Figures published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) last week showed the cost of negotiating the deal for the plant with the French utility firm ran to £6.7m in the 2013/14 financial year, 69% more than the £4m the department had budgeted. DECC said a change to “project timelines” meant there was “insufficient budget for external advisers” and the cost had subsequently increased.
Building 6th June 2014 read more »
There have been several reports in the news about EDF wanting to raise the limits of the amount of graphite which can be lost from the moderator of the AGR nuclear reactors. As usual the reports seem to me to not give some very important information. For instance the figure of 8% is just one of the limits which EDF wants lifted. This figure is for the core as a whole. Some areas can have over 40% weight loss. The graphite blocks are also cracking as well as loosing weight. Short of decommissioning the reactors it is very difficult to accurately determine the weight loss and cracking in the bricks. This level of weight loss was not expected when the reactor was originally designed and the weight loss and cracking is still not adequately understood. While EDF says “[W]e’re still miles away from the boundary between safe and not, we’re not operating on that boundary and have extremely conservative limits,” this is very different from the reports of meeting between EDF and the ONR (emphasis added): However the interventions earlier in 2013 gave ONR cause for concern about the methodology being used to calculate weight loss itself. This concern applied both to the processes being used and the apparently small margins that existed between weight loss and the limits.
Peter Lux 7th June 2014 read more »
THE safety of the public and employees is an ‘overriding priority’ says Dungeness B station director Martin Pearson. He was speaking as the station has completed a vital stage of ongoing flood defence work in which £5 million has been invested so far. The work began in 2013 and to upgrade the existing flooding defences to cover events that are extremely unlikely to occur in the U.K., ones that might happen only one in every 10,000 years. Last year the station undertook new modelling to see the effects on the shingle bank in front of the station during hypothetical weather conditions, more extreme than we have ever seen on the Kent coastline.
Rye & Battle Observer 6th June 2014 read more »
World Environment Day today was important for European nuclear energy policy, and the triggering issue was in Ukraine. No, it was not because of the G7 meeting talking about the consequences of energy dependence in the shadow of the political problems in Ukraine. The G7 did not really address nuclear, because they are aware nuclear cannot really help them out and the risks of nuclear power in conflict areas are not a strong issue on their agenda. The important issue was a decision of the Meeting of Parties of the Convention (MoP) on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, also known as the Espoo Convention. Such meetings are normally rather boring with occasional pearls at side-event and seminars. This time there was a lot of heated discussion on the lifetime extension of the Rivne 1 and 2 nuclear reactors in Ukraine. In the end, the MoP endorsed the conclusions of its Implementation Commission. As a result, all ageing nuclear power stations in Europe will have to be submitted to an environmental impact assessment before a licence renewal or the approval of a 10-year-periodic safety review. This is a groundbreaking decision. Until now, most European countries prolonged the lifetimes of their ageing nuclear reactors by only looking at whether prescribed safety standards are met. Normally, there is no further consideration about whether the increasing risk of potential large environmental impacts due to a severe accident at an ageing power station can be justified in comparison with other alternatives for generating electricity. The public is not consulted before old reactors receive another lease on life. This now has to change.
Greenpeace 6th June 2014 read more »
Nukes vs Renewables
Mark Cooper: Within the past year, a bevy of independent, financial analysts (Lazard, Citi, Credit Suisse, McKinsey and Company, Sanford Bernstein, Morningstar) have heralded an economic revolution in the electricity sector. A quarter of a century of technological progress has led to the conclusion that over the course of the next decade a combination of efficiency, renewables and gas will meet the need for new resources and more importantly, render the antiquated baseload model largely obsolete. The academic debate over whether we could get to an electricity system that relies entirely (99 percent) or mostly (80 percent) on renewables late in this century is largely irrelevant compared to the fact that over the next couple of decades we could see a rapid and substantial expansion of renewables (to say 30 percent of 40 percent), if the current economic forces are allowed to ply out and policies to advance the transformation of the electricity system are adopted.
Green World 6th June 2014 read more »
The European elections between 22 and 25 May 2014 saw a rise in support for far-right and far-left parties, the shrinkage of the centre and a slim overall victory for the European People’s Party (EPP), which remains the biggest group but with 54 seats less than in 2009. What impact are these results likely to have on the current and future EU nuclear-related dossiers? Will nuclear power, a reliable and low-carbon source of energy that produces 29% of EU’s total electricity and 55% of its total low-carbon electricity, be given the credit it deserves?
