Rolls-Royce will in the “coming weeks” announce the consortium it has formed to launch a small modular reactor in the UK, a spokesman for the British company told World Nuclear News today. The consortium could provide a £100 billion ($1.28 billion) boost to the UK economy because the companies involved are either UK-owned or have a strong UK presence, the spokesman added. Last November, the UK government announced plans to invest at least £250 million over the next five years in a nuclear research and development program including a competition to identify the best value SMR design for the UK. The first phase of that competition, a call for initial expressions of interest, was launched in March. It has also announced that an SMR Delivery Roadmap will be published later this year. Rolls-Royce has submitted a paper to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, outlining its plan to develop a fleet of 7 GWe of SMRs with its consortium, the spokesman said.
World Nuclear News 3rd Oct 2016 read more »
SDLP MP for South Down, Margaret Ritchie, has called on the Prime Minister to reconsider the development of a new nuclear power station at Moorside, near Sellafield, as the site investigation work reaches its final stages in anticipation of a full project design. Speaking to Newry Times, Ritchie said, “From staff shortages to the unsafe storage of radioactive materials, BBC’s Panorama exposed a catalogue of safety hazards at Sellafield. “Yet, just weeks later, the path is being cleared to establish a new site at Moorside, which is next door to Sellafield. “The existing site at Sellafield is only 50 miles across the Irish Sea from my constituency of South Down and the possibility of yet another site in Moorside, and all of the accompanying safety risks this poses, should ring alarm bells for the Executive. “The government’s focus should be shifting to a policy of an accelerated nuclear decommissioning process and the establishment of secure, long-term containment strategy for the existing nuclear waste sitting in Sellafield,” she insisted.
Newry Times 4th Oct 2016 read more »
History is in danger of repeating itself, with plans in the UK to build at least three new reactor types, as well as plans for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) that are commercially unproven. Nuclear economics has always been a hotly debated topic for SPRU’s Professor Gordon MacKerron, who was critical of the government’s optimistic cost appraisals for nuclear new builds in the 1980s and 1990s. Professor MacKerron explains that increases in costs, due to more complex reactor design and higher safety standards, are not offset by cost reductions achieved through experience. In addition to nuclear economics, the handling of nuclear waste is another highly contentious area. In 2013, Cumbria County Council rejected an application for the siting of a geological waste disposal facility – an indisputable knock to public acceptability of an ambitious nuclear new build program. With the UK being one of few countries to construct nuclear-propelled submarines, research undertaken by Professor Andy Stirling, Emily Cox and Dr Johnstone at SPRU finds that workforce skills for the civilian and defence sectors in the UK appear to have some degree of mutual dependency. Sustaining the skills needed for nuclear submarines could therefore provide some explanation for the strength of the UK‘s commitment to nuclear new builds, while other (non-nuclear submarine) European countries, such as Germany, are moving to phase out nuclear. The differing democratic qualities of Germany and the UK have also been identified as a key factor in understanding the very different decisions taken by the two countries.
SPRU 28th Oct 2016 read more »
A recent COMARE report on child cancers near NPPs was published on the day after the Government committed the UK to a new nuclear power station. This was not a coincidence: it is a prime example among many of nuclear policy-led science. We should have science-led policies but these rarely, if ever, occur on nuclear matters. The report downplays radioactive releases from NPPs as an explanation for the nearby raised levels of cancers. Instead it champions the Kinlen hypothesis. Since 1988, Professor Kinlen has been suggesting that increases in childhood cancers near nuclear facilities are due to an infective, perhaps viral, agent arising from the influx of new workers to rural areas. But most scientists throughout the world discredit this theory because of its myriad problems and inconsistencies. First, the idea leads to the expectation of a sharp rise in leukaemia incidence, followed by a decline as the situation settles down. However at Dounreay and Sellafield most of the leukemias arose several decades after the population influxes. In addition, increased leukemias and NHLs continued long after the influxes had stopped and indeed were STILL occuring as recently measured in the 2000s, and are probably still arising today, were the Government to release all the relevant and most recent data. Second, for the hypothesis to be true the leukaemias should occur in the indigenous population and not in the migrants. In fact, at Sellafield, the reverse is mainly the case. Third, the theory does not explain why leukemias have arisen near nuclear facilities without population influxes, eg Aldermaston and dozens of reactors in other countries. Fourth, and most tellingly, no infective agent or virus has ever been found despite intensive research over many decades.
Ian Fairlie 3rd Oct 2016 read more »
Russia has suspended an agreement with the US on the disposal of surplus weapons-grade plutonium, the latest sign of worsening bilateral relations. In a decree, President Vladimir Putin accused the US of creating “a threat to strategic stability, as a result of unfriendly actions” towards Russia. Moscow also set pre-conditions for the US for the deal to be resumed. Under the 2000 deal, each side is supposed to get rid of 34 tonnes of plutonium by burning it in reactors. It is part of cuts to nuclear forces. The US state department said the combined 68 tonnes of plutonium was “enough material for approximately 17,000 nuclear weapons”. Both sides had reconfirmed the deal in 2010.
BBC 3rd Oct 2016 read more »
Reuters 3rd Oct 2016 read more »
A THURSO mum-of-four was among protesters who gathered at the airport in Wick yesterday, calling for an end to the transatlantic movements of bomb-grade nuclear material from Dounreay. Kerry Montgomery was joined by far north MP Paul Monaghan and individuals from Skerray and Muir of Ord to make their voices heard in the demonstration organised by Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (HANT). They are furious at the secrecy and lack of consultation which surrounded a flight which left on Saturday morning with the first consignment of highly enriched uranium from the atom plant. The operation to transfer 700 kilos of the fuel to the Savannah River complex in South Carolina over the next 18 months has been facilitated by an £8 million upgrade of the runway.
