Frances EDF Energy is demanding that the British Government draw up special legislation to guarantee billions of pounds worth of taxpayer-funded subsidies in exchange for building the countrys first nuclear reactor for decades. The company wants hefty subsidies, paid for by levies on consumers electricity bills for at least 25 years, to make its £14 billion reactor project at Hinkley Point in Somerset viable after construction costs soared. EDF is in advanced negotiations with the Government about how much it will receive. But according to sources close to the company, there are concerns that the agreed subsidies could subsequently be slashed if there is a public backlash against the amount. The company has asked the Government to pass a special emergency paving Bill setting out the agreed payments, which would make it harder for them to be cut in the future. It is thought that executives at the French parent company in Paris, which must give its approval for the project to go ahead, are particularly anxious that the Bill is in place before a decision is made. The Times has also learnt that the timetable for EDF and its junior partner Centrica to make a final investment decision by the end of the year, as promised, is likely to slip into early 2013. The Planning Inspectorate is due to make its final recommendation on the Hinkley Point project to Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, on December 22.
Times 8th Oct 2012 more >>
The Government, via Energy Minister John Hayes, is considering a major u-turn in nuclear power policy as it considers giving a blank cheque to nuclear constructors. This is what is involved in ‘underwriting’ the risks faced by nuclear constructors, and it will almost inevitably lead to secrecy and lies about what consumers will pay for building Hinkley C. It means that the Government will guarantee to pay for overruns in construction costs incurred by EDF in building Hinkley C. Such options were specifically ruled out, not only by the Conservative Party immediately prior to the 2010 General Election, but also by Ed Davey (Secretary of State at DECC) himself in May.
Dave Toke’s Green Energy Blog 7th Oct 2012 more >>
Two of China’s State-run nuclear companies are thought to be vying for a 20% stake in Hinkley Point C.
Independent 8th Oct 2012 more >>
Seven global electricity and nuclear technology companies are threatening today to withdraw plans for hundreds of millions of pounds of future investment in Britain because of attempts by George Osborne to water down the Governments green commitments. Siemens, the engineering giant, Alstom UK, the infrastructure and energy company, Mitsubishi Power Systems and four other companies, which together employ 17,500 people in the British energy sector, say that a lack of decision-making and threats to relax key targets have caused us to reassess the level of political risk in the UK. This could cost tens of thousands of new jobs. The companies, which also include Areva, Doosan, Gamesa and Vestas, say in the letter copied to the Prime Minister that they are planning significant further investment in British infrastructure worth hundreds of millions of pounds. However, in the blunt letter to Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, and copied also to the Chancellor, they warn that this is critically dependent on a long-term stable policy framework. The companies are critical to developing British nuclear and gas-powered plants, as well as renewable energy plans and offshore wind farms. The letter coincides with todays keynote speech from Mr Osborne on the second day of the Conservative Conference in Birmingham, which talks about growth and the need for tough decisions.
Times 8th Oct 2012 more >>
Telegraph 8th Oct 2012 more >>
More than 50 businesses, including household names such as Asda, Sky and PepsiCo, have called on the government to put in place a 2030 target on decarbonising the power sector. They argue that such a move already backed by Labour and the Lib Dems will stimulate investment and revitalise the UK’s ageing energy infrastructure. Osborne’s aides have made clear the chancellor is against a 2030 target on carbon, and last year he fought successfully to have the UK’s carbon targets for the 2020s reviewed. Osborne also supports a new “dash for gas”, which would entail building a fleet of about 20 new gas-fired power stations, and which green campaigners and renewable energy companies have said could raise emissions and stifle investment in renewable energy.
Guardian 8th Oct 2012 more >>
Companies and investors have joined trade unions, environmental groups and industry bodies in warning George Osborne that support for gas power into the 2030s is undermining investment in Britains electricity infrastructure. In an open letter to the Chancellor on the day that he addresses the Conservative Party conference, they demand a target written into legislation to decarbonise the power sector to unleash a necessary £110 billion investment in electricity supplies. It is the latest twist in the battle over energy policy, ignited when Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, saw off Tory calls for significant cuts to onshore wind farm subsidies at the price of support for gas up to and beyond 2030. The Governments climate advisers have warned that support for future gas plants without technology to cut emissions is not compatible with climate change legislation, and is harming investment in low-carbon power such as renewables and nuclear. Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth, which backed the letter, said Mr Osbornes support for gas power was looking increasingly isolated. The Chancellors dash for gas would send the economy and environment hurtling in the wrong direction, he said.
Telegraph 7th Oct 2012 more >>
Anti-nuclear campaigners from all over Britain began a weekend-long protest in Bridgwater yesterday, against the proposed construction nearby of the Hinkley C nuclear power station. The main aim of Saturday’s rally was to raise awareness within the community that, should the project get the go-ahead from the government, Hinkley Point will become a storage facility for tons of high-level radioactive spent fuel for over 100 years and the threat that might represent to Somerset and the UK at large.
