Daily News Roundup

8 February 2017

Hinkley

Brexit could lead to long delays to the renewal of the UK’s nuclear power grid – including joint projects with China and France. That’s because the British government has quietly declared its intention to leave Euratom as part of the Brexit process. Euratom has, since 1957, overseen the development of nuclear power and equipment in the European Union. Leaving the organisation will mean that the United Kingdom will need to agree nuclear agreements with other countries, a process that could take months or even years. As we’ve reported extensively over the last few months, EDF from France and China General Nuclear Power Corporation, have together formed General Nuclear Services (GNS). GNS will work on a number of new nuclear power projects in the UK, including at Hinkley Point C and Bradwell in Essex. These projects represent an investment worth billions of pounds by GNS, and so any delay will not be welcome.

Sino 6th Feb 2017 read more »

EDF defied opposition from the town council and local residents when they began road works that will create rat runs in town says councillor. The energy giant began hugely disruptive road works in the Bristol Road area of Bridgwater late last month as part of a project to improve access to Hinkley Point C, creating near gridlock in the town during rush hour. A local councillor has said EDF ignored concerns from local people and was given the green light to begin the plans directly from central government. Councillor Leigh Redman said: “EDF need Frederick road closed off so that they can put in place the access needed for their accommodation block.

Somerset Live 6th Feb 2017 read more »

The health of the construction industry over the next five years is on a knife-edge, heavily dependent of a few politically sensitive infrastructure projects of huge scope, according to new industry forecasts. Industry fortunes depend on smooth progress for big infra like the £18bn Hinkley Point C and £14bn Wylfa Newydd nuclear power stations, and the £55bn HS2 rail project.

Construction Index 8th Feb 2017 read more »

Dundee Courier 8th Feb 2017 read more »

Energy Voice 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Britain’s construction industry is on course to add 35,000 jobs a year for the next five years – but much of this expansion is dependent on massive troubled infrastructure projects. With infrastructure accounting for the largest part of the expansion, projects such as the £50bn High Speed 2 rail link and Hinkley Point and Wylfa nuclear power stations which have a combined price tag of more than £30bn need to get under way. In total the government has pledged £100bn on investment in infrastructure by 2021.

Telegraph 8th Feb 2017 read more »

Moorside

Nuclear industry chiefs are calling for new build to go-ahead, as fears grow about the future of the Moorside project in west Cumbria. It follows speculation about the planned multi-billion pound project after reports that its major investor Toshiba, is about to leave the nuclear industry altogether. The firm insists no final decision has been taken. Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, has spoken out about the need for nuclear, saying: “Nuclear provides more than 20 per cent of our electricity, and with two thirds of the country’s large power stations retiring by 2030, we need new stations to be built so that there is a secure, reliable and always available supply of power for homes, businesses and public services. Green party candidate Jack Lenox described the Moorside proposals as “a pie in the sky project”. “It shows that projects being privately funded are a bad idea from the outset. People should be backing the tidal lagoon project rather than Moorside.”

Carlisle News & Star 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Heysham

ONE of the nuclear reactors at Heysham 1 power station in Lancashire has been taken out of service (Feb 6) for a major maintenance programme. Around one thousand extra workers will join the site’s 700-strong team during the eight-week period, providing a boost to the local economy. The team will carry out more than 12,000 separate pieces of work – each carefully planned during the last two years of preparation.

EDF Energy 7th Feb 2017 read more »

In the Bay 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Sizewell

Campaigners are seeking meetings with two Government ministers as they press the case for more Whitehall help to offset the huge predicted impact of Sizewell C.

East Anglian Daily Times 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Wylfa

The timescale for a new £200m bridge over the Menai will have to be brought forward significantly if the National Grid is to pay towards its construction. That was the firm’s warning as the Welsh Government Economy secretary confirmed ongoing talks that could see the cost of a new crossing between Anglesey and the mainland, also carrying National Grid cables, shared between both bodies.

Daily Post 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Bradwell

COMMUNITY projects across the Maldon district have benefitted from thousands of pounds from a power station funding scheme. Magnox, which runs Bradwell Power Station, handed out more than £600,000 to projects around the UK as part of its socio-economic programme.

Maldon & Burnham Standard 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Levy Control Framework

MPs have criticised ministers for their “shambolic” failure to regularly spell out the impact of government green policies on household energy bills. The Commons public accounts committee said the government had missed its commitment to publishing annual reports on how consumer bills were affected by subsidies to support solar and wind power. The Department of Energy and Climate Change made the pledge in July 2014, but has not given an update on the implications for householders since November that year. Renewable energy subsidies such as the feed-in tariff for solar power are ultimately paid by consumers through government levies on energy bills.

Guardian 8th Jan 2017 read more »

MPs have said the government must do more to demonstrate the value for money of green energy schemes which are ultimately paid for by bill payers. The influential Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it was promised in 2014 an annual report on the impact of these policies on energy bills. But it has not seen once since. The PAC also repeated previous concerns about over-optimistic forecasting in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The government’s Levy Control Framework is supposed to control the cost of three low-carbon generation schemes, funded by levies on energy companies, which consumers pay for through their energy bills. The PAC concluded that the framework had “suffered from a lack of transparency, rigour and accountability” and the forecasting of its costs had been poor.

BBC 8th Feb 2017 read more »

The Public Accounts Committee report says that Government must do more to demonstrate the value for money of consumer-funded energy schemes. The recommendation comes in a report examining the Levy Control Framework, which is intended to help control the costs of three government schemes to support low-carbon generation. The Framework sets yearly caps on the forecast costs of the Renewables Obligation, Feed in Tariffs, and Contracts for Difference—schemes funded through levies on energy companies and ultimately paid for by consumers via energy bills. The Committee concludes the Framework has “suffered from a lack of transparency, rigour and accountability” and forecasting of its costs has been poor.

