Cumbria Trust welcomes the NDA’s response to the recent reports showing photographs of the B30 and B29 storage ponds, showing their neglected and dangerous condition. The NDA’s response includes some reassurance that it is is aware of the poor condition of these ponds, and is now working to reduce the significant risks posed by their appalling state of disrepair. However, the response also includes a startling revelation: “The pond’s overhead crane, which had been out of action since the 1990s, has been fixed and is now being used again.”
Cumbria Trust 5th Nov 2014 read more »
The UK subsidiary of global safety seal manufacturer Roxtec has provided cable and pipe sealing systems for a major flood protection project at a UK nuclear power station. Graham O’Hare, Managing Director of Roxtec’s UK arm, said the firm worked with EDF Energy which operates the Dungeness B nuclear power station on the coast of Kent, England.
Manchester Evening News 5th Nov 2014 read more »
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has outlined plans to build an archive centre near Wick. The building would store information and records related to the Dounreay experimental nuclear power plant on the north Caithness coast near Thurso. Dounreay is being decommissioned at a cost of £1.6bn. The NDA has notified Highland Council of its proposal to site the archive on a brownfield site near Wick Airport Industrial Estate.
BBC 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Britain faces three years of emergency measures to make sure the country’s ageing electricity system can keep the lights on in winter, the energy secretary has revealed. Ed Davey has already approved plans to keep three power stations on standby this winter and pay businesses to use less electricity after the country’s cushion of spare generating capacity sank to 4 per cent, compared with 17 per cent three years ago. These measures will add 2 percentage points to capacity margins, which was comfortably above the government’s reliability standards, he said. But the energy department has looked at keeping such steps in place for much longer Mr Davey said, in an interview with the Financial Times. “We’re planning currently for two years but of course we’ve left ourselves the flexibility, as you would expect, to have another year if we felt w e needed it,” he said. The news came as Mr Davey prepares to make energy security the central theme of his annual energy statement in the House of Commons on Thursday, after a spate of power station fires and outages raised fears of possible blackouts. Four nuclear reactors at Hartlepool and Heysham shut down in August after a defect was discovered. A fire last month at the Didcot B gas-fired plant in Oxfordshire, one of the biggest power stations in the UK, followed other fires at Ironbridge and Ferrybridge.
FT 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Until there is a proper understanding by the general public of radiation, the nuclear industry has no chance of reaching anywhere near the potential that its advocates hope for. There are lots of other worthy things that can be done in nuclear communications. But even the world’s greatest marketing genius couldn’t successfully promote nuclear while there is such a deep climate of fear lying behind it. The industry’s many efforts in communications can maybe be criticised as essentially avoiding this key very difficult issue. Next month’s article will therefore look specifically at radiation and how we can take away something that is supposed to be very special about nuclear. This is clearly a fix that will take a long time, but continuing to avoid it now just delays a realistic solution.
Nuclear Engineering International 3rd November 2014 read more »
Russia has told the United States that it will not attend a 2016 nuclear security summit, the State Department said on Wednesday, in the latest sign of frosty ties between Washington and Moscow.Explaining why it would stay away, Moscow said it doubted the value of the summit, which is to be held in Chicago in 2016, and believed the views of states which disagreed with the event’s organizers would be ignored.Instead, Russia would focus on a similar conference to be held also in 2016 by the United Nations nuclear body, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Reuters 5th Nov 2014 read more »
IT ALWAYS seems to be 30 years away. Controlled nuclear fusion seems no closer to being realised now than it was when the idea was put forward in the 1950s. But fusion power stations might be closer than anyone suspected – if we think small. Bigger is better, or so goes the accepted wisdom with nuclear fusion. The massive international experiment ITER takes this to the extreme, employing a doughnut-shaped reaction chamber 20 metres across and up to 1000 staff. The price tag? A mere $50 billion. Now some are advocating that a smaller-scale approach could be swifter and cheaper. Last month, the aerospace firm Lockheed Martin claimed its compact fusion reactor design, small enough to hitch to a truck, could be ready in a decade. Tom Jarboe at the University of Washington in Seattle has developed his own small-scale reactor, which he says could cost less than $3 billion to get working within 15 years.
