Hinkley

AN AUSTRIAN appeal against UK Government funding for Hinkley C has been dismissed after a sprawling investigation. This week the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on whether the UK government’s contribution to the new nuclear power station in Somerset constituted ‘state aid’, and found that it did not. EDF Energy stated it was confident the funding would withstand legal challenge. An EDF spokesman said: ““EDF Energy believed that the state aid investigation by the European Commission was exhaustive, fair and robust. However Green MEP for South West Dr Molly Scott-Cato described the ECJ’s decision as ‘regrettable’. “This decision is hugely regrettable. There can be no justification for EU subsidies to be thrown at nuclear. “Hinkley C is a particular tragedy for the South West when we are blessed with exciting renewable energy alternatives. The region has huge potential for both onshore and offshore wind; for tidal and geothermal energy and is the region best suited in the whole of the UK to capture the power of the sun. “Sadly, today’s ECJ ruling will only serve to reinforce the government’s ideological obsession with nuclear. The National Infrastructure Commission agrees that nuclear is not the way forward for the UK and that we should seize the golden opportunities that renewable energy technologies provide.” Molly Scott Cato also warned that Brexit could have devastating impacts on the UK’s ability to generate nuclear power. “Brexit could leave nuclear power in the UK in meltdown.

Somerset County Gazette 13th July 2018 read more »

Hinkley Point C: wider benefits realisation plan. A plan on how the wider benefits of building Hinkley Point C will be realised.

BEIS 17th July 2018 read more »

Hinkley Point C to create jobs boom during construction phase.

Energy Voice 17th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Flamanville

Flamanville: NGOs lodge a complaint against EDF for “breaches” of security. Sortir du nucléaire and Greenpeace must take legal action this Wednesday morning in the case of defective welds detected on the pipes of the future EPR reactor. The soap opera of the damn shipyard of the EPR reactor, built by EDF on the Flamanville power station (Manche), takes a legal turn. According to our information, Sortir du nucléaire and Greenpeace France will file this Wednesday morning with the prosecutor of the High Court of Cherbourg a complaint against EDF and its industrial subsidiary Framatome (ex-Areva NP) “for ten violations of the code of the environment and the regulation of basic nuclear installations “.

Liberation 17th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

New Nuclear

Global investment in nuclear power declined by nearly 45% to $17bn in 2017 due to a 70% fall in spending on new plants coming online during the year to $9 billion, which more than offset an increase in spending on existing plants, a report published today by the International Energy Agency says.

Nucnet 17th July 2018 read more »

Global energy investment fell for the third consecutive year in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Investment in nuclear power declined by nearly 45% last year to USD17 billion. Although spending on new reactors reached the lowest level in five years, investment on upgrades of existing units increased.

World Nuclear News 17th July 2018 read more »

Nuclear power is now recognised as not economically viable. This confirms that renewable energy really does deserve its place in the sun, argues Bruce Davis, the managing director of Abundance Investment. The UK has long been a welcoming habitat for a number of white elephants. Normally, these rare and massive beasts roam freely, grazing on political expediency. However, now and again their existence is threatened by outbreaks of political honesty and economic necessity. This week saw calls for the humane culling of one species of white elephant in particular, namely our political obsession with nuclear energy. This is an obsession that continues despite the industry’s inability to reduce the risks of construction, costs of production and – most importantly – find a sustainable and morally acceptable way to deal with long-term storage of radioactive waste.

Ecologist 18th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Hinkley

An Austrian appeal against the UK Government’s funding for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been dismissed by the EU court. The European Court of Justice ruled the government’s contribution to the new nuclear plant in Somerset – being developed by French utility EDF and China General Nuclear Power – does not violate EU rules. The Austrian Government had sought to overturn the decision as it argued the support contradicted EU policy of backing renewable forms of generation.

Energy Live News 16th July 2018 read more »

Chemistry World 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

Wylfa

What Fukushima disaster victims want to tell people of North Wales about new reactor plans. Victims of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan visited North Wales to warn people against building new reactors at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd. Horizon Nuclear Power’s plans to build the £12bn Wylfa Newydd have been formally accepted for consideration by the Planning Inspectorate. A period of consultation is now taking place while talks are held with the Westminster Government, which also recently revealed plans to build another reactor at Trawsfynydd. Yesterday morning, two farmers and a journalist from Fukushima visited Anglesey to share their first-hand experiences of the nuclear disaster, which was caused when an earthquake triggered a tsunami in 2011.

