nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Concern over dangers of nuclear bombs transport across Britain

Herald 20th Aug 2017, Scotland is “wholly unprepared” to deal with an accident or an attack on
the nuclear bomb convoys that regularly travel across the country,
according to a new report. Local authorities are accused of breaching their
legal duty to safeguard the public by failing to assess and warn of the
dangers.

Scottish Ministers are under fire for failing to make councils
comply. Campaigners are demanding an urgent review of measures to protect
people from radioactive contamination from convoy crashes. They say that an
accident could spread plutonium and other toxic materials over miles.

Anti-nuclear groups have previously attacked the UK government for failing
to ensure the safety of nuclear weapons transports. But now they are
targeting Scottish central and local government for not doing enough.
According to the nuclear-free group of local authorities (NFLA), the report
showed there was “confusion” over the response to convoy accidents.

One problem was that councils weren’t informed of convoy movements, it argued.
“There needs to be a wider rethink about such convoys and greater
cooperation with all emergency responders, including councils, so that the
risks to the public can be fully unpacked and considered,” said NFLA
Scotland representative, Audrey Doig, an SNP councillor from Renfrewshire.
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15483954.No_safety_assessments_carried_out_for_nuclear_convoys_in_Scotland/

August 21, 2017 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Opposition to dangerous air flights carrying radioactive wastes

Campaigners aim to raise awareness of Moray nuclear flights at meeting, The Press and Journal, Aberdeen, August 20, 2017 Anti-nuclear campaigners will meet in Moray to press for alternatives to transporting radioactive waste through the region.

Uranium from the Dounreay power plant in Caithness has been loaded on to planes leaving Wick Airport over the last year.  However, the US Air Force aircraft need to touch down at RAF Lossiemouth because the runway at Wick is too short when they are fully-fuelled.

Activists have called for the waste to be kept in the north of Scotland to reduce the potential for risks during the transfers.And now the campaigners will meet in Findhorn to raise awareness of the flights that are done in secret to increase security.

Tor Justad, chairman of Highlands Against Nuclear Transport, said: “I’m consistently amazed at how little people know about what’s going on.

“The public should be much better informed about the risks that are involved in these kinds of transfers.

“By transporting the waste you are vastly increasing the risk of some kind of terrorist attack. It’s unthinkable what might happen if something were to happen 1,000 feet up in the air.”…..The meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 29, in East Whins House at the Findhorn Foundation at 7.30pm. https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/moray/1311598/campaigners-aim-to-raise-awareness-of-moray-nuclear-flights-at-meeting/

August 21, 2017 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

A bomb found near the Hinkley C nuclear project – for the SECOND time

Second World War bomb found off coast of Hinkley Point http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/second-world-war-bomb-found-335854    Watchet Coastguard shared a notice on their Twitter account telling people to stay clear of the cordon, BY RUTH OVENS 16 AUG 2017, 

A 250 pound bomb has been found off the coast of Hinkley Point.

Mariners are being advised to avoid the area of the bomb which is thought to date back to the Second World War.

 Watchet Coastguard shared a notice on their Twitter account telling people to stay clear of the cordon.

Hinkley Point C Harbour Authority have shared the following notice:

“Mariners are advised that a 250 pound bomb thought to date from Second World War has been discovered in position Latitude 51’13.43’ North, Longitude 003’09.22 West. This position is approximately six cables south-east from Gore Bouy. “Vessels within this area are requested to proceed with caution, maintain minimum safe distance of 500 metres and keep continued watch on VHF channel 16.”

Earlier this month, the Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team destroyed a piece of ordnance that was found in the sea off the West Somerset coastline. A 1km exclusion zone was put in place after the large piece of ordnance was found 2.5nm off Lilstock Range in the Bristol Channel on August 8.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | incidents, UK | 1 Comment

Escalating dispute at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria

18 Aug 17, The dispute at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria has
escalated amid claims workplace meetings to discuss a 1.5% have been banned
by bosses. The union Unite, which is preparing to ballot its 2,000 members
for industrial over the offer which it says is “completely
unacceptable”, has hit out at the management move.
http://www.thebusinessdesk.com/northwest/news/2008261-union-hits-sellafield-workplace-meetings-%E2%80%98ban%E2%80%99

August 19, 2017 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

UK govt inviting plans for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors.

Utility Week 15th Aug 2017, Major players in the nuclear industry have been summoned by the government
to present their plans for the development of small modular reactors.
NuScale and Rolls-Royce among companies reportedly invited to talks with
the government over the next few weeks. Hitachi and Westinghouse have also
been invited.

