Just how much will the Hinkley nuclear power plant cost? Depends who you ask. In a recently published spreadsheet outlining the cost of projects in the UK’s infrastructure pipeline, the Treasury said the Hinkley project could end up costing more than £26 billion. That’s considerably more than previous government estimates, and it kind of contradicts what EDF – the French energy firm actually building the project – has been saying. But fear not, government sources say it was just an honest mistake, a simple Excel calculation gone awry. Here’s what Tom Lafford, policy adviser at E3G, the think-tank that spotted the spreadsheet, told Energydesk: “There’s nothing surprising about this multi-billion pound accounting error and that’s exactly the problem. “The Government knows that the alternatives to Hinkley C can be built quickly and cheaply; it’s all there in their Smart Power Report. The longer they wait the more we all pay.”
Energydesk 3rd June 2016 read more »
Twin nuclear reactors at Taishan in China have been sealed into their concrete domes despite fears that the reactor vessels have serious metallurgical defects. No safety test data has been released by the two companies in charge, EDF and CGN, to show that the reactors will not crack in operation, releasing radioactivity. Areas of very high carbon in the Flamanville reactor vessel and lid, both forged at Areva’s Le Creuset works, have caused that reactor’s construction to be placed on what appears to be indefinite hold. France’s nuclear safety inspectorate, ASN, is demanding ever more tests to be carried out on these two key components. The danger posed by the high-carbon anomalies is that the reactor vessel and head will become brittle, crack under pressure, and release large amounts of radiation into the environment.
Ecologist 3rd June 2016 read more »
Keswick Reminder: Details of Nuclear company NuGen’s Stage 2 plans tobuild three reactors at Moorside near Sellafield, were on display at a public consultation meeting in Keswick on Wednesday. Fergus McMorrow, planning and consultation manager for NuGen, said: The meeting was a real consultation to get our plans over and to give the people a chance to make their comments and air their views. “Around 25 members of the public came to the consultation to discuss the project with us. There were no particular issues of focus for them but a general interest in the project as was shown. We will await with interest any written feedback we get as a result.”
Radiation Free Lakeland 3rd June 2016 read more »
EDF Energy’s Sizewell B nuclear reactor is not affected by any of the flaws detected in similar reactors in Belgium and France, Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said on Friday. Sizewell B has one pressurised water reactor with two turbine generators which has been offline since April for a statutory outage. During that time, EDF Energy examined the reactor to make sure it is in good condition. The ONR is “satisfied that they demonstrate the continued integrity of the reactor pressure vessel and that the hydrogen flaking present in the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors in Belgium is not evident at Sizewell B”, it said in a statement. Electrabel’s Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors were halted in 2014 after hydrogen flakes were found in the walls of the reactor tanks. They were restarted last year, but Germany has called for them to be shut down again after its independent Reactor Safety Commission advised it could not confirm the reactors would be safe in the event of a fault. The ONR added it had reviewed reports that demonstrate Sizewell B reactor pressure vessel domes are not affected by a carbon segregation issue, subject of scrutiny at France’s Flammanville nuclear plant. Last year, the French nuclear regulator said serious anomalies had been found in a reactor vessel at EDF’s Flammanville 3 nuclear reactor.
Reuters 3rd June 2016 read more »
Domestic uranium production is falling to levels not seen since the early 2000s, which are themselves equal to production during the dawn of the nuclear age in the 1950s. Prospects for any sort of rebound look bleak, as a joint venture between GE, Hitachi, and Toshiba is looking to import Russian-designed fuel assemblies for use in U.S. reactors.
Power Mag 1st June 2016 read more »
Energy companies are cheaper and cleaner when run by the council. Sadiq Khan’s pledge to establish a municipal energy company, Energy for Londoners, is one of his most striking mayoral election commitments. London will not be the first authority to set up such a not-for-profit company – Nottingham and Bristol got there first – but it will be the largest, and potentially the most ambitious. The energy market is notoriously uncompetitive, dominated by the big six utility companies, whose pricing practices have led them to be investigated and criticised by the competition watchdog. Most consumers have little trust in these companies, but are reluctant to switch suppliers for a better deal. At the IPPR, we’ve argued for local authorities, and London in particular, to set up municipally-owned energy companies that can supply electricity and gas at competitive prices and don’t have to distribute profits to private shareholders. By targeting those on low incomes, they can help tackle the problem of fuel poverty. With the big energy companies so widely distrusted, we believe the local authority “brand” can encourage otherwise reluctant low-income households to switch suppliers and save money. Since Robin Hood Energy was launched by Nottingham city council in September 2015, it has become one of the cheapest suppliers in the East Midlands. By actively contacting customers and helping them move to the cheapest tariffs based on their energy use, Robin Hood confounds the logic of traditional suppliers with business models that rest on the inertia of their customers. This has not only benefited its own growing customer base, but has forced other companies to cut their prices to compete. Bristol Energy has even wider goals. Fully open since earlier this year, the company aims not just to supply energy at competitive prices – it reckons its tariffs can save customers an average of £250 a year – but to invest in community-based renewable generation and ultimately in renewable heat supply as well.
Guardian 3rd June 2016 read more »
Much of Europe prides itself on its determination to act resolutely on climate change, but in at least one key respect it has failed to back its rhetoric with action. Its investment in renewable energy showed a significant drop in 2015, falling to its lowest level in almost a decade.
Climate News Network 3rd June 2016 read more »
Renewables – Chile
Chile’s solar industry has expanded so quickly that it’s giving electricity away for free. Spot prices reached zero in parts of the country on 113 days up until April this year, a number that’s on track to beat last year’s total of 192 days, according to Chile’s central grid operator. While that may be good for consumers, it’s bad news for companies that own power plants struggling to generate revenue and developers seeking financing for new facilities.
Independent 3rd June 2016 read more »