Plans to build the first UK nuclear power station in over 20 years have taken a huge step forward with an announcement of which companies are set to be involved in the giant energy project. French firm EDF named a number of national and local Somerset companies or joint ventures as preferred bidders set to win contracts worth more than £1.3 billion to build Hinkley Point C. The firms include engineering giants Balfour Beatty, Doosan Babcock, Laing O’Rourke and Weir, and companies close to the Somerset site such as food producers Somerset Larder and bus organisation Somerset Passenger Solutions. EDF had previously announced four main preferred bidders for engineering and construction, including Paris-based Areva, Alstom and BouyguesTP.
Press and Journal 31st July 2015 read more »
Construction Enquirer 31st July 2015 read more »
Construction News 31st July 2015 read more »
ENGINEERING firm NG Bailey is undertaking a huge £460m contract to design and construct the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK in 20 years. The £460m contract for the Hinkley Point power station was awarded by EDF Energy to a 50:50 joint venture of the Ilkley-based firm and construction giant Balfour Beatty.
Business Desk 31st July 2015 read more »
An international infrastructure group’s joint venture with a Yorkshire services and engineering company has been appointed as preferred bidder for the £460m Hinkley Point C power station electrical package, a move which could create 1,000 jobs. The Balfour Beatty and Ilkley-based NG Bailey partnership, known as Balfour Beatty Bailey, will work across both proposed Hinkley Point C units for EDF Energy to deliver the critical infrastructure that will power the North Somerset station and its operations.
Insider Media 31st July 2015 read more »
Yorkshire Post 31st July 2015 read more »
Britain restricts “criminal” Ai Weiwei’s visa request The dissident artist will have to leave the country just before a visit by China’s president.
Economist 30th July 2015 read more »
Struggling French nuclear group Areva on Thursday disclosed it needed a bigger than expected capital injection worth 7bn euros as the company also unveiled a far-reaching agreement with EDF on asset disposals and other projects. The two companies – both state-controlled – agreed in principle that EDF will pay 2bn euros for a 75 per cent stake in Areva’s reactor unit, called Areva NP, in a radical reshaping of the French nuclear industry that has come after months of tense negotiations. Areva said that overall it would need 7bn euro in capital over the next two years, however, meaning that as much as â‚¬5bn will be required from sources other than EDF, the French utility group. Much of these additional funds are likely to come from a government-backed capital raising. The French government may have to contribute between 4bn euro and 5bn euro, far more than the 2bn euro to 3bn euro that ministers had hoped for just a few months ago, according to people familiar with the situation, although the exact level of the capital raising was not announced on Thursday.
FT 30th July 2015 read more »
EDF has agreed to take a stake of at least 51% in Areva’s reactor business, according to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the two companies yesterday that sets out the principal terms and conditions of the plan. The MOU provides for EDF to take a majority stake (at least 51%) in Areva NP, the company responsible for equipment and fuel manufacturing, as well as services for reactors. Areva will hold a stake of no more than 25%, allowing the potential participation of other minority partners.
World Nuclear News 30th July 2015 read more »
Up to 500 jobs will be lost at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), the company has announced. The jobs will be cut at the Aldermaston and Burghfield sites in Berkshire, according to the Prospect union. AWE is responsible for making Britain’s Trident nuclear warheads and it also stores nuclear waste from Royal Navy submarines. The company said it was part of plans focused “on improving and streamlining ways of working”. As well as the two sites in Berkshire, AWE has facilities in Blacknest, Hampshire, and Coulport in Scotland. It said in a statement: “While the company is committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies where possible, a reduction of roles in some areas and an increase in others is required to ensure long-term efficiencies while meeting overall programme requirements.”
BBC 30th July 2015 read more »
Get Reading 30th July 2015 read more »
Insider Media 30th July 2015 read more »
Radioactive waste from Sellafield could be used as a fuel to power a new generation of space missions. scientists at the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) in west Cumbria may have come up with the solution: a new kind space battery, powered by a form of nuclear waste called americium 241.Cheaper and far more abundant than plutonium, it has the potential to become the nuclear battery fuel of choice for the future.