The meeting is likely to relate to a competition launched by
the government in March 2016 to find the best value SMR design for the UK.
The results were originally due to be revealed last autumn alongside a
roadmap for the development of SMRs. Appearing before the House of Lords
science and technology committee in March former energy minister Jesse
Norman told members the competition would be “back on track” soon.
http://www.utilityweek.co.uk/news/nuclear-players-to-present-smr-plans-to-ministers/1309792

August 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Energy sector impacted by Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union

IPPR 16th Aug 2017, The implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union are
particularly significant for the energy sector. This uncertainty
surrounding Brexit negotiations in turn raises specific regional concerns.
The North as a whole boasts 48 per cent of the UK’s renewable power,
including 71 per cent of England’s biomass generation, 41 per cent of UK
wind power and 40 per cent of UK installed nuclear capacity. Concerns over
the retention of mechanisms and legislation that support the energy sector
are therefore particularly pressing for businesses and other energy
stakeholders in the North.
https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/impact-of-brexit-on-energy-in-the-north

August 18, 2017 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Global temperatures really have risen- climate denialist Nigel Lawson admits

Nigel Lawson admits claim that global temperatures have fallen was false http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nigel-lawson-climate-change-sceptics-global-temperatures-fall-false-claim-warming-gwpf-bbc-radio-4-a7894686.html

Global Warming Policy Foundation concedes that the Tory peer’s supposedly official figures were wrong and produced by a right-wing think tank, Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent  @montaukian 15 aug 17, A claim by Britain’s leading climate science sceptic, Nigel Lawson, that the world’s average temperature has fallen in the past 10 years was based on an “erroneous” temperature chart, his think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, has admitted.

The former Tory Chancellor was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about the release of former US Vice-President Al Gore’s new film, The Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which describes how climate change is already having significant effects on the planet but also that the plunging cost of renewable energy means there is a solution.

The film points out the world’s average temperature had hit the highest on record for three years in a row – 2014, 2015 and 2016 – and an increase in extreme weather events.

  • His first film in 2006, An Inconvenient Truth, predicted that site of the 9/11 memorial would face an increased risk of being flooded as sea levels rise. At the time, this prompted some ridicule, but this actually happened during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
  • Lord Lawson claimed in the interview that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had “confirmed that there has been no increase in extreme weather events”.

    And he then added: “As for the temperature itself, it is striking, he [Gore] made his previous film 10 years ago, and according – again – to the official figures, during this past 10 years, if anything, mean global temperature, average world temperature, has slightly declined.”

    However the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has now revealed the source of these supposedly “official” figures was a meteorologist who works for a libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute, founded by US billionaire and leading climate sceptic, Charles Koch.

  • And the GWPF also admitted the figures were wrong.

    “It has been brought to our attention that a temperature chart prepared by US meteorologist Ryan Maue and published by Joe Bastardi and which was referred to in the Today programme appearance of Lord Lawson is erroneous,” the think tank tweeted.

    “This has been acknowledged in recent days by those responsible for the dataset. We are therefore happy to correct the record.”

    And, just as Al Gore said, the temperature has reached the highest recorded level in the last three successive years.

  • Records kept by the UK’s Met Office, Nasa, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are broadly in agreement despite using different temperature stations: the average global temperature is now about one degree Celsius above levels in the late 1800s.
  • The GWPF added that it stood by Lord Lawson’s claims that the IPCC agreed there had been no increase in extreme weather.

    It is difficult to attribute any single storm or heatwave to the effect of global warming.

    However, the latest IPCC report says: “It is likely that the frequency of heat waves has increased in large parts of Europe, Asia and Australia.

    “There are likely more land regions where the number of heavy precipitation events has increased than where it has decreased. The frequency or intensity of heavy precipitation events has likely increased in North America and Europe.”

August 16, 2017 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Cancellation of nuclear build programmes in South Korea and USA – a bad sign for Britain’s nuclear industry

US AND KOREAN NUCLEAR PLANT CANCELLATIONS: IMPLICATIONS FOR UK NEW NUCLEAR BUILD,  Prospec t Law August 10, 2017  The US currently has 100 nuclear power plants in operation supplying about 20% of its power needs. A further four were under construction, two each in Georgia and South Carolina, until the owners of the South Carolina plants recently announced the cancellation of construction of its two Westinghouse AP1000 units, Summer 2 and 3.

