An alliance, including Greenpeace, is appealing the European Commission’s decision to approve subsidies for the British nuclear power plant, Hinkley Point C. Germany’s Bundestag is voting this evening on whether to follow suit.
PV Magazine 2nd July 2015 read more »
A group of ten German and Austrian renewable energy suppliers and municipalities plans to file a lawsuit against European Commission approval of state aid for the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in the UK. Energy cooperative Greenpeace Energy, Energieversorgung Filstal, Oekostrom AG and the municiapilities of Aalen, Bietigheim-Bissingen, Bochum, Mainz, Mühlacker, Schwäbisch Hall and Tübingen announced their intention to file a plea for annulment with the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg. According to their statement dated 2 July, the filing will take place within days. The group, which refers to itself as the Action Alliance, alleges that EDF’s proposed EPR plant at Hinkley Point and proposed nuclear power plants in Europe, could affect German electricity prices by up to 12% and “massively distort” competition. They say that the European Commission’s October 2014 approval of UK plans to support the project through long-term price guarantees – known as contracts-for-difference – sets a precedent for future nuclear projects.
World Nuclear News 3rd July 2015 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) reads with alarm a report by the independent group Green Alliance claiming the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) could see as much as 90% of its staffing budget cut within the next three years. NFLA seriously question any claim to be the ‘greenest government in political history’ if such changes occur. The detailed study by the Green Alliance suggests that, with the ring fencing of health, education and development budgets, other departments face an 11.6% cut over the next five years. With the large majority of DECC’s funding going on fixed items like nuclear decommissioning – indeed NFLA would argue the Department’s name should be rather called the Department of Nuclear Decommissioning, Energy and Climate Change to emphasise its actual priorities – such a cut could only be taken on by severely reducing DECC’s staffing budget.
NFLA 3rd July 2015 read more »
The European Union’s nuclear industry has failed to draw lessons from the Fukushima plant disaster and adopt safety measures, environmental advocacy group Greenpeace said Monday.
Sputnik News 29th June 2015 read more »
It is often quoted that Fukushima will produce “No discernible changes in future cancer rates and hereditary diseases”. This quote is from the UNSCEAR report on the Fukushima1. While other reports2 go into various criticisms of the UNSCEAR report this post is about what that phrase actually means. This post is not about whether this statement from UNSCEAR are correct or not. “No discernible changes” does not mean that there will be no changes or those changes are not important. UNSCEAR actually states: “the Committee has used the phrase “no discernible increase” to express the idea that currently available methods would most likely not be able to demonstrate an increased incidence in disease statistics due to radiation exposure. This does not rule out the possibility of future excess cases or disregard the suffering associated with any such cases should they occur.” However, this is not clear much of the press coverage of the report and many people (including several comments left on this blog) mistakenly believe that ‘No discernible changes’ means that there is no effect.
Peter Lux 3rd July 2015 read more »
[Human Translation] Fire at the Paluel nuclear power plant near Dieppe in Normandy. The Paluel nuclear power plant, which was to start the “Grand Carenage” large-scale works to extend the operating life of the entire French nuclear fleet, has been affected by fire with serious consequences. As part of its 3rd year inspection, a fire broke out during cutting work inside a condenser in the nuclear plant, due to insufficient precautions to prevent material from igniting. It took 71 firefighters more than 6 hours to “control” the fire, but firefighters are still faced with considerable amounts of molten metal which remains at very high temperatures. Such a prolonged fire with melted metal, is a rare event that underlines the seriousness of the problem. In view of the damage and replacement costs (it is likely that the fire damaged other equipment) – we should now be pressing for the reactor not to be restarted! The fire follows two evacuations in the space of a week at the Blayais nuclear power plant, (near Bordeaux) following repeated failures of a containment lock. This leaked radioactive dust and contaminated 11 people. Again, this occurred during maintenance work in anticipation of reactor extensions when necessary precautions were not taken. These examples demonstrate that EDF’s “Grand Carenage” is in fact going badly awry. According to the Nuclear Safety Authority, EDF is already overwhelmed by the maintenance operations it has planned itself, so how does it pretend to manage large-scale often unpublished work at several plants at once? And under what conditions will all this work? Nuclear workers are already warning of the dangerous radiation exposures they face, so does EDF plan to expose them to more risks … or use new untrained recruits, when new defects arise? With these setbacks, there is no doubt that the 55 billion euros originally planned by EDF for this operation will be exceeded by some margin. Apart from certain sensitive pieces which cannot be replaced, the patching up of the reactors is unlikely to result in substantial improvements in their safety. And the work will be carried out at the cost of high exposures, contaminations and shameful amounts of radioactive waste. That effort would be more usefully invested in renewable energies and energy saving. Rather than carry out this unnecessary, expensive and dangerous patching up, we must urgently phase out nuclear power, beginning with the shutdown of all reactors aged over 30 years.
Sortir du Nucleaire 2nd July 2015 read more »
German nuclear availability is set to drop to a year-low 6.5 GW for the coming two weeks, which could turn out to be the hottest weeks so far this year, with only five reactors available due to planned maintenance and the final decommissioning of the Grafenrheinfeld reactor, plant operator data shows. E.ON’s Isar 2, RWE’s Gundremmingen C and EnBW’s Philippsburg 2 nuclear power plants will all be offline for their annual maintenance outages during weeks 28 and 29 amid a European heat wave setting new temperatures records early July. The 1.3 GW Gundremmingen C reactor will be taken offline Friday for its annual maintenance stop, scheduled until August 3, RWE said on its own transparency website.
