A Packed meeting hears of major obstacles to Chinese nuclear experiment on the Blackwater but ‘it must be fought at every stage’ Nearly 200 people packing the MICA Centre in West Mersea on a damp and dark December evening heard two Professors talk of the many obstacles facing the proposal for Chinese reactors to be built at the Bradwell site. Stephen Thomas, Emeritus Professor of Energy Policy at Greenwich University, and Andy Blowers, Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences at the Open University and Chair of BANNG, both recognised the project announced during the Chinese President’s recent state visit to the UK had considerable political momentum behind it but, they argued, there was a long way to go and opposition was strong and determined and could help to stop the project dead in its tracks. By curious coincidence the previous day the two companies developing the project, the China General Nuclear Power Corporation and EDF Energy, had delivered a letter to households around the Backwater estuary announcing their intention to develop at Bradwell, stating this was at an early stage with no developed proposals or defined timeline.
BANNG 3rd Dec 2015 read more »
Romania has stepped in the trial which opposes Austria versus Great Britain and the Chinese company China General Nuclear Power. Austria has taken a stand against the state aid that the UK has granted to the Chinese company for building a nuclear power plant. The European Commission approved the state aid scheme in October this year. Romania has a direct interest here, as the country also wants to build a power plant with the same Chinese company, and the only way to do that is to grant a state aid, which must be approved by the European Commission, reports local Profit.ro. The lawsuit takes places at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Romania’s Government has made the decision to intervene in this case at the end of November.
Romania-Insider 3rd Dec 2015 read more »
Today the government decided that the Czech Republic will join, as an intervener, two legal actions brought by the state of Austria and the German company Greenpeace Energy eG against the European Commission. The cause of action is the decision from October last year, by which the then leaving commissioners enabled the UK and enterprise EDF to build two blocks of the nuclear power plant Hinkley Point C with the help of guaranteed electricity prices. Plaintiffs do not consider this decision compatible with EU law because it unreasonably interferes with the set of rules of the free market. However, Czech government wants to actively defend the possibility to grant similar public monetary assistance to the investor in nuclear power plants because: “such action is not ruled out in the future” in domestic conditions.
Nuclear Heritage 2nd Dec 2015 read more »
Parents Concerned About Hinkley (PCAH) says it is worried about safety and security when the lorries begin moving nuclear waste through the area on the way to Hinkley Point.
Burnham-on-sea.com 8th Dec 2015 read more »
Nukes vs Climate
If you think you’ve been seeing a lot more pro-nuclear propaganda in the media than usual in the past couple of weeks, well, it’s not your imagination. The nuclear industry and its champions are out in force, publishing articles and appearing in the media wherever and whenever they can in what may be a last-ditch effort to convince the world–or at least its leaders–that nuclear power is the answer, or one answer, to our climate crisis. As one writer put it yesterday, “At the Paris Climate Summit (COP21), the global nuclear lobby is in overdrive.” If it all smacks a bit of desperation–and a lot of the pro-nuke pieces out there right now verge on the hysterical, with blatant attacks on those of us who envision a clean energy future–well, that’s not your imagination either. That’s because there is no global consensus on nuclear power. Some nations are against it entirely while a relatively few others are ardently pro-nuclear, with most–including the U.S.–somewhere in-between. And that means, by the very nature of the COP 21 talks, that nuclear isn’t getting what the industry needs; indeed, so far at least, nuclear is simply a non-factor. Nuclear would set the world on the wrong path, and that would prove disastrous. Fortunately, refuting nuclear advocates’ arguments becomes easier and easier with the passage of time. Not only are most of the industry’s positions fantastical, but the concept of a world powered 100% by clean renewable energy is no longer seen as a hippie pipedream but as a necessary and, more importantly, achievable goal at every level–from individuals to large corporations to cities large and small to entire nations.
