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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa halts nuclear power plans – a welcome change for this nation

Civil group Earthlife Africa hails Ramaphosa’s nuclear pause, Fin 24, Jul 27 2018  Sibongile Khumalo  

One of the civil groups that lobbied against the country’s nuclear build programme has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision not to pursue the project under the current economic climate.

Earthlife Africa Director, Makoma Lekalakala, said the organisation was pleased with Ramaphosa’s position, as it showed that he had noted the last year’s court ruling against the construction of new nuclear reactors as part the country’s energy mix.

“We are pleased with Ramaphosa’s decision to do what is best for the country,” said Lekalakala.

The proposed construction of nuclear reactors is estimated to cost the economy over R600bn, although some experts suggest that the price tag could escalate to up to R1trn. ……. https://www.fin24.com/Economy/civil-group-earthlife-africa-hails-ramaphosas-nuclear-pause-20180727

 

July 28, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Renewable energy ballots in Arizona may spell the end for Palo Verde nuclear station

Arizona’s nuclear power caught in crossfire, A renewable energy ballot measure could shutter the largest nuclear plant in the country. High Country News, Elena Saavedra Buckley  July 27, 2018 “……. in the light of a controversial ballot measure meant to steer Arizona towards renewable energy, Palo Verde’s fate has been caught in the crossfire of a battle between state utilities and environmentalists.

Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, a committee backed by former Californian hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, drives the initiative. They submitted over twice the amount of signatures needed to get on the ballot. If successful, the measure would constitutionally require Arizona utilities to use 50 percent renewable resources by 2030, holding them accountable for certain percentages each year.

But Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest utility, funded a lawsuit filed last week against the initiative. The political action group that filed the suit claims most of the signatures are fraudulent, which the initiative denies. The utility has bigger worries than the signatures, though — they’re worried the measure would force Palo Verde to close in six years. An oversupply of solar, they say, would render the plant useless.

………..In Nevada, an identical, Steyer-backed measure is already on the ballot. If the measures pass in November, the two states will join California as the West’s most ambitious examples of renewable commitment.

…….. Beyond Arizona, nuclear energy’s place in the carbon-free future of the West is an open question. In California, whose renewable goal is already 50 percent by 2030, nuclear plants have closed decades before their licensed expiration dates, struggling to compete with cheaper natural gas and solar. Whether nuclear plants should stay open as a stable alternative to fossil fuels divides environmentalists. Amanda Ormond of the Western Grid Group, which promotes incorporating clean energy into the grid, thinks nuclear power is an obstacle to a functional renewable future.

“Transitions have costs, and this is a huge transition,” Ormond said of the ballot measure’s proposals. “Palo Verde might close anyway. It’s an inflexible, expensive resource, and it will face the consequences of any resource.”

…….. Time and legislative obstacles stand in the way of the Clean Energy initiative. But even if it fails, numbers show that Arizona voters are ready for renewables—in two recent polls, Arizonans wanted their state to prioritize solar power over all other resources. “We’re moving to renewable energy,” Ormond. “The question is how fast.”…….https://www.hcn.org/articles/energy-industry-arizona-nuclear-power-caught-in-crossfire

July 28, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Senator wants answers from DHEC about uranium that leaked from SC nuclear plant

BY SAMMY FRETWELL, sfretwell@thestate.com  July 26, 2018 

A state senator says he wants answers on why uranium leaked through a hole in the floor of a Richland County nuclear plant with a history of troubles and groundwater contamination.

State Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland, is asking the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to explain what it knows about uranium contamination discovered recently at the Westinghouse nuclear fuel factory on Bluff Road.

At Jackson’s request, DHEC has agreed to hold a public meeting to discuss the leak and other problems. Jackson sent a letter to DHEC on Thursday outlining his concerns………

A state senator says he wants answers on why uranium leaked through a hole in the floor of a Richland County nuclear plant with a history of troubles and groundwater contamination.

State Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland, is asking the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to explain what it knows about uranium contamination discovered recently at the Westinghouse nuclear fuel factory on Bluff Road.

At Jackson’s request, DHEC has agreed to hold a public meeting to discuss the leak and other problems. Jackson sent a letter to DHEC on Thursday outlining his concerns.

………The uranium leak is the latest in a series of problems that have plagued the facility for decades. In the early 1980s, regulators discovered the groundwater was contaminated with fluoride and ammonia. Solvents later were found in groundwater. Solvents are particularly toxic to people exposed to them. The agency also found nitrate in the groundwater that dates to the 1980s. Nitrate is toxic to babies who drink formula with contaminated water.

