China has issued its sternest warning yet to the UK that bilateral ties stand at a “crucial historical juncture” over London’s deferral of an £18bn nuclear power project. Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, drew a clear link between Beijing’s desire to see an early go-ahead for the controversial Hinkley Point power project and the future of the UK-China relationship. The UK’s move last month to review the landmark deal, under which a Chinese consortium is due to part-finance the power station to be built by France’s EDF, threw into doubt a “golden era” of ties proclaimed during a visit to the UK by Xi Jinping, China’s president, last year. Any cancellation of the Hinkley deal would be likely to jeopardise other planned Chinese investments in the UK, according to Chinese officials, who declined to be identified. Nearly £40bn in investment deals and contracts were secured for the UK during Mr Xi’s visi
FT 8th Aug 2016 read more »
Liu Xiaoming, Chinese Ambasssador: UK-China relationship is at a crucial juncture. Mutual trust should be treasured even more. I hope the UK will keep its door open to China and that the British Government will continue to support Hinkley Point and come to a decision as soon as possible so that the project can proceed smoothly.
FT 8th Aug 2016 read more »
China has warned Britain that bilateral ties stand at a “crucial historical juncture” over London’s deferral of an 18 billion pound ($23.47 billion) nuclear power project, the Financial Times reported on Monday. China’s Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming wrote in the FT that he hoped London would keep its door open to China and that the British government would continue to support the nuclear project and come to a decision as soon as possible.
Reuters 8th Aug 2016 read more »
Politics Home 9th Aug 2016 read more »
China has warned Britain that the relationship between the two countries is at a “critical juncture” and will be at risk unless it goes ahead with the Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, delayed a final decision on plans for Britain’s first new nuclear power station for a decade last month amid concerns about Chinese investment. Nick Timothy, her joint chief of staff, previously said MI5 believed Chinese intelligence services “continue to work against UK interests at home and abroad”. Writing in the Financial Times, Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador, said the delay to approving the plant could put “mutual trust” between the two countries in jeopardy.
Telegraph 9th Aug 2016 read more »
Guardian 8th Aug 2016 read more »
BBC 8th Aug 2016 read more »
China has issued a strong indication that relations between China and the UK could be threatened over the decision on the Hinkley Point nuclear project. Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, has warned that bilateral ties stand at a “crucial historical juncture” over the government’s deferral of the £18 billion nuclear power project. Writing in The Financial Times, the ambassador gave a hint that “mutual trust” between the two countries could be imperilled if the UK decided not to approve the deal. The ambassador said: “Right now, the China-UK relationship is at a crucial historical juncture … I hope the UK will keep its door open to China.
The Times 9th Aug 2016 read more »
Deal or no deal? The new British government’s 11th-hour decision to reconsider a proposed nuclear joint venture with China is not just about business, but also about the future of diplomatic relations between two influential nations. It not only casts a shadow on recent, dynamic Sino-British economic cooperation, but also risks taking the sheen off a hard-won “golden era” of “special relations” between the world’s second- and fifth-largest economies. That China is the world’s last major communist-ruled nation and Britain a major Western democracy only adds to the stakes, along with the fact that they are both permanent members of the UN Security Council.
South China Morning Post 8th Aug 2016 read more »
It was already clear that Theresa May’s decision to review the Hinkley Point power plant had not gone down well in China. The nuclear plant upgrade is backed by billions of pounds of Chinese money and is also intended by Beijing as a key opportunity to showcase the country’s nuclear technology. So when the delay to giving the go-ahead was announced in July, China responded to suggestions its technology could not be trusted with a veiled threat saying its government would not ‘tolerate’ such accusations. Today, that veil has been lifted even more as the country steps up its pressure on Theresa May to give the £18bn project the green light. China’s ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming had an article in the FT this morning
Spectator 8th Aug 2016 read more »
EDF’s decision to press ahead with the construction of an £18 billion nuclear power station at Hinkley Point was invalid after crucial information was withheld from some board members, French unions said yesterday. Three unions representing 80 per cent of EDF employees claimed that Jean-Bernard Levy, the chairman, knew the British government would delay its decision on Hinkley before the French utility’s board gave final approval to the investment. “Our three organisations are now saying enough is enough,” the CGT, CFE-CGC and FO unions said. They claimed the decision taken on July 28 was “null and void” because some board members of EDF, which is 85 per cent owned by the French state, were unaware of No 10’s decision.
