nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Dangerous Whitehaven coal mine plan – CLOSE TO RADIOACTOVE SELLAFIELD SITE !

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, Crowd Justice,    https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/keep-cumbrian-coal-in-the-hole/  20 Oct 17 , by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole Group of Cumbrians opposed to the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years. 

OLD KING COAL RESURRECTED?

There is a statue in Whitehaven, a poignant memorial to coal miners who lost their lives.

“End of an Era” …..Only apparently it isnt!

Now there is a plan to expand the dangerous Whitehaven mines with undersea coal mining. There has been lots of greenwashing heaped on the plan by West Cumbria Mining to reopen Whitehaven coal mine, the most gaseous, dangerous pit in the Kingdom.  In 1815, Sir Humphrey Davy’s invention of the miner’s safety lamp was first tested in Whitehaven Coking Coal Mine because of its reputation for “firedamp” (methane) and fatal explosions.

That was in the pre atomic age.  Now in the same area, just 8km away we have the most dangerous nuclear site in the world, Sellafield.   “Windscale – later renamed Sellafield, 8km away is too close”

What People are Saying:

“We are particularly concerned in regard to the potential impact upon the wider marine and coastal environment of the discharge of water into the sea, which has been pumped from the flooded anhydrite mine.” National Trust

“ The application site is in proximity (Solway Firth 1.5km) to a European designated site (also commonly referred to as Natura 2000 sites), and therefore has the potential to affect its interest features.”Natural England

“The impact of any level of subsidence upon the terrestrial or marine heritage assets and designated sites and landscapes could be significant and permanent, therefore having a detrimental impact ..The history of contamination of watercourses in the areas raises concerns for some local residents in relation to the impact of the development on the complex hydrology of the area.” Colourful Coast Partnership

“Our position is to object to the proposed development on the grounds of the adverse impact on groundwater, surface water and biodiversity.”Environment Agency

“It is clear that this is a very large mine, with a very long life span…of 20-50 years and a peak of 2.8 million tonnes a year. Assuming a 40 year life (following construction), and an average of 2 million tonnes a year, that is a total production of 80 million tonnes, which will emit around 175 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The level of emissions and proposed life-time of the mine is of major concern….We would also query whether or not there has been robust enough analysis of the potential for seismicity (and subsidence) relating to well-known nuclear facilities in the wider area, including Sellafield and proposed new facility at Moorside? What potential is there for seismicity to effect these and other facilities (including the low level waste repository at Drigg) and the possible high level waste radioactive waste facility which has been proposed in West Cumbria for some time.” Friends of the Earth

“The application should be rejected because it is not in the national interest. From reviewing the documents submitted by West Cumbria Mining it is clear that the intention is to export the coal to Europe and Asia…The application to mine is too close to the Sellafield nuclear site and the proposal for another nuclear power station at Moorside. Underground mining can have a significant impact on the surrounding areas, recently a coking coal mine in Russia triggered an earthquake.” Coal Action Network

Just some of the “Star Species” found in this Heritage Coast and Marine Conservation Zone are listed by the RSPB as: Fulmar, Guillemot, Herring Gull, Kittiwake, Razorbill and so many more that would be impacted on by the plan for a new coal mine with possible subsidence of the Irish Sea bed impacting on food sources such as sandeels (and not to mention disturbing decades of Sellafield discharges which have settled there).

There are so many reasons to oppose this coal mine plan.  That is why we are campaigning hard to stop the plan.

TAKE ACTION

 Specialist law firm, Leigh Day have agreed to help which is amazing.  So we are raising funds for the cost for counsel to provide a written Opinion on Potential Grounds for Judicial Review.   This is to ensure that we will still have a chance of stopping the coal mine plan should Cumbria County Council ignore the advice of Natural England, the National Trust, Coal Action Network, the Environment Agency, Colourful Coast Partnership, Friends of the Earth and others and rubberstamp the plan.
People can get involved in many ways. You can write to the leader of Cumbria County Council and let him know you oppose the plan
by West Cumbria Mining for the new Woodhouse Colliery (planning application number 4/17/9007 )
Cumbria County Council is scheduled to be making a decision on the 24th of January, 2018.  The decision will be taken by the Development Control Committee.  Their contact details are here .  The more letters they get the better.   If you feel you can speak in opposition to the plan on the 24th of January then please do, whether as an individual or as a member of a group.  The meeting is open to public participation and you can register to speak by contacting Cumbria County Council.
We need to stop this diabolic plan for a new coal mine dangerously near Sellafield, if you can help in ANY way either by donation or by action then the better chance we have.
If you can help, you will be making history in the battle to stop the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years.  All donations no matter how small will be used directly to challenge West Cumbria Mining’s diabolic plan.  https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/keep-cumbrian-coal-in-the-hole/
Advertisements