Carlisle News & Star 30th July 2015 read more »
A report on the recent meeting between the Independent Review Panel (IRP) and RWM has been compiled by the independent facilitators of the meeting, 3KQ. The meeting was held at the British Academy, London, on 23 June 2015 and part of the National Geological Screening (NGS) exercise. This report aims to capture as closely as possible the essence of a roundtable discussion between the IRP and RWM. The reporting style chosen therefore strikes a balance between reproducing verbatim what each person said and providing an accessible and useful written summary of the discussion.
NDA 29th July 2015 read more »
Environment and conservation groups representing millions of people have written to David Cameron to register their “major concern” at the cancellation or weakening of 10 green polices since he was re-elected. This list of recent policy reversals is shocking, and shows disregard … for the environment we all depend on. The heads of the 10 groups, which include the National Trust, Greenpeace and the RSPB, said they were shocked and worried at the changes, and rated the Conservative government’s track record on nature and climate change as woeful.
Guardian 31st July 2015 read more »
One of the world’s biggest industrial conglomerates has weighed into a row about green energy measures that the Conservative government has watered down or scrapped since it took office. Germany’s Siemens, a top global wind turbine maker which is investing £160m in a Hull factory, has urged ministers to dispel industry concerns about the changes, warning that “doubt and uncertainty discourages investment decisions”. “We hope to see more clarity in some key policy areas soon,” Matthew Knight, head of energy strategy for Siemens in the UK, told the FT. “We need to take energy policy out of party politics so that political risk does not push up the cost of every type of generation.” The company’s comments come as the National Trust takes the unusual step of joining Greenpeace and eight other charities to write to the prime minister about what some signatories said were “shocking” and “short-sighted” policy reversals.
FT 31st July 2015 read more »
The National Trust has been accused of inconsistency after attacking the government for ending wind-farm subsidies while refusing to allow large turbines on or near its land. Dame Helen Ghosh, the trust’s director-general, has joined forces with Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to send a letter to David Cameron criticising him for cancelling green policies, including the “renewable obligation” subsidy scheme for onshore wind. Their letter accuses the government of having “contradictions” between its actions and previous promises on climate change and protecting the natural environment. The letter, also signed by the heads of the RSPB, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Wildlife Trusts, says: “We support your government’s desire to deliver the low-carbon transition in a way that provides the best deal for the Britis h public, but this will be harder to achieve following the decision to withdraw support for two of the most cost effective means of generating clean electricity: wind and solar PV.”
Times 31st July 2015 read more »
Radhealth – Fukushima
The long-term psychological impact of nuclear disasters like the Fukushima incident can be even more damaging to public health than the immediate risk from radiation, experts have said. Those living in the regions affected by nuclear accidents are more likely to suffer post-traumatic stress and depression or to feel stigmatised – problems often exacerbated by overblown estimations of the ongoing radiation risk, researchers said in a special edition of The Lancet medical journal. No-one has died as a result of radiation exposure in Fukushima, Japan, where damage to the nuclear power plant caused by the March 2011 tsunami and the release of large amounts of radioactive material led to the mass evacuation of 170,000 people living within a 30km radius. Although authorities believe increased rates of thyroid cancers could be seen in the future among the most exposed children, a UN report published two years after the accident stated that, otherwise, no substantial increase in future cancer rates is expected as a result of radiation. However evacuees were found to be almost five times more likely than average to have suffered psychological distress. Experts writing in the special edition of The Lancet, published to mark the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks, said that the social and psychological aftermath of a nuclear accident was too often overlooked.