Times 9th Aug 2016 read more »
Guardian 8th Aug 2016 read more »
The EDF board’s lack of information about the UK government’s request for more time to review the Hinkley Point nuclear project renders its go-ahead for the investment decision invalid, three EDF unions said on Monday. EDF Chairman and Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy said in a letter to top executives last week that he knew the UK government wanted to take more time to review the Hinkley Point nuclear contract before the French utility’s board voted to approve the investment, he said in a letter to top executives. EDF’s board narrowly approved the 18 billion pound ($24 billion) project on July 28. But hours later the government of new British Prime Minister Theresa May, which was set to sign contracts the next day, said it wanted to give the plan further consideration and postponed its decision to early autumn. In a joint statement, EDF’s top unions CGT, CFE-CGC and FO – but not the moderate CFDT – said that certain board members were aware of crucial information about the Hinkley Point project, despite the fact that the UK government’s wish to go fast had always been presented as justification for the urgency to sign. “Our three unions denounce this information asymmetry. They therefore consider that the board’s Hinkley Point decision, taken on the basis of incomplete information, is null and void,” they said.
Daily Mail 8th Aug 2016 read more »
The EDF Works Committee considers that the decision of the Board to validate the Hinkley Point project is “null and void” due to an “asymmetry of information” between administrators.
Les Echoes 8th Aug 2016 read more »
Signing off on a nuclear energy project that allows China to build its own reactors on British soil one day may have been too much for Prime Minister Theresa May. The Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in southwest England, the most expensive electricity project in the world, was once touted as the answer to the U.K.’s coming energy woes as it retires its fleets of coal-fired and nuclear stations. After years of delays, it falls on May to give government approval — a move she decided to postpone until the fall, soon after the French state-run energy company EDF made its final investment decision on Thursday. May’s concern is believed to be more about the project’s Chinese minority shareholder than its £18 billion price tag, though the previous U.K. government’s deal to provide heavy subsidies for the project over 35 years has fuelled widespread opposition to it. Hinkley is the first of three nuclear projects involving China’s state-run China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN). The first two would be built with French technology and some Chinese funding; the third would become the first Chinese-built-and-operated plant in the West. “There’s no other OECD country that would allow China to have access to its critical infrastructure,” said Paul Dorfman, an honorary senior research fellow at the Energy Institute at University College London, describing the successive plants as Russian dolls.
Politico 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
In reassuring UK’s security concerns, he said: “Thanks to the safeguards of international standards, there has never been a concern that foreign companies might control China’s nuclear reactors. The rapid progress of China’s nuclear power industry is proof of the success of international co-operation.” Liu also reminded the UK that Britain has a “state of the art supervision regime and legal system” and that its regulatory bodies are experienced and adequately resourced to ensure the safety of nuclear plants in the country.
IB Times 8th Aug 2016 read more »
Alternatives to Hinkley
John Sauven: Hinnkley Point C, the multibillion pound nuclear deal, years in the making, is on the cusp of unravelling. At the last minute, the government has hit the pause button in order to take a hard look at what Hinkley is offering in return for £37bn of energy consumers’ money. The voices of opposition are growing. Even newspapers which have supported the nuclear industry are raising doubts. Its supporters chant the same mantra: there is no alternative, Britain needs Hinkley to keep the lights on. That was the warning from the then business secretary, John Hutton, in 2008 yet the lights are still on and Lord Hutton is now the chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association. But the world – and the electricity landscape – has changed radically since 2008. Then, just 5.5% of the UK’s electricity came from renewables. It’s now 25%. Costs have plummeted – solar photovoltaic is 50% cheaper than it was in 2011, onshore wind is down 43%. More than 800,000 homes now have rooftop solar and theUK was recently ranked sixth in the world for total solar capacity – despite our weather. It is ranked first in the world for offshore wind,which is on course to supply 10% of our power by 2020, much more than Hinkley C. The cost for wind and solar is coming down too. The way we increasingly get our energy is changing. The former chief executive of the National Grid, Steve Holliday, said that the idea that we need nuclear power stations to provide baseload electricity is “outdated”.
