Fresh fears have emerged over the future of Hinkley Point nuclear power station as French trade unions look poised to launch a second legal challenge against the project. EDF gave its long-awaited approval for funding of the £18billion nuclear plant last week. But yesterday it was claimed board members were only given 48 hours to read the 2,500-page proposal document before voting on the investment. Complaints about the brevity of the two-day window have prompted French trade unions, who voted against the project, to consider further legal action against the energy company. It follows an earlier legal bid from the unions over claims EDF did not provide enough information during the consultation on Hinkley.
This is Money 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes the recently published decision of the United Nations Espoo Convention Compliance Committee, following its investigation in whether the United Kingdom is compliant with international environmental law in the case of Hinkley Point C. The Committee found that the United Kingdom was not in compliance with the Espoo Convention. The Espoo (EIA) Convention sets out the obligations of UN member states to assess the environmental impact of certain activities at an early stage of planning. It also lays down the general obligation of States to notify and consult each other on all major projects under consideration that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across boundaries. Hinkley Point C comes into consideration for such a consultation. Complaints raised by the German MP Sylvia Kötting-Uhl and the NGO ‘Irish Friends of the Environment’ to the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee argued that the UK Government had inadequately consulted other member states of the potential environmental impacts of the Hinkley Point C project. In its findings, the Implementation Committee concluded that the UK Government should have notified more countries than just the Republic of Ireland of the potential impacts of Hinkley Point C. It concluded on the basis of the ‘Guidance on the Practical Application of the Espoo Convention’, that “notification is necessary unless a significant adverse transboundary impact can be excluded.”
NFLA 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Mrs May was yesterday facing a mounting backlash both at home and abroad over her decision to delay approval of the nuclear plans, as it emerged that Lord O’Neill, a Treasury minister, could quit the Government over her stance on China. Mrs May’s official spokesman on Monday sought to ease diplomatic tensions over Hinkley, insisting that the UK would “continue to seek a strong relationship with China”. However, she also declined three times to say if Mrs May was specifically concerned about the national security implications of the Chinese investment in Hinkley Point.
Telegraph 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
The two giant reactors planned for a site overlooking the Bristol Channel in southwest England would provide about 7 percent of the country’s electricity, enough to supply about 6 million homes. Replacing that power at a time when existing nuclear plants will be retired, and coal stations must be closed to meet climate obligations, will pose a big, though not insurmountable challenge. By plowing some of the money earmarked for Hinkley into offshore wind farms, capacity could be quadrupled by 2030, bringing costs down faster and making the technology more competitive against other energy sources, said Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Combined with measures to boost energy efficiency, that could bridge much of the gap created by the loss of Britain’s first nuclear power plant since the 1990s, he said. While many expect the government may yet give Hinkley the go-ahead when it makes a decision in September, if it does ditch the project, renewables won’t be able to fill the whole gap. Fossil fuels will need to play a part and that’s likely to mean more natural gas plants: they’re relatively quick to build and give the same round-the-clock, or baseload, power nuclear provides. While gas isn’t carbon free, it produces less than coal plants.
Energy Voice 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
CHINA says if the UK pulls the plug on the Hinkley Point nuclear project it risks losing £100billion of investment. A thinly-veiled threat hinted that axing it would jeopardise China’s involvement in the HS2 scheme and other initiatives. Chinese state news agency Xinhua said the delay “adds uncertainty to the Golden Era of China-UK ties”.
Daily Star 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Sky 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Two Conservative heavyweights have defended Theresa May’s decision to review the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point. Lord Hague and Lord Heseltine have both backed the Prime Minister’s decision. In a piece for the Daily Telegraph, former Conservative leader Lord Hague wrote: “While greater trade and investment with China is clearly beneficial for both countries and is to be encouraged, Theresa May is quite right to take the time necessary to evaluate the Chinese role in our nuclear power.” And Lord Heseltine, the former deputy prime minister, said it was not the case that the delay showed a reticence towards big infrastructure projects. “That is not a question of being anti-infrastructure; it’s a question of her view – a perfectly legitimate view, if I may say so – about the security implications of Hinkley Point,” the Conservative peer told Radio 4’s the World at One.
Politics Home 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
To secure the massive £18 billion investment, the previous government, led by David Cameron, agreed to a complex subsidy arrangement, which could see consumers paying billions more if future wholesale electricity prices become lower, which they are currently predicted to do. The nuclear technology is also untested, which has led to questions around safety. However the proposed Hinkley plant also has many benefits. It will be the biggest construction site in Europe, providing 25,000 construction jobs. When it is finished it will employ 900 people, including the next generation of nuclear engineers. It will generate low carbon energy, providing enough power for six million homes, and supplying seven per cent of the UKs electricity needs over its 60 year lifetime.
Imperial College 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Britain is going to have to learn to live with China – insulting them is not the best way to start
Telegraph 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Hinkley Point is just another vanity project – Theresa May should ditch it – Lord Berkeley.