Daily Post 14th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 15 July 2018

Hinkley

Europe’s second highest court has rejected Austrian objections to the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear station in southwest England, saying British government aid offered to the project did not violate EU rules. The European Commission approved the project in October 2014, saying it did not see any competition issues, but a previous Austrian government took issue with the decision and filed a case with the General Court in 2015, arguing that it contradicted EU policy of supporting renewable energy. Luxembourg has also challenged the approval, backed by a group of more than 20 academics, politicians and renewable energy officials who say it distorts competition and flouts rules on government subsidies. But the court noted in its decision today that the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the UK intervened in support of the EC. The General Court dismissed Austria’s arguments against the project. The court said: “The General Court confirms the decision by which the Commission approved the aid provided by the UK in favour of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station,” judges said. The judges said Britain has the right to choose between the different energy sources.

Nucnet 12th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 15 July 2018

Hinkley

Gamekeeper turned poacher? Questions need to be asked about why a former chief nuclear inspector has been appointed to oversee safety at Hinkley Point power station. Will the new nuclear power stations being built in Britain get the right safety checks and at what price? Already very expensive, ensuring that they meet the highest safety standards risks increasing their costs way over any reasonable charge for electricity. EDF, the French energy giant building Britain’s first new nuclear power station in 20 years, have found one solution. They have hired Britain’s chief nuclear inspector and he now works for the firm building the new Hinkley Point power station, in what Greenpeace has called a “gamekeepers-turned-poachers” affair. Dr Richard Savage was chief nuclear inspector until last year. But, in a surprise move, last September the Office of the Nuclear Regulator announced that after two years in post Savage was stepping down “for family reasons.” However, according to documents recently released under government “transparency” rules, in February 2018 Dr Savage was appointed Safety and Assurance Director at EDF Energy. Because the chief nuclear inspector is a director-level and sensitive job, Dr Savage had to ask for approval from the government before he accepted the EDF post. In this case, The Department for Work and Pensions, which runs health and safety regulation, is in charge of the “revolving door” rules supposed to police civil servants being too easily poached by the industries they regulate.

Morning Star 13th July 2018 read more »

The EU’s General Court has dismissed a case submitted by Austria against the European Commission’s (EC’s) approval of state aid for the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset, England. In a statement, the General Court said that the Commission ‘did not err’ in its decision to accept the UK’s defence that the completed plant will serve the interests of the general public. The state aid was approved to be granted to EDF Energy subsidiary NNB Generation in October 2014. It is comprised of three parts; a contract for difference, an agreement between NNB investors and the UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and a credit guarantee from the UK on bonds to be issued by NNB.

Power Technology 13th July 2018 read more »

Škoda JS of the Czech Republic will manufacture and supply two sets of EPR reactor pressure vessel internals for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project in the UK under a contract signed with France’s Framatome. The contract – the value of which was not disclosed – includes the core basket, heavy reflector and the upper internals. The core basket is a welded and machined stainless steel structure designed for holding the reactor core. The component – weighing about 80 tonnes – also directs and regulates the distribution of coolant into the reactor core. The heavy reflector, weighing about 100 tonnes, is a stainless steel component consisting machined slabs with cooling apertures. It serves as a neutron reflector. The upper internals consist a welded structure with guide tubes for the control rods. It weighs some 80 tonnes.

World Nuclear News 13th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 14 July 2018

Hinkley

A legal challenge against subsidies for the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant has been thrown out by the European Union’s second highest court. The General Court of the European Union rejected claims by Austria that the deal for the £20 billion Somerset plant constituted illegal state aid. Hinkley Point got the go-ahead from the government in 2016, having gained state aid clearance from the European Commission in 2014 for the terms of the subsidy contract. It will be Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation and is expected to provide about 7 per cent of the country’s electricity needs from 2025. Campaigners against the project had pinned their hopes on the Austrian legal challenge as one of the last remaining ways of killing off the project. However, the court upheld the commission’s original approval of the contract, which concluded that it was compatible with the rules of the single market and necessary “to attain, in good time, the objective of creating new nuclear energy-generating capacity”. Austria had argued that the promotion of nuclear energy was not an objective of common interest, but the court found that Britain was entitled to deem it as a public interest objective, even if it was not shared by all member states. “Each member state has the right to choose between the different energy sources those which it prefers,” the court said.

Times 13th July 2018 read more »

EU judges have upheld a decision allowing the UK government to subsidise nuclear facilities at the new Hinkley Point power station after Austria said the ruling breached EU state aid rules. Brussels General Court on Thursday said the European Commission’s 2014 decision to allow the British government to spend £16bn to build its first nuclear power plant in a generation did not violate the rules of the single market.