Guardian 8th Aug 2016 read more »
Let’s turn our attention to ‘tidal lagoons’: you may have heard that phrase in discussion of alternatives to Hinkley Point and wondered what it means. It refers to a £1 billion project, awaiting ministerial approval, to build a walled lagoon in Swansea Bay that would generate (through largely British-built turbines) electricity on the ebb and flood of every tide, 14 hours a day for a project lifetime of 120 years. It could be brought into operation within five years — but to make that happen it requires subsidy at levels comparable to offshore wind or new nuclear generation; it also requires millions of tonnes of concrete and aggregates from quarries in Cornwall and elsewhere, and will radically alter the local environment for sea life and wading birds. So lagoon power is not without teething problems. But they look relatively modest compared to, say, betting our energy future on nuclear reactor designs that might not work at all and storing the toxic waste afterwards. Once proven, the Swansea project could be rapidly scaled up, with a second lagoon at Cardiff that would be almost 12 times larger and a string of other sites along the English and Welsh west coast.
Spectator 7th Aug 2016 read more »
Dave Elliott: With repeated delays in making a final investment decision (the plant was at one time expected to the running by ‘Christmas 2017’), there have been many calls for a ‘Plan B’ – and there are renewable options some of which could be speeded up. Several scenarios along these lines have been produced, most of which do not include any new nuclear plants:http://delliott6.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/after-hinkley-plan-b.html With on-shore wind and solar projects now going ahead at much lower CfD strike prices than that promised for Hinkley, if and when it started up in the mid to late 2020s, the alternative scenarios are beginning to look very attractive, even when the extra cost of grid balancing to deal with the variability of wind and solar is included. And crucially, offshore wind projects are now set to get a lower strike price from 2026 (£85/MWh) than Hinkley would get if it ever starts up- £92.5/MWh. With only 38% of the UK public now supporting nuclear power, and 81% backing renewables, it seems like a rethink is called for.
Environmental Research Web 6th Aug 2016 read more »
The chief executive of Dong Energy, Henrik Poulsen, was speaking after the government delayed a decision on a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, amid concerns about the £18bn cost of the project and the high price of the electricity that would be generated. Theresa May’s new administration wants more time to look at the costs and expects to announce a decision in the autumn. In the meantime, Mr Poulsen argues that the UK does not need to rely on nuclear power to meet future energy needs. He said: “Could you build a national energy policy without nuclear? Yes you could and if you needed to fill a (energy capacity) gap offshore, wind could be accelerated to fill such a gap. “We hope offshore wind will remain a key component in the future energy system and are optimistic about prospects under the new government.”
In Cumbria 9th Aug 2016 read more »
Over the last few weeks, new possibilities have been injected into the energy policy debate, and now is the time to forge a progressive UK energy vision. Theresa May, our Prime Minister, said in her inaugural speech: ‘’We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.’’ A few days later, she set out the principles of her economic policy, one dimension of which included industrial policy: ‘“We need to reform the economy to allow more people to share in the country’s prosperity. We need to put people back in control of their lives’’. Two (Clark and Hurd) of the new ministers have energy and climate experience and both are thought to be bright, interested and progressive – a welcome occurrence. More recently, the decision to review Hinkley Point C (HPC) means that energy policy in GB has suddenly opened up. At the same time, we have the National Infrastructure Commission consulting on the merits of a National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA), which would presumably lead to a national infrastructure plan, to include energy infrastructure – and will somehow link to an industrial strategy? We have also had a CMA inquiry which has largely sunk without trace, but which will require certain changes to be implemented. This is not to say that suddenly GB energy policy is great. Business Green recently had a great blogabout the political and technical realities that the incoming Ministers (Baker, Hurd and Neville – Rolfe) will have to deal with – pointing out (and this is my wording / interpretation) that many of the dimensions of a sensible, cost-effective energy policy have recently been dumped by the Government; that those issues which have been championed by Government are either unlikely to help decarbonisation goals (fracking), or will not work in time, if at all (nuclear); or have not worked / not worked as well as they should have (energy efficiency policy).