Politics Home 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
The decision to review the Hinkley Point C project, taken at the eleventh hour, comes not a moment too soon for the future of UK energy policy. It opens up a Pandora’s Box which the nuclear industry has struggled to keep closed for far too long. It presents a window of opportunity to examine the future of nuclear energy and whether it has any future at all. Whatever decision is taken on Hinkley Point will have consequences for other nuclear projects in the queue, not least for Bradwell which was gifted last Autumn to the Chinese in return for their support in shoring up EDF. But, if Hinkley goes it is not clear whether it would take down Bradwell in its wake or whether Bradwell would rise as a Phoenix among the Hinkley ashes. Bradwell finds itself tied up in a complex web of economic, technical, security and, above all, political issues. Economically, Hinkley Point is a no-brainer. It is fearfully expensive, at £18bn construction costs and over £30bn lifetime costs, probably the most costly object on earth. Moreover, it is heavily subsidised by the taxpayer and will rip off the consumer at a price for electricity more than double the current rate for 35 years index-linked. If it is approved then every other nuclear developer, including the Chinese, will be licking their lips in grateful anticipation of such gratuitous largesse from the UK Government and electricity consumers.
BANNG 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has announced that both the Aldermaston and Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites will require ‘enhanced regulatory attention’ as a result of failures to improve nuclear safety performance at the two sites. In the case of Aldermaston, this will be the fourth year running that the site has required special measures from the regulator.. For Burghfield it represents a decline in safety standards as the site was only removed from a regime of enhanced regulation a year ago.
NIS 28th July 2016 read more »
A MAJOR Whitehaven road will NOT be widened as part of plans for a new power station, nuclear chiefs have confirmed.
Whitehaven News 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Five years ago, Southern Nuclear Operating Company identified a key atomic reactor safety risk: the potential for hydrogen generated from an atomic reactor meltdown to seriously damage the containment of the AP1000 atomic reactor at Vogtle Units 3 and 4. In a letter to the NRC, the Company states: “Design reviews in 2011 identified a credible scenario in which the applicable plant damage state meets the core damage frequency cutoff to be considered as part of the severe accident analysis”… The AP1000 containment is already within 1 pound per square inch of its design limit without considering the additional pressure that would be created by either a detonation or deflagration shock wave if one of the proposed igniters causes backflow into a sub-compartment.
Mining Awareness 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Suffolk business leaders have criticised Prime Minister Theresa May for delaying the go ahead for the Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Officials of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce fear Mrs May’s delay in signing off EDF Energy’s plans for Hinkley Point, in Somerset, may impact on job-creating proposals for a new nuclear station at Sizewell on the Suffolk coast.
Haverhill Echo 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected the Capenhurst Nuclear Services (CNS) site in Cheshire as the preferred site to store radioactive reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) from dismantled nuclear submarines. The selection of a site concludes a process begun in 2012 and means that decommissioning work can begin on the submarines.
NIS 28th July 2016 read more »
On 15th July a small committee of Cumbrian Councillors in Kendal took the decision to stack nuclear waste ever higher in shipping containers on the shifting sands of the West Cumbrian coast at the quaint village of Drigg. No fuss, no fanfare, no comment, only one article in the local press which airbrushed out the opposition – its a wonder there is ANY opposition what with the deafening silence! That rather triumphant article appeared in the Whitehaven News and it should set ALL alarm bells ringing. The operators of the Drigg “Low Level” Nuclear Waste “repository” are gleefully reported saying: ” It is safe to dispose of LLW at the LLWR both now and centuries into the future.” Campaigners are desperate to challenge this outrageous decision. Councillors have taken the decision to deny generations to come of the ability to protect themselves from nuclear wastes by “capping” them out of sight and out of mind.
Radiation Free Lakeland 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
Despite SNP protestations, the demise of ‘dirty’ coal power plants leaves us dependent on nuclear writes Scott Macnab How would an independent Scotland keep the lights on? The row over the multi-billion pound renewal of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station will have just as much impact on Scotland as the rest of the UK after a series of recent blows to Scotland’s energy industry. The disappearance of the Longannet and Cockenzie power plants has left the SNP regime ever more reliant on nuclear energy generation which it demonises. The renewables revolution is never likely to be enough to meet all of the country’s energy demands, particularly heat. Hinkley, despite the SNP’s qualms, will be as vital to keeping us in power as it is elsewhere in the UK.
Scotsman 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Yesterday, New York became the first state to adopt a policy to subsidize aging, uncompetitive nuclear reactors. The state’s Public Service Commission, which regulates utility companies, passed a Clean Energy Standard that combines a 50% renewable energy standard by 2030 with massive subsidies to prop up uneconomical reactors. Prepare yourself for loud celebrations from the nuclear industry, heaping praise on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and calling for other states to emulate the Empire State with lucrative incentives to insulate the nuclear industry from competition and to postpone closures of uneconomical reactors. We hate to throw water on the parade, but the move actually proves what a bad idea it is to throw subsidies at nuclear power. Let’s jump to the punch line, then we can fill in the blanks: New York just committed to spending twice as much money propping up old nuclear reactors than on new renewable energy, to get 2-3 times less energy from nuclear as renewables in the end.
