News September 2014

30 September 2014

Wylfa

Exhibitions and public meetings are to be staged across North Wales as a consultation process into a proposed nuclear power station on Anglesey gets underway. The consultation is the first major step in the planning process for the development of Horizon Nuclear Power’s proposed new plant at Wylfa. The process will last 10 weeks and cover all aspects of Horizon’s proposals, taking in everything from construction to transport to how it might affect the Welsh language.

Daily Post 29th Sept 2014 read more »

Wylfa B consultation website launched.

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Posted: 30 September 2014

29 September 2014

Wylfa

Plans for an £8bn nuclear power station on Anglesey go on display later with a series of exhibitions over ten weeks. Horizon Nuclear Power says its proposed Wylfa Newydd power plant will employ more than 1,000 people once it begins working in the first half of the 2020s. The current Wylfa power station will close in 2015 at the latest, after beginning operation in 1971. Horizon is a subsidiary of Hitachi which bought the site in 2012 for around £700m. Hitachi has opted to build a smaller plant, deciding to construct two reactors – called Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) – instead of three.

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Posted: 29 September 2014

28 September 2014

Hinkley

Anti-nuclear campaigners looking for someone to blame if Hinkley Point in Somerset finally gets the green light for two new reactors might point the finger at Nigel Farage. Vladimir Putin could also be a scapegoat for the European competition commissioner’s decision to back the UK government’s support for the first new atomic power stations in a generation. But others would say it is less about the politics of European togetherness or energy security and more about the EC commissioner himself, Joaquín Almunia. Almunia, who steps down on 1 November, let it be known last week that he would “propose to the college of commissioners to take a positive decision, and in principle the decision should be taken during the mandate of the commission in October”. So while the first, and main, hurdle has been overcome, other commissioners – such as the energy tsar, Günther Oettinger, who not so long ago branded the Hinkley subsidy system “Soviet” – could yet stick a spanner in the works. Already Austria has warned it will issue a legal challenge to any final “yes”. So what did change minds in Brussels? The Farage theory is that Almunia realised that refusing the financial support mechanism for Hinkley could be used by Ukip as a tool to promote its “let’s leave Europe” policies. Farage could argue that the end of Hinkley would doom the 25,000 jobs it could have created, risk higher energy bills and undermine Britain’s energy security just before the general election. This would give Ukip a boost and help pave the way for a vote to leave Europe at a referendum promised for 2017. Almunia is unlikely to have been much swayed by this argument, but Putin’s actions in Ukraine have forced Europe to confront its dependence on Russian gas. A new European energy security strategy published in May included references to the importance of nuclear power that had previously been omitted. Sources in Brussels say the UK government used concerns about Putin turning the gas off to the Ukraine and potentially disrupting supplies elsewhere as a powerful argument for Hinkley. But others say Almunia was always reasonably well-disposed to atomic power and that the initial document attacking the proposed British subsidy scheme was just to demonstrate that scrutiny would be rigorous. Greenpeace insists the EC must stop the Hinkley programme. EU legal adviser Andrea Carta said: “The proposed deal pays no attention to either European law or the interests of the consumer. The UK government plan to subsidise Hinkley is not offering good value to UK citizens. We can decarbonise using cheaper technologies with fewer long-term liabilities. “Furthermore, the government has failed to run a transparent tender procedure, which should lead the Commission to reject the plan. Instead of integrating renewable energy into the grid and creating a more competitive energy market, the UK wants to waste taxpayers’ money to prop up a risky technology.”

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Posted: 28 September 2014

27 September 2014

Hinkley

STOP Hinkley and Green Campaigners will be joined by Green MEP for the South West Molly Scott-Cato tomorrow, (September 26), at Hinkley Point. They say they will be demonstrating against the news that the Hinkley C is on the verge of being given the green light from the EU Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia. The European Commission had been investigating whether the terms of the subsidy deal struck with the Government constituted illegal state aid.

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Posted: 27 September 2014

26 September 2014

Hinkley

Austria’s environment minister would back legal steps to annul any European Union decision to clear British plans to build a nuclear plant with French utility EDF. The project at Hinkley Point in southwest England is crucial for Britain’s plan to replace a fifth of its ageing nuclear power and coal plants over the coming decade. France sees it as a major export contract that will boost its nuclear industry. A European Commission official said earlier this week that EU state aid regulators would clear the plan to build the 16 billion pound ($26 billion) plant. However, Britain’s plans are divisive within the European Union. Britain wants to offer EDF a guaranteed power price of 92.50 pounds ($151.3) per megawatt-hour for 35 years, more than twice the current market rate. Critics say Britain’s plans would distort competition. A group of more than 20 academics, politicians and renewable energy officials has written to the Commission warning it is likely to face legal action for rushing through the decision.