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

UK annual inflation pushes up the already high costs of Britain’s Hinkley and Sizewell nuclear power projects

Platts 17th Oct 2017, UK annual inflation hit 3% in September for the first time since March
2012, up from 2.9% in August, the Office for National Statistics said
Tuesday. Monthly CPI as published by the ONS is used as an input in strike
prices awarded to low-carbon projects under the Contracts for Difference
regime. One of the early commercial agreements was for the Hinkley Point C
nuclear power station. LCCC data show the initial GBP89.50/MWh ($118/MWh)
strike price for the plant (2012 money) has risen GBP7.64/MWh to
GBP97.14/MWh. This initial strike price assumes a second EDF project at
Sizewell C proceeds. If not, the initial strike price rises to
GBP92.50/MWh. https://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/london/uk-inflation-hits-3-in-september-strike-price-26822470

October 20, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

UK Labour warns that nuclear safety laws post Brexit could damage Britain’s democracy

Energy Voice 17th Oct 2017Labour has threatened to vote against nuclear industry contingency measures post-Brexit, claiming they give ministers a blank cheque to make “controversial policy decisions”. Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said the Nuclear Safeguards Bill contained so-called Henry VIII powers which would enable the Government to pass laws with less scrutiny in the Commons.

She told MPs: “The job of a legislature is to legislate: the Bill before us as it stands is efectively a blank cheque handing that job over to ministers. “And I hope that the Minister can respond today with an iron-clad guarantee that the Government will not use those powers in that way but the ultimate guarantee will be to change the face of this Bill
itself.

“Safeguards are vital for our nuclear industry, but they are needed for our parliamentary democracy as well.” Speaking during the Bill’s second reading, Ms Long Bailey received cheers from the Government benches as she said there needed to be a nuclear safeguarding regime for the UK after it leaves the EU “should all else fail”.

But she said: “Let me add a caveat to that: we will need to see evidence of substantial amendment of the procedure set out here in this Bill, and evidence that the Government is really thinking about the best post-Brexit Euratom formulation before we can wholeheartedly commit at report stage and third reading to the passage of this Bill.”
https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/nuclear/153420/uk-needs-nuclear-safeguarding-regime-post-brexit-labour-says/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear white elephant: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) warns UK govt against further loan guarantees

IEEFA Brief: U.K. Government at Risk in Over-Budget Nuclear Project That Stands Incomplete, A Sensible ‘Plan B’ for Hinkley Point C Project in Somerset Would Avoid Extending Public Loan Guarantees   Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFAOct. 16, 2017 (IEEFA.org) — A research brief published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis cautions the U.K. government against investing further in an unfinished nuclear project on the Bristol Channel in southwest England.

The brief — “A Half-Built, High-Priced Nuclear White Elephant: How Should the U.K. Proceed With This Troubled Project?”— concludes that the Hinkley Point C plant, an over-budget and delayed 3,200 megawatt (MW) power project in Somerset, may never enter commercial operation.

Gerard Wynn, a London-based energy finance consultant and lead author of the brief, said problems surrounding the project reflect those affecting the nuclear electricity-generation industry broadly.

“The now-stumbling renaissance of nuclear power in Europe and the U.S. has been a story of delays and cost overruns, with a new generation of untested nuclear power designs proving much harder to build than anyone imagined and even the project developers admitting to high levels of risk,” Wynn said.

“European Pressurized Reactors are untested, and those under construction have been more expensive and take longer to build than expected,” Wynn said. “The history of recent nuclear projects makes it very likely, perhaps probable, that Hinkley will cost substantially more and take far longer to build than its advocates are claiming.”

THE BRIEF DRAWS PARALLELS BETWEEN HINKLEY AND COSTLY NUCLEAR PROJECTS that have faltered elsewhere, most recently in the U.S.