Efforts to clean up the contamination have produced mixed results, with some pollution continuing to show up in the water……..

In addition to those problems, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has fined and cited Westinghouse more than a dozen times dating to at least 1993. Those problems range from buildups of uranium in air-pollution control devices and incinerators to worker accidents.https://www.thestate.com/latest-news/article215543880.html

July 28, 2018 Posted by | incidents, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Trump using inappropriate Defense Production Act to prop up failing coal and nuclear power plants.

USA Today 25th July 2018 For all the serious national security threats currently facing our country,
it seems like a waste of time and resources to use a nearly 70-year-old
defense law to rescue failing, outdated industries.

Yet that is precisely what the Trump administration is planning to do. The administration
indicated last month that it intends to use the Defense Production Act of
1950, enacted as a drastic national-security measure to be deployed in time
of war, to prop up failing coal and nuclear power plants.

Invoking this act would be a blatant misuse of the law, which came into effect at the outset
of the Korean War and with the intent of ensuring rapid mobilization of
U.S. industries within the larger context of the Cold War. And it will be
costly for anyone who pays an electric bill.

Today, the president wants to rely on the act to intervene in the energy market and bail out unprofitable
power plants that can no longer compete against natural gas and renewables.
The administration claims these plants are necessary to prevent blackouts
on the grid — a claim nearly all experts say is untrue. The
administration is instead motivated largely by politics — Trump promised
repeatedly on the campaign trail and while in office to bring about a
renaissance in an industry that is in irreversible decline.
https://eu.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/07/25/donald-trump-energy-plan-save-coal-cost-consumers-column/792523002/

July 28, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant clean-up to be restarted

Daily Mail 27th July 2018 , Work to demolish a former nuclear weapons production factory in Washington
state may resume in September, about six months after it was halted when
workers were exposed to radioactive particles, the U.S. Department oEnergy said Thursday.
The agency will implement extra safety measures for
workers demolishing the Plutonium Finishing Plant on the Hanford Nuclear
Reservation, which is near Richland. The plant was involved in producing
much of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
Hanford officials
issued a report in late March that said a total of 42 Hanford workers
inhaled or ingested radioactive particles when they were exposed during
contamination events in June and December of last year. Radioactive
contamination was also found outside plant offices and inside two dozen
vehicles, the report said.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-5997239/Work-demolish-nuke-weapons-plant-resume-September.html

July 28, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, USA | Leave a comment

Optimistic report on Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon- tidal renewable energy for Britain?

Wales Online 26th July 2018 , A new task force is being set up to look at ways of resurrecting plans for
the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, which appeared dead in the water just last
month. It follows the publication of a report which said the £1.3bn
project could be delivered without the need for a UK Government financing
deal. The report concluded that the lagoon was “fundamentally a strong
and deliverable technical proposition”.Paul Marsh, of report authors
Holistic Capital, said: “We believe the project can be funded
independently of UK Government, and potentially delivered as a purely Welsh
initiative. “We believe, based on our in-depth review, that the original
£1.3bn cost of the lagoon can be reduced.
https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/plans-swansea-bay-tidal-lagoon-14952875

July 28, 2018 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Renewable energy headed to be 50% of total UK electricity generation by 2025.

Dave Toke’s Blog 26th July 2018 Today’s UK energy statistics reveal that renewable electricity generation
increased by around 20 per cent in just one year so that 29.3 per cent of electricity consumed came from renewable energy in 2017.

If at least 80 per cent of the offshore windfarms now in different stages of planning (let alone other renewable energy sources) come online, as could be expected, in the next 7 years, then renewable energy will comprise half of total UK electricity generation by 2025.

Electricity consumption fell once again in the year 2017 compared to 2016. Electricity consumption is now 9 per cent less than it was in 2010. over 20 GWe of offshore wind are in various stages of planning and construction. In total these would generate around 25 per cent of UK electricity.

Since the Government are saying they will hold auctions for offshore wind and some other renewables in 2019 and 2021
this means that a lot of them will be built by 2025. Of course we are going to have substantially more onshore wind and solar by 2025 to buttress these figures (although the Government are doing very little to help) meaning that electricity generated from renewable energy will top 50 per cent of total consumption in 2025/6
http://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.com/2018/07/renewables-generated-close-to-30-per-of.html

July 28, 2018 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment