23 September 2015

Hinkley

Campaigners trying to stop a nuclear generator being built in Hinkley in Somerset have written to David Cameron. The Stop Hinkley Campaign has urged the Prime Minister to end co-operation with China, claiming recent explosions in the country have highlighted its poor health and safety record.

ITV 23rd Sept 2015 read more »

The Stop Hinkley Campaign has written to David Cameron to urge him to end co-operation with Chinese state-owned nuclear companies, and not to invite them to invest in proposed new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Stop Hinkley 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Letter to Cameron.

Stop Hinkley 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

The China File: China and Nuclear Power in the UK.

Stop Hinkley 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Dave Toke: The UK’s decision to ‘green light’ £2 billion in guarantees for the Hinkley C nuclear power station indicates the government’s increasing desperation, writes David Toke. Bar the shouting, has anything actually happened? The guarantees have not been issued, and the announcement of Chinese participation in a new reactor at at Bradwell remains … an announcement. I was rather perplexed to wake up to hear the news that George Osborne was pledging £2bn in loan guarantees for the ill-fated Hinkley C nuclear power project in England. Hadn’t he already pledged £10bn in loan guarantees more than two years ago? Now quietly increased to £17 billion?

Ecologist 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

The Conversation 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

The UK could generate more than 80% of its electricity from wind, solar and tidal power within 15 years and keep the lights on – thanks to advances in storage and smart technology and falls in the costs of renewables – according to a new detailed study. The analysis comes as experts and politicians remain divided over how and whether the UK can cut its emissions, following the example of countries like Sweden and Denmark. The UK government is keen to put its efforts into large-scale projects such as the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant.

In the opposite corner, the chief executive of the UK’s National Grid recently said in an interview that “the idea of large power stations is outdated” with advances in decentralized energy such as roof-top solar.

Energy Desk 21st Sept 2015 read more »

Britain’s open-door policy towards Chinese nuclear investment has raised fresh questions about relations with Beijing: is it an adversary, a partner or a bit of both? For years, intelligence officials – in particular the electronic surveillance centre GCHQ – have warned that Chinese hacking attacks are one of the most substantial threats to Britain’s cybersecurity. When the Foreign Office announced in 2011 that it had repelled an attack on its internal communications from “a hostile state intelligence agency”, officials briefed that China was the culprit. Now George Osborne says Britain wants to be “China’s best partner in the west”, and to that end Chinese companies will be permitted to build a nuclear power station in Bradwell, Essex, possibly the first of several such ventures. The dissonance has not gone unnoticed. Matthew Cottee, a non-proliferation and disarmament researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the construction of a nuclear reactor raised specific security issues. “Obviously there are measures in place to protect nuclear plants against cyber-attacks, but whether those present a risk or not at this stage is going to be a pretty controversial issue amongst the British public. Imagine having Chinese contractors on a British nuclear site. The potential for insider threats is pretty massive. Prof Steve Tsang, a senior fellow of the China policy institute at Nottingham University, said: “It clearly shows that the UK’s China policy and energy policy are now made by the Treasury, not by the Foreign Office and energy department.”

Guardian 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

In 2010 the Coalition, facing a serious decline in generating capacity, finally proposed eight new nuclear stations. By then most of the expertise had gone, Britain’s nuclear contractors had left the business – and most of our now foreign-owned power generators showed no interest in investing. So Britain had to look overseas. France, with a large nuclear programme, was an obvious partner, but Germany and Japan pulled the plug on their own industries for environmental reasons. So that left China.

Telegraph 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) shares the large level of media and informed criticism to the UK Government‟s recent £2 billion guarantee to China in order to realise a deal for thedevelopment of a £24.5 billion new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The opposition to this exorbitant deal for the most expensive new nuclear facility in history is rife, even amongst those that support the need for new nuclear. The Financial Times, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Bloomberg Finance and even influential pro-nuclear environmentalists like George Monbiot and Mark Lynas have sharply criticised the proposed deal.