Independent 31st July 2015 read more »
Belfast Telegraph 31st July 2015 read more »
Western Daily Press 31st July 2015 read more »
Reuters 30th July 2015 read more »
The destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011, caused by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami, resulted in massive radioactive contamination of the Japanese mainland. In November 2011, the Japanese Science Ministry reported that long-lived radioactive cesium had contaminated 11,580 square miles (30,000 sq km) of the land surface of Japan. Some 4,500 square miles – an area almost the size of Connecticut – was found to have radiation levels that exceeded Japan’s allowable exposure rate of 1 mSV (millisievert) per year. About a month after the disaster, on April 19, 2011, Japan chose to drastically increase its official “safe” radiation exposure levels from 1 mSv to 20 mSv per year – 20 times higher than the US exposure limit. This allowed the Japanese government to downplay the dangers of the fallout and avoid evacuation of many badly contaminated areas. However, all of the land within 12 miles (20 km) of the destroyed nuclear power plant, encompassing an area of about 230 square miles (600 sq km), and an additional 80 square miles (200 sq km) located northwest of the plant, were declared too radioactive for human habitation. All persons living in these areas were evacuated and the regions were declared to be permanent “exclusion” zones.
Physicians for Social Responsibility (accessed) 31st July 2015 read more »
Family sue Fukushima operator after 102-year old killed himself rather than be evacuated from the village where he had lived his entire life following nuclear disaster.
Daily Mail 31st July 2015 read more »
Released on July 15, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015 (WNISR 2015) is the latest independent assessment of nuclear energy trends in a series first published in 1992. This year’s report comes at a time when most energy and environmental experts shy away from the words “nuclear renaissance” but some view nuclear power as an indispensable substitute for fossil fuels in global efforts to combat climate change. Current trends, however, suggest that a rapid ramp-up of nuclear power is unlikely, and that renewable energy is surging past nuclear power in many countries. Here are a few of the report’s key findings
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 27th July 2015 read more »
An unknown number of Londoners might have been put at risk by the 2006 poisoning of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko with a radioactive isotope, which amounted to “a nuclear attack on the streets” of the British capital, an inquiry heard on Thursday. Kremlin critic Litvinenko died weeks after drinking green tea laced with polonium-210 at London’s plush Millennium hotel.
Business Insider 30th July 2015 read more »
Two Belgian nuclear reactors which were supposed to retire this year at age 40, will remain operational until they are half a century old. Federal energy minister Marie Christine Marghem said the longer lifespan, until 2025, was necessary to ensure security of electricity supply in Belgium. The Belgian government announced that negotiations with energy company Electrabel on the life extension of reactors Doel 1 and 2 have been concluded on Wednesday (29 July). However, critics say that the unexpected U-turn from a previous government’s commitment to close the reactors is putting off investors.
EU Observer 29th July 2015 read more »
Energy Business Review 30th July 2015 read more »
In the first week of June the Czech government adopted an action plan that is supposed to lead to the construction of four new reactors in the country—first in Dukovany and then in Temelín. The government’s decision, however, is not the product of a rational political debate; it is the result of the long-term erosion of responsible governing. Therefore, the Czech Republic can serve as a textbook case of how decisions about the future of energy should not be made.
Heinrich Boll 29th July 2015 read more »
The new hard coal plant going up in Hamm, Germany, is apparently worthless and may never go into operation. In mid-July, German media reported that 23 municipal utilities wanted to sell their stakes in Hamm D and E, which have a collective capacity of 1.6 gigawatts. RWE made them a surprising offer: one euro per municipal for their entire holdings – initially worth 2.5 billion euros In other words, the 2.5 billion euro stake is now worth 23 euros. While Block E went into commercial operation in the summer of 2014, the boiler at Block D faces technical problems and may never go into operation. France’s Alstom built the boiler.
Renewables International 29th July 2015 read more »
Russia’s first point for long term storage of “special” radioactive waste is to be built at the site of the EI-2 uranium graphite weapons-grade plutonium production reactor in Siberia’s closed nuclear city of Seversk by the end of December, Russian news sources reported. The repository will rely on exclusively natural barriers between the environment and some of the most radioactively dangerous waste generated in the history of nuclear weapons production. But scant information on what this barrier will consist of and and how effective it will be have caused doubts about its touted safety among Bellona’s nuclear experts.