Green World 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Bill Gates has rounded up a squad of billionaires to save the day when it comes to climate change, using their investment wisdom and bank accounts to further energy tech. Too bad they aren’t putting their money where it would really help — advancing policy and grassroots efforts. Not long ago, we issued a challenge to a set of mega-donors to pour billions of their collective wealth into the problem of climate change. Now, it seems that Bill Gates, one of our biggest targets, has rallied 28 investors behind a two-pronged plan to devote a pool of private funding to clean energy breakthroughs, and to convince governments to do the same. While Gates deserves praise for moving money on the issue, banking on a tech breakthrough to save us is not where we really need the world’s billionaires to focus at this exact moment. Gates does make a compelling case that investment in clean energy technology is needed. His strongest argument calls for proportionally more public investment, but also for private investors to be patient enough for energy tech to become marketable. Both are important. The problem is, an Apollo-style push for what Gates has called “Energy Miracles” is not only a misguided strategy for mitigating climate change, it could also distract funders with the enticing idea that invention is going to rescue us from this problem. We really need to move the needle on climate change with widespread grunt work, like binding regulations, grassroots movement building, distributed funds that empower affected communities, and — as a consequence of all this work — policy changes that incentivize the massive deployment of existing technology, and sooner rather than later.
Inside Philanthropy 4th Dec 2015 read more »
As a clean, reliable, affordable and modern energy source, nuclear power should be considered among low carbon options and an important contributor to a sustainable energy future, IAEA Deputy Director General Mikhail Chudakov said at the Paris climate conference today. “Nuclear energy has low life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions and has the potential, with innovative technologies, to serve humanity effectively for a very long time,” Chudakov told the audience of a United Nations side event entitled “Pathways to Sustainable Energy for a Climate Friendly World” at the COP21 conference today. “When considered in the broader context of sustainable development, nuclear power enhances energy security and reduces damage to ecosystems and impact on human health.”
IAEA 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Modular reactors being developed by Fluor Corp.’s Nuscale Power can be a “game-changer” by making nuclear power plants more affordable to build, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said. “The proof will be in the pudding in terms of the economic performance, but it looks very promising and that can be a game-changer,” Moniz told reporters at a round of United Nations climate talks in Paris. “If we have a viable pathway at building nuclear power in smaller bites, the whole financing structure can change and make it much more affordable.”
Bloomberg 7th Dec 2015 read more »
One of the prominent themes within Amber Rudd’s long-awaited energy policy speech and the Spending Review is the need for innovation in energy technologies and systems. It is also an essential part of the Committee on Climate Change’s proposals for the 5th carbon budget. Innovation is required to meet our energy policy goals: not only to develop new technologies, but more importantly to demonstrate and commercialise those technologies that already exist. Whilst this emphasis on innovation is welcome, the announcements raise serious questions about some of the choices that are being made, and the coherence of the government’s overall energy policy. The news that the UK’s CCS commercialisation programme is being cancelled, which was not mentioned in the Spending Review, is particularly hard to understand. Taken at face value, the Chancellor’s commitment to double energy innovation spending over the next five years is positive. It remains to be seen what this means in practice. As the Secretary of State argued in her speech last week, there is a strong rationale for governments to support innovation: ‘new technologies at the scale we need don’t appear out of thin air. Nuclear power, gas-fired power stations and even shale gas emerged after years, sometimes decades of public support’.
UKERC 26th Nov 2015 read more »
Generally, scientists assume that oil can’t make it through salt barriers in the earth–the viscous liquid can’t soak through the dense salt. But in the new research scientists found that in high temperatures and pressures, like those found deep in the earth, salt can become more porous, allowing even fluids like oil (which don’t dissolve salt like water) to leak through. An oil leak is bad enough, but we generally have an even stronger desire to keep nuclear waste where we put it, and if fluid can leak out of a salt barrier, it might also be able to leak in, picking up radioactive material and spreading it around.