Platts 3rd July 2015 read more »
On 1st July 2015, the German government agreed to introduce a new strategic reserve instead of the previously-proposed climate levy. The financial markets saw this as a successful result for the aggressive lobbying strategy of energy utility RWE, with the group’s shares seeing an immediate increase in value of [5%]. Instead of facing additional costs for its dirtiest lignite power stations, RWE will now be paid by German taxpayers to withdraw these plants from the market. If introduced, this approach would perversely reward RWE for its past record of economic mismanagement and opposition to climate policies and energy market reforms. But the European Commission still needs to consider whether the strategic reserve is compatible with regulations that limit state aid to failing companies. The Commission must therefore scrutinise RWE’s recent activities.
E3G 2nd July 2015 read more »
E3G 3rd July 2015 read more »
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday that if the provisions by utilities for shutting down nuclear power plants were not sufficient, the government needed to discuss asking the companies to make further payments. Gabriel also said that Berlin wanted to rule out quickly by law the possibility for utilities to reduce their financial liability regarding the de-nuclearisation of the country.
Reuters 3rd July 2015 read more »
Iran’s nuclear deal – the toughest of challenges.
BBC 4th July 2015 read more »
Iran’s foreign minister has used a YouTube posting to say a comprehensive agreement over its nuclear programme has never been closer.
BBC 4th July 2015 read more »
TALKS on Iran’s nuclear energy programme stalled yesterday as the United States moved the goalposts, while Israel’s prime minister likened Iran to Islamic State (Isis). International Atomic Energy Agency director General Yukiya Amano said meetings with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had resulted in a “better understanding on some ways forward,” but that “more work will be needed.” US negotiators have complicated the talks by insisting that Iran allow an investigation into alleged secret nuclear arms programmes.
Morning Star 4th July 2015 read more »
The United States and Iran are making a genuine effort to overcome the toughest hurdles still blocking a deal to curtail the Iranian nuclear programme, John Kerry has said.
Guardian 3rd July 2015 read more »
The Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands is a hulking legacy of years of US nuclear testing. Now locals and scientists are warning that rising sea levels caused by climate change could cause 111,000 cubic yards of debris to spill into the ocean.
Guardian 3rd July 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
SOLAR power yesterday supplied 16 per cent of the UK’s electricity as the country basked in sunshine, according to industry estimates. An increase in the amount of solar panels and the glorious sunshine meant that solar arrays from large farms to home roof panels yesterday helped to raise the amount it contributes to meet the country’s energy needs. to what is thought to be a record level. The most recent official figures show more than 40,000 Scottish homes have photovoltaic solar systems installed. There is a similar number in Wales, but more than 500,000 in England. Despite having less than 10 per cent of the capacity, homes in parts of Scotland were the top producers of solar power across the country in the past few days. A report from the renewables website WeatherEnergy showed solar-powered households in Inverness, Wick and the Aberdeen region would have p roduced massive surpluses of energy due to the sunny conditions on Thursday.
Scotsman 4th July 2015 read more »
Doug Parr: A member of Ofgem’s Sustainable Development Advisory Committee (unpaid, unless you count a free cup of coffee and croissant). At last week’s meeting the agenda consisted of discussions around, particularly, responses to big increases in ‘distributed generation’ – in other words smaller scale generation that is not like the large stations powered by coal and nuclear that have historically been the bedrock of our electricity system. The increase in distributed generation comes from, but is not confined to, renewables like solar. In the South West, solar PV connected to the distribution system or in process of doing already amounts to nearly 2.6GW peak, while minimum summer demand in that region is less that 1GW. The issue is that the system of substations, switchgear and other electrical equipment is configured entirely on the basis that it would be spreading power out after it was shipped down from the Midlands and the North, and it cannot easily send power the other way. Or at least not without spending a fair bit of cash. One can only hope that when the Competition and Markets Authority report next week on the future structure of the power and gas markets, they don’t provide a solution which only operates with last century thinking, but something that works for the rapidly changing new system.
Energydesk 3rd July 2015 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News: 10GW of solar by 2016; Cumbria dairy farm adds biogas to grid; council houses in Blackpool and South Cambridge solarised.
Microgen Scotland 3rd July 2015 read more »
Governments must rethink plans for new coal-fired power plants around the world, as these are now the “most urgent” threat to the future of the planet, the head of the OECD has warned. In unusually strong terms for the organisation – best known as a club of the world’s richest countries – its secretary general Angel Gurria, told governments to think “twice, or three, or four times” before allowing new coal-fired plants to go ahead.
Guardian 3rd July 2015 read more »
Germany agreed on Thursday to mothball about five of the country’s largest brown coal power plants to meet its climate goals by 2020, after months of wrangling between the parties in chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition. But Merkel and the leaders of her two junior coalition partners also, in effect, agreed to set up a “capacity reserve” system where utilities could switch on the brown coal plants if there were power shortages in the country.
Guardian 2nd July 2015 read more »
The campaign to start a British fracking industry is to shift across the Pennines, with an application yesterday in North Yorkshire for the first of up to 50 wells. Third Energy applied to North Yorkshire county council to hydraulically fracture a well at an existing conventional gas extraction site at Kirby Misperton near the Flamingo Land theme park in the Ryedale district. It hopes that the application will be considered by the council’s planning committee in October and, if approved, fracking could start before Christmas. A pro-fracking group has been launched by local residents, who believe that Lancashire’s loss, after it rejected Cuadrilla’s application this week, will be Yorkshire’s gain.
Times 4th July 2015 read more »