Controversial plans to build the first UK nuclear power station in over 20 years have taken a huge step forward with an announcement of which companies are set to be involved in the giant energy project.
Iran’s quest to rejuvenate its energy industry after decades of sanctions is attracting renewable energy developers eager to plant turbines on windy ridges across the country. Since 2012 the government has pushed renewables as an alternative to the fossil fuels that supply 94 percent of its electricity. Developers such as GI Umweltconsult and turbine suppliers including Nordex SE are preparing to enter the market. While Iran’s renewables industry is concentrated mainly on hydro plants, the government plans to bolster wind as a way of preserving crude oil for export, and feeding the electricity needs of its more than 80 million people. With an ambition to install 5 gigawatts of renewable capacity by 2020, Iran would rank alongside France and the UK as an industry leader.
A Conservative former energy secretary has insisted the “elephantine” Hinkley C nuclear project is “one of the worst deals ever” for British consumers and industry. Lord Howell of Guildford told peers he would “shed no tears” if the multi-billion pound development in Somerset by French giant EDF Energy was abandoned in favour of smaller nuclear plants at a later date. He warned no reactor of the kind planned for Hinkley C has “ever been completed successfully”.
Iran’s parliament is set to review the landmark nuclear deal reached with world powers last week. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who headed the Iranian negotiating team during the talks in Vienna, sent the text of the agreement to the house, state media reported. Under Iran’s constitution, parliament has a right to reject any deal - even one negotiated by the foreign ministry. However, it is not clear whether politicians will vote on the deal or whether they will simply discuss it and possibly express concerns about it.
China is set to become Asia’s nuclear powerhouse as it is predicted to surpass South Korea and Russia in generating energy capacity by 2020. The country has been increasing its nuclear output in recent years which, according to new analysis, it plans to leverage so it can take an “ownership role” throughout the entire supply chain. Data from the EIA (Energy Information Administration) shows nuclear output currently makes up slightly more than 2% of the country’s total power generation.
Russia’s government is ready to help South Africa fund new nuclear plants, estimated to cost as much as $100 billion, if state-owned Rosatom Corp. is awarded the construction contracts, a company official said. Moscow-based Rosatom has suggested several funding models, including helping South Africa secure a Russian loan, Viktor Polikarpov, regional vice president for sub-Saharan Africa, said in an interview in Cape Town on Thursday. The loan duration might be 20 years and South Africa would only start repayment when the first plant starts operating, he said.
Disputes over attempts to probe Tehran’s alleged work on nuclear weapons are unexpectedly persisting, threatening plans to wrap up an Iran nuclear deal. Diplomats say at least two other issues still need final agreement. These are Iranian demands that a UN arms embargo be lifted and any UN Security Council resolution approving the deal no longer describes Iran’s nuclear activities as illegal. With few signs that Iranian or US negotiators are prepared to give ground, the high-stakes game of brinksmanship looks set to force a fourth extension of talks since the current round began 17 days ago.
Welcome to Japan, land of cherry blossoms, sushi and sake, and 17,000 metric tons of highly radioactive waste. That’s what the country has in temporary storage from its nuclear plants. Supporters of atomic power say it’s cleaner than fossil fuels for generating electricity. Detractors say there’s nothing clean about what’s left behind, some of which remains a deadly environmental toxin for thousands of years. Since atomic power was first harnessed more than 70 years ago, the industry has been trying to solve the problem of safe disposal of the waste. Japan has been thrown into the center of the conundrum by its decision in recent months to retire five reactors after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
An agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program could create a bonanza for US defense contractors who already are benefiting as the Obama administration tries to assuage Israeli and Gulf Arab concerns by cutting deals for more than $6billion in military hardware. The details of a potential deal being negotiated between Iran and six world powers -- China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and US -- would determine what steps the U.S. takes to help its allies. A nuclear agreement is likely to prompt Mideast partners to seek improved defense systems from American contractors such as Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. as well as weapons-makers in France and elsewhere. “In theory, an Iran deal could lead to a reduction in tensions in the region that would reduce the demand for advanced weaponry,” said William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy in Washington. “In the short-term, a deal could actually boost the demand for arms.”
World powers and Iran are on the verge of missing another deadline in Vienna, where diplomats are in a 10th straight day of talks seeking an accord over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held talks until early Tuesday in the Austrian capital, along with their counterparts from China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K. After their meeting broke up, lower-level officials and technicians continued negotiations into the night. Iran’s interlocutors say that while differences have continued to narrow, agreement isn’t assured by the time their latest deadline expires at midnight on Tuesday. “We’re not there yet,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in Washington. After almost two years, diplomats say they’re closer than ever to sealing an accord that would return energy-rich Iran to world markets while giving regional rivals guarantees that the Islamic Republic can’t produce nuclear weapons. Iran says its program has always been peaceful, a claim the West disputes.
US Secretary of State John Kerry tempered expectations that a nuclear deal with Iran is imminent as foreign ministers from world powers rejoined a record ninth straight day of negotiations. While progress continues to be made at the talks, “we are not yet where we need to be on several of the most difficult issues,” Kerry told reporters on Sunday at Vienna’s Palais Coburg, where he’d been meeting for much of the day with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. An agreement will allow energy-rich Iran back into global oil and natural-gas markets as sanctions are lifted. The US, whose allies in the region are wary of Iran’s influence, says it will only sign a deal that restricts the Islamic Republic’s ability to make nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is entirely peaceful.
