The British government has run into a major new problem with the Hinkley Point C nuclear project, with a United Nations committee ruling that the UK failed to consult European countries properly over potential environmental risks. Documents seen by the Guardian show Britain “is in non-compliance with its obligations” (page 21) to discuss the possible impact of any accident or other event that could affect those nations in proximity to Hinkley. This is just the latest in a string of problems connected with the planned £18bn project to construct new reactors in Somerset, with the developer EDF of France recently delaying a final in vestment decision until September. Paul Dorfman, a senior researcher at UCL’s energy institute, said the ruling from the UN Economic and Social Council throws great uncertainty over Hinkley.
Guardian 8th May 2016 read more »
The Hinkley Point C new nuclear project is set to go ahead, despite the “mischief making” comments of opponents, according to the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) chief executive Tom Greatrex. Despite the rumours surrounding the £18 billion project, Greatrex is confident it will proceed because of the time, effort and money the French energy giant has already invested.
Utility Week 6th May 2016 read more »
The new Hinkley nuclear power station will be the most expensive object on Earth, according to an environment charity. The charity Greenpeace claims the Point C plant will cost up to £24 billion – £6 billion more than the initial estimate from EDF.
Bristol Post 8th May 2016 read more »
Metro 9th May 2016 read more »
Mirror 9th May 2016 read more »
Plymouth Herald 8th May 2016 read more »
EDF Energy’s shareholders will question the company’s management over plans for the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant this week. EDF will host a combined shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday where chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy is expected to make a statement on the plant and take questions from investors. The final investment decision on the £18bn project to construct new reactors in Bridgwater, Somerset has been pushed back until September, casting doubt over whether the plans will go ahead. EDF, which is 85 per cent French state-owned, has yet to outline how it will fund the project.
City AM 8th May 2016 read more »
A Chinese state-backed nuclear energy firm is considering taking a stake in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, one of its officials has said. The Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), along with another Chinese company CGN, had previously been in talks with EDF over investing in the scheme, but only CGN signed a deal. Now a CNNC official has told The Sunday Telegraph that CNNC’s involvement is also in the offing and CGN had held talks on their behalf.
Energy Voice 8th May 2016 read more »
THE ongoing saga of EDF and its £18 billion Government contract to build a new, next generation nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C is like a bad relationship, one where both parties know they need to end things, but neither has the courage to move first. For EDF, its own shareholders may provide it with a much needed wake-up call on Thursday, at its annual general meeting. The AGM promises to be a stormy affair, as the firm is in a state of civil war over Hinkley Point. Although EDF’s chairman, chief executive and majority shareholder, the French government, want the deal to proceed, a number of its directors are opposed to Hinkley Point, as are its employees. The split is so bad that in March, finance director Thomas Piquemal quit EDF in protest and warned that building Hinkley Point would threaten the heavily indebted firm’s finances. For the Government, the list of reasons why it should abandon the deal is growing. It is bad for consumers and businesses as EDF has been promised a rate of £92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity, three times the current market rate, for 35 years. Now on top of that, we have growing safety fears. Last week it emerged that engineers at the factory that will produce components for Hinkley Point falsified the results of safety tests, raising questions about the safety of existing reactors in the UK and France. On top of that, the French nuclear safety regulator is looking at whether the proposed reactor design at Hinkley Point is even safe, after weak spots were found in the steel of a similar one EDF built in Normandy.
Express 8th May 2016 read more »
Microorganisms have been detected in TRU wastes, Pu-contaminated soils, low-level radioactive wastes, backfill materials, natural analog sites, and waste-repository sites slated for high-level wastes. Seventy percent of the TRU waste consists of cellulose and other biodegradable organic compounds. Biodegradation of cellulose under the hypersaline conditions such as in the WIPP repository can produce CO2 and methane gas, as well as affect the solubility of actinides. Microbially produced gases could have significant ramifications for the long-term stability of the repository.
