A new study shows that onshore wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) can generate as much as the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant (NPP) at a far lower cost. The Intergenerational Foundation thinktank’s report, quoted by the Guardian, says that producing the same amount of power as the NPP would over 35 years, but with onshore wind farms, would cost GBP 31.2 billion (USD 44.4bn/EUR 39bn) less. Betting on solar PV would result in GBP 39.9 billion of savings. The calculations in the report take into account the cost to build and operate the power plants. It also takes into account Bloomberg projections for the decline in wind and solar power costs in the future. The thinktank says that Hinkley Point C would be the “most expensive building on Earth”. The NPP will get a strike price of GBP 92.5 per MWh for 35 years. Electricite de France (EPA:EDF) is to make a final investment decision on the project next month.
SeeNews 5th April 2016 read more »
Scrapping plans for new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset and building huge amounts of renewable power instead would save the UK tens of billions of pounds, according to an analysis that compares likely future costs.
Edie 5th April 2016 read more »
PV Magazine 5th April 2016 read more »
City AM 5th April 2016 read more »
Left Foot Forward 5th April 2016 read more »
Institution of Mechanical Engineers 5th April 2016 read more »
French state-controlled utility EDF will not delay its project to build nuclear reactors in Britain and its Chinese partner China General Nuclear (CGN) will share any risks related to it, EDF’s Chief Executive Officer told French parliament on Tuesday. Jean-Bernard Levy said the British government did not want to delay the 18 billion pound (22.4 billion euro) Hinkley Point project and that any delay would upset both CGN and the suppliers with whom it has already made contracts. EDF’s unions and some of its staff have argued that Hinkley Point is too big a financial risk and should be delayed a few years. Levy said a study he had commissioned showed these risks were manageable. He did not give a timetable for Hinkley Point. The French government has said a final decision on it is due early May. Levy denied reports about EDF assuming a higher share of financial risk in the project than its 66.5 percent stake in it. French media reported last month that EDF had agreed to shoulder part of CGN’s risk should there be cost overruns. CGN has a 33.5 percent stake in Hinkley.
Reuters 5th April 2016 read more »
Hybrid debt issued by EDF creates a strain on the state-controlled utility’s balance sheet and financing ability, its chief executive officer said on Tuesday. Jean-Bernard Levy said in a hearing in French parliament that EDF had issued a huge amount of hybrid debt – 10 billion euros in total – and that other European utilities have been less “greedy” for this form of debt. He added that this makes EDF’s balance sheet somewhat more fragile due to the fact that the hybrid debt forces it to maintain a higher credit rating than strictly necessary. “It is a bit of an Achilles’ heel, our hybrid debt,” he said. EDF has net debt of more than 37 billion euros. This does not include its hybrid debt, which is accounted for partly as equity by some credit agencies. Hybrid debt typically has equity-like characteristics, such as the ability of the issuer to defer coupon payments under certain circumstances. Since EDF is 84.5 percent state-owned, credit agencies give EDF a rating “uplift” of several notches, which keeps its debt well within investment grade. But its hybrid debt does not enjoy that uplift and a downgrade of one or more notches could push EDF’s hybrids closer to non-investment grade, which would mean the utility would have to refinance it at higher interest rates. In October ratings agency Standard and Poor’s warned that it may lower its ‘A+’ credit rating for EDF if the French utility presses ahead with its 18 billion-pound ($25.5 billion) project to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Britain.
Reuters 5th April 2016 read more »
Letters from NuGen are causing worry among locals living near the Moorside nuclear plant project in West Cumbria. They suggest people could be bought out of their homes to make room for a development accommodating 4,000 nuclear workers. The Mayor of Copeland will hold a public meeting with NuGen tonight.
ITV 6th April 2016 read more »
Mycle Schneider, the lead author of the annual World Nuclear Status report, has said the chances of a nuclear power plant on Anglesey have a “slim to zero” chance of going ahead. Speaking to BBC Radio Cymru’s Post Cyntaf programme independent consultant Mr Schneider said: “The Hinkley Point project is in great difficulties and you could argue that the uncertainties are even larger in the case of Wylfa Newydd.” There have been questions on the viability of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, in Somerset. And Mr Schneider said the difficulties would impact on Wylfa Newydd’s ability to attract investors, something Horizon Nuclear Power disputes.
