The Government has refused to confirm that it it will sign a contract with EDF allowing Hinkley C to be built before April 2015, which is only a few weeks before the General Election. This can be seen in the text below which contains an answer to a Parliamentary Question tabled by Caroline Lucas. This evasive response underlines the shaky status of the Hinkley C nuclear project. The project was supposed to be backed by investments from AREVA and also Chinese state owned nuclear companies, but investment from both of these sources (around half of the total equity capital) is now under question. AREVA, the state-owned French nuclear constructor and parent of the failing EPR reactor design, is going bust and cannot afford the Hinkley C investment on its current balance sheet. The Chinese nuclear companies apparently want a greater share of the work on the project than EDF is willing to give. This underlines the core of the surviving French interest in the project – the interest of powerful nationalised French corporations to preserve their jobs in a declining industry. They have the power of the state at their disposal, ranged against the political inclinations of the Hollande Presidency to try to stop the nuclear dinosaur that controls the French state from eating up so much of its resources.
Dave Toke’s Blog 28th Nov 2014 read more »
The Ministry of Defence has ordered a review into the costs and construction timetable of a highly sensitive manufacturing plant that will enrich uranium for Trident nuclear missiles, amid fears the budget had spiralled out of control. Project Pegasus, a £634m facility to be built at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire, is said to be struggling over costs and scheduling. The MoD had said that Pegasus would be completed between 2016 and 2020.
Independent 30th Nov 2014 read more »
From a Cumbria Trust supporter: It is hard not to become cynical about plans for a GDF and opaque safety cases. I was surprised that the White Paper still called it a Geological Disposal Facility, rather than a Safe Disposal Facility or some other vague term.
Cumbria Trust 29th Nov 2014 read more »
Of the myriad problems facing the Middle East, the question of how to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability is potentially the most serious. Even the measureless human misery of Syria’s civil war, the rising threat of a Palestinian “third intifada” and the depredations of Islamic State terrorists do not quite match the dangerous, global ramifications of, for example, a supposedly pre-emptive Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities and Tehran’s likely retaliation against Saudi and US targets in the Gulf as well as in Israel.
Observer 30th Nov 2014 read more »
The majority want a future in which the UK generates energy, while not causing irreversible climate change or being at the mercy of global fossil fuel markets. (A Department of Energy and Climate Change survey pointed to 67% public approval rates for onshore wind power in the UK). The media’s spotlight shines upon the fracking fields, yet a bureaucratic battle rages in archaic local council quarters – denying us one of the cheapest renewable energy sources. Each country in the UK has its own planning system. In England, local planning authorities decide whether development plans live or die. Decisions on controversial proposals such as wind often fall to elected councillors on planning committees. So far, only 46% of wind projects representing generating capacity of 3.7GW out of potential 8.1GW, have received permission.
Guardian 28th Nov 2014 read more »
SUNAMP, the renewable ¬energy business headed by technology entrepreneur ¬Andrew Bissell, is closing in on the first round of raising up to £1.5 million as it prepares to begin shipping its heat storage batteries early next year. Founded in 2006, the East Lothian firm has so far been funded by a mixture of grants, loans and private investment totalling about £3m. Bissell sold his previous company, 3D medical imaging firm Voxar, for £23m in 2004. His latest venture will begin shipping its first product, SunampPV, in the first quarter of next year. This allows homes with photovoltaic solar panels to store excess energy for later use, rather than sending it back to the grid. SunampStack, a heat storage system that has been running in Bissell’s home for the past year, will begin commercial shipments in the second quarter.
Scotland on Sunday 30th Nov 2014 read more »
A NEW £177 million waste-burning plant which will incinerate more than 300,000 tonnes of rubbish a year has been given the stamp of approval. Part of a drive to promote renewable energy, the project is expected to support 350 jobs during construction and 55 once the facility is operational. Viridor will build the recycling plant at the Oxwellmains waste treatment hub near Dunbar in East Lothian and the firm say it will help Scotland meet its ambition of becoming a zero waste country.
Scotsman 29th Nov 2014 read more »
As one of Britain’s leading independent gas companies applies to frack in North Yorkshire, concerns have also been raised about what campaigners claim are flawed proposals to drill for gas in the nearby North York Moors National Park. Gas firm Third Energy last week drew intense criticism from local campaigners as well as the local Conservative MP after announcing plans to hydraulically fracture – or “frack” – an existing well at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.
Independent 30th Nov 2014 read more »
The entire House of Lords has been accused of missing the chance to block the UK government’s plan to allow companies to frack for gas under people’s homes without their consent. The Scottish National Party (SNP) has pointed out that an objection from a single peer in the House of Lords could have stymied the government amendment removing the right of property owners to object to drilling under their land. The SNP does not sit in the Lords on principle.
The National 27th Nov 2014 read more »
World leaders must agree a deal to tackle global warming within the next year or risk losing our way of life as we know it, Ed Davey, the energy secretary has warned ahead of major international negotiations in Lima. About 9,000 politicians, diplomats and non-governmental organisation delegates will descend on the Peruvian capital over the next two weeks for the UN’s annual climate change talks, intended to thrash out key details to enable a global deal by an agreed deadline of next year’s summit in Paris. Mr Davey told the Telegraph: “These are the last major annual talks before we hit our deadline in Paris next year. We need a deal in Paris – there is no alternative that will protect our national security, our economy and the way of life we take for granted.”
Telegraph 30th Nov 2014 read more »
Scottish ministers are coming under pressure from an SNP-led committee of MSPs to end their repeated failure to meet climate targets by making major cuts in pollution from farming, housing and transport. Farmers need to reduce their use of polluting chemical fertilisers, householders should be helped to better insulate old and leaky homes, and motorists should be persuaded to opt for cleaner electric and hybrid cars, MSPs say. In a sharply worded -submission this weekend, the Scottish Parliament’s environment committee is urging ministers to ensure their climate reforms “are not just words”. Scotland must not abandon, or water down, its world-leading ambitions to combat climate change, the committee says. The Scottish Government has so far missed every statutory annual target to reduce carbon emissions in 2010, 2011 and 2012. This is a “disappointment”, the committee says, and leaves ministers facing “significant difficulties” in meeting future targets. The intervention from the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee (RACCE) comes on the eve of the latest global climate summit, which opens in Lima, Peru, tomorrow. The new Scottish Climate Change Minister, Aileen McLeod, is expected to attend. The committee’s convener, SNP MSP Rob Gibson, has ¬written McLeod a seven-page letter, which has been seen by the Sunday Herald. It calls for “urgent action” in response to the missed targets.
Sunday Herald 30th Nov 2014 read more »