NFLA 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

George Osborne has agreed to offer a £2bn taxpayer guarantee to ensure the construction of Britain’s first new nuclear power station in 20 years. Ed Davey admits Hinkley will receive “subsidies”.

Channel 4 News 21st Sept 2015 read more »

Letter Keith Parker: Your leader (Overcomplicated, overpriced and overdue. Think again, 22 September) presents a misleading impression of the alternatives to Hinkley Point C while ignoring the strengths of the project. Germany is not, as you suggest, a model that Britain should follow. It is true the country generates more electricity from renewables. But German consumers pay higher bills and the country produces more CO2 emissions as it continues to burn lignite, the most polluting fossil fuel of all. It is also forced to dump surplus electricity it can’t use. And far from being a debacle, Sizewell B, the last nuclear power station to be built in Britain, should be heralded as a success. It has been good value for consumers, with electricity generated at a low cost. If the UK had continued with its new nuclear programme, despite the gas price slump of the 1980s, we would now have a mode rn, efficient fleet producing low-carbon power at low prices. We support the development of alternative nuclear technologies such as small modular reactors, but they won’t be ready for many years. Hinkley Point C will be ready when it is needed to plug Britain’s energy gap. Hinkley Point C is good value for money. It is misleading to compare the price charged in the mid-2020s, when Hinkley will be competitive with other forms of generation, with today’s energy prices. Having new nuclear in the future energy mix will save consumers around 10% on consumer electricity bills compared to a low-carbon mix without it. Nuclear is affordable, reliable and low-carbon. It would be a shame if selective arguments were permitted to blur the bigger picture.

Guardian 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Editorial: It is now accepted, at least by some ex-critics, as the least bad option in a world where a fast-growing population and the multiplication of energy-hungry tech devices will hugely increase demand for the foreseeable future. That was why the last Labour government gave the go-ahead to third-generation nuclear power at Hinkley, and why neither the coalition nor this Conservative government imagine cancellation is an option. Yet it is looking more and more like a bum deal. Overpriced, overcomplicated and overdue, as the UK’s three most prominent green converts to nuclear energy, George Monbiot, Mark Lynas and Chris Goodall, argued last Friday when they wrote an open letter calling for the project to be abandoned and for nuclear generation to be concentrated on small modular reactors, cheaper, factory-made and – a bonus – highly suitable for export to developing countries. The danger is that the cost of making Hinkley C work will have a perverse effect, slowing the development of green alternatives. Germany has been here already. In 2011, Angela Merkel, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster reversed her planned extension of the life of nuclear capacity. Instead, it will be phased out entirely by 2022 (shortly before Hinkley C might finally come online). The move is not cheap, it has led to more reliance on coal, and individual renewable projects provoke strong local opposition. But it has also led to a doubling of energy efficiency. One windy day last July, 80% of Germany electricity came from renewables. As the ad says, Vorsprung durch Technik: forward through technology.

Guardian 21st Sept 2015 read more »

Phil Smith, managing director of Business West, said the investment was good news for the South West. “Today’s news is the boost we needed after hearing that the investment decision has been pushed back and construction has been delayed. With Hinckley Point C expected to produce enough energy to supply seven per cent of the country’s needs and create over 25,000 jobs, the numbers speak for themselves. A £2 billion commitment from government to help fund the construction of a key piece of the energy puzzle is a step in the right direction which will be welcomed by South West businesses. “This announcement is perfectly timed as it comes on the eve of the launch of our Nuclear South West initiative with Davies Nuclear Associates. This initiative will help organisations in the region benefit from the enormous opportunities that Hinckley Point C and other projects will bring. Today’s news shows the government’s renewed commitment to nuclear energy, and we now need to see local firms reap the benefit.”

Bath Chronicle 21st Sept 2015 read more »

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the UK will guarantee a £2bn deal under which China will invest in a new Hinkley Point nuclear.

