The Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco) is said to be investigating becoming part of NuGen, which has plans for a new power plant at Moorside, near Sellafield. It is also rumoured to be a potential buyer for Westinghouse Electric, the troubled nuclear division of Toshiba. The Japanese giant has a 60 per cent stake in NuGen and if the plant goes ahead, would supply its three reactors. These claims have appeared in the Financial Times where Han Chul-hee, of the Korean energy ministry’s nuclear export promotion division, was quoted as saying: “We’re interested in joining the (NuGen) consortium. “Now, (NuGen) want us to be involved in (NuGen) to a greater extent. We are looking at how profitable the project will be and how much investment we should make.” Mr Han was also quoted as saying that the company would review any offer made by Toshiba over Westinghouse.
Carlisle News and Star 7th March 2017 read more »
A farmer has been left “devastated” after being ordered to close her business to make way for a new nuclear power station. Elizabeth Fearon, whose family has farmed at Greenmoorside, in the hamlet of Sellafield, for 30 years, has been given a year by nuclear chiefs to wrap-up her business so the three-reactor Moorside plant can be built on the land. Leaseholder Mrs Fearon was given the “bombshell” news by landowners NuGen, the firm behind the Moorside plans. The 250 cows she keeps on the holding – 150 milk cows and 100 young stock – must now be sold. Mrs Fearon, who lives at Gosforth, said: “It is absolutely devastating.
Carlisle News and Star 6th March 2017 read more »
Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Robert Halfon MP has congratulated EDF Energy for the work it is doing to create apprenticeships for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Around 1,000 apprentices will be taken on during the construction of Hinkley Point C as part of the 25,000 job opportunities available across a whole range of careers such as engineering, design, steel-fixing, commercial, catering and construction. The Minister was speaking during a visit to the 140 hectare construction site to mark the beginning of National Apprenticeship Week.
EDF Energy 6th March 2017 read more »
Nuclear in the Northern Powerhouse. The Northern Powerhouse is the beating heart of the UK’s leading civil nuclear industry. It was where the industry began with the world’s first civil nuclear plant, and today is home to the global leading centre for decommissioning at Sellafield, two existing nuclear power stations, the headquarters of the industry regulator – the Office of Nuclear Regulation – and a key area of operation for all of the UK’s major nuclear companies.
BEIS 2nd March 2017 read more »
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee hears evidence for its inquiry into nuclear research and technologies in its final two evidence sessions. The Committee hears from witnesses including Dame Sue Ion, Chair, Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB) and Lord Hutton of Furness, Chairman, Nuclear Industry Association (NIA). In the first evidence session, the Committee questions the National Nuclear Laboratory and the UK Atomic Energy Authority. They explore issues such as the future governance and funding of their organisations; the UK’s future relationship with Euratom and what steps the Government need to take to ensure the UK has a coherent and consistent long term policy for civil nuclear activities. In the second session the Committee questions the witnesses on whether the co-ordination between the different public bodies involved in nuclear research is sufficient and what role the newly reconstituted Nuclear Industry Council can play in any sector deal as part of the Industrial Strategy.
House of Lords 7th March 2017 read more »
A GROUP of Cumbrian nuclear experts will give evidence to a nuclear inquiry tomorrow. Dame Sue Ion, who was born in Carlisle and chairs the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB), Lord Hutton of Furness, former MP for Barrow and Labour Defence Secretry who now chairs the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) and Paul Howarth, chief executive of the National Nuclear Laboratory in Workington, will all answer questions from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. Professor Howarth will appear alongside Ian Chapman, chief executive of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, at 10.40am. They will be asked about future governance and funding of their organisations and the UK’s future relationship with Euratom. Lord Hutton and Dr Ion will appear at 11.40am and talk about co-ordination between public bodies, research is sufficient and what role the Nuclear Industry Council can play in Britain’s industrial strategy.
