The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

British Labour Party supports renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent, disappoints many voters

CND 17th May 2017 The Labour Party manifesto has now been published. Its policy on nuclear weapons states: Labour supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent. As a nuclear-armed power, our country has a responsibility to fulfil our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Labour will lead multilateral efforts with international partners and the UN to
create a nuclear-free world.

This will come as a huge disappointment to many voters and CND supporters. Labour’s policy on nuclear weapons is in
accordance with the status quo, representing no change from what has gone before. At a time when a majority of countries are supporting a fresh initiative at the UN to negotiate a nuclear ban treaty, it is very disappointing that the Labour Party has made no reference to engaging with this process. There is a glimmer of hope from Labour’s planned Strategic
Defence and Security Review.

May 19, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

LEGO goes 100% renewables, UK goes for off-shore wind

Business Green 17th May 2017 LEGO Group has today become the latest global brand to announce it has met a 100 per cent renewables goal, confirming that the opening of the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm means it has ‘balanced’ its annual power demand with electricity from renewable sources. The toy manufacturing giant confirmed the inauguration of the 258MW offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay means the company’s annual power use is now matched by output from projects it has invested in.

It added that the goal had been met three years ahead of schedule. LEGO Group’s parent company KIRKBI A/S holds a 25 per cent stake in the Burbo Bank Extension project, alongside a 25 per cent stake held by Danish pension fund PKA and a 50 per cent stake held by developer DONG Energy. The company said the project meant LEGO has invested DKK6bn
($895m) in delivering two offshore wind farms over the past four years and has supported the development of more than 160MW of renewables capacity since 2012.

Bloomberg 16th May 2017 Scottish judges paved the way for as much as 10 billion pounds ($13 billion) to be invested in offshore wind power by overturning a ruling that said projects may kill too many birds. Planning permission should move
forward at four wind farms being developed by SSE Plc, Mainstream Renewable Power Ltd., Fluor Corp. and SDIC Power Holdings Co., according to the ruling by three judges at the Inner House at the Court of Session in
Edinburgh on Tuesday.

They said a judge in the Outer Court was wrong to revoke consent in July for the wind farms, that may create as much as 2.3 gigawatts of new capacity off Scotland’s east coast. The earlier ruling asserted that Scottish ministers didn’t properly assess how the projects would threaten migratory seabirds such as the puffin.

Mainstream said it would now seek to develop the 2 billion pound Neart Na Goithe offshore wind farm as quickly as possible, according to a separate statement. The project has a contract with the U.K. government for a subsidy of 114 pounds a megawatt hour.

Edie 17th May 2017 The planet’s biggest and most powerful wind turbines have begun generating electricity off the Liverpool coast, cementing Britain’s reputation as a world leader in the technology. Danish company Dong Energy has just finished installing 32 turbines in Liverpool Bay that are taller than the Gherkin skyscraper, with blades longer than nine London buses.

Dong Energy, the windfarm’s developer, believes these machines herald the future for offshore wind power: bigger, better and, most importantly, cheaper. Each of the 195m-tall turbines in the Burbo Bank extension has more than twice the power capacity of those in the neighbouring Burbo Bank windfarm completed a decade ago. “That shows you something about the scale-up of the industry, the scale-up of the technology,” said Benjamin Sykes, the country manager
for Dong Energy UK.

The project is the first time the 8MW turbines have been commercially used anywhere in the world, which Sykes hailed as a “very important milestone” for the sector.–world-s-biggest-wind-turbines-go-online-near-Liverpool/

Bloomberg 16th May 2017 Scotland was so bullish about becoming Europe’s wind energy hub its politicians fell out with a brash real-estate developer and reality TV star called Donald Trump. Five years on, Trump’s ambitions have taken him to the White House.

But instead of the 950 offshore turbines Scotland envisioned by the end of 2017, it has only 63 because of legal battles, geographical challenges and caps on government aid. The swooshing blades out at sea were a pivotal part of the nationalist-led Scottish government’s goal to get 100 percent of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. It was supposed to be a growth area in what would be Europe’s newest state, along with turning Scotland into the Saudi Arabia of marine energy.