“The similarities between Hinkley, which is now finally under construction after years of delay, and other troubled European and U.S. projects, particularly the recently shelved V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina, cannot be ignored,” the brief says. “Perhaps the most important similarity is in the question of what the project ultimately will cost.”

“Hinkley already is frequently described as the world’s most expensive power plant, with EDF estimating that the project will require £19.6 billion to build by the time it enters commercial operation, currently set for 2025. But others see higher costs, and any delays would inevitably lead to an increase in total costs. For example, the U.K.’s National Audit Office (NAO), which advises on the use of public money, calculates that the public subsidy for the plant could top £30 billion, and says the government needs a Plan B.”

Wynn noted that rising costs “were the leading factor in the decision by SCANA Corporation and Santee Cooper, the two South Carolina utilities building the Summer facility, to cancel that project. Costs there soared from an originally estimated $11.5 billion to upward of $25 billion by the time the utilities said they would abandon the two unit, 2,200-MW project.”

Other parallels with struggling and failed projects in Europe and the U.S. include:

1. Untested technologies…….

2. Construction delays of five to nine years…….

3. Cost overruns ranging from 79 percent to 250 percent…..

4. Delays and cost overruns are causing technology vendors extreme financial distress…..

5. Internal turmoil indicates misgivings among those closest to the projects……

Full report here: “A Half-Built, High-Priced Nuclear White Elephant: How Should the U.K. Proceed With This Troubled Project?”

Media contact: Karl Cates, kcates@ieefa.org917.439.8225

About IEEFA: The Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) conducts research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment. http://ieefa.org/ieefa-brief-u-k-government-risk-budget-half-finished-nuclear-project-may-never-come-online/

October 18, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Britain and Germany join in commitment to the Iran nuclear agreement

Britain, Germany committed to Iran nuclear deal, says PM May’s office https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/15/britain-germany-committed-to-iran-nuclear-deal-theresa-mays-office-says.html

  • Britain and Germany agreed on Sunday they remained committed to the nuclear deal with Iran
  • The U.S. decided earlier this week that it would decertify the agreement

Britain and Germany agreed on Sunday they remained committed to the nuclear deal with Iran after a U.S. decision to decertify the agreement, a spokeswoman said after a call between Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“They agreed the UK and Germany both remained firmly committed to the deal,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

“They also agreed the international community needed to continue to come together to push back against Iran’s destabilizing regional activity, and to explore ways of addressing concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program.”

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Germany, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

For Britain’s nuclear industry, Brexit changes everything – could be the death knell

Brexit Is a Game Changer for the British Nuclear Industry, Bloomberg, By, Jonathan Stearns and Nikos Chrysoloras, 

  • U.K. withdrawal from nuclear treaty mirrors EU-exit challenges
  • Going it alone signals higher costs for companies, taxpayers

To understand the implications of Brexit, it helps to go nuclear.

 Of all the international regulatory challenges created by the U.K.’s impending departure from the European Union, the atomic-energy industry may best encapsulate the decision’s bottom-line effect: more bureaucracy and costs for a country that has long fought to curb both within the EU.
 Untwining the U.K. from decades of centralized European supervision of nuclear material for civilian use mirrors the broader Brexit process. Each involves abandoning treaty-bound organizations, re-establishing links on less integrated terms and, in the meantime, creating uncertainty for everybody from executives to researchers.

“Brexit is a complete game changer for the nuclear industry in Britain, altering the regulatory environment, creating major complexity and leading the way to higher costs for businesses, the state and ultimately the British taxpayer,” said Simone Tagliapietra, a research fellow on energy at the Bruegel think tank in Brussels. “It’s a huge, self-inflicted problem.”

 Brexit Microcosm

The EU’s nuclear framework is a microcosm of the Brexit hurdles because, like Europe’s single market and free-trade deals, it offers the U.K. benefits that the British government is keen to retain after the country withdraws from the 28-nation bloc in March 2019. Yet the act of leaving makes preserving those advantages difficult or even impossible.

With negotiations on the divorce terms stalled, numerous industries in Europe are stepping up calls for transitional arrangements that would maintain the status quo between the time of Brexit and the entry into force of any permanent agreements on future U.K.-EU ties.

