21 April 2016

Hinkley

EDF’S directors have been warned they face legal action if the beleaguered power company pushes ahead with building an £18billion nuclear plant in Somerset. A letter from managers in the French firm said board members could be held personally responsible if their support for the Hinkley Point C project led to a ‘destruction of value’. It came as French president Francois Hollande met ministers to discuss financing for the plant, which would produce enough power for 6million homes. France’s government owns an 85 per cent stake in the company.

Daily Mail 20th April 2016 read more »

The insanity of the Hinkley C project for the French nation in general and EDF in particular was underlined today by two events. First, the French Government found itself unable to solve the gordian-like knot of problems facing EDF. Second a group of EDF managers wrote a letter warning the directors that they could face legal action to make them take responsibility for taking on the Hinkley C project if, as they fear, the project goes wrong. This follows an earlier letter from engineers doubting the wisdom of proceeding with Hinkley C. Yet again a high level political meeting of French ministers billed as giving a green light for the project has prevaricated. It is a wondrous testament to the trust we wrongly place in the press releases issued by EDF and its allies that we believe every one of the now dozens of times that the green light for the project is to be given for the project. Of course, if it is so certain, why the need for these repeatedly stated ‘final investment decision’ meetings that never resolve the issue? Why aren’t they just building the damn thing! Any notion that this is a vaguely competitive project – even with offshore wind projects, is rendered nonsensical by all of this, with some made-up price that the British would have to pay being paraded as the ‘cost’. Now it seems the cost includes the French Government injecting billions of euros in various types of support even if all goes well. The chances are it will not, and the French state will be on the hook to pick up the pieces of EDF which will effectively collapse as a result – indeed the company could well go under even without the added weight of Hinley C.

Dave Toke’s Blog 20th April 2016 read more »

Hinkley Point C will “blaze a trail” for new nuclear projects in Britain, according to energy minister Andrea Leadsom. Giving a speech at the Nuclear New Build Forum in London she said: “Hinkley C is only the first in a series of proposed new nuclear projects in the pipeline. It will blaze a trail for further nuclear development.” The industry has put forward proposals to build 18GW of new nuclear capacity at six sites in the UK – Hinkley Point, Sizewell, Bradwell, Moorside, Wylfa and Oldbury. Leadsom continued: “This pipeline could deliver around a third of the electricity we will need in the 2030s; reduce our carbon emissions by more than 40 million tonnes; bring an estimated £80 billion of investment into the UK and employ up to 30,000 people across the new nuclear supply chain at the peak of construction.”

Utility Week 20th April 2016 read more »

Business Green 20th April 2016 read more »

Andrea Leadsom’s speech at the 8th Nuclear New Build Forum.

DECC 20th April 2016 read more »

Energy secretary Amber Rudd has insisted the government has “arrangements in place” to ensure a potential delay or cancellation to Hinkley does not pose a risk to the UK’s energy security. However, she admitted that a last-minute delay to the project could result in increased costs for consumers, and jeopardise the country’s decarbonisation targets. Rudd made the comments in a letter to the chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, Angus MacNeil, in response to his questions following a meeting of the committee in March. The government has “every confidence” the deal will go ahead, but, Rudd said, if Hinkley were to be delayed or cancelled, “keeping the lights on is non-negotiable”.

Utility Week 20th April 2016 read more »

[Machine translation] The vigilance of the French State to EDF is “total,” promised the government Wednesday, after a meeting at the Elysee Palace on the financial situation of the electricity giant. The attention is focused on the proposed construction of two EPR nuclear reactors in the UK at Hinkley Point, investment of 18 billion pounds (23 billion euros) shared two thirds / one third between EDF and the Chinese CGN , already allies to build two reactors in China. The main unions of EDF recently wrote to Francois Hollande to warn that “the financial equation and the organization of work more than degraded” group was not possible to consider “serenely” this site. The Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, and the CEO of EDF, Jean-Bernard Lévy, maintain meanwhile that its realization is vital for the company, owned 84.94% by the state, and for the French nuclear industry as a whole. The decision must be taken formally at an upcoming Board of Directors, in early May. Wednesday’s meeting focused on the financing plan EDF, which will be Friday in the agenda of a meeting of its board of directors. The State has already indicated that it would participate in a capital increase if it be necessary, in particular to fund the project Hinkley Point. Jean-Bernard Levy convened Friday morning an “Inter-Union seminar” on the project before the board of the afternoon. But only the CFDT agreed to participate. CGT, Force Ouvrière (FO) and CFE CGC deem the conditions of a contest are not met. “There is a loss of confidence in the management. The Hinkley Point project insulates many senior management. It has a lot crystallized concerns” diagnostic union leader who asked to remain anonymous. “We really feel that this project will be dictated by the policy to a company that would not necessarily need that in its strategy if it reasoned in business.” “If the government supports the CEO of EDF and force passage of the Hinkley Point project, there will be a conflict and this conflict may be hard,” added a leader FO. The association of employee shareholders of EDF EAS for his part, sent a memorandum to the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), requesting to consider withdrawal of the company’s stock exchange. It considers that the State shareholder misusing EDF to implement its industrial policy in the civil nuclear sector, to the detriment of the interests of the company and its other shareholders.

Reuters 20th April 2016 read more »

Connaissance des Energies 20th April 2016 read more »

Letter Amber Rudd: The government’s job is to ensure our families and businesses have energy supplies they can rely on. And we are doing it by taking the long-term decisions to ensure secure, clean, affordable supplies now and in the decades ahead. That’s the key role for the Department of Energy and Climate Change and we’ve never said otherwise, despite the very strange claims in your article. The reason we are backing the construction of Hinkley Point C is that new nuclear is the only proven low-carbon technology that can provide continuous power, irrespective of whether the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. We are tackling a legacy of underinvestment and need to replace our ageing power stations. Hinkley will power close to 6m homes for 60 years. But we’re only paying for 35. It will also bring billions of pounds of investment into the UK and create 25,000 jobs during construction. We need electricity that’s safe, clean and reliable at any time of the day or night. New nuclear is one of the best ways of providing this. That’s why we back Hinkley, and I have never said it’s for any other reason.

Guardian 20th April 2016 read more »

Letter Frank Wouters: Amory Lovins is absolutely right. It is time to recognise that inflexible baseload power is something that our future energy system doesn’t need. Fossil fuel baseload is a dinosaur and a fallacy. The future of energy is complex and smart. We can integrate generation, interconnection, demand-side management and storage (both large and small) to match demand cost-effectively. We are quickly moving away from a centralised electricity system, with a few large power plants, to a more decentralised and democratic system involving small-scale generators and thousands of individuals. Consider that German citizens built a staggering 3,000MW of solar PV – the equivalent of six coal-fired power plants – in just four weeks in 2011, mostly on the roofs of their houses. The cost of solar PV is now lower than grid electricity, steadily pushing the traditional utilities out of the market. No wonder solar and wind power is the fastest-growing provider of new generation capacity in the world. Once installed, it is used first when despatching power because it has already been paid for. With increasing decentralisation comes demand for decentralised electricity storage. Thanks to the falling cost of lithium-ion battery packs (expected to be less than $200/kWh in a couple of years) we are at a tipping point. Batteries can be stationary as standalone storage systems or mobile in electric vehicles and will soon be competitive against the internal combustion engine. GM recently announced a supply contract with LG Chem for delivery of lithium – ion cells at a cost of $145/kWh which translates to $210/kWh for battery packs. And in stationary applications, the cost for a battery would be even lower, enabling networks of energy storage substations and home batteries to store renewable power. When we do it right, our new energy system can be cleaner, smarter, more efficient and much more reliable, without increasing cost. However, instead of holding on to old paradigms, we need to open our eyes and embrace new technologies. While the utility companies have been slow to adapt – as their plummeting share prices attest – these dinosaurs might not all become extinct because they still hold a key asset: customers. They could provide solar PV and home energy storage to their customers, sharing the savings and providing a professional full-service offering. However, not all utilities will survive in the new sustainable energy world.