Parliament 8th Feb 2017 read more »

Energy Costs

Energy prices for more than 4m British households have been capped by Ofgem, the regulator, in a move to bring down bills for customers with pre-pay meters. On average, Ofgem said the cap would mean that customers who pre-pay for both gas and electricity will not pay more than £1,067 a year from April. This compares with an average of £1,127 at present. The cap was one of the measures recommended by the Competition and Markets Authority last year following a two-year probe into the retail energy market that found that pre-pay customers, including poorer households, have benefited less from competition in the market. But Utilita, an independent energy company that specialises in pre-payment meters, has warned the new price cap will squeeze profit margins in that part of the market to such an extent that suppliers will raise other tariffs.

FT 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Times 8th Feb 2017 read more »

Fukushima

Nearly six years after the initial explosion caused a catastrophic meltdown at the Daiichi nuclear power plant in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan, the situation has suddenly taken a drastic turn for the worst. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the company which owns and operates the now defunct power plant, announced Thursday that radiation inside the containment vessel of one of the plant’s failed reactors has now reached levels undetected since the disaster first occurred in 2011. Radiation inside the reactor has reached 530 sieverts per hour, a drastic increase from the previously recorded 73 sieverts per hour recorded in the aftermath of the meltdown. The level of radiation is so high that an official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences told the Japan Times that medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.

Ecowatch 5th Feb 2017 read more »

The radiation levels at Fukushima are not rapidly rising, as some reports suggest. Rather, TEPCO found an area with higher levels of radiation than they had seen before. To do this, they used a 10.5-meter-long (34.4-foot-long) telescopic arm, examining an area inside reactor 2 called the “pedestal”. A camera attached to the arm revealed what looks like a grating that had been melted by exposed fuel from one of the reactors. The images show a square hole measuring 1 meter (3.3 feet) on each side, believed to have originated from melted fuel rods from a pressure vessel above. If confirmed, this would be the first melted fuel found from the reactor – an important step towards decommissioning the plant itself.

IFL Science 8th Feb 2017 read more »

Kenya

France has joined the list of countries courting Kenya for a multi-billion-dollar deal to build East Africa’s first nuclear power plant. French Economy and Finance minister Michel Sapin said the nuclear-rich European country was looking to offer Kenya technical, engineering and financial support to develop reactors. Kenya plans to start building its first nuclear plant from 2022 in a five-year period at a cost of about $5 billion.

All Africa 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Renewables

Lord’s has become the first UK cricket ground to run completely on clean energy, as new figures reveal that extreme weather linked to climate change has caused £3.5m worth of damages to the sport. The 200-year-old ground’s owners, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), announced the deal as part of the group’s overarching sustainability programme, which has seen a 7% fall in electricity since 2010. The new Warner Stand at the ‘Home of Cricket’, due to open in April 2017, will include innovative features such as a solar PV roof and a state-of-the-art water collection and recycling system.

Edie 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Investors in renewable energy projects face a financial shock this spring when a business rates revaluation comes into force, a Scottish property consultancy has warned. CKD Galbraith said although a UK-wide property revaluation for business rates will see some categories of property fall in value reflecting a decline in occupier demand post-recession, owners and operators of hydro schemes and wind turbines could see a rise.

Scotsman 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Renewables – small wind

Millions of lampposts could be fitted with wind turbines connected directly into the National Grid. IT and technology firm NVT Group and Own Energy, which designed the small turbine that will be used, have formed a joint partnership that will create 25 jobs over the next year. However, the firms expected the number of people employed will rise to 300 within three years and say the venture could turnover more than £400m within five years. Own Energy is to move from its offices in Glasgow to NVT Group’s headquarters in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, as a result of the deal.

Independent 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Hydrogen

FIFE-based Living Solutions (LS) are going all out this week to increase their ‘green energy footprint’, as they take delivery of their new hybrid Renault Kangoo van, supplied by local company – Bright Green Hydrogen (BGH). The Levenmouth Community Energy Project – led by BGH in Methil, Fife – is a collaborative initiative supported by Fife Council and Toshiba. Begins a spokesperson: “This new industry development involves the facility being created into the world’s foremost demonstrator of hydrogen derived from renewable turbine and solar resources. “It is the first project of its kind in Scotland to use green hydrogen to fuel a fleet of hybrid/electric vans to the road.” This new vehicle will add to Living Solutions’ green credentials, as they are already working to create an eco-friendly zero emissions tree-surgery service – as they ramp up their contracting business.

All Media Scotland 6th Feb 2017 read more »

Fossil Fuels

A coal-fired power plant which produced twice the legal amount of toxic gas for seven years has been awarded a £10m state subsidy to produce electricity for a single year. Aberthaw in Barry, in the Vale of Glamorgan, describes itself as “one of the most efficient coal-fired power stations in the UK”. However, in September last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that it had breached the legal limit for nitrogen oxide for seven years, emitting more than double the permitted level. The power plant was one of the successful bidders in a capacity market auction held by the National Grid on behalf of the Government. The Business Secretary has still to formally approve the results.

Independent 7th Feb 2017 read more »

Police are investigating threats made against workers at a fracking site and protests which forced local companies to stop supplying the project. Notes were left for construction workers at Cuadrilla’s site near Blackpool saying “watch out, we know where you live” and giving their names and home towns. Two building material suppliers issued statements this week announcing that they would no longer work with Cuadrilla after their depots were blockaded by activists. The protests have involved some local people, but also a growing number of seasoned activists from around the country, including some with criminal records.

Times 8th Feb 2017 read more »

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Published: 8 February 2017