While the EU’s national governments retain many of the policy powers associated with nuclear energy, the Euratom treaty creates a federal structure for some key elements. The centralized features include non-proliferation inspections, supply agreements with non-EU nations and research funding, all of which will fall on Britain to arrange for the first time in four decades.

When notifying its plan to withdraw from the EU, the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May also announced its intention to quit Euratom, which is governed by the bloc’s institutions. The move disappointed the U.K. nuclear industry, which had argued that post-Brexit Britain should stay in Euratom.

Risk of Disruption

Britain is a leading European nuclear nation, with 15 reactors accounting for about a fifth of domestic electricity production. The British atomic-energy industry employs more than 65,000 people and features companies ranging from plant operator EDF Energy and developer Horizon Nuclear Power — a unit of Hitachi Ltd. — to fuel producer Westinghouse Electric Co. and uranium enricher Urenco Ltd…….

The U.K., Euratom and the International Atomic Energy Agency are united under a single non-proliferation agreement. Under the three-party accord, Euratom helps carry out IAEA-mandated inspections on civil nuclear facilities in Britain to ensure that no material is diverted for atomic weapons.

In leaving Euratom, the U.K. will have to negotiate an inspection agreement of its own with the Vienna-based IAEA and beef up the national nuclear authority. Britain held an initial discussion with the IAEA on a new accord in September, according to the agency. The country also published draft legislation on Oct. 11 to create a domestic nuclear-safeguards system to replace provisions under Euratom.

Nuclear Accords

Post-Brexit Britain will also no longer be covered by cooperation accords that Euratom has with a range of non-EU countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Africa and the U.S. As a result, the U.K. will have to negotiate its own such deals, known as Nuclear Cooperation Agreements, or NCAs, including with the EU itself…….

The outlook for nuclear research in the U.K. is also hazy. As a member of the EU and host of a nuclear-fusion project known as Joint European Torus, the country sees 56 million euros ($66 million) a year directed from the Euratom research budget to the JET site in Oxfordshire where around 500 people are employed and about 350 scientists from Europe visit annually.

The funds for JET, which is a prototype for the world’s largest nuclear-fusion project called ITER in France, are part of a 1.6 billion-euro Euratom research budget for 2014-2018. Britain will have to negotiate access as of 2019 to this scientific network with the EU, which requires non-member countries participating in its research programs to make a financial contribution. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-15/brexit-takes-bureaucracy-to-the-atomic-level-for-u-k-industry

October 16, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

UK government shows its bias against decentralised power, rewarding big centralised coal and nuclear

Dave Toke’s Blog 14th Oct 2017, Just as the UK Government has stopped onshore renewables (mainly wind power
and solar pv) from getting all-important long term power purchase
agreements (PPAs) through the feed in tariff system (the big one being now
reserved for Hinkley C), so government agencies are moving to make sure
that the rules of the electricity market favour centralised generators over
decentralised ones.

The Government says that no subsidies will be available
for onshore wind and solar pv. Yet it is busy doling out subsidies and
altering rules to favour big power stations over decentralised renewables.

Matthew Lockwood, in a recent working paper, tells the story of how the
Capacity Market has largely been shaped to be a riverstream of income for
the existing gas and coal and nuclear power plant.

First came the decision to reward all existing generators for providing capacity, providing a
subsidy for plants that have been built a long time ago.

A much cheaper option would have been to operate a ‘strategic reserve’ that would fund a
dedicated set of assets to be brought in to balance supply and demand. But
that. of course, would not help the centralised power plant. Of course the
mere term ‘capacity’ is biased against the decentralised solutions which
include DSR and battery storage.
http://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/how-centralised-generators-are-trying.html

October 16, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Part of the giant Hinkley Point nuclear plant will have to be demolished and rebuilt

Times 15th Oct 2017, Part of the giant Hinkley Point nuclear plant will have to be demolished
and rebuilt after inspectors found problems with its concrete foundations,
in the latest setback for the £20bn project.

EDF, the owner, is understood to have found weaknesses in a small area of the foundations that have been laid on the Somerset coast. The French energy giant insisted the problem is
isolated to 150 cubic metres where pipes and cables are due to be laid, and
said it will not delay construction. Yet the discovery will raise concerns
about the plant, which will house Britain’s first new nuclear reactors in
a generation.