Summer 2 and 3 had been under construction since 2013, with original operational dates of late 2019 and late 2020.  However, due to construction delays and cost overruns, these were later revised to December 2022 for Summer 2 and March 2024 for Summer 3.  The finances were a key factor in the decision to cancel construction, with the original estimate of $11.5 bn having more than doubling to $25 bn. The reasons behind this are no doubt complex, but as the US has not constructed a new reactor since the 1970s, the loss of nuclear expertise must be a factor.

Summer 2 and 3 were intended to showcase advanced nuclear technology and pave the way, along with the Georgia plants – also Westinghouse AP1000s, for a nuclear renaissance in the US.  A further four AP1000s and 12 SMRs (Small Modular Reactors) are currently proposed and several more are in the early stages of planning. The fate of these and the two Georgia plants remains to be seen…….

The Westinghouse bankruptcy has also complicated the picture in the US, with its AP1000 design being used for the South Carolina and Georgia projects and its role being reduced to a vendor supporting the EPC. Their situation has also had an effect in the UK, with Toshiba’s stake in Nu-Gen now being considered by KEPCO. Rather than utilise the Westinghouse design, which was approved by the UK nuclear regulator, ONR, in March this year, KEPCO wants to use its own technology, which will cause a delay in construction of the Moorside plant while the necessary regulatory design assessment is undertaken.

The South Korean nuclear industry is also in difficulty, with the new anti-nuclear government suspending construction of the Shin Kori 5 and 6 nuclear plants for several months while it undertakes a public consultation on their future. This decision has generated much debate in the country and is seen as a threat to its nuclear exports, and KEPCO’s future Nu-Gen.

Decisions to be taken in the next few months will be crucial for the future of nuclear in the US and Korea. …….http://prospectlaw.co.uk/us-and-korean-nuclear-plant-cancellations-implications-for-uk-new-nuclear-build/

August 16, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, South Korea, UK, USA | Leave a comment

As UK’s BIG nuclear projects look like failing, the SMALL nuclear confidence men approach the government

Government holds crunch talks with industry giants over the future of British nuclear energy, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/08/13/government-holds-crunch-talks-industry-giants-future-british/ The key nuclear power players have been called in by the Government for crunch talks on plans to meet Britain’s energy demands with new small reactor technology, amid mounting fears over delays and Whitehall paralysis.

Industry giants including NuScale, Rolls-Royce, Hitachi and Westinghouse have been summoned by ministers in a bid to reignite interest in the project. They have been asked to present their plans in meetings over the next few weeks.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a fraction of the size and cost of major nuclear power stations such as EDF’s controversial Hinkley Point C project. The Government signalled a key role for the technology in efforts to secure the energy supply and meet climate change targets two years ago.

An apparent lack of action since then has drawn criticism and raised industry concerns that the project has fallen by the wayside amid the political instability of Brexit and the general election.

In May, a House of Lords report branded the Government’s failure to publish the results of a competition for development funding as “particularly alarming”.

Companies considering investments in the technology had hoped that ministers would indicate which proposals they would support months ago, but they received no communication, fuelling the speculation that SMRs were being quietly abandoned.  Renewed government interest in the technology is a boost to the nuclear industry. Rolls hopes to adapt technology developed to power Royal Navy submarines, for instance.

It has said developing SMRs for civil use will cost £1.2bn, with the first installation expected to require a further £1.7bn. Costs are forecast to fall as more mini reactors are built. Modular design allows the systems to be built in “blocks” in factories then assembled on-site. An SMR is expected to require a site about a tenth of the size of a conventional nuclear power station and generate between 200 megawatts and 450 megawatts of power.

Hinkley Point C, currently under construction in Somerset, is set to generate 3.2 gigawatts. Cost projections on the project have soared from £6bn in 2013 to £20bn, and the first new power is not expected to be generated until at least 2025.

Last month, the National Audit ­Office (NAO) hit out at Hinkley Point, saying taxpayers could face a final bill of as much as £50bn, because the wholesale market price for electricity is falling steadily while nuclear power construction remains expensive and high-risk. Under a 2013 deal between the Government and EDF, Hinkley is guaranteed to earn £92.50 for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of energy produced through a combination of wholesale market prices and a levy on consumer energy bills. At the time, the Government said this would require top-up payments totalling £6bn from consumers’ energy bills to meet the “strike price”, but falling market prices have widened the forecast gap every year since then.

