A decision to give permission for a new nuclear power station on the west coast of England facing Ireland should be quashed, London High Court has heard. The National Trust of Ireland – An Taisce – is challenging plans for the plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, 150 miles from the Irish coast. The plant was granted planning permission by Energy Secretary Ed Davey last month. An Taisce is challenging the legality of the decision. It is seeking a judicial review at the High Court.
BBC 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Irish Examiner 6th Dec 2013 read more »
The merits of An Taisce’s challenge to a nuclear power station in Britain is illustrated by the fact that it has not been supported by the Irish Government, a lawyer for the British government argued yesterday. The way was cleared by British energy secretary Ed Davey last month for the station at Hinkley Point in Somerset – a £14 billion project to be built by French energy company EDF, backed by Chinese money and capable of powering five million homes. An Taisce has sought a judicial review, arguing that the energy secretary “acted unlawfully” in granting planning permission without carrying out “transboundary consulation” with the Irish, as required under EU rules. However, Mr Davey has argued in legal papers lodged for the two-day hearing that he is required to consult where there is “a real risk”, or “a serious possibility” of “significant environmental effects”, but not where there is only a bare possibility. The Irish Government has repeatedly raised questions about the operation of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria, said counsel for Mr Davey, Jonathan Swift, but concerns about Hinkley Point “have never been raised”.
Irish Times 6th Dec 2013 read more »
Members of the Stop Hinkley group are joining people from Kick Nuclear and CND in London this morning to show their support for a judicial review of the planning decision for Hinkley C. Spokesperson Nikki Clark said: “Stop Hinkley didn’t initiate a judicial review themselves due to changes in the planning law that have making it harder for local communities to bring a case. The time allowed has been reduced from 12 to six weeks making it very difficult to get a review of such a complex case.
Western Gazette 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Atkins, Amec and Cavendish Nuclear have been appointed by Horizon Nuclear Power to work up technical designs for its planned nuclear power stations at Wylfa on Anglesey and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire. It was announced yesterday that Horizon Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Hitachi, had reached signed a co-operation agreement with the Treasury with the aim of being able to agree in principle on a UK government guarantee for a new nuclear power station on Anglesey. It means Horizon can now talk to funders about financing the scheme and gives it confidence to start detailed design.
New Civil Engineer 5th Nov 2013 read more »
Construction News 5th Nov 2013 read more »
The signing of an agreement with Hitachi and Horizon to support the development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey is a strong signal of the Government’s commitment to new nuclear. The UK Government has today announced that it has signed an agreement with Hitachi and Horizon to support the financing of the development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa through a UK guarantee, subject to final due diligence and ministerial approval.
Treasury 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Construction 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Calls are being made for Gwynedd Council to build a new nuclear power station in the south of the county. Cllr Jason Humphreys, who represents Porthmadog East on Gwynedd Council, has criticised the council’s three-point plan to make the most of Trawsfynydd Power Station over the coming years. Gwynedd Council announced its strategy for the development site in October which has been put in place to cushion the blow to the local economy following the decommissioning of the power station in 2016. The site is due to enter a critical stage in its decommissioning in December 2016, by which point none of its 700-strong current workforce will be required on site. Cllr Humphreys said: “Gwynedd Council’s economic strategy for the south is desperately lacking. At best its three point plan for Trawsfynydd does little to improve the prospects of Dwyfor and Meirionnydd.
Cambrian News 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Tom Greatrex, Labour’s energy spokesperson, has criticised me and my other academic colleagues for arguing that it is now plausible to talk about Scotland having independent control of electricity policy. But as I have told him, in an email message, a big part of the credibility behind a sustained new nuclear build-up (and hence the argument for Scottish electricity independence) is precisely because Labour appears to be giving full backing to continued efforts to roll out nuclear power stations. In its most recent policy document, for example, ‘Powering Britain: One Nation Labour’s Plans to Reset the Energy Market’, Labour talks about continuing the system of contracts for difference for nuclear power. There is no criticism of the cost of the Hinkley C deal, or indication that Labour departs from the Government’s desire to continue to give, to future nuclear power plant proposals, loan guarantees, ultra long (35 year) contracts as well as premium prices much the same level as given to Hinkley C (£92.50 per MWh).
Dave Toke’s Blog 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Letter Cllr Mark Hackett (NFLA): I’m pleased that, after parliament’s inadequate scrutiny of the exorbitantly expensive Hinkley Point nuclear reactor project, we are going to see proper consideration of UK nuclear new build by the European commission (Report, 2 December). Our organisation has joined with parliamentarians and other groups to sign a letter to the EU opposing the deal. It notes that “in terms of competition within the EU, state aid for nuclear power in the UK is entirely at odds with the coming single market for electricity in the EU and with the principle that there should be free movement of goods and services throughout the region. It is bad for the development, throughout Europe, of effective alternatives – renewables and energy conservation – which are ready to go, cheaper than nuclear power, and very much quicker to build.” . That is why Germany, Austria and other EU states oppose nuclear power and why the deal should be rejected by the European commission. Rather than cutting more than 10,000 jobs from the energy efficiency sector, we should be investing further in sustainable energy.
