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Another nail in UK’s nuclear coffin, happening as media focuses on Brexit

Jonathon Porritt 20th Jan 2019 Were it not for blanket Brexit, smothering every other news item, I suspect there would have been a lot more coverage of the recent collapse of Hitachi’s nuclear pretensions here in the UK. And a lot more questioning
about what the hell happens next – in terms of UK energy and climate policy.

As Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, [we] invested significant resource in seeking to persuade Tony Blair that his 2005 change of heart on nuclear (Labour’s position before then was to keep the nuclear option ‘in the long grass’), was profoundly ill-judged. And then, together with three other former Directors of Friends of the Earth,
in 2012 and 2013, warning David Cameron and his and his pro-nuclear Lib Dem groupies that his plans for six new plants by 2030 had zero prospect of ever being delivered.

Maybe even Greg Clark will be forced to recognise that his much-loved nuclear parrot really is a definitively dead parrot. After all, he’s a smart guy, and reassuringly free of the kind of ideological blinkers that make so many of his Cabinet colleagues unfit to lead anything other than an endangered cult. His statement to Parliament on the collapse of the Hitachi deal was appropriately measured, and he acknowledged unhesitatingly that nuclear power ‘is being out-competed’.

The unquestioned credibility of the Committee on Climate Change is a precious asset, and one which has served us well over the last ten years. But it cannot possibly go on pretending that nuclear power will be making much of a contribution to the low-carbon generation we need by 2030. If ever.


January 24, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Japan had pinned its hopes on nuclear exports – that dream is over!

Climate News Network 21st Jan 2019 Once hailed as a key part of the energy future of the United Kingdom and several other countries, the high-tech atomic industry is now heading in the opposite direction, towards nuclear sunset. It took another body blow
last week when plans to build four new reactors on two sites in the UK were abandoned as too costly by the Japanese company Hitachi. This was even though it had already sunk £2.14 billion (300 bn yen) in the scheme.

Following the decision in November by another Japanese giant, Toshiba, to abandon an equally ambitious scheme to build three reactors at Moorside in the north-west of England, the future of the industry in the UK looks
bleak. The latest withdrawal means the end of the Japanese dream of keeping its nuclear industry alive by exporting its technology overseas. With the domestic market killed by the Fukushima disaster in 2011, overseas sales
were to have been its salvation.

January 24, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Renewable energy is the way to go for UK, not nuclear white elephants

Scrapping of nuclear plant should see UK renewables filling the void Catherine Mitchell
Professor of energy policy, University of Exeter  19 Jan  19 

Readers respond to news that Hitachi has pulled out of the proposed Wylva nuclear power plant in Anglesey The pulling out of Hitachi from the proposed Wylva nuclear power plant is a good thing for energy policy – not a serious blow as said in the article (Hitachi scraps £16bn nuclear power station in Wales, 18 January). Nuclear power is now one of the most expensive form of electricity there is. But beyond the economics, it no longer fits with the digitalising world that we live in. The global energy system is undergoing change similar to that in telecoms and computers over the last few decades. The energy system is becoming smarter and more flexible and it is on the path to being operated in a completely different way than hitherto because of that.S

Nuclear – with its huge, inflexible output – is the equivalent of a giant boulder in the middle of a motorway. We, the energy customers of Britain, would have ended up paying way over the odds for Wylva, which would have also undermined the UK’s move to a smart and flexible system – which really is the future. We are already going to do that for Hinkley Point C.

Going down the nuclear route has been a wasted decade for UK energy policy. Exiting from the EU and the loss of flexibility we may end up with because of difficulties to do with interconnectors and market arrangements is a far greater threat to security than some phantom nuclear power plant from a previous age.

Stephen Psallidas   Everyone knows that nuclear power creates lethal waste which hundreds of future generations will have to manage, and, despite the risk being very low, can lead to accidents (or terrorist attacks) with enormous impacts. But Hitachi’s abandonment of the new Wylfa nuclear power station is more evidence, as if any were needed, that nuclear power is also fundamentally uneconomic.

Renewable energy is already cheaper than all fossil fuels and new nuclear. And yet, £16bn spent on grid-level energy storage in the UK would enable a further plummet in the price of renewable energy – a huge boost to the UK economy, to energy independence and security, and to a cleaner future. Why do successive governments of both main parties continue to support these massive white elephants?