New Scientist 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Letter: We urge the the EU3+3 countries (the UK, Germany and France and the US, China and Russia) and Iran to reach agreement on a comprehensive nuclear deal by the 24 November deadline. Postponing the final tough decisions ahead is likely to provide more opportunities for those opposing the diplomatic track to spoil this process. This is especially so when creative technical solutions have been formulated and a deal is within reach – a deal that will peacefully and effectively address proliferation concerns of the EU3+3 over Iran’s nuclear programme, while respecting Iranian legitimate aspirations and sovereignty.
Guardian 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. has announced another delay to the start of its $21 billion nuclear fuel reprocessing plant to March 2016, citing the need to meet new safety standards drawn up after the Fukushima disaster. After multiple postponements due to construction and equipment failures, the new schedule puts the Rokkasho plant in northern Japan 19 years behind the original 1997 completion date. The facility is the hub of Japan’s nuclear fuel reprocessing strategy and was designed to separate as much as 8 tons of plutonium a year for use as reactor fuel. China has criticized Rokkasho’s construction, saying it raises concerns the plutonium could be diverted for use in atomic weapons. Japan has denied any such intentions.
Business Week 4th Nov 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Nuclear Expert Ed Lyman: Fukushima is a pretty close approximation of ‘The China Syndrome’; Melted fuel cores burned through containment vessels and material is below reactor structures mixing with groundwater — Essentially it’s a machine that’s washing radioactivity into the sea.
ENE News 4th Nov 2014 read more »
US – elections
The election is over and yes, things have changed–and not for the better. Elections do matter. Consider this little diatribe from Sen. James Inhofe, released on Monday: “The idea that our advanced industrialized economy would ever have zero carbon emissions is beyond extreme and further proof that the IPCC is nothing more than a front for the environmental left….At a time of economic instability and increased threats to American interests, the IPCC’s report is little more than high hopes from the environmental left.”
Green World 5th Nov 2014 read more »
France – solar
France has made up some lost ground against its neighbours with the start to construction of what will be Europe’s biggest photovoltaic solar power plant. Solar power capacity has grown slowly in France compared to Germany, Spain or Italy. It had 5,095 MW of photovoltaic capacity in June, which accounted for only 1 percent of its energy consumption in the first half of the year, and compares with nearly 37,000 MW in Germany.The new plant at Cestas is a 360 million euro ($450 million) project capable of supplying electricity to a city the size of nearby Bordeaux for a year.The project is managed by Neoen, a Paris-based company created by Jacques Veyrat, the former head of commodities trading giant Louis Dreyfus.The 300-megawatt, ground-mounted installation will be connected to the grid in October 2015 and provide electricity for 105 euros per megawatt-hour over 20 years, a price showing solar is becoming increasingly competitive, its developers say.
Reuters 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Australia – radwaste
Traditional owners have reopened the case for siting Australia’s first nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory, just months after a bitter seven-year dispute appeared to have ended. In June the Northern Land Council abandoned its nomination to the federal government to store low and intermediate radioactive waste in the area north of Tennant Creek after a lengthy legal dispute launched by four clan groups reached the federal court. Local councils, unions and community groups opposed the dump. But now the owners have put forward another parcel of land for the same purpose.
Guardian 6th Nov 2014 read more »
Australia – nuclear testing
A former British nuclear test site in the depths of the Australian outback has finally been handed back to its Aboriginal owners after more than half a century.
