24 January 2016

Hinkley

Sources in France say decision on whether to give the green light to controversial project would be made on Wednesday. The final decision on whether to build Britiain’s first nuclear power station in decades is set to be made by energy giant EDF this week, amid claims of “panic” among the French firm’s board over the viability of the £18bn project. Sources in France said the decision on whether to give the green light to its controversial plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset – on which ministers are depending to “kick-start a major new generation of nuclear power stations” – would be made on Wednesday. But the largely state-owned company refused to comment, or even to confirm or deny that the meeting is taking place. This secrecy reflects the extreme sensitivity about the decision with practicalities and politics pulling in opposite directions. The project suffered a serious blow last week when French regulators delayed a decision on what to do about safety flaws in a similar reactor. But cancelling it would be a huge humiliation for British ministers, and could cause a cross-Channel diplomatic row. The “final investment decision” by EDF’s board – repeatedly delayed over the past two years – is the project’s only remaining hurdle. Both Ms Rudd and David Cameron are privately confident that Hinkley will go ahead, while George Osborne is relying on it to spur increased Chinese investment in Britain. A senior union source said that it was unlikely EDF would turn against it: “We haven’t heard much out of France, which suggests the situation isn’t going Pete Tong [wrong].” Yet there are signs of last minute jitters. Union leaders are reportedly warning the company of “financial, industrial and legal risks” in the project, while the French financial journal Boursier.com has suggested that there is “panic on board”.

Independent on Sunday 24th Jan 2016 read more »

EDF

French state-controlled utility EDF which said on Thursday it plans up to 4,200 job cuts in France by 2018, plans to cut 6,000 jobs worldwide by 2019 and especially at its British unit EDF Energy, French financial daily Les Echos reported on Friday. The paper said that, beyond the job cuts in France, EDF plans to reduce its global headcount by 3.5 percent to 154,000 by 2019, from 160,000 today, and that the company is aiming for a 700 million euro ($758 million) cut in operating xosts by 2018. The paper also said that EDF had reduced the estimated costs for the overhaul of its nuclear fleet in the 2014-2025 period to 51 billion euros from 55 billion euros previously.

Reuters 22nd Jan 2016 read more »

Moorside

NuGeneration Limited (NuGen) wants to build three nuclear reactors (Moorside) near Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria UK. NuGen is a consortium of Japan’s Toshiba and France’s ENGIE (GDF-Suez). Like all nuclear reactors, they will legally discharge lethal radioactive materials into waterways. Although ocean dumping of nuclear waste is supposed to be illegal, offshore pipelines apparently remain a loophole. Radioactive discharges from the offshore pipeline(s) of Moorside would add to the already heavy radioactive burden of the Irish Sea and ultimately the Arctic. Not only Britain, but Ireland, Norway and those concerned with the Arctic should be alarmed. Additionally, cooling water intake pipes trap and kill marine life. Of current concern, borehole surveys for the intake and outfall pipes will disturb over half a century of radioactive sediment from nearby Sellafield’s discharges.

Mining Awareness 23rd Jan 2016 read more »

Torness

Torness Nuclear Power Station apprentice Stefany Chisholm hopes to inspire more girls into technical roles.

Daily Record 24th Jan 2016 read more »

Terror

Security at nuclear power stations is under threat thanks to Government police cuts, Labour warns. The Tories are axing 200 frontline staff from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary this Parliament. This amounts to a 16 per cent cut in numbers, the Sunday People reports. Such officers guard plants like Sellafield, Dungeness, Sizewell B and Hartlepool.

Mirror 24th Jan 2016 read more »

Carbon Tax

The Treasury is at the centre of a row over the future of its carbon tax, as it faces calls from some energy giants to increase the green levy, and from manufacturers to freeze or even scrap it. The ‘carbon price floor’, introduced in 2013, charges fossil fuel power plants for their carbon emissions. It was intended to act as a modest UK ‘top-up’ to European carbon prices, with the combined level rising every year to 2030. But in 2014 the Chancellor announced the top-up would be frozen at 2015-16 levels until 2019-20, because European carbon prices were so low the UK tax was putting British industry at a competitive disadvantage. The Treasury is now understood to be deciding whether to freeze or increase the tax in 2020-21. Several major energy suppliers including EDF and Centrica are understood to be urging the Treasury to commit to an increase.

Telegraph 23rd Jan 2016 read more »

Iran

The presidents of Iran and China sign agreements to cooperate on nuclear energy and a revival of the ancient Silk Road trade route during a meeting in Iran.

Reuters 23rd Jan 2016 read more »

Trident

A GROUP of senior Navy veterans have ridiculed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for a nuclear-free Trident submarine fleet.

Express 24th Jan 2016 read more »

Renewables

It often seems to me that UKIP represent a sort of extreme version of a back-to-the past conservative Britain, in energy as in other things, where the old stereotypes of unrealistic hippies and their ideas of renewable energy are obviously ridiculous. Except of course that reality suggests that renewables aren’t the preserve of hippies any more and it is fossil fuels and nuclear that are out of date. In world markets renewables installation is now far outpacing the rest, yet in the UK you would struggle to hear this. Of course sensible people just KNOW this can’t be true. I am constantly surprised to hear the almost contemptuous attitude from people who refuse believe that renewables are nothing but a peripheral novelty around the world. But the facts speak otherwise – and very loudly! But her’s just a few clippings to illustrate how things are going in the (real) world.

Dave Toke’s Blog 23rd Jan 2016 read more »

Morocco’s wind energy cheaper than coal: Wind energy costs are on the downward slide and that is helping some developing nations bring in new energy sources into their power grids. Morocco is one of those countries taking advantage of these low prices with its energy minister Abdelekader Amara revealing at a ministerial round table during the International Renewable Energy Summit taking place in Abu Dhabi, that his country had raised the bar and recorded new low bids for wind energy costs. This translates to Morocco’s 850-MW large-scale wind power project securing tenders averaging between $25/MWh and $30/MWh.

RECP 22nd Jan 2016 read more »

Renewables – offshore wind

Plans to protect endangered porpoises around the Scottish coast have been blocked by the Scottish Government to help clear the way for new offshore wind farms, according to internal government emails seen by the Sunday Herald. Senior wildlife advisors have privately accused the government’s Marine Scotland directorate of displaying “unwarranted aggression” and being “untruthful” about its agenda. They also warn that Scottish ministers are trying “to bend the law as far as possible” and could end up being fined for breaking European environmental rules. Marine Scotland has delayed four proposed conservation areas for harbour porpoises by raising objections to the science. But 48 pages of detailed email exchanges reveal that officials were worried about “a significant risk” that a major wind farm planned for the Moray Firth could fail.

Herald 24th Jan 2016 read more »

Fossil Fuels

A professor at Edinburgh University has called for more research on the risks of disposing of fracking flowback fluid by re-injection before it is used in the UK. Stuart Haszeldine, a specialist in the geochemistry of fluids in sedimentary rocks, warned: “Lessons from the US, where the process has been linked to induced local seismicity and environmental contamination due to poor well construction, have to be learned and not repeated.” In an article published 22/1/2016, Professor Haszeldine and Edinburgh colleagues Megan O’Donnell and Stuart Gilfillan, said the disposal of large volumes of contaminated flowback fluids could soon be allowed in England and Wales.

Drill or Drop 23rd Jan 2016 read more »

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Published: 24 January 2016