The Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) has emerged as a potential buyer for the debt-ridden Westinghouse Electric Corp. as Mitsubishi, GE and other possible bidders have expressed disinterest in the American nuclear firm. Last month, Japanese electronics firm, Toshiba, announced a plan to dispose of Westinghouse, which it acquired in 2006 for $5.4 billion, to raise much-needed fresh funds to prop up its deteriorating financial health. The company also said it will sell a 60 percent stake in a consortium, NuGen, which plans to build a nuclear plant in Britain.
Korea Times 7th March 2017 read more »
Costain is using a unique walking jack up barge to construct the 490m long jetty in the Bristol Channel, which will be used to import aggregate for the construction of the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.
New Civil Engineer 2nd March 2017 read more »
Letter Andrew Duff: Whoever thought, like Dr Glen Plant (Letters, March 7), that they were not voting to leave Euratom in last year’s EU referendum was not paying attention. Euratom is and always has been glued to the EU: membership of the one means membership of the other. Indeed, Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty as revised under the Lisbon treaty makes it explicit that the now famous Article 50 TEU applies equally to Euratom. So in order to safeguard its nuclear industry in both legal and scientific terms the UK must now seek to negotiate associate membership of Euratom. This means accepting the supervisory powers of the European Commission and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over Sellafield, all for the payment of a relatively modest fee into the Euratom budget. Such a specific Euratom arrangement will fit neatly inside the wider association agreement between the UK and the EU, which is implied by prime minister Theresa May’s bid for a comprehensive free trade area plus political co-operation in internal and external security, along with selective participation in EU agencies and spending programmes.
FT 7th March 2017 read more »
The legal logic behind the UK’s planned exit from a key European nuclear group has been called into question by experts who have branded the risky move an unnecessary step in the Brexit process. The Government said it will leave Euratom as a result of the decision to exit the EU because “they are uniquely legally joined” but the justification has been rubbished by experts who say there is no legal reason the UK cannot remain within Euratom while leaving the bloc. Herbert Smith Freehills, the law firm advising EDF on the Hinkley Point C new nuclear project, said the Government’s legal interpretation has created unnecessary risks. Leaving Euratom’s regulatory framework could delay the planned Hinkley Point and Horizon nuclear plants while complicated new bilateral agreements are formed. It could also bring imports of nuclear fuel to an immediate halt, which lead to a shutdown of existing nuclear power reactors which make up a fifth of the UK’s electricity supply. Julia Pyke, a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills and the firm’s lead adviser to EDF, told The Telegraph the risk is “an own goal”. “The balance of legal opinion is that it’s not legally necessary to exit Euratom in order to leave the EU,” she said. Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association and a former shadow energy minister, said the sector has made it crystal clear that it would prefer to maintain membership of Euratom. “However, if the UK ceases to be part of Euratom, then it is vital that the Government agree transitional arrangements, to give the UK time to negotiate and complete new agreements. The UK should remain a member of Euratom until these arrangements are put in place,” he urged.
Telegraph 7th March 2017 read more »
A new group of pro-nuclear countries developing atomic power plants around the world is an economic prize worth fighting for, former British minister Tim Yeo has told MLex. Yeo said the new organization, designed to fill gaps created by the UK’s exit from an EU nuclear-cooperation treaty, would help cut the cost of new reactors and spread British expertise. “We want to minimize the impact from Brexit,” said Yeo, the chairman of pro-nuclear campaign group New Nuclear Watch Europe. “There are some functions that Euratom performs which pro-nuclear countries need performed by somebody,” he said. These include ensuring compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, designed to prevent the spread of atomic weapons, and maintaining a single market in nuclear goods. The UK in January announced that it would withdraw from the EU nuclear trade and safety treaty, known as Euratom, at the same time as leaving the EU. Yeo hopes that an alliance between advocates of atomic energy — including former Communist countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania, but also more broadly around the world — could build on many of the roles taken by Euratom.
