Today’s entry reports on the unsuccessful judicial review of the grant of development consent for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. On 19 December judgment was issued in the case of An Taisce (the National Trust for Ireland) v the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The judgment has now been published and can be found here. Here is a summary and analysis. The case was heard by Mrs Justice (Frances) Patterson, who only became a High Court judge on 1 October and was formerly head of Kings Chambers in Manchester. She also heard the challenge to the refusal of consent for the Preesall gas storage project last month, for which the judgment is yet to be issued.
BDB Law 6th Jan 2014 read more »
An attempt to block Hinkley Point C on the grounds it threatened Ireland’s environment has failed, after a High Court ruling in December. Mrs Justice Patterson judged any environmental effects on Ireland, 250km away from the Somerset site, were unlikely. The judgement removes the only remaining legal challenge to the new nuclear power station. Greenpeace dropped a judicial review in October.
Utility Week 6th Jan 2014 read more »
The Office for Nuclear Regulation has announced it will be taking its safety assessment of Hitachi’s nuclear reactor design for its Horizon nuclear power project in Wylfa to the second stage. The reactor is currently being examined under the Generic Design Assessment (GDA), which looks at the designs, safety, safety, security, environmental and waste credentials. Approval through the process is necessary before construction can start – though the project will also require a raft of other planning approvals as well. As part of the second stage of the GDA, Hitachi has embarked on a public and stakeholder consultation on the reactor design. Mark Foy, deputy chief inspector at the Office for Nuclear Regulation, said Hitachi, which bought the Horizon project in 2012, had satisfied the inspectorate that it had “adequate project management, technical and legal provisions in place to ensure this is completed in a timely manner”. Ian Parker, environment agency nuclear regulation group manager, said: “I am pleased that we have completed the preparatory step of GDA and are now able to begin assessing the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor.
Building 6th Jan 2014 read more »
The Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency are progressing to the next phase of their assessment of a new nuclear reactor design for Britain. The UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor is proposed for use in new nuclear power stations at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire. The Generic Design Assessment (GDA) follows nine months of preparatory work by the reactor designer, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, and regulators.
Engineer 7th Jan 2014 read more »
You can make a comment about the UK ABWR design via Hitachi-GE’s website. Hitachi-GE will respond to the comments and issues raised. We will see both the questions raised and the responses made and will use these, where relevant, to help inform our assessments of the UK ABWR. The comments process opened on 6 January 2014 and will continue throughout the GDA of the UK ABWR until a date to be advised. We expect this date will be during 2017, likely around four months before we make our decisions on the acceptability of the UK ABWR. We will publish our first assessment reports at the end of the current step. We will be able to consider comments received by 31 May 2014 in these assessment reports. Comments received after that date will be considered by us in the next step of GDA when there will also be the opportunity to make further comments about the UK ABWR.
ONR 6th Jan 2013 read more »
Critics say that the GDA system has already failed after it passed the EPR reactor design in spite of 724 unresolved concerns known as ‘Assessment Findings’. This is set out on The Ecologist website in “Hinkley C: the Generic Design Assessment has failed”. Nuclear expert John Large commented: “The existence of such uncertainties together with the quite obvious incompleteness of the plant design and development, particularly in the generic safety critical areas of Fault Studies and Control & Instrumentation must have, surely, rendered the GDA process itself incomplete and inconclusive.”
Ecologist 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Wylfa Newydd proposed nuclear facility receives boost as assessment of its nuclear reactor progresses to the next stage. Today’s announcement follows nine months of preparatory work by the reactor designer, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, and the regulators – which comes just a month after the Treasury committed to an investment guarantee for the nuclear site. The UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UKABWR), said to be the most modern reactor currently in design, is being proposed for use at the Wylfa site on the isle of Anglesey, North Wales, and for a further site in Oldbury, Gloucestershire.
Process Engineering 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Wales Secretary of State David Jones said today development of new nuclear on Anglesey has reached another key milestone with the announcement that the assessment of a cutting-edge nuclear reactor has progressed to the next phase.
News Wales 6th Jan 2014 read more »
BBC 6th Jan 2014 read more »
North Wales Chronicle 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Energy Live News 6th Jan 2014 read more »
EDF Energy has shut down the Heysham 1 nuclear power plant (NPP), located in Lancashire, UK, due to a faulty boiler pump. The company was quoted by BBC News as saying that the move was “unplanned but standard procedure and there was no danger to the public.”
