30 September 2015

Hinkley

UK government should rethink its current Hinkley Point nuclear deal with French and Chinese and seek faster, cheaper power using Japanese technology, according to Institute of Directors chairman Lady Barbara Judge. In a wide ranging interview in this month’s Infrastructure Intelligence magazine, Judge, former chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority and now a member of the ACE advisory board, highlighted that is was unlikely Hinkley Point would deliver the UK’s next nuclear power station and called for a rethink.

Infrastructure Intelligence 25th Sept 2015 read more »

The idea that hooking up to China today puts Britain in prime economic position is absurd – what China is exporting is not the world’s manufactured products, but deflation risk – domino devaluations, layoffs and recession. Cosying up to China in today’s conditions is not a smart idea. Then there’s the lack of reciprocity in Osborne’s dealings with China. He seems prepared recklessly to throw open Britain’s doors to any Chinese company for investment in almost any sector. By contrast China closes off many industrial sectors to foreign investors and imposes limits on ownership in many others. It leads to the farce that a foreign state is welcome to invest in British industry, but British state investment in British industry under the Tories is strictly taboo. Then there’s the question of undermining UK national security, a charge which Cameron has been quick to throw at Labour, but which with much more substance his own chancellor is guilty of. By pleading with the Chinese to cut the deal over Hinkley C, Osborne is making a double mistake. He is allowing Chinese companies to operate at the heart of Britain’s nuclear industry, he is certainly putting at risk UK national security in the future. He is also subsidising the biggest white elephant in modern politics.

Michael Meacher 28th Oct 2015 read more »

Labour’s new Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary has called for an investigation into the bill taxpayers will have to foot for a new £24bn nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Lisa Nandy yesterday wrote to Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, warning the costs of the new power plant could present a risk to UK energy security and increase fuel poverty. In the letter, seen by BusinessGreen, Nandy warned nuclear power should not be delivered “at any cost”, and noted that some research suggests the project could be the most expensive power plant ever built. “I support a role for nuclear power to keep our energy supplies secure and to cut carbon pollution from electricity generation but not at any cost and not when more affordable opportunities exist, which could offer households a better deal,” she wrote. “I am worried about the impact of this investment on energy bills.

Business Green 29th Sept 2015 read more »

Plans to spend £24.5 billion building Britain’s first new nuclear power station in two decades are set to be investigated by Parliament’s spending watchdog, The Independent understands. The plan now faces a potentially damaging investigation by the National Audit Office followed by public hearings after Labour’s new Shadow Energy Secretary Lisa Nandy called for it to be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny. She said, at current estimates, building Hinkley would be the most expensive power station built anywhere in the world – costing more than the Olympic Games, Heathrow Terminal Two and Cross Rail combined. The investigation is likely to focus on whether the Government has chosen the right type of reactor to build and whether it would have made more sense to pay for the construction costs upfront through taxation rather than use private finance that will be paid back through bills.

Independent 28th Sept 2015 read more »

Bridgwater is gearing itself up for the planned Hinkley C investment that will see the town transformed say local leaders. Soon it will be all systems go said David Hall the deputy leader of Somerset County Council. The Cabinet Member for Business Inward Investment and Policy said everyone was encouraged by the Government announcement to guarantee £2bn of investment. He said: “Business throughout the district and the region is eagerly awaiting for the go ahead. We are in the hands of the Government and EDF and the package of investors who are supporting this development. We are all eagerly awaiting the next steps.” His views were not entirely shared by the SW Green MEP Molly Scott Cato who was highly critical of the plan to build the power station. She said: “The Tories are snubbing British citizens who have shown their willingness to invest in community renewables and support the clean, green energy of the future with which our country, and particularly the South West, is so richly endowed.”The MP for Bridgwater Iain Liddell-Grainger was bullish about the immediate future of the project but played down the idea the Chinese premier would visit the site to “seal the deal.” “This has been a long time coming,” he said. “It’s taken a lot of hard work by a lot of people over the last eight years. But this is the build up to the start of the project and there will be times when we will tear our hair out over the traffic and other problems but it is going to transform the area and the town. Myself, the town, parish, district and county councils will be keeping a very close eye on the progress.”

Bridgwater Mercury 29th Sept 2015 read more »

George Osborne claims that the government’s decision to guarantee £2bn of Chinese investment in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will shore up Britain’s nuclear energy plans and pave the way for more collaboration between the two countries. The largest group of the 632 respondents to last week’s poll registered their discomfort with George Osborne’s announcement of a 2billion guarantee for Chinese investmnent in the Hihnkley Point C power station project on security grounds, with 61per cent saying that a country suspectyed of cyber-attacks against our allies should not be involved in domestic energy infrastructure. A further 7 per cent said that China’s poor human rights record made them uncomfortable with the announcement. Howevcer, 22 per cent decalred themselves happy with the deal, providing that the UK supply chain was involved with the project as much as possible, and five per cent welcomed the chance to bring the UK’s nuclear plans back on track, and a similar proportion thought that the project would be so expensive that Osborne’s guarantee would have little effect.

