In a damning and succinct demolition of the UK Government’s case for state-aid for Hinkley C nuclear power station UK Friends of the Earth (FOE) has pointed out how in its central projections ‘DECC assumes a tailing off in growth in renewables post 2020’. Such projections are out of step with reality around the world as installation of wind power and solar power accelerates and nuclear electricity production actually falls. However, the British Government appears to want to favour nuclear over renewables as it commits the consumer to paying massive bills for Hinkley C (from 2023) but has no plans for any premium prices for renewables after 2020. It seems that the UK Government doesn’t expect renewable costs to fall, but that nuclear costs will! In a submission to the European Commission’s investigation as to whether the British Government should be given permission to offer the Hinkley C developers £92.50 over 35 years with a £10 billion loan guarantee, FOE dismisses the notion that this could be justified on environmental grounds. They say that the Hinkley C deal ‘represents extremely bad value for UK citizens’ and point out that the cost of various renewable energy technologies will ‘be far cheaper, and (costs) falling fast’ by the time that Hinkley C is deployed.
Dave Toke’s Blog 31st March 2014 read more »
At the end of a brief hearing in London this morning, An Taisce – the National Trust for Ireland – was granted leave to take its legal challenge regarding Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to the Court of Appeal. The case is likely to be heard before the end of the summer. An Taisce argues that the UK government’s decision to approve Hinkley Point C nuclear plant (on England’s west coast) without first consulting the public in Ireland is contrary to international, EU and English law. The High Court in London found against An Taisce’s arguments in December 2013, ruling that there was no need to consult the public in Ireland in the circumstances. However, earlier this month a UN Committee wrote to the UK government – having first considered the High Court’s judgment and other evidence – stating that in failing to consult its neighbours, Hinkley Point raises “a profound suspicion of non-compliance” with international law (the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context). This letter – on foot of a complaint to the Espoo Convention’s Implementation Committee by Friends of the Irish Environment – provided strong support for the arguments advanced in An Taisce’s legal challenge. In light of this letter and An Taisce’s arguments, Sullivan LJ concluded today that leave to take the case to the Court of Appeal should indeed be granted, overturning an earlier decision on the papers.
An Taisce 27th March 2014 read more »
News that £2.3m will be allocated to train the next generation of energy sector workers on Anglesey has been welcomed by Anglesey’s Leader. Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Ken Skates AM announced the Welsh Government’s plans to earmark a £2.3m funding pot to support the Council’s Energy Island Programme. The funding will be used to ensure the region’s workforce is fully trained ahead of the thousands of jobs which would be created under the Energy Island Programme, including the new nuclear build.
News Wales 31st March 2014 read more »
A joint venture between Babcock and Fluor of the United States has won the 14-year contract to decommission Britain’s first generation of nuclear sites in a move that has left rival bidders considering legal challenges. Shares in Babcock, the FTSE 100 engineer, rose 55p, or 4 per cent, to £13.47 after its Cavendish Fluor venture was named the preferred bidder after a two-year tendering process. The project, which is expected to be worth up to £7 billion, had attracted four candidates. Bechtel’s bid was affected by its performance at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state, where campaigners staged a break-in. Amec, another bidder, was hindered by its role in the much-criticised Sellafield clean-up operation. A source at one bidder said that it was considering a legal challenge. “I suspect the NDA simply went for the lowest cost”, the source said. Cavendish Fluor will embark on a five-month transition phase after a ten-day standstill period. The formal award of the contract is scheduled for September 1. Bechtel did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Amec, which bid in partnership with Rolls-Royce and Atkins, said: “We will be using the ten-day stand-down period to consider our options.”
Times 1st April 2014 read more »
Britain on Monday named engineering contractors Babcock and U.S. group Fluor as the preferred bidders for a 14-year, 7 billion pound contract to manage the decommissioning of its nuclear sites.