Wales Online 5th April 2016 read more »
BBC 5th April 2016 read more »
Sampling of beaches near the Dounreay nuclear power site ‘should continue for the foreseable future’, according to a new report. The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’s (SEPA) report said additional particle monitoring designed to help detect radioactive particles should be carried out on the foreshore and at Sandside Beach near Dounreay. SEPA also recommended that equipment used to find particles should be upgraded to improve detection rates. The report advised that more samples should be taken, with monitoring being carried out in May and again six months later at Strathy Point and Murkle Beach.
Herald 5th April 2016 read more »
Additional sampling has been recommended of beaches near the Dounreay nuclear power site to help in the detection of radioactive particles. Sand-sized fragments of irradiated nuclear fuel were flushed into the sea from the site in the 1960s and 1970s. Work to clean up the particles began in the 1980s, after fragments were found washed up on the foreshore at Dounreay. The continuation of this work, with additional sampling, has been recommended in a new report. The report by Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said monitoring for particles on the foreshore and also at Sandside Beach, which has been done for many years, should continue for the foreseeable future.
BBC 4th April 2016 read more »
Press & Journal 5th April 2016 read more »
HANT (Highlands Against Nuclear Transport) is extremely concerned about the latest UK Government plan to transport 700 kg of highly enriched uranium to the US to be announced by the Prime Minister in Washington later today as part of a deal which will involve transport of nuclear materials back to Europe from the US. This announcement is typical of the drip feed of information released regularly which reveals that there are far more nuclear materials stored at Dounreay than previously reported HANT has since 2013 campaigned for greater openness and transparency and the secretive nature of all these plans fuels public concern with little democratic accountability to local communities This announcement is unacceptable for a number of reasons.
HANT 31st March 2016 read more »
Gordon Mackerron: A very unusual exchange is about to take place over the Atlantic. The UK is sending some 700kg of highly enriched uranium to be disposed of in the US, the largest amount that has ever been moved out of the country. In return, the US is sending other kinds of enriched uranium to Europe to help diagnose people with cancer. The vast majority of the UK’s waste comes from its fleet of nuclear power stations. Most of it is stored at the Sellafield site in north-west England. But the material being sent to the US is a particularly high (weapons usable) grade of enriched uranium that you wouldn’t want to move to Sellafield from its current location at Dounreay in the north of Scotland without building a new storage facility – presumably more expensive than the cost of transportation. The decision to move this radioactive waste out of the UK has been presented as making it harder for nuclear materials to get into the hands of terrorists, but this is implausible. The UK is capable of managing homegrown highly enriched uranium itself. The plan also contradicts the principle that countries are responsible for managing their own nuclear legacy. The announcement draws new attention to an old issue: how to find a long-term solution to nuclear waste. Countries with atomic weapons or civilian nuclear power have been wrestling with this for several decades. This is partly because the problem was neglected for years, but more fundamentally because governments have failed to develop a strategy acceptable to the communities affected. Sellafield stores a further 140 tonnes of waste plutonium that also stems from British and some overseas nuclear power. If used in bombs this amount could obliterate humanity several times over. The NDA is now focusing on what to do about this too, after years of political inattention. Yet the decision-making is laboured and the currently favoured solution of using the plutonium as fuel for conventional reactors lacks credibility – no operator wants to use plutonium-based fuel because it is more difficult and expensive to manage than conventional fuel; and moving it around the country is a security risk. So nuclear waste remains the Achilles heel of the nuclear industry, in the UK and elsewhere. While the financial problems behind the proposed new nuclear station Hinkley Point C attract most of the headlines, the waste problem hangs over the industry behind the scenes. Until we find a way forward that is scientifically and politically acceptable, it will continue to do so.
Business Insider 6th April 2016 read more »
EDF Energy has inaugurated a new ‘dry store’ for used nuclear fuel that enables continued operation of the Sizewell B nuclear power plant until at least 2035. The plant, which is in Suffolk, accounts for 3% of the UK’s total electricity demand.