The Engineer 22nd Sept 2015 read more »

Dounreay

A DOUNREAY veteran has played a key role in devising an array of robotic devices which will be used to strip out hundreds of components from the heart of the site’s prototype fast reactor (PFR). Calder Bain is part of a team which has come up with eight remote control, multi-purpose grabbing, cutting, slicing and lifting tools capable of removing the core of the reactor whose closure in 1994 sounded the death knell for Britain’s fast reactor programme. The senior design engineer, who was one of the first batches of apprentices at Dounreay and who has worked at the site for more than 50 years – since before construction on PFR started in 1968 – is now focused on the job of safely.

John O Groat Journal 28th Sept 2015 read more »

Utilities

The Labour party will not seek to renationalise the energy sector, the shadow energy minister said at the party’s conference on Tuesday morning. “Jeremy and I don’t want to nationalise energy. We want to do something much more radical. We want to democratise it,” Nandy told the Brighton-based conference. Nandy took aim at the current government, saying the Conservatives are risking the UK’s economic security and the security of household budgets by “pulling the rug out” from domestic developers of renewable power and “paying over the odds” for the Hinkley nuclear power project. Elsewhere at the Labour party conference junior shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead said the “quite random and bizarre announcements” from Government cutting support for large- and small-scale renewables raises concerns about the extent to which investor confidence will be destablised over the next period.

Utility Week 29th Sept 2015 read more »

“There should be nothing to stop every community in this country owning its own clean energy power station.” She cited the example of Nottingham Council, which she said had created its own energy company to “cut bills and go green”. Labour, she said, would back other “trailblazing” local initiatives that wanted to follow suit, arguing that community-owned energy co-operatives could become “powerhouses” in their own right. “We will work with our local government leaders to push for a clean energy boom in our great cities.” She added: “Because our city and county regions can lead the world. They can point the way towards a safer, brighter, more secure future. To be the light on the hill for all of us who care about the cost of our energy – to our family budgets, our businesses and our environment. “Let’s not wait for this government. Because let’s face it, we’d be waiting forever. Let’s seize the initiative and put power into our own hands.” Mr Corbyn’s team has been studying the more decentralised model of energy supply in Germany, where a number of suppliers are owned by local authorities, communities and small businesses and individual towns and cities have taken over their local electricity grids. Labour has backed, in principle, the building of new nuclear reactors but has questioned the cost of the proposed new plant at Hinkley Point and the amount of public subsidy required to get it off the ground.

BBC 29th Sept 2015 read more »

Householders are set to receive a £105 million cut to their electricity bills, after British Gas scored a legal victory over Ofgem. In March, the nation’s biggest energy supplier accused the market regulator of offering overly generous terms in an eight-year agreement worth £24.6 billion struck with the country’s electricity distribution companies. The companies, including Northwest Northern Powergrid and UK Power Networks, maintain and operate the wires and power cables that transmit electricity from power stations via a national network of high-voltage power lines. The price settlement struck in February between Ofgem and the ten distribution network operators fixed the amount they were allowed to collect from energy companies such as British Gas during the period from 2015 to 2023. British Gas, however, challenged the settlement with the Competition and Markets Authority, claiming that it was too expensive.

Times 30th Sept 2015 read more »

Terror

ISIS terrorists are plotting to unleash a “nuclear tsunami” on the world, a full-scale assault on those of differing religious beliefs aimed at bringing Earth to its knees in worship of Allah, a German journalist reported, in his new “Inside IS – Ten Days in the Islamic State” investigative book.

WND 29th Sept 2015 read more »

Daily Mail 29th Sept 2015 read more »

IB Times 30th Sept 2015 read more »

Security

Senior managers from the UK nuclear industry attended a security briefing run by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the regulator for safety and security for UK nuclear sites. The biannual event is for ONR to reinforce the importance of a security culture across UK civil nuclear power. Those attending, safety and security specialists, were briefed by ONR on physical, cyber security and information assurance, personnel and vetting, and transport security. The event was supported by the official Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and included further briefings from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the Police Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit and British Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

Professional Security 29th Sept 2015 read more »

China

Much has been talked about China possibly financing a portion of a GB nuclear power plant in the last few weeks. However, whilst China may be building some nuclear power plants – the support for them is small compared to the support given to renewables. Moreover, as was discussed in a recent blog, for technical reasons a dispatch choice has to be made. This choice can be set up to be made in all sorts of ways. These can be complementary to decentralised power or more complementary to the conventional, centralised power system. China has just made that choice. Dispatch is to prioritise renewables. This is a sure sign of where China thinks the energy system is going.

