News

7 March 2014

Hinkley

European Commission: State aid — UK — State aid SA.34947 (2013/C) (ex 2013/N) — Investment Contract (early Contract for Difference) for the Hinkley Point C New Nuclear Power Station — Invitation to submit comments pursuant to Article 108(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

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Posted: 7 March 2014

6 March 2014

Nuclear Subsidies

A government bias towards nuclear is piling a “massive and unjustified” cost on consumers, Consumer Futures has argued. The deal government struck with EDF Energy to support a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point fails to meet European competition rules, the watchdog said. The package includes construction guarantees and a “strike price” of £92.50/MWh for 35 years. Consumer Futures was responding to a consultation on new state aid guidelines from the European Commission. The guidelines cover renewable subsidies but make no explicit provision for nuclear support. Chris Alexander of Consumer Futures said nuclear should be treated the same as mature renewable technologies. Echoing concerns published by the Commission itself in January, Alexander said the Hinkley Point package did not meet the standards set for renewable support, for example being subject to a competitive bidding process.

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Posted: 6 March 2014

5 March 2014

Nuclear Safety

A new report commissioned by Greenpeace from an independent group of nuclear energy experts has exposed the decrepit state of Europe’s nuclear reactors showing that ageing is an urgent issue in most European countries that have nuclear power plants. Analysis for the report shows that 44% of European nuclear reactors are over thirty years old. The average age across Europe is now 29 years, while a typical design lifetime is 30 or 40 years. It raises the prospect of a new era of nuclear risk across Europe – unless governments resist calls for reactors to be operated beyond their intended lifetimes.

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Posted: 5 March 2014

4 March 2014

Hinkley

As construction delays for the French and Finnish EPR reactors lengthen, the odds that the British taxpayer will end up bailing out the EPR planned for Hinkley C in Somerset are rising higher and higher. Put simply, if the British scheme experiences similar delays, then the British taxpayer is bound to pick up the tab, over and above the already high price that we will be paying for the plant’s construction.

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Posted: 4 March 2014

3 March 2014

EPRs

AREVA, the French state-owned majority nuclear giant, has called a halt to the grindingly slow construction of the EPR reactor in Finland. The project, which is already 5 years late and €7,508,209,000 over budget, has been plagued with problems not least of all the as yet unresolved control and instrumentation problems. AREVA can’t give completion date, and after delaying their completion date early last year to 2016, Finnish newspapers are now citing 2018 as the earliest the reactors could be completed.

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Posted: 3 March 2014

2 March 2014

Carbon Floor Price

Wind farm owners across Britain will earn tens of millions of pounds less than expected because of plans by the Government to freeze the carbon tax. Solar farm, biomass and nuclear plant owners will also see future earnings cut by the change, widely expected to be announced in the Budget later this month. The carbon tax was announced in the 2011 Budget and came into effect last year, with the aim of encouraging new green power plants. It sets a “floor” for the price of burning carbon each year. The tax has the effect of pushing up the wholesale market price for electricity — increasing profits for renewable and nuclear generators who do not have to pay it.

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Posted: 2 March 2014

1 March 2014

Radwaste

The Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) announced today that Professor Bruce Yardley has been appointed to the new role of Chief Geologist. Professor Yardley will provide advice to RWMD and its stakeholders on all Earth science aspects of geological disposal and will work for RWMD on a part-time basis whilst continuing with his role as a professor in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds.

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Posted: 1 March 2014

28 February 2014

Radwaste

Geological Disposal Facility Siting Process Review – Responses to the consultation.

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Posted: 28 February 2014

27 February 2014

Rosatom

The Russian group behind the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been told that its design will be considered for a new reactor in Britain. The UK Government has given permission for safety tests and promised the Russian state-backed Rosatom, whose Soviet-era forerunner built the ill-fated plant in Ukraine, that British nuclear regulators would consider its technology. While regulators would need to approve the reactor before it could be operated in the UK, committing to an extensive safety assessment amounts to a big vote of confidence in the company. Its design is unlikely to be considered by the Office of Nuclear Regulation before 2017. Designs from the Japanese-owned companies Westinghouse and Hitachi, which have already secured sites, will be assessed first. The review process, known as a generic design assessment, would take about four years. Approval by the British regulator would be an invaluable boost to Rosatom. The group was formed out of several reorganisations of the atomic ministry before and after the Soviet era. It claims to have orders to build more than 12 reactors outside Russia and is in talks to build in the Czech Republic, Finland, Jordan and Bangladesh. Two Chinese groups have teamed up with EDF Energy to build a reactor at Hinkley Point, Somerset. In return for providing much of the investment, the Chinese want to build their own reactors at Bradwell, Essex.

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Posted: 27 February 2014

26 February 2014

Nuclear Liability

“Nuclear installations are uninsurable in normal commercial terms. Only gullible governments can bear the enormous risk. If operators paid for their own insurance indemnities, their case for economic production of nuclear electricity collapses,” said Flynn. He dismissed government comments downplaying the risk: “If risk is minimal, nuclear sites could be insured commercially.” His comments came after the government revealed that private contractors taken on to decommission the UK’s fifty-year old Magnox nuclear plants would be indemnified against liability in the event of a radioactive incident. Flynn claimed the indemnification exposed the public purse to potentially enormous costs as witnessed following Japan’s catastrophe at Fukishima. “The cost of the Fukushima cleanup and damages ranges from £150 billion to £300 billion and rising,” Flynn said

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Posted: 26 February 2014