26 April 2016

EDF

EDF shares dropped more than 11pc on Monday as investors reacted to its plan to sell 4bn euros (£3bn) of new shares to help it finance the building of the Hinkley Point nuclear plant. The French energy giant, which is 85pc-owned by the French state, announced the plans for a rights issue as well as further cost-cutting measures after the market closed on Friday night. The French Government has indicated it will subscribe to 3bn euros of new shares through the rights issue as well as taking a scrip dividend option for 2016 and 2017, so diluting the value of existing shareholdings. EDF has been forced to shore up its finances as it is hit by increasing exposure to falling wholesale electricity prices, at the same time as it tries to afford its share of the £18bn nuclear plant in Somerset and upgrades to the existing French nuclear fleet. As well as the rights issue, EDF said it planned to sell 10bn euros of assets by 2020, including a stake in French power-grid operator RTE, and deepen planned operational spending cuts from 700m to 1bn euros by 2019. Analysts at Jefferies said: “Execution of the new plan will buy EDF time with the credit rating agencies, allowing it to maintain solid investment grade rating till 2018. “However, for this to be the case in the long term, a recovery in power prices is essential. Also, the new plan is likely to result in painful earnings dilution.”

Telegraph 25th April 2016 read more »

Electricite de France SA dropped the most in seven weeks in Paris trading after announcing plans to sell about 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion) of new shares and deepen cost cuts. EDF sank as much as 8.6 percent, the biggest intraday decline since March 7, and the most among companies on the Euro Stoxx Utilities Index. The utility is seeking to bolster its finances as it studies whether to move forward with a controversial nuclear power plant project in the U.K. On top of the stock sale, EDF will sell 10 billion euros of assets, including a stake in French power-grid operator RTE, by 2020, and deepen planned spending cuts to 1 billion euros by 2019, according to an April 22 statement.

Bloomberg 25th April 2016 read more »

During its meeting held on 22 April 2016, EDF’s Board of Directors reviewed the Group’s long term financial trajectory under the new adverse market price conditions. A responsible, efficient electricity producer that champions low carbon growth, EDF Group’ ambitions are consistent with its CAP 2030 strategy priorities: Proximity to customers and local communities; Low carbon generation, with a balanced mix of nuclear and renewable energy; International expansion. An action plan was presented to the Board of Directors which includes: Net investments (excluding Linky and excluding new developments) optimised by close to €2bn in 2018 compared to 2015. Net investments should reach €10.5bn in 2018. ; A reduction in operational expenditures of at least €1bn in 2019 compared to 2015; An assets disposals plan of c. €10bn by the 2020 horizon.

EDF 22nd April 2016 read more »

Will EDF rescue plan be enough? The €18bn gains listed (in the plan) also compare unfavourably both to the €23bn (£18bn) overnight cost of the Hinkley Point C proposal, albeit spread over ten years, and the EDF debt pile of €37bn, which isn’t getting smaller.

Mark Johnston 26th April 2016 read more »

New Nukes

On April 26, 1986, the meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine marked one of the worst-ever accidents in the history of the energy industry. The catastrophe seemed to confirm the worst expectations of the environmental movement, which had always warned against the ecological risks of nuclear power. Thirty years later, the nuclear industry is facing a meltdown of a different kind: an economic meltdown. “New nuclear – the economics say no” was the headline of a 2009 analyst report published by Citigroup. The bankers had taken a closer look at the financial viability of the proposed construction of nuclear power plants in the UK and concluded that five risks make it very difficult to invest profitably in nuclear: planning, construction, power price, operational and decommissioning risk. They went on to conclude that each of the middle three of these risks alone would be enough to “bring even the largest utility company to its knees financially”. Two years after the report was published, Citi’s claim was empirically validated. The meltdown in three reactors of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant in Japan led to widespread contamination.

