A BBC report claiming that Hunterston B could be susceptible to meltdown has been slammed by station bosses. The report, for the English regional ‘Inside Out West’ programme, sought to raise concerns about Hinkley B power station in Somerset – the sister station to Hunterston B. It highlighted cracking in graphite blocks in the reactor core at Hunterston B – reported regularly in the News – as having a major impact on safety there and, in turn, at the English station. Both stations have had approval for life extensions through to 2023.
Ardrossan Herald 3rd Nov 2016 read more »
Magnox Ltd has begun work on the final piece of the decommissioning jigsaw at the former Steam Generating Heavy Water Reactor (SGHWR) on the Winfrith site in Dorset. The SGHWR reactor needs to be isolated from adjacent plant and equipment so that the Magnox Ltd team can gain access to the reactor’s core and begin to safely dismantle it. This project will be completed early next year. It will involve the removal of 1.5km of stainless steel pipework. So far, months of planning and preparation have been necessary because of the complex nature of the project. The Magnox Ltd team has rehearsed, at minimal risk, using specially created full-scale mock-ups of the plant. Lessons learnt from this practice exercise will be used when the steam risers and feeders are removed for real.
NDA 4th Nov 2016 read more »
Drigg’s Low Level Waste Repository has signed the second half of its major four-year framework contract with partner Graham Construction.
Whitehaven News 3rd Nov 2016 read more »
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, has suffered another collapse – this time outside of the closed southern section, prompting an evacuation of workers in the underground facility in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The fourth collapse this year is the first since early October. According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Energy, workers in the facility heard a loud noise and observed salt dust. When the indications of the fall were reported, a mandatory evacuation was ordered for the entire facility.
Aiken Standard 4th Nov 2016 read more »
NuGeneration and Horizon Nuclear Power expect the strike price they agree with the UK government for their respective new build projects will be lower than the one agreed for EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C plant. Tom Samson, NuGen CEO, and David Stearns, Horizon’s business development director, spoke in a meeting with British parliamentarians on 1 November. Their evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s inquiry The Economics of UK Energy Policy, followed that of EDF Energy executives, who said the £92.50/MWh strike price they had agreed with government in 2013 was a good deal for electricity consumers.
World Nuclear News 4th Nov 2016 read more »
Carbon Floor Price
Energy industry specialists fear that Philip Hammond will axe the carbon tax in the autumn statement. Operators are warning that removal of the carbon floor price, which came into force in 2013, would send the market “into a tailspin”, putting gas plants at risk and reducing the chance of new ones being built. They believe that such a decision could result in the greater use of fossil fuels. The tax, which is set at £18 per tonne, was introduced by George Osborne to boost investment in low-carbon technology. However, the coal industry says that it increases the likelihood of blackouts because coal-fired power stations are taking a hit. While energy companies concede that the move has the potential to reduce household energy bills in the short term, they are concerned that it would be a setback for investment in new gas production. “For the energy industry, the impact of removing the carbon price support would throw the market into a tailspin and pull the rug from underneath past, present and future investments,” an industry insider said.
Times 5th Nov 2016 read more »
Countries planning to use nuclear power to meet their climate change goals will pool experience as part of a forthcoming research effort by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Paris Agreement entered into force today, committing governments to limiting global warming to 2 deg C and, if possible, 1.5 deg C. The IAEA told journalists today that it is starting to “Coordinate research efforts of member states on the assessment of the potential role of nuclear in their climate change mitigation strategies.” It will cover various analytical methods, frameworks and strategies.
World Nuclear News 4th Nov 2016 read more »
The boss at French utility firm EDF said the company is doing its best to satisfy the country’s nuclear safety regulator, which has concerns about its reactors, a news report said. The regulator has asked the company to check another 12 reactors, prolonging an outage period and exacerbating fears of a power supply deficit in winter, Reuters reported. Yesterday, EDF delayed the restart of five reactors to the end of December. Nineteen of the 58 reactors EDF operates in France are currently out of service, the report said. That represents 30.5% of French installed nuclear capacity.
Energy Voice 5th Nov 2016 read more »
French utility EDF is doing its best to have more nuclear reactors up and running but was waiting for the green light from the nuclear safety regulator to restart some of them, its chief executive said on Friday. Safety watchdog ASN has asked EDF to carry out additional checks on 12 reactors, which has prolonged their outage period and raised fears France may face a power supply squeeze this winter. Concerns over tight nuclear power availability in France, usually a net electricity exporter in Europe that depends on its 58 reactors for 75 percent of its power needs, have pushed European power prices to record highs over the past weeks.EDF on Thursday pushed back the restart of five reactors – Bugey 4, Gravelines 2, and Tricastin 1, 3 and 4 to the end of December 2016 from earlier planned dates at the end of November and mid-December.
