At the Labour Party Conference, EDF let slip they are gearing up their lobbying machine to ensure that a new £1bn nuclear ‘subsidy-on-the-sly’ adds to their profits, rather than going to help those struggling to pay their electricity bills. The introduction of a carbon tax meant to incentivise low-carbon energy projects by taxing gas and coal-fired power has left nuclear in line for a £1bn bonus. Yesterday, at a packed CBI breakfast fringe meeting at Labour’s conference, I asked EDF whether they would support or stand in the way of lobbying efforts for a ‘windfall tax’ that would ensure this £1bn would be used to help the those most vulnerable to energy price hikes. To many people’s astonishment Dr Andy Spurr from EDF confirmed in blunt terms that they were planning to lobby against a new windfall tax because they wanted to plough the money back into their own business and increase profits to make their business more financially sustainable.
Greenpeace 26th Sept 2011 more >>
Move over Monty Burns, Bill Gates is coming. Not content with creating the software empire that we all love to hate today, the Microsoft billionaire is intent on turning the seemingly Simpsons-esque world of the established nuclear industry upside down as well, and in so doing, like any revolutionary, earning the enmity of those in his wake. With a fellow Microsoft man, former chief technology officer Nathan Myrhold, Gates is betting that a small Silicon Valley-style startup called TerraPower just down the road from Microsoft HQ in Washington state can deliver a radical reactor design known as a travelling-wave reactor. If it works it could provide humanity with the same elusive and some say impossible cocktail of safe, limitless, cheap and carbon-free energy that fusion promises but never delivers. A conventional nuclear reactor depends on enriched uranium to generate its heat and electricity, but the travelling-wave reactor uses only a small amount of highly enriched uranium (U-235) to kickstart fission and a slow-moving chain-wave reaction. Two parallel waves of fission then move about a centimetre a year, splitting uranium atoms of the spent nuclear fuel (reprocessed uranium) or unenriched uranium (depleted uranium, U-238) packed into the core, in a process that first creates plutonium-239 and then consumes it. This reaction should be much more efficient than a conventional reactor and, in theory, can be sustained for decades.
Independent 30th Sept 2011 more >>
THE remaining partners in the consortium which hopes to build new nuclear power sites next to Sellafield is driving on with plans even though another big player has pulled out. Scottish & Southern Energy suddenly withdrew from the NuGen consortium which hopes to have up to three electricity-producing reactors running by 2023. Scottish & Southerns withdrawal came only days after the consortium put in its planning application to test the suitability of the earmarked site, nearly 500 acres of Sellafield farmland. But the two remaining partners Iberdrola and GDF Suez say it will make no difference. They quickly reaffirmed their commitment by announcing a 50/50 stake in the development. Scottish & Southern had had a 25 per cent interest.
Whitehaven News 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Passing the starting line – nuclear construction risk.
Ernst and Young Set 2011 more >>
Construction risk in new nuclear power projects Eyes Wide Open
KPMG 22nd Feb 2011 more >>
Building nuclear power plants can be expensive for investors and customers, adding significant risks to utilty stocks generally used as a haven for retirees, widows and others wanting investments with financial stability. A new study released this month by the Texas Institute found a 70 percent certainty that the utility would see its borrowing costs rise due to the downgrading of its credit rating once construction began. The study tracked the experience of 52 investor-owned utilities that built nuclear power plants from 1960 to the present. Between the 60s and early 80s, the flurry of plant construction was marred by massive cost overruns and electric-rate increases. Twelve percent of the utilities defaulted on their debts. The financial costs were so great that no utility was willing to launch a new project, and half of those approved by regulators were scrapped by utilities themselves over costs concerns.
Savannah Now 26th Sept 2011 more >>
Moodys has lowered SCANAs credit rating, citing concerns about the large amount of money that will have to be borrowed for the nuclear construction program at the V.C. Summer plant in Fairfield County. The Cayce-headquartered companys primary subsidiary, S.C. Electric & Gas C., is spending $5.8 billion as its 55% share of two new reactor units at the Jenkinsville facility. State-operated Santee Cooper is covering the remaining 45% share of the nearly $10 billion project. On Friday, Moodys announced it had downgraded SCANAs senior unsecured and issuer rating to Baa3 from Baa2
Colombia Business Report 19th Sept 2011 more >>
Renewable energy deserves subsidies, its partisans say, because conventional energy sources have enjoyed bigger subsidies for decades. The latter is a hard proposition to quantify, but a new report by a venture capital firm that specializes in renewables takes a stab at it. The report calculates that nuclear subsidies came to more than 1 percent of the federal budget in their first 15 years, and that oil and gas subsidies made up one-half of 1 percent of the total budget in their first 15 years. Renewables have constituted only about a tenth of a percent, the report says.
New York Times 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
PROTESTERS from across the UK are expected to descend on Hinkley Point nuclear power station to protest against EDF’s plans for two new reactors. According to protest group Stop Hinkley, more than 100 people have already pledged to join a “symbolic” day-long mass blockade at the site’s entrance from 7am on Monday, October 3. On Saturday, October 1, anti-nuclear activists are to join locals in a march from French energy giant EDF’s Bridgwater HQ to a rally in the town centre from 1-4pm.
Bridgwater Times 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Parts of an upgrade to the power network between Somerset and Bristol will run underground through sensitive areas, National Grid has said. The company wants to connect the proposed Hinkley C power station to the electricity network at Avonmouth. It previously said the cost of burying the cables was “prohibitively high”. On the section of the route above ground, the old pylons would be taken down and new ones built within 0.9 miles (1.5km) of the existing route.