January 21, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Decision on the future of Wylfa nuclear project expected very soon

Wylfa: Decision on future of nuclear power station expected, A decision is expected about whether work to build a new nuclear power station on Anglesey will be halted. BBC 17 Jan 19, 

Japanese media has reported that Hitachi will suspend construction of its £20bn Wylfa Newydd plant – with the board due to meet on Thursday.

Wales’ Economy Secretary Ken Skates said he expected an announcement to be made during the morning……. speculation has been rife that Hitachi will suspend work on Wylfa – a project of its Horizon division – or scrap it due to potential increases in construction costs…….

January 17, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s administration’s plan to reclassify nuclear wastes is unacceptable to Washington State 

Trump administration wants to reclassify leaking nuclear waste to avoid cleaning it up, say officials

‘This is unacceptable, and we will not stand by while this administration plans to abandon its responsibility to clean up their mess’, Independent UK Josh GabbatissScience Correspondent @josh_gabbatiss   ( AP ) 13 Jan 19, 

Donald Trump‘s administration has been accused of trying to downplay the danger of nuclear waste so it can “abandon its responsibility to clean up their mess”.

A federal government plan to reclassify this waste as less dangerous has been fiercely criticised by officials in Washington state, who said the move would allow it to walk away from its responsibility to clean up millions of gallons of toxic, radioactive material.

The state is home to the Hanford nuclear site which houses the nation’s largest collection of nuclear waste, left over from atomic bomb production. There are the 177 ageing underground tanks stored at the site containing the most dangerous material – some of which are leaking.

Amid fears much of the waste will be left in the ground, earlier this week, Washington state filed its objections to the US Department of Energy. These were accompanied by a letter from the state’s Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

The US Department of Energy is seeking to reclassify a large percentage of the waste as lower-level waste. That would allow treatment and disposal options that would not guarantee long-term protections.

At present the government is obliged to keep the waste safely in a “deep geological repository”, but if it was reclassified there would be no such obligation. Critics are concerned this could mean that the was allowed to reside in areas in which it posed a threat.

“This dangerous idea will only serve to silence the voices of tribal leaders, Hanford workers, public safety officials, and surrounding communities in these important conversations,” said Mr Inslee, a Democrat who is considering a presidential run in 2020. “This is unacceptable, and we will not stand by while this administration plans to abandon its responsibility to clean up their mess.” ……..

The proposed measure would also cover other waste disposal facilities in places like South Carolina and Idaho, and could be implemented without the approval of Congress.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Britain’s dream of nuclear power renaissance is collapsing

Bloomberg 12th Jan 2019 In 2006, Tony Blair told Britain’s biggest business lobby that the
country needed a new generation of nuclear reactors or risked becoming
dependent on imported fossil fuels while missing commitments to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. “….. the then prime minister said in a speech at
Confederation of British Industry’s annual dinner.

Almost 13 years later, just one plant is under construction — the Hinkley Point project being
built by France’s state power company in southwest England. There’s
increasing doubt any more reactors will follow. Reports on Friday said
Japan’s Hitachi Ltd. has decided to halt work on the Wylfa project in
North Wales.

That  follows Toshiba Corp.’s decision in November to
abandon a plant in northwest England. “The U.K. nuclear renaissance is a
zombie,” said Laurent Segalen, a managing partner at Megawatt-X in
London, who advises on financing wind and solar projects. The unraveling of
Blair’s energy blueprint, endorsed by all his successors, will leave
Britain short of electrons in the decades ahead as existing reactors built
in the 1970s reach the end of their lives. The new Wylfa plant alone was
designed to supply about 7 percent of the U.K.’s energy demand. Two types
of energy will likely fill most of the gap: natural gas and offshore wind.
Both come with challenges.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UAE energy minister says nuclear power project slightly delayed, ABU DHABI, Jan 9 (Reuters) – United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Wednesday that the country’s nuclear power plant project was slightly delayed.

“Nuclear is coming (but) there will be a bit of a delay,” he said at an event in Abu Dhabi. He did not provide a timeline.