The NAO criticised the Government’s nuclear plans, saying ministers had “committed electricity consumers and taxpayers to a high cost and risky deal in a changing energy marketplace. Time will tell whether the deal represents value for money”.

Plans for another nuclear plant at Moorside in Cumbria are also in doubt after Westinghouse, the US nuclear ­reactor developer which is owned by ­Japan’s Toshiba, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid spiralling losses brought about by cost over-runs and project delays.

Toshiba is currently a 60pc shareholder in the consortium to develop the 3.8 gigawatt plant at the Moorside site.

Moving to a new backer could push development of the plant back years with regulatory delays and costs likely to go up.

A spokesman for the Department of Business, Energy and Industry Strategy said of the small reactor plans: “We are currently considering next steps for the SMR programme and we will communicate these in due course.”

Success for SMRs could hinge on developing production lines and export businesses that would increase scale and bring costs down further in the years ahead

Tony Roulstone of the Cambridge ­Nuclear Energy Centre, a former senior Rolls engineer, recently told The Engineer magazine: “The cost of building nuclear plants is related to their complexity and the work you have to do on site to build them, and nothing the industry has tried has worked. So it’s time to try something else.

“The manufacturing approach works in every other industry. Nuclear is the only industry in which production engineering is not used.”

Mr Roulstone added: “It’s only by getting into a factory environment and building these things over and over again that you learn how to bring the cost down.”

When George Osborne, the then chancellor, announced £250m of taxpayer funding for development of the technology in 2015, he said the cash would be allocated by 2020.

Mr Osborne, whose time as chancellor came to an abrupt end last year, added that the money would help to “revive the UK’s nuclear expertise and position the UK as a global leader in innovative nuclear technologies”.

 

August 14, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

EDF offers British homeowners a solar system – installed free, but with conditions

Guardian 12th Aug 2017, If you want solar photovoltaic panels on your home but don’t have the money for them, EDF Energy is offering to install a free system – complete with
storage batteries – if you agree to buy the subsidised power it generates
for 20 years.

The French-owned energy giant is looking for 100 homes to
trial its Sunplug scheme, which is being offered in conjunction with
established solar supplier Lightsource. To sign up you need to have a
large, unshaded south-facing roof at a pitch of about 45 degrees. If you
are accepted, the company will install the largest solar panel system the
roof can take – a 16-panel setup will generate 4kW – plus an LG storage
battery that lets you use the power that’s generated during the day in the
evening.

In return, EDF gets to keep the feed-in tariff paid by the
government, which is worth about £150 a year. It also keeps the export
tariff – around £50 a year. The householder is contractually bound to
pay Sunplug 9.9p per kilowatt hour for each unit of electricity they use
from the panels and battery.

This is a little cheaper than what you would pay if you bought green electricity from the grid. For example, green
supplier Good Energy charges 15.5p, with a standing charge averaging 26p a
day. The advantage could come in future years as the price demanded by
Sunplug can only rise by the retail prices index or 2.5% – whichever is
lower.

If the price of grid electricity rises substantially over the next
20 years, users will make considerable savings. However, if they don’t,
some users will be left wondering why they bothered, not least because they
have to have the system inspected each year, which will cost about £80. So
this scheme is likely to appeal to anyone who wants green electricity at
fixed prices over the next two decades.

The other significant benefit comes at the end of the 20-year term, when the householder is given ownership of
the system, which should continue to generate substantial free power. So
what’s the Money verdict? Solar PV systems are still a good investment if
you have the money upfront, the right roof and location, and if you plan to
stay in the house for a long time. The case for the free Sunplug deal is
less clear. To us, it looks too heavily weighted in favour of the company.
If it offered some free electricity each day or other incentives, that
would make the scheme more attractive.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/12/edf-free-solar-panels-buy-power-generated-20-years

August 14, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Big savings for UK homes that install solar and storage technologies

Solar Power Portal 10th Aug 2017, Installing solar and storage technologies into homes could save them as
much as £600 each year on their fuel bills, a new study has found.

The report, released by Swansea University’s Specific Innovation and
Knowledge Centre, claims that an integrated system comprising solar PV roof
installations, battery storage and solar heat collection technology on
south-facing walls could cut energy consumption by more than 60%.