In Cumbria 6th March 2017 read more »
The UK’s nuclear industry will need more than two years of Brexit negotiations to prepare for a departure from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), experts told members of parliament last week. The country’s numerous arrangements with European Union member states would each need to be replicated and this could take a decade, they said. Each EU country decides alone whether to include nuclear power in its energy mix or not, but Euratom establishes a common market in nuclear goods, services, capital and people within the EU. It also facilitates UK participation in long-term research and development projects, and provides a framework for international nuclear safeguard compliance. The House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee heard evidence on 28 February from David Senior, director of assurance, policy and international, at the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Sue Ion, chair of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board, Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), and Rupert Cowen, senior commercial and nuclear energy lawyer at Prospect Law. All four said that even transitional measures would be challenging to complete within the two years the government would have to negotiate its exit from the EU, after it triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty as expected this month. The inquiry is entitled ‘Leaving the EU: energy and climate negotiation priorities’.
World Nuclear News 6th March 2017 read more »
Letter sent to FT: Your Big Read analysis of the implications of the UK leaving the EU nuclear agency, Euratom, as part of Brexit, covered many important aspects, but was inaccurate in a number of aspects. (“Brexit’s nuclear fallout” March 3. This is in part because your reporters depend in great part on citing academics and other nuclear industry insiders who have a vested interest in the status quo. Indeed, it reflects the extraordinary lobby on behalf of Euratom demonstrated in the House of Lords by several dozen peers in their Parliamentary debate on March 3, on an amendment trying to protect UK membership of Euratom, in which not one spoke against Euratom, including the Government minister in opposing the amendment!
Dave Lowry’s Blog 3rd March 2017 read more »
Letter: Dr Glen Plant, Farnham, You write, in “Brexit’s nuclear fallout”, that “the UK’s departure from the EU will require withdrawal from Euratom, a separate legal entity but one governed by EU institutions”. It requires no such thing. Euratom withdrawal is a political decision by the British government. Para 18 of the Explanatory Notes to the Article 50 bill provides that the EU includes the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), “as the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008 sets out that the term ‘EU’ includes (as the context permits or requires) Euratom”. It assumes that the context permits or requires that the vote to leave the EU included a vote to leave Euratom, but, as you point out, Euratom is a separate legal entity and of vital importance to an entire industry and, to paraphrase the standfirst to your article, “when Britons voted to leave the EU few considered there would be implications for its nuclear industry”. Energy minister Jesse Norman, I suggest, does not regard Euratom withdrawal as a “regrettable necessity” so much as a doctrinaire consequence of escape at all costs from the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU, a court hardly dealing with fundamental principles of domestic sovereignty here.
FT 7th March 2017 read more »
A Japanese company tasked with cleaning up Fukushima, the site of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, has admitted that its attempts to probe the site are failing repeatedly due to incredibly high levels of radiation. The radiation levels on the site are far higher than any human could possibly survive, so engineers are using purpose-built “scorpion” robots with cameras attached to survey the scale of the damage. The latest attempt to harvest data on Fukushima failed after a robot designed by Toshiba to withstand high radiation levels died five times faster than expected. The robot was supposed to be able to cope with 73 sieverts of radiation, but the radiation level inside the reactor was recently recorded at 530 sieverts. A single dose of one sievert is enough to cause radiation sickness and nausea; 5 sieverts would kill half those exposed to it within a month, and a single dose of 10 sieverts would prove fatal within weeks.
Independent 6th March 2017 read more »
After six years the multifaceted catastrophe continues to unfold, despite extensive and costly remediation efforts. As well as the unresolved crisis at the Daiichi nuclear plant itself, urban and rural areas remain highly contaminated and numerous psychological, emotional, physical, social, political and economic consequences continue to unfold for many people. Following the 2011 disaster, the permitted dose of non-occupational ionising radiation from a nuclear power plant was raised to 20 millisieverts per year for citizens of Fukushima. In the rest of Japan and the rest of the world the maximum permitted dose to a citizen is 1 millisievert per year, as recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). The‘20 millisieverts per year’ exhibition title refers to the maximum dose of ionising radiation originating from a nuclear power plant to which citizens of Fukushima can now be exposed in a year.