Burnham-on-sea.com 21st Sept 2015 read more »

The region’s Green MEP Molly Scott Cato said: “Wheeling out the Tory spin machine shows the government’s desperation. This is not new money at all. Numerous deadlines for signing this flawed deal have now been missed with French companies facing technological delays and Chinese companies facing financial difficulties. “It is astonishing that the government will go begging the Chinese for money in the middle of a stock market crisis while neglecting our incredible renewable resources in the South West. The Navitus off-shore wind development in Dorset alone would have secured enough energy to power 700,000 homes. There is clearly an ideological pro nuclear, anti-renewables obsession at the heart of government.” Stop Hinkley, the pressure group opposed to the development said the project had created the most expensive form of energy every seen. And they said it was riddled with technical problems associated with Areva’s troubled EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) technology which raised safety concerns about the integrity of some of the reactor vessels.

Bridgwater Mercury 21st Sept 2015 read more »

Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd had the unenviable task of telling the Today programme yesterday that the planned new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset represented “value for money”. If she really thinks that we are getting a good deal she has a funny way of showing it, quickly countering John Humphrys when he suggested she was saying it was “cheap”. “I didn’t say cheap,” she said with conviction and passion. Hinkley Point is not merely poor value for money, it is an outrage.

Express 21st Sept 2015 read more »

In one way it is easy to understand why the Treasury has just laid another 2 billion on the table to entice China to come into Hinkley as an investor: it is just another decision in a long history of energy policy decisions which seem to make little sense; which everyone knows will be a big and costly mistake; and which the Government continues to do anyway. Because of technical issues, the key technical choice the system architect has to make is whether to prioritise centralised power or decentralised. By pursuing nuclear power, Britain has chosen to remain centralised – and this is almost entirely unique in the world today. But as has been written about elsewhere, Britain cannot house enough new nuclear power plants to make a material difference to climate change and therefore it cannot have an only centralised system. In this sense, decentralisation has to be the priority choice for GB. Obviously history matters in energy policy. And the British attitude to nuclear, rather than say coal, is of course fascinating. But times move on, and Governments need to keep up with the times so that it does not spend its scarce cash on ‘white elephants’. Fossil fuels and nuclear encourage large scale developments, investors and so on. The new energy technologies with rapidly falling prices like solar and ICT encourage a different scale and different ways of operation. This means old accepted ‘norms’ like baseload will disappear – to the economic benefit of the system and customers but negatively for nuclear which focuses its generation on baseload. Mixing up these scales does not anyway help each other, but in terms of encouraging economic development to fit in with the rest of the world, supporting nuclear power is like putting a mega boulder on a 2 lane, 2 way road.

IGov 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Bradwell/Hinkley

The government’s willingness to source Chinese investment to deliver on its long-standing plans to build a new fleet of nuclear reactors in the UK was underlined yesterday, as Chancellor George Osborne gave the strongest hint yet Chinese firms could take majority ownership of a proposed new reactor at Bradwell in Essex. Meanwhile, Labour has today stepped up its opposition to the level of support being offered to the Hinkley Point project. BusinessGreen understands newly appointed shadow energy and climate change minister Barry Gardiner has written to Rudd requesting clarification on how the £2bn guarantee was justified. “This major public subsidy for new nuclear represents a complete reversal of the stated Conservative Party position from 2010 to 2015 of support for new nuclear power stations “provided that it receive no public subsidy”,” he writes. “I am concerned therefore that the Parliamentary scrutiny of this project may have been based on a hopelessly optimistic estimate of the public costs.” Specifically, Labour is now calling on the government to disclose its estimate of the guarantee level required for the project to commence and the impact this is likely to have on the budget of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), updated costings in the Treasury’s Infrastructure Pipeline, the level of guarantee requested by each of the project partners: EDF, China General Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation, and the maximum level of Government guarantee permitted under the European state aid approval.

Business Green 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Bradwell

The Chancellor has signed a deal that could see plans for a new Chinese-backed nuclear power station in Essex become reality. George Osbourne has approved a £2 billion guarantee to underwrite Chinese financing of the Hinkley Point in Somerset. He says this would pave the way for further deals which could see majority Chinese ownership of a new plant in Bradwell.

Heart 21st Sept 2015 read more »

Maldon & Burnham Standard 21st Sept 2015 read more »

China could build and own a nuclear power plant in Britain in future, UK finance minister George Osborne said on Monday, potentially paving the way for China’s first nuclear project in the West.

Reuters 21st Sept 2015 read more »

Companies

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries could take a minority stake in the reactor-manufacturing subsidiary of struggling French nuclear giant Areva. Areva and French power utility EDF have asked Mitsubishi Heavy to invest in reactor builder Areva NP, according to sources close to the matter. EDF and the Japanese company will likely start negotiations soon. Mitsubishi Heavy is expected to take a cautious approach to the offer, partly given Areva’s dismal business performance.

Nikkei Asian Review 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Radhealth

Chris Busby: After spending some $1.5 million and more than five years on developing strategies to answer the question of increases of cancer near nuclear facilities, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) last week reported that they would not continue with the process. They would knock it on the head.

Counterpunch 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Energy Policy

Governance and transition to a sustainable energy system: how institutions, rules and incentives in Great Britain support the current system and undermine change.

IGov 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Al Gore has launched a scathing attack on David Cameron for ditching a series of environmental measures since winning reelection in May. In a highly unusual intervention in British domestic politics, the former US vice president accused the prime minister of u-turning on a series of personal promises he had made five years ago and came close to accusing Cameron of betrayal. Speaking in London on Tuesday morning, the Democrat said he had heard “whispers” from No.10 Downing Street that Cameron is being blocked from pursuing green policies by others inside the government.

Huffington Post 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

The former vice president of the US, Al Gore, has called on the British government to resume its former leadership on climate change, in order to forge a global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions this December at a crunch conference in Paris. While saying he would not interfere in other countries’ politics, Gore said he was “puzzled” by the Conservative government’s measures to roll back support for renewable energy. Citing a range of recent government actions – such as slashing subsidies for solar and wind power, and ending support for energy efficiency in homes – he said he could not understand the rationale for such m easures, while climate change presents a clear danger to the UK and the rest of the world.

Guardian 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

The UK risks missing its carbon targets and harming investment because of a string of recent cuts to green measures, ministers have been warned by the government’s statutory climate advisers. Lord Deben, the chairman of the committee on climate change and a former Conservative environment, has written a strongly-worded letter to energy secretary Amber Rudd to tell her that the government was creating confusion among potential investors in the low carbon economy. His words chimed with those of John Cridland, director general of the CBI and widely regarded as the most senior voice in British business, who on Monday said the government was sending a “a worrying signal about the UK as a place for low-carbon investment.” Deben wrote: “The government has made a series of announcements about existing low-carbon policies. Unfortunately, these have been widely interpreted to have reduced the action being taken to meet the clear commitment to carbon budgets. They have, in some areas, left a policy gap which urgently needs to be addressed. As a package, they have raised questions over the future direction of low-carbon policies.” The lack of long-term signals from government “could well lead to stop-start investment, higher costs and a risk that targets to reduce emissions will be missed”, he warned.

Guardian 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

The government has today faced widespread criticism of its recent moves to water down a raft of green policies today, as the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) became the latest high profile body to demand the government urgently clarify how it plans to deliver on its long term emission reduction targets. In an open letter to Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd, CCC chairman Lord Deben warned the government’s recent moves to dilute or axe key renewable energy, clean transport and energy efficiency schemes have been “widely interpreted to have reduced the action being taken to meet the clear commitment to carbon budgets”.

Business Green 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

The UK Government risks sending a ”worrying signal” by rolling back on policies to support clean technology, business leaders have warned. John Cridland, director general of the CBI, said businesses want to be part of the solution to tackling climate change and the green economy is ”brimming with opportunity”. But the Government has rolled back on renewables support and is sending mixed messages on backing for energy efficiency, he warned. Ministers have announced curbs to solar and onshore wind subsidies and other support, abandoned the Green Deal home energy saving loans scheme and axed plans to make all homes zero carbon by 2016 since the general election. Mr Cridland said: ”The green economy is an emerging market in its own right, brimming with opportunity, and the UK has built up real credibility on climate leadership and low carbon investment. ”Yet, with the roll-back of renewables policies and the mixed messages on energy efficiency, the Government risks sending a worrying signal to businesses.”

Herald 23rd Sept 2015 read more »

Nuclear Research

Hopes are high that a new £50m atomic research laboratory will bring work to the county. It is also thought that an exchange of nuclear know-how in a potentially lucrative trade deal could spur an increase in Chinese tourism to the county. Chancellor George Osborne announced earlier this week that there would be a regional collaboration between Cumbria and Sichuan Province as well as a £50m nuclear research centre co-funded by both countries’ governments to be called the Joint Research and Innovation Centre (JRIC). The exact location for this new centre has not been announced but it is widely believed that it could be based in Cumbria.

In Cumbria 23rd Sept 2015 read more »

Carlisele News and Star 23rd Sept 2015 read more »

Nuclear Weapons

Russia is concerned about U.S. plans to modernize and station additional nuclear weapons in Germany, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who spoke with a German TV channel Tuesday. The channel had reported earlier in the day that the U.S. planned to station 20 nuclear weapons in the European country, as per a line in the 2015 U.S. defense budget.

IB Times 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Russia Today 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Trident

Labour is set to have a formal debate on scrapping Trident in the biggest test yet of Jeremy Corbyn’s defence policy. The future of Britain’s nuclear weapons is understood to be on the table at next week’s annual conference after local party members put it forward. The debate in Brighton could reveal splits in the shadow cabinet after Maria Eagle, who voted against an SNP bid to scrap Trident which Mr Corbyn backed in January, was put in charge of defence.

Mirror 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Independent 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Renewables

Earlier this week, Greenpeace International released a report predicting that the world could shift to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050, and, more importantly, it could do so for a net economic gain – the savings from avoided fuel costs alone more than compensating for the investment necessary to build renewable generation capacity and transform grids.

One Step off the Grid 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Goldman Sachs, Nike and Starbucks are among the Fortune 500 companies that have pledged to source 100 per cent of their electricity from renewable energy. The companies are among 36 businesses that have made the pledge to reduce C02 emissions as part of RE100, a campaign by environment non-profit The Climate Group. Those making the pledge may not be doing so entirely through altruism. Research has shown that businesses with a low carbon footprint see higher returns.

Independent 23rd Sept 2015 read more »

Renewables – small wind

Gaia-Wind – the Scottish based small-wind turbine manufacturer – has established its own local subsidiary company in Japan. Initially focused on sales and marketing of the world class GW133 turbine, the company has now achieved the Japanese Class NK certification for its turbines, and is already looking to develop more partnerships in Japan.

Scottish Energy News 23rd Sept 2015 read more »

Fossil Fuels

The central US state of Oklahoma has gone from registering two earthquakes a year to nearly two a day and scientists point to a controversial culprit: wastewater injection wells used in fracking.

Business Insider 20th Sept 2015 read more »

Investors controlling about $2.6tn in total assets have made commitments to cut back or sell out of their holdings in fossil fuel companies, campaigners say, signalling the growing momentum of the divestment movement. There has been a 50-fold increase over the past year in the value of funds that have pledged to shift away from coal, oil or gas, citing both ethical and financial motives for their decisions.

FT 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Alex Russell and Peter Strachan: Scotland can show the world that environment and people come before profits. Holyrood’s approach to frackingIn January 2015, the Scottish Parliament demonstrated great political acumen, as well as its concern for the environment and for the welfare of the people of Scotland. Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, could have given the nation’s economy a boost by allowing fracking to proceed. Instead, by blocking companies from fracking, he won applause from environmentalist groups and from the general public. The long list of widely reported adverse impacts arising from fracking in the US may also have influenced this decision. Fergus skilfully and logically argued that it was better to fully consider all the risks associated with fracking before granting approval for the destr uction of hundreds of square miles of shale beds across Scotland. There is no better example of the wisdom of discretion being the better part of valour.

The National 21st Sept 2015 read more »

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Published: 23 September 2015