World Nuclear News 5th April 2016 read more »
The UK’s nuclear supply chain needs to speak to a wider audience about its achievements and be ready to welcome professionals from other sectors into the new build fold, writes Tom Greatrex. My experience as a member of the UK Parliament taught me that people will come to you with what they consider to be the single answer to the energy and climate change challenges the world faces. I think without exception this silver bullet approach is very limited in its application and scope. The reality is, we need a range of different energy sources as each brings strong advantages. Nuclear is no different from any other in that regard. The task is how best to optimise the range of different technologies, to understand how energy is used, how it’s stored, how it’s conserved; and technological developments will move that debate along. But without nuclear as the main low-carbon baseload source of electricity, I don’t think there’s anybody who seriously thinks we are in a position to achieve those wider aims.
World Nuclear News 5th April 2016 read more »
IPPR has published a report this week which tells us ‘why the Capacity Market is not working, and how to reform it’. A very good piece of work, which is well worth a read. I’m not going to go into an exposition of the report and its findings, because you can do that for yourself here. I’m sure the authors of the report were too busy putting the finishing touches to their opus to notice a question I put to the Minister of State for Energy in the last DECC oral questions before Easter Recess. I asked her, since the Department has not published an impact assessment for its latest consultation on proposals to ‘reform’ the capacity market and bring forward a year’s new capacity purchase this winter, what she thought the cost to bill payers of this would be, and whether she thought it would have the effect of actually procuring more long term contracts for new power stations (the original main purpose of capacity auctions). This last part is, after all, primarily why the capacity auctions are not working, which is that, so far, auctions have succeeded in procuring precisely no viable 15-year capacity contracts to ensure the building of new gas-fired power stations.
Alan Whitehead’s Blog 4th May 2016 read more »
There was a slew of comment over the weekend regarding the role that Britain’s carbon reduction efforts played in Tata Steel’s decision to sell off its UK operations. A Daily Mail editorial called “the crippling green taxes imposed by Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act in 2008” a “monstrous handicap” that had driven the steelworks and its 5,000 workers over the precipice. The Spectator’s editorial said “taxes and levies designed to help Britain meet its self-imposed and unilateral carbon-reduction targets, have worsened Tata’s problems in Britain”. These sentiments were repeated by a who’s who of the British climate sceptic commentariat: Dominic Lawson, Christopher Booker and Matt Ridley all sharpened their quills. In Tata Steel’s press release last week, the company blamed “global oversupply of steel, significant increase in third country exports into Europe, high manufacturing costs, continued weakness in domestic market demand in steel and a volatile currency” for its intention to sell off the Port Talbot steel works. Part of steel’s manufacturing costs is, of course, electricity. Which is how we come to be talking about climate policies. There is no doubt that the Port Talbot steelworks is a big energy user. According to reports, it uses as much electricity as nearby Swansea and each year the power bill runs to £60m. But in Simon Evans’ excellent Carbon Brief article, he finds electricity to be between 6 and 8% of the plant’s total production costs. Of this, perhaps 2-3% is due to green policy costs. But because the UK compensates energy-intensive industries for about two-thirds of the impact of these levies, the real cost of green levies at Port Talbot is about 1% of production costs.
Guardian 5th April 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
As political parties publish their manifestos for May’s Scottish Parliament election, the way we generate our energy once again proves to be one of society’s key issues. Driven by the certainty that climate change is already starting to affect us all, we’ve begun to make real progress in reducing the amount of carbon emitted into our atmosphere. That process must accelerate. Critics have said reshaping the way we produce and use energy will cost money – and in the short term, it will. But as Scotland has already shown, doing so now can bring huge economic, social and environmental advantages. That’s why in January, with exactly four months until the nation goes to the polls, Scottish Renewables published a manifesto which called for a new 2030 energy target. We believe that by 2030 half of all the energy consumed in Scotland – for power, heat and transport – can and should come from renewable sources. Targets provide a hugely powerful focus for government and industry, and helped create the green energy industry we have today. Although it seems likely that we’ll fall just short of our 2020 renewables target, the benefits it’s brought have been enormous – not least 21,000 green energy jobs. Meeting Scottish Renewables’ new 2030 goal would require a tripling of green energy from 2014 – achievable given that latest figures show we will be more than halfway there by 2020.
