Hitachi is in talks with the Japanese and UK governments about potential state financing for the multibillion-pound nuclear power station it is planning to build in Wales. Government equity, loans and credit guarantees are among the options being explored by the Japanese conglomerate and officials in London and Tokyo, according to people briefed on the matter. Any UK public finance for the power plant at Wylfa in Anglesey would represent a major change in policy; the British government has for years resisted the idea of exposing taxpayers’ money to the heavy expense and high risks involved in building nuclear reactors. Philip Hammond, UK chancellor, is in Japan this week, and Greg Clark, business secretary, is expected to visit next week, with the Hitachi nuclear project high on the agenda for both. Following a meeting with government officials and business leaders in Tokyo on Thursday, Mr Hammond that financing for the nuclear power project in Wales could total around £12bn, of which a portion would be contributed by Japan. Negotiations are continuing but bankers indicated the Japanese contribution could be on the order of ¥1tn ($8.5bn). Horizon says the cost of Wylfa will not be determined until its reactor design is approved by regulators and supply chain plans firm up but the company is aiming for it to be less than the £18bn price tag for Hinkley.
FT 16th Dec 2016 read more »
The Government could invest billions of pounds in the Hitachi-owned Horizon project to build a new nuclear plant on Anglesey, under plans being discussed with Japan. The proposal, which could see the UK fund 25pc of the project alongside significant loans from the Japanese government, is one of a number of options under consideration as the two countries seek to help Hitachi finance the plant. Chancellor Philip Hammond, who met business leaders and Japanese officials in Tokyo on Thursday, said that Japanese government-related financing for the project could total £12bn but that negotiations were still on-going. The likely cost of the proposed twin-reactor development at Wylfa has not been disclosed but a source close to the negotiations insisted a Reuters report that put the figure at £19bn was wide of the mark. Horizon is under pressure to make the project cheaper than EDF’s £18bn Hinkley Point plant, which is reliant on a 35-year subsidy contract from UK consumers and has faced widespread criticism over its high cost. Horizon has however made clear that the same funding structure used by French state-controlled EDF for Hinkley will not be sufficient to secure private investment in Wylfa. The Nikkei, which first reported the details of the possible Government-backed financing arrangements, said Hitachi might eventually shoulder about 10pc of the cost of the project.
Telegraph 15th Dec 2016 read more »
The government is in talks with Japanese officials about taking a direct stake in a new nuclear power station in north Wales that could amount to several billions of pounds. The project to build two new reactors at an existing site at Wylfa, on Anglesey, is being developed by Hitachi. During a trip by Philip Hammond, the chancellor, to Tokyo yesterday, Japanese officials said that the country’s government and Hitachi would provide about 1 trillion yen (£6.8 billion) of financing for the Welsh station through loans and loan guarantees. Sources familiar with the talks told The Times that the UK government was considering taking a direct equity stake in the project, run by Hitachi’s UK subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power, of up to 25 per cent.
The Times 16th Dec 2016 read more »
Hitachi Ltd and the Japanese government have reached a deal worth around 1 trillion yen ($8.5 billion) to fund a UK nuclear power plant project, according to a government official. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Development Bank of Japan will provide financing for the project, the official told Reuters. The funding plans are a boost for the project, one of several new nuclear plants planned in the UK, which wants to replacing its ageing fleet of atomic reactors. Hitachi’s Horizon unit plans to construct at least 5.4 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity across two sites in Britain. The funds will be provided for the first plant planned at Wylfa Newydd in Wales.
STV 15th Dec 2016 read more »
Plans for a £12bn nuclear power plant in Wales has been a focus for talks between the UK chancellor and the Japanese government. Philip Hammond said he hoped more discussions mean “we are able to move forward in the new year”. Japanese-owned Horizon Nuclear Power wants to submit planning applications for the Wylfa Newydd reactors on Anglesey in 2017. Energy Secretary Greg Clark will fly out to Japan for more talks next week. Talking to reporters in Tokyo, Mr Hammond said the companies involved in the Wylfa Newydd bid had been “trying to put together a financing package that meets our requirements”. “We are very grateful to the Japanese system for the way it has engaged with our particular needs and think we are making good progress.”
