Extracts from NATTA's bimonthly journal 'Renew' Issue 109, Sept-Oct 1997.
NATTA is an independent information service based with the Energy and Environment Research Unit at the Open University. As with all NATTA publications the views expressed should not be taken to necessarily reflect those of EERU or the Open University. This material can be used freely as long as it not for commercial purposes, and as long as proper credit to NATTA is given.
BP Go Solar
Clean Energy levy from Labour?
Developments in the UK and elsewhere
World wide developments and resistance in the UK
Norway's TAPCHAN, A.R.T's Osprey and Limpet
France backs off
Renew Subscription Details
Global Warming aint cool. That was one of the(ungrammatical!) slogans used by some of the environmentalists who demonstrated outside the UN Earth Summit II in New York in June.
Tony Blair pointed the finger, albeit indirectly, at the USA, as one of the worst offenders in terms of carbon emissions, and called on all the worlds nations to join the UK in making a 20% cut by 2010. But the US government seemed unwilling or unable to respond. Following the oil crisis in 1974 President Carter had launched Project Independence, which was meant to ensure that the US obtained 20% of its power from renewables by the year 2000. But the intervening Reagan and Bush years saw renewables take a back seat, and a 20% contribution is still a long way off.
By contrast, Blair seemed keen to take it seriously. In his UN speech Blair talked of "new forms of energy" and a "new approach to transport, in particular the promotion of public transport," although, the subsequent Budget seems only to have offered promises of further studies - on transport and on the impact of cutting VAT on insulation materials.
British Petroleum have decided to expand its commitment to solar energy, having accepted that 'it would be unwise and potentially dangerous to ignore the mounting concern' over global warming predictions.
While backing off from a crash programme, they say they want to 'play a positive and responsible part in identifying solutions'.
One of these was photovoltaic solar. BP already has 10% of the global PV market share worth around £100m pa but it now plans 'to increase its manufacturing capacity and to position the business to reach $1bn in sales over the next decade'.
Speaking at Stanford University in California, BP's chief executive John Browne added he expected they could 'make solar competitive in supplying peak electricity demand within the next ten years'.
This did not, of course, mean that their oil business would be downplayed - solar was 'additional to' not 'instead of' oil and gas.
BP had already broken ranks with the 'carbon club' of oil and motor companies who were resisting serious action on global warming, but some other oil companies are at least thinking about diversification: that's hardly surprising given that Shell's sustainable growth scenario (see Renew 100) portrayed renewables as supplying 50% of world energy by 2060. Asked for its response to the BP initiative, Shell told the FT that is still an open question as to whether it could do more to promote renewables - it spend $8m on research into solar and biomass.
For its part, Greenpeace, who had been pressurising BP to change its policy (see Renew 108) was not too impressed - it did not go far enough to recognise the environmental dangers of continuing to invest in oil exploration and use.
Subsequently Greenpeace came into conflict with BP following their attempt to impede BP's exploration activities in the Atlantic Frontier area. Greenpeace however remain adamant that 'to stay within ecological limits, fossil fuels have to be phased out within 30 - 40 years at present rates of use.'
"It has been said that all great truths begin as heresies - and the truth here is that there is not too little oil but too much, and there is instead, too little sky.
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With a new Government at the helm, things are certainly moving quickly in the UK these days - although there are also some possible hitches.
First off there's the liberalisation of the UK electricity market, with everyone queuing up for a slice of the action - even the Trades Union Congress with its Union Energy power retail project.
Some people think that the liberalisation process may get delayed, but liberalisation is obviously not going to be halted - it's a Europe wide phenomena.
"Completing the Single European Energy Market is the new Government's top priority" said John Battle, the new Energy Minister, before attending his first Energy Council meeting in Brussels recently, where discussions included the draft Gas Liberalisation Directive.
The European Commission's Green Paper on renewables (see Renew 107) was also on the agenda. Battle commented:
"Renewables must move out of the margins and have a greater role as part of a diverse and sustainable long-term energy supply. By backing renewables we can address the issue of climate change and secure new markets for European industry. So we must make a start to exploring with our European partners how to open up markets for renewables. Renewable energy industries will provide the environmentally friendly companies and jobs of the next century."
Labour had already announced a review of its strategy for the development of renewables, and following Blair's visit to the UN, the Government published a new Bill designed to revise the coverage of the fossil fuel levy, so as to offer more flexilbility.
As Energy Minister John Battle put it:
"We are looking at ways we can most effectively develop renewables and are determined not to close down any options in our fight to provide secure, sustainable and diverse energy into the next millennium (...) For this reason, the Bill (...) contains a power to apply this Levy to all electricity supplied by licensed electricity suppliers, including some electricity generated from renewable sources. This would give us the flexbility we need to develop proposals to encourage new renewable sources of energy in the most effective way possible.'
The DTI press release added that the extended levy
'could - but need not necessarily - include electricity generated from renewable sources outside of NFFO or SRO arrangements. We would consider whether to exercise the power once we have completed a review of the ways in which we can support the development of renewables technology.'
The Bill also brings nuclear power into the scheme - otherwise it would have dropped out given the 1998 deadline on the separate nuclear NFFO scheme.
Rather convolutedly, Battle claimed that the Bill would 'save consumers from a price rise in their electricity bills' since 'it would ensure that the nuclear industry would continue to pay its fair share of the Levy and that all electricity generated from nuclear sources would compete on an equal basis with fossil fuelled plants. Without this measure, nuclear electricity currently produced under the Primary Nuclear Contract would cease to be subject to the Levy from 1 April 1998 and prices would go up from next year. With this change in place, consumers in England and Wales would save up to £70 m.'
The DTI explained it as follows: ' Support is provided for electricity generated from renewable sources through the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation (known as the NFFO) in England and Wales and the Scottish Renewables Obligation (SRO) in Scotland. Support for NFFO and SRO is funded through the Fossil Fuel Levy on electricity sales. At present only electricity from fossil fuel sources and electricity generated under NFFO and SRO contracts is leviable. Currently nuclear electricity in England and Wales is generated under a NFFO contract (the Primary Nuclear Contract) and so is leviable. When that contract ends on 31 March 1998 that nuclear electricity will become levy free. The Bill would amend Section 33 of the Electricity Act 1989 to make all nuclear electricity supplied by licensed suppliers subject to the levy'.
As the DTI gets down to sorting out the details of the new scheme, SERA, the environmental group affiliated to the Labour Party, has produced a new report outlining how it feels the Government can meet Labour's manifesto commitment to cut CO2 by 20% by 2010- more than twice as ambitious as the previous Governments target. SERA's "Taking a Cool Look" explains for the first time how this might be done. Renewables play a major part, contributing 10% to electricity production by 2010, so does energy conservation and CHP, along with a range of transport related energy saving measures.
Nick Eyre, author of the report, said "This is an ambitious but achievable target, entirely in keeping with Labour's policy aims. As well as setting a lead in tackling global climate change,these policies will produce positive benefits at home - new jobs, more competitive industry, less traffic congestion, and warmer homes".
Taking a Cool Look - policies to reduce UK carbon dioxide emissions by 20% is available from SERA, 11 Goodwin St., London, N4 3HQ. Telephone 0171 263 7389. See our Groups section for more on SERA.
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Latent public demand for renewables looks quite significant, judging by the Mori opinion poll carried out for Green Electron /PRAESEG last year (see Renew 105), with 21% saying they would be willing to pay extra for green electricity.
That could transform into the equivalent of a demand for 12GW of renewable capacity, i.e. 20% of total UK capacity. At present though there is only a hundred megawatts available from the various NFFO and SRO schemes - and even by 2000 it may only be 1.5GW DNC. But even if the 20% figure is over the top, it could still be a sellers market.
Of course from 1998 a whole new market could also open up. So far the NFFO places an 'obligation' on the Regional Electricity Companies to buy in renewable power, but otherwise there are few direct individual buyers for renewable power, or indeed easy ways for individuals to buy it, but all that will change with the liberalised market. And so the NFFO will also have to change - since there could be a lot of new players in the market, only some of them will will be selling power to REC's via the NFFO.
The Association of Electricity Producers has published a new report 'Renewable Energy - Building on Success' which explores this and other issues - including the risk that environmental concerns will be compromised by the ever increasing competition within the NFFO rounds, as cost convergence is continually sought.
In addition to offering comments on how the NFFO should develop (see below), it also comments on the demise of the UK renewable energy R&D programme.
'Government research and development funding for renewables has fallen, as priority has been given to support for renewable energy through the Renewable Energy Orders'.
The AEP however wants to ensure that technologies like photovoltaics, which fall well outside the price framework of the NFFO, do not get overlooked, and they press OFFER to explore that issue with the Government. In addition the AEP recommends that its members 'seek support from the European Commission', i.e. from the EC's various R, D&D programmes.
The AEP report also mentions the newly established British Renewable Energy Federation (see the Groups section in Renew 109) which has been set up to promote UK exports of renewable energy technologies and expertise.
Details from the AEP, 1st floor, 41 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2BX. Tel: 0171 930 9390 Fax: 0171 930 9391
AEP want 10% from renewables
In its latest report on renewable energy, the Association of Electricity Producers accepts that the 'NFFO' schemes have been a great success but accepts that despite falling prices, few renewable energy schemes are yet able to stand on their own feet in the competitive electricity market.
According to the Association, if the Government wants to maintain the development of the renewable energy industry, it will have to keep the NFFO going for the time being.
In the short term, the Association calls for urgent confirmation by the Government that it will invite bids for another round of NFFO in 1998. This is essential, says the Association, because companies that are prospective developers of projects need to know whether it is worth staying in the renewable energy industry to prepare proposals for future generating schemes.
In the medium term, the Government should examine some of the drawbacks of NFFO. For example, it does not suit all technologies equally well - there are big differences in price between the cheapest and the more expensive ones - and consider how to ensure that support is cost effective. It will also have to weigh up how renewable energy should fit into the fully liberalised supply market, post 1998. The Association has offered to assist the Government on these matters.
In the long run, the Association suggests that measures to encourage the renewable energy industry should aim to meet at least 10 per cent of electricity demand.
The UK is not the only country attempting to liberalise its energy markets: many others are following similar programmes. The Dutch have a green market programme designed to try to support its target of a 3% renewable contribution by 2000, and given the demise in 1995 of the previous 30% subsidy scheme for renewables, that seems timely: see our Feature.
The USA, Canada, Ireland and Germany are also looking to green power consumer markets, while Australia claims to have the world's largest scheme, initiated by the New South Wales Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA), and involving potentially up to 2.3 million customers!
See Windpower Monthly May and June 1997 for details of some of these programmes.
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The UK has the lowest percentage of renewable capacity, as a percentage of final consumption, of any country in the EU, despite having one of the highest potentials for renewable energy generation. The reason for this is the huge historic imbalance between funds made available for fossil and nuclear power and support given to renewable energy. A report written for Greenpeace by economists from the Vrije University in Amsterdam, 'Energy Subsidies in Europe', reveals that renewables in the UK received only 2% of the funds directed at fossil and nuclear energy. This was the second lowest ratio in the EU.
Total UK energy subsidies for the period 1990-1995 (£ million)
In a recent briefing paper on fossil fuel subsidies ('Stop stoking the fire' May 1997) Greenpeace say that for every £1 of public money used to support the development of renewable energy, fossil fuels have received over £100 indirect subsidies in the period 1990-1995. They add
'The funding pendulum has been swung in favour of fossil and nuclear energy for so long that it will take substantial investment from the new Government before renewable and energy efficient industries have received anything approaching 'fair treatment'.
Greenpeace claim that the picture Europe-wide is not much better:
'The EU-wide funding programmes have done more to encourage global warming and nuclear power than promote alternative or efficient use of energy. In the five years since EU states signed up to the Climate Convention, the European Commission has spent £3.2 billion in subsidising the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. In stark contrast, renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies have received less than a third of this in financial support.'