Popular Science 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Britain should overhaul its system of subsidies that encourage power companies to supply electricity at peak times, according to those who helped design the process. Ahead of the start of the next capacity market auction on Tuesday, the Financial Times has spoken to several of the people involved in the design of the auction, which pays generators that promise to supply back-up power at short notice.The process was criticised for the type of power generation it encourages after it emerged that this month’s auction looks set to hand hundreds of millions of pounds to small-scale diesel generators, which are relatively cheap to set up but highly polluting. Sara Bell, chief executive of Tempus Energy, which helps companies cut their energy use at peak times in return for payments from National Grid, also served on the development panel. She argued that the government should make more use of energy-saving techniques such as those provided by her company. “Forget about encouraging more gas, let’s have the most economically rational approach,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense to look at expensive generation when we could do more with demand-side response.”
FT 6th Dec 2015 read more »
Owners of heavily polluting diesel generators stand to make “sky-high” profits under a government energy regime that has slashed subsidies for wind and solar, a report warns. The annual capacity market auction – under which power suppliers bid for contracts to feed electricity into the grid – is due to begin on Tuesday. Calculations by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggest “diesel farm” owners can expect to make millions if they succeed with bids to supply 1.5 gigawatts.
Guardian 8th Dec 2015 read more »
BBC 8th Dec 2015 read more »
France, the Netherlands and other countries will compete for the first time this week to supply emergency electricity to Britain, when the government holds an auction designed to guarantee enough power during periods of peak winter demand. The capacity market auction, which begins today, aims to secure 45 gigawatts of electricity for the winter of 2019-20 by paying generators that promise to supply back-up power at short notice. This year, the auction has been thrown open to the operators of four subsea power cables, pitting overseas generators against the operators of conventional power stations in the UK. It is the first time that foreign suppliers have been allowed to participate. The interconnectors across the English Channel and the Irish Sea already play an important role in Britain’s electricity market, feeding up to four gigawat ts of electricity into the UK grid, representing about 7 per cent of national peak electricity demand. With ageing British power plants being retired from service, there are plans to lay seven more such subsea cables, including from Denmark and Iceland, with the potential to deliver more than seven gigawatts of additional supply. However, the decision by the energy department to include interconnectors in the auction was said yesterday to be deeply unpopular among operators of both existing British power stations and the developers of new ones, which claim that the subsea links enjoy an unfair competitive advantage.
Times 8th Dec 2015 read more »
The head of Spanish energy group Iberdrola has called Scotland an “example to the world” of how high carbon prices and government support for renewable energy can reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The comments from Ignacio Galan, chairman of Iberdrola and its UK arm Scottish Power, come as first minister Nicola Sturgeon shrugs off criticism at home to promote Scotland’s record at the UN climate conference talks in Paris. Mr Galan said greater interconnection and more sophisticated grids allowed greater use of renewables, but that big improvements in energy storage would also be required. “For this, hydro pump storage — in which Scotland has a great potential — is the only efficient technology that can be implemented massively as of today,” he said.
FT 6th Dec 2015 read more »
A leading economist has accused the Scottish Government of focusing too much on electricity and ig noring other important areas that could lead to a reduction in greenhouse emissions at home. Tony Mackay, who has specialised in energy economics for three decades, also said that progress with offshore wind farms in Scottish waters had been “very disappointing” with progress on marine and tidal energy “even worse”. He said that while a lot of electricity was being generated from renewables, mostly onshore wind farms, far more needed to be done to reduce reliance on oil and gas on roads and in homes. In a submission to Holyrood’s economy, energy and tourism committee, he said: “Renewable energy is very important for electricity generation in Scotland but it could also make a much greater contribution to other demands such as transport and domestic energy consumption. I believe that these issues have been neglected by the Scottish Government and other bodies.
Herald 8th Dec 2015 read more »
High winds that have battered Scotland this winter have pushed its turbine power output up by two-fifths – providing more than enough electricity to fuel every domestic property, an environment charity has found. November was the second highest month for power output in 2015 surpassed only by January, WWF Scotland said. Scottish turbines provided around 1,158,144MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough to supply, on average, the electrical needs of 131% of Scottish households (3.2 million homes). This represents an increase of 42% compared to November 2014.
