Hinkley Point, the planned £24.5bn nuclear power station in Somerset, is under intensifying criticism from the energy industry and the City, even as the government prepares to give the final go-ahead for the heavily subsidised project. The plant, due to open in 2023, will cost as much as the combined bill for Crossrail, the London 2012 Olympics and the revamped Terminal 2 at Heathrow, calculated Peter Atherton, energy analyst at investment bank Jefferies. He said that, for the same price as Hinkley Point C, which will provide 3,200MW of capacity, almost 50,000MW of gas-fired power capacity could be built. Doubts about Hinkley Point have deepened after a detailed report by HSBC’s energy analysts described eight key challenges to the project, which will be built by the state-backed French firm EDF and be part-financed by investment from China. These challenges include: declining demand for power in the UK, currently falling at 1% a year as energy-saving measures take effect; a three-fold jump in the UK’s interconnection capacity with continental Europe by 2022, massively increasing the country’s ability to import cheaper supplies; and “a litany of setbacks” in Finland, France and China for EdF’s European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) model, the same type as planned for Hinkley Point. HSBC’s analysts described the EPR model as too big, too costly and still unproven, saying its future was bleak. They also pointed out that wholesale power prices have fallen by 16% since November 2011 when the government agreed a “strike price” for Hinkley Point’s output – effectively a guaranteed price of £92.50 per megawatt hour, inflation-linked for 35 years and funded through household bills. Paul Massara, chief executive of RWE NPower, one of the UK’s big power generators, used the study to step up his criticisms of Hinkley Point’s economics. “We will look back and think that nuclear was a expensive mistake,” he told the Sunday Times. “It’s one of those deal where my children, and my children’s children, are going to be thinking ‘was that a good deal?’ These big central planning bets are likely to be the wrong answer.”
Guardian 9th Aug 2015 read more »
On Friday, the day before our protest sand drawing at St Bees I rang up Sellafield to let them know that after the demo we would be dropping off our soiled gloves and protective clothing at the Main Gate as potential radioactive waste. I got through to a lass in Workington who put me through to security ….it just rang out.
Radiation Free Lakeland 9th Aug 2015 read more »
Jeremy Corbyn’s Environment Policy Paper: I am opposed to fracking and to new nuclear on the basis of the dangers posed to our ecosystems.
Corbyn 8th Aug 2015 read more »
Following the atomic bombs exploded over Japan in 1945 a second crime against humanity took place, writes Chris Busby: the deliberate falsification of science to hide the dangers of ionising radiation, perpetrated to quell public opposition to a new age of nuclear bombs and energy. The fraud continues to this day, but finally the truth is winning out.
Ecologist 9th Aug 2015 read more »
Radiation protection research has been focused upon the bodily effects of exposure to ionising radiation, rather than upon the psychology of survivors. However, recent work, including my own, has shown that the most significant impacts of radiation emergencies are often in our minds. The physical consequences of radiation exposure are well documented, from radiation sickness to cancer. However, there is another insidious and debilitating impact upon the people in areas affected by nuclear accident, regardless of proximity to hazards and actual exposure; something that has a greater prevalence and a higher rate of morbidity and mortality than all physical health cases combined – mental health effects.
Guardian 9th Aug 2015 read more »
Britain’s nuclear power stations could be more exposed to cyber attacks within months, experts have warned after the police force that protects them revealed they are considering using the “cloud” to store information. The Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), the armed police force tasked with guarding all of Britain’s nuclear plants, has previously refused to use the new storage technology given much of its information is classified as “sensitive”. However the force has revealed it could start using cloud technology as early as April next year despite a series of high profile information breaches which raised questions about the software’s reliability.
Telegraph 9th Aug 2015 read more »
The UK Government has awarded grants totalling £2.5 million for nuclear fuel and manufacturing research. The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and the University of Manchester will use the cash to establish facilities for the development of nuclear fuels with enhanced accident tolerance. The fuels are being developed to improve resilience during extreme events that might result in a “station blackout”. The researchers also aim to improve the economics and efficiency of existing and next generation reactors, including some designs of small modular reactors.
Energy Live News 10th Aug 2015 read more »
Ageing nuclear power stations are found around the world, most holding radioactive waste. When they were first built, no one gave much thought to what would happen at the end of their useful lives. But because the radioactivity in the waste is dangerous and can cause cancer, you can’t just demolish a nuclear power station. Fortunately, in a world trying to work out how to deal with its ageing stations, the UK has a head start. Sellafield, the largest nuclear site in Europe, is decommissioning parts of its sprawling estate of nuclear storage, reactors and labs. So how are they carrying this out in a safe way?
BBC 10th Aug 2015 read more »
An otherwise unremarkable town in south-west Japan will be propelled this week to the forefront of the country’s biggest experiment with nuclear power since the Fukushima disaster in March 2011. After months of debate about safety, Japan will begin producing nuclear energy for the first time in almost two years close to the town of Satsumasendai as early as Tuesday. Restarting one of the Sendai nuclear plant’s two 30-year-old reactors represents a victory for the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who insists that without nuclear energy the Japanese economy will buckle beneath the weight of expensive oil and gas imports. But his call for Japan to confront its Fukushima demons has been greeted with scepticism by most voters, whose opposition to nuclear restarts remains firm, even in the face of rising electricity bills. Just over four years since Fukushima Daiichi had a triple meltdown, triggering the world’s worst nuclear crisis for 25 years, Japan remains deeply divided over its future energy mix.
Guardian 9th Aug 2015 read more »
Telegraph 10th Aug 2015 read more »
Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has slipped to just over 30 percent and a majority oppose the planned restart of a nuclear reactor that went offline after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, a poll by the Mainichi newspaper showed on Monday. The three-point decline to 32 percent – the lowest since Abe returned to office in December 2012 – comes as voters fret over a shift in security policy that would end a ban on the military fighting overseas to defend a friendly country. That could let Japan’s troops fight abroad for the first time since World War Two.
Reuters 10th Aug 2015 read more »
Kyushu Electric Power Co. formally announced on Aug. 10 that it would resume operations at its Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture the following day. The resumption would be the first by a nuclear plant that has passed tougher safety regulations imposed in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Asahi Shimbun 10th Aug 2015 read more »
If you were looking for a historical document that encapsulated 1970s Japan’s position on nuclear power, you could trawl through policy papers, scholarly articles or news archives. Or you could travel to a manga store in western Tokyo, and pick up a couple of vintage comic books: “Atom Goes to the Jungle,” and “The Jungle Sings Again.” They feature the Mighty Atom, or as he’s better known outside Japan, Astro Boy, and they are quite extraordinary – beautifully drawn and bitterly ironic. The first story goes something like this: In a far off jungle, the animals are worried. Mother nature has forsaken them: Their climate is getting colder, the plants are dying and they’re getting hungry. So they call on Astro Boy for help. There follows an earnest discussion about how they can’t heat their habitat with hydropower, because the water’s frozen. Oil is running out. What they need is a nuclear power station.
Al Jazeera 9th Aug 2015 read more »
President Barack Obama says a constructive relationship with Iran could be a by-product of the deal to limit its nuclear programme, but it won’t happen immediately – if at all. Obama told CNN in an interview aired on Sunday that Iran’s “nuclear problem” must be dealt with first. He said the agreement reached last month to remove crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear programme achieves that goal “better than any alternative”. Republican politicians largely disagree with Mr Obama’s assessment that the deal blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon, as do some of his own Democrats.
Independent 10th Aug 2015 read more »
President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal gets the backing of 29 of the nation’s top scientists who call it ‘stringent’.
Daily Mail 9th Aug 2015 read more »
Nagasaki commemorated the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city Sunday with calls for the world to abolish nuclear weapons and a direct criticism of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attempt to pass controversial security legislation.
Japan Times 9th Aug 2015 read more »
I’ve come to realise that they serve a vital purpose in protecting our safety. We cannot merely rely on America to be our guardians. I am more certain than ever that much as we cannot afford the estimated £100bn cost of Trident over the next 30 years, we cannot afford to be without a nuclear deterrent. Beyond the usual patriotic rhetoric, the central question for the Government is clear: can we merely rely on America to be our guardians?
Independent 9th Aug 2015 read more »
Today marks 70 years since the Japanese city of Nagasaki was obliterated by a nuclear bomb dropped by US forces. But this haunting visualisation shows that it wasn’t the first nuclear weapon to ever be donated and certainly wasn’t the last either.
Metro 9th Aug 2015 read more »
Star Renewable Energy has walked away from a major project that had £1 million in support from the DECC because of uncertainties over the future of the renewable heat incentive (RHI). Recent cuts to renewable subsidies has generated fears over the future of the RHI. These uncertainties has caused Glasgow-based Star Renewable Energy to walk away from a major contract that had £1 million of support from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). While the government has not yet confirmed that it will be making changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive, through which this exciting technology is supported, however it has not mentioned any plans to extend the subsidy beyond March 2016. It is this lack of clarity which is so concerning for the industry. While the tender withdrawal is a major disappointment for Star Renewable Energy, the incident has inspired the company to continue advocating for change. They have highlighted the need for the government to layout another four years of Renewable Heat Incentives as well as remove project risks such as the inability to pre-qualify for funding.
Scottish Energy News 10th Aug 2015 read more »
Britain is set to fire up a big expansion of the fracking industry, handing out dozens of new drilling licences and fast-tracking planning decisions despite intense public opposition to the practice. The Department for Energy and Climate Change will reveal next week the winners in an auction for dozens of shale gas exploration blocks, including swathes of southern England and heavily populated areas of Lancashire and the northeast. About 95 companies are understood to have submitted bids for nearly 300 drilling licences, spanning more than 40 per cent of the UK’s land area. The announcement comes as Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, is pushing for accelerated planning decisions to spark a shale gas revolution, which the government claims could generate 60,000 jobs and billions of pounds of investment.
Times 10th Aug 2015 read more »