UK support for low-carbon energy technologies is running at £250 million a year, writes Chris Goodall. Yet the government wants to throw four times more, every year for 35 years, at the Hinkley C nuclear power station that could take almost as long to build as Salisbury Cathedral. Unfortunately, the main competing design [to the EPR] also vying for permission to construct nuclear plants in the UK, Toshiba’s AP1000, is also experiencing huge construction problems in China and the US. Electricity consumers in the state of Georgia have just had another 6% added to their bills to pay for the delays in the completion of the power station at Vogtle. Hinkley will be paid at least double the current wholesale price of electricity if it is ever completed. This means it will receive a subsidy from UK electricity bill payers of about £1.1bn a year, more than the total cost of the Feed-In Tariffs for solar PV and wind that the government recently curtailed because of a shortage of money. This subsidy will continue for 35 years, far longer than the support for any other technology. The UK is saddling itself with a billion pound burden each year for more than a generation. If the project takes until 2025 to finish, a baby born today will be 45 years old when the subsidy ceases. Other countries – less bewitched by the allure of nuclear – are making fast progress on the road to energy systems that can cope well with daily, and seasonal, swings in power production from renewables. And in many parts of the world, solar and wind are now costing little more than half what the UK government is promising EdF for its risky Somerset plan. Solar, in particular, is now priced at less than a quarter of five years ago and the cost reductions are continuing. Construction is 50 times faster; a large solar farm takes 12 weeks to build compared to the 12 years for the Normandy reactor. UK Government R&D support for all alternative energy technologies is probably running at about £250m a year, a quarter of what will be spent on eventually subsidising Hinkley Point. The rational choice today is for the UK to back away from this generation of nuclear power and invest properly both in next generation of atomic energy and in renewable energy technologies that can shift the UK rapidly to a green future.
Ecologist 19th Sept 2015 read more »
EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz has pledged that Hinkley Point C will be delivered on time and on budget. The long awaited final investment decision to build the £16bn nuclear power plant in Somerset has still to be made. De Rivaz admitted at an event in Kent this week that EDF had taken longer than it expected to give the go ahead.
New Civil Engineer 18th Sept 2015 read more »
A CAMPAIGN group fears the Blackwater estuary could be “trashed” if Chinese developers take over the Bradwell nuclear site. Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group has spoken out after reports Prime Minister David Cameron is on the verge of signing a deal with the Chinese government allowing work to begin on a new nuclear reactor. Chairman Andy Blowers said: “For the Chinese, this would be a showcase project which, if approved in the UK, would be used as a commercial launching pad for selling their reactors in other parts of the world. “For the UK Government, it is a vanity project as it seems they will fall over backwards to bring Chinese investment into the UK. For the Blackwater estuary, it is extremely bad news. “Basically, the estuary will be trashed if this goes ahead.” Earlier this year, the group wrote to China National Nuclear Corporation, the China General Nuclear Power Group and EDF Energy to point out the “formidable obstacles” which would have to be overcome before new nuclear power could be brought to Bradwell.
Essex Gazette 18th Sept 2015 read more »
Owen Paterson: For the past 50 years the environmental movement has been in thrall to a simple, powerful and utterly wrong idea: that the best way to save the planet is to curtail human activity, whether in the form of breeding, building, burning or business. Anybody who suggests a different strategy – that economic activity is not just compatible with environmental benefits, but vital to creating and improving them – has been howled down. But that is changing, and a new idea is gaining ground, under the term “Ecomodernism”. The key idea behind Ecomodernism is that the more technology human beings adopt, the more they can decouple from dependence on the natural environment and live lives that are prosperous but green. The great Green Blob that dominates the public and NGO sector, whose reactionary tendencies I referred to when I left office as Environment Secretary last year, still refuses to recognise this.
Telegraph 20th Sept 2015 read more »
Investors are dumping shares in Germany’s utilities, worried that the struggling firms might need to raise more capital to pay for the shutdown of their nuclear reactors, a plan that some estimates say could cost up to 70 billion euros ($79 billion). Concerns over the level of nuclear provisions sent shares in E.ON and RWE into a fresh tailspin earlier this week, even prompting a government denial that described as “irresponsible” any speculation about further funding needs. Their market capitalisation has halved over 2015 and now stands at a combined 22 billion euros, equivalent to only about a fifth of the value of pharmaceuticals group Bayer, badly hitting funds that have to own these stocks as part of their broader holdings in German blue chips.
Reuters 17th Sept 2015 read more »
The director general of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, which is investigating whether Iran carried out work aimed at developing an atom bomb, will travel to Iran this weekend, the agency said on Saturday.
Reuters 19th Sept 2015 read more »
Labour MPs agree to serve Jeremy Corbyn after being told party won’t back scrapping Trident. Shadow defence ministers were given assurances new Labour leader will not change party’s position on Trident and Nato before taking up jobs.
Telegraph 18th Sept 2015 read more »
PILOTS in one of the two Russian supersonic bombers intercepted near UK skies last week had started the countdown to arm a nuclear bomb, sources revealed last night.
Express 20th Sept 2015 read more »
The number of Britons with asthma could almost double by 2050 because the air inside homes is becoming more polluted as they become more energy-efficient, a new report warns.
Observer 20th Sept 2015 read more »