Guardian 5th Dec 2013 read more »
While we are often told that severe nuclear accidents are ‘impossible’ (which itself is impossible – maybe a subject of a future post) a more reasonable response is sometimes an ‘expert’ from the nuclear industry will quote probabilities and risk factors. Here is a quick post about why those risk assessments are wrong or misleading. If the risk are to remain acceptable then the probabilities have to be very small and therefore the frequency of these events is very small – so small that they may not have even been observed before. For example the risk of flooding should be a one in 10,000 year, or 10-4pa event. In these cases we have much less data to test our model on and this leads to a large increase in the probability of our method being incorrect P(¬M). It is not just external events but also the behaviour of systems and materials within the nuclear plant which are not well enough understood and lead to errors in the calculations of the probabilities of failure. Unfortunately it is often very difficult to say how wrong they are.
Peter Lux 6th Dec 2013 read more »
The decision to scrap one of the current fleet of nuclear cargo ships and assessing options to enlarge the fleet were announced today at the Ramsden Dock Stakeholder meeting at Barrow by International Nuclear Services (INS), the wholly owned subsidiary company of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The committee was told that the Atlantic Osprey had made its final voyage and was to be withdrawn from service, laid up at Barrow docks and eventually scrapped. The ship was purchased third-hand by British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) from a German company in 2002. Originally built as a roll on roll off car ferry, the ship was converted for the transport of nuclear materials by BNFL, and in 2005 its ownership passed to the NDA. Built in 1986 and recently based largely at the Port of Workington, the ship has transported a range of non-nuclear cargo around Europe and has shipped a range of nuclear materials to and from Europe and the United States including High Level Waste (HLW) and Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX). The only ship of the fleet not to have been custom-built for nuclear transports, the 27-year old Atlantic Osprey has long been the target of concern, criticism and direct actions from Greenpeace and CORE because of its age and lack of safety/security features compared to those deemed necessary for other ships of the fleet. Most recently (November 2012) it was targeted by Greenpeace activists as it approached the port of Nordenham near Bremerhaven with a consignment of MOX fuel for Germany’s Grohnde power station (the last such fuel to be produced at the now defunct Sellafield MOX Plant SMP). The transport had been made despite concerns of its continued use for MOX transport having been expressed earlier by the French Safety Authority ASN.
CORE 5th Dec 2013 read more »
After a week of pre-briefing and speculation, chancellor George Osborne finally announced the government’s full spate of green levy reforms in today’s autumn statement. The reforms could significantly change how the government and energy companies cut greenhouse gas emissions and help consumers save energy – and money. The government trailed some of the changes in the days prior to the chancellor’s statement, but energy companies and commentators will still have had ears pricked for any last minute surprises. Here’s a quick summary.
Carbon Brief 5th Dec 2013 read more »
A “stealth” carbon tax will add £5 to household energy bills next year after the Chancellor rejected calls to scrap the controversial green levy. The tax, which is supposed to encourage construction of new wind farms and nuclear reactors, was introduced in April and already costs about £5 on a typical household bill. That is likely to rise to £10 in 2014 and increase again every year to 2020, when it will cost as much as £50 per household, according to government estimates. Calls for the carbon tax to be scrapped or reformed have mounted in the wake of the Prime Minister’s pledge to “roll back” green levies on energy bills. Consumer groups say the pro ceeds from the tax should be used to help fund energy efficiency measures that would help households cut their bills. But the Chancellor left the tax unchanged on Thursday, opting to keep hundreds of millions of pounds in revenues for the Exchequer, and confirmed plans to water down energy efficiency schemes instead. The Government’s plan, announced on Sunday, has led major energy suppliers to pledge cuts of about £50 from their bills. But Labour, which pledges a price freeze if elected, said households would still be about £70 worse off because major suppliers had already announced increases of £120 this winter. Ed Matthew, director of the Energy Bill Revolution, which calls for carbon tax proceeds to fund insulation, said: “Investing in British homes would slash hundreds of pounds off energy bills permanently. It is the only way to cut bills for everyone and end the scourge of fuel poverty for good.” Age UK charity director, Caroline Abrahams, s aid: “With excess winter deaths significantly up last year, in part due to cold homes, the Chancellor missed a major opportunity to tackle the root cause of the problem – the UK’s poorly insulated housing stock.”
