Insider Media Breakfast 20th Jan 2016, Businesses and organisations across the South West have welcomed the historic deal that secured Chinese investment in Hinkley Point C. The agreement between EDF and China General Nuclear Corporation will enable construction of the UK’s first nuclear power plant in a generation. With some pre-development work already complete at the Hinkley site, the construction project is due to start in earnest very soon, subject to a final investment decision. The project could be worth an estimated £50bn to the South West economy, so is the region geared up to make the most of it? Insider’s breakfast debate will gather together key stakeholders involved in the project to discuss what lies ahead and how we create the infrastructure to support the thousands of people that will be involved.
Insider Media 18th Dec 2015 read more »
Allan Jeffery: As EDF considers signing the final investment deal contracts with China and the British Government on Hinkley C, will the management listen to their employee shareholders? The Hinkley Point C deal, for EDF to build two French EPR nuclear reactors in Somerset, has become more and more financially toxic. So much so, the EAS, (EDF’s employee shareholders), are saying this deal could spell doom for EDF. They quote, “The EAS ask the management to stop this risky project whose financial risks are too big for our company and which could put EDF’s very survival at risk!” As yet none of this type of EPR reactor has been built and is generating electricity anywhere in the world!
Western Morning News 17th Dec 2015 read more »
A firm has secured a Wylfa Newydd contract to check the weather and local airborne salt levels. Environmental planning specialist Caulmert is investigating weather conditions and airborne salt concentrations at the site of the proposed Wylfa Newydd power station on Anglesey.
Daily Post 17th Dec 2015 read more »
Nukes vs Climate
Many climate activists have decried the COP21 climate agreement as woefully inadequate but there was nevertheless at least one victory at the climate conference: Nuclear energy did not win center stage in Paris, despite the efforts of its high-profile boosters. The challenge at stake in Paris – the fate of the earth – meant that realism was the only option. As Greenpeace adviser Jan Haverkamp has pointed out, few delegations to the climate conference viewed nuclear energy as a long-term option for their countries. Market forces, it was generally agreed, would leave nuclear in the dust, swallowed up by the ballooning costs necessary for additional safety measures in an insecure world. Long construction times would only add to nuclear energy’s growing status as a pariah in the financial world. Meanwhile, renewable energy just continues to get cheaper.
Truthout 17th Dec 2015 read more »
Nuclear Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R): Applying the lessons of Fukushima in the context of the implementation of the Basic Safety Standards (BSS) Directive. During the Post-Fukushima European Nuclear Safety Stress Tests, Civil Society (CS) has drawn the attention of EU and national authorities to the urgent necessity to update and rescale the existing provisions of EP&R in the EU as a component of an in-depth nuclear safety review, a key challenge here being achieving the practical implementation of EP&R provisions at European and National levels. In December 2013, the European Commission completed a first appraisal of the current state of Nuclear EP&R provisions in Europe (the ENCO study – “Review of current off-site nuclear emergency preparedness and response arrangements in EU member states and neighbouring countries“). NTW has carried out (2013-2014) a review of existing EP&R provisions at EU and national levels and published a report synthesising the CS concerns and expectations and a position paper summarising the findings and recommendations for the scaling up of the European capacity to cope with a large scale accident such as Fukushima. The revised Basic Safety Standards (BSS) Directive (2013/59/Euratom) involves the updating of the EP&R provisions by 6th February 2018 and offers a real opportunity for improving the current situation.
Nuclear Transparency Watch 11th Dec 2015 read more »
Europe – Radwaste
The European Commission has started an effort called E-Track (Energy – Transparency Centre of Knowledge) for the promotion and enhancement of public participation in the implementation of energy policies. The project is a joint initiative from the Directorate General for Energy (DG ENER) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The area of radioactive waste management was selected as the E-Track pilot project.
Nuclear Transparency Watch 28th Nov 2015 read more »
DECC has just announced that it is cutting financial support to solar. This follows on from Amber Rudd’s ‘reset’ speech; the Chancellor’s Spending Review ; the 2ndcapacity auction which continues to primarily support existing fossil fuels; and this week’s vote by MPs to allow fracking under national parks. Together this has left British energy policy based on nuclear power and gas – neither of which will come through under current, extremely expensive policies. Two brilliant blogs: one by Damian Carrington and the other byAlan Whitehead both show the total lack of logic in GB energy policy if GB wants a secure, affordable or low cost energy system, never mind an energy system to fulfil the needs of GB obligations under theParis Agreement. Compare this with the US which has just announced the new federal tax credit support. Or at a meeting in Berlin on 16 December to discuss post COP21, with amongst other the German Chief negotiator to Paris. German policy is all about how to move from words to actions; about working together – within Germany, within Europe and within the world; and how to bring society along with the needs of the planet (there will be another blog on this shortly).