Total EU energy subsidies for period 1990-1995 (£ million)
Greenpeace note that the previous UK Government dismissed the EC's proposal to increase the renewables target to 12%, contained in an EU Green Paper on renewables. The DTI attacked the target as 'arbitrary and ... unrealistic' and opposed any increase in renewables funding. They even went as far as to suggest that ... 'We see no justification for renewables projects having such a large share of any energy spend in the Fifth Framework Programme.' (Government response to EC Green Paper March 1997)
But Greenpeace note, although Labour supports renewables and conservation, it also supports Clean Coal - and this may lead to some environmental contradictions since even the best new integrated gasification combine cycle coal plants still produce twice as much carbon dioxide as modern combined cycle gas fired plants.
'Stop stoking the fire: will Labour end subsidies to fossil fuel?' can be obtained from
Greenpeace, Canonbury Villas, London, N4.
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In France, after a long delay, 13MW of wind capacity has been supported under the new Eole 2005 programme, and with the French nuclear programme now suspended by the new left government (see later), more money may be expected in the renewables field.
However the Swedish wind programme has been cut back, with susbsidies reduced from 35% to 15%. But some extra money has been allocated to offshore wind development. Meanwhile in Germany the giant wind power programme may be coming up against limits given that objections are emerging to the extension of high voltage grid lines.
And over in the USA, Windpower Monthly reports threatened cuts in Federal support for wind seem to have been resisted, but the wind lobby has been campaigning for some of the large Californian state allocation to geothermal to be retargeted to wind.
Overall growth continues, but with real or imagined rivals emerging, and expansion sometimes feeling problematic, maybe wind is facing a mid-life crisis?
Delegates at the annual conference of the Ramblers' Association on 6 April voted decisively to launch a 'concerted campaign' against major wind turbine developments. Their concern follows the release in February of a further 57 Windfarm development contracts under NFFO-4 ranging from Cornwall through the Welsh uplands to the Lake District and into the Ridings of Yorkshire (Further details from the Press Office, Ramblers' Association. Tel: 0171 582 6878).
The Ramblers have also joined with the CPRE and the Council for National Parks in opposing the 40 1.5MW turbine windfarm proposed by National WindPower for Rookhope Common in Country Durham: see the Times 20/5/97, which recycled the familiar jibe that windturbines are inefficient - pointing to the low aggregate load factors (23%) that Welsh wind farms seem to have achieved last year (30% is more normal).
Meanwhile in Scotland, June saw a one day conference in Galloway on wind farming at which pro - and anti - windfarm speakers put their cases: Ian Mays from the EWEA represented the pro's, and was up against Nigel Evans MP, Country Guardian's Vice-President. Although the pro's clearly have public opinion on their side (see below) the debate continues, even if it seems not to move on much.
Thus writing to SERA's journal New Ground No 50, Nicholas Parsons trotted out the usual line that wind farms take up a lot of room. "If half the country is deemed 'suitable', it would mean that in that half, on average, for every block of land 10 miles by 10 miles, two square miles would be power station".
Some dodgy use of statistics there!
Writing in the April issue of Wind Directions, Herman Scheer takes exactly the opposite view. "The area actually occupied by wind turbines is not hectares, but ten metres by ten metres, which is the land required for the foundations." He goes on to claim that, if you take all the ancillary mining, fuel transport infrastructure and waste dumps into account, conventional power plants take up more area than wind turbines.
With concerns nevertheless still apparent in the UK, Nick Goodhall from the British Wind Energy Association wrote to the Times (28/5/97) suggesting that 'if the total cost of fossil fuel and nuclear power were reflected in the price paid by the consumer, renewable energy sources, in particular wind, would become by far the cheapest electricity available in the UK' and that 'this would enable a wider geographical distribution of wind farms, away from sensitive areas'.