Mining Awareness 8th May 2016 read more »
When you get off the train at Drigg you can’t miss the waste dump. The fence runs right along by the platform and then on for another 1.7 km alongside the railway line. At intervals there are signs on the fence that say it is a nuclear licenced facility. The fence is green as I remember and has that spiralling wire rolled along the top. There is another fence inside this fence and a roadway in between them that a patrolling vehicle drives around. There are some scrabbling holes where rabbits have tried to dig their way in but have not succeeded as the fence goes down into the ground. What we seem to have is a ‘Low Level Waste Repository’ which is very literally at a low level – barely above sea level. It is set in the shifting sands of heathland 300meters from current high tide mark. The dunes/heath are eroding. A watercourse from the site flows into the tidal river Irt just south of the site.
Radiation Free Lakeland 8th May 2016 read more »
Mordechai Vanunu, the nuclear whistleblower who spilled secrets about the inner workings of Israel’s Dimona plant in 1986, has been charged with violating the terms of his release. The order was served at the Jerusalem magistrate’s court. The charges include meeting two US nationals in East Jerusalem without taking permission and moving to another flat in the same building and not informing the police about it. The order also cites an interview he gave to Channel 2 TV in 2015 in which he revealed “classified information that was cut out by the censors”.
IB Times 9th May 2016 read more »
Telegraph 9th May 2016 read more »
Guardian 9th May 2016 read more »
The energy internet, the ‘smart’ grid, solar energy and battery storage are converging and the economic benefits are clear. Change is coming to the energy landscape. A transition to a new energy economy is happening. In a country like Australia – awash with energy both under and above the ground – this transition could be rapid and profound. There is a lot to lose for those who can’t keep pace. Last month the government committed $1bn to the Clean Energy Innovation Fund. The fund will have “the primary purpose of earning income or a profitable return” on debt and equity extended to renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-emissions technologies. While many will argue the right way for that money to be used, investment like this is well timed. There are a number of converging technologies driving the transition. Their interaction will affect how we travel, how we live, the way our cities and houses are designed, our fuel supply and attitude to energy efficiency, and even how we interact. One of the maturing technologies is solar. Over the past five years, solar has become a big part of our energy world. The Australian energy market operator estimated last year that by 2023/24 the state of South Australia may, at times, have its entire electricity needs met by solar systems on mostly urban rooftops, without the aid of coal, gas or oil.
Guardian 9th May 2016 read more »
A renewable energy consultancy and asset manager is gearing up for a bumper year as British companies try to complete projects before a change in regulations. Natural Power’s revenue rose 16 per cent to £24.8 million last year and is running ahead of budget for the first quarter of this year. While that is driven primarily by work from wind power, the company also operates in areas such as solar, biomass, hydro and renewable heat. Large cuts to subsidies and prices paid for renewables have been announced by the UK government and Ted Leeming, Natural Power’s managing director, said that those changes had created a strong pipeline of work.
Times 9th May 2016 read more »
More and more farmers and landowners are turning to the generation of renewable energy as an alternative source of income. Wind turbines sited on exposed, windy hills are appearing all over Scotland in response to the good returns that can be made. Developers pay an annual income to the landowner of around £25,000 for each large turbine. So a group of 10 should yield the landowner about £250,000. No wonder there are so many applications to construct wind turbines on poor hill land that until recently had little value. A recent survey by WWF Scotland revealed that electricity generated by wind power has leapt by 15 per cent in the last year, enough to supply the electrical power of nearly 4 in 5 Scottish households. In fact, the survey found that wind turbines generated enough electricity to supply 100 per cent or more of the needs of Scottish homes in 8 out of the 30 days of April.
Herald 9th May 2016 read more »
It is a truly green energy. Seaweed farming for biogas could become a major industry for the west coast of Scotland, according to a new report. It could be a second coming for seaweed. Many isolated islands still have the remains of kelpers’ huts from the times when seaweed was burnt to extract potash and soda, which were important chemicals in the soap and glass industry and widely used for linen bleaching. But now seaweed is set for a new and lucrative future. An independent report commissioned by the ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne, or CalMac, says seaweed power could transform communities. Experts at both MacArthur Green, the Glasgow-based environmental consultants, and University of the West of Scotland’s School of Science and Sport and School of Business and Enterprise suggested scenarios that could emerge over the next quarter of a century along the west coast. Among them was converting seaweed to biofuel.
