Can the UK meet its climate goals without the Wylfa nuclear plant? Recent analysis from the government’s official advisers the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) shows the UK could meet its power demand and climate goals to 2030 at low cost, without any new nuclear beyond the Hinkley C scheme already being built in Somerset. This new analysis reflects the dramatic cost reductions seen for renewables in recent years. Greg Clark, the UK’s secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS), made a similar point last week as he spoke in parliament about the failed Wylfa deal. The outlook to 2050 is much less certain and, for Clark, nuclear will continue to have an “important role” in the future UK energy mix. Modelling from the Energy Technologies Institute and Imperial College London suggests new nuclear would help to keep costs down as the UK approaches zero emissions. Work by Aurora Energy Research finds that a highly renewable energy system in 2050, with no new nuclear added after Hinkley C, might have similar overall costs as a high nuclear pathway. In this in-depth Q&A, Carbon Brief looks at what the Wylfa news means for the UK’s climate goals and what role nuclear might play in future.
Carbon Brief 21st Jan 2019 read more »
More cash could come from the Welsh Government to help workers affected by the suspension of work on a new nuclear power station, a minister has said. Japanese firm Hitachi’s decision to halt its Wylfa Newydd project on Anglesey was described as a “tremendous blow” to the north Wales economy. About 9,000 workers had been expected to build the £13bn plant. But economy secretary Ken Skates told the North Wales Economic Ambition Board he wanted UK government help too. Speaking at an emergency meeting on Monday, he told delegates at the event in Llangefni, Anglesey that the Welsh Government was willing to contribute more finance to a growth deal for north Wales but he wanted the UK government “to contribute more as well”. However he added the discussion was “about more than just the cash”. With plans for the nuclear power station “paused” for a number of years, Mr Skates said: “In that environment we need to ensure that people who are being skilled up and the businesses that were preparing for the Wylfa Newydd project have alternative opportunities to get work.
BBC 21st Jan 2019 read more »
Publicly, the company is stressing the project is not irrevocable. Director of Corporate Affairs Leon Flexman told BBC Wales: “It is not a stop, we are ‘halting the activities’ until it can be restarted providing the right conditions are in place and the finance is there”. The opposition party in Wales, and the group on the island sending an Assembly Member to Cardiff, Plaid Cymru (PC), say it will be devastating for Anglesey. Nuclear power has always been a problem for PC particularly – the importance of the jobs and votes are stressed at internal strategy meetings, but the party is also committed to renewables such as energy from special tidal lagoons, and is renowned as a ‘green’ group. Rhun ap Iorwerth is not luke warm about nuclear energy. Those jobs appear to be central too for the PC Assembly Member (AM) for the island, Rhun ap Iorwerth, who appears to be oblivious to the contradiction.
The Eye 22nd Jan 2019 read more »
HITACHI has announced the decision to suspend indefinitely its UK nuclear power station construction project, located in Wylfa Newydd, Anglesey, Wales. Experts have warned that this could lead to a UK energy crisis. “Hitachi’s announcement, coming so soon after the Moorside fiasco, raises the very real prospect of a UK energy crisis,” commented Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary for Energy. Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director at CBI, said: “The loss of new nuclear projects could leave us more heavily dependent in the long-run on fossil fuels, which could risk our legally binding climate targets. The Government needs to build on its support for new nuclear power by giving individual projects the certainty they need, alongside measures that deliver a mix of low-carbon and renewable technologies.” The Nuclear Industry Association said: “The urgent need for further new nuclear capacity in the UK should not be underestimated, with all but one of the UK’s nuclear power plants due to come offline by 2030. If we want a balanced generation mix, Government must work with industry to deliver that vital capacity on this site. At stake is our ability to provide bulk, low carbon power, energy security, and the potential loss of the chance of thousands of highly skilled, well paid jobs in Wales and North West England. “Without a diverse low carbon mix and with increasing demand to power electric vehicles, we run the risk of becoming more reliant on burning fossil fuels to produce our electricity.”
Chemical Engineer 21st Jan 2019 read more »