BBC 29th Sept 2011 more >>
De-plant & decomissioning.
You Tube 23rd sept 2011 more >>
Negotiation and not compulsion must be the way forward for authorities wanting to acquire land for development, a recent NFU Cymru meeting in Anglesey was told. Dewi Jones, Anglesey NFU Cymru County Chairman said authorities and company representatives should resist turning to the Compulsory Purchase Act 1994 to acquire land because of the potential development of Wylfa B nuclear power station on the island and the necessary access infrastructure improvements required for the construction phase.
News Wales 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Daily Post 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Letter: In 20 years, we will be on the threshold of nuclear fusion which is today in its advanced stages of development. Billions of dollars have been spent in southern France over the past two years on ITER (iter.org), a large-scale scientific experiment intended to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source. Nuclear fusion, the cleanest source of energy available, that of nature itself, is already proving to produce a hundred-fold energy compared to that required in its production. Coincidentally, at this same point in time, wind farms will be facing costly servicing and replacement issues. It will be financial suicide for the operators to invest further in something which will have become clearly unviable.
Southern Reporter 30th Sept 2011 more >>
One of the world’s most unlikely tourist attractions has been closed down. The nuclear exclusion zone around Chernobyl had previously attracted around 10,000 visitors per year, with each paying about £65 to tour operators. With flights and hotel bookings on top of this, tourism in the area contributed millions of pounds to the Ukrainian economy.
Telegraph 29th Sept 2011 more >>
A mobile phone that doubles as a radiation detector? If there is one country that can pull off (and sell) such a device, its Japan. A leading Japanese telecommunications company will unveil a smartphone next week that also acts as a radiation dosimeter to help users detect potential contamination.
Telegraph 29th Sept 2011 more >>
The Japanese have been careful. In the country of the hibakusha (surviving victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki), all reactors go through closer scrutiny than anywhere else. But this clearly wasn’t enough. Other highly developed countries Canada, Russia, UK, and US have also seen serious reactor accidents. What does this mean for a typical developing country? There, radiation dangers and reactor safety have yet to enter public debate. Regulatory mechanisms are strictly controlled by the authorities, citing national security reasons. And individuals or nongovernmental organisations are forbidden from monitoring radiation levels near any nuclear facility. Poor and powerless village communities in India and Pakistan, that have suffered health effects from uranium and thorium mining, have been forced to withdraw their court cases. The aftermath of a Fukushima-type incident might look very different in many developing countries. With volatile populations and little disaster management capability, the social response would probably be quite different.
Oil Price 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Chris Busby’s message about Japan and the nuclear industry’s intentional coverup of Fukushima radioactive problem, how Japan is trucking tons of radioactive waste to south Japan, etc.
Global Research TV 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
The recent and still ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan came as a frightening reminder of the dangers of nuclear energy, something that the world, once staggered by the horrors of Chernobyl, was starting to let fade into the distant past. But if in most countries Fukushima triggered safety enhancement measures at nuclear power plants and in such atomic heavyweights as Germany and Japan, prompted a strategy of nuclear phase-out in Russia, the disaster did little more than serve as a cue for the Nuclear Corporation Rosatom to boost its investments into nuclear PR. On the taxpayers dime, no less.
Bellona 7th Sept 2011 more >>
This report was prepared by the Centre for Spatial Economics (C4SE) at the request of Greenpeace Canada in September 2011. It assesses the economic impact on the immediately surrounding area of a nuclear accident at each of the Pickering and Darlington.
Greenpeace Canada 14th Sept 2011 more >>
The Syrian government and regime opponents blamed each other Wednesday for the murder of a nuclear engineer, the latest death among scientists in the flashpoint city of Homs.
Middle East Online 29th Sept 2011 more >>
The Russian navy is planning to scrap its legendary Typhoon-class nuclear submarine by 2014, at least five years early.
Telegraph 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Renewable electricity contributed an all time high of 9.6% of the UK’s grid mix in the second quarter of this year, statistics released on Thursday by the Department of Energy and Climate Change have revealed. The 7.86TWh (terawatt hours) contributed by green energy generators represented a 50% rise on the same time last year. The surge in green energy was led by the wind energy sector, which saw output rise 120% year on year, and hydroelectricity where output rose 75% year on year.
Guardian 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Renewable UK 29th Sept 2011 more >>
As you will be aware, DECC was planning to launch the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for non-domestic generators on 30 September 2011. State Aid approval is a necessary condition for the scheme to go ahead. As part of that process, the European Commission has expressed concerns that the large biomass tariff is set too high. We understand that the Commission has given state aid approval for the RHI, subject to a reduction in the large biomass tariff and we expect to receive written confirmation of this very soon. Changing the large biomass tariff will require the RHI regulations to be amended and submitted to Parliament for approval. We are unable to launch the scheme as a whole until this process has been completed. Therefore, unfortunately, we will not be able to open the scheme for applications on 30 September 2011 as we had originally planned.
Solartwin 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Experts have long warned of the potential for power shortages because six of Britain’s coal stations must close by the end of 2015 under European rules. However, it now appears that half of these stations, representing 8pc of Britain’s capacity, are likely to shut early because they will have been burning fuel for too many hours more than 20,000 in total since 2008. New Government estimates show Cockenzie, owned by Scottish Power, is likely to have to close completely by April. Kingsnorth, owned by E.ON, is on track to have to shut by March 2013. Meanwhile, Tilbury, which is being converted into a biomass station by RWE, may have to go by July 2013 unless it can convince the European Union (EU) its new fuel is cleaner.
Telegraph 30th Sept 2011 more >>