Energy Business Review 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Labour’s claims that the Big Six energy firms overcharged customers by £4bn are “overly simplistic and misleading”, according to a respected energy consultancy, which calculated the power giants may actually have saved customers £500m. In a scathing assessment of Labour’s claims, Cornwall Energy, an independent energy markets consultancy, concludes: “It is hard to avoid the impression that Labour needs to try harder to test its assumptions and assertions before it makes them. “So far a large number of them have been very easy to challenge, and some are just plain wrong.” Labour claimed last week th at consumers had been overcharged by a total of £3.8bn over the last three years – £48 per household per year – because energy suppliers bought electricity from their own power plants at inflated prices. But Cornwall Energy pointed out a series of flaws in Labour’s methodology and said that its own expert simulation of what would have been “reasonable purchase costs” in fact showed that consumers were £6 a year better off under the Big Six’s purchasing strategies. The consultancy, which often works with the small independent energy suppliers that are challengers to the Big Six, said there was now “an urgent need to re-inject more rationality into this increasingly politicised debate”.
Telegraph 6th Jan 2013 read more »
David Smythe: the government is spoiling for a fight – it will end up in a judicial review, asked for by Greenpeace or maybe Friends of the Earth, some organisation like that, who will challenge the legality of the decision to go back to West Cumbria yet again, and it’ll be challenged on various grounds. Not just the geology, but the lack of democracy, the fact that there wasn’t a good mandate from the people of West Cumbria. The fact that the whole business of what you mean by a community is not even defined properly.
Cumbria Trust 7th Jan 2014 read more »
National Nuclear Laboratory research fellow Dr Dominic Rhodes was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours.
NW Evening Mail 6th Jan 2014 read more »
The draft agendas for formal meetings of the EU Council of Ministers meeting under the Greek presidency during the first half 2014 are posted in document 18158/13. Copied below are the main points for Environment and Energy Councils. For all three meetings (formal & informal) both groups of ministers meet on adjoining days.
Mark Johnston 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Ireland – Nuclear Funding
Despite its staunch anti-nuclear stance, the Government is paying €1.6 million a year for membership of international nuclear energy groups and the development of an experimental reactor. Ireland is a member of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Association and the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency, which require annual membership fees. But perhaps most jarring are its financial contributions to an EU project to develop a nuclear fusion reactor in France.
Irish Times 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Canada – Radwaste
More than half a century after miners started gouging uranium out of the Canadian Shield at Elliot Lake, William Elliott wants it back. He’s leading the campaign by the town and surrounding communities to become the place where the used fuel from Canada’s nuclear reactors is stored forever. But the long-running saga of finding a spot for Canada’s nuclear waste still has years more to run as those who want the waste — and those who don’t — struggle over what to do with it. And the question gets even more vexed as a decision nears on a second radioactive waste site for less potent — but still hazardous — nuclear waste that Ontario Power Generation wants to develop at its Bruce nuclear site near Kincardine, Ont. Decisions about nuclear waste, which have simmered for decades, are starting to heat up, as two processes move forward.
Toronto Star 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Japan – Monju
In November, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority warned the Japan Atomic Energy Agency that its anti-terrorism measures at the Monju fast-breeder reactor were not sufficient. The regulatory agency rebuked the JAEA for violating security guidelines meant to protect nuclear materials from terrorism and other malicious attacks. This week, the operator of the reactor announced that computer hackers may have stolen private data including internal e-mails and training records. On January 2nd, a server administrator identified that one of the eight computers in the reactor control room had been accessed over 30 times in the last five days after an employee updated free software on the PC on Thursday. More than 42,000 e-mails and staff training reports were stored on the computer.
Enformable 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Homeless men in Japan are reportedly being recruited to clean up the disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Energy Live News 7th Jan 2014 read more »
French firms EDF and AREVA have signed a series of two agreements with organisations in Saudi Arabia to support the nation’s nuclear energy programme. The first set includes Memorandums of Understanding with five Saudi companies which aim to help develop the industrial and technical skills of local companies while the other set has been signed with four universities.
Energy Live 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Construction News 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Iran and the European Union will hold a two-day meeting in Geneva on Thursday to discuss implementing a landmark nuclear deal between the Islamic state and major powers, Iranian state news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday.
Reuters 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Absent any major catastrophe involving a nuclear weapon (which isn’t out of the question but let’s all hope we don’t get to that point), established nuclear-weapons policies look unlikely to shift dramatically in 2014. Predictably, for an issue involving diverse interests, entrenched mistrust and engagement across the entire international community, the rate of change often feels glacial. These are policies routinely linked to global power dynamics and fundamentally rooted in fear, insecurity and self-interest, so they are never going to be the easiest to shake. But as we step into the new year, it is worth taking a moment to remind ourselves of the progress we have made. The number of nuclear weapons held by the two biggest nuclear-weapons possessors, the US and Russia, has reduced dramatically since the end of the Cold War.