FT 20th April 2016 read more »

The proposed £18 billion nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset could be abandoned without risking power cuts, contrary to the government’s previous claims, the energy secretary has admitted. There would be no significant cost to consumers and no taxpayer liability if the project were cancelled, Amber Rudd said in a letter to MPs. The letter suggests that the real reason the government is pressing ahead with Hinkley is to meet the UK’s climate change targets. An expert said Ms Rudd “had let the cat out of the bag”. Peter Atherton, energy analyst at the investment bank Jefferies, said: “Amber Rudd’s letter lets the cat out of the bag [revealing] that the reason we are pressing on so aggressively with Hinkley is our climate change targets. It has nothing to do with security of supply [or] affordability.” He said the UK’s carbon reduction target could still be met without Hinkley but ministers would have to accept a five-year delay in achieving it.

Times 20th April 2016 read more »

Hinkley: a “total waste on money” and government should “move to more sensible solutions”. A summary of six weeks of bad headlines for proposed nuclear plant. It has been a very bad six weeks for the crisis-ridden Hinkley Point C. The Times newspaper reports that the proposed nuclear station has been dealt a fresh double blow as the French minister responsible Emmanuel Macron admits that it is a risky project and fresh problems have emerged at Flamanville – the reactor being built in Normandy which is the same design as Hinkley Point C.

Bridgwater Mercury 20th April 2016 read more »

New Nuclear

Protesters picketed the entrance of the nuclear new build forum at Whitehall in London this morning. An Andrea Leadsom Look-a-like protestor. accosted delegates rebuking them for their £1,000+ attendance at the forum. Other protestors, dressed in day-glow yellow barrels, reminded delegates and passers by of the intractable problem of nuclear waste. The Minister was challenged on her arrival and deaparture, and was rushed by aides to her car in order that she could avoid hearing the strong feelings of ordinary working people

Radiation Free Lakeland 20th April 2016 read more »

Moorside

NuGeneration, the UK company planning to build a three-unit nuclear power plant at a Moorside site in northern England, is aiming to raise up to £20 billion ($28.36 billion) through equity and debt to fund construction of the plant, Platts Nucleonics Week has recently reported. The plant in West Cumbria would include three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors with a total capacity of 3,600 MW. The NuGen joint venture is 60% owned by Japanese reactor vendor Toshiba Corp., the parent company of Westinghouse, and 40% by France’s Engie, formerly GDF Suez. In seeking to raise between £10 billion and £20 billion, NuGen expects to receive a lower strike price for electricity at Moorside than the £92.50/MWh that EDF Energy and the UK government agreed upon to fund the construction of the proposed Hinkley Point C plant in western England, where the first unit is due to come online in 2023 if the project proceeds.

Platts 20th April 2016 read more »

Sizewell

An extra 1,500 specialist workers from all around the world have been drafted into Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk which has been shut down for maintenance and refuelling. The work is going to take between six and eight weeks to complete.

ITV 20th April 2016 read more »

Bradwell

CONTROVERISAL plans to store more nuclear waste at Bradwell Power Station have been branded “outrageous” by a campaign group. Magnox has applied to Essex County Council to remove a planning condition barring it from storing waste removed from other power plants at Bradwell. The “intermediate level waste” is fuel left which has spent several years in the reactor, generating heat for electricity. Magnox has said the move would save UK taxpayers £30 million. Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group fear the move could increase risks to human health and the environment. Chairman Professor Andy Blowers said: “Bradwell has been singled out to perform the function of a regional nuclear waste dump. ‘This is clearly all about money and not about the risks to communities around the Blackwater. “I cannot see any possible justification for Essex County Council changing its position. “BANNG is urging the council to maintain the condition preventing the importation of waste. “To do otherwise would indicate that this county is a soft touch, willing to accommodate nuclear new build and all the dangerous paraphernalia that goes with it.

Braintree & Witham Times 20th April 2016 read more »

Politics

A decade ago today, the Conservative leader visited the Arctic to witness the effects of climate change. But since coming to power, his government has dropped or watered down a succession of green policies.