LBC 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Telegraph 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Costain, Morgan Sindall and Shepherd Construction have won a place on a £300m framework from BAE Systems to redevelop a site in Barrow-in-Furness to hold the next generation of the UK’s nuclear submarines. The eight-year framework contract will see the redevelopment of the Barrow site in preparation for the building of a replacement for the Vanguard class submarines, as part of the renewal of the UK’s nuclear deterrent. The three have been awarded framework contracts, under which they will compete with each other on a mini-tender basis to complete the design and build of the individual projects that make up the overall programme.
Building 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
Europe’s largest crowd-funded solar power project – which will install nearly 750 roof-mounted domestic panels in Berwickshire next year – has ‘gone live’. The project for Berwickshire Housing Association is set to save each tenant hundreds of pounds a year on utility bills. Investors will earn 7% initial interest from the date they invest until 1 April 2015 when the solar panels become fully operational, from when investors will be paid their capital and interest return for 20 years, giving a 7.5% IRR. This is the kind of scheme for ‘easy access’ wider public direct-investment called for earlier this week by the renewables industry trade associations in Scotland and England.
Scottish Energy News 6th Nov 2014 read more »
A blight is spreading across the UK, eating up valuable agricultural land and scarring the landscape with ugly developments that are pushing production of meat and other traditional British produce overseas. It is a blight that Conservative Environment Secretary Liz Truss, brave opponent of rural solar farms, must surely recognise and now act urgently to address. I am talking, of course, about golf courses. Now, I am not against golf courses per se. They are fine on unproductive sand dunes or even on commercial roofs (I’m thinking of those Tokyo-inspired driving ranges with their endless banks of tees). But food and farming is our number one manufacturing industry, the whole food chain represents £100bn in our economy, and it is a real problem if we are using productive agricultural land for golf courses. And we are. Extensively. I was tempted not to bother to research precisely how big an impact golf courses are having on the UK’s green and pleasant land. After all, instinctively I know there are a lot of them and they must therefore have a big impact on the UK’s food production. I’ve seen them. With my own eyes. There are loads of golf courses and they look horrible. But I’m not that lazy and I am aware that if you are going to call for a moratorium on something that many people cherish you need some evidence. So I did some research (turned to Google) and apparently there are over 2,000 full 18 hole golf courses in England and hundreds of smaller courses. Combined, their approximately 270,000 hectares is equivalent to two per cent of the country’s land area. In the midst of what politicians are apt to describe, when it suits them, as a food security and housing crisis that is a lot of massively unproductive land.
Business Green 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Solar still only accounts for around 1% of the global power market. Most of these megawatts come from silicon-based solar panels that have been installed on roofs, in gardens, or as their own kind of energy farms. As this sort of conventional solar energy has developed and improved, so have a number of new ideas emerged. If solar goes on to take a chunk of the remaining 99%, it may well look very different. Here is a list of seven solar technologies you should know about.
Energy Desk 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Renewables – Wind
New figures from the National Grid for October show that wind power smashed more energy generation records, contributing even more to the UK’s clean electricity mix. Wind energy hit a record high providing a 24% daily share of the UK’s electricity needs on the 20th October, beating the previous record of 22% set in August. Wind energy’s share of the monthly electricity mix was also 12.3%, which easily beat last October’s share of 8%, and comes very close to the December record of 13%.
Renewable UK 5th Nov 2014 read more »
INFINIS Energy, chaired by former SSE boss Ian Marchant, has said it will proceed with plans to build a big wind farm in Argyll after securing £52m development funding. The renewable energy specialist has arranged facilities with Royal Bank of Scotland and National Australia Bank that it will draw on to fund the construction and operation of the A’Chruach Wind Farm. The company expects the site to be operational by 31 March 2016. In August Infinis had said it would only begin construction of A’Chruach once the outcome of the referendum on Scottish independence, and its potential effect on energy policy, was known. The 21 turbine farm will lie around three miles north-west of Minard and six miles north-east of Lochgilphead. It will have an installed capacity of 43 MegaWatts and generate enough electricity to power around 15,000 homes. The turbines are expected to produce electricity for around 25 years.
