31 May 2013

Nuclear Subsidy

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power generator, is holding off on a decision to build atomic plants in the U.K. until it’s sure they’ll be profitable, Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio told shareholders today. “We won’t go without the formal conviction that we can guarantee the profitability on your investment,” Proglio said at an annual meeting in Paris, where the utility is based. EDF maintains “strong interest” in pursuing the projects, he said. A decision on building two new reactors at Hinkley Point in southern England has been delayed from the first quarter as EDF negotiates a guaranteed power price with the U.K. government. The utility is demanding at least 95 pounds ($144) a megawatt-hour for 40 years, while the government says it’s seeking value for money for consumers.

Bloomberg 30th May 2013 read more »

The contract for Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in a generation will last up to 35 years, the government and EDF Energy have agreed, as the two sides edge closer to a historic deal on the venture. A person familiar with the negotiations said there was a “consensus” that EDF should be able to earn a 10 per cent return on its investment in the plant, to be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. But there was still no agreement on the capital cost of the project and the “strike price”, the guaranteed long-term price for electricity produced at Hinkley.

FT 30th May 2013 read more »

It seems the Government and EDF may be moving towards shaking hands on a deal to financially support to a new nuclear plant in Somerset, Hinkley C. Unsurprisingly, this has led to enormous speculation over how much consumers will have to shell out over the coming decades. These figures are little short of terrifying, and although I think they should be taken with a healthy pinch of salt, I want to explain why they are not the only reason that Contracts for Difference (CfDs) represent such a bad deal for everyone – except maybe anyone looking to build a new nuclear plant. I agree with many spectators that the level of support likely to be given to nuclear (a technology that has been in commercial operation since the 60s!) is completely exorbitant. However I worry that the anger at huge figures distracts from the more concerning underlying features of the CfD that risk stemming the flow of investment in renewables.

IGov 30th May 2013 read more »

Horizon

Horizon Nuclear Power has signed a major contract with its reactor technology provider, and primary contractor, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy to build new nuclear reactors in the UK. The contract sets the framework for design work to be undertaken for a new build nuclear project at Wylfa in North Wales, close to the site of a now-closed nuclear power station.

Hazard Ex 28th May 2013 read more »

Energy & Environment Manager 23rd May 2013 read more »

Radwaste

Letter Tim Knowles: They say all political careers end in failure and although mine has only lasted 12 years, the truth of that seems quite real. After leading County Council policy on nuclear issues for the past five years, my inability to persuade the then Conservative-led administration to support further research, as part of finding a solution to the safe disposal of higher level nuclear waste, was a very significant defeat. There are many reasons given as to why they rejected a proposal that had majority support in Copeland, but of course the most compelling was the Conservative’s fear of unpopularity in other parts of Cumbria in the recent county elections. The success of a campaign convincing people that their area had already been pre selected for a “dump” was in stark contrast to the complete failure of those with the key interest in finding a solution, to argue their case successfully.

Whitehaven News 30th May 2013 read more »

Sizewell

It has been claimed by EDF that the majority of Leiston residents want Sizewell C to be built. However when asked for the justification for this claim they have not responded. The 2011 /12 Leiston Town Appraisal was carried out, at the behest of the Town Council by a small number of residents.The summary says: “Residents are largely in favour of further nuclear expansion (70%) as despite the problems of traffic ……..during the building of Sizewell B the benefits of increased employment ……were worthwhile by those who completed the questionnaire” This is a biased and illogical statement. The statement relies on the answer to Q 54, Q55 & Q56 that is for residents who lived in or around Leiston during the construction of Sizewell B not for the general population. They were only asked for positive and negative aspects but were not asked if they considered the former outweighed the latter.

Together Against Sizewell C. (accessed) 30th May 2013 read more »

Sellafield

Letter Arthur Millie: what other industry uses so much of the taxpayers’ (or private) funding to support the community in which it happens to be sited? The Reed/Woodburn duo may, along with the West Cumbria Strategic Forum, believe that the rest of Britain owes them special favours – well it doesn’t. As long as West Cumbria’s political and administrative leaders continue with this begging bowl approach the longer this community will continue to decline. Until Copeland rids itself of these people it will slide further into the mire and I know that if I was one of the 10,000 plus workforce I would not be amused by their unjustifiable utterances that may well yet backfire.

Whitehaven News 30th May 2013 read more »

Nuclear Debate

Blackshaw Environmental Action Team is having its first ever public meeting in Hebden Bridge on Tuesday, June 11, at 7.30pm in the town hall. It is a debate on ‘Do we need nuclear power to avoid climate change?’ with speakers for and against nuclear energy. Members of the public are invited to participate in the debate or just ask the speakers questions.