Swiss Info 25th April 2016 read more »

Nuclear Safety

Age is no barrier to prolonging the operation of nuclear power plants thanks to technological advances that could not have been predicted by reactor designers working decades ago. That was the conclusion of nuclear industry leaders at a conference hosted recently by EDF Energy and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) in London. Commonly referred to as ‘life extension’ – the practice of upgrading existing units to add years to their productivity – is therefore better described as “recovering safety margin”, said Duncan Hawthorne, president and CEO of Bruce Power. Hawthorne, who has led the Canadian nuclear power plant operator since its formation in 2001, said: “Every one of us that works in this industry today is kind of standing on the shoulders of giants. The people who designed the Generation II reactors did so without the benefit of very much operational experience; less than 100 years of reactor opex was available for these plants. So I never talk about life extension, but rather about recovery of safety margin.”

World Nuclear News 25th April 2016 read more »

Chernobyl

Evolutionary biologist Timothy Mousseau and his colleagues have published 90 studies that prove beyond all doubt the deleterious genetic and developmental effects on wildlife of exposure to radiation from both the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But all that peer-reviewed science has done little to dampen the ‘official’ perception of Chernobyl’s silent forests as a thriving nature reserve.

Ecologist 25th April 2016 read more »

30 years since Chernobyl may seem like a long time, but it’s really just the start. Below reactor’s ruins is a 2,000-ton radioactive mass that can’t be removed. How do you protect a site for as long a time as Western civilization has existed? Chernobyl will remain a threat for 3,000 years.

McClatchy DC 24th April 2016 read more »

Ukraine has begun commemorations to mark the 30th anniversary of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. Sirens were sounded at the same moment as the first explosion at the reactor, in the early hours of 26 April 1986. The meltdown at the plant remains the worst nuclear disaster in history. An uncontrolled reaction blew the roof off, spewing out a cloud of radioactive material which drifted across Ukraine’s borders, into Russia, Belarus and across a swathe of northern Europe. The number of people killed by the disaster remains disputed. It is thought that about 30 people died in the initial meltdown and rescue operation, and a UN report published in 2005 estimated that up to 4,000 people could eventually be killed by related illnesses. But Greenpeace has said the UN figure is a underestimate.

BBC 26th April 2016 read more »

Surrounded by barbed wire, abandoned by man and infamous for a catastrophic nuclear accident, the Chernobyl exclusion zone is a byword for desolation. But climb to the top of an abandoned apartment block in the still contaminated city of Pripyat – and something new and gleaming dominates the horizon. Just to the right of the weather-beaten concrete around reactor four, the devastated site of the meltdown 30 years ago, a silver semi-circle surrounded by cranes soars over the tree line.

Telegraph 26th April 2016 read more »

Ukraine is marking the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which permanently poisoned swathes of eastern Europe and highlighted the shortcomings of the secretive Soviet system. In the early hours of April 26, 1986, a botched test at the nuclear plant in then-Soviet Ukraine triggered a meltdown that spewed deadly clouds of atomic material into the atmosphere, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes. A series of events is being held to commemorate the tragedy, which remains the worst nuclear accident in history.

Guardian 26th April 2016 read more »

For 30 years now, the name Chernobyl has been the synonym of the world’s first major nuclear disaster. The events of April 26, 1986 would precipitate changes in the way nuclear power was viewed. The disaster not only changed the lives of tens of thousands living in the vicinity of the power plant, but also the surrounding landscape, which became unsafe for habitation for thousands of years.

Russia Today 26th April 2016 read more »

Here are some useful factoids from the new TORCH report 40,000 fatal cancers are predicted in Europe over the next 50 years; 6,000 thyroid cancer cases to date, 16,000 more expected; 5 million people in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia still live in highly contaminated areas (>40 kBq/m2); 400 million in less contaminated areas (>4 kBq/m2); 37% of Chernobyl’s fallout was deposited on western Europe; 42% of western Europe’s land area was contaminated; increased radiogenic thyroid cancers expected in West European countries; increased radiogenic leukemias, cardiovascular diseases, breast cancers confirmed; new evidence of radiogenic birth defects, mental health effects and diabetes; new evidence that children living in contaminated areas suffer radiogenic illnesses; The key point is that even after 30 years ….the health effects continue.

Global 2000 (accessed) 26th April 2016 read more »

In 2005, a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency /World Health Organisation (IAEA/WHO) had stated “The magnitude and scope of the disaster, the size of the affected population, and the long-term consequences make it, by far, the worst industrial disaster on record. Chernobyl unleashed a complex web of events and long-term difficulties, such as massive relocation, loss of economic stability, and long-term threats to health in current and, possibly, future generations…” This year a new report, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Austria, funded by the Government of Vienna and authored by myself, indicates that the adverse effects from Chernobyl are continuing. This report is an update of The Other Report on Chernobyl, or TORCH, which had provided an assessment of the health evidence up to 2006, independent of the pro-nuclear IAEA. Since then, thousands of scientific articles have been published on these issues, as listed on academic databases such as PubMed, Medline, Science Direct, British Library and Science Citation Index. Hence my new report, known as TORCH-2016, (120 pages, ~200 references) updates the previous edition by drawing on this new evidence.

Scientists for Global Responsibility 25th April 2016 read more »

CND 25th April 2016 read more »

The word nadeshda means hope in Russian. The Nadesha rehabilitation centre was founded to give hope to children living in towns and villages contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster. Thousands of children across Belarus have been robbed of a healthy childhood. Their food and playgrounds are contaminated. Their health weakened by radiation.

Greenpeace 25th April 2016 read more »

30 Years After the Chernobyl Meltdown, Why Is the Ukrainian Government Pushing Nuclear Energy?

The Nation 25th April 2016 read more »

Belarus

Thirty years after the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine, one of its neighbours is close to completing its own nuclear power station.

Climate News Network 25th April 2016 read more »

France

France’s president says he will formally launch this year the long process to shut down the country’s oldest nuclear plant. Giving a speech on the environment at the Elysee palace, Francois Hollande said he will publish a decree to start closing the nuclear plant of Fessenheim, located in east of France near the German border. “Discussions are ongoing between the state and (operator) EDF on the conditions of this move,” Hollande said. The German government earlier this month called on France to shut down the Fessenheim plant as soon as possible.

Fox News 25th April 2016 read more »

[Machine translation] While we mark April 26, the thirtieth anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, the review of the situation in France shows a worrying degradation of nuclear safety. The hypothesis of a serious accident is now recognized by the safety authority. The poor financial condition of EDF and Areva nuclear risk increases.

Reporterre 25th April 2016 read more »

Energy Policy – Scotland

SCOTLAND needs a 50-year strategy for the energy sector – the heart of the economy which is crucial to leading and sustaining our future success, according to the country’s business leaders. The Sustaining Growth, Supporting Business campaign by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has set out what it believes should be the key priorities for businesses over the next five years. SCC has called for action to help firms compete and deliver economic growth across the energy sector – from oil and gas to electricity generation and transmission infrastructure, to the potential of renewable energy sources. The comments were echoed by the environmental group WWF Scotland, whose director Lang Banks said: “The next Scottish Government must focus on setting out a clear strategy for our energy future. That strategy must embrace renewable energy as well as action to reduce our overall energy demand if we are to secure the maximum benefits of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.

The National 26th April 2016 read more »

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce have set out its plans for a Scottish energy strategy for the next 50 years. Scotland’s energy industry is the beating heart of the Scottish economy – from our oil and gas sector to our electricity generation and transmission infrastructure to the potential of a variety of renewable energy sources, the industry is crucial to leading and sustaining our future successes.

Scottish Energy News 25th April 2016 read more »

Energy Storage

SCOTLAND could become a world leader in developing new technologies to store excess electricity production from wind farms, creating thousands of jobs, a leading business organisation has declared. Scottish Chambers of Commerce cited estimates 5,500 jobs could be created across 30 locations north of the Border, some of them rural, on the back of a £1.5 billion total investment in this field, if the full potential of the opportunity were realised. However, it acknowledged strong competition in this arena from the likes of California, which faces similar challenges in developing battery technologies to store excess electricity from solar power generation. Scottish Chambers of Commerce hammered home the importance of building a major presence in electricity storage technology as East Lothian-based Sunamp, one company which is trying to pursue opportunities in this field, announced a multi-million-pound fundraising. Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Scotland already has a significant installed capacity of wind energy infrastructure, but the future of this industry will be dictated by the development of new technologies to store excess electricity production for use at times of peak demand. Scotland has the potential to become a world leader in this area, with the right investment, helping to increase the efficiency and lower the costs of renewable energy as well as rooting skills and talent in Scotland.” Scottish Chambers of Commerce, setting out its views ahead of the Holyrood elections next week, also emphasised its belief that Scotland and the UK as a whole must develop their energy plans on a 50-year view to enable long-term investment. Sunamp, which has developed batteries that store renewable energy as heat for future use, revealed yesterday that it had raised a further £3.2 million development funding from investors as it eyes growth in international markets. “The global thermal energy storage market is expected to reach $1.8 billion by 2020 and we are excited about the potential of our product to solve a worldwide problem,” said chief executive Andrew Bissell, one of Scotland’s most successful technology entrepreneurs. “We are now ready for the next phase of expansion, and have our sights set on the North American markets, Europe and Asia-Pacific.” The Sunamp batteries can deliver heat and hot water on demand.

Herald 26th April 2016 read more »

Sunamp – the heat energy storage developer based in East Lothian – has raised £3.2 million in its latest funding round led by an international private investor in the energy market. Sunamp is gearing up to take on competitors – including Tesla Motors, the BPV giant (battery-powered vehicle) which has also entered the energy storage market.

Scottish Energy News 26th April 2016 read more »

Renewables

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) should concentrate its limited renewable energy subsidy budget on offshore wind, in an effort to drive down costs and increase investor demand, the UK’s chief climate envoy has told edie. Sir David King, the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, believes the level of financial support available for renewable technologies – which is capped via the Levy Control Framework (LCF) – should be pooled towards the UK’s world-leading offshore wind market, following recent subsidy cuts for solar and other low-carbon technologies. King’s comments come as pressure is mounting on DECC to provide more clarity on the LCF beyond 2020. Last summer, the Department withdrew and reduced subsidies for some forms of renewable energy generation, following revelations it had overspent its £7.6bn LCF budget by £1.5bn. The energy industry has since called for an “urgent review” of the Framework, to encourage investment across a range of technologies. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has already told MPs that the Government’s next three auctions under its Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme – one of the subsidy mechanisms covered by the LCF – will be aimed at offshore wind, leaving major developers convinced that the UK is serious about supporting wind power, but less so about the likes of solar PV, biomass and onshore wind.

Edie 25th April 2016 read more »

Renewables – solar

Ikea has rebooted its solar panel offering with several ‘solar shops’ opening at stores across the UK this week as part of the retailer’s renewed sustainability drive. The flat-pack furniture expert will push sales of solar panels online and in stores in Glasgow, Birmingham and Lakeside this week with a full UK-wide rollout expected by the end of the year.

Telegraph 25th April 2016 read more »

Guardian 25th April 2016 read more »

Energy Efficiency

People who do not ventilate their homes properly expose themselves to harmful levels of pollutants, according to experts from the Glasgow School of Art. Specialists at the school’s Mackintosh Environmental Research Unit (MEARU) said modern homes were being built to be airtight. This causes a build-up of harmful chemicals and moisture if householders do not open windows or vents.

BBC 26th April 2016 read more »

LED technology creates a more efficient, less wasteful way of producing light output than lightbulbs of the past though, due to ever-changing technology, some consumers can find it difficult to stay up to date with what LED lighting means for them. For example, many people relate the amount of light being produced from a bulb to the wattage being used, yet the wattage of a light bulb is becoming a redundant measure since a 5w LED bulb can produce the same amount of light as a 50w halogen bulb. We must now re-train ourselves to use lumens as the measure of how much light a bulb is producing. More lumens mean it’s a brighter light; fewer mean it’s a d immer light. For example, to achieve the same light output of a 60w conventional bulb, you will need an LED lamp with around 800-850 lumens. Switching on to LED can offer customers cost savings. LED bulbs are highly efficient and last longer than the average traditional incandescent bulb. That means they create the same amount of light using less electricity and save on replacement costs.

Scotsman 26th April 2016 read more »

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Published: 26 April 2016