There is no excuse for EDF Energy now delaying the final investment decision (FID) on the construction of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station, following the Anglo-French summit, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Friday 4 March). Yesterday’s summit between prime minister David Cameron and President Francois Hollande reiterated that Hinkley Point C was a major strategic project and a pillar of the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Unite 4th Feb 2016 read more »
Project promoter EDF Energy is “devoted” to making a decision on the long-awaited Hinkley Point C new nuclear project, a statement from the French and UK governments has insisted.
New Civil Engineer 4th Mar 2016 read more »
Construction delays to Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant have prompted calls for the government to draw up a Plan B in case it never gets built. The Labour Party’s shadow energy secretary, Lisa Nandy, said the future of nuclear power in the UK country could not just be about the new plant, due to be built in Somerset by French energy giant EDF. EDF extended the generating lifespan of four of its nuclear power plants last month by up to seven years amid rumours that it is struggling to find the cash to pay for Hinkley Point C. A communique issued after a Franco-British summit on Thursday attended by the leaders of both countries said: “France and the United Kingdom welcome the major progress made in recent months with a view to confirming the project to build two EPR reactors on the Hinkley Point site. Meanwhile, the government has announced that solar panels which use the sun to heat water will no longer receive subsidies. The industry has reacted furiously to the move to do away with support for new solar thermal schemes from next year under the renewable heat incentive (RHI), which aims to boost the use of clean technology to provide heating and hot water.
Engineering & Technology 4th March 2016 read more »
Nuclear Fantasyland……“Curiouser and curiouser!” said Alice
David Lowry’s Blog 4th March 2016 read more »
The Government has been urged to draw up a Plan B in case a new nuclear power station planned at Hinkley Point is never built, according to Labour. Shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy said the future of nuclear power in this country could not just be about the new plant due to be built in Somerset by French energy giant EDF. A communique issued after a Franco-British summit on Thursday attended by Prime Ministers of the two countries said: “France and the United Kingdom welcome the major progress made in recent months with a view to confirming the project to build two EPR reactors on the Hinkley Point site. Ms Nandy will tell a meeting of the Women in Nuclear organisation that there should be cheaper ways of building nuclear power stations in the future. “French, Chinese, American, Canadian and Japanese companies are racing ahead with new nuclear designs, including Molten Salt Reactors, Heavy Water Reactors, and Fast Reactors.
Energy Voice 4th March 2016 read more »
DAVID Cameron and Francois Hollande reaffirmed their support for nuclear power at the 34th Franco-British Summit on Thursday. The two countries, who are working in co-operation with the Chinese on a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, released a joint statement emphasising the crucial role nuclear power and saying the Final Investment Decision would be announced in the ‘near future’. The statement reads: “France and the United Kingdom welcome the major progress made in recent months with a view to confirming the project to build two EPR reactors on the Hinkley Point site.
This is the West Country 4th March 2016 read more »
Westinghouse – SMRs
The company which employs more than 1,000 nuclear industry workers on the Fylde has taken a significant step on the road to making a new style of power plant. Westinghouse has signed a deal to work with the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield. It mean they will collaborate on exploring the most effective way to manufacture Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor (SMR) reactor pressure vessels in the UK. The UK has fallen behind in cutting edge nuclear design over the past decade but Westinghouse believes that by designing the SMR here it can make use of its already established UK expertise and allow the country to get back to the cutting edge of commercial nuclear power. It said the Nuclear AMRC will provide a professional, independent assessment of the current Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor RPV design, and determine an optimal manufacturing solution.
Blackpool Gazette 4th March 2016 read more »
The Conservative government’s overhaul of renewable energy subsidies has spooked investors and could add as much as £120 extra to average household bills, a select committee report has found. The damning report concludes the Energy and Climate Change select committee’s examination of investor confidence which started last September as a result of a string of cuts to renewable subsidies, many of them related to solar. Its findings also appear to directly contradict the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) much-vaunted aim of protecting bill payers from increased costs.
Solar Portal 3rd March 2016 read more »
A growing number of investor groups, politicians and climate change organisations have added further weight to a report out today criticising the government’s changes to energy policy since May 2015. The Energy and Climate Change (ECC) select committee has concluded its inquiry into investor confidence in the UK energy sector with the publication of a report claiming the recent overhaul of UK policy has impacted investor confidence and risks adding £120 to consumer bills. Octopus Investments, which took part in the ECC committee’s inquiry, Chief executive of the company Simon Rogerson said: “Constant changes to policy has made the UK a less attractive place to invest in energy infrastructure. We need to get a more transparent and stable policy environment that gives investors long-term clarity.