IGov 29th Sept 2015 read more »

Austria

As a crude rule of thumb, I would say that nuclear power plants probably should be built whenever they are less expensive than solar power and other renewables, and wherever there is no significant proliferation risk. Some countries are just not going to build any nuclear weapons, regardless of whether they could. Which countries fit this description? Well, Austria, for one. It has no major military adversaries, it’s not part of NATO, and it is so relentlessly anti-nuclear that it building nuclear weapons is virtually unthinkable. It’s even landlocked—no tsunamis. Unless large-scale renewable energy is cheaper for Austria, it should be one of the first countries to start building nuclear power plants.

Scientific American 29th Sept 2015 read more »

Nuclear Testing

Lamenting the fact that nearly two decades after its negotiation the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has still not entered into force, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged world leaders gathered at the United Nations to demonstrate the necessary political will to usher in a nuclear-weapon-free world.

UN News Center 29th Sept 2015 read more »

Trident

Jeremy Corbyn’s aim at this conference has been to keep the Labour party on an even keel. But there was one line in his speech that has unsettled some frontbenchers. He said this about Trident: ‘Today we face very different threats from the time of the Cold War which ended thirty years ago. That’s why I have asked our Shadow Defence Secretary, Maria Eagle, to lead a debate and review about how we deliver that strong, modern effective protection for the people of Britain. I’ve made my own position on one issue clear. And I believe I have a mandate from my election on it. I don’t believe £100 billion on a new generation of nuclear weapons taking up a quarter of our defence budget is the right way forward. I believe Britain should honour our obligations under the Non Proliferation Treaty and lead in making progress on international nuclear disarmament.’

Spectator 29th Sept 2015 read more »

CND has welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s strong recommitment to nuclear disarmament, received with enormous applause, during his first leader’s speech to the Labour Party conference. The Labour leader also made clear that the issue would be fully and openly debated within the Party.

CND 29th Sept 2015 read more »

The council’s convener has backed international calls for a world free of nuclear weapons. A joint statement from mayors, religious leaders and parliamentarians from across the world was adopted in Hiroshima in August and presented to the United Nations on Saturday, the international day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Malcolm Bell is a member of the Mayors for Peace organisation, which works internationally to raise consciousness around nuclear weapons abolition. It also seeks lasting world peace by working to address starvation, poverty, refugee welfare, human rights abuses and environmental destruction.

Shetland Times 29th Sept 2015 read more »

Fusion

Fusion energy may soon be used in small-scale power stations. This means producing environmentally friendly heating and electricity at a low cost from fuel found in water. Both heating generators and generators for electricity could be developed within a few years, according to research that has primarily been conducted at the University of Gothenburg.

Eurek Alert 25th Sept 2015 read more »

Renewables – solar

former TV presenter Heather ‘the Weather’ Reid brought some welcome sunshine to the entire city at the launch of a new solar energy project at a local primary school. Capital residents are being encouraged to buy shares in the scheme – run by the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative – to install solar panels on up to 25 schools, community and leisure centres owned by Edinburgh council, including Gylemuir Primary. The minimum share purchase is £250 per person, and if the project raises enough money to install panels on all sites, it will become the UK’s largest community-owned urban renewables scheme. Once complete, it should generate enough green energy to build a £1 million community fund and save the council nearly 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Scottish Energy News 29th Oct 2015 read more »

Daily Business 29th Sept 2015 read more »

BBC 29th Sept 2015 read more »

Solar Power Portal 29th Sept 2015 read more »

Edinburgh Reporter 29th Sept 2015 read more »

Herald 30th Sept 2015 read more »

Renewables – small hydro

THE go-ahead for plans to build a hydro-electric power plant in Sandford-on-Thames has delighted residents and campaigners behind the project. Vale of White Horse councillors unanimously granted permission on Wednesday night for three Andritz Archimedean screw turbines on the River Thames at Sandford Weir. The plant could generate enough power for more than 400 homes.

Oxford Times 5th Sept 2015 read more »

Energy Efficiency

Warmer Homes Scotland is the Scottish Government’s national energy efficiency scheme, designed to deliver the best possible help to people in Scotland who are struggling to keep their homes warm and pay their energy bills. Under the new scheme, measures such as insulation, heating and domestic renewables in households identified as fuel-poor are eligible for funding to help reduce fuel bills. While the funding is predicted to be available for up to seven years, the budget for year one will be up to £16 million. Installers will only be able to carry out work if they are PAS 2030 or MCS certified for renewables. David Buckley, Easy Green Deal Consultant, said: “Installers need to move quickly to ensure that they do not miss out on the scheme, or face missing out on providing customers with access to this funding. Ultimately, if they fail to act now, they run the risk of missing out on generating more income for their businesses, as well as helping to make their customers’ homes more energy efficient.

Scottish Energy News 30th Sept 2015 read more »

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Published: 30 September 2015
Last updated: 2 October 2015