The findings are backed up by a working demonstration project completed on a
school in Swansea. The ‘Active Classroom’, as it has been dubbed, has
generated more energy than it has consumed since receiving the complete
system six months ago.  https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/solar_and_storage_could_save_homes_600_each_year_new_report_finds

August 14, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Call for unilateral disarmament of UK’s nuclear arsenal

Herald 13th Aug 2017, THE only sensible response to the escalating nuclear stand-off between
Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un is to rid the UK of its atomic arsenal,
according to a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated SNP MSP.

Bill Kidd, who was put forward for the honour by Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation
and Disarmament (PNND) in 2016, said the UK should take a fresh look at
unilateral disarmament in the face of rising tensions between the US and
North Korea – a position that has been backed by the Scottish Greens.
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15470103.SNP__UK_must_ditch_Trident_in_response_to_nuclear_stand_off_between_North_Korea_and_US/

August 14, 2017 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK government invested heavily in fossil fuel projects overseas, with only a small investment in renewables

Independent 11th Aug 2017, The Government has been accused of undermining its own efforts to tackle
climate change after new research revealed it is investing twice as much in
fossil fuel projects overseas as it is in renewables.

Almost half (46 per cent) of the money the UK spent on energy overseas went on fossil fuels
while barely more than a fifth (22 per cent) was spent on renewable energy
sources. The research, commissioned by Catholic charity CAFOD and carried
out by the Overseas Development Institute, analysed spending between 2010
and 2014 – the last period for which data is available.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-fossil-fuels-renewable-energy-uk-export-finance-climate-change-global-warming-co2-a7887376.html

August 12, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

BBC lets Nigel Lawson get away with anti science on climate change

Independent 10th Aug 2017, The BBC has been criticised for inviting a climate change denier to come on
air and voice his belief that global warming isn’t happening. Science
broadcasters including Brian Cox and Jim al-Khalili criticised the decision
to bring on famous denialist Nigel Lawson, apparently to make sure that
there was a balanced debate.

Both pointed out that there is very little debate about global warming – an established fact on which almost every
mainstream scientist is agreed. Lord Lawson was able to make a number of
claims, which went mostly unchallenged. He said, for instance, that the
world had actually become colder over the last 10 years – despite the fact
that 2014, 2015 and 2016 have been the hottest years on record.

Environmental experts including Carbon Brief fact-checked each of the
claims and found that none of them were true. But apparently because Lord
Lawson had been invited on as an opposing voice in a debate – to follow an
interview with Al Gore about his latest climate change film – he was mostly
asked to disagree with the science on global warming and his opinions were
little picked up on.
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/today-programme-nigel-lawson-al-gore-climate-change-denier-global-warming-bbc-radio-4-inconvenient-a7886426.html

August 12, 2017 Posted by | climate change, media, UK | Leave a comment

Lithium wastes problem, as drive for electric cars continues

Guardian 10th Aug 2017,The drive to replace polluting petrol and diesel cars with a new breed of
electric vehicles has gathered momentum in recent weeks. But there is an
unanswered environmental question at the heart of the electric car
movement: what on earth to do with their half-tonne lithium-ion batteries
when they wear out?

British and French governments last month committed to
outlaw the sale of petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2040, and carmaker
Volvo pledged to only sell electric or hybrid vehicles from 2019. The
number of electric cars in the world passed the 2m mark last year and the
International Energy Agency estimates there will be 140m electric cars
globally by 2030 if countries meet Paris climate agreement targets.

This electric vehicle boom could leave 11m tonnes of spent lithium-ion batteries
in need of recycling between now and 2030, according to Ajay Kochhar, CEO
of Canadian battery recycling startup Li-Cycle. However, in the EU as few
as 5% (pdf) of lithium-ion batteries are recycled.

This has an environmental cost. Not only do the batteries carry a risk of giving off
toxic gases if damaged, but core ingredients such as lithium and cobalt are
finite and extraction can lead to water pollution and depletion among other
environmental consequences.

There are, however, grounds for optimism. Thus far, the poor rates of lithium-ion battery recycling can be explained by the fact that most are contained within consumer electronics, which
commonly end up neglected in a drawer or chucked into landfill. This won’t
happen with electric vehicles, predicts Marc Grynberg, chief executive of
Belgian battery and recycling giant Umicore. “Car producers will be accountable for the collection and recycling of spent lithium-ionbatteries,” he says. “Given their sheer size, batteries cannot be stored at
home and landfilling is not an option.” https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/aug/10/electric-cars-big-battery-waste-problem-lithium-recycling

August 12, 2017 Posted by | RARE EARTHS, UK | Leave a comment