News April 2015

30 April 2015

Hinkley

Luxembourg to file complaint against UK nuclear power subsidies. Two month deadline to file the lawsuit. Luxembourg and Austria are planning legal action against European Commission subsidies for the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in the UK. As of April 29, Luxembourg and Austria have two months to file a complaint and present it in front of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Financing an “unprofitable and unsafe energy source” with public funds is not the purpose of a consistent energy policy, said Luxembourg Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg (Déi Gréng) in parliament.

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Posted: 30 April 2015

29 April 2015

Hinkley

Commission Decision (EU) 2015/658 of 8 October 2014 on the aid measure SA.34947 (2013/C) (ex 2013/N) which the United Kingdom is planning to implement for support to the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (notified under document C(2014) 7142) (Text with EEA relevance).

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Posted: 29 April 2015

28 April 2015

New Reactor Types

The Generation IV International Forum (GIF), created in 2000 by the United States Department of Energy (US/DOE), coordinates research and development work aimed at deploying Generation IV nuclear energy systems (reactors and the related fuel cycle facilities), by the second half of this century. In this framework, the GIF has selected six systems among those proposed by the participating countries, including France: Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors (SFR); Very High Temperature Reactors, with thermal neutron spectrum (VHTR); Gas-cooled Fast Reactors (GFR); Lead-cooled Fast Reactors or Lead-Bismuth Eutectic (LBE) cooled Fast Reactors (LFR); Molten Salt Reactors (MSR), with fast or thermal neutron spectrum; SuperCritical Water Reactors (SCWR), with fast or thermal neutron spectrum. IRSN carried out a review of these systems from the point of view of safety and radiation protection. On the basis of its examination, IRSN considers the SFR system to be the only one of the various nuclear systems considered by GIF to have reached a degree of maturity compatible with the construction of a Generation IV reactor prototype during the first half of the 21st century; such a realization, however, requires the completion of studies and technological developments mostly already identified.

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Posted: 28 April 2015

27 April 2015

Chernobyl

26 April 2015, marks the 29th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in world history – the Chernobyl catastrophe. And unfortunately, preventing further major releases of radioactivity into the environment seems to be a race against time. As a new Greenpeace report detailing the efforts at the sight shows, there are no real solutions in sight. Nearly three decades after the start of the Chernobyl disaster, its atomic legacy is a stark and ominous reminder that nuclear power can never be a safe energy source.

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Posted: 27 April 2015

26 April 2015

Moorside

This map (supported by distance from Chernobyl to the UK, since Chernobyl impacted the UK) helps people to think about the broader impacts of an accident at the Sellafield site, at proposed new nuclear reactors near Sellafield (Moorside), and really of any nuclear reactor in Europe. The best way to stop Moorside is to vote for antinuclear candidates on May 7th. The impacts were especially unfair since nuclear-free countries such as Norway, Denmark, and Austria were badly hit by Windscale and/or Chernobyl. Parts of nuclear free Ireland were also hit by Windscale, as well as Chernobyl.

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Posted: 26 April 2015

25 April 2015

Energy Policy

The energy policy decisions facing the next Government require a dual determination to do the right thing for British society interests (as opposed to the interests of a few big companies, and their supply chains) and the strength of purpose to make fundamental changes to the institutional framework of the GB energy system, which is currently not fit for purpose. The Tory / Lib Dem coalition has overseen a new Energy Act which has made matters worse: it is leading to a retrenchment of the ‘old’ energy system. However unwanted and wasteful of time and effort, the recent Energy Act has to be replaced and Britain has to start again at getting the building blocks of energy policy right. If the Act is not replaced, the UK will be treading energy water until four or so years time when we will be forced to rethink a new Act anyway. Yes, this means putting EMR on hold until new decisions are made – but CfDs for nuclear power can be expected to be scrapped, as can the Green Deal. Both disastrous policies for Britain which would never have been put in place had a thorough, society-interest decision-making process been undertaken. Far better we bite the bullet now, surprise our European and global energy partners, and leapfrog, not just catch up with, best practice.

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Posted: 25 April 2015

24 April 2015

Hinkley

THE future of the multi-billion pound Hinkley Point C project has again been put into doubt after nuclear reactors designed for the plant were discovered to have “very serious” faults. A reactor vessel already installed at the huge Flamanville plant in Normandy was found to have weak spots in the lid and the bottom which could reduce the resistance of the metal. The company which has designed the vessels, Areva, had orders for five more including two for China, one for America and two for Hinkley. It is not certain whether the Hinkley ones have already been manufactured. This latest set-back for Hinkley was greeted with derision by Alan Jeffery, spokesman for the Stop Hinkley campaign group. He said: “In recent months, we’ve seen legal action from a number of sources including the Austrian government and German Greenpeace. “Now we hear about these very serious defects in the Flamanville reactors. It’s one disaster after another. “EDF Energy should cut its losses and give up on Hinkley C now, so the South-West can get on with developing a sensible sustainable energy strategy. “To tackle climate change effectively we need to get started on energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes now, not waiting around for the nuclear industry to sort out its problems first.”

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Posted: 24 April 2015

23 April 2015

New Nukes

Dr David Lowry: All the ‘main’ political parties are backing nuclear power in bold defiance of all the evidence that it’s expensive, dangerous and not even low-carbon, writes David Lowry. Even George Osborne just admitted that Hinkley C is ‘unaffordable’ – but supports it anyway. For a rational nuclear policy, the way is Green. On Monday this week the Labour Party published its ‘Green Plan’, in which it stated: “Labour also supports the development of new nuclear in the UK as part of a more balanced, secure and low carbon energy supply for the future.” In a televised debate on green issues hosted on the BBC on the same day, Labour’s shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint pontificated, as if spinning from an EDF Energy briefing sheet, that “nuclear is an important part of the energy mix going forward.”

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Posted: 23 April 2015

22 April 2015

New Nukes

Despite 400 construction jobs losses at the UK’s first new nuclear build for 20 years its supporters remain confident this is the dawning of a new era for the industry in the UK. There still remain a number of hurdles to overcome before the final go-ahead for construction of the UK’s first new nuclear plant since Sizewell B in Suffolk in 1995. French state-owned business EDF Energy hoped to have signed off on the deal to build two new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset by late last year. But progress on the £24bn project has stalled, with EDF still to make a final investment decision – and these delays led to the redundancy of 400 of the site’s 600 construction staff earlier this month. Difficulties over assembling the financial package and on-going concerns over the robustness of the technology lie at the heart of the delays. However EDF, the Government and the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) remain confident the UK is at the dawning of a new nuclear era.

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Posted: 22 April 2015

21 April 2015

New Nukes

Labour has drawn a red line over new nuclear power, saying it would not accept the Scottish National Party (SNP) view that there should be no new nuclear power plants developed in the UK. Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint, speaking in a Daily Politics debate on energy and climate change on Monday afternoon, said the party has made it clear that “nuclear is an important part of the energy mix going forward”. She said her party rules out conceding this issue to the SNP, in the event of any coalition or policy negotiations, and that Labour stands by its pledge made in the last government that new nuclear is needed to help the UK to reduce its carbon emissions and meet future electricity demand.

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Posted: 21 April 2015