Alan Whitehead MP: The Commission’s letter sets out the reasons for launching a formal state aid investigation into the arrangements for underwriting (or rather subsidising) the Hinkley C nuclear power plant. EC documents are usually quite obscure but I think this one is quite significant, because it doesn’t just set out some ‘questions to clear up’ about the structure of the planned investment instruments – the 35 year contracts for difference and credit guarantees that make up the deal on the building of Hinkley C power station (and by implication the rest of the future nuclear programme). Instead it systematically dismantles the arguments put forward by the UK government on the issue, and then asks for comments within one month on the pile of rubble that remains.
Business Green 7th Feb 2014 read more »
The European Commission is assessing how it should augment its nuclear disaster insurance. Ingmar Schumacher calls for full transparency of insurance costs in the cost-benefit evaluation of the nuclear industry.
Ecologist 6th Feb 2014 read more »
Written Ministerial Statement by Michael Fallon, Energy Minister, regarding Nuclear Decommissioning Authority indemnity.
DECC 6th Feb 2014 read more »
Letter: Roe deer are part of our countryside, and what a shame it would be if these lovely animals should vanish out of our sight for good due to some needless human beings. After all they were here long before Sellafield came, so surely they have the right to stay, and continue to carry on giving us such a pleasure. I certainly do hope so. Sellafield has already spoilt the banks of the River Calder by up-rooting all the trees that the birds loved and used. Now it is the turn of the deer. Whatever next?
Whitehaven News 6th Feb 2014 read more »
Letter Eddie Martin: A year ago, and despite DECC’s enticements of community benefits, high-value jobs, and a promised Right to Withdraw (but not enshrined), we did not let in the government’s Trojan horse. As leader of the county council at that time, I spent many, many hours researching the whys and wherefores of an underground waste repository (a GDF) here in Cumbria. The more I researched, the more and more convinced I became that West Cumbria simply was not the right location. before the government starts digging a GDF anywhere, it should ensure that surface or near surface safety at Sellafield is sorted and safe once and for all. (For more detail read the Friends of the Earth report: Towards a Safer Cumbria). This is not scaremongering, as some would claim, but the opinions and conclusions of members of the Public Accounts Committee (Sellafield presents an “intolerable risk”) and the National Audit Office. Would you really trust the same nuclear organisations and people to commission the excavation of a GDF and bury materials that will be radioactive for thousands of years when, after many years and eye-watering quantities of public money, government and Sellafield – arguably the third (according to CORE) most radioactive site in the world – have spectacularly failed to get to grips with the nuclear waste already on site?
Whitehaven News 6th Feb 2014 read more »
A UK energy minister has warned that the UK would cut renewables investment in Scotland if the country became independent. Conservative MP Michael Fallon told the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee: “It might be very difficult to persuade taxpayers in Wales, England and Northern Ireland to go on subsidising the deployment of renewables in Scotland at a scale that we have seen up to now”.
Herald 6th Feb 2014 read more »
A row over the future of the UK energy market has erupted between politicians on the two sides of the Scottish independence debate. Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint believed consumers would face higher energy bills post-independence. However, Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the Labour MP’s intervention was about political point scoring.
BBC 5th Feb 2014 read more »
France – emergency planning
The government of France has published a national plan on coping with a nuclear accident or radiological emergency, commissioned after Fukushima. This plan was developed under the Secretary of Defense and national security, but also the ASN (Nuclear Safety Agency) and ASND (ASN defense), the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, government experts and the three nuclear operators EDF, CEA and AREVA. According to the report (French only), France has more than 30 years’ experience protecting against accidents based on the work of the operators that ensure the safety of the facility, ASN, which regulates them, and the French state, which is responsible for the safety of the population in an accident. Emergency plans have been developed at the plant, site and local area (up to 10km).
Nuclear Engineering International 4th Feb 2014 read more »
A US B-52 bomber sortie over South Korea has endangered plans for reunions between families from the North and South of the country and risks triggering a further escalation of military tensions, North Korea said on Thursday. North Korea said a flight by the nuclear-capable B-52 took place off the west coast of the Korean peninsula on Wednesday, although the US military was not immediately available for comment.
Guardian 6th Feb 2014 read more »
Hungary has reached an agreement with Russia over a finance package for the construction of two new reactors at the Paks nuclear power plant. Russia agreed to build the new units last month. Hungary’s economy minister Mihaly Varga announced yesterday on television that Russia has agreed to lend the country €10.0 billion ($13.5 billion) to build the reactors. The loan will cover 80% of the project costs, he said, with Hungary to provide the remainder.
World Nuclear News 6th Feb 2014 read more »
BBC 6th Feb 2014 read more »
The United Kingdom and France are planning to deepen their nuclear relationship by collaborating on laser research into the physics at the heart of nuclear explosions. Hidden in the small print of the agreements published in the wake of last week’s summit between the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the French President, François Hollande, is a promise to work together on nuclear weapons lasers.
Rob Edwards 6th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar costs
Solar energy is clean, local, job-intensive, easy to install, quick to deploy, simple to maintain… but expensive. That used to be the mantra that solar promoters had to bear over the years, and it seemed an effective reason to keep the power system relying on dirtier, but apparently cheaper energy sources. Solar photovoltaic technology has been available for a long time, but it needed public support to bring it to the market. Feed-in tariffs have been the most efficient support scheme. Yet solar energy is running through its learning curve much quicker than anyone could have anticipated. And subsequently, the need for new plants to get economic support has become lower and lower. Today a solar panel costs some 80% less than just five years ago to yield the same power. And costs are projected to lower by another 50% by 2020. But we don’t need to wait any longer to get solar energy for less money than dirty energy sources. Solar energy has now crossed another historic threshold. At the end of last year, for the first time ever in Spain, a solar plant was switched to the grid to sell the electricity at wholesale market prices, that is, getting the same reward as any conventional power plant. No subsidy, no feed-in tariff.
Greenpeace 5th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – tidal
It may not be as exotic as Venice, but a giant man-made lagoon in Swansea Bay is expected to draw thousands of visitors and generate electricity for 120,000 homes. Plans for the world’s first tidal lagoon power station, submitted today, involve building a 6-mile (9.5km) wall around Swansea Bay and creating a lagoon in the Severn Estuary with underwater turbines to harness the incoming and outgoing tides. The £850 million project includes creating a 10km sea reef, the reintroduction of the native oyster to Swansea Bay, and triathlon and water sports facilities within the wall. Tidal Lagoon Power, the company behind the project, believes that it will become a tourist attraction, with a road for pedestrians, cyclists and electric buses along the top of the sea wall leading to an offshore visitor centre. Sculptures would be placed along the wall. The company said it could be the first of several similar developments around Britain that could generate 10 per cent of the country’s electricity by 2023.
Times 7th Feb 2014 read more »
GLASGOW has become the first UK local authority to switch to low-energy street lights following the launch of a new loan scheme by the Green Investment Bank. The city plans to convert its 70,000 streetlights to LEDs in a bid to reduce costs, energy consumption and light pollution, as part of a scheme that the Green Investment Bank hopes will be adopted by other councils across the UK.
Herald 5th Feb 2014 read more »
Across the UK at the start of 2014, we estimate that 6.59 million households are in fuel poverty as originally defined8, almost exactly one in four UK households, and up from 5.86 million at the start of 2013. This is an increase of 0.73 million households, up 13%.
ACE 6th Feb 2014 read more »