Despite four offshore wind projects getting the go-ahead this week, more targets have been missed than met and U.K. subsidies have been cut. With Scottish independence back in the political mix ahead of the June 8 election and the
economy in pain, the plans are under scrutiny again. “People overestimated the likely scale of deployment,” said Niall Stuart, chief executive of the Glasgow-based trade association Scottish Renewables. The whole of the U.K. was over-confident about the prospects for offshore wind, he said. “Clearly it’s nothing like the most optimistic scenario.”

May 19, 2017 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

World’s biggest wind turbines now generating power off UK coast

Thirty-two of the world’s largest wind turbines are up and generating power in new offshore wind project off the UK coast.

May 19, 2017 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

NuGen’s Moorside nuclear project in limbo – unstable and unsustainable.

CORE 17th May 2017, Plans to build the £2.8Bn power transmission line connecting NuGen’s delayed Moorside project have been put on hold by National Grid so that it can align its plans with those of developer NuGen which have already been put on-hold.

NuGen has been forced to undertake a ‘strategic review of options’ following the financial meltdown of Moorside’s sole investor Toshiba and the bankruptcy of its subsidiary Westinghouse who was to supply the AP1000 reactors for the project.

Another casualty of NuGen’s faltering progress are the 1200 respondents to its Stage 2 public consultation which finished at the end of July 2016. Today, almost 10 months later, the consultation feedback report promised by NuGen for ‘Autumn 2016’ has still not materialised and neither has NuGen indicated that it will hold the further consultation called for by CORE, local authorities and others to make up for the lack of detailed information provided in the Stage 2 consultation documents.

These failures, in tandem with NuGen’s current Strategic Review of options, designed ‘to provide a more robust, stable and sustainable platform to meet its commitment to deliver the next generation of nuclear power’ has left those respondents not only in a NuGen no-man’s land but also questioning the merit of having already spent time and effort on responding to a project that now appears not only less than robust but also unstable and unsustainable. ..

May 19, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Wales moves towards energy self-sufficiency with renewables

Utility Week 17th May 2017, Plaid Cymru has pledged to cut the energy bills of customers in Wales by establishing a Welsh energy company. In its manifesto for the general election, published today (17 May), the nationalist party said the proposed energy company would channel the profits from Wales’ abundant renewable energy into cutting the cost of Welsh consumers bills.

Plaid proposes that the energy company would also support a shift in Wales to decentralised and distributed energy networks. The manifesto also pledges that Plaid would increase energy generation from renewable sources, including the delivery of tidal lagoons in Swansea Bay, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay.

The Welsh nationalists would transfer responsibility over Welsh energy generation to the National Assembly in Cardiff with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency in electricity generation from renewables.

May 19, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s new nuclear danger: cyber security attacks

David Lowry’s Blog 15th May 2017 The cyber security attack on Friday has highlighted the vulnerability of UK national infrastructure to malicious cyber threats. So far it is the impact on the NHS that has hit the headlines.

But it could be far worse: what if it were our nuclear power plants that were disrupted? Next week- from 22 to 24 May – the Vienna –based World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS) , headed by the former head of security at Sellafield, Dr Roger Howsley, is participating in the 2nd Annual Industrial Control Cyber Security Nuclear Summit, in Warrington, organised by Cyber Senate entitled with an important presentation entitled“Transformation, Preparedness and Developing Cyber Security Assurance”.

It is instructive to listen to the words of Russian cyber security expert, Eugene Kasperksy, founder and ceo of the Moscow-based Kasperksy Labs, warns governments engaged in cyber warfare that “everything you do – it’s a boomerang: it will get back to you.”

Four years ago he warned that Russian nuclear power plant infected by Stuxnet malware programme – widely believed to have been created by the US and Israel – had infected a Russian nuclear power plant.

Speaking at the Canberra Press Club 2013 in Australia’s capital city. Kasperksy recounted a story from “the Stuxnet time” when a friend of his working in an unnamed nuclear power plant reported that the plant’s computers were “badly infected by Stuxnet”. Kaspersky criticized government departments responsible for engineering cyber-attacks, The Stuxnet virus was first discovered in June 2010 and was found to specifically target industrial control systems manufactured by Siemens. The initial target of  the virus is widely thought to have been the centrifuges used in Iran’s uranium enrichment programme. Although the goal of the virus was extremely specific, its method of proliferation was indiscriminate and the code has since been found on computers across the world……

May 17, 2017 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

100% Renewables for Britain’s Tesco

FT 14th May 2017 Tesco seeks to secure all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Tesco is to turn its back on fossil fuels and ramp up its use of solar panels as the UK supermarket makes an ambitious pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in line with the toughest goals of the Paris climate accord.

