Wylfa

Can the UK meet its climate goals without the Wylfa nuclear plant? Recent analysis from the government’s official advisers the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) shows the UK could meet its power demand and climate goals to 2030 at low cost, without any new nuclear beyond the Hinkley C scheme already being built in Somerset. This new analysis reflects the dramatic cost reductions seen for renewables in recent years. Greg Clark, the UK’s secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS), made a similar point last week as he spoke in parliament about the failed Wylfa deal. The outlook to 2050 is much less certain and, for Clark, nuclear will continue to have an “important role” in the future UK energy mix. Modelling from the Energy Technologies Institute and Imperial College London suggests new nuclear would help to keep costs down as the UK approaches zero emissions. Work by Aurora Energy Research finds that a highly renewable energy system in 2050, with no new nuclear added after Hinkley C, might have similar overall costs as a high nuclear pathway. In this in-depth Q&A, Carbon Brief looks at what the Wylfa news means for the UK’s climate goals and what role nuclear might play in future.

Carbon Brief 21st Jan 2019 read more »

More cash could come from the Welsh Government to help workers affected by the suspension of work on a new nuclear power station, a minister has said. Japanese firm Hitachi’s decision to halt its Wylfa Newydd project on Anglesey was described as a “tremendous blow” to the north Wales economy. About 9,000 workers had been expected to build the £13bn plant. But economy secretary Ken Skates told the North Wales Economic Ambition Board he wanted UK government help too. Speaking at an emergency meeting on Monday, he told delegates at the event in Llangefni, Anglesey that the Welsh Government was willing to contribute more finance to a growth deal for north Wales but he wanted the UK government “to contribute more as well”. However he added the discussion was “about more than just the cash”. With plans for the nuclear power station “paused” for a number of years, Mr Skates said: “In that environment we need to ensure that people who are being skilled up and the businesses that were preparing for the Wylfa Newydd project have alternative opportunities to get work.

BBC 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Publicly, the company is stressing the project is not irrevocable. Director of Corporate Affairs Leon Flexman told BBC Wales: “It is not a stop, we are ‘halting the activities’ until it can be restarted providing the right conditions are in place and the finance is there”. The opposition party in Wales, and the group on the island sending an Assembly Member to Cardiff, Plaid Cymru (PC), say it will be devastating for Anglesey. Nuclear power has always been a problem for PC particularly – the importance of the jobs and votes are stressed at internal strategy meetings, but the party is also committed to renewables such as energy from special tidal lagoons, and is renowned as a ‘green’ group. Rhun ap Iorwerth is not luke warm about nuclear energy. Those jobs appear to be central too for the PC Assembly Member (AM) for the island, Rhun ap Iorwerth, who appears to be oblivious to the contradiction.

The Eye 22nd Jan 2019 read more »

HITACHI has announced the decision to suspend indefinitely its UK nuclear power station construction project, located in Wylfa Newydd, Anglesey, Wales. Experts have warned that this could lead to a UK energy crisis. “Hitachi’s announcement, coming so soon after the Moorside fiasco, raises the very real prospect of a UK energy crisis,” commented Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary for Energy. Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director at CBI, said: “The loss of new nuclear projects could leave us more heavily dependent in the long-run on fossil fuels, which could risk our legally binding climate targets. The Government needs to build on its support for new nuclear power by giving individual projects the certainty they need, alongside measures that deliver a mix of low-carbon and renewable technologies.” The Nuclear Industry Association said: “The urgent need for further new nuclear capacity in the UK should not be underestimated, with all but one of the UK’s nuclear power plants due to come offline by 2030. If we want a balanced generation mix, Government must work with industry to deliver that vital capacity on this site. At stake is our ability to provide bulk, low carbon power, energy security, and the potential loss of the chance of thousands of highly skilled, well paid jobs in Wales and North West England. “Without a diverse low carbon mix and with increasing demand to power electric vehicles, we run the risk of becoming more reliant on burning fossil fuels to produce our electricity.”