EDF admitted in July that costs at Hinkley, which is being
bankrolled by the French and Chinese governments, would rise by £1.5bn to
£20.3bn and that it may be completed 15 months later than its December
2025 deadline.

Hinkley’s two sister plants, Flamanville in France and
Olkiluoto in Finland, have suffered hefty cost hikes and long delays. The
problems were found in a patch of “substitution” concrete that forms
the foundations of the first of the site’s 5 miles of “galleries” —
a series of deep trenches that will house the plant’s pipes and electric
cables. The inspection found problems including “weak concrete”,
“poor-quality cleanliness” and an area of concrete that was not wide
enough.

Fixing the problem will mean demolishing another layer of
“slab” concrete that had been poured on top of the foundations. ….
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/hinkley-nuclear-planthit-by-concrete-flaws-found-by-owner-edf-gq5j3lbqg

October 16, 2017 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) likely to create a new agency, after cancelling Cavendish Fluor Partnership

FT 15th Oct 2017, Decommissioning Britain’s first generation of atomic reactors is likely
to be brought back “in-house” by the UK nuclear clean-up agency after
the collapse of a £6.2bn outsourcing contract that exposed “fundamental
failures” at the organisation.

Ministers have been considering whether
the work, involving 12 Magnox nuclear plants and research sites, should be
offered to another private contractor or run directly by the Nuclear
Decommissioning Authority. A final decision has not yet been made but
industry figures with knowledge of the process said the most likely outcome
was for the NDA to create a new subsidiary to take control of the Magnox
clean-up programme.

Such an outcome would bring an end to an embarrassing
episode in which Greg Clark, business secretary, in March cancelled a deal
with Cavendish Fluor Partnership, a joint venture between UK-based Babcock
International and Fluor of the US, at a cost of £122m to British
taxpayers. https://www.ft.com/content/b83c5ada-b014-11e7-beba-5521c713abf4

October 16, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear site radioactive mud to be dumped near Cardiff

Critics say dredging of sediment could increase risks of contamination on Welsh side of Severn estuary, Guardian, Jamie Doward, 15 Oct 17, More than 300,000 tonnes of “radioactive” mud, some of it the toxic byproduct of Britain’s atomic weapons programme, will be dredged to make way for England’s newest nuclear power station and dumped in the Severn estuary just over a mile from Cardiff.

Politicians in Wales have denounced the move, with one accusing the Welsh government of selling out to London and the nuclear lobby. They have called on ministers to commit to further radiological tests before giving consent for the process, which is crucial for the construction of Hinkley Point C across the estuary in Somerset……..
An independent marine pollution researcher, Tim Deere-Jones, who is also a prominent nuclear power critic, has warned that the dumped sediment could re-concentrate into more powerful radioactive material and be washed ashore in storm surges. “We know sediment in mudflats can dry out and blow ashore and that fine sediment with radioactivity attached can transfer to the land in marine aerosols and sea spray,” Deere-Jones said. Studies of north Wales tidal surges, he added, had revealed that the deposited mud and sand were heavily contaminated with radioactivity from Sellafield.

The mud to be dredged contains 50-year-old deposits from Hinkley Point A, where radioactive material for Britain’s atomic weapons was produced. Nuclear historian Dr David Lowry said some of the plutonium produced at the plant was sent to the US in a controversial and confidential exchange. “That deal is coming back to haunt today’s nuclear industry as plans for the third generation of nuclear plants at Hinkley are literally running into the sparkling radioactive mud,” Lowry said………. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/14/hinkley-point-radioactive-mud-dumped-cardiff-severn-estuary

October 16, 2017 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear watchdog slams nuclear cleanup contract that cost public £122m 

Watchdog slams nuclear cleanup contract that cost public £122m https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/oct/11/watchdog-slams-nuclear-cleanup-contract-that-cost-public-122m

Contract to dispose of material from 12 sites went ‘wrong on a fundamental level’ and led to multimillion pound payouts, Guardian, Rajeev Syal, 11 Oct 17, The government agency responsible for mishandling a major nuclear cleanup contract – costing the state more than £122m – has been severely criticised by Whitehall’s spending watchdog.

A National Audit Office inquiry into a bungled £6.2bn contract to dispose of material from 12 different nuclear sites has questioned whether the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is capable of understanding procurement rules.