Tesco says it will cut its emissions in line with the more ambitious 1.5C target, partly by securing 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar panels by 2030 and by pushing its
suppliers to become greener. Tesco’s goals will require big investments in renewable power because about 65 per cent of its emissions come from electricity needed for its distribution centres and 6,500 stores around the world.

Refrigeration gases account for 15 per cent of the company’s emissions, according to Kené Umeasiegbu, Tesco’s head of climate change. Another 12 per cent comes from its delivery vehicles; 7.5 per cent from heating and 0.5 per cent from business travel….

May 17, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

UK National Grid halts plan for Moorside nuclear plant connection

Utility Week 15th May 2017, National Grid hits pause on Moorside connection. Plans shelved for “biggest new power line since electricity network was built”. Plans to build a 102-mile power line connecting the proposed Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria to the transmission network have been placed on hold, National Grid has revealed.

The news comes after developer NuGen confirmed earlier this month that it was conducting a “strategic review of its options” following reports that its main shareholder, Toshiba, may mothball the Moorside project.

May 17, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

BMO Global Asset Management dumps BHP Billiton and other fossil fuel shares

Guardian 15th May 2017, Archbishop of Canterbury plays crucial role in BMO Global Asset Management’s decision to dump £20m of shares in firms such as BHP Billiton  One of Britain’s biggest managers of ethical funds is to dump £20m of shares in fossil fuel companies in one of the biggest divestments so farbecause of climate change.

Shares in BHP Billiton, the Anglo-Australian mining giant, will be among those sold by BMO Global Asset Management’s range of “responsible” funds, which manage £1.5bn of assets. They were previously known as the “stewardship” funds, the first ethical funds launched in Britain. The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, played a crucial role in the divestment, as president of BMO’s responsible investment council. The Church of England has already pulled out of investing in companies that make more than 10% of its revenues from thermal coal or oil from tar sands…..

May 17, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Jeremy Corbyn on need to protect Britain by using diplomacy and defusing tensions around the world

Jeremy Corbyn Explains Why He Can’t Envisage Using Nuclear Weapons, HuffPost UK, 14 May 17, May’s closeness to Trump is the real ‘coalition of risk and insecurity’
Jeremy Corbyn has signalled he can’t envisage ever using nuclear weapons because to do so would mean the world had already suffered a “cataclysmic failure”.

The Labour leader said that nuclear warfare would mean “the indiscriminate killing of millions of people” and risk long-lasting radiation that would wipe out all life across much of the planet.

In a keynote speech on defence and security at the Chatham House think tank, Corbyn stressed that his “first duty” would be to protect Britain by using diplomacy and defusing tensions around the world.

He also said that the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent would be renewed by Labour and then placed into a strategic defence review to look at new, long-term threats such as cyber warfare.

Corbyn also said that he wouldn’t “take any lectures” from the Tories on humanitarian intervention after the Thatcher government refused to apply sanctions on South Africa in the wake of apartheid shootings of children in Soweto.

And he claimed that the Conservatives were the party putting Britons in danger as “Theresa May seeks to build a coalition of risk and insecurity with Donald Trump”.

A Labour government would “step back, learn the lessons of the past and find new ways to solve and prevent conflicts”, he said.

And it would seek to build cooperation with China and India, unlike the Prime Minister, who in January said that the two Eastern giants were threatening to ‘eclipse’ the West in military terms.

Corbyn, a long-time advocate of unilateral nuclear disarmament, said earlier this year that his instructions in any nuclear conflict would be to “follow orders when given”, rather than writing a letter automatically granting prior authority to fire off missiles.