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Posted: 26 September 2014

25 September 2014

Hinkley

Austria will launch a legal challenge if the European Commission approves Britain’s plan to build its first new nuclear plant in a generation, Vienna’s environment minister has warned. The £16bn Hinkley Point project is on the verge of getting the green light after a spokesman for EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Monday that Brussels will “propose . . . to take a positive decision in this case”. However, Andra Rupprechter, Austria’s minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, on Wednesday voiced his anger at the decision. “This scandal has to be fought by all legal means possible,” he told the Kurier newspaper, adding that he would apply to the European Court of Justice to have the decision annulled. Austrian Green MEP Michel Reimon said Mr Almunia had shown “genuflection to the nuclear lobby”. Together with Austria, which has no nuclear power stations, a number of other countries have also expressed concerns that EU approval would make a mockery of the bloc’s stated policy to promote solar and wind power.

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Posted: 25 September 2014

24 September 2014

Hinkley

Opponents to a new £16 billion nuclear plant on the north Somerset coast have reacted with anger at the news that the scheme had been given the go-ahead by the EU Commission. Environmental and local campaign groups have expressed their amazement at the decision which sees the EU back the biggest energy industrial project in the UK in a generation. The Green Party, the Stop Hinkley Group and Greenpeace UK all insist the fight goes on to ensure the EDF-backed Hinkley Point project is never built. Molly Scott Cato, the Green MEP for the South West, said she had met with Joaquín Almunia, the European Commissioner in charge of state aid to hand him a letter, stating how ‘shocked and disturbed’ she was that concerns raised over the deal had been ignored. She said: “A decision like this demonstrates why so many British people are sceptical about the EU. The rules on fair competition are perfectly clear but can apparently be ignored when there is a political deal to be made. Roy Pumfrey, spokesman for the Stop Hinkley group said the EU Commission’s decision was a disappointment but insisted the campaign group was not down hearted. He said: “While EDF have gone over the EU Commission hurdle they haven’t made their final investment decision yet. They’ve had more partners than Elizabeth Taylor on Hinkley C and are dependent on their new Chinese partner forking out the money.“The French economy is in turmoil and I doubt the French government is prepared to stump up more cash for this project. “Hinkley C is a white elephant which is at least 10 years in the making if it ever gets built at all.”

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Posted: 24 September 2014

23 September 2014

Hinkley

Britain has agreed terms with Brussels to secure approval for billions of pounds of public funding for Hinkley Point, the country’s first new nuclear power plant in a generation. While the conditions are not yet public, Europe’s competition chief is satisfied the revised deal meets EU rules on state support and will propose the project is approved before the end of this European Commission’s mandate in November.

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Posted: 23 September 2014

22 September 2014

Hinkley

A report that the European Competition Commissioner is set to clear the way for the first of Britain’s new generation of nuclear power stations to rise on the West Somerset coast has dismayed anti-nuclear campaigners. The deal between the British Government and the developer EDF, to set a guaranteed price for the electricity generated was called in for scrutiny by the commissioner at the end of last year. Stop Hinkley campaign spokesperson Allan Jeffrey said: “Surely the job of the European competition commissioner is to make sure taxpayers’ and electricity consumers’ money is spent on the most cost effective measures to reduce carbon emissions and provide energy security. Hinkley Point C is neither.

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Posted: 22 September 2014

21 September 2014

Sizewell

EDF Energy has rejected claims that a process called “steam venting” at the Sizewell B nuclear power station may expose local residents to a health risk. Steam containing elements of radioactivity – well within emission limits imposed by regulators – is occasionally and with considerable noise vented to the environment because of conditions inside the reactor. However, John Busby, a consultant to the coalition of groups fighting plans for a £14billion Sizewell C plant, believes that the process could expose residents to health risk – particularly if there is an unexpected loss of connection to the national grid and standby generators fail to operate. In extreme conditions, he claims, this could lead to a catastrophic meltdown of the reactor core – as happened at Three Mile Island in the United States and at Fukushima in Japan.

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Posted: 21 September 2014