Guardian 20th April 2016 read more »

The SNP manifesto vows to introduce a range of new political ‘goodies’ in Scotland’s renewable energy industry if re-elected to government in next month’s Scottish parliament elections. The party / government aims to develop an ambitious new Scottish Energy Strategy for the new parliamentary session and the one beyond that to make electricity ‘cleaner, more affordable and more secure’ for all consumers. The strategy will take a “whole system view” and will encompass: – Demand reduction; Energy efficiency; A balanced energy generation mix; A role for storage, and Requirements for a low carbon transition in transport and heat use. The strategy will carefully consider the suggestion from a renewable industry trade association to set a target of 50% of all Scottish energy to come from renewables by 2030. We will continue to support new wave energy technology through Wave Energy Scotland and the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. We will work closely with the Solar Trade Association to advance proposals for expanding solar energy in Scotland. And we will also continue to promote biomass as a good use of our forestry products for energy.

Scottish Energy News 20th April 2016 read more »

Companies

Sweden’s Studsvik has agreed to sell its low-level radioactive waste operations in Sweden and the UK to EDF of France. At the same time, the two companies have agreed to collaborate in decommissioning and waste management. Under an agreement signed yesterday, EDF subsidiary EDF Développement Environnement will acquire Studsvik’s waste treatment business and facilities in Sweden and the UK for SEK355 million ($44 million), subject to certain closing adjustments. The scope of the transaction includes Studsvik’s waste treatment assets and facilities for metal recycling, incineration and pyrolysis located at the Studsvik site near Nyköping in Sweden, as well as the metal recycling facility near Workington in the UK. Low-level waste treated in these facilities is either recycled, free-released or volume-reduced and returned to the customer for final storage.

World Nuclear News 20th April 2016 read more »

Energy Live News 20th April 2016 read more »

Fukushima

Last week, a number of media outlets were reporting that nuclear regulatory authorities in Japan are considering the dumping of huge amounts of contaminated water containing the radioactive isotope tritium from the Fukushima site into the Pacific Ocean. This is due to the ongoing issue of ever increasing amounts of tanks containing such water on the Fukushima site and the lack of space to continue to build more. The stored water was used to cool down the stricken Fukushima reactors ever since the disaster took place over 5 years ago.

NFLA 20th April 2016 read more »

Chernobyl

Thirty years after the world’s worst nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine, hundreds of workers are labouring to construct a vast structure that is to be the first step in removing the tons of radioactive waste that remain. The plant is derelict: after the No 4 reactor exploded in the early-morning hours of April 26 1986, its other reactors were gradually taken out of service and the sprawling complex has not produced a watt of electricity since 2000. The two billion-euro (£1.5 billion) New Safe Confinement project, funded by international donations and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, is a race against time – though, unsettlingly, how much time cannot be known.

Energy Voice 20th April 2016 read more »

Share your stories and contribute to our coverage marking the anniversary of the biggest nuclear catastrophe in history.

Guardian 20th April 2016 read more »

Belgium

Belgium on Wednesday rejected a request by neighbouring Germany to shutter two ageing nuclear plants near their shared border, arguing the facilities met with the strictest safety standards. German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks earlier on Wednesday requested that the 40-year-old Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors be turned off “until the resolution of outstanding security issues”. In response, Belgium’s official nuclear safety agency (AFCN) said the two plants “respond to the strictest possible safety requirements.” The agency “is always willing to collaborate with their German counterparts… but only as long as a shared willingness to cooperate in a constructive fashion is demonstrated,” it added in a terse statement. The reactor at Tihange is located just 60 kilometres (40 miles) from the German border, while Doel is about 130 kilometres away, and close to Antwerp. The reactor pressure vessels at both sites have shown signs of metal degradation, raising fears about their safety.

Guardian 20th April 2016 read more »

Wall St Journal 20th April 2016 read more »

Japan

Japan faces fresh earthquake panic as 6.1 magnitude tremor hits coast near Fukushima nuclear plant.

Mirror 20th April 2016 read more »

Germany

While the cost of renewable energy is decreasing; technologies are advancing rapidly – Now is the time to set the course for a rapid conversion of our energy supply towards 100% renewables, especially in Germany. This is the only way to ensure the implementation of the goals agreed at the Paris Convention, setting the existentially important objectives for global climate protection. The deliberate slowdown of renewable energy must end.