Energy Voice 8th Dec 2015 read more »
STV 8th Dec 2015 read more »
Scotsman 8th Dec 2015 read more »
On its 35th anniversary, NFLA elects Cllr Ernie Galsworthy as its new Chair, agrees on its ongoing nuclear policy and energy work; and urges MP to withdraw a call to move Trident submarines to Northern Ireland.
NFLA 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Japan – reactor restarts
In making his decision to approve the restart of the Takahama 3 and 4 reactors, Mayor Yukata Nose has ignored significant unsolved safety issues with these reactors. He also represents only the host community – a tiny fraction of the many millions of people in both Fukui prefecture and the wider Kansai region. His approval can hardly be construed as meeting the need for public consent prior to restart. Not that he had much of a choice. Takahama Town, like many nuclear host communities, has been held in economic captivity by the industry for decades. Instead of providing a viable path out of the shadow of nuclear risks, the Abe government and KEPCO have only sought to deepen their dependency for years to come.
Greenpeace 7th Dec 2015 read more »
On Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announced a sweeping plan to combat climate change that would greatly build upon the significant but insufficient efforts of President Barack Obama and, at first glance, is very close to a dream scenario for environmentalists. But there’s one major flaw in Bernie’s plan: Sanders is calling for a total phaseout of nuclear energy. He would place a moratorium on relicensing of the country’s aging nuclear power plants—from which we currently get about 20 percent of our electricity. In the U.S., a phaseout of nuclear power would greatly complicate our ability to cut carbon emissions over the next few decades. A recent modeling report by Third Way, a centrist think tank, showed that shuttered American nuclear plants would likely be replaced by natural gas—increasing net emissions.
Slate 7th Dec 2015 read more »
The first phase of a project to repatriate Australian radioactive waste has been completed, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (Ansto) confirmed yesterday. The shipment of waste left France on 15 October on the nuclear-rated ship BBC Shanghai, and arrived in Port Kembla, New South Wales, on 5 December. The waste was transported from the port to Ansto’s interim storage facility at Lucas Heights the following day. The waste is from the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel from Australia’s Hifar research reactor, which closed in 2007 after 49 years of operation. The fuel was shipped to France for reprocessing under agreements between the Australian and French governments, which stipulated that the waste must be returned to Australia.
World Nuclear News 7th Dec 2015 read more »
When a Greenpeace investigation found that nuclear waste returning to Australia by ship from France has been classified as high-level waste by French authorities, contradicting Australia’s claims over its radioactivity, we knew we had to act. So this weekend, Greenpeace activists and volunteers followed the dodgy waste from port in Wollongong all the way to Lucas Heights in south Sydney.
Greenpeace 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Heightened activity at a nuclear test site in North Korea could be just a bluff, says the head of an international monitoring body. Satellite images of a fourth tunnel on the country’s east coast, where it carried out three previous tests, were revealed in a report by a Washington university.
Mirror 7th Dec 2015 read more »
‘Ethical’ investment platform Abundance has attracted more than £2 million in just six weeks from green investors across the UK for a new wind-farm development in Aberdeenshire. A total of £2.3 million has been raised for the 500kW Upper Pitforthie Windgen wind project in Aberdeenshire, along with £119,000 for Abundance’s first biomass project Minnow Valley Biomass in Wales and £46,000 for Ecossol PV across the UK.
Scottish Energy News 8th Dec 2015 read more »
Renewables – wave
Orkney based marine energy consultancy Aquatera has won a major contract from Chinese wave technology developer FINIMA. Aquatera will provide programme management and technical support for FINIM’s upcoming technology development activities in the UK. Headquartered in Stromness, Aquatera has been at the forefront of the marine energy sector in Scotland, and further afield, for the past 15 years.