Reuters 4th Nov 2016 read more »
French power for December delivery jumped in early morning trade Thursday after EDF extended outages at five nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 4.5 GW to the end of the year. December base was seen trading Eur23 higher day-on-day at Eur140/MWh, with traders saying the gain was mainly on the back of this news, amid temperatures seen dropping next week to more than 5 C below the seasonal norm, and week-ahead prices spiking to record highs.
Platts 3rd Nov 2016 read more »
Nineteen communes in German, Dutch and Luxembourg border regions are getting themselves fired up to start legal action. This would force Electrabel and the regulator Agence Fédérale de Contrôle Nucléaire (AFCN – which promotes protection against ionising radiation) to close the nuclear reactor Tihange 2. This information appears in Het Nieuwsblad and Het Belang van Limburg today (Thursday). An Austrian study has sparked the debate, highlighting the risks which these regions would incur if a nuclear accident took place at Tihange. The chances of seeing Limburg made uninhabitable after such an event would be of the order of 40 to 60%. This is the conclusion of experts at the Institute of Safety and Risk Science (ISRS), based in Vienna. The region around Aarchen has a risk of the order of 10%. Local authorities consider that this is an unacceptable risk level. Professor Wolfgang Renneberg, the former boss of the German monitoring organisation, states that risks persist around reactor safety at Tihange and Doel. The producer Engie-Electrabel, is going out of its way to say that Belgian nuclear power stations are amongst the safest in the world.
Brussels 3rd Nov 2016 read more »
Steve Thomas: Eskom will be unable to get the nuclear package it has promised the nation. Utility cannot square the circle of financing, timing and electricity cost without being someone’s guinea pig.
Business Live 4th Nov 2016 read more »
Completion of the third and fourth blocks of the nuclear power plant in Mochovce might cost as much as €5.4 billion admitted Economy Minister Peter Žiga on November 2. This means an increase of €800 million compared with the last budget approved by shareholders of the builder of the facility, Slovenské Elektrárne (SE). In early October Slovenské Elektrárne announced in a letter to the Economy Ministry than they would complete the third block in the summer of 2018 and the fourth block by the summer of 2019, informed state secretary of the Economy Ministry Vojtech Ferencz. The original plan from 2008 was to complete the two blocks for €2.8 billion while the third one should have been complete in 2012 and the fourth one in 2013.
Slovak Spectator 4th Nov 2016 read more »
Oxford Research Group’s Sustainable Security Programme (SSP) recently submitted evidence to the Liberal Democrat’s Policy Consultation on Nuclear Weapons, which is designed to help the party develop a new policy on nuclear weapons. ORG’s submission focused on the need for the UK to move towards a more responsible approach:
ORG 4th Nov 2016 read more »
Renewables – Finance
What’s been described as the UK’s first “green energy” Isa is set to go on sale this weekend, and has received an endorsement of sorts from a senior government minister. It is the result of a link-up between ethical investment platform Abundance and Swindon borough council, and will allow the public to invest directly in renewable energy projects, tax free. Those behind the scheme are holding out the prospect of a 6% return. This type of investment has been made possible following the government’s 2014 decision to create an “innovative finance Isa”. This went live in April and means interest and gains from peer-to-peer loans can, in theory, be earned free of tax.
Guardian 5th Nov 2016 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News.
Microgen Scotland 4th Nov 2016 read more »
Labour has challenged the SNP to back a ban on fracking at the launch of a consultation on proposed legislation to block the controversial practice. Environment and climate change spokeswoman Claudia Beamish appealed to nationalist MSPs and those of other parties as she unveiled proposals for a member’s Bill on the issue at Holyrood.
Scotsman 4th Nov 2016 read more »
Jeremy Leggett: The post-Paris climate negotiations should not be viewed as a stand alone process. They take place in a world where three pertinent megatrend meta-narratives all pump wind into the sails of climate diplomacy. No one on its own would be enough to force the global energy transition underway now: it is the power of all three, acting in parallel and synergy across the full breadth of the climate-energy-information nexus, that drives the system change. First, society is awakening in critical mass to the twin threats of climate change and air pollution, and responding. Second, an energy insurgency is disrupting traditional energy markets fast. Third, the energy incumbency is facing an array of serious problems not always related to the other two megatrends. I summarise the emerging course of these megatrends each month on my website. In among all the positive developments are inevitable setbacks, but the net outcome is that the three megatrends have whipped up a fair wind in every month of 2016. My summary for October and early November follows.
Jeremy Leggett 4th Nov 2016 read more »