BBC 16th Dec 2016 read more »
The government is considering offering financial assistance through state-affiliated banks for projects won by Japanese companies for nuclear power plant construction in Britain, sources said Thursday. Under study is a plan for the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Development Bank of Japan to invest in and provide loans to local companies that build and operate nuclear power stations, the sources said. The Japanese government hopes to establish a framework for financial assistance totaling about ¥1 trillion within 2017 also by asking major Japanese and British private financial institutions to participate in the scheme, according to the sources. Visiting British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond told reporters in Tokyo on Thursday that Britain is holding talks with the Japanese government, Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. on a financial support framework for nuclear power plant construction projects in his country. British Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Greg Clark plans to visit Japan as early as next week and hold meetings with officials of Hitachi, Toshiba and the JBIC. Under the envisaged scheme, the Japanese government expects to offer financial assistance to Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd., a unit of Hitachi, and NuGeneration Ltd., which is under the wing of Toshiba.
Japan Times 16th Dec 2016 read more »
A trillion yen (£6.79bn) funding package looks set to be agreed between the Japanese Government and Hitachi to help fund Wylfa Newydd. Sources say that negotiators are closing in on the deal which would be one of biggest steps forward for the new nuclear power station project on Anglesey, which will cost around £10bn to develop.
Wales Online 15th Dec 2016 read more »
As Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark fielded questions from the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee, edie round-ups seven key talking points that look set to form integral roles in the highly-anticipated industrial strategy. Much of the UK’s low-carbon generation, more than half in fact, has derived from nuclear sources. The approval of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in Somerset has proved that nuclear will play a big part in the UK’s energy mix, despite concerns from green groups. The £18bn cost issue aside, Clark claimed that EDF, the company constructing the project, should seek him out if they had any Brexit issues in a similar vein to Nissan’s worries. The construction of Hinkley Point C will create an estimated 25,000 jobs, with completion scheduled for 2025. It will provide 7% of Britain’s electricity, enough power for six million homes, for almost 60 years. With an agreed strike price of £92.50/MWh, the 3.2GW facility has a 35-year tariff that could see costs spiral to £82bn if not monitored carefully.
Edie 15th Dec 2016 read more »
More than 1,000 workers are now on the site of Hinkley Point C in Somerset. After years of delays, uncertainty and political wrangling, construction of Britain’s first nuclear station for nearly 30 years is powering ahead. Construction Director Rob Jordan says it will be delivered on time and on budget.
BBC 15th Dec 2016 read more »
Areva, the struggling French nuclear group, received a firm €500m offer for a 10 per cent stake in a new nuclear fuel company that will be split off from its parent in a wider reshaping of the French nuclear industry. Areva is preparing to split off its uranium mining and nuclear fuel activities into NewCo as part of a government-backed rescue after the group was forced to the brink of collapse under the weight of its own debt this year. Earlier this year it was agreed that the other half of Areva, the troubled reactor business, would be taken over by EDF, the larger French nuclear group, in a deal that values that part of the business at about €2.5bn. Areva did not say on Thursday who had made the offer for 10 per cent of NewCo. But a group comprising Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Japan Nuclear Fuel had previously shown an interest in taking a stake, however, according to people close to the situation. EDF, the other major company in the sector, lost more than a tenth of its stock market value on Thursday after it warned of lower 2017 earnings becasue of an expected drop in power prices.
FT 15th Dec 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 15th Dec 2016 read more »
About a decade ago, several Georgia utilities (Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG, and Dalton Utilities) decided to build two Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, an untested design that has still yet to operate anywhere in the world. Georgia Power claimed there wouldn’t be the same problems that plagued the nuclear power industry previously. But the so-called “nuclear renaissance” with more than 30 new reactors originally proposed has now fizzled. Only four are under construction: two at Vogtle and two at SCANA’s V.C. Summer in South Carolina. Both are delayed and billions over budget. The original Vogtle estimate of $14 billion has risen to almost $22 billion.