Scotsman 6th April 2016 read more »
This is the first report since Fukushima in 2011, focusing on the investments related to post-Fukushima safety upgrades and to the safe operation of existing facilities. In addition, this Nuclear Illustrative Programme highlights the estimated financing needs related to nuclear power plants’ decommissioning and to the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel. The Nuclear Illustrative Program provides a basis for discussion and aims to include all stakeholders, especially civil society, in the discussion on nuclear energy trends and related investments for the period up to 2050.
European Commission 4th April 2016 read more »
The European Commission is supposed to make regular assessments of the member states’ nuclear installations, a task that has not been carried out since 2008. EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports. On Monday (4 April), Brussels published its latest report on a potential EU-wide nuclear programme, known as the Nuclear Illustrative Programme (PINC). This was a highly anticipated document: it is the first time the European executive has drafted an embryonic EU nuclear policy (an area over which it has no competence) since the Fukushima disaster.
Euractiv 5th April 2016 read more »
Europe will need to spend €253 billion by 2050 on nuclear waste management and plant decommissioning, more than double the funds currently available, according to a report by the European Commission.
EU Observer 5th April 2016 read more »
One woman from Fukushima, who I met in Kyoto, said to me: “I am not as good as a guinea pig! They take tests from a guinea pig, but they don’t even test me.” She has thyroid cancer. There is a bias, since Chernobyl, toward focusing on thyroid cancer in children as a radiation impact. This is in part since they have less of a prior history of exposures, but in fact, radioactive iodine can cause cancer in people of any age. This woman is asking to be studied. For me there are long and interesting questions about the moral and ethical basis of studying any victim…but this woman wants data. The post-Fukushima period is generating oceans of data, but much of it is useless, either for a study, or for the victims. This woman tells me that readings from a “full-body count” measuring Becquerels in her body, taken at an evacuation center in 2011 was destroyed after two years. She cannot get it. It is gone.
Green World 5th April 2016 read more »
On 31st March 2016, EDF informed ASN of a fall by a steam generator during handling in the Paluel reactor 2 building. Reactor 2 has been shut down since May 2015 for the third ten-yearly in-service inspection. These wide-ranging maintenance operations include replacement of the four steam generators1 on the reactor’s main primary system. The operations involved in removal of a used steam generator from the reactor building include a handling phase: the equipment is placed on a trolley enabling it to be extracted from the reactor building. During this operation, it is tilted from its original vertical position to a horizontal position.
ASN 4th April 2016 read more »
South Korea has determined that North Korea is capable of mounting a nuclear warhead on its medium-range Rodong ballistic missile, which could reach all of South Korea and most of Japan, a senior government official said on Tuesday.
New York Times 5th April 2016 read more »
Express 5th April 2016 read more »
A British banker with ties to North Korea set up an offshore company allegedly used by the isolated and heavily sanctioned state to fund its nuclear quest and sell weapons, the Guardian newspaper reported, citing leaked Panamanian documents.
Reuters 6th April 2016 read more »
Jeremy Leggett: In 2016, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a major opportunity to develop a new industry, an opportunity that became something of an imperative in 2015. Let me examine first the opportunity, then the imperative. The opportunity involves solar energy, which is fast heading towards becoming the cheapest unsubsidised form of energy on the planet. Last year, solar power plants cheaper than gas plants were built in Dubai and Colorado. A Saudi company, ACWA Power, built the one in Dubai. We can expect to see more such plants around the world in 2016, and many more beyond.
Jeremy Leggett 5th April 2016 read more »
Jeremy Corbyn needs to bury his opposition to nuclear weapons and vote to keep Trident, argues Paul Mason, to allow Labour the chance to form a government in 2020 and counter the Conservatives’ incoherent military policies. Mason believes with the Trident issue out of the way, Labour could focus on issues such as the NHS and public assets in private ownership.
Guardian 6th April 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Swedish furniture giant Ikea plans to start offering residential solar arrays from its stores across nine countries including the UK and the Netherlands in 2016/17, in a bid to provide households with an opportunity to reduce energy costs. Homeowners across the world will soon be able to purchase solar systems at sales points within Ikea stores, after a recent pilot trial received positive customer reaction for its simplicity and transparency.