IGov 18th Dec 2015 read more »
Two headlines sum up the vehemently anti-green agenda that the Conservative Government is pursuing days after Prime Minister David Cameron said in Paris that “instead of making excuses tomorrow to our children and grandchildren, we should be taking action against climate change today.” The first on page eight of the Guardian newspaper states: “Warning of 18,000 job losses as solar subsidies cut” the second is underneath stating “fracking industry given boost with English exploration licenses.” We need to be clear about this: the government is ideologically undermining the renewable energy industry and promoting dirty fracking, no matter the consequences for its commitments on climate change. Earlier this week, I blogged about how the Government was now undertaking a U-turn to allow fracking in the UK’s most precious landscapes, such as National Parks. Yesterday, the Government followed up this move by slashing the subsidies to the solar industry by 65 per cent. The Government’s own impact assessment calculates that some 18,700 jobs out of a total workforce of 32,000 could be lost due to the subsidy cut. This will mean a massive 5.2GW less solar deployed by 2020, with nearly one million fewer installations before then.
Price of Oil 18th Dec 2015 read more »
The former Conservative minister could be sued by shareholders of a collapsed business that he chaired over claims that directors misrepresented the company Tim Yeo, the former Conservative minister, could be sued by shareholders of a collapsed green energy business that he chaired over claims that directors misrepresented the company’s position.
Times 19th Dec 2015 read more »
Sweden – radwaste
The application for construction of a used nuclear fuel encapsulation plant and repository in Sweden is now complete, the Land and Environment Court in Stockholm has decided. It will now publish the application and proceed with the review process. Sweden’s radioactive waste management company Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB (SKB) submitted its application to build the country’s first repository for used nuclear fuel, together with a plant to encapsulate the fuel prior to disposal, to Sweden’s Radiation Safety Authority Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten, SSM) in March 2011. Sweden’s used nuclear fuel is currently under temporary storage at the interim storage facility (Clab) in Oskarshamn. SKB plans to build a used fuel repository at Forsmark in Östhammars municipality. The method that has been developed involves first encapsulating the fuel in copper canisters, which are then sealed and placed in a system of tunnels about 500 metres deep in the solid bedrock. Here they will be embedded in Bentonite clay. SKB’s application has since been examined by SSM and the Land and Environment Court, who since its submission have requested additional information to support the application. The court will assess the application under Sweden’s Environmental Code, while SSM will examine it under the country’s Nuclear Activities Act. With the Land and Environment Court’s decision that the application is now complete, the application will be published. Copies will be circulated for consideration and comment to the municipalities of Oskarshamn and Östhammars, environmental organizations, the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste and regulatory authorities. According to the current timetable of the Land and Environment Court, the application will be released in January and the main hearing on it will take place between October and December 2016.
World Nuclear News 18th Dec 2015 read more »
James Cromwell, the 75-year-old film and television actor has been arrested for his part in a protest power station which is being built in upstate New York.
Telegraph 19th Dec 2015 read more »
California’s lieutenant governor on Friday directed the State Lands Commission to draw up a plan for a thorough environmental review of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon power plant, the state’s last operational nuclear power plant.
Reuters 19th Dec 2015 read more »
Italy’s Enel agreed on Friday to sell its 66 percent stake in the main Slovak power utility Slovenske Elektrarne to a privately-held Czech-Slovak energy investment group EPH for a preliminary price of 750 million euros ($812.70 million).
Reuters 18th Dec 2015 read more »
FT 18th Dec 2015 read more »
Although units 1 and 2 of the Sendai nuclear power plant in Japan’s Kagoshima prefecture have passed new safety standards and are the only reactors in the country so far to have restarted, operator Kyushu Electric Power Company has applied to the regulator to make additional modifications to increase safety further.
