British taxpayers could be landed with a bill of up to £22 billion if a future government shut down EDF’s Hinkley Point nuclear power station before 2060, according to official documents. The “poison pill” clause is contained in unpublicised minutes submitted by officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to parliament last October. They say: “In certain, highly unlikely scenarios where there is a political shutdown of [Hinkley] by a UK, EU or international competent authority, payments could be up to around £22 billion excluding non-decommissioning operational costs that may be incurred after any shutdown.” David Lowry, a nuclear research consultant, said the clause offered evidence that the contract to build the Â£18 billion power station in Somerset was disastrous. “It’s clearly meant to make sure that the government can’t back out,” he said. “It shows all of the public interest is being transferred to a French electricity company with zero benefit to the UK taxpayer.”
Times 19th March 2016 read more »
The Hinkley nuclear power deal contains a “poison pill” which could leave taxpayers with a £22bn bill if a future UK government closed the plant before 2060, according to an official document seen by the Guardian. The huge liability shows Hinkley is a “terrible deal” for the UK public, according to critics, with the company also guaranteed three times today’s price for electricity for 35 years. The project has recently been battered by financial warnings and resignations at its prime backer EDF, although on Thursday France’s economics minister, Emmanuel Macron, said that the French state would bail the company out. The deal the UK g overnment has agreed with EDF, set out in an unpublicised “minute”, commits the British public to pay subsidies of up to about £40bn in real terms and provides state guarantees on nuclear waste disposal and insurance, while allowing the plant to begin producing electricity as late as 2033. A shutdown that triggers the “poison pill” compensation is not entirely within the control of the UK government but could also be forced by the EU or an international regulator such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to the document. Tom Burke at thinktank E3G, a former special adviser to three Conservative environment secretaries, said: “Why would a Conservative government want to buy 35 years of electricity ahead of time? They are supposed to be lieve in the market. But they have tied themselves in knots and now it is too embarrassing to untie it.” The UK government argues that new nuclear power is essential to provide large amounts of reliable, low-carbon energy. Prof Catherine Mitchell said: “Energy economics are changing rapidly and so the momentum is towards decentralised, smart and flexible energy systems. It is moving away from large, inflexible power plants like Hinkley. If it ever gets funded, it will be a white elephant before it is even finished and this government, with this £22bn ‘poison pill’, will have tied the next generation into paying for it, for no reason that I can understand. If it is simply political saving face, it really is pitiful.”
Guardian 18th March 2016 read more »
‘If the SoSIA is signed it will change the argument over Hinkley. Instead of being an argument about why we should kill this white elephant – which the government has comprehensively lost – it will become an argument about not being able to afford the bullets to kill the white elephant. A classic example of the government stealth tactics for getting away with bad decisions.’
Tom Burke 18th March 2016 read more »
Plans for to build a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C are back on track after the French Government promised to financially back firm EDF Energy. The new £18million nuclear plant will provide electricity for five million homes and created more than 25,000 jobs in the region. Part of the headquarters for EDF will be based in Bristol, and is expected to bring a massive boost to the city and the surrounding area. EDF Energy will be giving evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee next Wednesday to give an update on the situation to ministers.
Bristol Post 18th March 2016 read more »
Hinkley Point C, the controversial £18bn nuclear plant planned in south-west England, looks ever-more likely to go ahead after the French government vowed to bail out its main backer.The UK government is also making moves to reassure EDF its investment is safe. It has agreed to new provisions that includes what The Guardian describes as a £22bn “poison pill” for the taxpayer – a liability for losses should the plant be shut down by either a future government or international regulators in the next 35 years.
The Week 18th March 2016 read more »
Five Ways to power the UK that are far better than Hinkley.Energy policy expert Jonathan Gaventa, from the thinktank E3G, has come up with five better ways of powering the nation: Energy efficiency; wind turbines; solar; interconnectors; storage and flexibility. So why isn’t Hinkley dead already? Many energy policy experts are baffled. But veteran green campaigner Jonathan Porritt, who chaired the UK’s sustainable development commission for a decade, thinks he knows: “Hinkley is a deal that has nothing to do with market reality. Nothing to do with affordability, let alone with the ‘hard-working families’ that [energy secretary] Amber Rudd keeps bleating on about. And nothing to do with addressing our climate change responsibilities. “By contrast, it’s got everything to do with political leaders in three nations – the UK, France and China – all of which ‘need’ Hinkley Point to happen for grubby geopolitical interests of their own.”
Guardian 18th Mar 2016 read more »
EDF bosses to be grilled by MPs over Hinkley.