Reuters 31st Mach 2014 read more »
Babcock International’s shares have been under pressure since last week’s news of the £950m acquisition of helicopter company Avincis and a £1.1bn cash call to pay for it, amid concerns about the cost of the deal. But they have been boosted by news that the engineering services group, alongside US partner Fluor, has been appointed preferred bidder for a 14 year, £7bn contract to manage the decommissioning of 12 UK nuclear sites. The contract included old power stations such as Hinkley, Sizewell and Dungeness, currently under the ownership of Magnox and Research Sites Restoration. The Babcock/Fluor joint venture, Cavendish Fluor Partnership, will take ownership of Magnox and RSR. The formal award is planned for September, and the deal is expected to see savings of around £1bn in decommissioning costs. John Clarke, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said: Cavendish Fluor Partnership brings a successful track record and extensive nuclear experience that will bring enormous benefits to the decommissioning and clean-up programme.
Guardian 31st March 2014 read more »
The consortium of Cavendish Nuclear and Fluor Corporation is set to take charge of 12 nuclear sites, including Sizewell A, Dungeness A and Hinkley A, on 1 September. It will own the sites and bring in a new executive team while Magnox and RSRL continue to provide the workforce. Trade unions sought assurances the cost savings would not come at the expense of jobs. Magnox, the licencee for 10 of the sites, employs 3,500 workers across the UK. Kevin Coyne, national officer for Unite, said the change would be “unsettling”. The union would want to meet Cavendish Fluor “as soon as practically possible” to make sure working conditions were protected, he added. Gary Smith, GMB national secretary for energy, said: “We want to ensure that this is a positive move for the workforce and nuclear communities. “We do know Fluor have a tradition of training. They have a state of the art training facility at Farnborough which is testimony to their investment in training. We hope we see similar commitments to training and development in Magnox.”
Utility Week 31st March 2014 read more »
BBC 31st March 2014 read more »
FT 31st March 2014 read more »
Reuters 1st April 2014 read more »
Guardian 31st March 2014 read more »
This is Money 31st March 2014 read more »
Daily Post 31st March 2014 read more »
Fluor, the US engineering conglomerate that has won a £7bn contract to clean up a dozen British nuclear sites, has been warned that anti-union practices “won’t be tolerated”. Nuclear industry insiders were shocked yesterday when Britain’s Babcock International and Texas-based Fluor were chosen to decommission the near-obsolete Magnox reactors. Energy Solutions, now backed by its US partner Bechtel, was widely expected to continue its clean-up for a further 14 years.
Independent 1st April 2014 read more »
In April 2011 Cabinet Office announced that all non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) would have to undergo a substantive review at least once every three years, under the Public Bodies Reform Act. The triennial review of the NLFAB started on 10 October 2013 and was completed on 27 March 2014. The review examined whether there is evidence to support the continued operation and form of the NLFAB. It concluded that NLFAB’s functions remain relevant and it should continue as an advisory body. The review then examined the control and governance arrangements of the NLFAB and found that the body was complying with the recognized principles of good corporate governance. However, it made some recommendations to improve certain aspects of the governance arrangements, such as transparency of NLFAB’s activities.
DECC 31st March 2014 read more »
A meeting will be held in Workington next month to discuss the underground nuclear repository situation. The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) is hosting a public meeting at St Michael’s Church, in Falcon Place, Workington, from 6.30pm to 8pm on April 30. People are invited to hear about the work of CoRWM and ask questions.
NW Evening Mail 31st March 2014 read more »
Cumbria Crack 28th March 2014 read more »
Middlesbrough-based asbestos remediation firm Hertel have secured a two-year contract to carry out work on behalf of nuclear decommissioning firm Capenhurst Nuclear Services. A team of 40 Hertel employees will carry out work at Capenhurt’s Chester facility which is used for the management of uranic materials and decommissioning activity.