Solar Portal 3rd March 2016 read more »
Andrew Simms: Energy UK, the trade association representing the big six energy suppliers, has in welcome – if belated – fashion come out in favour of a large-scale shift to low-carbon, renewable energy. Their desire to not be left behind might seem rather academic, as they already have been – both by a warming climate and countries whose embrace of renewable energy is far advanced. Their report on pathways to 2030 is littered with the buzzwords for a more sustainable energy system. It looks at everything from more decentralised energy generation to a “whole systems” approach, energy efficiency and even “reducing energy demand”. Contrary to previous official expectations of rising demand, it expects demand to remain roughly stable, but describes an otherwise substantially changing energy market overseen by uncertain government policies that threaten the investment needed for transformation. Denmark, as a small nation, provides in microcosm a classic example. An incentive scheme brought communities and investors together creating both grassroots support and a secure investment environment. In two decades from 1983, 3GW of wind energy capacity were installed. By 2014 wind power was providng 39% of Danish electricity.
Guardian 4th March 2016 read more »
The company behind plans for a new nuclear power plant on Anglesey has appointed a chief executive. Duncan Hawthorne will push forward Horizon Nuclear Power’s Wylfa Newydd project. He has been the boss at nuclear energy generator Bruce Power in Canada for 15 years. Mr Hawthorne said Horizon had “ambitious plans for the future” with projects on Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire. Alan Raymant remains in place as chief operating officer at Horizon Nuclear Power which was acquired by Hitachi in November 2012.
BBC 4th March 2016 read more »
World Nuclear News 4th March 2016 read more »
NFLA New Nuclear Monitor 40: NFLA Welsh Forum submission to Welsh Select Committee on the future of nuclear power in Wales.
NFLA 4th March 2016 read more »
The Big Six energy companies are bracing themselves for a renewed assault on their power next week. The Competition and Markets Authority, which is examining whether consumers are being overcharged for gas and electricity, is set to unveil “provisional remedies” on Thursday. The proposals are expected to boost independent suppliers such as First Utility, GB Energy and Utilita by levelling the playing field with British Gas, SSE and EDF Energy. The authority, which claimed last year that families collectively were overpaying up to £1.2 billion a year, is expected to stop short of breaking up the industry’s giants, but it is likely to recommend a package of measures designed to intensify competition. It may force the Big Six to open up their databases so that rivals can view their customers and offer more competitive products. It may also insist that they send out bills more often and offer better and clearer information about possible tariffs.
Times 4th March 2016 read more »
The Future of the Electricity Utilities. From: Catherine Mitchell To: The Future of the Electricity Utilities Project, Asian Stakeholder Meeting, British Consulate, Hong Kong – 3rd March 2016 Outline: What are the drivers for change within energy systems?; Is Europe an outlier?; NY REV as an example of ‘new’ regulatory thinking; Can we expect drivers for change to spread around the globe?; What implications does this have for governance?; What are the implications of this for Asia?
IGov 3rd March 2016 read more »
It’s a common paradox. Why is it that some people fear using cellphones believing radiation from the device will cause a brain tumor, but will gladly have a whole body CT scan to check for diseases without any signs or symptoms of anything wrong? Why do others fear microwave ovens, but have no issue with the nearby nuclear power plant that provides electricity for their kitchens? The answer is that most people do not understand radiation in a way that allows them to make an accurate assessment of its health risks, says a Georgetown University Medical Center radiation expert, Timothy J. Jorgensen, PhD, MPH. It was this lack of public understanding about radiation that led Jorgensen to write Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation, out March 9 (Princeton University Press).
Medical News 4h March 2016 read more »
New Reactor Types
Nuclear energy evangelists, seeing in it a carbon-free source of electricity that works whether or not the sun shines or the wind blows, are turning to China as a place to try out experimental designs. Among them is Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, who is chairman of TerraPower, a Bellevue, Washington startup developing what it calls a “travelling wave reactor.”
Quartz 1st March 2016 read more »
Japan’s prime minister at the time of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has revealed that the country came within a “paper-thin margin” of a nuclear disaster requiring the evacuation of 50 million people. In an interview with The Telegraph to mark the fifth anniversary of the tragedy, Naoto Kan described the panic and disarray at the highest levels of the Japanese government as it fought to control multiple meltdowns at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. He said he considered evacuating the capital, Tokyo, along with all other areas within 160 miles of the plant, and declaring martial law. “The future existence of Japan as a whole was at stake,” he said. “Something on that scale, an evacuation of 50 million, it would have been like a losing a huge war.”