Times 9th May 2016 read more »
The country may not have the volcanoes and geysers of Iceland but thousands of Scots could soon be following the example of their northerly neighbours and harnessing the natural warmth of the Earth’s core to heat their homes. More than half of all energy used in Scotland goes towards heating, and it is also responsible for nearly half of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Scots stump up as much as £2.6 billion every year to warm homes and businesses, with official figures suggesting that around 845,000 households suffer from fuel poverty. Now, if a pioneering new scheme gets the go-ahead, around 700 households in one of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas could benefit from a cheaper and greener source of warmth than they currently rely on. And the secret lies in the legacy left behind from Scotland’s coal-mining past, according to experts. In a joint effort with local councillors, scientists from the James Hutton Institute are exploring the possibility of creating a cutting-edge geothermal district heating system in North Lanarkshire by tapping the warmth of underground floodwater at the disused Kingshill Colliery at Allanton. Though commonplace across much of Scandinavia, district heating systems are a relatively novel concept in Scotland. The same applies to geothermal power. Two existing installations currently tap mine water in Scotland: Shettleston in east Glasgow and Lumphinnans in Fife. Both are small schemes, each serving fewer than 20 dwellings, and have been operating since approximately 2000.
Scotland on Sunday 8th May 2016 read more »
Renewables – AD
A scheme which sees a number of Sainsbury’s supermarkets powered by renewable energy generated from food waste is to be rolled out to a further six stores, after a successful first year saw green gas produce 10% of the retailer’s entire national energy consumption.
Edie 6th May 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
The independent review into the feasibility of tidal lagoon power in the UK will be led by former energy minister Charles Hendry, alongside a team of seconded civil servants. Set to begin in the spring, the review will assess the strategic case for tidal lagoons and consider whether they could play a cost effective role in the UK energy mix.
Utility Week 6th May 2016 read more »
A ‘Clyde-built’ industrial heat pump capable of delivering affordable, low carbon heating and hot water for 350 households in the Hillpark Drive scheme is to be installed in the city for Glasgow Housing Agency by Star Renewable Energy. Developed by a joint partnership between, Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), energy consultants WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Glasgow-based heat pump manufacturers Star Renewable Energy and Scottish Gas, the new renewable heating technology is now expected to become default solution to providing zero-carbon, low-cost heating for existing social housing stock across the whole country.
Scottish Energy News 9th May 2016 read more »
They don’t sound like pioneers, but nevertheless three of Britain’s dullest companies joined forces last week for a surprisingly exciting project. United Utilities, a Warrington-based sewage company, Aggregate Industries, which is big in gravel, and Sainsbury’s, the supermarket chain beloved of the houmous-eating middle classes, have come up with something called Living Grid. It may represent a turning point for the way in which electricity is consumed in Britain. Their focus is squarely on green energy, the sort of sustainable, renewable power generated by wind and solar panels – a field in which slowly but surely Britain is becoming a global leader. A record 25 per cent of British electricity came from renewables last year, up 9 per cent from 2011. Not far behind Germany, the world No 1, with 33 per cent. Yet there’s a black shadow over all this green energy. Managing intermittent electricity that is heavily dependent on the weather poses a growing challenge for National Grid. Step forward our three flag-b earers for Living Grid. Using new technology, big companies such as these can power up at times when there is a surplus or down when there is a shortage of renewable electricity. Sainsbury’s, for example, can whack up its refrigerators by a notch, or temporarily turn them off to trim demand. United Utilities can switch on pumps to process dirty water. Aggregate Industries can sluice water from its quarries. Unlike homes and offices, these companies don’t care much about what time of day they use power. They are just as happy to do so at 4am on a windy Sunday morning as at 5.30pm on a Tuesday, when national electricity demand peaks.
Times 9th May 2016 read more »