The future of a multi-billion-pound nuclear power development in West Cumbrian has been thrown into doubt by the company behind the plans. It had been hoped Moorside would bring more than 20,000 jobs to the region.
ITV 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Toshiba is scaling back ambitions for its nuclear business, saying construction costs have increased since the 2011 accident at Fukushima-Daiichi because of the imposition of stricter safety standards in the US. The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif) said on 31 January 207 that costs had increased for equipment, facilities and materials to meet the new standards, with construction periods also extended, leading to higher personnel costs. Total construction costs rose to “substantially more” than what had been expected when the orders were accepted, Jaif said. The announcement followed an emergency board meeting to discuss the survival of one of Japan’s best known industrial conglomerates. The company’s president and chief executive officer, Satoshi Tsunakawa was quoted by the Asahi Shimbun as saying Toshiba – owner of Westinghouse and its CB&I Stone & Webster subsidiary – would concentrate on designing, manufacturing and supplying nuclear reactors. He said Westinghouse is “unlikely to carry out actual construction work for the future nuclear power plant projects to eliminate risk”.
Nucnet 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Jeremy Corbyn has finally given his personal backing to a new nuclear power plant in Cumbria – just as doubts emerged over its expected Japanese investors. The Labour leader said that he was now supporting the planned Moorside complex, which is expected to create 20,000 jobs and has become a key issue in the Copeland by-election. Corbyn has spent weeks refusing to be pinned down on the scheme, and last weekend again told ITV Border that it was ultimately the Government’s decision and the timing was “some way off”. Yet on Wednesday he told HuffPost UK: “Labour supports new nuclear as part of the UK’s energy mix to keep the lights on and tackle climate change.
Huffington Post 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Hunterston ‘A’ operators Magnox are investigating an incident where an individual was ‘splashed with a small amount of water’ at a cooling pond area. During last month’s nuclear liaison meeting at the Laurieston Hotel, Ardrossan, the matter was reported. Magnox stated: “There was one minor radiological event in the period from August to October 2016. An individual was splashed with a small amount of pond water during the changeover of a hose in the Cartridge Cooling Pond. “The individual’s radiological personal protective equipment was removed and the individual was monitored and found to be free from personal contamination. An investigation is currently being conducted into the event.” The site continues to action a ‘Health Physics Improvement Plan’.
Largs & Millport Weekly News 30th Jan 2017 read more »
Suffolk has been called on to create a 12-point plan for Sizewell C – echoing Prime Minister Theresa May’s vision for Brexit. Community leaders today criticised the county’s “passive and supine” involvement in EDF Energy’s nuclear power plant proposals, to date, and pushed for a more “robust” response. Michael Gower, whose Blything division at Suffolk County Council (SCC) neighbours the development site, urged his colleagues to “get on the war-footing” with EDF. His calls for a 12-point plan came during SCC’s extraordinary cabinet meeting on its response to stage two of EDF’s consultation. The 150-page response criticises EDF for failing to provide evidence about its proposals or consider alternatives. It says the council cannot back its plans without further work. Chief topics of concern remain the five-storey campus to house 2,400 workers near RSPB Minsmere; the B1122 as a main transport route, and the environmental impact of building a nuclear power station in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
East Anglian Daily Times 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Campaigners seeking a better deal from Suffolk’s new nuclear power plant have been “heartened” by the county’s firmer stance on the proposals. Suffolk County Council’s cabinet agreed its official response to EDF Energy’s latest Sizewell C consultation this week, calling for more evidence and other options to be considered.
East Anglian Daily Times 1st Feb 2017 read more »
THE new Energy Minister Jesse Norman visited Hinkley Point and Cannington on Monday to reaffirm the importance of nuclear energy and benefits to education and jobs for the West Somerset area. During the visit the minister toured the Hinkley Point B power station and the construction site for Hinkley Point C. He also met apprentices and EDF Energy employees at both the Cannington Court training centre and the Construction Skills and Innovation Centre. Mr Energy Minister, Jesse Norman said: “The visit to Hinkley Point C construction project has been fascinating.