MLex 3rd March 2017 read more »
With the return of nuclear new build in the UK, the potential to be liable for nuclear damage will be of vital importance to all parties in the nuclear supply chain as well as investors and funders of new nuclear projects, writes Darren Walsh. The Nuclear Installations (Liability For Damage) Order 2016 (2016 Order) was made on 4 May 2016 and is expected to become law early this year. In two Protocols dated 12 February 2004, the contracting parties to the Paris Convention and Brussels Convention agreed a number of significant changes to the regime on nuclear third party liability. The 2016 Order implements the Protocols from 2004 in the UK. In the event of a nuclear incident an increased amount of compensation will be available, in respect of a broader range of damage, to a wider category of claimants. As a number of the new nuclear reactors in the UK will be built adjacent to existing nuclear licensed sites, the 2016 Order seeks to clarify the interaction of potential liability between new build nuclear sites and legacy nuclear sites.
World Nuclear News 7th March 2017 read more »
Greg Hands also asserted : “Our world class nuclear supply chain capability is the product of over 60 years of experience and research.It started with Calder Hall in Cumbria in 1956 – the world’s first civil nuclear programme. From this strong base, UK industry has plans for new nuclear reactors amounting to up to 18 gigawatt of new capacity over the coming years.” In fact Calder Hall nuclear plant was built asa plutonium production facility to provide nuclear warhead exlosives for the British atomic bomb programme, with electricity production as a spin-off.
David Lowry’s Blog 7th March 2017 read more »
Veolia announced that its nuclear solutions entity, through its subsidiary Kurion Inc., will deploy effluent treatment systems at four Magnox sites in the United Kingdom under a new contract between the two firms. Under the agreement with Magnox Limited, the company will design, build and install the new systems at the four sites, enabling the removal of contaminated waste from the sites’ active effluent water treatment, ponds water filtration, and cesium removal plants.
Nuclear Industry Association 6th March 2017 read more »
A new housing development near a nuclear waste dump in Derbyshire ‘could put lives at risk’. That is according to residents who have been concerned about Hilts Quarry in Crich for many years. The site was used as a dumping ground for low-level nuclear waste for decades by Rolls Royce Marine Power. Patrick Cooke, 72, thinks the testing done to make sure the waste is still safe could be affected by the new houses.
Ripley & Heanor News 7th March 2017 read more »
More than 50 MPs have demanded “immediate action” to stop households being ripped off by energy companies after Eon raised its prices. The cross-party group of politicians condemned the treatment of those on expensive standard variable tariffs, about two thirds of households, and said that telling people to shop around would “not fix the problem”. Yesterday Eon said that it was raising its standard tariff by an average of 8.8 per cent from April 26, adding £97 to a typical annual dual-fuel bill. Electricity prices will rise by 13.8 per cent and gas prices by 3.8 per cent, it said, blaming government “social and environmental schemes” such as renewable energy subsidies.
Times 8th March 2017 read more »
Ministers have reminded UK energy companies they are “prepared to act” over household bills after another of the “big six” utility companies hiked its prices. Eon, the German utility, on Tuesday announced a near 9 per cent increase in bills for customers that are on a standard rate for electricity and gas, blaming increases in costs that are beyond its control, including expenses associated with government energy policies.
FT 7th March 2017 read more »
About 2.5 million E.ON customers will pay an extra £97 a year on energy bills in what consumer groups have branded a “monstrous” and “crippling” blow for householders. The company’s 8.8% price rise for customers on a dual-fuel standard tariff from the end of next month is the second highest increase among several announced recently by rivals, including a 9.8% rise by npower, 7.8% by Scottish Power and 1.2% by EDF.