Public Response to Existing Wind Farms
"The Research indicated an overwhelming degree of support for wind power in Wales and the three local wind farms upon which the research was centred. Respondents had become more positive towards wind power following the construction of their local wind farm..."
Love them or loathe Them?: Public Attitudes towards Wind Farms in Wales. (BBC Wales, 1994).
"Most people interviewed were in favour of the wind farm(86%),..... with less than 5% against it ..... This concluded that a generally favourable attitude to wind farms became more positive post-construction ....The study found a general consensus that a cleaner, safer future and a boost to the local area and economy were worth a change to the scenic view."
The Sociological Impact of the Cemmaes Wind Farm. (DTI/ETSU Report, 1994).
"Over eight in ten (82%) of all residents support the development of wind farms in the local area ..... Support for the development in wind farms both in Britain and in the local area is very high .... this finding is especially good given the very high levels of awareness amongst these residents."
Kirkby Moor Wind Farm Public Opinion Survey Report. (Robertson Bell Associates, 1994).
"An overwhelming 92% of visitors said they approved of wind energy after their visit".
Analysis of 970 Completed Questionnaires Following Open Days at 7 UK Wind Farms. (British Wind Energy Association Press release, 1994).
"On the evidence of this investigation, the introduction of Wind Power generation to rural Wale has so far met with widespread approval, and even enthusiasm. This conclusion holds for each of the three places studied where there had been a development, and throughout the population we sampled..."
Wind Turbine Power Station Construction Monitoring Study. (Report commissioned by Countryside Council for Wales, 1994).
"...more people considered that their attitudes had become more positive since the wind farm had been established... with six months' experience of wind farm operation, ... 85% either approved or strongly approved of the use of wind power ... in both surveys wind power was seen as clean, safe and pollution free."
Public Attitudes Towards Windpower: A Survey of Opinion in Cornwall and Devon. (DTI/ETSU Report, 1994).
The third round of Ireland's 'Alternative Energy Requirement' (AER3) has emerged - calling for 100MW of new capacity. Wind power dominates with 90MW but there was also 7MW for biomass/waste, and 3MW for hydro.
34 projects supported under the 111MW AER1 are now up and running. See Energy Update, the newsletter of the Irish Energy Centre Renewable Energy Information Office available from them at IEC, Shinagh House, Bandon, County Cork, Ireland.Fax: 023 41304 or IEC, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
Fax: 01837 28418.
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After long negotiations, Norway has signed a contract to build a £6 million wave power station based on the TAPCHAN concept in Java.
It is the first successful export of Norwegian technology for capturing the energy of the waves and, with the first order coming from Asia, is a significant step towards the development of a new, and profitable, trade.
Scandinavians are well aware that Java is an island in the repressive state of Indonesia. However, a wave power station in no way contributes to means of repression and it may actually assist the people of Indonesia if their intolerable situation is mentioned whenever a report about the power station is published.
The TAPCHAN is different from all the other wave power stations. Its name comes from the English words TAPered CHANnel (Norwegian scientists and engineers use English as almost a second language). Their device makes the water run uphill inside an open, man-made, concrete trench. The waves arrive at the seaward end and then advance because that is the only way they can go. As the trench narrows (hence tapered channel) the water splashes over the side into a reservoir. From there, the only exit is down back into the sea through a hole in the wall, which is fitted with a Kaplan turbine.
The blades spin as the water rushes through. The turbine is coupled to a generator which produces the electricity - just like in a conventional hydro-electric plant.
It has two big advantages over other devices: it is protected from stormy seas because it is on the shore; and the reservoir provides a means of storing potential electricity, which, say the Norwegians, answers the question of what to do when the sea turns calm: open the turbine. Its drawback is that it depends on favourable topography. It needs a rocky coast with a clifftop on which to build the reservoir, fairly deep water under the cliff and low tidal range.
The first one, built on an island near Bergen, waslaunched in 1985 and has been functioning ever since, generating free electricity into the local grid.