Chemical Engineer 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 22 January 2019

Bradwell

Rolls-Royce has confirmed it is in talks with Chinese state-run firm China General Nuclear (CGN) over providing essential systems for a new power station in the UK. The UK engineering company makes instrumentation and control systems for nuclear reactors. The plant will be based at Bradwell, on the River Blackwater in Essex. The project is one of three new nuclear schemes in this country in which CGN is centrally involved. Rolls-Royce already has an agreement with CGN’s subsidiary, CTEC, to develop and sell reactor control systems for selected projects in China and on international markets. The planned new “Bradwell B” power station is a major component of the government’s nuclear strategy. The country’s existing reactors are ageing and all of them are due to shut down by 2035. Last year, a leading US security official reportedly warned the government against developing a close relationship with Chinese contractors, on the grounds that civil nuclear technology was being adapted for military use. Some experts believe the involvement of Rolls Royce will help to allay concerns about the security of the Bradwell project.

BBC 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Rolls-Royce has made a fresh play to secure a central role in Britain’s nuclear revival, pitching its equipment for use in the proposed Chinese plant in Essex. The engineering giant has approached China General Nuclear (CGN) to propose using its control systems at the Bradwell plant instead of the Chinese company’s own kit. Rolls-Royce’s approach marks a change of tack in its UK nuclear strategy after its efforts to develop smaller reactors, dubbed “mini nukes”, foundered. Its talks with CGN, which were first reported by the Financial Times, come amid heightened scrutiny of Chinese control over UK critical infrastructure. CGN told The Times that it intended to proceed with its own control systems for the Essex plant and was seeking permission from UK safety authorities to use them. Rolls-Royce, a FTSE 100 eng ineering group that employs about 50,000 people worldwide, had been a vocal advocate of an alternative approach to new nuclear by building smaller “modular” reactors. However, it has slashed jobs in its division after failing to secure government funding. It now appears to be positioning itself to instead capitalise on potential unease over China’s lead role at Bradwell. Control systems are hardware and software that are critical to the safe operation of the plant. Rolls-Royce’s technology is understood to be one of the options that could be considered if the regulator rejected CGN’s plans.

Times 22nd Jan 2019 read more »

Rolls-Royce has confirmed it is considering supplying equipment for a power plant China’s largest state-owned nuclear firm plans to build in Essex. China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) is looking to ease concerns over national security on the project planned for Bradwell on the Essex shoreline, which using Rolls-Royce as a supplier could help with.

City AM 21st Jan 2019 read more »

While it remains a way off completion, the proposed Bradwell B nuclear station has the potential to serve the UK’s energy needs with a 2.3GW capacity. The proposed Bradwell B location is situated next to the decommissioned Bradwell A nuclear power station at a 183-hectare site the government deemed suitable for new nuclear build in 2011. The project is in its infancy, with multiple consents and permissions still required before construction can begin, including a development consent order (DCO), a nuclear site licence and various environmental permits.

Compelo 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 22 January 2019

New Nuclear

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.

Climate News Network 21st Jan 2019 read more »

The government’s nuclear strategy is in “meltdown” following Hitachi’s announcement that it is halting work on its plans for a new UK atomic power plant in north Wales, Alan Whitehead has said. Labour’s energy spokesperson told the House of Commons that Hitachi’s announcement, which also means a halt of work by the company’s UK nuclear arm Horizon on its other UK project at Oldbury in Gloucestershire, is a “significant blow” to the economy. He said that the latest move, combined with Toshiba’s decision in November to scrap its plans for a three-reactor plant at Moorside, means that a total of 9.2GW of planned nuclear generation will not be delivered. Whitehead also accused the government of reacting “far too slowly” to concerns about financing from its potential nuclear partners, including Hitachi’s arm Horizon, adding that government “dithering” had contributed to the axing of Moorside.