Bellona 29th July 2015 read more »
France is the world’s most nuclear dependent country. With 58 nuclear reactors in 19 power stations having a total capacity of 63.2 gigawatts, France is the second largest producer of nuclear energy in the world, second only to the United States. But unlike the U.S., nuclear energy represents France’s largest source of electricity generation, accounting for around 77 percent of the country’s energy generation in 2014. However, in the last few years, France has witnessed growing public support in favor of developing newer technologies that can reduce carbon emissions and replace nuclear power.
Oil Price 30th July 2015 read more »
Creating a 100% RE system will take time and requires a Government-led strategic approach, with some institutional change, but it is possible. Other countries such as Germany, Denmark, Austria and California are already demonstrating how it can be done. Various US States such as NY State are rethinking the very basics of their energy system. China is moving from simply adding capacity to rethinking its institutional and governance basis for an efficient interconnected system. GB can learn from other countries. An important aspect of a 100% RE system are questions related to what do we do when there is no wind and no sun? Parking for another time the question of whether this would ever occur, no wind and no sun might occur for a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours and to some extent for a few days. This is of course no different than if fossil generation does not respond because of extreme cold or if a nuclear power plant suddenly goes down. What matters is that energy systems are developed, operated and managed to ensure reliability. As said above, the building blocks of a reliable energy system are the same whatever the constituent resources which make up that energy system: minimizing the size of the energy system; reducing the peaks; increasing flexibility via demand side response, interconnection and storage.
IGov 31st July 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
The amount of solar power being installed in the UK has largely flatlined since the closure by the government of a subsidy scheme in April, even before a new round of subsidy cuts has taken effect. Official figures released on Thursday show that large-scale solar farm developers rushed to connect to the grid in March to get in before the government excluded farms larger than 5MW, enough to power 2,500 homes, from its renewable obligation (RO) scheme. But installations largely trickled to a halt after April, when the payments were stopped for new farms. Developers of smaller solar farms, those that are less than 5MW, are next in the firing line of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), which has announced a series of attacks on renewable energy since the general election in May. From April 2016, those smaller farms will also no longer be able to access the renewable obligation scheme. Announcing the move last week, energy and climate change secretary, Amber Rudd, said the change was needed to “keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families”.
Guardian 30th July 2015 read more »
A renewable energy company is investigating the possibility of building solar farms at two sites in the Borders. Green Energy UK has examined a 27-acre (11-hectare) site at Newmills Farm, near Lauder. It is also considering a 38-acre (15-hectare) site at Calaburn Farm, near Hawick, for a solar power development. The firm has lodged two separate screening requests with Scottish Borders Council. The maximum output for each solar farm would be five megawatts, according to the reports. The developers said the panels would be connected to the National Grid. They are the latest in a series of solar farms mooted for development in the south of Scotland. Earlier this month the same firm revealed it was exploring the possibility of constructing panels on land about a mile south-east of the centre of Kelso. The developer behind plans to build a 20MW solar farm at the former Baldoon Airfield near Wigtown will hold a public consultation meeting in August.
BBC 30th July 2015 read more »
The UK’s solar output has jumped by a breathtaking 153 per cent, according to new figures from independent energy analyst firm EnAppSys. Analysis of electricity generation data from the second quarter of this year shows solar generation more than doubled in comparison to the same period last year, providing average daily power generation of 1.37GW over the period. Despite solar photovoltaic (PV) panels providing just four per cent of the country’s electricity during the quarter, the report said the growth has caused oversupply to the grid and contributed to periods of negative market prices. The company stated the intermittent nature of renewable energy, which provided 20 per cent of electricity over the period, means coal and gas operators need to be better prepared to switch off when the grid is being oversupplied, in order to avoid inefficiencies and cost penalties.
Business Green 30th July 2015 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
Controversial plans to build one of England’s biggest wind farms near Lincoln have been scrapped as a result of Government changes to give locals a greater say over planning decisions. The proposed Nocton Fen wind farm would have been built on land owned by Sir James Dyson and campaigners feared it could ruin views of Lincoln cathedral. Developer Vattenfall wanted to build 20 turbines each standing up to 149.5 metres tall – the tallest in England, and nearly double the height of the cathedral – under plans described as “ghastly and monstrous” by Lord Cormac, a local resident. The turbines would have had a combined capacity of up to 68 megawatts – equalling the power o f the biggest wind farm in England.