The station in Java, rated at 1.1 megawatts, is called a wedge-groove because the opening from the sea is provided by a natural break in the cliff. The opening to the sea is seven metres wide and the water issqueezed as it enters a channel which narrows and forces the water to overspill into a reservoir four metres above sea level. The walls of the channel will be smoothed by engineers so that energy is not lost as the sea surges in. The Norwegians say that it will generate electricity at 5p per kilowatt-hour, considerably cheaper than the diesel-electricity which is Javas only alternative and which anyway gives coverage to only 30 per cent of the population. It is due for completion in the winter of 1998.
Other countries which have been making inquiries of the Norwegians include Chile, India and Sri Lanka.
Elsewhere, wave power is progressing, but slowly. Portugal is launching an Oscillating Water Column(OWC) rated at 500 kilowatts on the island of Pico in the Azores. The OWC is the invention of a Japanese naval commander, Yoshio Masuda. It consists of achimney standing on the seabed with an opening at its base to admit the waves. As the water in the sea outside rises and falls, the level of the water column inside the structure oscillates. As it rises, it pushes air up and out through an air turbine; as the wave level falls, air is sucked back in through the turbine to fill the vacuum.
A pioneering model was built in Scotland, on the shore of the island of Islay in the Inner Hebrides, and survived through eight winters in the teeth of Atlantic storm seas. And as we noted below, another, larger, version may soon be built on Islay, with support from Inverness based Applied Research and Technology.
ART tried to launch Osprey, the worlds first OWC, standing in the open sea at Dounreay in the north of Scotland two summers ago, but it was destroyed while still being assembled, by an unseasonally ferocious storm. Backing is being sought for the launch of a replacement in the summer of 1998.
As David Ross reports above, Applied Research and Technology, the Inverness based group behind the OSPREY, are now looking someway ahead before Osprey II is ready. No hard plans seem to have been confirmed: but according to a report in the Sustainable Energy Trade Journal (Issue 4, May 1997), ART now say that the Mk II Osprey is likely to be launched ' within the next two years',
Instead the focus has moved to their new onshore oscillating Water Column device, called the Limpet.
A 1MW prototype , developed in conjunction with Queens University Belfast, should start producing power on the Isle of Islay off the Scottish coast 'towards the end of 1998', with backing provided by the EC Joule programme. The Limpet design develops on the work of Trevor Whittaker, from Queens, whose earlier gully sited device on Islay has now been decommissioned. Whereas previous shore line devices were 'one off' and had to be built on the site, the Limpet involves a modular, steel-concrete composite, design, the components of which can be mass produced, and assembled on site. That should improve the economics considerably.
Details from ART, 50 Seafield Rd, Longham Industrial Estate, Inverness IV1 1LZ Tel: 01463 238094 Fax: 01463 238096
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Nuclear power seems to be in a sorry state in the West. The most recent blow was the election of a left government in France, committed, in line with an agreement with the greens reached before the election, to halting the Super Phoenix Fast Breeder programme, and to a 10 year moritorium on new nuclear developments (see below).
Even before the election there were signs of a policy shift. According to the Uranium Institute News Briefing, 15 April 1997 the French Ministry of Industry was reported "to be delaying publication of the latest edition of a national study of comparative generating costs." The results of the report were "expected to show for the first time ever that nuclear is not now the cheapest source of electricity in France." Power in Europe, 25 April 1997, describe "French officialdom as coming close to admitting that nuclear power may not be the cheapest form of energy ... (and that) ... future prospects depended on research effort to improve the tail end of the nuclear fuel cycle ...". i.e. how to keep waste costs down.
Matters were not improved by news of what could be a generic fault in the primary cooling in the Safety Inspection system of at least some of Frances PWR's.
Worse still was the claim by Greenpeace that there were high levels of emissions from a discharge pipe from the Cap de Hague reprocessing plant. A letter from the Office of Protection against Ionising Radiation had it seems recommended that the beach be closed, but evidently with the election coming up no action was taken (it was closed later).
France, along with Belgium, was the last major W. European country to have an expanding nuclear programme. Most everywhere else it has been halted or is being phased out.