Open Democracy 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Renewables – Spain
Spain’s grid operator Red Electrica De Espana has revealed that the country’s main energy source is now wind and has helped cut its emissions by 23.1%. Announcing the findings in a preliminary report, the figures showed that wind power has been, for the first time ever, the technology that contributed most to the annual electricity demand coverage (with a share of 21.1% compared to 18.1% in 2012), reaching the same level as nuclear which contributed 21% (22.1% in 2012).
Edie 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Renewables – Solar
Leading investment house Deutsche Bank has dramatically lifted its demand forecasts for the global solar industry – predicting that 46 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV will be installed across the world in 2014, before jumping by another 25 per cent to 56GW in 2015. It notes that the world’s three biggest solar markets – co-incidentally located in the world’s three biggest economies, US, China and Japan – are currently booming and are likely to deliver what market analysts describe as more “upside demand surprises.” But it also points to other countries such as India, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, as well as regions in the Middle East, South America and South East Asia, to act as strong growth contributors.
Renew Economy 7th Jan 2014 read more »
Latin America is about to find out whether unsubsidized solar can be an economic market reality. While generous subsidies have driven the thriving solar markets of Germany, Japan, China and the U.S., botched efforts in Spain, Italy, and the Czech Republic have driven markets to overheat and collapse. But with Mexico and the rest of Latin America, we’re seeing renewable markets evolve with far less government largesse.
Green Tech 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Renewables – Offshore Wind
RWE Npower is cutting the size of a planned offshore windfarm by up to 50 per cent, the company announced on Monday. The Triton Knoll development, off the Lincolnshire coast, will be built to a capacity of 600-900MW, down from a potential maximum of 1,200MW. The onshore substation is slimmed down to less than half the size, under the new design. The energy company claimed the changes would make the site more competitive.
Utility Week 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Guardian 7th Jan 2014 read more »
The number of homes becoming warmer and cheaper to heat under current government-backed insulation schemes fell dramatically in 2013, according to the latest official figures. The drop was described as serious by the government’s own fuel poverty adviser and terrible by Labour. The latest figures show that the number of efficiency measures enabled by government schemes plummeted in 2013 as new policies replaced those of the previous government. According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 1.61m lofts were fully insulated in 2012, but in the year to the end of October 2013, the most recent data released, just 110,000 had been treated, a pro-rata fall of 93%. For cavity wall insulation, measures fell from 640,000 in 2012 to 125,000 in the year to October 2013, a pro-rata fall of 77%. The big drops accompanying the start of the coalition’s energy company obligation (ECO) and Green Deal schemes in 2013 were predicted by the government’s own impact assessments
Green Building Press 31st Dec 2013 read more »
Amory Lovins, the founder of the famous Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado, has written a book in which he presents an energy future without coal, oil or nuclear power. Yet he insists his is not a green or left-wing vision. On the contrary, it will save money and create wealth. “The energy transformation is the greatest business opportunity of our time.”
Energy Post 6th Jan 2014 read more »
In at least four states that have nurtured the nation’s energy boom, hundreds of complaints have been made about well-water contamination from oil or gas drilling, and pollution was confirmed in a number of them, according to a review that casts doubt on industry suggestions that such problems rarely happen. The Associated Press requested data on drilling-related complaints in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Texas and found major differences in how the states report such problems. Texas provided the most detail, while the other states provided only general outlines. And while the confirmed problems represent only a tiny portion of the thousands of oil and gas wells drilled each year in the US, the lack of detail in some state reports could help fuel public confusion and mistrust.
Guardian 6th Jan 2014 read more »
Anti-fracking protests near Manchester are costing more than Â£50,000 a week to police, with the total bill standing at £330,000 and rising. Greater Manchester Police told the Telegraph the costs largely related to overtime costs for staff to be on duty at the site, where protesters are campaigning against attempts by IGas Energy to drill for shale gas. The figure was disclosed in the wake of the force issuing a strongly-worded statement in which it said some protesters who had come to the site from outside the region, ostensibly to raise concerns about the process of fracking, appeared to be “more interested in seeking confrontation with the police”.
Telegraph 6th Jan 2014 read more »
If global warming is real, then why is it so cold? We are hearing this question quite often today and it will be asked many times by many people over the next few days as record low temperatures are set in many parts of the United States. Here in Minnesota, for example, we have a good chance of setting a record low daily high beating the previous record of 14 degrees below zero F. We may or may not beat the record daily low but we are going to get close. (Donald trump is probably the most famous person to have gotten this wrong over the last few days.) Global warming is real. The apparent contrast between extreme cold and global warming is actually an illusion. If we look at the local weather in many parts of the US we see a giant blob of cold “Arctic air” moving south to engulf our humble hamlets and cities, as though the Arctic Coldness that we know is sitting on the top of our planet, like a giant frosty hat, is growing in size. How can such a thing happen with global warming?
Science Blogs 5th Jan 2014 read more »