Tata has accused David Cameron of sleepwalking into the steel crisis by helping China to block EU efforts to increase tariffs on its cheap imports. An executive from the Indian group told a Commons committee weeks ago that British support for China could lead to an “even greater steel crisis”, according to a transcript. Senior Tata officials are said to be amazed at the prime minister’s failure to heed their warnings that China would dump cheap steel on the market, undercutting Britain. EU officials are also privately critical of Britain over its reluctance to raise tariffs for China, which it has been wooing to try to generate better trade links. Britain did not seek EU permission to give steelmakers exemptions from green taxes on power consumption in earnest until December, long after German steelmakers had secured the breaks. The government instead put priority on subsidies for the Chinese-backed Hinkley Point nuclear project. “For over three years, Britain was more concerned about getting subsidies for Hinkley Point past Brussels,” an industry source said. “That changed late in 2015 but the damage was done.”
Times 1st April 2016 read more »
David Lowry: Stephen Kinnock MP is quoted as suggesting the government is “rolling out the red carpet to get market status at the World Trade Organisation” and suggested Britain is the “ringleader” in blocking European commission attempts to improve anti-dumping policies (on Chinese steel) because our commercial and overall policy is being “dictated by Beijing”. Our steel is being sacrificed on the atomic altar of keeping China sweet over its investment in the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, confidence in which is eroding even in France. British engagement with China over nuclear power dates back to the autumn of 2013, when chancellor George Osborne visited Beijing to seek investment in the Hinkley C project from the Chinese government and was finalised last September. The trade unionists now rightly defending their jobs and the steel industry should have words with the leadership of the Unite union, who are even more gung-ho for Hinkley C to go ahead than Conservative ministers, and point out they are not prepared to sacrifice their livelihoods for this astronomically expensive atomic white elephant, just to keep the Chinese on side.
Guardian 31st March 2016 read more »
Britain’s special relationship with China is becoming more expensive by the day. It now threatens to destroy the British steel industry, a foundation pillar of our manufacturing economy. Britain is not alone. Most of Europe’s steel foundries are heading for annihilation under the current EU trade regime, with unthinkable consequences through the network of European and British supply chains. It is hard to pin down the exact moment when George Osborne’s love affair with China turned into a Faustian Pact. One can applaud Mr Osborne’s push for amicable trade with China as a general principle, for to do otherwise risks turning the world’s rising superpower into a hostile challenger. Yet the suspicion in Brussels is that he has become a Fifth Columnist for Beijing inside the Justus Lipsius building, either because he is dancing to the tune of London bankers angling for the yuan trade, or because he thinks China can breathe life into his Northern Powerhouse, or simply because the Government has painted itself into a corner over Hinkley Point.
Telegraph 31st March 2016 read more »
Cash-strapped EDF could have to find an additional £2bn to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. There’s rising pressure at the French utility giant over whether its already strained balance sheet will be able to shoulder the hugely expensive project. An independent report regarding the controversial project seen by the Times claims the updated cost could be as high as €25.3 billion (£19.8 billion). This is because Areva, the company behind the nuclear reactors which will be used, is repricing its technology ahead of the final investment decision in early May. Michel Degryck, managing partner of the Paris-based corporate finance advisory Capitalmind which conducted the analysis, said: “We understand that a number of costs were probably underestimated when they did their last pricing [of the reactor] in 2013.” “They will have to take into account new costs . . . The cost of the project could rise by 10 per cent.”
City AM 31st March 2016 read more »
Hinkley Point, where the UK’s energy policy for the 2020s rests on the premise that French state-backed outfit EDF really will build a £18bn nuclear station in Somerset that will open in 2025 to supply 7% of our electricity. This bet is looking weaker with every passing week. In the latest instalment, a group of EDF engineers have written a paper arguing that 2027 is the earliest “realistic” opening date. Meanwhile, EDF’s board has not been able to bring its rebellious unions to heel. As we report, Christian Taxil, an employee board member representing the CFE-CGC union, has called for the project to be postponed. EDF can – and did – dismiss these tales as fluff. The engineers’ paper was not taken to the board, the company argues, and unions’ opposition to Hinkley is long-standing.
Guardian 30th March 2016 read more »
In recent days, a number of unfounded rumours and fanciful stories, from anonymous sources, have been put out in the media. They explicitly target, in a concerted way, the project to build two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point. EDF refutes these rumours and confirms that the date of first operation of the first reactor is fixed at the end of 2025 and that no delay is anticipated. EDF regards this anonymous press campaign as seriously harmful to our interests as well as the interests of the industry and to jobs in France and Europe. EDF would like to reiterate that the Board, or its committees, have already met on multiple occasions to consider the Hinkley Point project, based on detailed and exhaustive information. The Board will have at its disposal all the necessary information to make a decision once the time has come to take the Final investment Decision.
EDF 30th March 2016 read more »
GREEN energy campaigners have accused the Government of backing “the wrong horses” for their support of nuclear projects like Hinkley C in Somerset after figures revealed a drop in greenhouse gas emissions. The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions fell below 500 million tonnes for the first time last year, as renewables hit a record 25 per cent of the power mix, official figures show. Power generation from renewables jumped from 19 per cent in 2014 to 25 per cent of the total in 2015, overtaking coal which fell to 23 per cent, while gas accounted for 30 per cent of the electricity mix and nuclear 21 per cent, separate figures on energy showed. Juliet Davenport, chief executive of green energy company Good Energy, said: “Yet again renewables are really proving their worth and it’s fantastic to see record amounts of electricity generated by renewable sources. “Renewables have shown incredible growth in the last few years and are leading the way when it comes to making the UK more energy secure in the future.”
Somerset County Gazette 1st April 2016 read more »
A BOARD member at EDF Energy will vote against the £18billion plan to build a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point near Bridgwater, reports the BBC. Representative of the CFE-CGC union Christian Taxil, who sits on the board representing thousands of workers, said the French energy giant was currently in a weak financial position and there were technical issues with the design of the reactor.
Central Somerset Gazette 31st March 2016 read more »
EDF claim Hinkley Point is on target. EDF yesterday issued an extraordinary statement criticising anonymous sources briefing against the Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor project. The French energy giant faces substantial opposition within elements of its own company and from powerful French unions over the £18 billion project in Somerset. They fear that the project could put the viability of state-owned EDF at risk. A story, published in The Financial Times, claimed that senior engineers at EDF wanted the project delayed by at least two years and for the reactor design to be changed – making it simpler and cheaper to build. But EDF issued a strongly worded statement yesterday over the reports. It said: “In recent days, a number of unfounded rumours and fanciful stories, from anonymous sources, have been put out in the media. “They explicitly target, in a concerted way, the project to build two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point. “EDF refutes these rumours and confirms that the date of first operation of the first reactor is fixed at the end of 2025 and that no delay is anticipated. EDF regards this anonymous press campaign as seriously harmful to our interests as well as the interests of the industry and to jobs in France and Europe. “EDF would like to reiterate that the Board, or its committees, have already met on multiple occasions to consider the Hinkley Point project, based on detailed and exhaustive information.
Western Daily Press 31st March 2016 read more »
The traffic light warning system used by the nuclear Regulators (ONR and Environment Agency) in their latest quarterly assessment update on the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors proposed for Moorside will make uncomfortable reading for both Westinghouse and NuGen. Covering the period November 2015 to January 2016, the update signals inevitable delays to securing approval for the reactor design under the UK’s Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process. As a vital ingredient of NuGen’s current plans to make its final investment decision on Moorside in 2018, GDA approval must be secured by January 2017. As the Regulators put it ‘our concern is that the current [GDA] programme has less than a year to completion but in some areas the majority of the work is yet to be delivered. This is very acute in some areas and we question whether the baseline programme remains credible’. Even without the GDA slippage – and NuGen’s application to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) for offshore drilling being put ‘on hold’, the bigger picture for Moorside’s build-time looks bleak indeed. For at the only four twin-reactor stations currently under construction, two in the US and two in China, build-time for the AP1000 reactors is taking over seven years – with criticism levelled at Westinghouse as having ‘oversold the system, oversold the technology and promised more than they could really deliver’. Despite this chronic overseas experience, NuGen and West Cumbria’s nuclear-compliant media continue to peddle the myth that, with a construction start in 2020, Moorside’s triple reactors will all be producing electricity by 2026.
CORE 31st March 2016 read more »
French gas and power group Engie is looking for other partners to invest in the Nugen project to build nuclear reactors in Britain, Engie director Philippe Pradel said. Japan’s Toshiba Corp and Engie are in the 60-40 percent Nugen joint venture to build three AP1000 reactors – designed by Toshiba unit Westinghouse in Britain – for the Moorside project, near the Sellafield nuclear site in west Cumbria. “Before taking the final investment decision on Nugen around the end of 2018 we hope to find a larger pool of investors,” Pradel said at a seminar about the French nuclear industry. He said that for financial and industrial reasons it is important to build balanced partnerships for large nuclear projects.
Reuters 31st March 2016 read more »
NUCLEAR chiefs have been forced to apologise after a letter sent to 1,600 residents led them to fear their homes are at risk. Residents and landowners across Copeland were furious after NuGen – the firm behind plans for a new power plant next to Sellafield – wrote to them last week to ask legal questions about their homes and land. Many believed – NuGen says wrongly – their homes are at risk of compulsory purchase to make way for the three-reactor development.
Whitehaven News 31st March 2016 read more »
Campaigners last night warned the UK Government not to risk “playing ping pong” across the Atlantic with radioactive material. As revealed in the Press and Journal in December, nuclear waste from Dounreay is to be transported to the United States. About 1,540lb (700kg) of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) will be sent from the Caithness storage facility in the largest-ever consignment of its kind. In return, a different form of the element will be transferred to the European atomic energy agency Euratom for conversion to medical isotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer. SNP MP Paul Monaghan branded the deal “morally reprehensible”, raising concerns about the possibility of flights carrying “highly toxic materials” out of Wick Airport. Campaigners also warned of the dangers of transporting the waste by sea, particularly in the context of the uncertainty over the future of the single remaining Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV). And the Westminster government was accused of being “at best misleading and at worst cynical” in presenting the proposal as helping in the fight against cancer. Highland Council leader Councillor Margaret Davidson said the development raised the risk of a “potentially catastrophic incident to unacceptable levels”. She added: “The Pentland Firth is notorious for the challenges it poses in terms of weather, tides and navigation. “There needs to be adequate protection in place to respond in the case of an incident whilst the waste is being transported.” Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, insisted nuclear waste should be dealt with as close as possible to where it was produced. He added: “Only the nuclear industry could think it was a good idea to risk playing ping pong with large quantities of one of the most dangerous materials on the planet across the Atlantic. “Europe is littered with plenty of highly radioactive waste from both reactors and weapons, there cannot possibly be a need to be importing any more from the US, nor for us to be sending ours to them. The Scottish Greens’ Highlands and Islands Holyrood candidate John Finnie said there had to be better ways to fight cancer than “sending dangerous uranium on a 6,800-mile round trip”.
Press and Journal 1st April 2016 read more »
Herald 1st April 2016 read more »
Scotsman 31st March 2016 read more »
Campaign group Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (Hant), which has criticised “secret” cargo moves between Scrabster and Barrow, added its voice, claiming Cameron’s plan posed an enormous risk. Its chairman, Tor Justad, told The National: “This is unacceptable. It’s highly risky, either by air, sea or road. “They are taking huge risks of an accident or terror attack. Look at what happened in Belgium, where Daesh were thought to be targeting a nuclear plant. “It’s unnecessary and a total sham because there are plenty of medica l isotopes in Europe already.”
National 1st April 2016 read more »
Britain will announce deal to ship 700kg of nuclear waste to America.
Mirror 31st March 2016 read more »
A LEADING police officer has claimed the Highlands and Islands could be a soft option for Islamic terrorists planning attacks in the UK. The vast area has 10 airports, railway stations, ports attracting cruise liners with thousands of passengers, a nuclear establishment and the oil and gas industry, leaving no shortage of potential targets in an area that stretches from Unst to the Vatersay and from John O’ Groats to Glencoe. Chief Superintendent Julian Innes, the area’s divisional commander, had launched a campaign to increase the need for vigilance before last week’s terrorist attacks in Brussels. The nuclear facility at Dounreay overlooking the Pentland Firth was also long seen as a possible target. So was the Ministry of Defence’s HMS Vulcan establishment next door where Royal Navy submarine nuclear propulsion plants were tested. Mr Innes said: “Dounreay is policed by the civil nuclear constabulary and Vulcan is managed by the MoD police. There is always an armed presence on these sites given the risk. Dounreay is in a decommissioning phase, but there is still nuclear material there and as long as there is, there will be an armed presence.”
Herald 30th March 2016 read more »
EFFORTS are being made to increase the use of the multimillion-pound railhead at Georgemas. That was the assurance given to Dounreay Stakeholder Group (DSG) after a plea from member Tor Justad, who would like to see more freight being transported by rail. Such a move, he believes, would help safeguard the route and boost the local economy. Mr Justad wants more companies to use the facility and pointed out that talks were being held with supermarkets to deliver goods to Caithness by train. Tesco has been identified as a potential user while talks have been held with the Co-operative Group. Other possible freight opportunities include biomass, construction materials, wood, renewables and whisky.
John O Groat Journal 29th March 2016 read more »
Some 700 kg of British high-enriched uranium (HEU) will be transported to America in return for a form of the fuel that can be used in research reactors that create isotopes for life-saving diagnosis and treatment. The move will be announced by UK prime minister David Cameron today at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC. In return for the UK materials, the USA will send a quantity of its own HEU to Euratom in a form suitable for manufacturing into fuel and targets for use at a European research reactor that produces medical isotopes. The manufacturing will take place in France. The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said: “The swap will deliver real societal benefits – both in the UK and across Europe.” Mainstream nuclear power reactors run on low-enriched uranium in an entirely civilian fuel cycle, whereas high enriched uranium has been created by governments of countries such as the US and UK for use in small research reactors and fast reactors as well as military submarines and weapons. In 2013, the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) published papers on the options it was considering to manage the approximately 1000 kg of HEU stored at Dounreay, along with other experimental nuclear fuels collectively termed ‘exotics’. “None of the exotics held at Dounreay are considered to be waste,” it stated, explaining the HEU was in various forms – oxide powders, pellets and metal – and at various levels of enrichment. The HEU is unirradiated, which means it has a relatively low level of radioactivity. At that time, the option to “Send material overseas for reprocessing and utilise products” was seen as low probability but useful to maintain as a contingency because there were no specialised facilities to store HEU at Sellafield, where the NDA would have preferred to consolidate similar materials. Removing the fuels from Dounreay is a step towards lowering the site’s security classification and cost savings.
World Nuclear News 31st March 2016 read more »
New technology which could revolutionise how we store our nuclear waste in this country was unveiled in Suffolk today. Sizewell B near Leiston has been showing off the new dry fuel storage canisters which are already used elsewhere in Europe and in America. Until now, British power plants have been disposing of their spent fuel in underwater pools but that could now all change.
ITV 31st March 2016 read more »
East Anglian Daily Times 31st March 2016 read more »
A PUBLIC consultation on plans for a new nuclear power station on Anglesey has closed. Horizon Nuclear Power thanked particpants after its latest consultation on the Wylfa Newydd Project closed on March 24 after two months. The open consultations saw public events held across Anglesey and North Wales where local people could met the Horizon team and viewed the latest proposals on an interactive 3D computer model.
North Wales Chronicle 31st March 2016 read more »
Nuclear Industry Association
Interview with Tom Greatrix. Greatrex on whether Hinkley C will be built: “I do expect that it will be built. I mean, as we’re speaking, EDF are in the final stages of making the final investment decision…I don’t see any suggestion that it’s not going to happen from EDF, or from anyone associated with EDF.”
Carbon Brief 30th March 2016 read more »
Meter-thick concrete walls and 1950s-style analog control rooms help protect nuclear plants from bomb attacks and computer hackers, but Islamist militants are turning their attention to the atomic industry’s weak spots, security experts say. Concerns about nuclear terrorism rose after Belgian media reported that suicide bombers who killed 32 people in Brussels on March 22 originally looked into attacking a nuclear installation before police raids that netted a number of suspected associates forced them to switch targets. Security experts say that blowing up a nuclear reactor is beyond the skills of militant groups, but that the nuclear industry has some vulnerabilities that could be exploited.
Reuters 30th March 2016 read more »
Since President Barack Obama initiated the Nuclear Security Summit process in 2010, leaders from around the world have joined the effort to prevent nuclear terrorism. The process has fostered international cooperation that has delivered tangible improvements to global nuclear security and reduced the threat of nuclear terrorism. Similarly, the Summit has inspired collaboration across a broader community. Representatives from government, nuclear industry, and civil society have come together to complement the official process. Strengthening nuclear security in an age of globalization requires not only the cooperation of governments, but also concentrated efforts by those outside of government with relevant expertise.
Nuclear Security Summit 30th March 2016 read more »
Small battlefield nuclear weapons developed by Pakistan could fall into the hands of terrorists if the country does not do more to secure its arsenal, leading western powers have warned. Fears about the vulnerability of Pakistan’s missiles emerged on the eve of the nuclear security summit in Washington, which will discuss the threat of Islamic State acquiring nuclear materials. For the first time, the summit will include a simulation of a nuclear terrorist attack.
Times 1st April 2016 read more »
US President Barack Obama called world leaders together for a nuclear security summit in Washington. They’re trying to stop an Armageddon – and dirty bombs. Footage of a Belgian nuclear official was found in the belongings of a suspect in the militant attacks in Paris in November. Then members of a bombing ring blew themselves up Brussels, killing 35 people in a March attack, and raised fears about a future attack. Specifically, security experts worry that members of the so-called Islamic State group or another militant organisation are trying to get a hold of material to make a dirty bomb, a devise that uses ordinary explosives to spread radioactive material over a large area.
BBC 1st April 2016 read more »
Torrie Smith’s analysis finds that there are major advantages to proceeding with decommissioning work immediately rather than following OPG’s proposed approach of leaving the plant dormant for 30 years before proceeding. The first advantage is cost and cost certainty. Torrie Smith calculates that direct decommissioning can save $800 million to $1.2 billion on the total cost of decommissioning, in part by avoiding the costs of securing and maintaining the site for 30 years. It also ensures that the financial risk of a first-of-its-kind project is not pushed forward for 30 years, but dealt with today.
Clean Air Alliance 30th March 2016 read more »
Energy system challenges and opportunities wont be solved and captured with BAU ‘economic’ regulation; and transformative governance will not ‘emerge’ – it needs to be put in place as part of longterm, directed strategic framework.
IGOV 31st March 2016 read more »
Figures released today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that electricity generation in the UK fell by half a percent last year to 337.7 TWh, from 338.9 TWh a year earlier. The change reflected a large fall in generation from coal that was offset by increases from renewables and nuclear, according to DECC’s Energy Trends report for March 2016.
World Nuclear News 31st March 2016 read more »
Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) announced that it has today started up the equipment to create a wall of frozen soil at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to prevent groundwater entering the reactor buildings. Regulatory approval to partially activate the ice wall was received yesterday.
World Nuclear News 31st March 2016 read more »
On 26 April 1986, a catastrophic nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine. An explosion and subsequent fire released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, which spread over much of the western USSR and Europe. Almost 30 years on, Eòrpa reporter Anne Lundon travelled there to find out about the continued impact the disaster has on the country.
BBC 31st March 2016 read more »
North Korea have fired another missile into the sea sparking fears of a nuclear war amid a crunch world leaders nuclear summit in Washington.
Mirror 1st April 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Scottish Water has installed one thousand solar panels at a major water treatment works serving Edinburgh and parts of West Lothian – continuing its move towards generating more of its energy from renewable sources.
Utility Week 31st March 2016 read more »
The East Riding of Yorkshire is England’s top area for producing wind power, a new analysis has found, with Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire not far behind. The national hotspot for solar generation is sunny Cornwall, perhaps unsurprisingly. But though Cornwall is also one of the windiest counties, it fails to make the top 10 for wind electricity generation.
Guardian 1st April 2016 read more »
New statistics released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change yesterday revealed significant increases in the installation of new renewable electricity capacity, over a period where overall electricity generation fell. UK renewable electricity in 2015 made up 24.7% of the overall electricity generated in the UK ( 57.7% in Scotland) a record-breaking achievement and up 28.8% from 2014 when renewables generated 19.1% of the country’s electricity. An area of strong growth was in solar PV, where total electricity generation reached 7.6 TWh, an increase of 86% from 2014. The government understands that it needs to reach a target of 30% renewable electricity by 2020 to meet its legally binding 2020 targets. Given present growth rates it appears likely that this will take place. However, analysis by the Renewable Energy Association reveals that this may not be enough. The legally binding 2020 renewable energy targets include both heat and transport, two sectors where the government is set to miss their decarbonisation targets. As such, to meet the overall binding target the electricity sector will have to go even further, hitting 44% to 45% sourced from renewables by 2020.
Scottish Energy News 1st April 2016 read more »
Holyrood 31st March 2016 read more »
Times 1st April 2016 read more »
Herald 1st April 2016 read more »
Energy Voice 31st March 2016 read more »
Renewables met 57% of Scottish electricity demand in 2015.
Daily Record 31st March 2016 read more »
UK generates 25% of electricity from renewable energy, but Scots race ahead to reach 57.7%. Revealing these milestones in a raft of energy statistics published today, a spokesman for DECC said: “Our plan is working: we’re delivering affordable, secure and low carbon energy for hard-working families and businesses. “Last year energy bills were down by £46 and we got a quarter of our electricity from renewable sources. “For consumers, average annual household energy bills decreased by £46 in 2015 (down 3.5% to £1,298). Average electricity bills fell by £8. Average gas bills were down by £38.” The number of households switching providers rose by 11% for electricity and 19% for gas between 2014 and 2015.
Scottish Energy News 1st April 2016 read more »
UK CO2 emissions fell to their lowest level since the 1920s last year as renewables generated more electricity than coal for the first time ever, provisional statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show. The figures, showing a 4.1% reduction in CO2 emissions between 2014 and 2015, confirm Carbon Brief analysis published last month, which estimated a 4.3% fall. DECC also reports a 3.3% reduction in UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.
Carbon Brief 31st March 2016 read more »