Edie 5th April 2016 read more »
Anglian Water has stepped up its use of renewable energy with five new solar farms on its sites. The installations will produce 1.8 million kilowatt hours of energy every year – enough to power 500 homes. They are based at five sites with a high energy use: Bedford water recycling centre (WRC), Witham WRC near Chelmsford, Whilton WRC near Daventry, Rayleigh West WRC near Basildon and Hall Water Treatment Works near Lincoln. Anglian Water energy manager Matt Pluke said: “This is very exciting news for us. This is yet another way we can reduce our energy costs and reduce our impact on the climate. “Across some of our water recycling centres we’ve already installed a fleet of combined heat and power engines, which create energy from the gas released as a by-product of the water recycling process. “The next step was to identify a number of energy-intensive sites where we can create clean energy from solar panels. By using this space, which would otherwise stand empty, we will be getting the best value out of the land we own, whilst reducing our carbon footprint.”
Utility Week 5th April 2016 read more »
Renewables – AD
Clearfleau, which provides on-site treatment solutions for the food and beverage sector, has commissioned a new AD (anaerobic digestion) power plant at a dairy farm which now feed bio-methane into the gas grid. By feeding the bio-methane into the gas grid, the facility will produce over £3 million a year in cost savings and revenue, while supplying up to 25% of the Cumbrian creamery’s energy requirements. The plant has been designed and built for Lake District Biogas, which will operate the site for 20 years taking feedstock from First Milk’s Aspatria creamery site. This comprises low-strength wash waters such as process rinses, supplemented by whey permeate (cheese production residue after protein extraction for use in energy supplements). This is pumped to the AD plant from the creamery.
Scottish Energy News 6th April 2016 read more »
Tempus Energy has called for an investigation into the black-start contracts awarded to two coal-fired power plants by National Grid.
Last week SSE rowed back on plans to close three of the four units at its Fiddler’s Ferry plant after it secured a contract to provide “ancillary services” to National Grid using one of the units. The following day Drax announced it had also secured a black-start contract.
Tempus chief executive Sara Bell urged the competition and financial conduct authorities to scrutinise the deals, and said the company was also considering options for “legal and regulatory redress”.
Utility Week 5th Aprl 2016 read more »
Far from having years to work out how to curb the risks of climate change, we face a moment of truth. Virtually all new fossil fuel-burning power-generation capacity will end up “stranded”. This is the argument of a paper by academics at Oxford university. We have grown used to the idea that it will be impossible to burn a large portion of estimated reserves of fossil fuels if the likely rise in global mean temperatures is to be kept below 2C. But fuels are not the only assets that might be stranded. A similar logic can be applied to parts of the capital stock.
FT 5th April 2016 read more »
“Adios gas-powered cars.” That was the reaction of Barclays analyst Brian Johnston over the weekend to news that Tesla Motors had received orders for nearly 200,000 of its Model 3 electric vehicle in less than two days. By nightfall on Saturday, that order tally had jumped to 276,000. That’s more than $US280 million in zero-cost capital to Tesla, from the $US1,000, $A1,500 and €1,000 deposits, and total orders for more than $A13 billion of electric vehicles. Barclay’s Johnston says the huge order numbers – more than the monthly sales of General Motors – suggests the tide is turning away from the internal combustion engine. Other analysts agreed. If his master plan proves too hard, Musk’s legacy will be his ability to make electric vehicles an attractive consumer product, just as Apple did with the laptop and the iPhone.
Renew Economy 4th April 2016 read more »
French energy minister Ségolène Royal has suggested to Tesla founder Elon Musk that he build an electric car factory on the site of France’s oldest nuclear reactor after it closes at the end of the year, AFP reported on Tuesday. French President Francois Hollande has pledged to close down the Fessenheim nuclear plant in the Alsace region near the German border but has met strong resistance from local politicians and unions worried about job losses. “The main problem is the site’s transformation,” Royal said at a briefing, according to the news agency. “We need to give hope to this community. My idea is to bring a Tesla factory.”
Guardian 6th April 2016 read more »
Reuters 5th April 2016 read more »