Somerset County Gazette 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Security of energy supply, competitively priced energy and reducing the environmental impact of energy generation are key public policy goals for any country. Electricity imported into the United Kingdom from the EU makes a valuable contribution to the UK’s security of supply. There are already existing connections to France, the Netherlands and Ireland and a further seven interconnectors—to France, Belgium, Norway, Denmark and Ireland—are planned by 2022. By that stage, interconnected electricity could potentially supply around 20% of the UK’s peak energy demand. While the EU and its Member States recognise the value of interconnection, each Member State remains ultimately responsible for security of energy supply to its citizens, and for deciding on the most appropriate energy mix. As EU Member States develop the internal energy market, so the global approach to energy is fundamentally changing, with an increasing reliance on renewable energy. The Commission has accordingly proposed a “Clean Energy” Package. It aims “to keep the European Union competitive as the clean energy transition is changing the global energy markets.” The proposals have three main goals: putting energy efficiency first; achieving global leadership in renewable energies; and providing a fair deal for consumers. The package consists of eight legislative proposals relating to energy efficiency, renewable energy, electricity market design and governance, as well as a number of non-legislative documents. In this Report, we assess the UK Government approach to the legislative proposals and summarise some of the supporting documentation. At the heart of the proposals is a new approach to electricity market design, designed to ensure a more effective internal energy market that promotes the secure supply of efficient, clean and affordable energy. The Commission also proposes a new overarching energy governance structure with a view to ensuring that the EU delivers on its energy and climate change commitments.
House of Commons European Scrutiny Cttee 31st Jan 2017 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
The Scottish government has begun to explore the possibility of launching its own energy supply company, following in the tracks of the UK councils behind Bristol Energy and Robin Hood Energy. Holyrood yesterday published its draft energy strategy, outlining potential mechanisms and frameworks that could be launched in order to help Scotland transition to a low carbon economy by 2050. Amidst proposals for greater support of renewables and energy efficiency, one of the more interesting points in the strategy was the potential launch of a government-owned energy company (GOEC) designed to “address specific market failure”.
Clean Energy News 25th Jan 2017 read more »
French power company EDF on Wednesday defended its cost estimate of 22.2 billion euros ($24 billion) for dismantling nuclear power stations, rejecting a parliamentary committee report which said the costs may be higher. The parliamentary report, commissioned by a body looking into renewable energy, said that dismantling the sites could take longer than EDF had envisaged. “The optimistic scenarios upon which EDF has based its provisions, as well as a certain number of major costs which have been omitted, lead to questions over the validity of EDF’s estimates, while at the same time, certain other costs appear to have been underestimated,” the report said. State-controlled EDF rejected those findings, and pointed out that the French Environment, Energy and Sea Ministry had backed EDF’s estimates earlier this month.
Reuters 1st Feb 2017 read more »
[Machine Translation] We built the nuclear reactors without asking ourselves the question of their end. Barbara Romagnan, MP (PS) of the Doubs presents this February 1 a report on the technical and financial feasibility of decommissioning nuclear power plants. That alerts on the under-investment of France in the management of the end-of-life of its facilities. The report calls on EDF to be more comprehensive in its cost estimates.
Alternatives Economiques 1st Feb 2017 read more »
UK energy consumers could face a billion pound bill for their electricity next winter through a new subsidy scheme that will pay energy companies to keep their power plants open. The support contracts will be awarded through a competitive auction taking place this week to avoid further power plant closures and guarantee enough power to meet demand next winter. In a major departure from previous schemes National Grid will pay to secure a full battalion of power plants to meet peak winter demand, rather than support a handful of plants which are at risk of closing. As a result existing low-cost coal-fired power plants are in line for millions in subsidies even after Government vowed to shut them down by 2025. The 53.6GW power auction, which began on Tuesday, dwarfs the scheme for the current winter which secured a 3.5GW reserve bench of around ten power plants for £120m to ramp up to meet demand if the existing plants fail to meet demand. The cost of next winter’s scheme could climb to highs of between £1.5bn-£2bn depending on the outcome of the auction, but even at the low-end of analyst predictions the cost is likely to reach £650m, over four times the price paid to secure electricity supply this year.
Telegraph 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Letter Paul Dorfman: Tom Greatrex says that the UK quitting the European nuclear safety regime Euratom won’t impact on our nuclear safety. I find it hard to share his optimism. This is because we will not be part of the new EU nuclear accident liability regime — which will be €2.5bn per accident. Given current UK nuclear accident liability cover is a meagre £164m, one wonders how we remain better protected?
FT 1st Feb 2017 read more »
The European Union is on track to meet its renewable energy targets but the UK is one of only three member states to become more dependent on imported energy in the last decade. A report from the European commission boasts of good progress towards the goal of using 20% of final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. As of 2014, the share of renewables reached 16% of the gross final energy consumption of the EU.