This is Somerset 7th Oct 2012 more >>
This is the West Country 6th Oct 2012 more >>
A specialist engineer who worked at Hinkley Point nuclear power station for almost 30 years yesterday slammed the nuclear industrys approach to safety and predicted that a Fukushima-type disaster in the UK was almost inevitable. Speaking at a rally organised to oppose the construction of a new mega-reactor at the Somerset power station, Peter Smith said he become increasingly disillusioned with the nuclear industry during his career. Over the years, I became more and more aware of the dangers and dark side of nuclear power, he said. The industry denies that it ever puts profit before safety but this is a lie. I have seen corner-cutting from the design stage onwards. At Hinkley, major safety systems were omitted and others only implemented after major incidents. Smith, who was head of the electrical and instrumentation section at Hinkley before he retired, concluded that human error makes it impossible for nuclear power to be 100% safe. The plant at nuclear power stations is exceptionally complex. Things can and do go wrong. Safety systems fail, mistakes get made, human beings are human beings and they get it wrong and make errors.
Stop New Nuclear 6th Oct 2012 more >>
A specialist engineer who worked at Hinkley Point nuclear power station for almost 30 years has attacked the nuclear industry’s approach to safety and predicted that a Fukushima-type disaster in the UK was ‘almost inevitable’. Peter Smith’s comments were made at a weekend rally in Bridgwater against the proposed new Hinkley C nuclear power station.
Western Morning News 8th Oct 2012 more >>
Anti-nuclear demonstrators are planning to invade the site of EDFs proposed new power station at Hinkley in Somerset on Monday. The mass trespass is the culmination of a weekend of protests against the £2bn plant where Laing ORourke/Buouygues will be the main contractor and a Kier/Bam joint venture is gearing up to start a £100m groundworks contract.
Construction Enquirer 7th Oct 2012 more >>
Morning Star 7th Oct 2012 more >>
Arguments over nuclear waste disposal have been raging for decades, especially in Cumbria where the search continues for a site suitable for storing waste for tens of thousands of years. Nuclear and scientific experts are disagreeing about geological issues and, combined with Cumbrian public concerns at having an underground repository for nuclear waste, the dilemma continues. Cumbria has volunteered to consider housing waste in the county – and nationally, it is currently the only option. But experts say the way in which site selection is being carried out is very wrong. Dr Keith Baverstock is a former government adviser for the nuclear industry. He was fired from the panel of advisers in 2005 after raising concerns about the scientific process in looking for waste solutions. He told BBC’s Inside Out programme: “This process of voluntarism seems to me to be ludicrous. “You need to know when you ask people whether you can bury your radioactive waste in their back gardens, whether it’s feasible to actually do it. “It’s the wrong way round,” he insisted. Former Nirex inspector, Chris McDonald, also criticised the current plans. He said: “I was very surprised to find that West Cumbria was being floated once more as a potential site. “I think the probability of their finding a suitable site is low.” Cumbria’s Nuclear Future: an Inside Out Special is on BBC One North East & Cumbria and North West on Monday, 8 October at 19:30 BST. It will then be available nationwide for seven days on BBC iPlayer.
BBC 8th Oct 2012 more >>
A new website has been launched Solway Plain Against Nuclear Dump. Solway Plain Against Nuclear Dump (SPAND) is a group of residents of Silloth and the surrounding area, who are extremely concerned about Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria County Council volunteering interest in this area being used as a proposed underground repository for high level nuclear waste.
SPAND 7th Oct 2012 more >>
As Cumbria debates whether to press ahead with a massive underground dump for high-level nuclear waste, many people want to know how an area on the western edge of the Lake District, once ruled out as geologically unsuitable for even low and intermediate waste, can now be back on the agenda.
Private Eye 5th Oct 2012 more >>
Greenpeace International nuclear campaigners have again been denied entry to South Korea, making it crystal clear the government in Seoul is trying to silence nuclear critics. Jan Beranek, Greenpeace International energy team lead, and Dr. Rianne Teule, Greenpeace International nuclear campaigner, were stopped at Seoul’s Incheon airport today and not allowed into the country, where they were due to present at a seminar on nuclear power and meet journalists. Both of them had been allowed into South Korea in the past and no official reasons were given for todays denial of access. In total, six staff from Greenpeace International and Greenpeace East Asia have been denied access to South Korea since last November.
Greenpeace 8th Oct 2012 more >>
A written constitution for an independent Scotland should explicitly ban nuclear weapons from the country, Alex Salmond said yesterday. The SNP said such a move would reinforce the partys complete opposition to Trident nuclear weapons in Scotland.
The proposal was unveiled as nationalists prepared to debate plans to abandon their historic opposition to keeping Nato membership after a vote for independence.
Press & Journal 8th Oct 2012 more >>
Express 8th Oct 2012 more >>
Telegraph 7th Oct 2012 more >>
STV 7th Oct 2012 more >>
Scotsman 7th Oct 2012 more >>