Telegraph 30th July 2015 read more »
The offshore wind industry is set for a bumper 12 months, as the latest figures from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) reveal installations in the first half of this year hit record levels. As several projects reached completion and larger, more powerful turbines were deployed, new installations hit 2,342.9MW, triple the grid-connected capacity added in the same period last year. The surge in new projects makes the first six months of 2015 more successful than any other full year on record, in terms of installed capacity.
Business Green 30th July 2015 read more »
Electricity from renewable sources accounted for almost 20 per cent of total UK power generation in 2014, according to new figures released today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The results show a marked increase in renewable generation from 2013, when renewable sources delivered just under 15 per cent of the UK’s electricity. Onshore wind made up 29 per cent of total renewable electricity generation, while offshore wind contributed a further 21 per cent. Together the two technologies delivered enough electricity in 2014 to power 7.6 million British homes and save 13 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Gordon Edge, policy director for trade body RenewableUK, said the results show wind energy is delivering “the lion’s share” of the UK’s clean electricity. “In the face of this evidence, many will ask why the renewable energy sector has been bombarded by a series of punitive government announcements ever since it took office, including scattergun retrospective changes which will force currently viable energy projects into the red,” he said. “We can only hope that today’s statistics will help to focus minds and make the government think again, so that they can come up with a balanced energy policy that includes encouraging investment in renewables rather than driving business away from the UK.”
Business Green 30th July 2015 read more »
The recent visit of 65 mayors to the Vatican to discuss climate change, among other things, reflects the central role of cities in debates that for too long only took place at the global and national level. By necessity and by their nature, cities are having more success than national or international governments in addressing climate change. The nation state can be both too big to deal with urban issues and too small to affect global affairs. National legislatures, such as the US Congress, whose debates are shaped more by big monied interests than the everyday needs of local citizens, can too often get locked in ideological disputes and policy paralysis. By contrast, the city – and its government – is small enough to connect with citizens and tailor specific polices, while large enough to make a real difference. For that reason, cities are the ideal stage for developing policies and practices of sustainability compared with global and the national bodies. There is also growing competition among cities. As the world globalises, cities are assessed by international standards in the competition for investment, skilled people and creative industries. Cities need to respond to the demands of an increasingly mobile and ecologically aware capital and global talent pool. Cities are now ranked, compared and assessed by the greenness of their environment and their success in moving toward more sustainable policies.
City Metric 27th July 2015 read more »
Ministers have been told they may have to wait at least 16 months before learning whether fracking will be allowed in Lancashire, in a severe blow to the government’s energy plans. Civil servants are concerned that the appeal process against a decision to reject applications at two sites in the county will not conclude until November 2016 at the earliest. David Cameron and his ministers have become increasingly frustrated by the ruling because they believe that fracking must go ahead in Lancashire if other energy firms are to take on campaigners across the UK.
Guardian 30th July 2015 read more »
Independent 31st July 2015 read more »
Fife Council has gone to war with the Scottish Government, demanding ministers “come clean” over plans to ignite coal reserves under the Forth. A rallying call has gone out to MSPs to back Fife Council’s bid to make the Scottish Government include plans for underground coal gasification in the Forth in its moratorium on fracking. The plea comes amid growing confusion over the Government’s stance on the ban on unconventional oil and gas developments. Cluff Natural Resources is the firm behind the contentious plans for the Forth, wanting to convert millions of tonnes of coal under the seabed to gas under the UCG process. It emerged its boss, Algy Cluff, had warned the Government – a day after the moratorium – that plans to invest more than £250 million in the Forth scheme were at risk. It was also revealed Alex Neil confirmed to Cluff the moratorium did not apply to offshore underground gasification of coal. The correspondence saw a backlash from environmentalists, with WWF Scotland director Lang Banks saying: “No company should ever be allowed to hold Scottish Ministers or Scotland’s environment to ransom like this.”
Dundee Courier 30th June 2015 read more »