Lis Fields (accessed) 6th March 2017 read more »
The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe may feel like ancient history in world constantly bombarded with news of the another tragedy or disaster. But for those who were impacted by the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, the crisis is far from over. And it iswomen and children that have borne the brunt of human rights violations resulting from it, both in the immediate aftermath and as a result of the Japan government’s nuclear resettlement policy.
Greenpeace 7th March 2017 read more »
The problems caused by Chernobyl are unlikely to be fully solved for thousands of years – so Professor Neil Hyatt, from Sheffield University, is aware that his work leading the decommissioning of the site will help to reduce the hazardous legacy handed to future generations. Prof Hyatt’s team of around 50 researchers are also focusing on the clean-up of nuclear waste at locations such as Sellafield in Cumbria and Fukushima in Japan, where a plant was damaged by a tsunami in 2011. The expert, a specialist in nuclear materials chemistry, has visited Pripyat and Chernobyl with colleagues and students twice, in July and October last year, and found the experience deeply affecting.
Sheffield Telegraph 7th March 2017 read more »
EU state aid regulators gave Hungary the green light Monday for the controversial Russian-backed Paks II nuclear power project. The European Commission’s approval is conditional on Hungary collecting higher returns on its investment into the project, ensuring it is managed separately from the existing Paks nuclear power plant, and selling a third of the energy generated on an open exchange. Hungary has generated considerable controversy by handing the contract to build the reactor to Russia’s Rosatom without conducting a tender. The works will be financed by a Russian loan worth some €10 billion.
Politico 6th March 2017 read more »
The European Commission has concluded that Hungary’s financial support for the construction of two new nuclear reactors in Paks (Paks II) involves state aid. It has approved this support under EU state aid rules on the basis of commitments made by Hungary to limit distortions of competition.
European Commission 6th March 2017 read more »
BNE Intellinews 6th March 2017 read more »
A senior Chinese nuclear power executive has said the country needs to accelerate the construction of new nuclear power plants if it is to meet targets to boost its use of nuclear energy, lower pollution and cut reliance on traditional fuel sources. He Yu, chairman of state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) said the country needed to build between four and six nuclear reactors each year until 2020, the official China Daily newspaper reported on Tuesday. China is trying to boost its use of nuclear energy. One of its biggest state reactor builders has said the country’s total installed nuclear capacity could rise to 120-150 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 from 28.3 GW in 2015.
Reuters 7th March 2017 read more »
Energy Supply – Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon side-lined her own energy experts while drawing up plans to keep Scotland’s lights on, The Courier can reveal. Gordon Wilson, a former SNP leader, has accused the First Minister of presiding over a “dangerous vacuum” and failing to protect the country’s electricity supply. The ex-Dundee MP heavily criticised the government’s lack of consultation with its Scottish Energy Advisory Body in the 10 months before unveiling its energy blueprint. The SEAB, which is made up of senior figures from industry, academia, the civil service and consumer groups, met only once last year – in March. The draft energy strategy was published at the end of January this year. Set up by Alex Salmond’s administration in 2009, the SEAB, which is now co-chaired by Ms Sturgeon, is supposed to meet “at least twice annually”, according to the Scottish Government’s website. Mr Wilson, who is a director of the Options for Scotland, said “words fail me” over the Scottish Government’s approach to the SEAB. “Why did it prepare an energy strategy without taking advice from its own body? “There is a dangerous vacuum here and no sign that the Government is concerned about security of power supply in Scotland. This should be its first priority.” Mr Wilson, who was succeeded as SNP leader by Mr Salmond in 1990, said there is “growing concern” over the “failure of the Edinburgh Government to develop a policy to safeguard Scotland’s electricity self-sufficiency”. He said Scotland was a big exporter of electricity until Westminster subsidies for the south and midlands in England led to the early closure of Longannet and Cockenzie power stations. A fresh threat is the uncertain future of the Peterhead gas-fired plant, Mr Wilson added, as well as the lack of progress on the replacement gas generator at Cockenzie “without a squawk of protest” from the Scottish Government.