May 15, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Jeremy Corbyn put on the spot about use of nuclear weapons

Jeremy Corbyn is still dodging the nuclear question,  George Eaton   political editor   New Statesman, 12 May 17 
The Labour leader came close but ultimately refused to say that he would approve the use of nuclear weapons. In 
 the general election, the Conservatives aim to shoot to kill. By denouncing Labour as soft on defence, they believe they can win their first landslide victory since 1987 (when they similarly tormented the opposition over this issue)……

It is the gravest act of all – the use of nuclear weapons – that has proved most fraught for Labour in recent times. Though the party’s manifesto has committed to Trident renewal, Corbyn, a lifelong unilateralist, has long refused to say whether he would use the UK’s arsenal (and, indeed, has said he would not). Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith, who has said she would, was not invited to the event and did not contribute to drafting the speech (seeing it for the first time at 11pm last night). At her insistence, a manifesto section warning any prime minister to be “extremely cautious about ordering the use of weapons of mass destruction” was removed.

But in his speech, Corbyn all but repeated it. “I am often asked if as prime minister I would order the use of nuclear weapons,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary question when you think about it – would you order the indiscriminate killing of millions of people? Would you risk such extensive contamination of the planet that no life could exist across large parts of the world?”

He added, however: “Labour is committed actively to pursue disarmament under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and we are committed to no first use of nuclear weapons

But let me make this absolutely clear. If elected prime minister, I will do everything necessary to protect the safety and security of our people and our country. That would be my first duty.”

That, however, fell short of explicitly stating he would use nuclear weapons (which Trident supporters regard as essential for deterrence)……….

As the event drew to a close, Corbyn was asked whether he supported the full renewal of Trident (encompassing four Vanguard-class submarines). Corbyn noted that while parliament had voted for a like-for-like replacement, Labour would hold a Strategic Defence Review, which he did not wish to pre-empt. Though aides subsequently stated that abolition was not an option, the possibility of downgrading the system remains. Labour’s nuclear headache will not end here…….

May 13, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Plans put on hold, for Cumbria’s Moorside nuclear project

Moorside nuclear plant ‘on hold’ as review announced, BBC News 4 May 2017 A plan to build a nuclear power station in Cumbria has been put on hold while the company behind it carries out a strategic review.

NuGen, which is overseeing the planned Moorside plant, was initially co-owned by French firm Engie and Toshiba.

Last month the Japanese technology giant announced it was taking 100% control and that has led to NuGen announcing the pause…….

May 8, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Future of Britain’s Moorside nuclear power project now looking uncertain

Toshiba bankruptcy threatens Moorside, 6 MAY 2017 

Toshiba’s bankrupt nuclear arm may be prevented from providing any emergency funds to its overseas interests, throwing the future of the Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria into fresh doubt.

It has emerged that Westinghouse, the Toshiba-owned American nuclear reactor developer, faces orders not to prop up any joint venture agreements that it entered into before the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March.

Wall Street private equity giant Apollo has pledged an $800m (£617m)rescue loan to the Pennsylvania-based company, which is awaiting court approval, while a group of hedge funds is also interested in providing emergency financing. However, it is understood that many of these prospective new investors want to see any fresh funds funnelled into Westinghouse and its main subsidiaries, not foreign joint venture projects like Moorside. They are calling for partners involved in Toshiba’s overseas interests to also step in and provide support.

The £18bn Moorside project is a central pillar of the UK’s atomic energy programme. The 3.4 gigawatt plant will power up to 6m homes but it has been thrown into doubt by Toshiba’s financial crisis and the bankruptcy of Westinghouse. The reactor maker, which the Japanese corporation bought from the British government in 2006, had been due to install three of its AP1000 reactors at Moorside. The project received a further blow when its other backer, French energy provider Engie, pulled out. Without the support of the only remaining backer, there are fears that the plant will never be built.

However, an industry source said: “Engie is a nuclear developer and a nuclear operator – it’s what they do. Senior people in the company have said that if the project found a way to move forward they would be interested in coming back.”


May 8, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear police force recruiting ‘fitness champions’

Nuclear police recruit ‘fitness champions’ in bid to reduce sickness  crime correspondent 7 MAY 2017  The police force responsible for keeping Britain’s nuclear power stations safe, has recruited keep fit gurus in a bid to reduce the number of sick days its officers are taking.

Officials at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) became concerned after the force repeatedly failed to make its annual target on staff sickness.

So-called “fitness champions” will now offer advice to colleagues on a wide range of issues, such as how to achieve and maintain peak physical condition, how to avoid injury and even what to eat in order to stay healthy. They will be recruited internally, but will receive special training, in the hope that they can help reduce the current average of 12.8 sick days a year, per officer.