World Nuclear News 18th Dec 2015 read more »
Swiss power company BKW said it submitted an official request to shut down its Muehleberg nuclear plant to the environment and energy ministry on Friday. Muehleberg should be taken off the grid by December 2019 at the latest, BKW said, confirming previous statements. The decision to close the 43-year-old site was made after a heated debate in Switzerland over the plant’s fate. BKW had sought improvements required by the Swiss regulator following a court battle to shut it down over safety concerns.
Reuters 18th Dec 2015 read more »
The United States maintains a modern arsenal of about 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), and Strategic Bombers. The Departments of Defense and Energy requested approximately $23 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 to maintain and upgrade these systems, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). CBO estimates that nuclear forces will cost $348 billion between FY 2015 and FY 2024. Three independent estimates put the expected total cost over the next 30 years at as much as $1 trillion. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work testified to the House Armed Services Committee on June 25 that “modernizing and sustaining” the nuclear arsenal will cost an average of $18 billion per year between 2021 and 2035 in FY 2016 dollars. When combined with the cost to sustain the current arsenal as the new systems are built, this will roughly double spending on nuclear weapons from the current level of approximately 3 percent of the overall defense budget to about 7 percent, Work said
Arms Control Association (accessed) 19th Dec 2015 read more »
Renewables – Solar
Energy and climate change select committee chair Angus MacNeil has slammed yesterday’s cuts to both the feed-in tariff and Renewables Obligation in a letter addressed to energy secretary Amber Rudd. The letter, MacNeil states, has been sent to “express concern” over the recent announcements. MacNeil says that while the government has taken on board “some of the concerns” expressed by the industry throughout the consultation process, the committee remains worried over the impact of the policy decisions, most of which were set out by the government’s own impact assessment. MacNeil has warned that the ramifications of the policy changes will be wide and that it has caused “alarming” damage to investor confidence in the UK renewables sector.
Solar Portal 18th Dec 2015 read more »
Express & Star 18th Dec 2015 read more »
Reuters 18th Dec 2015 read more »
Members of the community energy sector have welcomed the return of pre-accreditation as part of the government’s changes to solar subsidies, but have expressed concerns over the long-term impact of the consultation outcome. The ability to pre-accredit under the feed-in tariff was removed in September this year after the government claimed it was accelerating costs brought about by higher than projected deployment. However, it has been reinstated to support deployment under cost controlling caps due in 2016. Peter Andrews of Bath and West Community Energy said: “When we create a financial model to show to our investors, [pre-accreditation means] we can have some confidence in the numbers we give. Without accreditation, we had no idea. If you only know what you’re going to get when it’s built, you can’t expect people in the community to invest without knowing, so obviously that will help.” Despite the return of pre-accreditation, community energy leaders have added their voices to those of installers and other figures in the renewables sector, all of whom have expressed various concerns over the new regime. Emma Bridge, chief executive of Community Energy England, said: “The re-introduction of pre-accreditation for rooftop solar schemes over 50kW is welcome but overall we are very disappointed by the outcome of this consultation and the prospects for the community energy sector.
Solar Portal 18th Dec 2015 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News.
MicrogenScotland 18th Dec 2015 read more »
Customers on prepayment energy meters would be able to save up to £250 by switching supplier if tariffs were as competitively priced as those available to households paying by direct debit, the competition watchdog has found. Prepayment customers, who tend to be less well-off households and those in rented accommodation, pay in advance for their gas and electricity rather than after it has been supplied. As part of an investigation into the energy market, the Competition and Markets Authority said energy suppliers faced “technical limitations” that limit their ability to innovate by offering suitable tariffs to these customers.
Guardian 16th Dec 2015 read more »
Sharma’s company, Carbon Clean Solutions, is backed by £3.4m UK government funding, has a laboratory at Imperial College London and aims to make capturing carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels affordable. The company’s technology – a special chemical – is currently being evaluated at the world’s biggest carbon capture test site in Norway and by companies in Europe, India and the US. Making carbon capture and storage (CCS) work is seen as vital by both the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the UK’s official advisers, theCommittee on Climate Change. Halting global warming without CCS will be twice as costly, they say. But the UK’s Conservative government recently cancelled its £1bn CCS demonstration competition, despite an election manifesto pledge backing it and shortly before a global agreement on climate change was agreed in Paris.
Guardian 18th Dec 2015 read more »