Even in Eastern and Central Europe, things are looking grim for nuclear power: Bulgaria recently voted not to complete the Russian designed Belene plant, with the Government commenting "Society has to shake off the years-long illusion that nuclear energy is cost effective." (WISE communiquÈ 473). That lesson seems to have already been learnt over in the USA, where no new nuclear plants have been ordered for decades - and existing ones are being closed. The latest is the Main Yankee reactor, following in the wake of the Connecticut Yankee which closed in Dec. 1996.
And in Japan, where nuclear policy is currently up in the air, following a series of accidents (see Renew 108), it now seems likely that financial support will be withdrawn for the ITER international fusion reactor project. That leaves the European Union as the main backer - the US cut back on its ITER budget in 1995.
Before they won the election, French socialists and Greens reached an agreement on nuclear and other issues after more than six months of discussions.
The Green-Socialist nuclear position of March 1997 includes:
a moratorium on new nuclear reactors and on MOX(mixed oxide) fuel production until 2010; closure of the Superphenix;
reversible underground disposal of nuclear waste; emphasis on research and developing of alternatives to underground disposal;
strong support for energy conservation and renewables;
reviewing of reprocessing at La Hague and more surveillance; and - no new reprocessing contracts.
According to WISE New CommuniquÈ 474 the Parti Socialist (PS) leader Jospin confirmed 'the proposed closure of the Superphenix breeder (but not when) and the imposition of a 10-year moratorium on construction of new reactors. Jospin also said the PS would reorient energy policy towards sustainable development by encouraging conservation and renewables'.
A new report published by SERA, the environmental pressure group affiliated to the Labour Party, calls for an end to the reprocessing of nuclear waste in Britain. "A Nuclear Waste" claims that a shift to the dry storage of waste would not jeopardise employment, but would benefit public health, reduce radioactive emissions and save the Exchequer up to £6 billion in future liabilities.
"A Nuclear Waste" calls for the Labour Government to set up immediately a fundamental review of radioactive waste policy. The report arrives at a critical time for the nuclear industry. The outgoing GovernmentÌs decision to reject the deep repository at Sellafield means that there is presently no means of disposing of the UK's intermediate level radioactive waste - mostly created by reprocessing. In addition, BNFL have had to apply for large increases in radioactive emission limits, because the THORP reprocessing plant is unable to operate within current limits.
The report shows that reprocessing is a very expensive way to manage spent fuel from nuclear reactors. Switching to dry storage could save the Exchequer between £3 billion and £6.5 billion over the remaining lifetimes of Magnox reactors.
Ian Fairlie, the author of the report, said "The dry storage of nuclear waste is safer, cheaper and more environmentally benign. What makes it politically feasible is the fact that it can save a cash-strapped government a huge amount of money. Yes, some jobs will be lost, but as many new ones can be created in dry storage and in the nuclear clean-up."
He continued "Most other countries are developing dry storage facilities. Even BNFL is offering its overseas customers the remarkable advantages of dry storage facilities, so why can't Britain have them?"
A Nuclear Waste is available from SERA, 11 Goodwin Street, London, N4 3HQ. It is priced at £5, but is free to environmental and peace groups. See also our Groups section.
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The Feature in Renew 109 looks at the Dutch renewable energy programme and at Energy Efficiency in Central and Eastern Europe, while the Technology Section looks, amongst other things, at Offshore wind. The reviews section includes reports on a range of recent studies of European renewable energy options-the EUREC report, Mike Grubbs new report for the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and the TERES II study. There is also a review of Friends of the Earth's new Energy Policy study, and a discussion of Ted Trainers views on the limits to sustainable technology. In addition there's all the other usual items, including a Groups sections and letters.
Renew is the 30 page bimonthly journal of NATTA, the Network for Alternative Technology and Technology Assessment. Renew is mailed free to all NATTA members. NATTA membership cost £18 pa waged, £12pa unwaged, £3 pa airmail supplement, £50 pa to organisations/libraries. NATTA also publishes a range of reports.
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