The Government is understood to have agreed a 35-year subsidy to French energy group EDF to build the first in a new wave of nuclear power stations. Although there are still risks that talks could break down – EDF even warned in a recent internal memo that the deal was not guaranteed to go through – this is one of a series of advancements in the nuclear programme. On 19 March, the day before the Budget, the Environment Secretary, Ed Davey, will grant planning permission for EDF’s power plant in Hinkley Point, Somerset, paving the way for the first nuclear power station to be built in Britain since 1995. Industry sources said that the strike price being discussed is around £96-£97 per megawatt hour, towards the bottom end of the anticipated £95-£99.50 range. However, in exchange for receiving a relatively low price, EDF demanded the guarantee be in place for 40 years. This was double the initial proposal and has been a sticking point delaying the deal. It is thought an announcement will not be ready for the Budget, but EDF is determined that talks will finish by the end of the month.
Independent 10th March 2013 read more »
GIANT pension funds are considering a stake in Britain’s first new nuclear power station in more than two decades. EDF, the French energy company, ramped up its global search for deep-pocketed partners after Centrica, the owner of British Gas, pulled out of the project last month, citing soaring costs. Two reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset will cost Â£14bn, a sum that EDF cannot afford to shoulder on its own. It has opened exploratory talks with several pension funds, including the Â£115bn Canada Pension Plan and the Universities Superannuation Scheme, which looks after Â£34bn for British professors and teachers. The company is also in negotiations with China Guangdong Nuclear Power, Beijing’s state-owned power giant. None of them will invest until the government reveals how much it is willing to guarantee in subsidies. Electricity generated by the new plant will be bought at a guaranteed price, which is expected to be set at almost twice the current level for wholesale energy. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is expected to reveal the exact figure next month. Sources close to the negotiations said there is still a gulf between the level of support that Whitehall wants to offer for the project and what EDF says it will need. “The government wants to set [the guaranteed price] at Â£80 a megawatt hour. EDF wants Â£100. There is a lot of work to be done,” said one insider. The current wholesale price is about Â£50 a megawatt hour. In a letter to Davey last week, Greenpeace claimed it would be “unlawful” to give the project the green light after Cumbria county counci llors rejected plans for an underground dump that would store the nuclear waste from the new reactors. A plan for waste disposal is a precondition for the project, the campaign group claimed. Even Austria has waded in. Its Environment Agency last week filed a 35-page objection, claiming that EDF had failed to assess the effects a catastrophic meltdown would have on central Europe, including Austria. There is little chance that Vienna’s objections will derail progress. The European Union approved Hinkley last year.
Sunday Times 10th March 2013 read more »
There is a good chance our energy bills are about to be pumped up to new records to suit the demands of the governments of communist China and socialist France. This is not the beginning of a jingoistic rant. It is a statement of fact. The government is in the final throes of tortuous negotiations with EDF about support for building nuclear power stations. The giant utility, 84%-owned by the French government, says it needs a huge subsidy before it agrees to build the first new atomic reactor in Britain in two decades, at Hinkley Point, Somerset. This will be delivered through a minimum electricity price – legislated by the government – so that EDF is sure it will recover, eventually, the £14bn construction cost. The “strike price” is expected to be unveiled within a month.
Sunday Times 10th March 2013 read more »
Improved safety measures have been introduced at the Sizewell A nuclear power station following the seepage of sulphuric acid into a pool containing highly radioactive spent fuel rods. The incident occurred ten weeks ago as work continued on the removal of about 30,000 rods from the station’s two reactors following the end of electricity generation more than six years ago. An internal inquiry was set up following the incident and the outcome was reported at the latest meeting of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group.
Eastern Daily Press 9th March 2013 read more »
Council leaders have branded anti-Sellafield protestors “scaremongers” who will drive away tourists on the eve of an anti-nuclear march. Copeland council leader Elaine Woodburn and Conservative group leader David Moore have labelled claims made by anti-nuke groups Radiation Free Lakeland and Three Weeks to Save the Lakes as “bizarre” and “damaging”. Anti-nuclear protestors will march through Copeland tomorrow to highlight alleged radioactive contamination of west Cumbrian beaches and to call on the Government to do more to clean up Sellafield. They will put up signs on Seascale beach before walking four miles to the Sellafield gates.
Carlisle News & Star 8th March 2013 read more »
Anti nuclear protestors marched from Seascale to Sellafield to highlight that radioactive particles have been found on west Cumbrian beaches
ITV 9th March 2013 read more »
The Ministry of Defence has been evading an international ban on dumping radioactive waste at sea by redefining thousands of uranium weapons fired in the Solway Firth as “placements”. Minutes of secret meetings released under freedom-of-information law reveal the MoD was worried about breaching an inter-government agreement on marine pollution by firing depleted uranium (DU) tank rounds into the sea from a military range at Dundrennan near Kirkcudbright. But officials found a way round the problem, by claiming the munitions were not being “dumped” in the sea, but “placed” there. This is despite the fact attempts to retrieve them have failed, and their locations are unknown. DU is toxic and radioactive and has been linked to increases in cancers and birth defects in Iraq, where it has been used as a weapon. It has also been linked to health concerns among members of UK armed forces exposed to the shells. Campaigners have accused the MoD of resorting to “semantic trickery” to justify its plans to dump more DU weapons in Scottish waters.
Sunday Herald 10th March 2013 read more »
Energy watchdog Ofgem is preparing to allow electricity grid operators to keep nearly half a billion pounds raised from household bills – even though they failed to hit targets on stopping power being wasted. Ofgem has the right to reclaim up to £489 million from the companies that operate the national electricity grid under the terms of a scheme designed to ensure they keep energy waste to a minimum. But it is poised to waive the option to recover the money because it doubts the accuracy of figures for the amount of power wasted.
Daily Mail 9th March 2013 read more »
The radioactive Japanese ghost towns still uninhabitable two years after tsunami destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant. Towns too affected by radiation for residents to return for more than short visits. Around 160,000 people were displaced by the nuclear disaster. Eerie photographs show how the area has become deserted with fields and homes overcome with weeds.
Daily Mail 9th March 2013 read more »
Pyongyang said it would pursue its goal of becoming a fully fledged nuclear weapons state despite the sanctions, which aim to tighten financial restrictions and crack down on North Korea’s attempts to transport banned cargo.
Herald 10th March 2013 read more »
Concerns about nuclear safety drew tens of thousands of Taiwanese to a street protest in Taipei on Saturday that called for the government to stop work on a nuclear reactor being built in the north of the earthquake-prone nation. More than 100,000 people turned out in Taipei, in addition to tens of thousands who attended parallel protests in Taiwan’s other major cities, according to estimates in the state news agency.
FT 9th March 2013 read more »
A £60m fund to help councils better insulate homes has been announced by the Scottish government. The cash is to be targeted at areas with high levels of fuel poverty. It will pay for the installation of things like double glazing and solid wall insulation. All households, including private accommodation, will be offered an energy efficiency plan. But one leading charity said it was not enough to end fuel poverty by the target date of 2016. A total of £30m will be allocated across Scotland’s 32 local authorities. The councils will then be able to bid for a further share of the other £30m.
BBC 10th March 2013 read more »
Scotland on Sunday 10th March 2013 read more »
The government believed it had come up with the solution in Green Deal – a flagship eco-programme designed to cut carbon emissions, create jobs and reduce the nation’s fuel bills. Sadly, Green Deal has failed to live up to expectation. Although it has had a UK launch twice – first in the autumn and again on January 28 this year – few people have heard of it. But the position is all the more frustrating in Scotland as the programme is not yet fully operational in this country, meaning that assessments are not able to take place at properties. Details of when the Green Deal will hit Scotland are still vague and is leaving householders who want to make energy improvements to th eir home in a quandary. The position is perhaps more crippling for firms such as us. Direct Savings started off as a loft insulation business working with the big energy providers to help to reduce carbon emissions through the government’s national home insulation scheme. When that scheme closed at the end of 2012 it was to be replaced with the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligations (ECO), which aims to provide energy efficiency upgrades for low income and hard-to-insulate homes through companies like Direct Savings. But with Green Deal/ECO now not expected to reach full-scale for another year at least and us having invested heavily in the relevant training and accreditations required to become a Green Deal approved assessor and installer, we are in a far from comfortable position.
Scotsman 9th March 2013 read more »
A WIND turbine maker is ¬aiming to nurture the next generation of manufacturers and -exporters after taking up ¬residence in a former carpet factory in Roslin Glen. The site, which produced tapestries for sale around the world until its closure in 1969, has found a new lease of life as the headquarters of Renew¬able Devices, maker of the roof-mounted Swift Turbine.
Scotsman 10th March 2013 read more »