FT 12th July 2018 read more »

BBC 12th July 2018 read more »

EU Business 12th July 2018 read more »

World Nuclear News 12th July 2018 read more »

The General Court confirms the decision by which the Commission approved the aid provided by the UK in favour of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

European Court 12th July 2018 read more »

Hinkley Point C: Why is the Austrian government challenging the new nuclear power station? A verdict on the European Commission decision to approve a Hinkley Point subsidy deal in 2014 will be delivered by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) tomorrow (Thursday 12 July), responding to a challenge brought forward by the Austrian government in 2015. Should the decision to approve the nuclear power station project owned and backed by French utilities giant EDF Energy and the China General Nuclear (CGN) group be revoked by the court, it is unclear what will happen to the project post-Brexit.

Compelo 11th July 2018 read more »

Government bungs for random industries can distort competition. So how nice to see Britain’s freshly minted Brexit white paper taking such a “rigorous” line on state aid. None of that wilder Brexiteer baloney about freedoms to prop up any has-been industry we like and two fingers to Brussels. Theresa May is committed “to a common rulebook on state aid”, with Britain choosing to “maintain a robust state aid regime into its future economic relationship with the EU”. And how robust is that? Well, as luck would have it, the EU courts produced a ruling only yesterday, clarifying the rigours of the present system, all thanks to Austria launching a legal challenge over some £20 billion project in Britain. It’s one that’s attracted a fair bit of government backing, too, at least to judge by two reports this time last year. They found that total subsidies could add up to anywhere b etween £30 billion and £50 billion. Not figures from bonkers think tanks, either, but respectively the National Audit Office and the government’s own “whole life” project experts. The scheme in question? Hinkley Point C, of course, the 3,200MW nuclear plant being built by France’s EDF and China’s CGN. Austria objected on three grounds. First, that Britain was guaranteeing to buy energy from the plant for 35 years at £92.50 per megawatt hour, index-linked from 2012 – or twice today’s wholesale price. Second, that the government has undertaken to compensate the developers “in the event of an early shutdown on political grounds”. Third, that the UK was happy to underwrite project debt, via credit guarantees on bond issues, up to a total £17 billion. And guess what? None of that remotely counts as state aid. No, the EU’s general court has just slapped down Austria for bringing its complaint, arguing that “aid is necessary in order to attain, in good time, the objective of creating nuclear energy generating capacity” (report, page 47). Yes, just don’t call it state aid.

Times 13th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 13 July 2018

Sizewell

Government advisers have dealt a blow to plans for Sizewell C by recommending that only one nuclear power station should be built in the next few years, because renewable energy sources could prove to be a safer option. The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) said the government should cool down plans for a nuclear new build programme that envisage as many as six plants being built. Sir John Armitt, the NIC’s chairman, said he was “agnostic” about whether the next power station should be the one Hitachi want to build in Wales, or Sizewell C, which EDF Energy hopes to have up and running in Suffolk by 2031. Newly published research commissioned by the NIC found that nuclear and renewables could meet climate targets for comparable costs. Aurora Energy Research concluded that, whichever technology was pursued, the power sector would have to reach zero emissions by 2050 to hit legally binding carbon goals. Paul Collins, Co Chair of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS), said his group are “deeply concerned” at the prospect of an intensified race between new nuclear projects.

Ipswich Star 11th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 12 July 2018

National Infrastructure

The UK can have low-carbon electricity, heat and transport in 2050 at the same cost as today’s high-carbon energy system. That’s according to the UK’s first National Infrastructure Assessment, published today by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC). The wide-ranging 163-page report says this shift to greener energy is a “golden opportunity” and that ministers must act now to seize it. The report sets out how the UK can move to “highly renewable, clean and low-cost energy”, while ending the use of gas for heating and shifting to 100% sales of electric vehicle (EVs) by 2030. It says a “quiet revolution” in renewable costs means government should prioritise wind and solar, echoing new scenarios from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). It also calls for investment in energy efficiency to triple and for no more than one new nuclear plant to be agreed before 2025. The commission says: “It is now possible to conceive of a low-cost electricity system that is principally powered by renewable energy sources.” It says at least 50% and up to 65% of electricity in 2030 should come from renewables. The commission says the average cost of this highly renewable system between 2030 and 2050 would be comparable to investing heavily in new nuclear. However, it recommends a focus on wind and solar, where costs are more likely to fall even faster than expected. This conclusion applies whether heat is predominantly supplied by electric heat pumps or whether it is met using low-carbon hydrogen and biomass, the report says. The higher cost of managing variable renewable output (blue chunks in the chart, below) is more than offset by lower capital costs for wind and solar, which translate into lower wholesale prices (yellow chunks).

Carbon Brief 10th July 2018 read more »

UK government advisers The National Infrastructure Commission have told ministers to back only a single new nuclear power station after Hinkley Point C in the next few years, because renewable energy sources could prove a safer investment.

Modern Power Systems 11th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 12 July 2018