Creative Loafing 13th Dec 2016 read more »
The Scottish Government have published a strategy governing the long-term management of higher activity radioactive waste in Scotland. The Higher Activity Waste (HAW) Implementation Strategy fulfils a commitment made in Scotland’s Higher Activity Radioactive Waste Policy, in 2011. The strategy does not deviate from previous Scottish Government policy. It also does not set out to identify new sites, with long-term management of higher activity radioactive waste continuing to take place in near-surface facilities. A process for developing a full siting strategy is expected to begin after 2030, with construction expected to begin on disposal facilities post-2070. Publication follows an extensive public consultation and work with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), site stakeholder groups and the Scottish Councils Committee on Radioactive Substances (SCCORS). The strategy will help improve work already underway to manage radioactive waste in Scotland. Key features of the strategy include an illustrative long-term timeline and a new research statement. The research statement commits the Scottish Government and delivery partners to review international concepts and emerging technologies, whilst making best use of the radioactive waste knowledge sharing R&D networks. As part of this work, we will seek advice from our Chief Scientific Adviser and the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. The strategy also commits the Scottish Government to working closely with business development partners and Skills Development Scotland to help review and enhance Scotland’s decommissioning capabilities.
Scottish Government 15th Dec 2016 read more »
Radiation & Health
The Lifetime Study of Japanese A-bomb survivors is a monumental fraud which deliberately excludes controls for being ‘too healthy’, writes Chris Busby. Put them back in, and you find that low levels of radiation cause over 100 times more cancer than they are ‘meant’ to, creating a silent global massacre of the innocent. Under the Euratom treaty, the entire nuclear industry must now be ‘rejustified’.
Ecologist 15th Dec 2016 read more »
The UN’s deputy leader has warned of “the nightmare scenario” of a hacking attack on a nuclear power plant’s computer system that causes the uncontrolled release of radiation. Deputy secretary-general Jan Eliasson told a Security Council meeting on Thursday that extremists and “vicious non-state groups” are actively seeking weapons of mass destruction “and these weapons are increasingly accessible”. He said “non-state actors” can already create mass disruption using cyber technologies. Mr Eliasson said there are legitimate concerns about the security of stockpiles of radioactive material suitable for making nuclear weapons that are outside international regulation.
Belfast Telegraph 15th Dec 2016 read more »
Heating frustrations large and small have led a handful of Russian cities to consider the nuclear option – and the Dollezhal Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering, known as NIKIET, has gamed out the first strike. NIKIET’s chief engineer, Yury Kuznetsov, speaking at the “Forum Dialog” hosted by state nuclear corporation Rosatom last month, laid out a plan for small reactors in cities to supply heat and power by 2020 or 2030. The institute’s feasibility study,summarized this week by World Nuclear News, came in response to a directive from Moscow to improve district heating countrywide. Fifty percent of the residents of Arkhangelsk in Russia’s Northwest reportedly want the reactors, Kuznetsov said. He added that the reactor would also work well in Murmansk and 12 other cities to heat dwellings and keep the lights on during long, dark winters.
Bellona 15th Dec 2016 read more »
Russia has put into operation its first near-surface final nuclear waste repository for solid low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste, National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management (NO RAO) has announced. The repository, which is in Novouralsk, received its first waste shipment – 13 packages of waste totalling 47 cubic metres – between 28 November and 2 December. This is class 3 waste, but the facility will start taking class 4 waste next year. Such waste includes, for example, clothing, air filters and packaging.
World Nuclear News 15th Dec 2016 read more »
South Korea’s energy minister Joo Hyung-hwan discussed cooperation on British nuclear energy projects in a meeting in London on Thursday with Britain’s business minister Greg Clark, South Korea’s energy ministry said in a statement. The statement from Seoul didn’t disclose details of discussions on nuclear energy, but said the two countries will hold a follow-up meeting in the first half of next year. A British government statement issued said the two countries underlined a commitment at the meeting to keep working together on science, innovation and technology, without mentioning nuclear power.
Reuters 16th Dec 2016 read more »
An overwhelming majority in Germany’s parliament has given the go-ahead for a reponsibility-splitting deal to clean up nuclear waste. It’s the final chapter in a decades-long story. The deal will require four of Germany’s largest energy providers to pay more than 23 billion euros ($24.1 billion) into a state-administered fund to deal with the aftermath of nuclear power in return for legal immunity. The deal was passed with the votes of the ruling coalition of the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Green Party by a margin of 581 to 58.