Guardian 7th March 2017 read more »
This year the spring budget comes at an odd time for all things low carbon in the UK. In February, the government published its industrial strategy, setting out its clean growth aims as part of Theresa May’s flagship domestic economic policy. By the beginning of the summer, the government will produce a ‘clean growth’ plan, outlining how the UK will meet its fourth and fifth carbon budgets (covering 2023-32). The mood music is good: the government is committed to meeting these budgets, and is signalling that it sees economic opportunities for the UK in an increasingly low carbon, resource efficient world. This is welcome, but the wider context for the country’s low carbon strategy is less rosy. In mid-2015, David Cameron’s government reversed 16 major policies contributing to decarbonisation, including support for onshore wind and the zero carbon homes policy. A few months later, it abruptly ended the longstanding carbon capture and storage (CCS) programme, weeks before a decision on the UK’s first CCS plant was due to be made. These actions opened up a major gap in UK decarbonisation policy. So, despite the subsequent, laudable decisions to phase out the UK’s old and dirty coal fleet, sign the Paris climate agreement and commit to supporting 10GW of offshore wind, the UK’s low carbon strategy ended last year in tumult. In its summary of progress, the Committee on Climate Change warned that “current decarbonisation policies, at best, will deliver about half the required reduction in emissions.” That assessment was made before figures for UK’s infrastructure pipeline were released, showing that renewables investment is set to fall by 95 per cent between 2017 and 2020. This investment cliff edge is largely down to the government: its levy control framework (LCF), which is used to fund low carbon power, ends in 2020, and its renewal is overdue.
Green Alliance Blog 6th March 2017 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Scotland Forum has submitted its views to the Scottish Government’s proposed new Scottish Energy Strategy. The NFLA – whose members include Glasgow cooncil – welcomes much of the ambition of the Scottish Government to continue to drive a renewable energy revolution forward, but calls for greater ambition in a number of important areas, particularly renewable heat and transport.
Scottish Energy News 8th March 2017 read more »
NFLA 7th March 2017 read more »
Amid criticism from environmental groups, the European Commission gave its green light Monday to state subsidies for the construction by a Russian company of two new nuclear reactors in Paks (Paks II) in Hungary. Brussels approved this support under EU state aid rules on the basis of Hungarian commitments to limit distortions of competition. Hungary wants Rosatom – a state-owned Russian company – to build two new reactors at the Paks nuclear plant.
EU Business 8th March 2017 read more »
EUROPEAN Union authorities have approved a new nuclear power plant in Hungary, backed with Moscow money and built by a Russian firm, in a move branded “spectacularly irresponsible”.
Express 7th March 2017 read more »
On March 11, we will be remembering that exactly six years have passed since the triple explosions and meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor site. Over 150,000 from Fukushima Prefecture were forced to leave their homes to flee from radiation, the majority of which are still living in many different parts of Japan. It is likely that many of them will never be able to return to their homes. We also know that 300 tonnes of radioactive water flows EVERY DAY through the site of the Fukushima disaster into the Pacific Ocean. So the crisis there is as acute as ever, and we support calls for an international response to this environmental, economic and social disaster.
Radiation Free Lakeland 7th March 2017 read more »
The name Fukushima will always be associated with the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, causing a triple meltdown at the city’s nuclear power station. An exclusion zone remains in place around the nuclear site as thousands of workers continue clean-up efforts. Before 2011, the area was known as a tourist attraction particularly for skiers looking to get the most out of the slopes. Tourist numbers fell sharply after the disaster but now many are returning. The ski slopes are quite a distance from where the tsunami struck, but radiation levels are constantly monitored to reassure visitors to the area.
BBC 7th March 2017 read more »
Renewables – solar
The amount of solar power added worldwide soared by some 50% last year because of a sun rush in the US and China, new figures show. New solar photovoltaic capacity installed in 2016 reached more than 76 gigawatts, a dramatic increase on the 50GW installed the year before. China and the US led the surge, with both countries almost doubling the amount of solar they added in 2015, according to data compiled by Europe’s solar power trade body. Globally there is now 305GW of solar power capacity, up from around 50GW in 2010 and virtually nothing at the turn of the millennium. The industry called the growth “very significant” and said the technology was a crucial way for the world to meet its climate change commitments.