Burnham-on-sea.com 18th Mar 2016 read more »
ONE OF the two reactors at the Torness nuclear power station in East Lothian has been shutdown. The plant’s operators, EDF Energy, said the move was unplanned and came about after a routine maintenance inspection at the facility, near Dunbar.
Edinburgh Evening News 17th March 2016 read more »
Mock terrorist attack examines Sizewell B security. The exercise, which took place towards the end of last year but was only disclosed at this week’s meeting of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group (SSG), was instigated by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the UK nuclear safety and security agency, in conjunction with the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC). The CNC has a team of armed officers working on and off the nuclear site to deter or detect and respond to terrorist activity. However, despite a plea for more transparency, the scenario for the “terrorist attack” is being kept secret for security reasons although the ONR described it as “credible, challenging and well planned”.
Ipswich Star 18th March 2016 read more »
A CAMPAIGN group has claimed that radioactive waste has been transported “in secret” from the port of Scrabster, near Thurso, to Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (Hant) said the operation was carried out before the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) had given any information that could be open to public scrutiny, or before the UK Government had given a commitment about stationing an emergency towing vessel (ETV) at Stornoway to cover the west coast. Concern mounted after their counterparts in Cumbria said a 29-year-old nuclear fuel carrier MV Oceanic Pintail arrived in Barrow-in-Furness on March 14 with a cargo of “exotic fuels” – radioactive waste that originated in Dounreay. Yesterday the vessel was still moored near Barrow. Hant chairman Tor Justad told The National: “Onc e again a secret and dangerous transport of highly radioactive cargoes is being carried out without any public consultation or scrutiny.” A spokeswoman for the NDA said there was an “ongoing programme to defuel Dounreay” that started in 2001 and would continue until the 2020s. “With regard to the latest transports, the NDA published its proposals in a series of option papers dating from 2012 and carried out extensive engagement with local stakeholders,” she said. “Our priority at all times is to maintain the security of the fuel and ensure the public and our personnel are protected from harm. For those reasons, we are unable to provide information that could compromise our ongoing programme to defuel the site.”
The National 19th March 2016 read more »
A coalition of five non-governmental organizations warned today that a shipment of weapons-grade plutonium scheduled to depart the port of the Japanese Tokai nuclear station in Ibaraki prefecture this coming weekend highlights the failure, but also the proliferation risks, of the current Japanese nuclear policy. A cargo of 331kg of plutonium will be loaded on to the Pacific Egret, an armed British nuclear transport ship, prior to departure under armed escort to the United States. It will be the largest shipment of separated plutonium since 1.8 tons of plutonium was delivered to Japan by controversial Akatsuki-maru in 1992. The two month voyage to the Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station will then see the plutonium dumped at the Department of Energy Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, which is responsible for the shipment, has identified that storage in Japan poses a security risk justifying its removal. The organizations, Citizen Nuclear Information Center (Japan); Green Action (Japan); Savannah River Site Watch (U.S.); CORE (England), and Greenpeace, said in a statement they condemn the shipment as a dangerous distraction from the major problem in Japan which is its overall nuclear energy policy, where over 9 tons of plutonium remains stockpiled and there are plans to produce many tons more during the coming decade. The representatives of the five organizations have worked together over the past quarter century against Japan`s plutonium and nuclear fuel cycle program.
Pan Orient News 18th March 2016 read more »
Stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium big enough to make FIFTY nuclear bombs to be shipped to US from Japan after it was loaned for research.
Daily Mail 18th March 2016 read more »
Toxic waste is being transported through North Ayrshire towns on trains to the horror of CND campaigners. The revelations emerged just after the five-year anniversary of the Fukishima disaster – the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl accident almost 30 years ago. Now anti-nuclear campaigners and one Holyrood candidate believe the risk of transporting the hazardous material through towns has the potential for disaster. Two to three flasks of the waste are being transported through Irvine, Kilwinning and Stevenston between Hunterston and Sellafield weekly. Veronika Tudhope, Scottish Green Party candidate for the West of Scotland, became aware of the practice when she moved to live close to one of the affected lines.
Daily Record 18th March 2016 read more »
The UK government has launched the initial phase of its small modular reactor (SMR) competition with a call for initial expressions of interest. It has also announced that an SMR Delivery Roadmap will be published later this year. Last November, the government announced plans to invest at least £250 million ($352 million) over the next five years in an “ambitious” nuclear research and development program to include a competition to identify the best value SMR design for the UK. In his 2016 Budget speech on 16 March, British Chancellor George Osborne announced, “We’re now inviting bids to help develop the next generation of small modular reactors”. Yesterday, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) officially launched the first phase of the competition by publishing a request for expressions of interest. DECC said the objective of the initial phase is “to gauge market interest among technology developers, utilities, potential investors and funders in developing, commercializing and financing SMRs in the UK.” It said this stage would be a “structured dialogue” between the government and participants.