Deutsche Welle 15th Dec 2016 read more »
US – WIPP
New Mexico inspectors did not uncover any red flags in their recent review of the federal government’s underground nuclear waste repository as the facility prepares to reopen after a radiation leak, regulators said Wednesday. The state Environment Department’s team of inspectors focused on issues dating back to a 2014 fire involving one of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s mining trucks and the separate leak that contaminated much of the underground disposal area, forcing the dump’s indefinite closure. Department Secretary Butch Tongate described the review as thorough, saying the state is responsible for ensuring the U.S. Energy Department and the contractor that manages the repository have addressed numerous violations stemming from the incidents and that corrective actions were taken.
Phys.org 14th Dec 2016 read more »
South Korea comes a step closer to LIMITLESS energy: Country’s fusion reactor sustains plasma for more than a minute in a new world record.
Daily Mail 15th Dec 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Solar power is becoming the cheapest way to generate electricity, according to leading analysts. Data produced by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) showed the cost of solar in 58 lower-income countries – including China, Brazil and India – had fallen to about a third of levels in 2010 and was now slightly cheaper than wind energy. In August, an auction to supply electricity in Chile achieved the record low price of $29.10 (£23.30) per megawatt-hour – a record low price and about half the price of a coal competitor. “Renewable energy will beat any other technology in most of the world without subsidies,” Mr Liebreich said. A BNEF report, called Climatescope, found China, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa, and India were the emerging markets most likely to attract investors in low-carbon energy projects. Solar power has proved a godsend for remote islands such as Ta’u, part of America Samoa, in the South Pacific. Once reliant on imports of vast amounts of diesel, it is now powered completely by 5,000 solar panels and 60 Tesla batteries.
Independent 16th Dec 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Atlantis Resources, the tidal energy giant, has confirmed it is going ahead with the next phase of its MeyGen ‘subsea power station’ in the Pentland Firth off Caithness. This next phase of the MeyGen site development – ‘Project Stroma’ – is an important step in demonstrating progress towardsa lower cost of energy for tidal stream.
Scottish Energy News 16th Dec 2016 read more »
Renewables – small wind
Edinburgh-based Swift TG Energy (Scotland) has secured a £420,000 grant to further develop its innovative new vertical axis wind turbine – the WindSurf. The Innovate UK grant will be used to help complete the research and development stage of the project, and finalise the manufacture of two full-scale prototype turbines. Swift TG Energy (Scotland) is a home-grown technology company focussing on renewable energies. The Windsurf turbine – which has been described as ‘the next generation of urban wind power technology’ – aims to overcome a number of the technical and economic challenges that arise when generating power from the complex airflows found in urban and brownfield spaces.
Scottish Energy News 16th Dec 2016 read more »
Renewables – onshore wind
The Thrive Renewables fund has raised £7.7 million in four weeks to build two new onshore windfarms in Scotland with a combined capacity of 11MW. Once built, these will be able to generate enough electricity for more than 8,500 homes. In addition, Bristol-based Thrive has a pipeline of 20MW of new wind projects and 15MW of solar PV which will include both community ground mounted and commercial roof sites. More than a third of Thrive’s existing portfolio is in Scotland, including a major contribution to the construction of a three turbine, 7MW wind farm near Kirkcaldy and a 50% a share in a three turbine, 6MW wind farm development in West Lothian.
Scottish Energy News 16th Dec 2016 read more »
On Tuesday the US Environmental Protection Agency released its study concluding that hydraulic fracturing can impact drinking water at each stage in the shale gas production process. In this guest post, professors Peter Strachan and Alex Russell assess the case for fracking in the UK against six “stress tests” and conclude that it fails in each case. They argue that it’s time for the UK to learn the lessons of the US and Fraxit now. Plans for onshore shale gas extraction – or rather high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) or fracking – are proving to be somewhat explosive in the UK. Politically there is a north south divide on the wisdom of engaging with fracking, with the Conservative controlled south hell bent on pushing it at all costs and the Scottish National Party (SNP) north dancing a ‘dinna ken’ highland jig around the issue, much to the chagrin of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. Following the publication of six reports on 8 November the Scottish Government has now announced that it will launch a consultation in January 2017, with a final decision likely to be reached in the second half of 2017. At a recent meeting at Westminster of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas meeting six “stress tests” were discussed on which a decision should logically be based.
Drill or Drop 15th Dec 2016 read more »