Daily News Roundup

27 March 2013

New Nukes

A nuclear energy-free future for the UK is not something the coalition “is thinking seriously about”, the government’s chief science adviser said on Tuesday at the launch of the country’s long-term nuclear strategy. The government said its nuclear strategy would help seize the economic opportunities of a £1 trillion global market and provide 40,000 UK jobs. Prof Sir John Beddington, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said new nuclear power was essential: “We really can’t see a future for the UK energy sector, if we are to meet our climate change obligations and have resilience in the power sector, without a significant component of nuclear. A non-nuclear scenario is not one the government is thinking seriously about.” Beddington led a review of the nuclear research and development programme needed if the government’s high-nuclear scenario for future energy is to be feasible. Prof David Mackay, chief scientific adviser at the department of energy and climate change, said this scenario – one of four set out in the 2011 carbon plan – envisaged 75GW of nuclear capacity in 2050 providing 86% of the UK’s electricity, a situation he compared to France today. The industrial strategy, welcomed by the nuclear industry which worked with government to develop it, covers every part of the nuclear chain from new build, operations and maintenance and waste management. Craig Bennett, at Friends of the Earth, said: “The nuclear industry has always over-promised and under-delivered and it is extremely risky for this government to bet the UK’s energy future on new designs of nuclear reactors that we don’t know the cost of and we don’t know will ever be built. In contrast, there are huge opportunities for the government to throw its weight behind renewable and energy efficiency technologies that already exist and are proven to work.”

Guardian 26th March 2013 read more »

Britain spelled out its aims for nuclear power on Tuesday, committing funds to a sector it expects to create 40,000 jobs while lowering the country’s carbon emissions and its reliance on costly energy imports.

Reuters 26th March 2013 read more »

The strategy also says that delivering the first wave of new nuclear power stations “as soon as possible” is critical to securing the huge economic benefits that will follow. EDF Energy believes that the success of its pioneering project in Somerset will kick start the new nuclear programme in the UK. However, to make this project a reality, EDF Energy and the Government need to reach agreement on a Contract for Difference for Hinkley Point C. This contract must represent a balanced and fair deal for both consumers and investors.

EDF Energy 26th March 2013 read more »

Britain’s hopes of a nuclear renaissance looked further off than ever on Tuesday after the Government abandoned its longstanding ambition to have 16 gigawatts of new reactors running by 2025. In a Nuclear Industrial Strategy report it said it now hoped the new reactors at five sites around the country would be developed “by 2030”. The Government also gave the first official confirmation that the costs of the first proposed new plant, at Hinkley Point in Somerset, have risen to as much as £14bn. Launching the strategy document, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said the nuclear industry provided “significant opportunities for economic growth” for the UK. He said the industry had indicated “that the UK new build programme (around 16GW) equates to investment of circa £60bn, which could support an estimated 30,000 jobs”. Separate analysis yesterday showed it could be as many as 40,000 jobs. Tony Lodge, research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies, said the timetable slipping was “hugely significant” because it meant Britain would be “hugely dependent” on gas-fired power plants.

Telegraph 26th March 2013 read more »

City AM 27th March 2013 read more »

The Government has issued its policy document ‘Long Term Nuclear Energy Strategy’ today. Here I ‘translate’ some key passages to connect it up with reality and to emphasise how, reading between the lines, the Government more or less says that nuclear power is a dead loss: Nuclear might just about be cost-competitive at the moment with wave power, but very little else, and it is quite possible that even wave power will be more cost-effective that nuclear power in a few years time. But compared to sources like onshore and also offshore wind, and increasingly solar photovoltaics, nuclear is a dead loss. Lots of us at the Department of Energy and Climate Change have been saying that nuclear is the cheapest low-carbon source of energy in the past, but all of these statements are now ‘inoperative’. However, we still want to be a bunch of wishful thinkers who firmly believe in the future of nuclear power because we learned this at school and clever people like David Mackay and David King keep telling us that this fairy story will one day come true.

