The U.K. will offer the best incentives for building nuclear power stations to companies that pledge their capital first, adding to pressure on utilities such as Electricite de France SA to agree on terms. Charles Hendry, a government minister overseeing the effort to overhaul Britains aging electricity infrastructure, said support for nuclear power will be scaled back as the officials and executives gain experience in developing projects. Hendry said he isnt concerned about EDFs comment last week that its looking for further partners in the British project, saying that suggests enthusiasm for the industry from a broader number of companies. People have been surprised by the extent of interest,Hendry said. It makes sense for them to see if they can put forward a new and stronger consortium. Hendry said he also expects more companies to come forward to back the Horizon Nuclear Power program, which would follow EDFs decision on building the U.K.s first nuclear plant since the 1990s. RWE and EON pulled out of that group. EDF and government officials will negotiate the so-called strike price for new nuclear power plants by the end of the year. To ensure the Paris-based utility makes a final decision on a new reactor at the Hinkley Point plant, the U.K. must set a price between 95 pounds ($148) and 105 pounds a megawatt-hour in 2020, double the level power trades at today, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Nuclear needs to become the lowest cost low-carbon technology, Hendry said, noting that the government aims to get support for the offshore wind projects down to 100 pounds a megawatt-hour. U.K. power for next year traded yesterday day at 47.70 pounds.
Bloomberg 8th Aug 2012 more >>
That ‘thunk’ sound you may have heard yesterday morning was my chin thudding into the desk. Nick Clegg had just stood up and utterly absolutely promised that – check this out – the whole of the Government is “unreservedly committed” to the green economy. Well you could have poked me with a turbine blade and called me Samantha. I couldn’t believe it, and neither could most other folk. Now, it may well be the case that some players in Government really are committed to a green economy. Foreign Secretary William Hague, for example, has challenged the Prime Minister to take much stronger leadership on the environment. And there are good things going on. According to the CBI, green business is now responsible for some 8 per cent of UK GDP – even though, as the CBI implies, this is as much in spite of Government policy as because of it. But come off it, Mr Clegg: all of Government? Unreservedly committed? This is a Government where not long after taking up his new job, Energy Secretary Ed Davey gave the green light to new gas power stations that could belch forth without emissions restrictions until 2045. Where the Prime Minister, despite the occasion flash of helpful intervention, has in general gone rather quiet on climate change. And as for ‘unreservedly’? The Chancellor happily expresses reservation after reservation about the green economy whenever he opens his mouth, whilst making come-hither noises and pretty-eyes in the direction of companies that want to dig oil and gas out of the ground and set fire to it:
FoE 7th Aug 2012 more >>
David Cameron has been urged to stand up for renewable energy against what environmental campaigners see as attacks by the Treasury. More than 170 green businesses signed a letter to the prime minister, drafted by the Renewable Energy Association, calling for a public declaration of support for green energy and a resolution of the uncertainty that surrounds government plans for renewable power subsidies. The signatories include Frances O’Grady, deputy secretary general of the TUC, Sir Tim Smit of the Eden Project, and Penny Shepherd, chief executive of the Sustainable Investment and Finance Association of investors, as well as veteran green campaigners Jonathon Porritt and Tony Juniper, adviser to Prince Charles. They are worried that recent government U-turns on support for renewables are putting off much-needed investment in the sector. They point to the recent decision on future subsidies, which was long delayed and left significant issues unresolved so creating uncertainty for investors. For instance, although offshore wind subsidies are now clear until 2017, those for onshore wind face another review, and solar subsidies are likely to be reviewed again next year. This was confusing and scaring off financial backers for renewable energy projects, they said.
Guardian 9th Aug 2012 more >>
Proponents of fast reactors see them as the nuclear application of one of the totems of environmentalism: recycling. But many technologists, and most environmentalists, are more skeptical. The skeptics include Adrian Simper, the strategy director of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which will be among those organizations deciding whether to back the PRISM plan. Simper warned last November in Critics argue that plutonium being prepared for recycling ‘would be dangerously vulnerable to theft or misuse.’ an internal memorandum that fast reactors were “not credible” as a solution to Britain’s plutonium problem because they had “still to be demonstrated commercially” and could not be deployed within 25 years. The technical challenges include the fact that it would require converting the plutonium powder into a metal alloy, with uranium and zirconium. This would be a large-scale industrial activity on its own that would create “a likely large amount of plutonium-contaminated salt waste,” Simper said. Simper is also concerned that the plutonium metal, once prepared for the reactor, would be even more vulnerable to theft for making bombs than the powdered oxide. This view is shared by the Union of Concerned Scientists in the U.S., which argues that plutonium liberated from spent fuel in preparation for recycling “would be dangerously vulnerable to theft or misuse.” GEH says Simper is mistaken and that the technology is largely proven. That view seems to be shared by MacKay, who oversees the activities of the decommissioning authority. John Sauven, director of Greenpeace UK, and Paul Dorfman, British nuclear policy analyst at the University of Warwick, England, argued recently that this made all nuclear options a poor alternative to renewables in delivering low-carbon energy. “Even if these latest plans could be made to work, PRISM reactors do nothing to solve the main problems with nuclear: the industry’s repeated failure to build reactors on time and to budget,” they wrote in a letter to the Guardian newspaper. “We are being asked to wait while an industry that has a track record for very costly failures researches yet another much-hyped but still theoretical new technology.”