World Nuclear News 18th March 2016 read more »
Chemical Engineer 18th March 2016 read more »
The First male Daichi nuclear site worker had an official total dose of 50mSv. “I suffered damages to kidneys, heart, etc. — all important organs in my body.” The second male Daichi nuclear site worker had an official total dose of 56mSv. He said “I went to such a severe accident site and worked at the risk of my life, but all I’ve got was this cruel reality and treatment!” I suffered thyroid damage, and had all my stomach removed. The third male Daichi nuclear site worker had an official total dose of just 19.2mSv. He was diagnosed as having acute myelogenous leukemia. My doctor said that “70% of the cells in your bone marrow were occupied by cancer. Without any treatment, you will die for sure.”
European Weekly News 18th March 2016 read more »
Inside the nuclear fusion machine that could give us unlimited energy: Video reveals giant reactor with magnets the size of a 747.
Daily Mail 18th March 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 18th March 2016 read more »
A majority of Americans oppose using nuclear energy for the first time, according to a new poll. Fifty-four percent dislike nuclear energy in the Gallup survey released Friday, with 44 percent who support using it.
The Hill 18th March 2016 read more »
Independent 18th March 2016 read more »
Letter Brian Quail: In spite of a blackout on the media, a historic David v Goliath struggle is taking place which effects every person on earth. One of the smallest countries in the world – the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) – is suing all nine nuclear-armed states at the International Criminal Court (ICJ) for their failure to implement the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), which they signed in 1968. Under Article VI, all signatories agreed, “to work in good faith for the elimination of nuclear weapons”. However, far from eliminating them, the nuclear-armed states are all at present engaged in modernizing their weapons.
Herald 19th March 2016 read more »
The US Air Force is investigating 14 guards at a nuclear weapons site after they were accused of using illegal drugs, including cocaine.
BBC 18th March 2016 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News: includes link to video on Heat Batteries and campaign to stop VAT increase on solar gets going.
Microgen Scotland 18th March 2016 read more »
Ethically minded individuals looking for potential returns of as much as 9.9% a year, and who are prepared to take some risks with their money, are being offered the chance to invest in a range of “green” schemes – one of which has been praised by David Cameron, no less. They include a £4.4m solar scheme just a few miles down the road from the prime minister’s constituency home in Oxfordshire; an organic farm and business park; and what is described as the UK’s first ever “council solar bond”. Across the country there are growing numbers of community-owned and run businesses, including many green energy schemes, where those who are supportive of the cause can invest and hopefully earn a bank-beating return.
Guardian 19th March 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
While tidal stream technology is seen as closer to commercial viability, tidal lagoon (tidal barrage) projects arguably could make an even bigger impact on electricity supply networks in the nearer term. The UK’s decision to give the planning and development green light to the £1 billion 320MW Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project in June 2015 was hailed by Tidal Power Lagoon (TPL) chief executive Mark Shorrock as a potential “game-changer”. For once, it was not necessarily an over-zealous use of the phrase. As he noted, with a 120-year lifespan, the ability to produce predictable amounts of energy for 14 hours a day every day, the creating of a large local supply chain (and with it a significant volume of jobs), and by using what he describes as a “zero carbon energy infrastructure”, this and the other, much larger, tidal barrage projects planned by TPL across five other sites in the UK could provide up to eight per cent of the UK’s electricity supply alone. The next two proposed projects by TLP at Cardiff and Newport, for which planning applications are expected in 2017 and 2018 respectively, alone represent some 4000MW of lagoon power and £10 billion of capital investment. However, just months after the Swansea Bay project was given the green light, it was put on hold for a year, reportedly in part because of negotiations with Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) over the contract for difference (the subsidy the Government will pay for each unit of renewable energy produced by the lagoon).
Renewable Energy Focus 18th March 2016 read more »
POLITICIANS in Fife have said they fear the local impact of the closure of Longannet power station at Kincardine has been forgotten, following the Scottish Government’s rejection of a £9 million regeneration plan. More than 200 jobs will be lost at the plant itself, but it is thought the closure will hit more than 1,000 others working in the supply chain. Around a dozen local companies will be directly affected along with almost 200 across Scotland.
The National 19th March 2016 read more »