Telegraph 6th Dec 2013 read more »
George Osborne promised that household energy bills would be cut by £50 a year without raising income tax in his autumn statement on Thursday, but fuel poverty campaigners said thousands of low income households would be worse off. Age UK also believed the chancellor was working in the wrong direction. “We firmly believe that the only sustainable solution to the scourge of fuel poverty and escalating energy prices is a major overhaul of our poorly insulated housing, to ensure that cold homes are a thing of the past. In 21st Century Britain, older people’s lives should not be at the mercy of the weather,” said Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director.
Guardian 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Letter David Lowry: Your article says that I “leaked” the KPMG report on Sellafield mismanagement to the Commons’ public accounts committee. I did not leak the report, as I had legitimately obtained it via a freedom of information request from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority three days before the first hearing of the PAC on Sellafield mismanagement last month. When I learned of the hearing, on the morning it was due to take place, I decided that the parliamentary committee charged with overseeing the value-for-money of the expenditure of our taxes by public bodies should be aware of this report before it held its hearing with NDA and Department of Energy and Climate Change witnesses, so I emailed it to the chair, Margaret Hodge MP, and the clerk to the PAC. The distinction is a very important one.
Guardian 5th Dec 2013 read more »
A SELLAFIELD union is demanding pay talks with bosses to put a halt to its members being “treated like second-class citizens”. The GMB, which represents the site’s 2,500 industrial workers, claims that Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) and Sellafield Ltd have reneged on promises made to review members’ pay. Sellafield Ltd refutes the claim that its workers are underpaid or undervalued, and adds that its “doors remain open” to discuss industrial relations issues. The union launched its campaign – First-Class Industrial Workforce Treated Like Second-Class Citizens – this week with the aim of instigating pay and grading talks with the site’s management.
Whitehaven News 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Letter Adrian Simper (NDA) I write to correct an apparent fundamental misunderstanding about the Government’s current policy on nuclear waste storage at Sellafield which has been repeated a number of times on these pages by members of Cumbria Trust. In his letter last week, Colin Wales refers to the need for “secure interim storage” of waste at Sellafield to remove the “intolerable risk” posed by the aging storage facilities on the site and that this should be coupled with investigations into geological disposal to form a “twin track approach” to dealing with nuclear waste. I can confirm that this is the Government’s current approach for nuclear waste and has been since the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority was established in 2005. Sellafield is already home to a number of state-of-the-art, modern storage facilities for intermediate and high level nuclear waste and where gaps exist in the network, detailed plans are already in place to address this. These modern facilities include the Vitrified Product Store, built in the 1990s, which stores all of the site’s vitrified high level waste, plus a number of intermediate level waste stores, built during the last two decades, including Encapsulated Product Store 3 (EPS 3) – due to open next year – on which construction work has just been completed.
Whitehaven News 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Letter: It is also my understanding, that from the by now extensive knowledge of UK geology, that the most suitable (ie safe) area to do this would be parts of the South Midlands and East Anglia, ie to the north and north west of London, and that the geology of Cumbria is by comparison far less suitable. It would be my guess that the populations of these areas would be highly unlikely to accept such a facility and that therefore the choices of ever finding anywhere on this crowded little island ever to do this are just about nil. Would it not, therefore, be much more sensible and cost effective for the Government and the nuclear industry to forget the whole idea and come up with a solution that the UK public would accept?
Whitehaven News 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Letter: Longlands Farm was the “best” site they could find in West Cumbria and this failed due to unsafe geology – and that was for waste on a scale considerably less ambitious than is now intended.
Whitehaven News 5th Dec 2013 read more »
“Going green doesn’t have to cost the earth,” says George Osborne. He’s right, but the problem is that the opposite is also true: not going green will cost the earth, taking the economy down with it. The Chancellor’s nods to the green economy in his latest mini-budget were characteristically hostile, nakedly politically-motivated, and, most of all, utterly intellectually incoherent. The key line was the latest outing for Osborne’s oft-repeated assertion that “going green doesn’t have to cost the earth.” It is possible to read this as evidence that the Chancellor has finally realised green technologies are increasingly affordable and will benefit rather than hamper the economy. It is possible to argue the Chancellor has finally realised the truth in the Stern Report’s conclusion that deep cuts in carbon emissions will cost just a percentage point or two of GDP, while protecting the world against losses that will be an order of magnitude larger. It is possible to conclude that the Chancellor has finally realised that he should explicitly commit to managing the low carbon transition in the most cost effective way possible. Possible, but sadly inaccurate. Green business leaders and campaigners do not have to indulge in conspiracy theories to interpret the Chancellor’s phrasing as an attempt to imply the UK’s previous approach to “going green” – an approach Osborne himself has signed off on during five years in opposition and three years in government – does “cost the earth”.
