Daily News Roundup

25 May 2013

Nuclear Subsidies

The £14 billion project to build Britain’s first nuclear reactors for decades has been revived after EDF Energy lined up a consortium of investors. The Hinkley Point project has been close to collapse in recent months because of a stand-off between the Treasury and the French state-backed group about the level of subsidies, funded by levies on consumer bills, that it would receive. In the past fortnight, the two sides have provisionally agreed a subsidy level of between £93 and £95 for each megawatt hour generated by the reactors — almost twice the wholesale market rate of electricity.Vincent de Rivaz, the boss of the British subsidiary EDF Energy, is understood to be happy with the deal although it has yet to be signed off by the group board in Paris. Reports that oil-rich Qatar and Abu Dhabi are prepared to invest billions of pounds in green energy and infrastructure projects in Britain have fuelled optimism that they could bail out the Hinkley Point project. EDF Energy had been insisting on a subsidy of no less than £100 per megawatt hour, but is likely to have been persuaded to accept a slightly lower offer by the Government’s promise to assume some construction risk. It is not known whether the Government has agreed to extend the length of the subsidy contract from 25 years to the 40-year term sought by EDF Energy.

Times 25th May 2013 read more »

Energy Supplies

Some of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers were holding back gas in storage tanks at a time when the market ran into an acute shortage two months ago, triggering a doubling of wholesale prices. The revelations came after claims the UK was within six hours of running out of gas completely on 22 March and will feed rising public and political anger over soaring power bills and previous allegations of market manipulation. The National Grid, which keeps data on the gas industry, revealed that the Liquefied Natural Gas terminal at the Isle of Grain near London, used by BP, Centrica and other big suppliers, was 40% full on 22 March. The South Hook LNG plant in south Wales, owned by ExxonMobil and Total, was 52% full on the same day, at a time when various pipeline and other supply problems caused gas prices to hit 150 pence a therm.

Guardian 24th May 2013 read more »

Energy Costs

As household energy costs reach an all-time high, councils are using collective purchasing power to get better deals. The cost of household energy has outpaced the rise in incomes substantially over the last decade, leaving millions struggling to pay back huge arrears on their energy bills. In the last 12 months alone, prices have risen by an average of almost £100. However, thanks to efforts of pioneering councils such as South Lakeland in Cumbria, Cornwall, Peterborough, Oldham and South Holland in Lincolnshire, local authorities are helping address the fuel poverty crisis by bringing communities together and using their collective purchasing power to drive down prices. New research conducted by the Local Government Association shows that more than 65 councils have now introduced their own schemes which have already helped more than 100,000 households collectively save in excess of £10m on their energy bills. With more than 50 schemes in the pipeline, such savings are set to grow significantly.

Guardian 24th May 2013 read more »

Torness

Bosses at Torness Power Station near Dunbar, East Lothian, decided to take both reactors offline after the screens that filter debris in cooling water became blocked. It comes two years after the power plant was shut down after jellyfish caused the filter screens to become clogged up. Officials at EDF Energy, which runs the power plant, said that the shutdown on Thursday night was a precautionary measure and there was never any danger to the public. Power plants follow a planned programme when such situations occur, as approved by the Office for Nuclear Regulation. A statement issued by EDF yesterday read: “Around 11.30pm on Thursday, Unit 2 at Torness power station came offline due to increased seaweed levels as a result of the severe weather and sea conditions. “This was followed by a decision to take Unit 1 offline just after 3am today, Friday, as a precautionary measure when it was clear that the seaweed levels weren’t reducing.”

Express 25th May 2013 read more »

EDF Energy has been forced to halt both reactors at its 1,280 megawatt (MW) Torness nuclear plant near Edinburgh after a rising tide of seaweed threatened to clog its cooling system.

Telegraph 24th May 2013 read more »

Oldbury

THE BUSINESS and Energy Minister has hailed plans to build a multi-billion pound nuclear power station near Oldbury after it was announced the plant would create 6,000 jobs during construction. Michael Fallon met with executives from Hitachi and Horizon at Gloucester Rugby Club yesterday to discuss their proposal to invest £20 billion in two new nuclear plants in Shepperdine and Wylfa on Anglesey.

Gloucestershire Gazette 24th May 2013 read more »

Sellafield

A SENIOR Copeland councillor has taken his criticisms of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to a Parliamentary complaints committee. Phil Greatorex, who until last week was the council’s Executive member for regeneration, has won the support of Copeland’s MP Jamie Reed in referring the NDA to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. Coun Greatorex says the NDA – the government department that owns Sellafield – has “failed to deliver” sufficient community benefits to the people of West Cumbria since it was formed in 2005.

Whitehaven News 23rd May 2013 read more »

Letter: What Jamie Reed and Ms Woodburn are effectively saying is, we have spent all of our taxpayers’ money, now give us some of your taxpayers’ money too.

Whitehaven News 23rd May 2013 read more »

THE Beacon is set for a major boost towards securing its long-term future with a formal partnership between Sellafield and Copeland Council set to be agreed.

Whitehaven News 23rd May 2013 read more »

Sizewell

Serious doubts have been raised about the future of a plan to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk. The electricity company EDF said it was still committed to a Sizewell C but a major investor has already pulled out and a deal with the government, which should have been completed months ago, is still deadlocked.

BBC 23rd May 2013 read more »

Radwaste

Letter Arthur Millie: In BBC 1’s Inside Out ‘Cumbria’s Nuclear Future’ (October 8, 2012), Timo Seppala of the Finnish POSIVA Nuclear Waste Company said: “On the basis of this overall screening there were picked 100 sites that turned out to be suitable for final disposal in terms of geology. We got favourable advances from five municipalities and that was the starting point for drillings”. Why couldn’t the Nirex/NDA choose the same strategy of identifying as many geologically safe sites first and then ask for volunteers?

Whitehaven News 23rd May 2013 read more »

State senators in Michigan say that a planned nuclear waste disposal site near Kincardine, Ont., “raises serious concerns.” The concern is expressed in a resolution passed Tuesday by the Senate. The senate also proposes that the public comment period on the proposal, which wraps up Friday, should be extended. Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, who introduced the resolution, said that it will be submitted to the formal comment process on the waste site. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) proposes to construct the facility at the Bruce nuclear station beside Lake Huron.

Toronto Star 23rd May 2013 read more »

Germany

German Embassy: Ensuring a reliable, economically viable and environment-friendly energy supply is one of the great challenges of the 21st century. In 2011 Germany embarked on an ambitious programme to transform its energy system. In future, Germany’s energy supply will be generated primarily from renewables. Germany wants to demonstrate that a major industrialised country can move away from nuclear power, decouple growth from resource consumption, increase efficiency – and be the more prosperous for it.

Left Foot Forward 23rd May 2013 read more »

Germany’s push for wind and solar and its retreat from nuclear power is driving electricity costs to untenable levels and destroying support for the green agenda, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned.

Telegraph 24th May 2013 read more »

Europe

The chief executives of eight leading energy utilities Tuesday slammed the European Union’s political leaders for the continent’s fragmented energy policy and sought a more favorable market environment to incentivize investments in energy infrastructure. In a joint statement the CEOs of some of Europe’s largest utilities, including Germany’s E.ON SE (EOAN.XE) and France’s GDF Suez SA (GSZ.FR) warned that the European energy industry’s “perilous situation” needs to be addressed urgently. “The current lack of visibility on energy policies and regulatory uncertainty will inevitably lead to an absence of energy investment with negative effects on security of supply, employment and reactivation of the European economy,” they added.

FoX News 22nd May 2013 read more »

Japan

Anand Grover, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to health, is calling on Japan to expand examinations of internal radiation exposure of people in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, saying a health management survey by Fukushima Prefecture is insufficient. Grover made the call in a report after conducting research on the radiation exposure issue as a representative of a U.N. team on behalf of the U.N. Human Rights Council. Specifically, the report urges the Japanese government to conduct health checkups on people in areas with exposure doses of over 1 millisievert annually, within or outside Fukushima Prefecture. The report will be submitted to the council in the near future.

Mainichi 24th May 2013 read more »

Poland

On the 27th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, Aleksander Grad, the nuclear director of Polish utility PGE, sat behind his huge desk in his likewise huge office in Warsaw. What was he doing? Keeping two minutes silence? Mr. Grad signed a letter threatening legal action against Tadeusz Pastusiak, president of “Lubiatowo Dunes”, a tiny environmental tourism organisation. Grad’s letter accused Pastusiak of spreading lies that would tarnish the good name of giant PGE and could lead to social unrest! Mr. Pastusiak lives near where PGE plans to turn a unique dune landscape into a huge 3,000 MW nuclear power plant. He makes his living through environmentally friendly tourism. What has he done to upset Mr. Grad so much?

Greenpeace International 24th May 2013 read more »

US

Friends of the Earth has filed a motion with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requesting that a Licensing Board be convened to review license amendments that are required for Southern California Edison’s crippled San Onofre reactors, and provide an opportunity for an adjudicatory public hearing before any decision on restart. The motion calls on the NRC to implement the decision of its own Atomic Safety Licensing Board, which ruled last week that the current process for evaluating and approving restart of the San Onofre reactor Unit 2 is a de facto license amendment proceeding. The ASLB ruled that without making formal changes in San Onofre’s license to address major safety issues Edison would be in violation of NRC regulations. The licensing board also ruled that a public hearing should be held prior to any decision on a new license.

Common Dreams 24th May 2013 read more »

North Korea

North Korea has offered to return to talks on nuclear disarmament, in a move designed to keep their Chinese allies happy.

Telegraph 24th May 2013 read more »

Submarines

NUCLEAR-POWERED Royal Navy attack submarines will defend the nation backed by North-East technology firm. Applied Integration, based in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, has secured a multi-million pound deal to design and develop control systems for HMS Agamemnon and HMS Ajax. The company, which already designs software for the HMS Audacious and HMS Anson submarines, will devote a 12-strong engineering team to a four-year programme building visual mechanisms allowing Royal Navy operators and sailors to manage conditions on the UK’s largest and most powerful fleet of submarines.

Northern Echo 25th May 2013 read more »

Renewables

Dundee is set to become home to a “global authority” on offshore renewables, following the launch of an academic institute to be based in the city. As The Courier revealed earlier this year, the new Offshore Renewables Institute will aim to commercialise and exploit expertise from seats of learning on Scotland’s east coast in support of the region’s burgeoning energy sector. The new body was formally unveiled at the All-Energy conference — the UK’s largest gathering of sustainable energy professionals — in Aberdeen on Wednesday.

Dundee Courier 22nd May 2013 read more »

People living close to new wind farms will receive at least £100 off electricity bills under a scheme announced by a renewable energy company. The scheme by RES for homes and businesses near its new wind farms will pay out the cash regardless of who their supplier is, and it will not require people to switch supplier or tariff in order to get the discount. The first people to benefit from the “local electricity discount scheme” will be those close to Meikle Carewe wind farm in Aberdeenshire and Tallentire wind farm in Cumbria, both of which are set to be fully operational by the summer.

Telegraph 24th May 2013 read more »

The Government’s £3 billion Green Investment Bank will attempt to kickstart Britain’s stalled offshore wind farm programme by promising to help to build giant projects for the first time. It has begun talks with energy companies and other wind farm developers about buying minority equity stakes worth between £75 million and £100 million in projects yet to make it off the drawing board. The bank, which to date has only taken stakes in operational wind farms, hopes that its backing will encourage other investors such as sovereign wealth funds to come on board.To meet the UK’s ambitious 2020 renewable energy targets an estimated £40 billion needs to be spent to build dozens of giant offshore wind farms totalling 18 gigawatts — enough to power two cities the size of London when the wind blows. Just over 3 gigawatts, mostly in the North Sea, is in operation today.

Times 25th May 2013 read more »

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Published: 25 May 2013