In addition the force is increasing the amount of money spent on physiotherapists to help officers who suffer injuries get back to work as soon as possible. Despite having many of the same powers as ordinary police officers, those who serve with the CNC are not allowed to retire at 60, in line with their colleagues in the 43 Home Office forces.

They have argued that the physical nature of their role means they cannot guarantee they will be able to fulfil their duties beyond the age of 60, putting the public at risk.

But new rules mean they will have to work until 65 and eventually 68, before they are entitled to claim their pension.

Established in 2005, the CNC has more than 1,250 armed officers, who patrol all non-military nuclear sites – including the 14 atomic power stations – and keep them safe from terrorist attack.

The highly trained specialists can also be deployed at short notice to assist with any large scale national emergencies in order to bolster the number of armed officers on the streets.The move comes at a time when CNC officers are embroiled in a long running battle with the Government over their retirement age. While they have the same powers of arrest as ordinary warranted officers, the role of a CNC constable is very different, and when not out on patrol spend a large amount of their time undertaking rigorous training exercises.

They provide a round the clock ring of steel around nuclear establishments and must be prepared to repel any form of attack by terrorists.
In addition they are also expected to accompany nuclear materials being transported within the UK and further afield.
Given the risks of working in close proximity to nuclear material, officers are also regularly checked for exposure to radiation and carry dosage meters on them at all times. The CNC’s most recent annual report, revealed that the force had failed to meet its sickness target of an average of 10.5 days for the past five years running.

Officials discovered that rather than illness an increasing number of officers, were being signed off work with injuries, picked up due to the physical nature of the role.

Carrying almost 50 lbs in kit, the officers are susceptible to back injuries and other musculoskeletal complaints.

The introduction of fitness champions is intended to provide more support for those officers who are struggling with the physical demands of the role

May 8, 2017 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Brexit will mean that Britain will be stuck with Europe’s nuclear waste

Brussels plans to saddle UK with EU nuclear waste  Britain’s impending split from Euratom indicative of complexity of Brexit, by: Arthur Beesley in Brussels and Andrew Ward in London, 4 May 17  Britain will be on the hook for large volumes of dangerous radioactive waste — some of it imported from the rest of Europe — under proposals by Brussels to transfer ownership of a range of nuclear materials to the UK after it leaves the EU.

Almost 130 tonnes of plutonium stored at Sellafield in Cumbria is among the nuclear material that would formally shift to UK control, according to draft documents issued by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator. All “special fissile material” — forms of uranium and plutonium used in nuclear fuels and some of the resulting waste — within the EU are technically owned by Euratom, the pan-European regulator of civilian nuclear activity.
Mr Barnier’s provisional negotiating position calls for a Brexit agreement to “ensure, where appropriate, the transfer to the United Kingdom” ownership of “special fissile material” currently controlled by Euratom within the UK. Such an agreement would make the UK legally responsible not only for its own nuclear material but also reprocessed spent fuel imported over several decades from Germany, Sweden and elsewhere for recycling at Sellafield. “What was a joint European legacy now becomes a UK home brew, with potentially dire economic consequences for the UK given the sheer expense and weight of this radiological inventory,” said Paul Dorfman, honorary senior researcher at the Energy Institute at University College London……..
Mr Barnier’s proposal for the UK to assume “all rights and obligations associated with the ownership of [fissile] materials or property transferred” is seen in Brussels as a necessary housekeeping exercise to remove Euratom’s claim on nuclear fuel used in UK power stations as well as uranium isotopes used in radiotherapy. But it highlighted the uncertainty facing Britain’s nuclear industry — responsible for about a fifth of domestic electricity generation — in the run-up to Brexit. Euratom is a separate legal entity to the EU but is governed by EU institutions and the UK government says it has no option but to leave both at the same time. A UK government spokeswoman said: “Leaving Euratom is a result of the decision to leave the EU as they are uniquely legally joined.”
As well as nuclear fuel and reprocessed waste, the UK would also take ownership of Euratom property used to safeguard the material, such as inspection and monitoring equipment, according to the EU proposals. The negotiation directives, which are subject to the agreement of the 27 remaining member states, were published on Wednesday as Mr Barnier set out his hardline opening position for talks with London…….

May 5, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK, wastes | Leave a comment