John O Groat Journal 26th Sept 2016 read more »
NUCLEAR chiefs need to use two Scottish airports to transport deadly waste to the US – because the first airstrip isn’t big enough. Authorities spent £8 million of taxpayers’ money upgrading Wick John O’Groats Airport in Caithness this summer to fly high-grade nuclear waste to America. The waste deal concocted by former Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama meant highly enriched uranium – the basic building block for making a nuclear bomb – was to be flown from Wick to the US in return for “medical grade” uranium to make radio isotopes for detecting cancer. Airport bosses say they “strengthened” the runway over the summer so it could cope with heavy load planes. But they didn’t extend it. It’s now been revealed that the airstrip is too short for a plane carrying nuclear waste and a full tank of fuel to take off from the remote airport. Instead, on September 17, transport chiefs were forced to re-route the C-17 Globemaster jet to RAF Lossiemouth in Moray to fill up its tank before heading to the States on its secretive maiden voyage. Insiders at the base say they have been told the practice is set to be extended for the next year at least. It means the deadly nuclear cargo will take off and land on the outskirts of the Moray town as well as in Wick.
Sunday Post 2nd Oct 2016 read more »
Peter Strachan & Alex Russell: With its choice for Hinkley Point C – a £100 billion boondoggle– its enthusiastic support for expensive and environmentally harmful fracking, and its relentless attack on renewable energy, the UK government’s energy policy is both morally and economically bankrupt, write Peter Strachan, Professor of Energy Policy at the Robert Gordon University, and Alex Russell, Professor and Chair of the Oil Industry Finance Committee. Westminster must reconsider this folly, which will be a disaster for the Conservative party, and embrace the renewable energy transition that can lead us into a clean and economically healthy future.
Renew Economy 4th Oct 2016 read more »
A BOEING 737 enters UK airspace posing as a Russian civilian airliner, crossing Europe and the Channel without arousing any suspicion. Once over British soil it heads for London, where it drops from its cruising altitude of 37,000ft to around 30,000ft before a nuclear device stored in the hold is detonated over the capital. This is the terrifying sequence of events that aviation chiefs have been warned to protect against at an annual airport security conference in London. Groups like Islamic State may lack the technology, know-how and finances to mount such an audacious attack. But nuclear powers such as North Korea have their sights firmly set on an attack of that scale and ferocity. According to Dr Sally Leivesley, a UK-based specialist in catastrophic and extreme risk, the scenario is a potential security risk to the West. She said terrorists and pariah states were using “new tactics on planes” and warned that there was little that could be done to detect a suspicious jet masquerading as a normal airliner.
Express 3rd Oct 2016 read more »
North Korea sees a surge in deformed babies and radiation deaths as Kim Jong-un’s nuclear bomb tests claim their first lives – his own people
Daily Mail 3rd Oct 2016 read more »
My readers will forgive that a rather lengthy absence from this blog has meant that I have not updated my global renewable energy statistics yet with numbers for the full year 2015, most of which have been out for a few months. The numbers which are available maintain earlier trends, namely a stagnation in Western Europe (with the notable exception of Denmark), substantial installation volumes in China and the United States, which unfortunately do not bring these nations to Western European levels, but also progress in other regions. But first, for those of you not familiar with my statistics, a few notes on my frame. I look at non-hydro renewable energy in the electricity sector, because this is where the transformation is mostly taking place at present, and because electricity is the strategic sector for transforming all other energy systems away from fossil fuels.
Energy Media & Society 4th Oct 2016 read more »
The Scientific Alliance has published the second paper by Dr Capell Aris and Colin Gibson analysing the National Grid’s latest Future Energy Scenarios study. These two highly experienced experts conclude that continued expansion of renewable energy would be considerably more expensive than building more gas or nuclear capacity in the medium term.
Scottish Energy News 4th Oct 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
The UK’s solar panels generated more electricity than coal across the past six months combined, Carbon Brief analysis shows, rounding off a historic half-year of firsts. Saturday 9 April 2016 was the first-ever day where more electricity was generated in the UK by solar than by coal. May 2016 was the first-ever month. The three months from June through to September was the first-ever quarter. And now the six months to September is the first half year. These firsts reflect the changing face of UK electricity supplies, with solar capacity having nearly doubled during 2015. They also reflect historic lows for coal-fired generation, driven by changes in wholesale energy markets and the carbon price floor. Carbon Brief runs through the numbers.
Carbon Brief 4th Oct 2016 read more »
A new report commissioned by the Solar Trade Association debunks the myth that it is not cost-effective to integrate sun power into National Grid. The Aurora Energy analysis – published today to coincide with the UK Tory party conference, where all energies routinely lobby the government – shows that the cost of integrating solar into the power system, including ‘back-up’, is negligible at only £1.30 per MWh, or less than 2% of the costs of solar. This report quantifies for the first time the negligible cost of integrating solar into the UK power market, both today and in a 2030 scenario where solar provides over 10% of British electricity.
Scottish Energy News 4th Oct 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Innovation improvements surrounding the design, maintenance, construction and operations of European offshore windfarms could cut associated energy costs by a third in the next 15 years, a new report from sustainable innovation engine KIC InnoEnergy has found.
Edie 3rd Oct 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
The Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project has launched a tender for the design and construction of a new £22 million Turbine Manufacturing and Pre-Assembly Plant. The 100m long Turbine Manufacturing and Pre-Assembly Plant at Swansea Bay will receive major turbine components from manufacturers, with all machining and pre-assembly of the 16 turbines required taking place on site. The facility will initially employ up to 100 skilled workers, with an additional 150 project workers.
Utility Week 3rd Oct 2016 read more »