The head of the NDA has apologised for “past mistakes” after the contract collapsed, leading to multimillion pound payouts to firms cut out of deal.

The NAO report published on Wednesday also criticised the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s oversight of the contract.

MP Meg Hillier, chair of the public accounts committee, said: “The NDA was badly mistaken about the work it needed to do on its sites when it let this contract, and has had to cancel it nine years early. It now has to start again from scratch.

“This was one of government’s biggest ever contracts and it has gone wrong on a fundamental level. Its failure raises serious questions about the NDA’s capability.”

Between 2012 and 2014, the NDA ran a competitive procurement exercise for 10 nuclear outlets and two research facilities resulting in the award of a 14-year contract for up to £6.2bn to Cavendish Fluor Partnership.

The deal collapsed after the high court found there was “a significant mismatch between the work specified … and the work that actually needs to be done”.

The NDA was forced to settle claims to the losing bidders in March of this year, when the government launched an inquiry into the contract.

Auditors found that the NDA: breached its obligation under public contracting regulations; settled legal claims with the rival bidders at a cost of £97.3m; and spent £13.8m on legal and external advisers, while in-house staff time cost £10.8m.

Civil servants from the business department and UK Government Investments were aware of the delays but did not raise concerns with ministers until last year, the report said.

Responding to the report, NDA’s chief executive officer David Peattie said: “I would like to apologise for these past mistakes.

“Since taking over earlier this year, I have made a number of improvements to the way the NDA operates to provide greater focus, discipline, standardisation and simplification to our work.”

A department spokesperson said the business secretary, Greg Clark, would scrutinise the auditors’ findings.

“The secretary of state has been clear that the reasons for the failure of the Magnox procurement should be exposed and understood, which is why he commissioned the independent Magnox Inquiry earlier this year,” he said.

“The government will carefully scrutinise the NAO report.”

October 14, 2017 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear industry in a panic over Brexit and departure from European regulator Euratom

Nuclear industry scrambles to avoid Euratom cliff edge    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/10/13/nuclear-industry-scrambles-avoid-euratom-cliff-edge/  Britain’s nuclear industry is scrambling to understand the full consequences of leaving Europe’s nuclear regulation group Euratom amid growing fears that Britain may be heading towards a Brexit cliff edge.

The withdrawal from Euratom, as part of the Brexit process, threatens to leave British firms without a framework through which to navigate the tightly regulated trade of nuclear materials.

UK ministers presented a Nuclear Safeguards Bill to Parliament this week which sets up a domestic nuclear safeguards regime. Industry insiders told The Daily Telegraph that they are monitoring the Government’s efforts to replicate the Euratom standards in an attempt to maintain access to the global nuclear market, but the slow progress means urgent contingency plans are likely to be required.

The risk of a 2019 cliff edge could paralyse work building the new Hinkley Point C new nuclear project and leave nuclear fuel suppliers without stocks.

“We are facing disruption to absolutely everything,” Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industries Association, told Sky News. “Fifteen months to two years sounds like a lot of time. It’s not. The clock is ticking and it has been since the referendum and we’ve made very little progress so far.”

Nuclear giant Westinghouse, which runs the Springfields nuclear fuel plant in Cumbria, is working closely with the Government, regulators and its customers to ensure it can still import raw materials and export fuel even after leaving Euratom.

The Springfields facility is the first plant in the world to produce fuel for a commercial nuclear power station and has supplied products and services to customers in 11 countries since 1946. Without a replacement deal the facility, which employs a workforce of 1,200, would be unable to import the uranium needed to make enriched nuclear fuel or be able to export to customers.

“As part of these discussions we will evaluate any contingency arrangements which need to be in place to ensure we continue to successfully deliver to our customers in the UK and overseas,” the spokesman said.

But for the UK’s first new nuclear power plant to be built in a generation a regulatory gap following Brexit could raise major issues securing construction materials and skilled labour.

The NIA estimates that the £20bn Hinkley Point project will source around £5bn of its component parts from European countries.

Typically the UK imports graphite components from Germany using feedstock produced in France. Stainless steel castings are also manufactured in France and stainless strips, used to manufacture certain fuels and stringer components, are imported from Sweden.

The exit will also pose problems recruiting skilled labour.