A nuclear deal with Iran looks imminent after a logjam over monitoring was broken and with foreign ministers set to rejoin U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a record ninth-straight day of talks later on Sunday. Kerry began morning meetings at Vienna’s Palais Coburg with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, a U.S. administration official said. The impending agreement could be announced as early as Monday, according to two Western officials who asked not to be named in line with rules. “The extension of negotiations is not a desired alternative for any of the parties,” Zarif’s deputy, Abbas Araghchi, said Saturday on state television. “All parties involved are determined to come to a conclusive end.”
The head of the United Nations atomic agency will travel to Iran Thursday to meet the nation’s president and top security official, Iranian media reported, as talks with world powers tackle remaining hurdles to a nuclear deal. Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, state-run IRNA news agency reported, citing diplomats it didn’t name. He’ll also hold talks with the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, a key official with military oversight.
As Iran nears a deal to ease oil sanctions after almost two years of talks, selling more crude remains a long way off. The nation’s goal of increasing exports 50 percent as soon as restrictions are lifted won’t be fulfilled, say Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Societe Generale SA. That would require an extra 500,000 barrels of daily output, which the banks say will take six to 12 months as OPEC’s fourth- biggest producer complies with terms of a deal and revives aging wells. The impact on prices will be limited, the banks predict. “They’ve got to meet the requirements of any agreement, and that’s going to take time,” Jeff Currie, head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs, said by e-mail from New York on Monday. “When you shut these fields in to that significant of a degree, your ability to bring back production to previous levels will be limited because you’ve done damage to the fields that will require significant investment.”
Diplomats in Vienna are close to clinching a historic deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, according to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. “We are near to close the deal, it is a good deal,” Mogherini told reporters late Sunday after meetings with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was heading to Tehran for consultations with his leadership before returning to Vienna.
A leading union is raising safety and job concerns over the technology to be used in a possible new nuclear power station. The GMB has written to the Government and safety bodies saying it feared the Bradwell nuclear site in Essex could be handed over “lock, stock and barrel“ to China’s national nuclear corporation. The Chinese could then use their own technology, and possibly bring thousands of workers to the UK, dealing a blow to this country’s own nuclear industry, the union claimed. National officer Gary Smith said in a letter to Energy Secretary Amber Rudd: “The idea that a Chinese state company will be given a site in the UK, not far from London, where they can use Chinese labour to construct a reactor to be made in China and using Chinese components would in our view constitute economic madness and raises serious safety issues.
Amec Foster Wheeler has been awarded a seven-year contract by Fusion For Energy (F4E) for the development and delivery of the Natural Beam Cell Remote Handling System on the ITER fusion reactor in the South of France. The framework contract, which is worth up to €70million over the next seven years, is the largest nuclear robotics contract awarded by F4E to a UK company. Clive White, President of Amec Foster Wheeler’s Clean Energy Business said: “This contract demonstrates our leading expertise in nuclear remote handling and robotics.
Hundreds of workers at the site of a new nuclear power station face being laid off as preparation work comes to an end ahead of a final investment decision. Around 400 contract staff are expected to be affected, as French giant EDF Energy completes earthworks, drainage, welfare facilities and roadworks on the multi billion pound project in Somerset. EDF said it had made good progress on work to finalise agreements which will enable a final investment decision “in the coming months”.
Iran and world powers extended talks aimed at ending the 12-year standoff over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program into an eighth day with the US indicating progress toward an agreement. Diplomats negotiated all night in Lausanne, Switzerland and will reconvene at about 9:00 a.m. local time, US spokeswoman Marie Harf said. The US State Department said late Wednesday that enough progress had been made in meetings between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif to warrant continuing talks.
The first major permission has been given for the technology to build a new nuclear reactor. Horizon Nuclear power welcomed completion of the so-called regulatory justification process as it presses ahead with plans to build new nuclear power stations at Wylfa in Anglesey, North Wales, and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. The approval by the Government is the first to be put in place, with the final go-ahead expected in 2018.
The final shipment of waste from a Scottish nuclear plant back to Belgium has been completed. It was created during the reprocessing of material sent from Belgium as part of a contract made between the UK Atomic Energy Authority and SCK/CEN of Belgium in the 1990s. The operators of BR2, which carries out materials research and produces isotopes for nuclear medicine, sent 240 spent fuel elements to Dounreay in Caithness during that decade.
Cape has been awarded a five year contract extension by EDF Energy for the supply of access, insulation and associated service in support of its eight nuclear power stations in the UK. The contract will see the company provide its services until 2021 in support of the energy suppliers. Around one fifth of the UK’s energy supply comes from EDF’s nuclear power stations, two coal fired power stations, combine gas cycle turbine power station and wind farms.
Renewable power has overtaken nuclear to become the main source of electricity in Scotland, figures have revealed. In the first half of last year sources such as wind and hydro power produced 10.3 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity, figures from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change showed. Nuclear power stations, which had been Scotland’s main source of electricity, generated 7.8TWh over the same period, according to data from the National Grid.
A series of mysterious drone flights over French nuclear reactors recently is exposing a security threat that has authorities scrambling. There have been more than a dozen sightings so far, including one this week, of small unmanned aircraft. They haven’t inflicted damage nor has anyone publicly claimed responsibility, according to atomic operators and French ministers. In spite of government assurances that a probe is underway, the flights have been going on for more than a month.