Green World 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Linda Pentz-Gunter: US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s ‘enforcement’ is as fierce as the comfy chair The NRC routinely fails to enforce its own safety codes at nuclear power plants,- putting all of us at risk from accidents. It’s the US’s most extreme example of regulatory capture, rivalling Japan’s ‘nuclear village’ of crony agencies and feeble regulation that led to the Fukushima disaster. How long can it be before the US experiences another nuclear catastrophe?
Ecologist 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
China’s wind power capacity has reached 140GW, up 8.5% from the end of last year. However, the average time windmills spent generating power dropped to 917 hours in the first half of the year, compared to 1,002 hours last year, according to the latest data from the National Energy Administration (NEA). Even with double the installed wind capacity, China is producing less electricity from turbines than the US. While curtailment is one part of the problem, the NEA has also flagged faulty equipment as an issue. China’s wind industry has grown fast but “the quality of equipment needs to be improved,” said Li Peng, an official from the new energy department of the NEA. The nation will “improve the monitoring and evaluation system” for the sector, he said. China’s cumulative grid-connected solar capacity crossed 65GW, with as much as 22GW added in the first half of this year. Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects 6-8GW to be added to the grid in the second half of the year. Will the government reduce the 2020 solar target of 150GW? The issue is discussed in the note: China added more than 20GW PV in H1: what next?
Renew Economy 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
The growing trend towards community electricity and decentralised energy generation in the UK is causing tension between smaller and larger operators sending energy to the grid – and a growing headache for Ofgem, the energy sector regulator. Ofgem announced last week it is seeking changes to current network charging arrangements, which it says are giving smaller electricity generators, including some wind power, energy from waste and combined heat and power installations, an unfair competitive advantage over larger generators.
Business Green 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Update 1/8/16 – Solar has once again generated more electricity across a whole month than coal. The estimated 1,273 gigawatt hours (GWh) of power generated by solar during July was two-thirds higher than the 778GWh output from coal. The charts below have been updated. The UK’s solar panels generated more electricity than coal in May 2016, the first-ever calendar month to pass the milestone, Carbon Brief analysis shows. The feat was repeated in July.
Renew Economy 3rd August 2016 read more »
Although the solar PV installation rate has fallen by more than 70% since the UK-Govt. cut the feed-in tariff last year, Professor Roaf says that this can be remedied by greater use of battery storage for solar energy. She explained: “My solar roof helped light the spark that started the UK solar revolution – now more than 20 years later – over 1 million people across the country are living in houses powered by solar energy. “My PV roof system cost me £28,000 and to build it I needed to change Local Planning and Building Regulations Guidance on PV roofs and partner with Southern Electric to pioneer the first grid-connection agreement developed by an energy company in Britain. Today you can get a roof with 4Kwp of PV for your home for less than £5,000. “The PV system then had a 66-year payback. Today similar PV systems could cost less than £5,000 to install on an existing home and with feed-in tariff support on adjacent homes have a payback of around 6-10 years. “The UK now has over 8GW of installed PV energy of which around 2.3 GW is in domestic systems. In contrast, the UK has only 9.4GW of installed nuclear capacity much of which is scheduled for decommissioning over the next decade or so.” The addition of battery capacity into the domestic systems may add £2-3,000 to the cost of the basic array and will most likely appeal to particular market demographics. “This must include those who are approaching retirement and not only may have available lump sums to invest in reducing their dependence on irrationally and escalating domestic energy costs and establishing for themselves a degree of energy security that no other source of energy offers them. “For this demographic it is easy to predict a significant uptake of the addition options for battery inclusions, not least to their own existing solar arrays, particularly at the point of upgrading their existing invertor.
Scottish Energy News 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
“The rapid adoption of LEDs in lighting marks one of the fastest technology shifts in human history,” Goldman Sachs stated in a new report. The accelerated deployment of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs is on track to save U.S. consumers and businesses $20 billion a year in electricity costs within a decade, which would lower U.S. CO2 emissions by some 100 million metric tons a year! The growing global effort to speed up LED adoption could ultimately cut global energy costs and carbon pollution 5 times as much. As with solar energy, advanced batteries, and electric vehicles, the LED lighting revolution may not be televised by the major media, but it is happening at a torrid pace nonetheless — with a big boost from government deployment policies.
Climate Progress 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
By linking together networks of energy-efficient buildings, solar installations, and batteries, a growing number of companies in the US and Europe are helping utilities reduce energy demand at peak hours and supply targeted areas with renewably generated electricity.
Guardian 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Last year saw records in the Earth’s climate system continue to tumble, says the latest State of the Climate report from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The 300-page report, now in its 26th year, is an annual assessment of the world’s climate, scrutinising the Earth’s land, oceans, ice and atmosphere. It is compiled by more than 450 scientists from 62 countries. Carbon Brief takes a look at how rising greenhouse gas emissions, with the help of a strong El Niño event, made 2015 into a record-breaker.
Carbon Brief 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
The “carbon footprint” for the pollution caused by UK consumption has increased slightly, official figures show. The amount of greenhouse gases linked to goods and services consumed by UK households, including emissions from the foreign manufacture of imported products, rose by 3% between 2012 and 2013, the most recent data shows.
Guardian 2nd Aug 2016 read more »