Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom told the panel, appearing after De Rivaz. “We never leave ourselves in a position where one particular project will make or break the system.” Hinkley will add about 10 pounds to a typical U.K. household’s annual bill by 2030, Leadsom said. Alternative plans to generate the same amount of power would probably be more expensive, she said, seeking to justify the cost of guaranteeing EDF a power price of 92.50 pounds per megawatt-hour for 35 years.
Bloomberg 24th May 2016 read more »
Britain could abandon an £18 billion project to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset if EDF postpones a final investment decision for too long, a senior government official has admitted. Hugo Robson, chief negotiator at the Department of Energy and Climate Change told MPs that a contract with EDF to build and operate the plant contained a clause that allowed the government to cancel it in the event of delay. “If there is a very significant delay — and we are talking about eight years — then at that point we are able to cancel the contract,” he said. EDF promised to build the plant, which would generate 7 per cent of UK electricity, by 2017. The French state-controlled company now says that the earliest it could be completed is 2025. Mr Robson said that a 2013 agreement included a clause specifying that if the plant was not up and running by 2033 then the contract would be cancelled.
Times 25th May 2016 read more »
The UK government has not given EDF a deadline for its final investment decision (FID) on Hinkley Point C, but the contract for difference (CfD) element of their contract would be cancelled if the project is delivered eight years later than planned, in 2033. This was the conclusion of British lawmakers who yesterday grilled the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and the lead negotiator on talks between the government and the French-owned utility.
World Nuclear News 23rd May 2016 read more »
Energy and Climate change committe with de Rivaz and Andrea Leadsom.
Parliament 24th May 2016 read more »
French power workers on strike will carry out “significant” capacity cuts at power plants from Thursday with cuts expected to go well beyond 10,000 MW, said a CGT energy union official. The CGT energy union and the energy arm of the Force Ouvriere union are urging power workers to join another French general strike from midnight on Wednesday in protest at a government-backed labour bill. Unions are also urging strike action against a series of measures they argue will damage utility EDF, including the planned sale of permits for French hydropower capacity, the Hinkley Point nuclear project in the UK and the planned closure of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant in France. Capacity cuts at French power plants would be “significant”, and likely go above 10,000 MW, but it was difficult to estimate the level of output reductions as this would depend on decisions taken by workers at each plant, CGT energy official Dominique Pani told Montel.
Montel 25th May 2016 read more »
The French government is weighing up a sale of its stake in Peugeot owner PSA Group to help fund a 3bn euro aid package for energy group EDF, which is building the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear project in the UK. People close to the situation have told the Financial Times that the state’s shareholding in the carmaker is a candidate for a sale or partial sale, as part of a wider review of the government’s corporate holdings. The government needs to raise billions after promising last month that it would provide three-quarters of the 4bn euro that EDF is seeking in a capital raising. It has already promised to participate in a 5bn euro capital raising for Areva, the troubled French nuclear reactor maker. Through its holding company APE, the government currently owns more than 60bn-euro worth of assets and has investments in 14 listed French group s and is looking for ways they can be used to raise money. Other ways to raise money for the French nuclear industry are already being pursued by the government. Sales of the airports in Nice and Lyon have already been announced, and two people close to the talks said the government is hoping to raise between €1.5bn and €1.8bn from the two.
FT 25th May 2016 read more »
Answers to questions related to the announcement on 31 March 2016 that 700kg of Dounreays’s HEU was to be shipped to the US.The NDA holds in safe and secure storage approximately 1 tonne of unirradiated Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU), in a wide variety of forms, most of which is at the Dounreay site. Our strategy for the Dounreay site is to reach the defined interim end state by 2030 to 2033. Reaching the interim end state requires, amongst other things, the removal of the spent fuels and nuclear materials including the HEU currently held at the site. The removal of nuclear materials from the Dounreay site is already underway.
NDA 24th May 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today an independent submission by radiation risks expert Dr Ian Fairlie on the role of science and scientific advice in emergency incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials. The submission was made by Dr Fairlie to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee and has the full support of the NFLA, who assisted with some background information to the submission. The Committee is holding an inquiry into the use of scientific information in CBRN incidents. Dr Fairlie’s response focuses on emergency planning and the issue of releasing potassium iodine tablets to the public to provide vital support in the event of an incident which involves a release of radiation. In the event of a nuclear accident or incident, the three main responses are shelter, evacuation, and iodine prophylaxis. Dr Fairlie’s submission considers the use of iodine tablets following an emergency. The prior ingestion of stable iodine is an effective means of protecting the thyroid gland from thyroid cancer and other thyroid effects, especially among children. It is necessary to consume stable iodine immediately after a nuclear incident: the best way to provide this is the advance distribution of stable iodine prior to any accident or incident.
