara Hendricks’ comments to Deutschlandfunk radio follow calls by Germany’s top energy firms utilities on Berlin to help handle the country’s nuclear exit and set up a trust for decommissioning plants and the storage of radioactive waste. A government-appointed commission is tasked with recommending by early 2016 how to safeguard the funding of fulfilling the exit. The use of a public trust is one option under discussion and closely eyed by investors, as utilities would then have to transfer certain assets, most likely cash and minority stakes.
Reuters 29th Nov 2015 read more »
Around 13 villages, surrounding the proposed 9900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project, have passed a resolution against the plant even as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit India during which he is likely to seal the pending civil nuclear agreement. Interestingly, the list not only includes villages which will be directly affected by the project but also those which are not but situated in the vicinity. The villagers will also be writing a letter to Mr. Abe, urging him to not sign any nuclear agreement.
The Hindu 29th Nov 2015 read more »
The U.S. is set to become the first nation to decide whether it is safe to operate nuclear power plants for 80 years, twice as long as initially allowed. The majority of the nation’s 99 reactors have already received 20-year extensions to their original 40-year operating licenses. Now, operators led by Dominion Resources Inc. want to expand the time frame further, potentially creating a precedent for an aging global fleet at a time when the economics of the industry are undergoing dramatic change.
Japan Times 28th Nov 2015 read more »
When Britain revealed last week that estimates for renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent had ballooned by billions of pounds, a familiar question resurfaced. Were the costs of defence procurement spiralling out of control again? Sir Bernard Gray, the man brought in five years ago to curb spendthrift habits which had left the Ministry of Defence with a £38bn overdraft, has a typically blunt response. Some of what the outgoing chief of defence materiel has to say is printable. Some of it is not. But as he prepares to step down on Monday, Sir Bernard is adamant that the reforms under way at the Defence Equipment and Support agency have put the UK’s most important military project on its soundest footing since he took up his post in 2011. He insists the recent increase in the estimated cost of Trident’s renewal — up from £25bn to £31bn, with a further £10bn contingency for unknown risks — is a sign of success, not bad management.
FT 29th Nov 2015 read more »
With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas – responsible for up to 70% of greenhouse gas emissions – it’s vital that cities and their leaders commit to environmental policies. Ahead of COP 21 in Paris, a new report from C40 Cities shows that mayors of some of the world’s greenest cities are already making them more resilient and are even achieving economic growth by investing in sustainable development. As for the mayors themselves, tackling climate change is not just part of the job; from turning vegan to boycotting baths, city leaders are taking the fight home.
Guardian 30th Nov 2015 read more »
A growing number of companies are urging the UK Government to rethink plans to cut green renewable energy subsidies, as the Paris climate-change talks are about to get under way. The Financial Times is reporting that a wide range of businesses – including some of Britain’s biggest companies – have written a letter to the Prime Minister suggesting that the long list of cuts in renewable energy – pose a ‘risk to UK business’. The signatories to the letter are a diverse range of major companies such as Vodafone, Unilever, Panasonic, BT and Marks & Spencer. They argue that confidence has been undermined by all the changes and cuts – and that they are now impacting on the UK’s ability to compete and that investment is now under threat. SNP Energy and Climate Change spokesperson Callum McCaig, MP, commented: ”These latest voices criticising the UK Government’s reckless attack on renewable energy add to an already long list demanding an urgent change in tack.
Scottish Energy News 30th Nov 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
More than 750,000 UK homeowners have followed Sue Roaf’s lead and fitted solar panels. She tells Home why the goverment may be jeopardising the industry’s future. Sue Roaf is, understandably, feeling rather triumphant. “They told me it would never work,” says the professor of architectural engineering at Heriot-Watt University. “They told me I couldn’t connect to the grid. They said the panels would wear out within a few years. They said solar electricity would never catch on.” Roaf is showing me around her suburban home in north Oxford. She designed it herself in the early 1990s, installing the first domestic solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in Britain. One day, her house may become a landmark like Cragside, in Northumberland, a Victorian gothic confection that was the first home in the country to be lit by hydroelectricity, and is now run by the National Trust.
Sunday Times 29th Nov 2015 read more »
Prominent energy industry expert Dick Winchester has criticised the decision by Chancellor George Osborne to withdraw a £1 billion grant for long-planned Carbon Capture and Storage scheme in Peterhead. The Conservative Party had earlier made a manifesto commitment ahead of the 2015 general election to deliver the project. The shock announcement in last week’s Autumn Statement was not communicated in advance to the Scottish Government – as confirmed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in response to a parliamentary question from Stewart Stevenson. This project was set to create some 600 jobs in north east Scotland and had already reached an advanced planning stage by developer Shell. Dick Winchester said: “The successful demonstration of large scale carbon capture technology in Scotland could have been the catalyst to the development of a whole new Scottish industrial sector able to export services and hardware into what is a huge global market.
Scottish Energy News 30th Nov 2015 read more »
David Cameron will set out his personal commitment to tackling climate change at the opening of a crunch UN conference on global warming in Paris on Monday, and will pledge support for poorer countries likely to suffer most from extreme weather. The UK prime minister will meet world leaders including Narendra Modi of India, Barack Obama of the US and China’s Xi Jinping at the talks, but will also hold sessions with representatives of small islands and the world’s least developed countries. Cameron will tell the conference he wants “a global deal for a global problem”, with a robust legal framework that would ensure the targets are met. He will call for any agreement to include a long-term goal on avoiding dangerous temperature rises. “This will give certainty to businesses and the public across the world that governments are serious about decarbonising.” He will set out his priorities for the conference: putting in place a robust legal framework that will require countries to stick to their emissions targets; providing financial assistance for the developing world; and emphasising the role of business in tackling global warming. Cameron is expected to cite the UK’s own Climate Change Act as a “strong domestic framework” to deal with emissions. The act is being used as a model by some other countries. “I want to see a similarly robust system at the international level,” he will tell the conference. However, the act has been attacked by some Tories. Critics argue that since the election the government has systematically undermined the UK’s reputation for climate leadership. Support for solar and wind energy has been slashed; legislation on efficient new homes has been weakened; and most recently, the chancellor, George Osborne, cancelled a £1bn scheme to promote carbon capture and storage.
Guardian 30th Nov 2015 read more »
David Cameron is demanding wealthy countries give more foreign aid to halt climate change as he calls for world leaders to back a legally binding agreements at the Paris talks.
Telegraph 30th Nov 2015 read more »
The people of the world are coming to understand that there are no spectators on these issues. Citizens are marching, acting online, and burning up phone lines. We understand that what our governments do or don’t do is on all of us. That’s why the next two weeks, and the outcome of Paris, is a test of all humanity. Will Indians let their government shill for the coal industry? Will Americans let their government skimp on the price tag for a clean energy transition? Will Brazilians and Europeans demand that their governments refuse to accept a weak deal? This is a moment where we show who we are as a people. What happens next, depends on all of us.
Guardian 29th Nov 2015 read more »
The Paris climate conference will set nations against each other, and kick off huge arguments over economic policies, green regulations and even personal lifestyle choices. But one thing isn’t up for debate: the evidence for climate change is unequivocal.
Independent 30th Nov 2015 read more »