World Future Council 20th April 2016 read more »

US – radwaste

Over the weekend, a giant tank of radioactive sludge in Hanford, Washington, sprung a new leak. It wasn’t the first time, and it likely won’t be the last. Hanford is home to 177 of these decades-old tanks, and workers have been scrambling to shuffle nuclear waste from tank to tank as they become leaky with age. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the current plan for dealing with the US’s dangerous high-level radioactive waste. As Yucca Mountain has stalled, the cleanup at Hanford has blown through deadline after deadline, despite $19 billion over 25 years from the Department of Energy.

Wired 20th April 2016 read more »

Nuclear Weapons

Country comparisons.

House of Commons Library 20th April 2016 read more »

Renewables – Wind

Global wind power installations will nearly double in the next five years as prices continue to fall and countries develop renewable energy to comply with emissions reduction targets, according to research published in Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) flagship publication. GWEC’s Global Wind Report highlights that worldwide annual installations reached 63 GW in 2015, representing a 22% increase in a record-breaking year for wind power. The GWEC report also said that cumulative wind energy capacity rose to 433 GW by the end of the year, up 17% from 2014. GWEC secretary general Steve Sawyer said: “Wind power led all technologies in new power generation in 2015. Led by wind, renewables have come of age and are transforming the power sector.

Edie 20th April 2016 read more »

Renewables – tidal

Tidal power firm Atlantis Resources has raised £6.5m through a share placing to fund project development work. It said the cash would be used in part to fund development of its flagship MeyGen tidal energy scheme in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth. The scheme is expected to produce power in the second half of this year. Atlantis also plans to use the proceeds to help it achieve “financial close” for its Sound of Islay project on the west coast of Scotland. That project, which has a grid agreement and consents in place, has secured about £16m of grant funding from a European Union programme. MeyGen involves four tidal turbines in an area of the sea that separates the Scottish mainland and Orkney. Cables to carry electricity generated by the turbines to shore have been laid.

BBC 20th April 2016 read more »

Scottish Energy News 21st April 2016 read more »

Green Gas

A new report by the Renewable Energy Association has outlined the potential for Britain to produce the equivalent of more than 45 LNG tankers’ worth of renewable natural gas (in the form of biomethane) per year by 2035. Last year, the UK’s biomethane industry was the fastest growing in the world, and by the end of this year, will produce the equivalent of four LNG tankers worth of gas yearly, which it injects directly into the UK’s natural gas grid. Current levels of biomethane production support the heating and cooking needs of up to 100,000 homes. Biomethane is a renewable gas identical in chemical composition to natural gas, the fossil fuel. There already exists an extensive natural gas transportation and distribution grid in the UK. A total of 50 biomethane projects were completed by the end of 2015, with an additional 15 expected to be completed in 2016.

Scottish Energy News 21st April 2016 read more »

As the REA’s latest report shows, the UK has the potential to rapidly expand its green gas sector – but only if ministers seize the opportunity. Few things infuriate the renewable energy sector more than the differing levels of ministerial enthusiasm reserved for clean energy and the UK’s still largely hypothetical fracking industry. And nowhere are such comparisons more apposite than in discussions of the nascent green gas industry. As Dr Kiara Zennaro, head of UK Biogas, a sector group of the Renewable Energy Association, notes today, “while the government for years has touted the ‘fracking revolution’, biomethane is actually getting on with the job of increasing our domestic gas production while decarbonising supply”. The REA’s new report on the UK’s nascent biogas sector details an industry of enormous potential, which could yet play a major role in delivering on the country’s climate change and energy security strategies.

Business Green 20th April 2016 read more »

Energy Efficiency

Shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead has warned that early signs suggest the replacement scheme for the Energy Company Obligation (Eco) and Green Deal “won’t be good enough”. Whitehead, who is a member of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, told Utility Week: “The good news, I suppose, is that there is a programme at all, because for a while it looked like there wasn’t going to be a replacement Eco.” However, he added, the bad news is “it doesn’t look like it’s going to be anything like even the level of Eco”. He said: “All we’ve got at the moment is the Autumn statement announcement on what Eco might look like post 2017 – [a value of] £640 million per year and a general target of 200,000 homes treated per year up until 2021. “That represents roughly a 40 per cent fall on what was Eco expenditure previously, and a much larger fall on what will be the number of houses treated.”

Utility Week 20th April 2016 read more »

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Published: 21 April 2016