Business Green 5th Dec 2013 read more »
North Yorkshire firm Ellis have manufactured parts for the Areva European Pressurised Reactor nuclear power plant currently being constructed in the Guangdong province of China. The Taishan Nuclear Power Project, which is a joint venture between EDF and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, is the third nuclear power station to be built using Areva’s 1,750 megawatt EPR and it is the second time Areva has used Ellis’ products to secure electrical cables at a nuclear plant.
Business Daily 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Switzerland already gets more than half of its electricity from renewable sources. Now, German researchers say that the country could have 98 percent renewable power by 2050. Germany’s GLR has published the country edition of its Energy [R]evolution study for Switzerland. While the global Energy Revolution study is in English, the one for Switzerland is currently only available in German (also not in French). Written on behalf of Greenpeace, the study finds that the Swiss can increase the share of renewables in their power supply from the current 57 percent to 98 percent by 2050 by quickly expanding photovoltaics. In contrast, the growth of biomass, wind power, hydropower, and geothermal would be more moderate and take consideration of the natural and built environment. The Swiss plan to shut down their last nuclear plant in 2025.
Renewables International 4th Dec 2013 read more »
Storage tanks at the Fukushima nuclear plant like one that spilled almost 80,000 gallons of radioactive water this year were built in part by workers illegally hired in one of the poorest corners of Japan, say labor regulators and some of those involved in the work.
Reuters 5th Dec 2013 read more »
On Thursday, the Obama administration released an executive order directing the federal government to triple its use of renewable energy by 2020, which would bring the government’s renewable energy usage to 20 percent. The order will apply to all federal agencies, including the military. The Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the executive order before it was published, noted that the federal government itself occupies approximately 500,000 buildings and operates 600,000 vehicles, and purchases more than $500 billion per year in goods and services. The order does not disclose the cost of the transition, but says the goal will be reached “to the extent economically feasible and technically practicable.”
Climate Progress 5th Dec 2013 read more »
The Franco-German Areva-Siemens consortium that is building a nuclear reactor for Teollisuuden Voima Oyj, or TVO, in Finland has raised the compensation claim it is making against the Finnish utility for delays to the plant’s construction to EUR2.7 billion ($3.7 billion), TVO said Wednesday. The consortium–comprising French nuclear engineering firm Areva SA (AREVA.FR) and German engineering giant Siemens AG (SI)–had previously submitted a claim to the International Chamber of Commerce against TVO for EUR2.6 billion on Oct. 29.
Wall St Journal 4th Dec 2013 read more »
The South African Department of Energy has reported through its revised projections of electricity demand that new nuclear power will not be required until after 2025 or even later. The country is likely to take on other power sources, according to the updated version of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity, such as regional hydro and shale gas. The IRP is a 20-year plan that models demand and supply of electricity and plans for generation needs. Nuclear was seen as highly expensive compared to other available resources, however less than expected power demand is also playing a role in the latest projections.
Nuclear Insider 4th Dec 2013 read more »
U.N. inspectors are to visit an Iranian plant on Sunday linked to a planned heavy-water reactor that could yield nuclear bomb fuel, taking up an initial gesture by Iran to open its disputed nuclear programme up to greater scrutiny.
Reuters 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Simon Jenkins: The chancellor’s well-trailed announcement that money for onshore turbines will be cut in favour of offshore is welcome in part, but it makes no sense. While less intrusive on the eye, offshore turbines are even more expensive and inefficient than onshore ones. The bizarre plan to erect 240 down the middle of the Bristol Channel has already been abandoned as uneconomic, despite Osborne’s subsidy. The huge East Anglian field may cost billions. It all makes nuclear seem a bargain.
Guardian 6th Dec 2013 read more »
Emerging technologies such as energy-efficient LED lighting are creating a dramatic opportunity for consumer-side cost savings, as well as the potential for a much broader suite of municipal services via LED-integrated smart sensors, and with it the possibility for upending a staid and overlooked component of the traditional utility service offering.
RMI 26th Nov 2013 read more »
Hefty tax breaks for fracking firms announced by the Chancellor yesterday immediately came under fire from MPs and environmental groups, who warned that they were “unwarranted” and could even be illegal. George Osborne said Britain’s fledgling shale gas industry could bring “thousands of jobs, billions of pounds of investment and lower energy bills” to Britain, as he announced plans to dramatically cut taxes on fracking profits, from 62 per cent to 30 per cent.
Independent 6th Dec 2013 read more »
Times 5th Dec 2013 read more »
Telegraph 5th Dec 2013 read more »
FT 5th Dec 2013 read more »