NFLA 25th May 2016 read more »
Telegraph view: A woeful lack of progress building a new nuclear power station underlines the need for fracking. It is difficult to overstate the importance of the proposed nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The plant could produce 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity, power reliably available regardless of the weather, unlike so-called “renewables”. As if to illustrate the need for reliable capacity, National Grid earlier this month had to issue an urgent call for extra electricity from suppliers. Otherwise, breakdowns at ageing power plants and the frailty of our electricity import cables might have left Britain so short of power that some lights would have gone out. Given the real risk that Hinkley will fail, the Government must now give more thought to alternative means of meeting Britain’s future needs. Perhaps that will require making more use of gas, and accepting that doing so will make it harder to meet targets for carbon-reduction: does anyone seriously argue that meeting those targets is more important than keeping the lights on? And it will almost certainly mean more fracking. Extracting gas from shale has all but ended US dependence on imported energy and could well transform Britain’s energy landscape. Only one such project is under way, as environmental protests deter investors. Hinkley Point’s troubles should spur ministers to do much more to support the fracking industry.
Telegraph 26th May 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Wales
Letter: We face a global crisis because of greenhouse gas emissions. The science is clear so please, no excuses, no denials! Our society is dependent on fossil fuels, yet the scientific consensus and the direct experience of people around the world is that the consequences of the emissions from burning them are already disastrous and will in future be catastrophic. There is a strategy that can meet this challenge and reinvigorate Wales in the process – it is to future-proof all policies, initiatives and planning guidance by making energy-use reduction and energy efficiency the priority, by making 100% renewable low-emissions energy generation our target, and by maximising energy self-sufficiency by 2035. The March 2016 Report of the National Assembly’s Environmental and Sustainability Committee “A Smarter Energy Future for Wales” was a positive and vital step, but in omitting transport is incomplete. We would draw your attention to a comprehensive renewable energy transition strategy called Re-Energising Wales, currently being planned out and fully costed by the Institute of Welsh Affairs. It’s an ambitious and complex plan and it will touch virtually every aspect of our lives – but it is possible to implement.
Wales Online 25th May 2016 read more »
The 5th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster and the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the two most catastrophic nuclear accidents in history, both occurred recently. Images of Chernobyl are replete with the international sign of radioactive contamination (a circle with three broad spokes radiating outward in a yellow sign). In contrast, ongoing decontamination efforts at Fukushima lack international warnings about radioactivity. Decontamination workers at Fukushima appear to be poorly protected against radiation. It is almost as if the effort is to make the Fukushima problem disappear. A more useful response would be to openly acknowledge the monumental problems inherent in managing a nuclear plant disaster. Lessons from Chernobyl are the best predictors of what the Fukushima region of Japan is coping with in terms of health and environmental problems following a nuclear catastrophe.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 23rd May 2016 read more »
The UK is better staying in the EU from the perspective of energy and climate change, according to a new paper by international affairs thinktank, Chatham House. The question of whether the UK votes to leave or remain in the EU will be decided by a referendum, which is scheduled to take place on 23 June. There has been no shortage of opinions on the issue, which many view as a defining moment regarding Britain’s place in the world — Carbon Brief has been tracking those relating to climate and energy. The latest offering from Chatham House is particularly thorough, as it spells out what the impacts for the UK’s energy system and climate goals might be under the various scenarios that could be adopted, should the UK vote to leave. Chatham House, which conducts research on subjects including climate, economics, law and security, receives funding from more than 500 donors, including the European Commission, Shell, Rockefeller Foundation and a range of national governments. It says: “This diversity of global support is critical to the independence of the institute.”
Carbon Brief 26th May 2016 read more »
Construction costs for Slovakia’s Mochovce nuclear plant, due to be completed by 2018, will be higher than the 4.6 billion euros ($5 bln) approved by the government, its economy minister said on Wednesday. The plant, being built by Slovak electricity producer Slovenske Elektrarne, which is majority owned by Italy’s Enel , has been beset by delays and cost overruns. The budget has already risen to 4.6 billion euros, from an original 2.8 billion euros, partly because of new safety improvements after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011.
Reuters 25th May 2016 read more »
French workers threatened to shut down the country’s nuclear power stations on Wednesday as it emerged that the state has been forced to delve into emergency petrol reserves for the past two days. As the standoff continued between hardline unions and the ruling Socialists over a controversial labour reform, the majority of French blame the government for the tense standoff and will hold it accountable if the upcoming Euro 2016 football tournament “is a mess”, a poll suggested on Wednesday. On Wednesday, the energy arm of the CGT, voted to bring the Nogent-sur-Seine nuclear plant southeast of Paris to “a complete halt” for 24 hours starting at 8pm, while workers at other nuclear plants are due to meet to decide on possible further strikes. France’s 58 nuclear reactors across 19 sites generates almost 75 per cent of its electricity.
Telegraph 25th May 2016 read more »
Workers with the country’s most powerful union, the leftist CGT, are blocking six of France’s eight oil refineries, some of its fuel depots, and plan to shut down or lower output in at least six of its nuclear power plants in a bid have a new labour law scrapped.
Telegraph 25th May 2016 read more »
Riot police have used water cannon to break up a fuel depot blockade in northern France as the hardline CGT trade union called for strikes at nuclear plants amid a worsening standoff over the government’s proposed labour reforms. Workers at the country’s nuclear plants – the source of the majority of France’s electricity – are also meeting to decide whether strike on Thursday as part of a national day of street protests against the labour reforms. It was not clear what consequences strikes at nuclear plants would have on electricity supplies, but experts said there would not be blackouts.
Guardian 25th May 2016 read more »
A fire from spent fuel stored at a U.S. nuclear power plant could have catastrophic consequences, according to new simulations of such an event. A major fire “could dwarf the horrific consequences of the Fukushima accident,” says Edwin Lyman, a physicist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. “We’re talking about trillion-dollar consequences,” says Frank von Hippel, a nuclear security expert at Princeton University, who teamed with Princeton’s Michael Schoeppner on the modeling exercise. The revelations come on the heels of a report last week from the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the aftermath of the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. The report details how a spent fuel fire at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that was crippled by the twin disasters could have released far more radioactivity into the environment.
Science Mag 24th May 2016 read more »
A boom in solar and wind power jobs in the US led the way to a global increase in renewable energy employment to more than 8 million people in 2015, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). More than 769,000 people were employed in renewable energy in the US in 2015, dwarfing the 187,000 employed in the oil and gas sector and the 68,000 in coal mining. The gap is set to grow further, with jobs in solar and wind growing by more than 20% in 2015, while oil and gas jobs fell by 18% as the fossil fuel industry struggled with low prices. Across the world, employment in renewable energy grew by 5% in 2015, boosted by supportive government policies and subsidies including tax credits in the US, although jobs in renewables fell in Europe. The growth was despite renewable energy subsidies being far outweighed by subsidies for fossil fuels, where jobs were lost. Another contrast, according to the Irena report, is the greater proportion of women employed in renewable energy compared to the wider energy sector. Irena found 35% of renewable energy sector jobs were held by women, compared to 20-25% in the wider energy sector, although the agency noted the renewables percentage remains lower than women’s overall share in employment of 40-50% in most OECD countries. Renewables employment fell in the European Union for the fourth year running, due to the Eurozone economic crisis and the cutting of subsidies and other support. The UK employed 112,000 people in renewables in 2015, according to Irena. The report said: “The UK became the continent’s large st [solar panel] installation market, and the second-largest [solar] employer with 35,000 people. However, cuts in feed-in tariffs for residential rooftops in the UK could result in a loss of 4,500 to 8,700 solar jobs according to UK government’s own estimates.
Guardian 25th May 2016 read more »
Renewables – Anaerobic Digestion
Britain should generate more energy from sewage in order to cut water bills and help save the planet, water regulator Ofwat has said. Enough extra electricity could be generated to power all the homes in Manchester if water companies exploited the underused energy potential of sewage, analysis by one company suggests. Ofwat on Wednesday cited the old adage that “where there’s muck there’s brass” as it unveiled plans to encourage water companies to make greater use of “bioresources”, or treated sewage. Many waste water companies already use anaerobic digestion plants where bacteria breaks down sewage and creates ‘biogas’, which can be fed into the gas grid or burnt to generate low-carbon electricity. Ofwat said it was bringing in changes to “unleash innovation and efficiencies” in the treatment of sewage and that “bill payers could benefit” as a result. Analysis by company Veolia suggests that only half the potential for energy from sewage is currently being exploited. It calculates that the UK generated 846 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power for sewage in 2015, enough to provide electricity for about 260,000 homes – more than than the size of Manchester. However using more advanced technologies, and increasing the proportion of sludge that is turned into biogas, could more than double this to 1697 GWh per year, it estimates.
Telegraph 25th May 2016 read more »
FT 25th May 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
The developer of a groundbreaking £1.3bn tidal power scheme has cancelled a contract for a Chinese company to build a sea wall, in a setback to Beijing’s infrastructure ambitions in the UK. State-owned China Harbour Engineering Company had been the preferred bidder for marine works on the Swansea Bay Tidal project, a six-mile horseshoe-shaped sea wall containing turbines that could eventually power 120,000 homes. But the special purpose vehicle set up by Mark Shorrock, an entrepreneur, to deliver the renewable energy scheme said it had decided it could find a cheaper supplier and would start a new tender process soon. George Osborne, the chancellor, has been enthusiastically seeking Chinese investment in UK infrastructure because of their willingness to take construction risk, and because they have deployed billions of renminbi in projects worldwide.Backers of the scheme, in which tidal movements would power the turbines, also think they could build five other cheaper lagoons throughout the UK, which could ultimately provide 8 per cent of the country’s electricity for 120 years, at a cost of £30bn-40bn.The future of the plan to generate electricity from the Swansea Bay lagoon is waiting on a six-month review of the tidal lagoon sector, due to report in the Autumn. Mr Shorrock, chief executive of the Tidal Lagoon Power vehicle, said the government review “demonstrates that this opportunity is being taken seriously”. But work in Swansea is not now expected to begin until late next year assuming that the government agrees a financial package.
FT 25th May 2016 read more »
With the dust settling from the bruising London mayoral election, winner Sadiq Khan is now tasked with delivering on his central green promises, such as his pledge to tackle air pollution and set up a flagship non-profit energy company, Energy for Londoners. But as Khan makes early moves to fulfil these and other commitments on energy efficiency and clean energy, he and his national counterparts might do well to consider how a home retrofit strategy previously backed by his former rival Zac Goldsmith could yet provide a major boost to efforts to curb emissions and tackle fuel poverty. Energiesprong – literally translated as ‘energy leap’ – is an ambitious domestic retrofit scheme currently in the late stages of trials in the Netherlands. The key to the programme is the use of a commercial model to enable major whole-house retrofits which drastically boost the energy performance of a dwelling, while also improving its appearance and comfort level. Renovations can include everything from the installation of modern wall insulation, which is a standard feature of other energy efficiency programmes, to the deployment of exciting technologies such as heat pumps, electric induction cookers and showers, rooftop solar PV, and upgraded kitchens and bathrooms. The approach also aims to complete all upgrades in a short period – intervention times on site are typically less than a week, with tenants remaining in the house while work is completed. Crucially, the provider of the Energiesprong service guarantees the house as a ‘net zero energy’ property for a set period of typically 30 to 40 years, continuing to provide any maintenance the house needs during this time in order to fulfil the guarantee. It is an approach that is only possible when the whole house is addressed by one provider at once. “If you’re in control of the product, the whole house, then you can give a guarantee on it,” Arno Schmickler, manager of the start-up of Energiesprong in the UK, tells BusinessGreen. “If you’re only doing individual measures, you can’t really ask for a guarantee because there’s always somebody else to be blamed for underperformance.”
Business Green 24th May 2016 read more »
Renewable Energy Systems (RES) is to provide 20MW of frequency response to the national transmission network from battery storage for the first time in the UK. RES has signed a four-year contract with National Grid to use battery storage systems to help National Grid perform its system balancing role. RES’ systems will provide frequency response to the grid within one second of the detection of a frequency deviation. The two companies have been working on developing this service since 2014. It is expected to be fully operational within 18 months.
Edie 25th May 2016 read more »