IGov 8th Aug 2016 read more »
The power plant planned for Hinkley Point in the UK is not the only major nuclear project in the pipeline in Europe. Enter: Paks II in Hungary. The reactors, to be built by Russian state-run firm Rosatom, are reportedly close to receiving European Commission approval for Kremlin-backed construction subsidies. Apparently the Commission is ready to accept €10 billion worth of state investment, provided in this case via an intra-governmental loan from Moscow. Hungary’s decision to build Paks II, which would be impossible under normal market conditions, assumes additional state investment in grids, reserve plants and other things.
Energydesk 9th Aug 2016 read more »
China’s efforts to expand its nuclear power sector suffered a backlash in one eastern seaboard city over the weekend, as thousands of residents took to the streets to oppose any decision to build a reprocessing plant in the area for spent nuclear fuel.
New York Times 8th Aug 2016 read more »
US – Radwaste
The U.S. Department of Energy says it is 80 percent confident that the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste repository will partly reopen in December. That prediction comes after federal officials once promised the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) would be cleaned up and reopened by this March, the Santa Fe New Mexican has reported. The New Mexico plant has been closed since February 2014, when an inappropriately packed container of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory ruptured and contaminated part of the facility.
Japan Times 7th Aug 2016 read more »
Nottingham has surpassed its climate change targets four years early, according to Government data which shows a 33% reduction in the city’s carbon emissions since 2005. “It’s a great achievement to have met this important target four years early,” Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Energy and Sustainability Cllr Alan Clark said. “Nottingham is at the forefront of sustainability awareness and these latest figures maintain the city’s position as the UK’s most energy self-sufficient city.” This coincides with Nottingham City Council’s programme of energy saving investments in social housing such as external wall insulation programmes which have also been open to private owners and the installation of solar panels on over 4,000 of council house roof tops. In April, it was reported that a leisure centre in Nottingham is set to save the council an estimated £10,000 on energy bills and reduce carbon emissions by 41 tonnes thanks to the installation of an 88KWp solar carport.
Edie 8th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – Marine
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has called on the UK Government to renew its commitment to supporting renewables, with an emphasis on “deep water” energy, on the same day that a consultation on renewable energy support closes. The RSPB has called for a “carefully-planned” renewable energy blueprint that would establish how the Government plans to fund renewable energy beyond 2020. The charity has also claimed that renewable energy projects in deep water, such as floating turbines, would strengthen support for renewables by mitigating wildlife and habitat impacts.
Edie 8th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
The Scottish Government has lodged an appeal to resurrect four offshore wind farms planned for Scotland, with a combined installed capacity of 2.3GW in the outer Forth and Tay estuaries.
Scottish Energy News 9th Aug 2016 read more »
Caroline Lucas: |The government’s reckless pursuit of fracking has reached new lows with the announcement that ministers will attempt to buy off widespread community opposition to the controversial new fossil fuel source through the introduction of a £1bn Shale Wealth Fund. At a time when we need to be making the transition to a jobs-rich zero-carbon future, this would be a gross violation of the commitments made in Paris last year. Already 2016 is set to bethe hottest year on record and without a global step-change we will blow the 1.5C goal within years. Nobody can buy the silence of a climate that is spinning into chaos and turmoil.
Guardian 9th Aug 2016 read more »