The Government’s divisive plans for a new £16bn civil nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset have been dealt a double blow by the United Nations and a powerful group of MPs. A UN environmental committee has warned that there is “profound suspicion” that the UK failed to properly consult neighbouring countries, including Norway and Spain, over the possible environmental impact that Hinkley Point C could have on them. In a letter to the Department for Communities and Local Government, Vesna Kolar Planinsic, who chairs the UN’s implementation committee on the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, said that the UK’s only consultation efforts amounted to “informal exchanges” with Ireland and Austria. The department has been ordered to send a delegation to face the committee in December. Separately, Joan Walley, who chairs Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee, has written to the European Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, to help an EU investigation into state aid for the two new reactors at Hinkley Point. This inquiry is considered the last big obstacle preventing the construction of a power station expected to meet around 7 per cent (enough to supply nearly 5 million homes) of the country’s energy needs from 2023.
Independent 22nd March 2014 read more »
The United Nations has accused the UK Government of suspicious actions over plans to develop its first nuclear power station in a generation. Environmental inspectors have warned there are concerns about a lack of talks with neighbouring countries, including Ireland, over potential risks posed by the Hinkley Point C plant on the Bristol Channel.
Western Morning News 21st March 2014 read more »
Cheddar Valley Gazette 21st March 2014 read more »
Horizon Nuclear Power is ramping up its workforce in preparation for constructing two new nuclear power plants in the UK. The company is also building larger headquarters.
World Nuclear News 20th March 2014 read more »
Millions of pounds are to be spent on a major investment project at a power station in Romney Marsh. One of two nuclear reactors at Dungeness B power station will be shut down today for maintenance on the reactor and machinery, including the turbine which generates electricity. In total, 12,000 separate projects are scheduled to be completed at the site at the same time, with a total spend of £25 million. Station director Martin Pearson said: “This is a huge programme of works which will help to ensure Dungeness B can continue to operate, providing jobs and contributing to the local economy. “The significant investment from the company shows EDF Energy’s confidence in the future of Dungeness B. “Our staff and contractors have worked extremely hard in the planning process and are geared up to deliver the last major project before we make a decision on extending the operating life of the plant beyond 2018.”
Kent Online 21st March 2014 read more »
West Cumbria’s nuclear industry will play a starring role at a global business gathering in Liverpool this summer. The International Festival for Business (IFB) is billed as “the largest global concentration of business events during 2014”. The 50-day festival runs across seven weeks in June and July and is expected to attract 250,000 delegates from all over the world. The organisers claim it is the first time that a festival of this nature has been staged. It features more than 150 events, of which Nuclear UK is one of the most significant. It aims to promote ideas and innovations to drive development of the nuclear industry for years to come. Britain’s Energy Coast is the headline sponsor. Other sponsors include EDF Energy, National Nuclear Laboratory, Westinghouse and AMEC.
Whitehaven News 21st March 2014 read more »
Western players in the nuclear industry are hoping the conflict between Ukraine and Russia could help push countries in Eastern Europe that rely on Russian gas to turn to atomic energy.Tension between Russia and the West over the future of Ukraine is spurring the European Union to renew efforts to end decades of dependence on Russian gas, which accounts for about a third of the bloc’s supplies.
Reuters 21st March 2014 read more »
The big six gas and electricity suppliers are steeling themselves for a full competition inquiry beginning next week, against a background of accusations that the companies have used their market dominance to ramp up prices and make excessive profits. The financial, energy and consumer regulators have spent the last three months reviewing the workings of the market and are expected to publish a final report on Thursday. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has been working on the government-commissioned report with industry watchdog Ofgem and the Office of Fair Trading, will provide the latest detailed information on market share, relationships with customers and profit levels in different parts o f the business. The report is intended to be a first annual study but is weighted with particular significance and could recommend no change, specific reforms or a fuller investigation by the CMA – which was created by the coalition to replace the Competition Commission as the lead competition body.
Guardian 21st March 2014 read more »
European leaders have rushed through plans aimed at breaking the Kremlin’s grip on gas and energy supplies, marking a fresh escalation in the emerging Cold War between Russia and the West. The South Stream pipeline intended to link the EU to Russia through the Black Sea by 2018 is now “dead”, according to sources in Brussels, hitting contractors close to Mr Putin. EU staff are to come up with plans to shield Europe from energy blackmail by Russia within 90 days, finding ways to prevent frontline states being picked off one by one. Ukraine’s premier, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said in Brussels that the West must stop Russia deploying energy as a “new nuclear weapon”.
Telegraph 21st March 2014 read more »
Ukraine must keep close ties with Europe to prevent Russia using energy as a “new nuclear weapon”, interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has warned. Mr Yatsenyuk was speaking after signing an association agreement with the EU ensuring closer political ties. He also wants the EU to provide Ukraine with natural gas to counter likely increases in the cost of supplies from Russia.
ITV 22nd March 2014 read more »
Britain’s largest utility doesn’t know how much of the natural gas generating our electricity and heating our homes is Russian. The simple question is a complicated one to answer because of the myriad of pipelines and interconnections that tie together Europe’s energy industries and utilities. Created over the past couple of decades as part of a grand European project to roll back borders and liberalise markets, it was envisaged that cross-border pipelines would allow for the free flow of gas while providing long-term cheap supplies of energy for the region’s consumers. In reality it has failed, and in the case of the UK it has created a situation where there is some uncertainty about where exactly the gas we import via a pipeline from Holland originates. Some reports claim Russia supplies 15pc of the UK’s gas and others suggest the country is currently importing none from Moscow’s state-controlled energy companies.
Telegraph 21st March 2014 read more »
NEXT week President Obama will join 57 world leaders in The Hague for the third biannual Nuclear Security Summit. The first two summits played a critical role in phasing out the use of highly enriched uranium as fuel in research reactors to prevent its misuse by states or terrorists to make nuclear weapons. But the previous conclaves have failed to address the single largest use of such fuel: in nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers. At this summit, world powers must take an important first step toward ending that dangerous and unnecessary practice.
New York Times 21st March 2014 read more »
In a few months, the owner of the Kuannersuit/Kvanefjeld uranium and REEs project in Southern Greenland, the Australian company, Greenland Minerals and Energy (GME), will publish material for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) that is expected to enable the company to get a mining license early next year. The EIA must take into account the project’s short and long time, direct and indirect effect on all environmental media and there interrelationship, including the effects on human beings, fauna and flora, soil, water, air, climate, landscapes, material assets and cultural heritage. The mining company also has to describe the measures envisaged in order to avoid, reduce and, if possible, remedy significant adverse effects of the project and outline the main alternatives anticipated by the developer, taking into account the environmental effects.
Eco Council 20th March 2014 read more »
The world’s biggest operator of nuclear power plants, Electricite de France (EDF), found itself having to reduce energy production from its nuclear reactors in order to avoid overloading the grid this week. EDF found itself having to reduce its nuclear output because the grid was receiving higher wind and solar output from Europe than expected. This is seen by some energy analysis as a potential future earnings limit for aging nuclear power plants.
Enformable 20th March 2014 read more »
Japan – radwaste
Japan’s government has encountered oppostion to find an underground disposal site for nuclear waste. As Japan prepares to begin nuclear power generation again – after safety reviews carried out in the wake of the Fukushima disaster – there is increased focus on the long-term problem of nuclear waste. The government plans to find an underground disposal site but campaigners say Japan is not a safe place to bury highly radioactive materials.
Cumbria Trust 22nd March 2014 read more »
Renewables – Scotland
GREEN energy generators in Scotland face a £90 million bill as a result of delays in overhauling the current charging system, Alex Salmond has warned. The First Minister is now seeking talks with Ofgem after the energy regulator last week announced it would defer a decision on a proposed new charging structure.
Scotsman 21st March 2014 read more »
Renewables – Europe
A pan European supergrid could play a major role in helping the European Union achieve an ambitious 45 per cent share of renewable energy by 2030, according to a new report from Greenpeace today. The report, based on analysis by Energynautics, sets out a case for a supergrid that could save European member states from wasting billions of pounds a year accrued by switching off wind and solar farms when demand is too high.
Business Green 20th March 2014 read more »
Renewables – Tidal Lagoons
Tidal lagoons in the UK could achieve a levelised cost of energy comparable to new nuclear, according to a study by consultancy Pöyry. The company was commissioned by Tidal Lagoon Power to assess the economic case for the 320MW Swansea Bay development and two further undisclosed UK locations. Swansea is “relatively expensive” with a levelised cost of £150/MWh, while for lagoons two and three this falls to “around £120/MWh and £90/MWh respectively”. Lagoons have an assumed operating life of 120 years and would require a Contract for Difference lasting 35 years, after which the schemes would sell power at the prevailing market rate. Pöyry said the CfD strike price for Swansea would be £168/MWh, falling to “around £130/MWh and £92/MWh” for lagoons two and three.
RE News 21st March 2014 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News: Rochdale ad Nottingham Councils looking at solar; New Forest Solar Co-op, other projects in Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Cambridgeshire, Preston; South Wales; Scottish Water; Bury St Edmunds, Geothermal in Manchester; Biomass in Norfolk and Cumbria; UK’s largest AD project in Nottinghamshire.
Microgen Scotland 21st March 2014 read more »
Environment secretary held high-level meeting at Cuadrilla’s request with Environment Agency over regulation dispute. The meeting discussed Cuadrilla’s concerns over fracking permits required under EU regulations, given that planning permission at their exploration site in Balcombe was due to run out. The environment secretary, Owen Paterson, convened an urgent high-level meeting for the boss of fracking company Cuadrilla after a disagreement over shale gas regulation, the Guardian can reveal.
Guardian 21st March 2014 read more »