Telegraph 4th March 2016 read more »
Shaun Burnie: The decision this week to indict executives of Japan’s largest energy utility, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), for their failure to prevent the meltdown of three reactors at Fukushima Daiichi is a major step forward for the people of Japan. The fact that this criminal prosecution is taking place at all is a vindication for the thousands of citizens and their dedicated lawyers who are challenging the nation’s largest power company and the establishment system. It is a devastating blow to the obsessively pro-nuclear Abe government, which is truly fearful of the effects the trial will have on nuclear policy and public opinion over the coming years. For the eight other nuclear power companies in Japan, including their executives, the signal is clear – ignore nuclear safety and there is every prospect that when the next nuclear accident happens at your plant you will end up in court. For an industry that disregarded safety violations and falsified inspection results through its entire existence, the prosecution of TEPCO will be shocking. Nuclear power is a financial disaster which will only get worse as the electricity market opens to new suppliers and renewable energies out-price them. And the vast majority in Japan realize this: 60 percent of Japanese are opposed to the phase-in of nuclear, and there are more than 300 lawyers fighting reactor by reactor to prevent restart on behalf of citizens. At this rate, the Abe government and the nuclear industry will never see the target of 35 reactors restarted by 2030. The criminal prosecution of TEPCO, long in coming, is another step in the process to end nuclear power in Japan and for a transformation of its energy system to renewables.
The Diplomat 4th March 2016 read more »
Mutations and DNA changes caused by the Fukushima nuclear crisis are starting to be seen in surrounding forests, warn campaigners Greenpeace has warned the environmental impact of the Fukushima nuclear crisis five years ago on nearby forests is just beginning to be seen and will remain a source of contamination for years to come. As the fifth anniversary of the disaster approaches, Greenpeace said signs of mutations in trees and DNA-damaged worms were beginning to appear, while ‘vast stocks of radiation’ mean that forests cannot be decontaminated. In a report, Greenpeace cited ‘apparent increases in growth mutations of fir trees… heritable mutations in pale blue grass butterfly populations’ as well as ‘DNA-damaged worms in highly contaminated areas’, it said. The report came as the government intends to lift many evacuation orders in villages around the Fukushima plant by March 2017, if its massive decontamination effort progresses as it hopes. For now, only residential areas are being cleaned in the short-term, and the worst-hit parts of the countryside are being omitted, a recommendation made by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Daily Mail 4th March 2016 read more »
Five years after the 11 March 2011 Fukushima accident, which put Japan’s nuclear power industry under intense scrutiny, official policy is still a shambles. In June 2011, the then prime minister Naoto Kan announced that Japan was phasing out nuclear power in the long run only to backtrack a few days later. Current Prime Minster Shinzo Abe announced a restart of all reactors within three years in his 2013 New Year’s Address. But after prolonged energy policy deliberations a new Basic Energy Plan published in 2014 still failed, for the first time ever, to include numerical targets for Japan’s future energy mix. A look at the reactors that have submitted safety review applications reveal that the future profitability of the plant is a major consideration for operators. There is a clear trend toward submitting applications for younger reactors with a large generation capacity — in other words, those that exhibit the highest chance of generating enough profit in the future to make the necessary investments worthwhile. It is questionable whether the same utilities will submit safety review applications for older and generally smaller reactors, which require more updates and have a shorter remaining life span. It is also unlikely that review applications will be submitted for the four reactors at Fukushima Daini as it lies within the 20 kilometre exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant. If Japan is to meet its goal of generating 20–22 per cent of its power through nuclear energy by 2030 it needs to reopen 30 reactors. So far only 25 reactor review applications have been submitted to the NRA. In terms of power generation capacity, the 25 reactors currently under review amount to about half of the installed capacity available prior to the Fukushima accident. Five years after the Fukushima accident, and three years after Prime Minister Abe announced a restart of all reactors, Japanese nuclear power policy is still in a state of disarray.
East Asia Forum 3rd March 2016 read more »
Mhairi Black: Transport of nuclear warheads? It’s going down a bad road.
The National 5th March 2016 read more »
US – Radwaste
A crowd of at least 300 people broke into loud applause Tuesday night when residents called on Estill County’s top elected official to shut down a dump that state officials say accepted illegal radioactive waste from outside Kentucky for five months last year. Florida-based Advanced Disposal, which operates the landfill, “breached the community trust” not only by accepting the low-level nuclear waste from out-of-state oil and gas drilling operations, but also by accepting any waste at all from another state in violation of an agreement with Estill County, said Michael Wilson.
Courier Journal 2nd March 2016 read more »
France – Fessenheim
Germany demanded Friday that France close down its oldest nuclear plant, Fessenheim, near the German and Swiss borders — just one of several ageing atomic plants that are unsettling France’s neighbours. German media charged that a 2014 incident at the 1970s-era plant was more grave than earlier reported, with water disabling an electrical control system and forcing operators to launch an emergency reactor shut-down.