Oil Price 8th Aug 2012 more >>
The Office for Nuclear Regulation has recommended that Suffolk council officials reschedule a public consultation on off-site emergency plans for Sizewell. This is to improve the effectiveness of the consultation and to avoid potential confusion of the public.
ONR 7th Aug 2012 more >>
Along an old Roman road called Green Lane, purple thistles and scarlet poppies wave in the breeze. If things go according to the plans of EDF Energy, the British subsidiary of the French state-owned utility EDF, this verdant hillside overlooking the Bristol Channel in southwest England will be the site of two gigantic nuclear power stations the first to be built in Britain since the mid-1990s. The final decision, perhaps early next year, will come down to whether the suppliers think they can control the costs and risks and how much the government is willing to do to build nuclear facilities that are low in carbon emissions but have other liabilities, including a risk of catastrophe and no satisfactory answer after decades about what to do with the toxic waste they produce.
New York Times 8th Aug 2012 more >>
Nuclear power comes with drawbacks that must be considered along with the benefit of lowering carbon emissions. As the Fukushima disaster demonstrated nuclear power can produce catastrophic accidents. Despite the nuclear industrys being decades old, there is also no solution yet for what to do with the toxic waste that nuclear plants produce. Plants require years to build and they are very expensive. To attract nuclear providers to Britain the government is likely to need to provide them with a guaranteed price for the electricity they produce that is substantially higher than the current tariff. The government may also need to bring in other foreign providers. China, South Korea, even Russia are all mentioned. Would Britain be smart to build more nuclear power and should other countries seriously consider it? That is the question.
New York Times 9th Aug 2012 more >>
The European Commission has given the thumbs up to EDF Energys plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset in the south of England. The plans contribute to develop a sustainable national energy mix, according to the statement from the Commission, which reviews such projects under the auspices of Article 41 of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) Treaty. EDF Energy has expressed delight that the project has been given a clean bill of health by the Commission.
Energy Efficiency News 8th Aug 2012 more >>
The UK’s 550 megawatt Dungeness B21 nuclear power station was returned to the electricity grid in the afternoon of August 7, the company said late on Tuesday. The Unit came off-line at 01.30 hours on Saturday morning after an automatic, unplanned shutdown,” a spokeswoman said.Previously, the facility had only been returned to service last week after planned refuelling.
Reuters 8th Aug 2012 more >>
High level talks are continuing to bring billions of pounds of investment into the UKs nuclear industry from China. The conversations between a pair of Far East energy giants and the two companies picked to build new nuclear power stations in the UK could kick-start work on the next generation of reactors. It is understood conversations have not involved officials from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and have been restricted to talks between the businesses involved. If Westinghouse, which has its headquarters based at Matrix Park, near Leyland, secures backing from a cash-rich group, it would secure the jobs of hundreds of workers at its fuel factory at Salwick, near Preston.
Lancashire Evening Post 8th Aug 2012 more >>
Belgium’s nuclear watchdog is considering permanently closing two of the country’s seven electricity-producing sites after routine checks found possible cracks in a reactor, according to internal reports viewed by AFP Wednesday.
France24 9th Aug 2012 more >>
Reuters 9th Aug 2012 more >>
Indias power minister Sushilkumar Shinde has announced a commitment to expand the countrys energy base, with nuclear power as part of the plans expected to contribute 5,300 MW to the proposal to increase energy capacity by 88,000 MW.
Nuclear Energy Insider 4th Aug 2012 more >>
Citizens Nuclear Information Center Tokyo newsletter July August now available.
CNIC 8th Aug 2012 more >>
Following the recent discovery that 36% of nearly 40,000 Fukushima children examined have abnormal thyroid growths, the inevitable industry apologists have surfaced, questioning any connection between the radioactive iodine spewed out when three cores at Fukushima began melting in March 2011. But the burden of proving safety should be on those whose profit results in poisoning, not on those who are poisoned. So says the precautionary principle, which does not require certainty of harm to halt radiation exposure.
Beyond Nuclear 8th Aug 2012 more >>
In response to the US Court of Appeals Waste Confidence Rule the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has decided to suspend all licensing decisions until it completes a thorough analysis of, and create laws regarding, the environmental impacts of radioactive nuclear waste when it is either stored or disposed of. Former NRC commissioner, Peter Bradford, defended the decision by saying that the reactors awaiting construction licenses weren’t going to be built anytime soon even without the court decision or today’s N.R.C. action. Falling demand, cheaper alternatives and runaway nuclear costs had doomed their near-term prospects well before the recent court decision. 19 licenses have been put on hold so far, including nine construction and operating licenses, eight license renewals, one operating license, and one early site permit. The decision was made after 24 groups filed a petition in mid June asking the commission to freeze final licensing decisions.
Oil Price 8th August 2012 more >>
Chemical Engineer 8th Aug 2012 more >>
IB Times 8th Aug 2012 more >>
Iranians are enduring great hardship as a result of economic sanctions. The absence of progress in nuclear negotiations makes their situation even tougher. The link between these two issues is the key to Iranians’ future.
Open Democrary 8th Aug 2012 more >>
Nuclear weapons protesters are staging a demonstration outside SNP headquarters over the party leaderships proposal to drop their long-standing opposition to Nato. Trident Ploughshares said the proposed U-turn, which would see any future independent Scotland remain within the nuclear-armed military alliance, is incompatible with the party’s anti-nuclear stance.
STV 9th Aug 2012 more >>
Scotsman 8th Aug 2012 more >>