Edie 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 22 January 2019

Energy Policy

Nick Butler: The transition to a lower carbon economy has been long promised but the reality remains elusive. There is no doubt that the costs of renewables – led by solar and onshore wind – are now materially cheaper than they ever have been, having fallen respectively to the point at which the International Energy Agency in its latest short term outlook sees prices falling to between $20 and $50 per megawatt hour. That means they can compete with other fuels, even if some of the costs of providing back up to cover the intermittency of renewable supplies are included. In some markets, neither subsidies nor protected market shares will be necessary. Why then is the pace of change in the sector, especially in the developed world, so slow? Hydrocarbons continue to dominate with oil, gas and coal providing over 80 per cent of energy supply. Most serious long term forecasts suggest that dominance will decline only slowly and that renewables will still be providing little more than 15 per cent of the world’s electricity needs in 20 years’ time.

FT 22nd Jan 2019 read more »

ADAM VAN COEVORDEN argues the aborted deal to build a nuclear power plant exemplifies everything that’s wrong with our approach to energy – and only nationalised renewables are the way forward. Undoubtedly, the loss of jobs is a serious and regrettable thing, but something not explored here is what harm would be caused if the building of these plants were to go ahead. The issues here are a microcosm of this government’s failings: lack of action on protecting our environment; private companies receiving generous taxpayer subsidy; the continuing failure of Britain’s energy market. As with other failed privatisation deals, the taxpayer was to take on the risk and provide subsidy, while the commercial enterprise was to take home any profits. Despite the headlines, the move away from building expensive, subsidised nuclear plants is a positive one. The febrile political atmosphere could soon see the election of a transformative Labour government. One where jobs are not lost because deals are not “generous” enough for the private sector, but one where jobs are created as Labour spearheads an economic revolution focused on tackling climate chaos. Renewable investment is needed, and this investment can be realised in the towns and cities that have been neglected for so long. In contrast to this latest Conservative debacle, Labour plans to create jobs, tackle climate change and invest in our communities, rather than merely propping up the profits of multinational corporations.

Morning Star 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has said Britain should seriously think about constructing its own nuclear power stations, rather than relying on foreign private sector firms who are failing to deliver. Mr Menzies is concerned as more than 1,000 people in his constituency are employed in nuclear fuel production and could have seen jobs safeguarded by the new schemes.

Blackpool Gazette 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Chris Goodall, who has written a series of books on meeting Britain’s energy needs, believes that renewable energy such as solar and wind power can play a greater role. He says the falling cost of renewable energy sources is one of the reasons that HItachi could not make Wylfa viable. Wind is now the third biggest source of power in the UK, and solar power – such as the council-owned solar farm in Telford – are gradually playing a more important role. The problem with renewable energy is its intermittent nature. Last year’s heatwave saw a major spike in carbon emissions while the wind turbines stood still, and Mr Goodall says finding way to store excess energy at peak periods is key to solving the problem. George Day, head of policy at Birmingham-based research organisation Energy Systems Catapult, says it would be extremely difficult for the UK to meet its clean energy targets without the use of nuclear power. “It’s difficult to see a low-carbon energy system in the future which has no nuclear,” he says. “If you try to rely on just renewables and storage, without carbon capture and storage or nuclear, you are looking at a very challenging transition and one that is more costly than a balanced mix.” Former environment secretary and North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson calls for a rethink of energy policy, moving away from the giant power plants of the past He believes that in the immediate future Britain will need to concentrate its efforts on gas, including the exploitation of Britain’s shale-gas reserves through the controversial process known as ‘fracking’. But he says the long-term solution will need to be based around a large number of smaller nuclear plants serving their immediate communities.

Shropshire Star 22nd Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 22 January 2019

Nuclear Skills

An ambitious project to boost nuclear businesses across Copeland looks set to take a leap forward this week when the plans go before the borough council. The Industrial Solutions Hub is the cornerstone of a new initiative involving the nuclear industry and the local authority, but is still in the very early stages. Copeland council’s executive has been asked to back the next stage of the project – the procurement of support services to develop a business case and get the plans off the ground. The council-led project will initially be funded by Sellafield Ltd and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, with cash of between £10,000 and £75,000 available. The hub will also market the area’s skills and give the supply chain a shot in the arm as Copeland keeps an eye on the region’s post-decommissioning future.