Guardian 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Shares in uranium producer Cameco are down 12 per cent after Japan’s Tepco, operator of the Fukushima plant, cancelled a long-term supply agreement. Tokyo Electric Power’s cancellation will affect about 9.3m pounds of uranium through 2028, worth about C$1.3bn in revenue, said Cameco, one of the largest producers of the nuclear fuel. Tepco terminated the supply contract on Jan. 24 because it was unable to operate its nuclear plants due to government regulations following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, Cameco said.
FT 2nd Feb2017 read more »
Reuters 1st Feb 2017 read more »
The Polish government has postponed a decision on the future of the country’s nuclear new-build programme until mid-2017, local media reported.
Nucnet 30th Jan 2017 read more »
Renewables – small wind
A new type of small wind turbine for home electricity generation, intended to match the popularity and potential of solar power, is being developed in Europe. This will be the second time that attempts have been made by the European Commission (EC) to get wind turbines generally accepted for domestic and small-scale commercial use. Fifteen years ago, before solar panels became affordable, small wind turbines fixed to house roofs and chimneys were heralded as one of the best ways of helping to save the planet from global warming and cutting household bills, but it was an energy revolution that petered out.
Climate News Network 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Fewer than one in four people understands what a smart energy meter is and wants one installed, according to official figures that highlight the scale of the challenge to the government’s target of a nationwide rollout by 2020. Polling of 10,000 people for Smart Energy GB, the organisation set up by government and given the task of promoting the £11 billion scheme, found that only 33 per cent of people understood what a smart meter was. Of these, about half were interested in getting one and a fifth had one installed already. Overall, therefore, 24 per cent of people knew what a smart meter was and either had one or wanted one. The government has told energy suppliers that they must try to install smart gas and electricity meters in every home and small business by 2020. About five million have been installed to date. The meters take automatic gas and electricity readings, send them to suppliers and allow households to monitor their usage in real time.
Times 2nd Feb 2017 read more »
The Scottish government has launched a public consultation over whether to allow unconventional oil and gas extraction – including fracking – to take place in Scotland. The four-month consultation runs until the end of May and the Scottish government then plans to make a recommendation that will go before MSPs for a vote towards the end of the year. Studies have shown Scotland’s geology, in particular a stretch of land through Scotland’s central belt referred to as the Midland Valley, could contain significant quantities of shale gas and oil, and coal bed methane. However, the central belt is also one of Scotland’s most populated regions, supporting important industries and businesses, prompting the consultation to note that the future of fracking in the area had proved “both complex and controversial”. “This has led to a widespread debate on potential environmental, health and economic impacts, and on compatibility with Scotland’s ambitious climate change targets,” the consultation website states. A temporary moratorium on unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland has been in place since January 2015 which prevents hydraulic fracking for shale oil and gas, as well as coal bed methane extraction.
Guardian 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Business Green 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Common Space 1st Feb 2017 read more »
Demand for coal and oil will peak in 2020 as the renewable energy revolution gathers pace and undercuts fossil fuels on price, according to a new report. It found that significant declines in the cost of solar panels and electric vehicles would reduce demand for fossil fuels, warning investors that relying on current industry projections might be a mistake that would leave their money “stranded” in worthless projects. Cheaper electric vehicles, for example, could cut the market for oil by two million barrels a day by 2025 – “the same volume that cause the oil price collapse in 2014-15”, the report said. Its authors , from the Grantham Institute of Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker think tank, suggested their projections could actually underplay the speed of the switch to a low-carbon economy.
Independent 2nd Feb 2017 read more »
Ireland has taken a big step towards pulling its money out of fossil fuel investments, in what would be a world first. A bill instructing the sovereign wealth fund to divest from coal, oil and gas over the next five years has passed its second reading, meaning it could become law as soon as the summer. If it makes it that far, it would make Ireland the first country in the world to fully divest from fossil fuels. Norway has divested from coal, but much of its economy relies on the export of oil, making a broader ban impractical. And while Swedish pension funds, the city of Berlin and even the Church of England have shunned fossil fuels, a nation state is yet to make the leap.
The i Newspaper 30th Jan 2017 read more »
According to fossil fuel companies, the world will continue to rely on their products for decades. They even have sophisticated scenarios, outlooks and modelling to prove it. What if they are wrong? New analysis published today by the Carbon Tracker Initiative and Imperial College’s Grantham Institute suggests global demand for fossil fuels could peak by 2020. The power sector would see the most dramatic change, becoming virtually fossil-free by 2040.
Carbon Brief 2nd Feb 2017 read more »