RWE npower, one of the big six power suppliers, has warned ministers not to seal a long-term subsidy deal with the nuclear industry behind the backs of consumers and saddle them with “unnecessarily high bills” for the next 40 years. The warning from Paul Massara, RWE UK’s new chief executive, comes as the Guardian can reveal that up to 15 private sector executives with links to the atomic sector have been seconded to government departments or other public sector roles. A Freedom of Information request undertaken by the campaign group, NuclearSpin.org, showed at least 15 people working for the nuclear energy industry or its consultants have been seconded to areas responsible for policy or regulation, some being paid for by the taxpayer.
Guardian 20th Feb 2013 read more »
Energy Secretary, Liberal Democrat Ed Davey MP is launching a last-ditch attempt to persuade EDF Energy to build new nuclear reactors by proposing to sign contracts guaranteeing subsidies for up to 40 years. This is the man who, in June 2006, in a document called ‘Where will Blair hide his nuclear tax bombshell?’ declared nuclear power to be unaffordable and unnecessary. If the Liberal Democrats had started to implement the alternatives to nuclear power put forward in Ed Davey’s 2006 paper when they first took control of the Energy Department, EDF Energy would not have the Government over a barrel in the way they do now. Ed Davey’s pledges not to subsidies new reactors were clearly worth about as much as Chris Huhne’s protestations of innocence over his speeding ticket. Unfortunately electricity consumers won’t be able to send Davey to prison when subsidies to nuclear power start to take money out of our pockets.
Spinwatch 20th Feb 2013 read more »
Chris Goodall: EdF simply cannot afford to build Hinkley if the UK Treasury only allows a price guarantee of £80 a megawatt hour. Even £100 generates a return of less than 10%. The analysts at the Treasury will know these numbers, of course. The implication is surely this: the Treasury doesn’t want the UK to have new nuclear power stations, or certainly not the EPR type offered by EdF. Its belief appears to be that electricity generated from gas will be cheaper (and without a high carbon tax this is almost certainly right). As a result it is putting impossible demands on EdF. The negotiations will break down, and the UK will probably fail to achieve even weak targets for decarbonisation of the electricity supply by 2030.
Carbon Commentary 19th Feb 2013 read more »
A grassroots campaign that caught the eye of Left Foot Forward this week was one started by Guy Shrubsole, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth, who is using Twitter to try to ensure politicians stick to their promises on the 2030 Carbon Target. A cross-party campaign aims to introduce a 2030 decarbonisation target to the Energy Bill, which would require the secretary of state to set a 2030 decarbonisation target by 1 April 2014.
Left Foot Forward 20th Feb 2013 read more »
A broad alliance of organisations today called on MPs to include a 2030 decarbonisation target in the Government’s Energy Bill.
Edie 20th Feb 2013 read more »
We’re going to get two days for the Report stage of the Energy Bill, apparently; and then the third reading in the Commons will be after the new Parliament – hence the design of the Energy Bill as a carry-over measure. Rather running up against time, one might think for all the new measures and machinery to be winched into place, especially since the measure has to make its way through the Lords and back to the Commons in the new session.We will, no doubt concentrate, as most report stages in bills do, on the big ticket issues, like in this case demand reduction, and decarbonisation targets, and perhaps emissions performance standards.
Alan Whitehead 20th Feb 2013 read more »
The UK chief executive of energy giant E.ON repeatedly lobbied the then-energy secretary Ed Miliband and others over the sentencing of activists disrupting the company’s power plants, warning that any failure to issue “dissuasive” sentences could “impact” upon investment decisions in the UK.
Guardian 19th Feb 2013 read more »
A group of activists plead guilty to aggravated trespass for a protest at an EDF power plant, but now face a civil claim of up to £5m in damages – something they say is an attack on peaceful protests.
Channel 4 News 20th Feb 2013 read more »
Independent 21st Feb 2013 read more »
Telegraph 21st Feb 2013 read more »
Radiation Free Lakeland fully support Councillor John McCreesh’s call to “Make Cumbria Safe.” We urge others to do the same, all our futures depend on the wastes at the Sellafield site being contained into eternity, rather than dispersed to landfill, geological dump, scrap metal, rivers, air and sea. Cllr John McCreesh has started a 38 degrees campaign, we urge everybody including Sellafield workers to support this call for huge investment of time, expertise and money.
Radiation Free Lakeland 20th Feb 2013 read more »
The DECISION not to stay in the running to host a proposed underground nuclear waste storage facility has been supported by a scrutiny committee. Last month Cumbria County Council’s cabinet decided not to proceed to the next stage of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely process. The decision was called in by three county councillors but the council’s Economy and Environment Scrutiny Advisory Board yesterday backed the cabinet’s decision. At the meeting, Councillor Eddie Martin, the council’s leader, revealed he would not be standing for re-election in May but said his decision was made weeks ago.
NW Evening Mail 20th Feb 2013 read more »
BBC 20th Feb 2013 read more »
Among the most striking elements of the catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors in Japan were the hydrogen explosions that destroyed the upper parts of some of the reactor buildings. The hydrogen was released by a metal called zirconium in the overheated core. Since that accident, whose second anniversary falls on March 11, researchers have been looking at a variety of ways to prevent a repetition. At the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit utility consortium, scientists think they have zeroed in on one strategy: replacing some of the zirconium with a ceramic. Scientists working toward a solution on replacing zirconium will need to convince reactor owners, who will be reluctant to introduce anything new that could could go wrong. In normal operation, the existing fuel, with the zirconium fuel and the zirconium channels, performs nearly perfectly.