It is estimated that Hinkley Point will need 1,400 steel fixers at the peak of its construction phase. The NIA has said only 2,700 registered and certified steel fixers are based in the UK and the project will be forced to compete with other major infrastructure projects in the UK for these individuals. Many are nearing retirement with an average age of 57.

“The best outcome for the nuclear industry would be if the UK could remain within the Euratom Treaty,” said a spokesman for EDF Energy, the French state-backed developer backing Hinkley Point.

“If the UK withdraws from the Treaty, it is essential that alternative and transitional arrangements are put in place in a pragmatic fashion, and before the existing arrangements are terminated. We stand ready to assist  the development and timely delivery of the appropriate solution,” he added.

October 14, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Scotland looking to a not for profit, publicly owned energy company

**Energy Policy – Scotland**, Energy Voice 11th Oct 2017

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has used her 2017 conference speech to announce
that the party is looking into plans for a not for profit, publicly owned
energy company. Ms Sturgeon confirmed that the pledge to explore the
option, which appeared in last year’s SNP manifesto, would be taken
forward. She said more details would be set out in the government’s
forthcoming energy strategy. She said: “Energy would be bought wholesale
or generated here in Scotland – renewable, of course – and sold to
customers as close to cost price as possible.
https://www.energyvoice.com/other-news/152781/breaking-sturgeon-proposes-publicly-owned-not-profit-energy-company/

October 14, 2017 Posted by | ENERGY, politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK taxpayers forked out £122million for failed nuclear decommissioning deal

Nuclear Authority’s failure to carry out decommissioning deal cost taxpayer £122million
Energy Voice  by Reporter – 12/10/2017 Fundamental failures in awarding a £6.2 billion deal to decommission the UK’s ageing fleet of Magnox nuclear power stations cost the taxpayer £122 million, an official report has found.

The National Audit Office said the saga raised “serious questions” about the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) understanding of procurement regulations.

The NDA ran a competitive procurement exercise for decommissioning services at 12 nuclear sites, resulting in the award of a 14-year contract for up to £6.2 billion, but the High Court found it had wrongly decided the outcome of the process.

The NDA agreed to settle claims in March 2017, the same month as the Government set up an inquiry into the Magnox contract.

Energy Solutions unsuccessfully bid for the contract, and later issued legal claims against the NDA for damages.

The High Court found that, had the NDA applied its evaluation criteria correctly, the winning bidder, Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP), would have been excluded from the competition.

The NDA agreed to settle legal claims with Energy Solutions and its consortium partner at the time of the bid, Bechtel, at a cost of £97.3 million.

It also spent £13.8 million on legal and external advisers, while in-house staff time cost £10.8 million.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “The NDA’s fundamental failures in the Magnox contract procurement raise serious questions about its understanding of procurement regulations; its ability to manage large, complex procurements; and why the errors detected by the High Court judgement were not identified earlier…….https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/nuclear/153035/nuclear-authoritys-failure-carry-decommissioning-deal-cost-taxpayer-122million/

October 14, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Scotland’s Dounreay nuclear site: health experts to be appointed by the operator


Scottish nuclear site looks to hire ‘health boffins’,
Energy Voice,  by Reporter , 12 Oct 17, A nuclear site criticised over its safety is seeking a team of health boffins – with starting salaries of £46,000 “upwards.”

Dounreay near Thurso in Caithness is being decommissioned at a cost of £2.32bn.

Safety concerns were raised in August about the handling of radioactive waste at the plant. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said safety has “deteriorated” at Dounreay and warned improvements made after a fire in 2014 had not been kept up.

Environmental protection agency Sepa rated the handling of waste last year as ‘at risk’ and called the management of vaults used to store it ‘poor’.

There were three serious incidents at the 60-year-old plant, where decommissioning work has been under way since the 1990s……

The Scottish Government has called for urgent action to address the problems at Dounreay, which were revealed in the NDA’s latest annual report. Gail Ross, SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, has also said she was “seriously concerned” about Dounreay’s safety record.

But now its operators wants to recruit “a number” of senior health physicists…….

The boffins must be an appointed Radiation Protection Adviser, provide radiation protection advice, give advice and support to emergency arrangements at Dounreay and develop and provide specialist radiation protection training as well as contributing to the development of a safety culture……. https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/nuclear/153131/scottish-nuclear-site-looks-hire-health-boffins/ – 

October 14, 2017 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment