As potential investors back away, Stop Hinkley Campaign calls on the Government to give up on the moribund nuclear scheme. The financing of EDF’s proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has still not been settled, and several potential investors have backed away, according to the Financial Times (FT). This is despite the promise of a 35-year index-linked price guarantee backed by the UK taxpayer.
Stop Hinkley 13th Jan 2015 read more »
JOB SEEKERS are urged to attend a workshop on employment opportunities at the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Sedgemoor District and West Somerset Council’s Employment and Skills staff are working together to host the events to ensure local workers maximise opportunities at the site, which is set to be the biggest construction project in Europe.
Bridgwater Mercury 13th Jan 2015 read more »
Just six years into what was supposed to be a 17-year deal, estimated to worth some £22Bn, to run the Sellafield site under contract to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the consortium Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) has been stripped of its contract by Government. The consortium is made up of the US company URS, France’s Areva and Amec (UK). On winning the contract the consortium gave assurances that their combined and unrivalled technical knowhow was more than up to meeting Sellafield’s undoubted challenges.
CORE 13th Jan 2015 read more »
The consortium stripped of the contract to manage the clean-up of Sellafield — one of Britain’s most controversial outsourcing deals — will be paid less than £500,000 in termination fees, the government announced on Tuesday. The energy department confirmed that it would take back control of the nuclear site, putting it in the hands of the state-run Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The transition to the new arrangements will take 15 months, it said. The move is a blow to Nuclear Management Partners, a private sector consortium made up of URS, Areva and Amec, that has been responsible for the site since 2008. The consortium had won a fresh five-year extension of the contract in 2013 which was worth £30m in fees annually. Tom Greatrex, shadow energy minister, asked why the government had renewed the contract only 15 months ago, given criticism from parliament’s public accounts committee and National Audit Office. “This is a frantic U-turn and a reversal of a decision that probably should never have been made in the first place,” he said. The committee had questioned the renewal of the contract given the “poor performance and spiralling costs” at Sellafield. Mr Davey said the coalition had had to “endorse” the recommendation of the decommissioning authority to give NMP the contract extension in 2013. The original contract had been set up under the last Labour government in which Ed Miliband — now party leader — had been energy secretary, he pointed out. “At that time, when I looked at the structure that was in place, that was inherited from the last government, I had concerns about the model and it was the model I . . . wanted to change in the long term,” said Mr Davey. The minister emphasised that there would still be opportunities for the private sector at Sellafield in the future. But this would be along the lines of a government body appointing a “strategic partner” to improve commercial capability and help manage capital projects.
FT 13th Jan 2015 read more »
Telegraph 13th Jan 2015 read more »
Whitehaven News 13th Jan 2015 read more »
A group of companies including France’s Areva SA (AREVA) and Britain’s Amec Foster Wheeler Plc will be stripped of a 9 billion-pound ($13.6 billion) contract to run Europe’s biggest nuclear waste site, after the U.K. government said it was a mistake to transfer its management to the private sector. Amec said the termination of the contract was “not performance-related,” with the consortium hitting 96 percent of its targets over the past year. Its shares fell 1.3 percent at 1:09 p.m. in London, while Areva rose 0.8 percent in Paris. Areva owns 20 percent of NMP, which contributed revenue of about 15 million euros ($17.7 million) a year, the Paris-based company said in an e-mailed statement. The NDA decision doesn’t affect a separate consortium Areva shares with British companies Mace Group Ltd. and WS Atkins Plc to build a waste treatment facility at Sellafield.
Bloomberg 13th Jan 2015 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes the decision of the UK Government to strip the US / UK / French consortium NMP (Nuclear Management Partners) of the substantial £9bn contract to clean up the Sellafield site in Cumbria. It has to ask the question of why this is being done at this point, when it could have been done in August 2014, when the contract came up for renewal.
NFLA 13th Jan 2015 read more »
Urgent Question: Nuclear Management Partners and Sellafield: 13 January 2015.
Parliament 13th Jan 2015 read more »
Top civil servants and nuclear administrators colluded to prevent MPs from challenging a massive sweetener to a private business taking over the running of Sellafield, internal documents in the hands of The Independent on Sunday reveal. The documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, also disclose that the Government pushed through the handover at breakneck speed because it feared that the “unstable management arrangements” of the controversial Cumbrian nuclear complex risked its safety. Yesterday, a leading Labour MP announced that he would try to get a parliamentary investigation into the revelations in the documents, which run to 140 pages and had been so heavily censored prior to release that many whole pages, and the names of most of the officials involved, have been systematically blanked out. Paul Flynn MP, a member of the House of Commons Public Administration Committee – which examines the performance of the Civil Service – is to ask it to inquire into what he calls “an egregious example of obstruction of parliamentary accountability”.
Independent 4th Jan 2015 read more »
Responses to Justification Consultation published.
DECC 13th Jan 2015 read more »
It has long been established that the accused 9/11 attackers contemplated hitting the reactors at Indian Point, 35 miles up the Hudson from Manhattan. Neither U.S. military nor local police forces could have stopped such an attack, which could have poisoned millions of people in the American northeast and gutted the entire U.S. ecology and economy. Worldwide there are more than 430 commercial reactors still operating. There are more than 50 in France, just under 100 in the U.S. Not one of them can be effectively guarded against a concerted terror attack. Each could spew massive radiation releases and do untold damage to the human race, the planetary ecology, the global economy.
Ecowatch 13th Jan 2015 read more »
George Osborne has been accused by a cabinet colleague of damaging the energy sector after the chancellor threatened “action” against companies which failed to pass on falling oil prices to consumers. Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy secretary, said he did not know exactly what Mr Osborne was proposing and that such criticism of energy companies by politicians would “damage markets, investment and our economy”. In an interview with the Financial Times Mr Davey said that competition was the key to driving down energy prices and that the Competition and Markets Authority was already holding an inquiry to tackle any remaining problems in the energy market. He was buoyed on Tuesday when Eon became the first big energy company in the UK to cut fuel tariffs in response to falling global oil prices, announcing an immediate 3.5 per cent reduction in its standard gas price. Eon’s move was politically significant, coming the day before a Commons debate in which Labour will demand fast-track legislation to give the energy regulator Ofgem powers to cut energy bills when wholesale costs fall.
FT 13th Jan 2015 read more »
Eon has become the first big energy company in the UK to cut fuel tariffs in response to falling global oil prices, announcing an immediate 3.5 per cent reduction in its standard gas price. The company also introduced what it claimed was the country’s cheapest energy tariff, a one-year fixed dual-fuel product with an average annual price of £923.
FT 13th Jan 2015 read more »
Ed Miliband announced last Sunday that the Labour Party is going to force a vote in Parliament on Wednesday (14th January) to fast track legislation which gives Ofgem, the Regulator, the power to force energy suppliers to cut their prices when wholesale costs fall, if firms don’t do it first. This gauntlet was thrown down after George Osborne placed energy at the centre of an early election campaign, calling for another investigation into prices and for suppliers to cut household bills and to pass on savings from falling oil prices. No doubt the Labour Party has been hoping for something like this since they gained the high ground with Ed Miliband’s own reset speech in September 2013, where he said the Labour Party would freeze energy prices, undertake a review of energy and put in place a tough regulator. The Labour Party has taken a lot of criticism over the last 18 months about their reset speech, in particular criticism that they were intervening too much in the market and undermining competition. In effect though, Osborne’s speech last week accepted that the thrust of the Labour Party argument and their placing energy at the centre of their campaign was right. So will, and should, there be cross-party support for the Regulator to be able to cut energy prices?
IGov 13th Jan 2015 read more »
A paper for the Edison Electric Institute, the US industry association, has warned that electricity utilities were facing “disruptive challenges” comparable to the way the fixed-line telephone industry was shaken up by mobile. The utilities worry that as more businesses and households use solar, wind and other sources to generate their own power, they will lose customers and revenues, while still bearing the costs of running the grid. The utilities would then have to charge higher rates, losing more customers, worsening their position further. In the industry, they call it the “death spiral”. European utilities have already been battered by weak demand and the EU’s support for renewable energy, and they have lost hundreds of billions of euros in market capitalisation. US utilities are likely to have to make radical changes if they are to avoid a similar fate. To understand the revolution sweeping through the US electricity industry, look at the Brooklyn branch of Whole Foods, the upmarket grocery chain. The lighting in its car park is powered by renewable energy, from solar panels on the roofs of the carports and wind turbines on the lampposts, with batteries to store enough power for five days of still, overcast weather. The store is the acme of trendy retailing, with vinyl albums next to the whetstone for sharpening knives, but brand image is not the main rationale for the investment, says Nick Blitterswyk, chief executive of Urban Green Energy, the company that provided the system. Whole Foods has saved about 20 per cent of the cost of connecting the lights up to the local grid, he says, and is getting what every customer wants: “Cheaper electricity without any sacrifice.”
FT 13th Jan 2015 read more »
France should build a new generation of nuclear reactors to replace the country’s ageing plants, Energy Minister Segolene Royal said on Tuesday, the first time a government member has clearly approved this option. France, the country most reliant on nuclear power, must decide in the next few years whether to continue down the nuclear route as about half of its 58 reactors will reach their designed 40-year age limit in the 2020s. Royal’s so-called energy transition bill, which is being reviewed by the Senate after parliament’s lower house passed a first version last year, aims to cut the share of nuclear energy in France’s electricity mix to 50 percent from 75 percent.
Reuters 13th Jan 2015 read more »
In its presentation of the latest statistics for 2014, Berlin-based think tank Agora Energiewende speaks of a “turnaround.” Has Germany’s energy transition truly left behind its troubled days, or are the experts a bit too hopefully celebrating a minor uptick? In their press release, Agora’s Patrick Graichen is quoted saying, “the trend has been broken.” The text provides an excellent overview of all the things there are to celebrate. However, we must refrain from cheerleading – a major cold spell this year could put us back in the same situation we were in last year, explaining a slight increase in carbon emissions as a minor uptick due to the weather. Some turnaround…
Renew Economy 14th Jan 2015 read more »
Within the next two years North Korea could have enough fissile material to build a nuclear arsenal of about 20 weapons, according to Siegfried S. Hecker, a senior fellow an affiliated member at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.
Business Insider 13th Jan 2015 read more »
DiaNuke.org interviewed the eminent environmentalist Vladimir Slivyak, whose group EcoDefense has been facing repression in Russia for exposing the lack of nuclear safety and environmental impacts. His report on the status of nuclear industry in Russia, prepared at the request of the African environmental group Earthlife, was published recently. Africa is also an important market that the Russian nuclear giant Atomsroyexport is eying. The Russian President in his recent visit to New Delhi, offered 21 more reactors to India. Why is the Russian nuclear industry in such a hurry when there is a global shift away from nuclear after Fukushima? Unfortunately, Russia hasn’t learned any lessons from Fukushima. Development of nuclear power industry remains the priority for Russian government. Although this development was slowing down a bit inside Russia, because of corruption and technical obstacles, the nuclear industry is well funded and has ambitious targets. One of them is to build a few dozen reactors outside Russia– “Rosatom” claims it has a so-called portfolio of new reactor orders in various countries worth $100 billion. This is not so much about making profit because usually foreign contracts are funded partly or in full from the Russian state budget. And investment return is planned within two-three decades or even longer. Also, this money is not going anywhere, it stays within Russia to feed governmental companies manufacturing reactor components. That helps to keep the industry alive.
Green World 13th Jan 2015 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Offshore windfarms have a growing role in cutting UK carbon emissions, but they’re expensive. We’ve selected five innovations that could help cut costs, from a new Royal Society journal special issue exploring the cutting edge of wind power. Cost-cutting innovations are important because a growing share of the UK’s electricity is generated by offshore windfarms. The UK has 4,042 megawatts of offshore wind capacity, more than any other country in the world. These windfarms supplied 3.6 per cent of the UK’s electricity in the 12 months to October 2014, a tripling in three years. The amount of electricity we get from offshore wind is expected to at least double by 2020.
Carbon Brief 13th Jan 2015 read more »
Renewables – wave
Japanese VIP visit to European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney is ‘warning’ to Scottish wave sector.
Scottish Energy News 14th Jan 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
A new study by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center finds that in all but 4 of the 50 largest cities in the U.S., installing a fully-financed 5 kilowatt solar panel system makes more financial sense than investing in a popular stock market index fund. Further, the same system would beat the costs of buying energy from local utilities in 42 of those 50 cities.
Climate Progress 13th Jan 2015 read more »
Western Isles Council has appointed consultants MAR (Scotland) Ltd to help set up the Outer Hebrides Energy Supply Company. The project is designed to help lower energy costs in the Outer Hebrides, where households experience the highest levels of fuel poverty in the UK. The Outer Hebrides Energy Supply Company is to be established as a standalone entity over the next couple of months.
Scottish Energy News 14th Jan 2015 read more »
The energy bills of the poorest 10 per cent of households have risen almost twice as much as those for others since 2010, according to research by the House of Commons Library. Labour, which commissioned the work, said it showed the need for the energy regulator Ofgem to be given the power to order gas and electricity firms to cut their charges when wholesale prices fall. The Opposition will propose fast-track legislation on such a power in the Commons today. The research found that the lowest 10 per cent of households on the income scale saw their electricity bills rise by 39.7 per cent between 2010 and 2013, compared to 7.5 per cent for the top 10 per cent and an average of 22.2 per cent. The ga s bills of the poorest group increased by 53.3 per cent, compared to 23.9 per cent for the top 10 per cent and 29.2 per cent for the average household. Campaigners say people in “fuel poverty”, defined as spending more than 10 per cent of their household income on fuel, are more likely to live in privately rented than privately owned or public housing, which are better insulated.
Independent 14th Jan 2015 read more »
The UK government has agreed to exclude Scotland from laws making it easier for fracking firms to drill for shale gas. The Infrastructure Bill currently going through Westminster is set to allow underground access in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not Scotland. The Scottish government, the Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish Green Party had opposed the bill which would apply to residential areas. Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the move made sense. Labour MP Tom Greatrex had lodged amendments to the bill requesting that full powers over shale gas exploration be given to the Scottish Parliament ahead of the general election in five months’ time. The coalition government did not back the suggestions but instead pledged to exclude Scotland from the impending legislation.
BBC 13th Jan 2015 read more »
The UK government has ignored one of the key recommendations of the Smith commission and rejected proposals to devolve the licensing of fracking projects to Holyrood. It has agreed, though, to exclude Scotland from proposals that allow fracking companies to drill for shale gas underneath private property.
Times 14th Jan 2015 read more »
Herald 14th Jan 2015 read more »