Guardian 7th March 2017 read more »
The Solar Trade Association has delivered a 200,000+ petition with Greenpeace to the Chancellor asking him to drop the business rate hike for self-consumption of rooftop solar power in today’s Budget.
Scottish Energy News 8th March 2017 read more »
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 »
Solar Power Portal 7th March 2017 read more »
Renewables – wind
Involving community members in wind-farm planning and ensuring nearby residents benefit from turbines would go a long way toward winning local buy-in for such projects, a new Canadian study concludes. The study, published in a recent edition of the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, notes that fast-paced development and limits on local decision-making have resulted in strong opposition to wind projects. Those objections can be mitigated by the fair distribution of area benefits, the authors write.
CBC 5th March 2017 read more »
The first district energy centre of its kind in the North East has been opened by the energy minister, Jesse Norman. The £18 million Gateshead District Energy Centre will use a pair of 2MW gas-powered combined heat and power plants to generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes, with the waste heat from the engines used to provide hot water for heating. It was opened by the minister at a ceremony last week and will be generating heat and power for homes and civic buildings in central Gateshead by the summer.
Utility Week 7th March 2017 read more »
The Welsh government has green lit a multi-million-pound energy efficiency project to help local authorities in the country reduce their carbon emissions. The initiative, approved last week, will see Monmouthshire Council receive £4.5 million worth of funding through Wales’ ‘Invest to Save Green Growth Fund’, which will help it operate a solar farm on council-owned land. Meanwhile Flintshire Council is to receive £3.13 million to contribute towards a rollout of 11,000 LED streetlights which are expected to save the authority roughly £360,000 each year.
Clean Energy News 6th March 2017 read more »
Swedish start-up Northvolt has revealed plans to build the largest battery factory in Europe. The facility will eventually have an annual production capacity of 32GWh, putting it just behind Tesla’s gigafactory in the US (35GWh). Located “in the Nordic region”, it will manufacture lithium-ion battery cells for use in electric vehicles and energy system storage, among other things.
Utility Week 7th March 2017 read more »
Powervault developed a consumer battery device and appliance for homeowners that stores low-cost solar electricity without having to buy it from the centralised grid. Powervault launched the first plug-and-play energy storage device. Inside the Powervault cube are a collection of power electronics to make the energy usable, a monitoring system to check energy is being generated or consumed, control electronics that determine when to charge or discharge, and batteries to power it. Powervault is disrupting the energy storage market at an opportune time. The business models of larger utilities have traditionally relied on large centralised power stations and spending billions of pounds to spend on network infrastructure, but industry developments are forcing them to rethink their practices. “We’re getting to the point now where it’s going to be cheaper to generate and store electricity locally rather than necessarily buying it from the grid,”
Techworld 8th March 2017 read more »
A MAJOR drive has been launched to encourage small businesses in Scotland to get smart meters installed which could save them a fortune on gas and electricity bills. Smart meters hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week when SSE customers were quoted thousands of pounds for one day’s worth of energy usage because of an error. Some of them posted pictures of their devices on social media with one showing a charge of almost £20,000 for a single day’s usage. However, Smart Energy GB, the voice of the smart meter roll-out, insists everyone should have one because they put consumers back in control of how much they are using, saving them money. Smart meters send information directly back to the supplier letting people know how much gas and electricity they are using each day as they use it.
The National 8th March 2017 read more »
At the moment, wholly electric cars are still a tiny minority of those on the road, but their number is growing very fast as they become more affordable and more practical. Their advantages to society are obvious: they pollute far less than internal combustion engines, and use less energy too. A city of electric cars will be cleaner and quieter than our present stinking streets. And at some stage in the next decade, their advantages to private drivers will become overwhelming. The electric car will become a mainstream status symbol and it is the buyers of internal combustion vehicles who will feel like weird outsiders. The Dutch parliament has considered a measure which would make all cars sold there electric by 2025. A recent thinktank report suggests that 10 years after that a third of all the vehicles sold in the world will be electric.
Guardian 6th March 2017 read more »