Foratom 4th June 2014 read more »
Qatar is in talks with Centrica over investing in UK power plants, under plans to expand its partnership with the British Gas owner. Speaking at an event in London, Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar’s energy minister, and Sam Laidlaw, Centrica chief executive, both declined to comment on rumours that Qatar was trying to build a major stake in Centrica or considering a takeover bid. But Al-Sada said it was “discussing some projects” in the UK energy sector with Centrica, citing “a lot of common interest and values between the two companies”.
Telegraph 6th June 2014 read more »
Swansea, York and Coventry on ‘top secret’ list of 106 sites drawn up by MoD as probable nuclear targets for the Russians at the height of the Cold War in the early 1970s.
Daily Mail 6th June 2014 read more »
Despite energy being a basic requirement for economic growth and development, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says that 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity. This mainly applies to people living in rural areas of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Only 5% of sub-Saharan Africa has access to energy. Electricity consumption per capita in the region is one-sixth of the world’s average, and total consumption in the region is only as much as in the state of New York. The challenge of energy accessibility needs to be understood in terms of availability as well as affordability for individuals and communities. Fortunately, renewable energies such as wind, solar or biomass come in small units – solar cells or wind turbines – making construction and maintenance fairly straightforward. Over time, the costs for solar, wind and efficient biomass have reduced significantly, now levelling at the same price, and in some cases cheaper, than fossil fuels.
Guardian 5th June 2014 read more »
A 67-TURBINE wind farm with the potential to power 114,000 homes and generate £30 million of benefits to the Highlands has been granted planning consent. The proposed Stronelairg wind farm will be developed by SSE Renewables on the Garrogie estate near Fort Augustus in the Highland Council area. At the same time, an application to build the 21-turbine Newfield wind farm, with a maximum generating capacity of 63MW and located near Lockerbie, in Dumfries and Galloway, has been refused on the grounds of unacceptable adverse visual, landscape and cumulative impacts. Energy minister Fergus Ewing said the Stronelairg development will help “keep the lights on across our islands at a time where there is an increasingly tight gap between electricity supply and demand”.
Herald 7th June 2014 read more »
Scotsman 6th June 2014 read more »
Homebuyers who install energy-saving measures within the first 12 months of moving into their new home will be able to claim new grants – typically up to £1,500 – after a government revamp of the green deal. Following a raft of complaints about the original scheme – set up to encourage householders to insulate and improve their homes – and a very low take-up, ministers have responded with a series of financial sweeteners. From 9 June a £500 payment will be offered to anyone who installs energy-efficiency measures within 12 months of moving into their property.
Guardian 7th June 2014 read more »
In 2012, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast that the US would outpace Saudi Arabia in oil production thanks to the shale boom by 2020, becoming a net exporter by 2030. The forecast was seen by many as decisive evidence of the renewal of the oil age, while informed detractors were at best ignored, at worst ridiculed. But the IEA’s latest assessment has proved the detractors right all along. The agency’s World Energy Investment Outlook released this week says that US tight oil production – which draws largely from the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas – will peak around 2020 before declining. The new analysis puts an end to the ‘100 year supply’ myth widely promulgated by industry, and moves closer to the more sceptical assessment of a US tight oil peak within this decade.
Guardian 6th June 2014 read more »
Russian authorities have released the Arctic Sunrise, which was involved in a high-profile protest against Arctic oil drilling.
Guardian 6th June 2014 read more »
This has been an exciting week for climate policy. First President Obama promised to tackle US coal emissions. Then China said it would limit its overall emissions from 2016. The world’s two biggest emitters taking bold climate action? Well, you know what they say: if it sounds too good to be true…We’ve already picked over the reasons why Obama’s plan is politically courageous but lacks climate ambition. And it turns out China is only considering at a cap, not promising to wear it. So what’s really going on with China’s climate plans? We spoke to some expert China-watchers to find out.
Carbon Brief 6th June 2014 read more »
John Prescott: Our collective response to climate change has been limited. This must change: we need a new generation of international agreement that is more robust, ambitious, inclusive, and, ultimately, more effective. Governments rightly lead on the UN negotiations for a global legally binding climate change agreement, which have begun again this week in Bonn. This must be concluded by 2015 in Paris and come into force by 2020. However, governments cannot do it all by themselves and other actors must now enter the international arena to ensure the level of ambition, and that the underpinning architecture of the agreement, is consistent with the globally agreed target of only a 2C temperature rise.
Guardian 6th June 2014 read more »