Areva

How Areva and Bolloré undermined the Le Creusot plant, a three-part investigation. Find the three parts of our investigation on the factory of Le Creusot, where many parts of the nuclear industry have been forged, including the defective tank – of the Flamanville EPR. You will discover how the errors of Areva and Michel-Yves Bolloré have weakened this essential link in nuclear safety.

Reporterre 10th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 11 October 2017

Energy Costs

The owner of Britain’s largest energy supplier may need to raid its shareholder payouts to withstand a tougher-than-expected government crackdown on rising energy bills. The looming energy price cap is likely to slash the earnings of British Gas three times deeper than investors first feared, which may force its parent company to cut shareholder dividends by a quarter and could also expose Centrica to the threat of a takeover.

Telegraph 7th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 October 2017

Utilities

The owner of British Gas could be forced to cut its dividend if the government caps standard energy tariffs, analysts warned yesterday. More than 600,000 Centrica retail shareholders, many of whom invested via the government’s 1986 “Tell Sid” privatisation, would be among the losers if the UK’s biggest energy supplier was unable to sustain payouts. Roshan Patel, an analyst at Investec, said that the first year of a cap could render British Gas’s domestic supply arm loss-making and halve Centrica’s earnings per share.

Times 7th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 7 October 2017

Companies

Two Chinese-state-owned power grid companies have expressed interest in acquiring UK Power Reserve. The company provides back-up electricity to the National Grid at times of power shortage. Chinese state-owned State Grid Corp and China Southern Power Grid are the two companies interested in the Solihull-based firm. UK Power Reserve has a portfolio of over 800 MW of small-scale, local thermal power generation and battery storage assets.

Power Engineering 2nd Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 October 2017

Toshiba

Toshiba has made its first payments to the owners of the VC Summer and Vogtle nuclear construction projects under its guarantee obligations as the parent company of Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC). The Japanese company also confirmed it is to acquire KazAtomProm’s 10% stake in Westinghouse on 1 January.

World Nuclear News 3rd Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 October 2017

Westinghouse

When Westinghouse was hired to build four new reactors in South Carolina and Georgia, it touted its long history of designing state-of-the-art nuclear technology. It was a designer, yes, but not an experienced builder — a situation that put the entire company and its projects at risk, a confidential internal Westinghouse analysis predicted in 2011. Obtained by The Post and Courier, the analysis reportedly was sent to Westinghouse’s management and former chairman. It outlined how the company didn’t have the staff, structure or experience needed to manage the engineering and construction work required to build its new AP1000 reactors. It predicted the company could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in its quest to develop and build a new generation of nuclear power plants. And it also questioned the company’s decision not to use professional engineers to stamp and approve critical blueprints, a revelation The Post and Courier reported last week. Westinghouse officials declined to comment for this story.

Post & Courier 28th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 September 2017

Utilities

Finnish power utility Fortum will launch an 8.05 billion euro ($9.5 billion) takeover bid for Uniper, the power stations operator and energy trading business partly owned by German utility E.ON. David Pollard reports

Reuters 27th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 September 2017

Utilities

Fortum is launching a €8bn takeover offer for Uniper after the Finnish group secured the agreement of the German utility’s biggest shareholder and former parent company. Uniper’s management is firmly against the takeover offer but Eon, the utility that fully owned Uniper until last year, has signed an agreement with Fortum to tender its 46.7 per cent stake, worth €3.8bn, early next year. Shares in Uniper, which started trading at €10 a year ago when it was spun off from Eon, had risen to €23.34 on Tuesday due to heavy takeover speculation, ahead of Fortum’s offer of €22 per share. Fortum’s attempt to become Uniper’s controlling shareholder is the latest deal in a big restructuring of Europe’s power industry. Both Eon and its domestic rival RWE have broken themselves up in two while Fortum itself is flush with cash after selling off its Nordic electricity grids. Uniper has a broad range of assets with Fortum particularly prizing its hydro and nuclear power plants in Sweden and its gas plants in Russia. Analysts and bankers have speculated that Fortum may want to break Uniper up and sell off some of its other assets, such as coal, gas and hydro plants in Germany.

FT 26th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 September 2017

EDF Energy

This quiet edge of windswept coastline on the west of Scotland should be empty. Here, the Hunterston B nuclear power plant has stood for over 40 years, silently generating enough electricity to power 1.7m homes. It was due to shut down last year. Instead, it will run for almost a decade longer than first thought. After 16 years as EDF chief executive, De Rivaz is due to step down from the company in a matter of weeks. He will leave the helm to Simone Rossi, after a tenure in which he built one of Britain’s largest energy companies amid one of the most tumultuous and politically inflamed periods for the energy industry. But inevitably, De Rivaz will be remembered for one of the biggest, most expensive and controversial power projects in British history: Hinkley Point C. Today, there is little to suggest the grit and dogged determination for which he became known in the industry. De Rivaz is visiting each of EDF Energy’s 20 sites and offices to deliver a three-fold parting message to his employees: one of thanks, a call to have pride in what has been achieved, and to have confidence in the future. De Rivaz will be remembered for one of the biggest, most expensive and controversial power projects in British history: Hinkley Point C. EDF Energy’s existing nuclear fleet has increased its output by 50pc from its days under British Energy control. Last year, it reported a record level of generation despite the age of the plants. Around 400 miles south of Hunterston, workers swarm the Hinkley Point C site to bring this project to fruition too. The £20.3bn project will be one of the biggest investments in power generation in decades, and provide over 3GW of low-carbon power to the grid. But to say that Hinkley has its critics is an uncomfortable understatement. The inevitable ire of environmentalists was easily matched by those who believed that the costs of the project would saddle bill payers with higher fees. That EDF’s other new nuclear projects in Europe have run over time and budget has only served to deepen concerns. Under an agreement between the Government and EDF Energy, ironed out in 2013, Hinkley is guaranteed to earn £92.50 for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of energy produced through a combination of wholesale market prices and a levy on consumer energy bills. At the time, the Government said this would require top-up payments totalling £6bn via energy bills but this spiralled to £30bn and, according to the latest figures, could top £50bn over the life of the plant. Is Hinkley Point C a good deal? It is a question that has sparked political debates, parliamentary enquiries, audit reports and headlines. It is also a question that has provoked indignation and red-faced irritability from De Rivaz in the past. Today, he is unruffled. “People say the deal is too generous. Others say the project is too risky,” he smiles wryly. “In the UK people tell me we have secured too good a deal. In France, they ask if I’m sure it’s a good deal for EDF because of the risks. To both of them, I say yes, I’m sure.” De Rivaz admits that there were certainly difficult moments, but avoids a question on whether there have been doubts that the Hinkley project would move ahead.

Telegraph 23rd Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 24 September 2017

Companies

German utility Uniper has issued a sharply worded response to news that Finnish power group Fortum is on the brink of launching a €8.1bn offer to buy out its biggest shareholder Eon. In the latest sign of a sweeping restructuring in Europe’s power industry, Fortum said on Wednesday it was in “advanced discussions” about buying the 46.7 per cent stake in Uniper owned by Eon, the German power company. However Klaus Schäfer, Uniper chief executive, said in a statement on Wednesday: “This unsolicited offer is clearly not in line with the strategy of Uniper as recently reiterated publicly.” Fortum’s approach comes a year after Eon split itself in two by spinning off a 53 per cent stake in its conventional power business as a new listed company Uniper. Because Eon owns more than 30 per cent of Uniper, Fortum must offer to buy out all of the company’s shareholders under German takeover law.

FT 20th Sept 2017 read more »

Telegraph 20th Sept 2017 read more »

Reuters 20th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 21 September 2017