Dave Toke’s Green Energy Blog 26th March 2013 read more »

The U.K. set out a nuclear strategy today as it attempts to tap a global market the government estimates will be worth almost 1.2 trillion pounds ($1.8 trillion) over the next two decades. The strategy includes 45 million pounds in spending on atomic research and development, including a contribution to a French test facility, according to a statement today from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. The government also said it’s keen to explore small modular reactors. The U.K. is trying to kick-start its nuclear industry 18 years after the country’s last reactor was completed. With all but one of Britain’s plants due to shut by 2023, the government is in talks with Electricite de France SA to build a new reactor at Hinkley Point in southwest England, with discussions centering on the power price and the length of the contract.

Bloomberg 26th March 2013 read more »

THE Government published its long-term nuclear industrial strategy yesterday but fell short of announcing a guaranteed power price which operators want spelled out before investing billions in new power stations.

Yorkshire Post 27th March 2013 read more »

Business Secretary Vince Cable and Energy Secretary Ed Davey launched the government’s Nuclear Industrial Strategy today. Ministers have promised £18 millon to 35 research projects and £15m for a “world-class” central resource for firms developing technology.

Morning Star 26th March 2013 read more »

Government announced £31 million of funding to develop nuclear technology and a long-term nuclear energy strategy today. The strategy, published by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), reaffirmed government’s position that nuclear power will make “a major contribution to the longer term energy mix”. As part of that strategy, there will be funding for 35 projects to develop new technologies for construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

Utility Week 26th March 2013 read more »

Government publishes industrial strategy to enable the UK to seize the opportunities for economic growth in the nuclear industry.

BIS Press Release 26th March 2013 read more »

Long-term Government Nuclear Energy Strategy.

BIS 26th March 2013 read more »

Responding to an industrial strategy for nuclear power published by the Government today (Tuesday 26 March), Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said: “The UK needs a coherent industrial strategy – but this isn’t it. Bringing out separate strategies on nuclear, gas, oil and wind shows a lack of joined-up thinking by the Coalition on how we move to a low-carbon economy. “Nuclear power is an outdated and hugely expensive energy source, delivered vastly over-budget and late, by a declining industry defined by escalating costs. “The global eco-tech revolution will happen with or without Britain. So that we are not left behind, the Government should be positioning us at its forefront by harnessing our bounty of clean British energy from the wind, sun and sea – this will create thousands of jobs and build a prosperous, secure economy.”

FoE 26th March 2013 read more »

Companies

THE nuclear industry could create up to 40,000 jobs in the UK over the next 20 years, according to estimates by the Government as it launched a strategy for the sector. The Business Department said that globally there will be £930bn invested in building new reactors and £250bn in decommissioning those coming off line. Ministers announced £15m for companies and universities carrying out research into nuclear technology, £12.5m for a reactor test programme being carried out in France, and changes to the National Nuclear Laboratory.

Newcastle Journal 27th March 2013 read more »

BBC 26th March 2013 read more »

Up to 40,000 jobs, £60bn investment. To judge by the figures in the Government’s nuclear industrial strategy, published on Tuesday, a new generation of reactors look like a great prospect for the UK. Indeed, new nuclear could well provide all these things – and be a reliable source of power to keep the lights on for decades to come. But all this remains a pipe dream without a lot more clarity over the most crucial figures: the costs.

Telegraph 27th March 2013 read more »

Bristol-based OC Robotics has secured more than £5m of funding from an £18m cash pot designed to advance the development of new technologies for the nuclear industry. It is one of 35 projects to be awarded cash.

Insider Media 27th March 2013 read more »

Two sites in the North West are to benefit from new government investment in the nuclear sector. The industrial strategy has been developed by the government and private sector to enable the UK to seize opportunities for economic growth in sectors such as new build, waste management and decommissioning, fuel cycle services, operations and maintenance. A total of £15m has been earmarked for a new National Nuclear Users Facility for universities and companies carrying out research into nuclear technology. This funding includes the National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield, and the University of Manchester’s Dalton Cumbrian Facility.

Insider Media 27th March 2013 read more »

Four Yorkshire projects, including two involving Sheffield Forgemasters International, have secured funding from an £18m cash pot aimed at developing new technologies for the construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

Insider Media 27th March 2013 read more »

Contractors Laing O’Rourke and Contain and engineer Arup are among the firms to benefit from government backed £31m of funding for nuclear energy research projects. The announcement came as the government unveiled its industrial strategy for the sector. The government-backed fund will pay for 35 projects across the UK developing new technologies for the construction, operation and decommissions of nuclear power plants. Laing O’Rourke is working with Arup, the Building Research Establishment (BRE), and Imperial College on a £2m project to optimise the design and manufacture and assembly of prefabricated nuclear plants. The project will receive £1m from the research fund.

Building 27th March 2013 read more »

One thousand new engineers need to be hired every year if Britain wants to compete for a global nuclear industry worth hundreds of billions of pounds, a report has claimed. The UK Nuclear Futures Report raises concerns that while as much as £930 billion will be spent on new reactors and £250bn on decommissioning work globally over the coming decades, the British nuclear workforce is ageing fast, with 70 per cent of its highly skilled workers forecast to retire by 2025. The report reveals that while 65 nuclear reactors are under construction worldwide and 317 to be built by 2030, Britain only has a fraction the world’s two biggest markets, amounting to 1 per cent in the Far East – worth £100bn – and 2.5 per cent in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, worth £52 billion. It argues that until Britain sees a significant nuclear build project at home it will be impossible to attract a new breed of workers into the industry – or maintain them once they join.

Construction News 26th March 2013 read more »

Business secretary Vince Cable has approved £31 million in new funding that aims to enhance the nuclear supply chain and help commercialise new technologies for a global nuclear energy market.

The Manufacturer 26th March 2013 read more »

A new industrial strategy published by the UK government sets out detailed plans to enable the country to make the most of opportunities for economic growth in the nuclear energy sector at home and abroad.

World Nuclear News 26th March 2013 read more »

Nuclear Subsidies

Companies wishing to prospect for shale gas in the UK have been granted ten-year tax breaks and will get special planning permission from the Government if they go for large scale projects. To avoid delays, the Government also used its budget to announce plans to tempt local communities with cash to accept these developments. This controversial push to exploit shale gas for electricity production comes as the Government’s already contentious plans to subsidize new nuclear stations ran into legal trouble in Brussels.it is unlikely that a majority of the 27 member states would vote to set aside existing competition legislation to let the UK favor nuclear power over other forms of generation. This setback for nuclear in the UK is a blow for the industry worldwide, since Britain has been seen as the flagship country for a new nuclear renaissance, the only large western economy to embrace a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Climate Central 26th March 2013 read more »

All the indications are that the British government, in its desperate attempt to entice the nuclear industry to invest in new nuclear plants, is about to give them billions in yet more subsidies. The scam involves giving subsidies to ageing nuclear reactors, instead of giving it to new clean low carbon technologies. But why should a stealth tax which is supposed to encourage new low carbon electricity generation provide a huge windfall to old nuclear reactors? Adding around £34 per year to the average electricity bill is going to worsen the UK’s fuel poverty crisis – in other words this tax to help old reactors is going to kill people by increasing cold related illnesses.

Nuclear Spin 26th March 2013 read more »

John Beddington

The chief scientific adviser to the government has his or her work cut out. But John Beddington, who has held the post since 2008 and retires this month, has trodden a thin line with grace. Three crises broke on his watch – the Icelandic volcano eruptions, Fukushima and ash dieback disease – and in each he showed a useful caution: compare the political hysteria over Fukushima in Germany with the calm that prevailed here.

Guardian 26th March 2013 read more »

National Nuclear Laboratory

As part of the wider announcement on the Nuclear Industrial Strategy, and following a strategic review, the Government intends to make some changes to the role and organisation of the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) to help position it to support ongoing and future Government priorities. In deciding on the new arrangements, the government has given particular regard to the recommendations of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology on Nuclear R&D and the work of the Nuclear R&D Advisory Board chaired by Sir John Beddington.

DECC 26th March 2013 read more »

Energy Supplies

New analysis highlights the extent to which energy and climate change policies are tempering the impact on household energy bills of global gas prices and network costs.

DECC Press Release 27th March 2013 read more »

Price impacts on prices and bills.

DECC 27th March 2013 read more »

Energy policies will cushion consumers from price rises, but only after contributing to a rise in average household bills, a report has said. By 2020, bills will be 11% – or £166 – lower than they would otherwise have been, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s report.

BBC 27th March 2013 read more »

Households will have to spend thousands of pounds buying new green appliances to benefit from the Government’s claims its policies are bringing down energy bills, it emerged last night.

Telegraph 27th March 2013 read more »

Households will have to pay more than £150 a year extra on their energy bills to subsidise wind farms and other green power plants by 2020. The five-fold increase in green subsidies, added to rising global gas prices, means that consumers will have to slash their energy consumption by more than a quarter to prevent bills from topping £1,600 by the end of the decade. The Government is banking on the next generation of energy-efficient boilers, fridges and washing machines and new household energy-efficiency programmes to protect households from the soaring cost of energy. But experts said that the savings forecast by the Government were too optimistic because the take-up of new appliances coming on to the market is likely to be slower than expected.

Times 27th March 2013 read more »

Analysis by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) published on Wednesday showed that 85% of the present average £1,250 bill cannot be controlled by the government because it is determined by international gas and electricity prices, transmission and metering costs. After energy companies have taken their profits, and VAT has been paid, government policies can only influence around 11% of the bill, said Davey. In a riposte to some Conservative politicians and media which have claimed that wind power will cost more than £1 20bn in the next eight years and send household bills soaring, he claimed that energy-saving policies, better gas boilers, tighter building regulations, the coalition’s green deal loan scheme and smart meters could save householders around £166 a year by 2020. According to Decc, that is an 11% cut compared to the government doing nothing. Onshore and offshore wind power are needed for the UK’s energy mix to insulate it from global gas prices and together cost householders only £18 a year in total, he said. “It is a tiny part of the overall bill.”

Guardian 27th March 2013 read more »

RenewableUK has welcomed new official figures which show that renewable energy provides a much cheaper way to generate electricity for British households than gas. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has published a new report which sets out the impact of climate and energy policies on consumer bills. It says annual domestic energy bills are £64 lower this year than they would have been without green policies. The study also shows that in 2020, as a result of green measures, annual domestic bills will be £166 lower than the do-nothing scenario.

Renewable UK 27th March 2013 read more »

To keep warm, we usually burn gas directly, not convert it into electricity. We either use our own North Sea gas, get it via three pipelines from Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, or by sea in tankers in liquefied form (liquefied natural gas, LNG). We also store gas for times of higher demand. When the Belgian pipeline failed on Friday, the price of gas jumped by 50%, before settling back down when the pipeline started working again. This demonstrated the vulnerability of the UK’s gas supply and the need for resilience from having an adequate amount of gas storage. The current situation should not be overstated, though – National Grid has not issued any gas supply warnings yet, and it did so several times in 2010. On the LNG front, Centrica has concluded a deal with an American shale gas company that will see imports from the US by 2018. The UK has five LNG terminals – two at Milford Haven in Wales, two in north Kent and one on Teesside, and there is no suggestion that these won’t cope with the new shale gas deal, but it is of course some way off. The UK has a lower gas storage capacity than other large European countries. According to the Gas Infrastructure Europe website, the UK has capacity of 3778 million cubic metres (mcm) available to third parties, whereas France has 12,700, Germany has 20,455 and Italy has 11,306. The UK capacity is almost entirely provided by one site: Centrica’s Rough field off the Yorkshire coast. The picture is even starker when you consider how many days’ storage the UK currently has compared with demand – 19, compared with 95 in France, 86 in Italy and 110 in Germany.

Bircham Dyson Bell 26th March 2013 read more »

Ed Davey, the energy secretary, has urged people not to panic about speculation that the UK is running out of gas as the cold snap puts pressure on energy supplies. “I don’t think people should be worried in the slightest,” Mr Davey told reporters on Tuesday, adding that he was nonetheless monitoring the situation “very closely”. The secretary was responding to media reports that people had turned up their heating so much in the unseasonably freezing weather that gas might have to be rationed because there was so little in storage.

FT 26th March 2013 read more »

Torness

EDF Energy took offline its 640 megawatt Torness 2 nuclear reactor in Scotland following an unplanned outage, the operator said on Tuesday.

Reuters 27th March 2013 read more »

Springfields

A nuclear fuel factory has completed the first part of an order which will first a major new European power station. The Springfields fuel factory, which employs hundreds of people at Salwick, near Preston, has sent its first delivery of fuel rods for the Light Water Reactor (LWR). It will be used to part of the power station being built by energy giant EDF in Gravelines, between Calais and Dunkirk, northern France.

Lancashire Evening Post 26th March 2013 read more »

Japan

Fukushima Crisis 22nd to 25th March 2013.

Greenpeace 26th March 2013 read more »

TWO years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster local children are showing signs of cancer, prompting cries of a cover-up. Most worrying are the results of tests carried out on more than 130,000 children who lived around Fukushima. More than 40 per cent have the early signs of thyroid cancer, while other forms of the disease may not become apparent for a decade.

Express 27th March 2013 read more »

US

Three Mile Island Special: America’s Forgotten Nuclear Terror. Podcast.

Nuclear Hotseat 26th March 2013 read more »

South Korea

North Korea’s weapons program is not the only nuclear headache for South Korea. The country’s radioactive waste storage is filling up as its nuclear power industry burgeons, but what South Korea sees as its best solution – reprocessing the spent fuel so it can be used again – faces stiff opposition from its U.S. ally.

Huffington Post 26th March 2013 read more »

North Korea

After two decades of provocation, the latest rabid bluster emanating from Pyongyang may sound like business as usual. But a variety of reasons makes the current behaviour by North Korea more alarming than past outbursts. For one thing, there are relatively new and untested leaders in both halves of the divided peninsula. Park Geun-hye has been South Korean President only since 26 February, while the young Kim Jong-un remains an unknown quantity.For another, its February underground nuclear test, following December’s successful launch of a satellite, may have brought the North closer to the goal that genuinely scares the West, a nuclear warhead small enough to be carried on a long-range missile.

Independent 26th March 2013 read more »

South Africa

Russian firm Rosatom said during the ongoing 5th BRICS Summit in Durban that it will promote its nuclear technology and other related products, as well as services in South Africa.

Energy Business Review 27th March 2013 read more »

UAE

Construction of the UAE’s first nuclear energy reactor reached a key stage last week with the installation of the containment liner plate (CLP) in the reactor containment building.

Construction Index 26th March 2013 read more »

Renewables

A programme offering payments to householders who install renewable heat technologies will be pushed back until spring 2014, the government confirmed today, while also unveiling a new national heat strategy. Details of how the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme will work and tariff levels will now be published in the summer, the date the government said last year the programme would start.

Business Green 26th March 2013 read more »

DECC Press Release 26th March 2013 read more »

The renewable energy industry has welcomed new figures that show support for wind power last year cost consumers less than three pence a day. According to a new report by Ofgem released yesterday, the cost of wind energy subsidies during 2012 equated to 2.67p per household per day.

Business Green 22nd March 2013 read more »

Ministers have approved the controversial offshore wind project that prompted Donald Trump to accuse Alex Salmond of “destroying” Scotland. The 11-turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre will be built in sight of the American tycoon’s £750 million golf resort on the Menie estate north of Aberdeen. He claims he has built the “best golf course in the world” at the site and was due to add a luxury hotel and housing. However, he announced last year that he was putting further work on hold until the wind project was rejected.

Telegraph 26th March 2013 read more »

Fracking

THE Scottish Government should follow the lead of New South Wales and ban the controversial extraction of coalbed methane within a 2km exclusion zone of residential areas, a leading environmental campaign group has said. Such a move would block the disputed gas development at Letham Moss, near Airth, where Australian energy giant Dart Energy, is drilling for coalbed methane, Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) have said. The project in the Forth Valley is the company’s most advanced European venture and the technique being used is similar to fracking.

Scotsman 27th March 2013 read more »

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Published: 27 March 2013