Yahoo 4th March 2016 read more »
LBC 4th March 2016 read more »
An incident at the Fessenheim nuclear facility in France in 2014 was more serious than previously known. German media reports claim the authorities withheld information detailing the gravity of the situation.
Deutsche Welle 4th March 2016 read more »
All countries that use nuclear power (with the exception of North Korea) have committed themselves to report nuclear incidents and accidents to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Those reports are principally public – the idea is that experts and media can freely inform themselves and openly discuss the gravity and significance of the events. But there are doubts that this information flows as intended – even in western democracies. In the French power plant Fassene (in German: “Fessenheim”), there was an incident on April 9, 2014 in which water damaged part of the reactor protection system. The reactor was shut down and the case reported to the IAEA as a level 1 incident. But the event should have been reported as an incident of the next higher level, according to a report issued Friday by investigative journalists from the German public broadcaster WDR and the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Deutsche Welle 4th March 2016 read more »
Belgium has ordered its military to protect nuclear sites such as power plants in the country to safeguard them against possible militant attacks, the country’s interior ministry said on Friday. Some 140 soldiers will be mobilised to protect locations such as Belgium’s two nuclear power plants at Tihange and Doel as well as nuclear research and storage facilities, a spokesman for the interior ministry said.
Reuters 4th March 2016 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News.
MicrogenScotland 4th March 2016 read more »
In the November Spending Review Chancellor George Osborne announced confirmation of funding for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will continue through to at least 2020/21, as the government battles to improve its performance on low-carbon heat in time to meet its legally binding 2020 renewables targets. Yesterday the government released more detail on its plans to reform the RHI, in a bid to expand the rollout of a wider range of low-carbon technologies, and widen access to the scheme among smaller households. Key changes to the Domestic RHI include the introduction of “heat demand limits” to prevent larger homes claiming too much of the budget, new rules allowing households to reassign their right to RHI payments to companies that have installed low-carbon technology, and higher tariff rates for heat pumps. Meanwhile, changes to the non-domestic RHI include moving all non-domestic biomass boilers to a single tariff, the removal or limiting of support for biogas that uses crop-based feedstock, and the introduction of ‘tariff guarantees’ for heat pumps and large combined heat and power biomass sites. Notably, under both the domestic and non-domestic systems, support for solar thermal would be removed from 2017.
Business Green 4th March 2016 read more »
Solar panels which use the sun to heat water will no longer receive subsidies under plans unveiled by the government. The industry has reacted furiously to the move to do away with support for new solar thermal schemes from next year under the renewable heat incentive (RHI), which aims to boost the use of clean technology to provide heating and hot water. It comes as the parliamentary energy and climate change committee warned that a series of changes already made to the government’s energy policy had “spooked” investors and could push up consumer bills by increasing the cost of new energy schemes. In the consultation, the government said solar thermal was paid the highest level of subsidies among the technologies in the RHI and that when questioned, half of those who had installed a unit said they would have put it in even without the payments.
Guardian 4th March 2016 read more »
Britain could save £8bn a year and slash its carbon footprint by using electricity better, a new report says. The National Infrastructure Commission said a “smart power revolution” which improves the storage of power could transform the energy landscape. Its report, Smart Power, looks into ways the UK can better balance supply and demand in the energy market. It said Britain should connect more of its network to mainland Europe and store energy better.
Guardian 4th March 2016 read more »
UK needs a ‘smart power revolution’, says Infrastructure Commission.
Carbon Brief 4th March 2016 read more »
According to reports, the government is now actively thinking of removing the electricity system operator function from National Grid and establishing an independent not-for-profit SO instead. Over the last year, IGov has been arguing for the creation of an independent SO as part of a wider rethink of energy system governance. One reason is about perverse incentives – currently National Grid is supposed to co-optimise transmission and system operation, but the profits from the former (£849 million in 2011/12) dwarf those from the latter (£9 million). This implies that if you really want system operation working in the public interest and not creating a distorted case for further transmission build out, then it is a good idea to separate the two more thoroughly. At the same time, Ofgem has struggled to find an effective incentive framework for Grid’s SO activities, which implies that regulation of a private SO is not the best approach. Many other countries also have not-for-profit ISOs which function well. However, the most important argument for having an ISO is that it can act as a key delivery body not only for system security, but also for the transformation of the energy system towards a low-carbon, more decentralised future. This is because the system operator, unlike DECC or Ofgem, has the essential technical expertise and knowledge of the details of the system. But this is also where a danger lurks. The government seems to be thinking about simply hiving off the electricity SO role from National Grid and running it independently. This is not enough; transformation of the energy system needs a far more integrated approach.
IGov 4th March 2016 read more »