In Cumbria 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 22 January 2019

France

To make the Cigeo nuclear waste landfill project acceptable, the National Agency for Radioactive Waste pays particular attention to the work of consciences, especially the younger ones. With the help – paid – of media and youtubeurs.

Reporterre 21st Jan 2019 read more »

EU approves France’s plan to replace nuclear plant with 300 MW of PV. The European Commission said the subsidy scheme to be adopted for the project is in line with the EU state aid rules. The 40-year old Fessenheim nuclear plant has faced several safety issues over the decades.

PV Magazine 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 22 January 2019

Japan

When he was prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi championed the use of atomic power to generate electricity. Then the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster struck, triggering a crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture. Koizumi, in office from 2001 to 2006, and widely regarded as one of Japan’s most popular postwar leaders, started reading up on the nuclear issue, and had a change of heart. Koizumi, 76, published his first book by his own hand titled “Genpatsu Zero Yareba Dekiru” (We can abolish all nuclear plants if we try) in December. It is available from Ohta Publishing Co. In it, he lambasts consumers for lacking a sense of crisis and simply believing a serious accident like the Fukushima disaster will never happen again in Japan during their lifetime. In a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Koizumi said it was “a lie” to claim that nuclear power is “safe, low-cost and clean,” although that is precisely what he espoused when he held the reins of power.

Asahi Shimbun 17th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 22 January 2019

Submarines

A nuclear-powered Royal Navy submarine has been involved in a near-miss with a ferry. An investigation has begun into the previously unreported incident in the Irish Sea on November 6. The ferry, the Stena Superfast VII, which operates between Scotland and Northern Ireland, has a capacity of 1,300 passengers and 660 cars. The submarine was submerged at the depth needed to extend its periscope above the surface. The navy would not confirm which of its ten submarines was involved. They are all nuclear-powered but only four carry Trident nuclear missiles.

Times 22nd Jan 2019 read more »

BBC 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 22 January 2019

Renewables – tidal

THE proposed North Wales Tidal Lagoon, stretching from Llandudno to Prestatyn, comes under a new light following plans for the new Wylfa nuclear power station being suspended. The tidal lagoon would would pump 2.5 gigawatts of clean, renewable electricity into the National Grid every year and provide power to over a million homes. It would also provide the necessary protection for vulnerable homes, businesses, road and rail links, creating 20,000 jobs in the process. Henry Dixon, chairman of North Wales Tidal Energy and Coastal Protection Ltd said: “There is no immediate impact from the decision, but it does throw a new light on what we are doing as an alternative or in parallel. “I would hope our proposals are more likely to happen and our proposals are something the Welsh Government and Westminster should look at as an alternative.”

North Wales Pioneer 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 22 January 2019

Renewables – onshore wind

Plans to build nine giant 93m-high wind turbines near the iconic Gleneagles Hotel have been approved by the Scottish Government, despite more than 400 complaints from locals. Developers have been battling for more than a decade to build the Strathallan Wind Farm at Greenscares, between Comrie and Braco, in rural Perthshire. The project was rejected by councillors in April 2017. Among those who objected Gleneagles Hotel management and the head of an exclusive Perthshire estate used in the TV show Outlander. The scheme was lodged several years after a similar four-turbine plan for the same site was refused.

Scotsman 21st Jan 2019 read more »

Installations of new onshore wind farms have hit the lowest level in seven years. That’s according to new analysis by RenewableUK, which found the figure fell by nearly 80% last year since 2011. A total of 598MW of new onshore wind capacity was installed last year, consisting of 263 turbines at 54 sites – a fall from 2.66GW installed the year before. The trade body suggests the announcement of Hitachi suspending the development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa in north Wales adds to the gap in clean energy needed to meet the UK’s carbon targets.

Energy Live News 22nd Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 22 January 2019