Scottish Energy News 8th Dec 2015 read more »
Governments including China, India, the US and companies such as Ikea are backing a plan to have 10bn super efficient light bulbs fitted worldwide to tackle the 5% of global emissions caused by lighting. The public-private partnership is expected to see India sell 0.8bn LED bulbs by 2019 and China committing to sell 5bn by 2018. Ikea, the Swedish furniture multinational, committed to sell 500m LED bulbs to its customers by 2020. The Swedish energy minister, Ibrahim Baylan, told the Guardian that the scheme had been an outgrowth of innovations in the lighting sector this decade. “New lighting creates new opportunities in our societies with multiple benefits,” he said. “Sweden wants to support the transition to universal access of high-efficient and high-quality lighting, which is why we join this race with other Clean Energy Ministerial partners to realise the efficiency potential that exists in Sweden and the rest of the world.”
Guardian 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Of all the many technical advances that are transforming the energy business none is potentially more important than storage: it give us the ability to control the way, and crucially the timing, of energy consumption. Used on a major scale it could help to make heat and light available to those outside the commercial economy and could radically alter the energy mix. Two excellent recent research reports summarise the current state of the art in the field and offer some predictions. The first is from Lazards and is the latest in a series assessing trends in the costs of different mechanisms. The second is from Moody’s and concentrates on the advances being made in reducing the cost of batteries. In discussing storage it is important to demolish two myths. First, the technological advances are not about to transform the energy system to the point where a major proportion of consumers defect from existing distribution systems. Second, it does not require a dramatic breakthrough for making it on a significant scale to become economic. On the first, by far the most likely next step is the integration of storage mechanisms into existing grids and other distribution systems in ways that manage peak loads and thus contribute to reducing the necessary generating capacity or other forms of supply. On the second, the story is one of gradualism. The core technologies are known and are advancing all the time. Some are already commercially competitive. You are probably reading this on a computer that holds power for much longer than was possible only a decade ago. There could well be developments that would change the entire energ y system as we know it – but a eureka moment is not necessary. Incremental change is already underway. The Moody’s paper notes that battery costs have fallen by 50 per cent in the last five years. The Lazards one reports industry expectations of a further significant decrease over the next five years and says that if the projections being made materialise, “some energy storage technologies may be positioned to displace a significant portion of future gas fired generation capacity in particular as a replacement for peaking gas turbine facilities”. The key conclusion of the two reports is that storage is getting cheaper at a rate that is liable to challenge at least part of the existing energy system within five years. The conventional alternatives that are under threat from this sort of competition start with gas turbines but extend to expensive plans to upgrade transmission lines and distribution systems. When serious and objective financial institutions start saying such things, investors and companies involved in the old energy economy would be foolish not to take notice.
FT 7th Dec 2015 read more »
The UK Department for Energy (DECC) has revealed that a total of nine UK energy companies applied for onshore shale oil and gas exploration licences in Scotland’s Central Belt. But DECC last night refused to divulge details of the applicant companies nor the precise petroleum exploration development (PEDL) licences – despite a Freedom of Information disclosure request by an anti-fracking sympathiser to do so. Meanwhile, DECC is due to announce by 18 Dec 2015 the successful applications for a number of onshore oil and gas / shale energy / fracking licences in England and – possibly – Wales.
Scottish Energy News 8th Dec 2015 read more »
Nine companies have applied for licences to carry out fracking operations beneath 1,900 sq km of land in Scotland, it has been revealed. The information was given by the UK government in response to a freedom of information request by the Ferret investigative journalism website. It did not disclose who the companies were or where they have applied to extract shale gas. But Scotland’s shale reserves are said to be focused in the central belt.
BBC 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Guardian 7th Dec 2015 read more »
Scotland is to invest an extra £12 million to help tackle climate change in the world’s poorest countries, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. The First Minister will be making a keynote appearance today at the UN global climate change summit in Paris and unveiled a doubling of the Scottish Government’s Climate Justice Fund for countries such as Malawi and Zambia.
Scotsman 7th Dec 2015 read more »