The country’s nuclear regulator said last July the start-up of a reactor at the nuclear power plant, which was set to open in 2017, would depend on the outcome of further reviews of the project.

Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; writing by Alexander Cornwell; editing by Christian Schmollinger

January 10, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

America’s male-dominated nuclear cognoscenti have tunnel vision, oblivious to proliferation risks, and to public demand for nuclear weapons abolition

January 10, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK govt offers compensation to “nuclear dumping” communities, but not to communities endangered on nuclear transport routes

David Lowry 1st Jan 2019 In his article on burial of nuclear waste in what he describes as an atomic ‘dungeon’, anenvironment correspondent writes that “To provide an
incentive to hosting the dumping ground, the selected area will be given
between £1million and £2.5million a year for community projects, the
Government said.” Although this financial offer has been dismissed as a
bribe by several campaigners in communities they fear may be chosen, it
would provide a measure of community compensation for the disruption caused
by such a massive infrastructural development.

But what ministers have refused to do is to offer similar risk compensation “danger money” to
communities along transport routes from the current location of the
radioactive waste, to the facility needed for conditioning and packaging,
and then to the community or communities hosting a deep underground
geological disposal facility (GDF).

January 5, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Weather – perhaps out best hope of bringing home the urgent message of climate change

We can’t lose sight of the most important story of the year,, By David Leonhardt 1 January 2019 
Our best hope may be the weather.For a long time, many people thought that it was a mistake to use the weather as evidence of climate change. Weather patterns contain a lot of randomness. Even as the earth warms and extreme weather becomes more common, some years are colder and calmer than others. If you argue that climate change is causing some weather trend, a climate denier may respond by making grand claims about a recent snowfall.

And yet the weather still has one big advantage over every other argument about the urgency of climate change: We experience the weather. We see it and feel it.

It is not a complex data series in an academic study or government report. It’s not a measurement of sea level or ice depth in a place you’ve never been. It’s right in front of you. And although weather patterns do have a lot of randomness, they are indeed changing. That’s the thing about climate change: it changes the climate.

I wanted to write my last column of 2018 about the climate as a kind of plea: amid everything else going on, don’t lose sight of the most important story of the year.

I know there was a lot of competition for that title, including some more obvious contenders, like President Donald Trump and Robert Mueller. But nothing else measures up to the rising toll and enormous dangers of climate change. I worry that our children and grandchildren will one day ask us, bitterly, why we spent so much time distracted by lesser matters.

The story of climate change in 2018 was complicated — overwhelmingly bad, yet with two reasons for hope. The bad and the good were connected, too: Thanks to the changing weather, more Americans seem to be waking up to the problem.

I’ll start with the alarming parts of the story. The past year is on pace to be the earth’s fourth warmest on record, and the five warmest years have all occurred since 2010. This warming is now starting to cause a lot of damage.

In 2018, heat waves killed people in Montreal, Karachi, Tokyo and elsewhere. Extreme rain battered North Carolina and the Indian state of Kerala. The Horn of Africa suffered from drought. Large swaths of the American West burned.

Amid all of this destruction, US President Donald Trump’s climate agenda consists of making the problem worse. His administration is filled with former corporate lobbyists, and they have been changing federal policy to make it easier for companies to pollute. These officials like to talk about free enterprise and scientific uncertainty, but their real motive is usually money. Sometimes, they don’t even wait to return to industry jobs.

I  often want to ask these officials: deep down, do you really believe that future generations of your own family will be immune from climate change’s damage? Or have you chosen not to think very much about them?

As for the two main reasons for hope: the first is that the Trump administration is an outlier. Most major governments are trying to slow climate change.

The second reason for hope is public opinion. No, it isn’t changing nearly as rapidly as I wish. Yet it is changing, and the weather seems to be a factor. The growing number of extreme events — wildfires, storms, floods and so on — are hard to ignore.

Only 40 percent of Americans called the quality of environment “good” or “excellent” in a Gallup Poll this year, the lowest level in almost a decade. And 61 percent said the environment was getting worse. In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 66 percent of Americans said they wanted to see action to combat climate change. Some polls even suggest that Republican voters are becoming anxious about the situation.

