Nuclear energy still important part of the mix despite tumbling renewable costs. Theresa May has backed the UK’s continuing use of nuclear. “We do need affordable clean energy to keep the lights on in the decades ahead”. The Green Alliance said the CfD auction showed that the UK now only required two nuclear power stations on the scale of Hinkley Point in order to meet 2030 reduction targets. But May seems to have stymied any talk of a rethink.
Utility Week 15th Sept 2017 read more »
Letter Cllr David Blackburn NFLA Vice Chair: I wholeheartedly agree with much of your editorial as the economics of new nuclear is weaker than ever at a time when renewables are coming in cheaper year on year. You point out the crisis in the funding of renewables and we could not agree more. The UK desperately needs to reboot financial support for decentralised energy in order to maximise long-term benefits for all. Councils, in particular, are calling for the restoration of feed-in tariffs and other support that has been instrumental in the creation of innovative, local, low-carbon energy schemes, Passivhaus-accredited buildings, and energy efficiency programmes for dealing with the scourge of fuel poverty. While the dramatic cost reductions in offshore wind are to be welcomed, it has to be joined with renewed support for decentralised energy projects, approval for tidal energy schemes and the resumption of support for solar and onshore wind. The government must see that the energy landscape has changed dramatically. An energy review and reboot is urgently required.
Guardian 17th Sept 2017 read more »
Letter David Lowry: Your incisive editorial makes many strong points, not least highlighting the exigencies of potential security compromises and terrorism vulnerabilities of the planned new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point. But there is a fatal flaw in the argument you set out. The editorial asserts: “Nuclear power has a trump card: it is a zero-carbon technology which delivers a continuous, uninterrupted supply.” This is demonstrably untrue. On the latter point, you only have to consult the published operating record of reactors to see this is an unsustainable claim. All reactors have lengthy planned outages (shutdowns) for operational reasons; some have significant unplanned outages due to operational failures; and in the extreme case of post-accident safety prudence, such as in Japan, their 54 reactors were all closed for years after the 2011 Fukushima disaster – and became hugely expensive “stranded assets”. There are various ways the carbon footprint of nuclear power is substantial, if the whole “cradle-to-grave” nuclear fuel chain (uranium mining, milling, enrichment, fuel production, in-reactor fuel irradiation, storage and final long-term management) is properly calculated. I pointed out that the nuclear industry’s proponents, such as those gathered at last week’s World Nuclear Association jamboree in London, are fond of spreading fake news such as describing nuclear energy as “non-carbon emitting”. It is about time this dangerous falsehood was confined to the dustbin of history.
Guardian 17th Sept 2017 read more »
The following letter was handed to delegates and passersby at the WNA (World Nuclear Association) Symposium in London, on September 14th 2017 We are here in front of your symposium to try and point out the recent changes in the world of energy, and help you avoid wasting time and our money on yesterday’s technology. The UK energy auction held last Monday resulted in a price of £57.50/MWh for offshore wind, about half the price of two years ago. This puts the £92.50/MWh (index linked, so now over £100) awarded to Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to shame. These low costs of £57.50/MWh are bound to fall further in the near future, making Hinkley look more and more like a disastrous white elephant. These price reductions in off-shore wind have been achieved by designing bigger turbines, specialised ships and infrastructure for installation of the wind farms, and cheaper finance costs due to increased confidence and interest. Meanwhile, the costs of nuclear only continue to climb.
Kick Nuclear 17th Sept 2017 read more »