Dundee Courier 6th March 2017 read more »
Renewables – solar
New research suggests schools in England and Wales which have solar panels installed will be landed with a £1.8m bill because of business rate changes that have been branded ludicrous and nonsensical. More than 1,000 schools installed solar power in recent years to address climate change, educate pupils and provide a crucial new revenue stream to help squeezed budgets. But figures from 74 education authorities that responded to freedom of information requests show 821 schools with solar will together have to pay an extra £800,000 a year in business rates from April because of taxation changes. Assuming similar installation rates across the 174 authorities in England and Wales, that climbs to a total of about £1.8m.
Guardian 6th March 2017 read more »
Renewables – Scotland
The wind in Scotland was used to generate enough energy to power nearly four million homes in February, according to new figures. There are only about 2.5 million homes in Scotland, so the extra electricity would have been used in other parts of the UK. The figures were revealed as a survey of Scottish renewable energy companies found the firms expected to shed more than 15 per cent of their current workforce.
Independent 6th March 2017 read more »
Herald 6th March 2017 read more »
Daily Record 6th March 2017 read more »
Renew Economy 7th March 2017 read more »
Two former Tesla executives are aiming to set up Europe’s first big battery factory in an attempt to rival Asian manufacturers that dominate the industry as the fight to power electric cars heats up. Peter Carlsson, a Swede who was the former supply chain head for Tesla until 2015, will on Tuesday announce plans to set up a $4bn factory in the Nordic countries, using in part metals mined in the region. “If nobody does anything, Europe is going to be completely dependent on an Asian supply chain. Europe has the opportunity to act for its own energy independence. It’s now or never,” Mr Carlsson told the Financial Times.
FT 6th March 2017 read more »
The UK has beaten its climate change target for 2020 after carbon emissions fell to the lowest level since the General Strike shut down industry in 1926. Last year the closure of three coal-fired power stations and the steelworks at Redcar, North Yorkshire, contributed to a 6 per cent fall in emissions. The fall reflected a shift from coal to gas to generate electricity, with coal use halving in one year, according to Carbon Brief, a website focusing on climate change. Gas produces half the emissions of coal per unit of electricity. The UK cut CO2 emissions faster than Germany, Italy, France and Spain between 1990 and 2014 and did slightly better than the EU average. Lack of wind meant that the proportion of electricity from wind farms fell last year to 11.5 per cent despite more than 340 turbines being built onshore. Green energy subsidies will cost every household £110 a year by 2020, £17 more than the government had planned because it lost control of the budget for wind and solar farms, the National Audit Office said last year. Greenhouse gas emissions fell last year by 42 per cent against 1990 levels compared with a target of 35 per cent by 2020, according to Carbon Brief.
Times 7th March 2017 read more »
Phasing out coal-powered electricity is rapidly bringing pollution targets that once seemed unrealistic within reach. Without much fanfare and four years ahead of schedule, Britain has achieved an ambitious policy goal that should have significant public health benefits and serve as a case study for other large economies. The UK has cut its carbon dioxide emissions to a level last seen during the General Strike of 1926. Apart from that exceptional year, when most coal mines were closed, the last time emissions were this low was in 1894, when Karl Benz produced the world’s first car. The basis for this view is a report published yesterday by the Carbon Brief, based on government figures. These show that UK carbon emissions from coal fell last year by half to one twelfth of their level at their peak in 1956. The main factors behind this were the closures of the Redcar steel plant and three large coal-fired power stations.
Times 7th March 2017 read more »