The politics of climate change remains devilishly hard, especially because so many people around the world feel frustrated about their living standards. France’s “gilet jaune” protests, after all, were sparked by a proposed energy tax. Compared with day-to-day life, the effects of climate change have long felt distant, almost theoretical.

But now those effects are becoming real, and they are terrifying. To anyone who worries about making a case for climate action based on the weather, I would simply ask: do you have a better idea?

January 1, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

The nuclear power industry is moribund

Nuclear power practically dead, The Guardian, Phillip Griffin, Dec 29 ……Wind, solar, and storage technologies (thermal storage for heat/cold, electric vehicles, grid batteries, power-to-gas) are plummeting in price. Efficiency and conservation are no-brainers: building envelope improvements, LED lighting, and high-efficiency heat pumps are proven methods. Many ways exist for highly renewable energy systems to be affordable and reliable, says science. Brown et al. (2018) conclude, “the 100 per cent renewable energy scenarios proposed in the literature are not just feasible, but also viable.”

Global data show renewable electricity adds output and saves carbon faster than nuclear power does or ever has. (Lovins et al., 2018).

Nuclear takes forever, 10-19 years from planning-to-operation, or gets abandoned. About half the nuclear reactors ever ordered in the US were canceled. New wind and solar farms take 2-5 years from planning-to-operation.

Nuclear power is practically dead. Look at the Vogtle nuclear plant being constructed in the US. It’s taking forever as always, and the projected cost has spiraled from an original $4.4B to an estimated $25B including financing costs.

We’re out of tomorrows. In Canada, existing hydroelectric reservoirs can act as giant batteries. Wind, solar, and efficiency measures are affordable, as are a myriad of storage solutions. These project costs are falling, they scale rapidly, and consistently come in on time and budget. None of this holds true for nuclear power.


January 1, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear power will exacerbate climate change, not solve it

Fairwinds 29th Dec 2018 Relicensing old nuclear power plants and building new nukes will not
resolve any climate change issues. View our well-researched film,
Smokescreen, created with data from university analyses and independent
international economic reports. Also, check out Arnie’s speech at McGill
University where he discusses how building new nuclear power plants will
actually exacerbate climate change as well as his Truthout article

December 31, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

South Carolina’s twin disasters: NUCLEAR NIGHTMARE and HURRICANE FLORENCE

2018 in South Carolina: Tragedy, floods, more nuclear money, abc4 News, by JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated Press, 30 Dec 18, The year ends in South Carolina with hundreds of people rebuilding homes flooded for the second time in three years and hundreds of thousands of people still paying for nuclear reactors that never generated power.

December 31, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Dismay of environmentalists as Connecticut nuclear reactors classed as “clean”

Two nuclear plants win ‘zero carbon’ energy contracts in Connecticut

Gov. Dannel Malloy on Friday announced the winners of a major clean energy procurement, and the selection of Millstone Power Station in Connecticut and Seabrook Nuclear Power Station in New Hampshire effectively secured the role of atomic power in the state’s climate strategy. ……..

The clean energy procurements, mandated by the state legislature, are equal to 45 percent of Connecticut’s total electric load. More than 80 percent of the new carbon-free energy will be sourced from nuclear power………

Some on Friday criticized the nuclear-heavy choices.

“We’re glad the state will see some new solar and wind come online as a result of this procurement, but are still very concerned that as a whole, these choices don’t put Connecticut on the road to a clean energy economy,” Claire Coleman, attorney at Connecticut Fund for the Environment, told the Connecticut Mirror.

“The future is off-shore wind, solar, geothermal, and smart strategies for efficiency and energy storage – but the small investments in these newer resources compared to the heavy investment in nuclear largely don’t reflect that. Instead the state has doubled down on the energy sources of the past,” Coleman said. ……..

December 31, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

High-Paying Jobs in Nuclear Power Aren’t Looking So Safe Anymore A wave of plant closings has workers—even highly trained engineers—on edge

By Erin Ailworth Dec. 28, 2018 

Christine DeSantis is a highly trained mechanical engineer with a high-paying job—and an extremely uncertain future.

The 32-year-old has worked for the last decade at Three Mile Island nuclear plant on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. ……. (subscribers only)

December 29, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment