Daily News Roundup

27 May 2013

Nuclear Subsidy

Electricité de France SA is near agreement with the U.K. government on most aspects of a deal to build new nuclear reactors, but talks remain stuck on a guaranteed price for the electricity they will produce, according to people with direct knowledge of the talks. The two sides have agreed “on every clause, from the legal framework clauses to the contract’s duration, except the strike price,” said one of these people.

Wall St Journal 26th May 2013 read more »

Fox business 26th May 2013 read more »

Energy Policy

Green campaigners and industry experts have hit out at the government’s plans to block new EU-wide renewable energy targets, which they say are essential to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and creating a green economy. Ed Davey, the energy and climate secretary, is to set out on Monday the UK’s position on energy and climate change targets within Europe. He will oppose any new goals on increasing the share of renewable energy in electricity generation, but will argue for climate change goals that would be tougher than any yet agreed in an international forum.

Guardian 26th May 2013 read more »

Ed Davey, the Climate Change Secretary, said Europe should commit to a tough new target to halve emissions by 2030. He wants Brussels to set an emissions reduction target of 50 per cent on 1990 levels by 2030 within an international deal, or go it alone with a 40 per cent goal if an agreement cannot be struck. This will mean the UK making its own contribution by cutting emissions by 50 per cent by 2025. But Mr Davey said each country should be able to cut their own emissions how they choose, for example nuclear, rather than having to do it all through switching to renewables. As a consequence he was against a European Union wide renewable energy target because it is “inflexible and unnecessary,” he added.

Telegraph 26th May 2013 read more »

Dounreay

SCOTLAND’S biggest annual trade showcase of decommissioning expertise is to take place at Dounreay on Thursday, June 6. The annual Science and Technology Innovation Exhibition will be staged in a temporary marquee adjacent to the Dounreay site. More than 40 companies have booked stands at the one-day event, which is organised by Cumbria-based Nu-Tech Associates.

John O Groat Journal 26th May 2013 read more »

Utilities

One of Britain’s energy supply minnows, Spark Energy, has revealed it expects to make an annual profit this year for the first time. The company began supplying gas and electricity in 2008, and is one of a handful of small companies that ministers hope could eventually break the dominance of the “Big Six” energy giants.

Telegraph 26th May 2013 read more »

French energy giant EDF was the big winner among Network Rail’s suppliers, scooping almost £300m in the last financial year through providing Britain’s track operator with electricity. EDF’s contracts accounted for 5.4 per cent of the Government-backed group’s £5bn budget for 12 months. Building firm Costain, which has been working on the revamp of London’s Farringdon Station, was the next best-paid, although it earned more than a third less than EDF at £184.5m. Network Rail is the single biggest electricity customer in the UK. EDF won a 10-year contract in January to supply it with energy from its eight British nuclear power stations in a deal that will see three-quarters of Britain’s trains run by electricity rather than diesel by 2020. The French giant has still to agree terms with the Government over building a new plant at Hinkley Point but EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said the Network Rail deal was a “huge vote of confidence” in nuclear.

Independent 27th May 2013 read more »

Japan

New questions are being asked about standards of safety in Japan’s nuclear industry after 30 people were exposed to radioactive materials in an accident at a laboratory in Ibaraki Prefecture. The accident occurred at the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex operated by the JapanAtomic Energy Agency at midday on Thursday, but the operator of the facility failed to report it to the authorities for more than 33 hours. In a press conference, JAEA officials claimed they initially believed the leak was not serious and that it had been contained within the laboratory. It has emerged that scientists ignored sirens sounding within the plant and continued with the experiment. They compounded the accident by wrongly assuming that the leaked radioactive material only had a brief lifespan and ventilating the laboratory, releasing it into the surrounding environment. The unit’s exhaust fans were also not fitted with filters.

Telegraph 27th May 2013 read more »

Taiwan

Hundreds of anti-nuke protesters rallied in the Taiwanese capital Taipei calling to vote down a referendum bill and terminate the launch of the island’s fourth nuclear power plant, amid mounting concerns since the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The demonstrators stood to spell the word “STOP,” with yellow and black signs in front of the building of the Taiwanese parliament and chanted slogans like “Stop dangerous nuclear power!”

RINF 27th May 2013 read more »

Reuters 26th May 2013 read more »

Kaliningrad

The Russian State Corporation Rosatom wants to place on the Baltic nuclear power plant in the Kaliningrad region less powerful reactors due to the plans of the Baltic countries to disconnect from the former USSR United power grid, told Reuters a source familiar with the outcome of the meeting in the nuclear Corporation. While not entirely giving up plans for the construction of Baltic NPP reactor for high power, State Corporation will continue to seek customers for electricity export.

Reuters 23rd May 2013 read more »

Trident

Former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has said it is time for Britain to relinquish its Trident nuclear programme. Speaking at the Hay literary festival, the Swedish international lawyer who led the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in the lead-up to the Iraq war, said he did not see how the UK would be any more protected if it extended the life of the nuclear programme – at an estimated cost of £100bn. Delivering the 2013 Joseph Rotblat lecture to an audience of 1,600 festival goers, Blix said Washington “was not pushing for this costly rearmament” and asked if Trident was “required to protect UK independence or UK pride”.

Guardian 26th May 2013 read more »

Sixty years after Britain’s first atomic weapons test, we need to consider the parallels between how the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was achieved in the 1990s and today’s nuclear challenges. The British government is, yet again, unable to read the writing on the wall, says Rebecca Johnson.

Open Democracy 25th May 2013 read more »

Renewables

JA Solar, one of China’s largest solar-panel makers by production, believes prices for panels have finally bottomed, signalling a possible recovery for the troubled sector. Over the past two years the global solar panel industry, which sees annual sales of about $27bn, has been hit hard by falling prices and a glut of oversupply from Chinese producers. Mounting losses and loan defaults have forced several Chinese solar companies into bankruptcy or restructuring in recent months. In Japan, demand for solar panels has boomed as the country looks for alternatives to nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. In China, a recent burst of government support has seen the country transformed from a bit player to the world’s single largest buyer of solar panels. Mr Xie said that China is becoming “absolutely the biggest market in the world”, and added he expects between 6GW and 8GW of new solar installation in China this year.

FT 26th May 2013 read more »

Climate

The peer, who first warned the Government of the cost of climate change in his 2006 Stern Report, said that for the last decade global warming has remained stable. “I note this last decade or so has been fairly flat,” he told the Telegraph Hay Festival audience. He said the reasons were because of quieter solar activity, aerosol pollution in certain parts of the world blocking sunshine and heat being absorbed by the deep oceans. Lord Stern pointed out that all these effects run in cycles or are random so warming could accelerate again soon. “In the next five to ten years it is likely we will see the acceleration because these things go in cycles,” he warned. Lord Stern said that carbon emissions are rising faster than ever and that global temperatures are more likely to rise by 4C over the long term than 2C, meaning floods and droughts. He said it was an “illusion” to claim that the short term flat line in global warming means that global warming is no longer a threat. “It is a dangerous extrapolation of the short term phenomenon into a long term trend when the underlying responses for long term trends in terms of rising greenhouse gases are well understood and clear.” Lord Stern also said he has written to the Prime Minister urging him to introduce a target to decarbonise electricity by 2030 as part of the Energy Bill, currently going through Parliament. He said investors need the policy clarity in order to build the infrastructure Britain needs in future.

Telegraph 26th May 2013 read more »

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Published: 27 May 2013