BDaily 31st March 2014 read more »
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is established today as a Public Corporation, under the Energy Act 2013. This is a significant milestone in its journey to become a modern, responsive, independent regulator. This change in status puts the UK independent regulator in a stronger position to fulfil its mission to provide efficient and effective regulation of the nuclear industry, holding it to account on behalf of the public. It comes on the same day that ONR publishes its new Enforcement Policy Statement and Annual Plan for the year ahead, outlining the key priorities for the organisation.
ONR 31st March 2014 read more »
Sweden – Forsmark
Hayward Tyler has been awarded a contract to supply parts for two of its existing pumps at the Forsmark nuclear power plant (NPP) in Sweden. The £2.3m contract forms part of a program to extend the nuclear power plant’s lifespan, as well as enhance its capacity, and covers production of major assemblies.
Energy Business Review 31st March 2014 read more »
Proactive Investors 31st March 2014 read more »
The 1,200MW Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power project in Pyhäjok, Finland, has been thrown into further doubt as one of the main equity investors in the Fennovoima sponsor consortium has exited the deal.
Infrastructure Journal 31st March 2014 read more »
US – Radwaste
What’s really happening at the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Program) Carlsbad, New Mexico?
Cumbria Trust 1st April 2014 read more »
A magnitude five earthquake has been detected 132km (80 miles) from the Korean peninsula early on Tuesday morning, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has said. The quake, which was said to have occurred at approximately 03:48 local time, took place at a depth of nearly 16km (10 miles) in the sea west of the Korean peninsula – just days after North Korea threatened to carry out a “new form” of nuclear test. While North Korean nuclear tests have previously been detected by the USGS quake monitoring center, the location and depth of the earthquake did not immediately suggest North Korean nuclear testing was the cause.
Telegraph 1st April 2014 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has made two of its biggest investments to date, ploughing over £460m into two of the country’s largest offshore wind projects. The government-backed bank confirmed this morning that it is to take equity stakes in both the Westermost Rough offshore wind farm off the coast of Yorkshire and the Gwynt y Môr project off the coast of North Wales.
Business Green 31st March 2014 read more »
Telegraph 31st March 2014 read more »
The Department of Energy and Climate Change appears to be in the difficult position of being committed to two potentially conflicting strands of policy development. On the one hand it is producing a new strategy to address fuel poverty (its predecessor having conspicuously failed, with fuel-poor households at a historic high), while at the same time it is consulting on proposals to lower energy bills by reducing the surcharges – “green taxes” – that fund fuel-poverty work. Energy secretary Ed Davey launched a consultation in March with an upbeat speech on the future of the energy company obligation (ECO), the levy on energy suppliers that supports energy efficiency improvements. Extending its reach to 2017, he rightly said that “the obligations under ECO that meet the needs of the fuel poor cannot be compromised”. The problem is that the programme was already woefully thin. ECO funding supports the installation of energy-efficiency measures such as new boilers, which the energy companies can provide in a cost-effective way. Yet there is no obligation on companies to consider properties as a whole, making them sufficiently thermally efficient so that the household can keep adequately warm at an affordable cost. The benefits of a new boiler will be seriously undermined if a home still has draughty windows and a lack of insulation.
Guardian 31st March 2014 read more »
Governments and businesses should start ‘aggressively’ investing in clean technologies to help in the battle against climate change, the impacts of which we are already seeing today and could become significantly worse if carbon emissions continue to rise. That is the conclusion the latest report from a United Nations-backed panel of more than 300 scientists, which warns that the world’s ecosystems and industries are ill-prepared for the negative impacts of a changing climate, ranging from increased flooding, droughts, storms, and heatwaves to global conflict and water shortages. Chris Fields, co-chair of the working group which produced the report, was keen to also provide an upbeat message about the opportunities climate change presented for governments and businesses to invest in new technologies that could slow the pace of climate change. He said that too often governments have failed to embrace the need to tackle climate change because the topic is “such a downer”.
Business Green 31st March 2014 read more »
Summary of IPCC report. International group of hundreds of climate scientists released a report on how climate change will affect the world, and what might be done to adapt to it.
Carbon Brief 31st March 2014 read more »