Hebden Bridge Times 30th May 2013 read more »

Supply Chain

A FIRM exposing workers to the real-life hazards of the nuclear power industry says it hopes to create more North-East jobs and target increased global markets to mark its 40th anniversary. GSE Systems, based in Thornaby, near Stockton, provides specialist electrical control services, working with a global theme park operator to maintain special effects and lighting, and energy provider EDF to supply simulation machinery for a £15m training centre.

Northern Echo 31st May 2013 read more »

Space

A LEADING asteroid defense expert has claimed nuclear warheads could be sent into orbit on spacecrafts to destroy dangerous Earth-bound asteroids – and Nasa is already working on projects that could be developed for such events.

Scotsman 30th May 2013 read more »

Russia

Two subcontractors for Kaliningrad Region’s Baltic Nuclear Power Plant (Baltic NPP) say works at the site are being stopped and a two-year freeze is expected on the construction. Hitting a wall of uniform rejection after years of courting energy importers and investors in Europe, the project has Moscow attempting a last-ditch look at a limited pool of smaller reactor designs – but reeks of a prompt demise.

Bellona 30th May 2013 read more »

US

Dawn Chapman can put up with the noxious smell caused by smoldering trash in a landfill near her suburban St. Louis home. But if the burning creeps close to buried nuclear waste, she’s ready to get out. It’s a problem that worries many people in this densely populated area near Lambert Airport, where the trash burns just 1,200 feet from another landfill that holds radioactive waste dating back to the Manhattan Project, which created the first atomic bomb in the 1940s.

Salon 30th May 2013 read more »

Thanks to cheap natural gas, America’s nuclear renaissance is on hold.

Economist 1st June 2013 read more »

Energy Efficiency

The number of people insulating their homes has collapsed since the onset of the coalition’s flagship “green deal”, according to figures that undermine ministers’ attempts to improve Britain’s fuel efficiency. Installations of cavity wall insulation were down in April by 97 per cent compared with the same month last year, industry figures show. There were 1,138 installed last month compared with 49,650 in April 2012, according to the data from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, an industry monitoring group. The news is a blow to the coalition government, which has repeatedly emphasised the potential for a national insulation scheme to cut the UK’s energy use, and prevent household bills from spiralling over the next decade.

FT 30th May 2013 read more »

Telegraph 31st May 2013 read more »

Shale Gas

For the past few months one debate has dominated the UK’s environmental and energy community, although to refer to it as a “debate” implies a level of dignity and rational thinking that has been sorely lacking – “almighty row” is probably a more apt description. The argument in question centres, of course, on whether or not the UK, and by extension Europe, should embrace fracking and join the global rush to exploit its shale gas resources. For various reasons this relatively narrow energy policy debate has morphed into a much wider argument about climate policy in general, the future nature of the UK’s energy mix, and the state of play in various swing seats in the run-up to the 2015 election. On one side, the sensible pro-fracking argument that shale gas can cut emissions in the medium term by replacing coal and providing a transition fuel towards a genuine low carbon energy mix has been hijacked by climate deniers and anti-green media commentators who care more about attacking environmentalists than developing credible long-term energy policy. On the other side, many green campaigners have sought to make shale gas a totemic issue and have vowed to do everything in their power to block UK developments, while conveniently ignoring the fact that, like it or not, the UK is going to source gas from somewhere for several decades to come.

Business Green 30th May 2013 read more »

A supposed UK “dash for gas” is more of a crawl as big uncertainties remain over supply, demand and policy. That was the message of experts at a Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum on Thursday. Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith expressed concern over a spike in coal-fired generation. “We are in the midst of a dash for coal,” he said, as cheap US shale gas has displaced coal onto the global market and brought prices down. This led to a “distressing” 11 per cent rise in sulphur dioxide emissions last year, which had previously been on a downward trend.

Utility Week 31st May 2013 read more »

Climate

Has the chair of Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee changed his mind on whether humans cause climate change? “My views haven’t changed one iota” he tells us – it’s highly probable that climate change is caused by humans, and he will keep pushing for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Tory MP, Tim Yeo, leads the influential Energy and Climate Change committee and is a forceful advocate for the green policy agenda – including a 2030 target for decarbonising the electricity sector. So a story in today’s Daily Telegraph that reports comments by Yeo suggesting humans “may not be responsible” for rising temperatures, and that “natural phases” could be to blame, has raised some eyebrows. Climate skeptic pundits like James Delingpole are predictably delighted with Yeo “recanting”. But Yeo says he is “mystified” by the story. He counters that he hasn’t changed his views, and believes the scientific consensus is stronger than ever before.

Carbon Brief 30th May 2013 read more »

Why did the 400ppm carbon milestone cause barely a ripple? Newspapers, for whom marking round numbers is the easiest excuse to report an issue, were mostly disinterested.

Guardian 30th May 2013 read more »

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Published: 31 May 2013
Last updated: 1 June 2013