The government is currently banking on new nuclear generation and carbon capture and storage technology to provide large chunks of low carbon energy in the future. But a new report out today says the government is taking a big risk if it fails to ensure there’s enough investment for a renewable energy “Plan B”. The report, from thinktank Policy Connect, says the government must work with industry to ensure contingency plans are in place. It suggests identifying ‘low regrets’ levels of renewable technology deployment – balancing the risk of underinvestment leading to an unexpectedly large bill to ramp up renewables, and overinvesting in publicly subsidised projects when budgets are tight.
Carbon Brief 4th Sept 2013 read more »
Once upon a time, when the nuclear industry was shiny and new, it simply burned uranium. Now, old and tarnished, it burns money. From the promise of nuclear electricity being too cheap to meter, we now have costs that are too great to count. At the site of the Fukushima meltdown in Japan, the government is being forced to spend over £200m on a fanciful-sounding underground ice wall in the latest desperate attempt to halt the radiation-contaminated water that is leaking into the sea. The UK government may at some point have to admit defeat in its attempts to start a nuclear renaissance. As the false nuclear dawn fades, a new brighter horizon may be revealed, where the intrinsically safe and therefore ultimately cheaper technologies of energy efficiency and renewable energy can used to build a power system fit for the 21st century, not one harking back to the 20th.
Guardian 4th Sept 2013 read more »
Business groups have hailed a report published on Thursday by Sir John Armitt, former Olympics chief, calling for a new independent national infrastructure commission to set out “clear priorities” for big projects. Mr Armitt’s review on behalf of Labour represents a rival vision to that of another one-time Olympics executive – Lord Deighton – who is now the coalition’s infrastructure minister. The efforts of the former colleagues, who are close friends despite straddling the political divide, reflect growing business frustrations. Many executives have been left disheartened at the sluggish progress of schemes such as high-speed rail, new toll motorways and nuclear power stations.
FT 5th Sept 2013 read more »
Britain should set up an independent commission to plan long-term infrastructure projects that cannot be derailed by political infighting, the UK’s former Olympics chief will say on Thursday. Launching a new report into how to rebuild the country’s crumbling transport, energy, telecoms and water infrastructure, Sir John Armitt will call for the establishment of a new National Infrastructure Commission charged with evaluating the UK’s needs 25 to 30 years out.
Telegraph 5th Sept 2013 read more »
Household energy bills will rise and jobs will be lost after the Government decided against introducing subsidies to build new gas storage facilities, business leaders have warned. One storage developer has shelved an £800 million project, which would have increased Britain’s capacity by 30 per cent, because of the decision, and Centrica’s £1.4 billion gas storage project is also now in doubt. Britain has enough capacity to store only about 15 days’ worth of gas — much less than most other European countries, such as France and Germany, which have more than 100 days’ worth. Ministers believe that importing expensive liquefied natural gas during times of peak demand is cheaper than building new storage facilities, which would be subsidised by levies on consumers’ bills. However, industry disputes the claimed savings and is warning that factories are being forced to shut down, laying off staff, when gas prices rocket overnight.
Times 5th Sept 2013 read more »
The Finnish power group Fennovoima has selected the Russian state nuclear company Rosatom to build its nuclear reactor in Pyhäjoki, northern Finland. Fennovoima said on Tuesday that it will propose to its shareholders that a deal with Rosatom be signed by the end of this year, with the Russian firm taking a 34 percent stake in the project. Last month the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) warned that Rosatom’s AES-2006 pressurized water reactor would need upgrades to meet Finnish safety standards. The company has also yet to specify where it will store spent fuel rods from the facility, as required by Finnish law.
YLE 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
The first radioactive ocean plume released by the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster will finally be reaching the shores of the U.S. sometime in 2014, according to a new study from the University of New South Wales—a full three or so years after the date of the disaster.
Eco Watch 3rd Sept 2013 read more »
Conflicting reports have left many baffled, and now nuclear experts have highlighted that no one really knows the true severity of the radioactive water leaks at Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. The crippled plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), has been desperately pumping water into the wrecked reactors to cool nuclear fuel that melted when the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami knocked out the plant’s power and cooling systems. The utility has built more than 1,000 tanks holding 335,000 tons of contaminated water at the plant, and the amount grows by 400 tonnes daily. Some tanks have sprung leaks, spilling contaminated water onto the ground. The toxic water is being stored in temporary tanks at the site and last month Tepco admitted that 300 tonnes of highly radioactive water had leaked, in the most serious incident to date.
Huffington Post 4th Sept 2013 read more »
Radiation hot spots and leaking water tanks at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have made Tepco, the utility in charge of the clean-up, look inept and created serious concerns ahead of the IOC’s vote on where to host the 2020 Olympic games that Tokyo is expected to win.
FT 4th Sept 2013 read more »
Plans by Hong Kong utility CLP to take a 17% stake in the six-reactor Yangjiang nuclear power plant have been halted by regulatory delays and an investment review by project leader China General Nuclear.
World Nuclear News 4th Sept 2013 read more »
Blog by David Smythe: Cuadrilla claims that they’re ceasing operations at Balcombe because they didn’t realise they should first have notified local inhabitants living above the location of their horizontal drilling. Hard to believe? Yes. But on the other hand, their plans and operations to date seem to be so inept that perhaps there is a grain of truth there. They are attempting a challenging technical drilling operation in heavily faulted geology which could act for a fast track for leakage of drilling fluids. To avoid this a full 3D seismic survey of the area would be required, and has not been undertaken.
Greenpeace 4th Sept 2013 read more »
Around 10 protesters from Greenpeace have erected a mock drilling rig outside Lancashire council’s county hall in Preston, to protest at plans by energy company Cuadrilla to resume fracking in the county this autumn. The action follows a similar stunt by the green group in March, when it set up a rig in the Cheshire constituency of the chancellor, George Osborne, who has been one of the most vocal backers of fracking for shale gas.
Guardian 4th Sept 2013 read more »
Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, has held out the prospect that a fracking boom in the UK would lower energy prices – just a day after leading climate change economist Lord Stern dismissed a similar claim by David Cameron as “baseless”.
Independent 4th Sept 2013 read more »