New York Times 19th Feb 2013 read more »
You couldn’t find a more striking example of the shortcomings in British industrial policy making. It has been clear for years that the UK’s power-generating capacity would come under pressure in the second half of this decade as dirty coal and ageing gas plants were closed down. Now Alistair Buchanan, the outgoing chief executive of the regulator Ofgem, has put numbers on the problem. Delays in the nuclear rebuild and the offshore wind programme mean that the share of gas in power generation will not fall in the next few years from 40 to 20-30 per cent as originally envisaged, but increase to 60 per cent or more by 2020. Shale gas, at the very best, will not start to make a difference until the next decade. So with its offshore supplies running down, the UK will become increasingly dependent on gas imports at a time when the supply/demand balance for gas across Europe will be tightening. To square the circle, the price of our energy will almost certainly have to rise significantly. All this uncertainty has raised the cost of capital for investors well beyond the comfort level of most UK energy companies. They are unwilling to make large investments with a long payback period unless they can be reasonably certain that the rules are not suddenly going to be changed. What is clear is that EDF will need a partner to share the cost of building this plant, which means it will have to offer a rate of return that competes with other similar projects around the world. The UK government needs to get a grip on energy policy and do whatever is necessary to get capital flowing into power generation of all kinds in the near future.
FT 20th Feb 2013 read more »
Energy bills have been rising at an intolerable rate, leaving an ever-increasing number of Scots in fuel poverty: 900,000 according to Energy Action Scotland. There is hyper-inflation in fuel prices in the UK, and no-one seems able to do anything about it, least of all the Scottish Government, even though we are supposed to be on the cusp of another energy revolution. The UK Government was hoping EDF would build a new generation of nuclear power stations which would stop the LGO and give us all cheap energy. But it is now saying it needs guaranteed profits. And those profits will be guaranteed by higher prices for 40 years set at twice current energy costs. Oh, and we, of course, will be left with the cost of cleaning it all up again, and insuring against nuclear accidents, and looking after the waste for the next 1000 years – that’s if anyone is willing to take it now Cumbria has said it won’t. No, the only thing I do understand is that energy production is a racket, like the railways. And there is nothing any of us can do about it.
Herald 21st Feb 2013 read more »
Germany’s plan to transform its energy system to one reliant on renewable power as it phases out nuclear energy could cost up to €1 trillion, German energy and environment minister Peter Altmaier has publicly admitted. Feed-in tariffs supporting renewable energy could account for over two-thirds of the cost.
World Nuclear News 20th Feb 2013 read more »
Iberdrola Ingeniería has completed all upgrades at Mexico’s Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Station under a $605m project awarded in 2007. With the latest upgrades, the generation capacity of the Laguna Verde nuclear power station on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico has increased to 1,640MW.
Energy Business Review 21st Feb 2013 read more »
North Korea has bolstered its defences against a “hostile” United States with its third nuclear test, it said on Thursday, noting that countries that had bowed to U.S. pressure to abandon their nuclear plans had suffered “tragic consequences”.
Trust 21st Feb 2013 read more »
Examining satellite photos, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University detected a rise in traffic at the Punggye-ri site but cautioned that there was not enough evidence to assert that a new test was in the works.
Telegraph 21st Feb 2013 read more »
Scientists, technicians and officials involved in North Korea’s successful nuclear test receive a celebratory welcome in the capital Pyongyang.
Reuters 20th Feb 2013 read more »
North Korea’s news agency has announced that “The global popularity of tourism to (North Korea) is booming.” This could mean that the number of Iranian nuclear scientists visiting the country has doubled from one to two in the last decade, but we can’t tell because the communist kingdom declines to provide any figures.
Telegraph 20th Feb 2013 read more »
FIRST there was the “open mic” incident last March when Barack Obama assured his Russian opposite number, Dmitry Medvedev, that after his election he would have “flexibility” on the subject of missile defence. Then came the briefest of sentences, in his state-of-the-union address on February 12th, on the need to engage Russia in further reductions to both sides’ nuclear arsenals. But together they give a clue to what could become a lasting legacy of Mr Obama’s two terms in office: a serious attempt to realise the commitment he made in Prague four years ago when he promised to take “concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons”.
Economist 20th Feb 2013 read more »
Renewables are not just good for the environment, argues Juliet Davenport, they also promise a more diverse, transparent and competitive energy market for consumers.
Business Green 20th Feb 2013 read more »
WWF has been a leader in the drive to get the world to adopt renewable energy. But, beyond simply pushing for it, WWF has also helped map out plans for how to reach a renewable energy future. A new report from WWF, Putting the EU on Track for 100% Renewable Energy, “shows where Europe needs to be by 2030 in order to reach a fully renewable energy system by 2050,”
Clean Technica 19th Feb 2013 read more »
Clarity and ensuring consumers understand who is eligible is key to encouraging more people to participate in energy efficiency schemes, according to Consumer Focus Scotland. The consumer body acknowledges that awareness of energy efficiency schemes is high, but highlights that “comparatively few consumers report that they have accessed help from these programmes”. In the “How to make energy efficiency schemes more appealing to consumers” report, Consumer Focus Scotland said it is “critical” that programmes are promoted and delivered in ways that encourage home owners to take up the measures available.
Utility Week 20th Feb 2013 read more »