Herald 6th Nov 2014 read more »
Renewables – Scotland
According to new numbers published by WWF Scotland this week, wind turbines generated enough electricity in October to power 3,045,000 homes in the U.K. — more than enough for all the homes in Scotland. Referring to it as a “bumper month” for renewable energy, WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks said in a statement that “while nuclear power plants were being forced to shut because of cracks, Scotland’s wind and sunshine were quietly and cleanly helping to keep the lights on in homes across the country.”
Climate Progress 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Energy Digital 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Clean Technica 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Flexibility for many businesses is synonymous with ‘uncertainty’, and ‘risk’. This is something that clearly concerned Tony Robson, CEO of Knauf Insulation – one of the world’s largest insulation manufactures when he wrote to the EU Heads of State saying that this target ‘sends a strong signal to the energy efficiency industry to leave Europe and make your investments elsewhere’. He explains that in the face of dwindling investor confidence, firms like Knauf are looking to states for political commitment in order to give reassurance about the future of the market. With this is mind, we should be doing what we can to shore the ground for the industries that may be looking to invest. Given the leaky state of the UK housing stock (thermally speaking), the potential market, and so the potential for jobs and growth founded on the back of energy efficiency, are considerable. Whatever the reason (or more likely reasons) for resistance to an EU target, it is part of a road block to developing a thriving energy efficiency sector in the UK; and so holding up progress towards a better economic and social future that we simply cannot afford to miss out on.
IGov 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Ofgem is preparing to punish major energy companies over their failure to hit Government targets for insulating homes. The energy regulator is now in the final stages of investigations it began in May last year, after six companies failed to install enough energy efficiency measures by the end of 2012. It is understood to be hoping to announce the first penalties over the scheme in coming weeks.
Telegraph 5th Nov 2014 read more »
Energy Action highlights scandal of 1 in 4 fuel poor in Scotland. Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess is expected to reaffirm the Scottish Government’s commitment to ending fuel poverty when she opens a national conference on fuel poverty today. Organised by the national charity Energy Action Scotland, the conference is entitled ‘Bringing the Fuel Poor in from the Cold’ and is taking place at Coylumbridge, near Aviemore. Being located in the Highlands, it will have a focus on rural issues and among the topics for debate will be the premium on living in rural areas With increases in the cost of living hitting many households, how best to manage energy bills is a hot topic and Energy Action Scotland wants to make sure that help is given as a priority to support those people living in the coldest homes and on the lowest incomes.
Scottish Energy News 6th Nov 2014 read more »
The European Union, nervous about Russia cutting off gas supplies and keen to cut emissions by developing renewable energy sources, aims to link all its 28 member states to one electricity grid. Forty leading organisations from research, industry, utilities and grid operators are combining in a €63 million research programme aimed at incorporating all renewable energies into a supergrid that can balance intermittent sources of electricity and ensure uninterrupted supplies. It is part of a wider European Union policy to make the 28 states less reliant on imports of power. States along the border with Russia are particularly concerned about over-reliance on gas pipelines from Siberia, which have been turned off periodically in the recent past because of disputes over prices.
Climate News Network 5th Nov 2014 read more »
World leaders have a self-imposed deadline to agree a new global climate deal by the end of 2015. The last time politicians met under such a spotlight was in Copenhagen in 2009, and the headlines following it were heavy with adjectives like “failure”, “setback” and “disaster”. So the next 13 months are being touted as crucial preparation for next year’s crunch talks in Paris. This week, representatives from business, government and civil society mulled over past mistakes and future obstacles at international affairs thinktank Chatham House’s annual climate change conference – a kind of high-level get-together for climate. Carbon Brief was there, and while the conference’s famous Chatham House Rule means we can’t say who said what, we can give you an idea of what the attendees say needs to be done to get to an agreement in Paris.
Carbon Brief 5th Nov 2014 read more »