THE government is to hire a team of top City advisers for the critical phase of negotiations over controversial plans to hand out billions of pounds in subsidies for a new generation of nuclear power stations. EDF Energy and Centrica, the owner of British Gas, will decide by the end of the year whether to build two reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The price has soared to £7 billion each. The companies say that they will not proceed unless the government ensures they can recoup their investment.The Department of Energy & Climate Change plans to do this by guaranteeing a minimum wholesale price for atomic power. It will reveal its initial guarantee by September. Citi, the investment bank, said the government could have to set it at up to £166 a megawatt hour more than triple the current rate. The government is in a weak position. RWE and Eon put Horizon, their nuclear joint venture, up for sale in March. The German utilities said they could not justify the upfront costs. That has left EDF and Centrica as the only group with concrete plans. Industry sources say that this means EDF can name its price in the subsidy negotiations. That has raised alarm bells with campaigners. Whitehall is keen to stress that the nuclear programme will be subsidy-free. The governments position is seen as little more than semantics, however, because taxpayers will still foot the bill for new reactors, only they will do it through higher energy bills rather than taxes.
Sunday Times 1st July 2012 more >>
The Government must subsidise or loan money to support the construction of new nuclear power stations to ensure Britain has a reliable electricity supply in the future, an eminent panel of experts will say this week. Britain needs to rebuilt as a nuclear nation rather than relying too heavily upon renewable energy sources such as wind power, according to a report by the Birmingham Policy Commission to be released on Monday. The Commission, a group of leading energy experts chaired by former Labour secretary of state for energy and climate change Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, will warn that industry is unlikely to invest the billions of pounds needed to build new nuclear power stations by itself. Instead it will say that the Government must be prepared to share some of the financial risk with taxpayers money. The report will warn that delays in making a decision to build new nuclear power stations over the past decade have resulted in the country falling behind other countries in research and expertise on nuclear energy.
Telegraph 1st July 2012 more >>
The new President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England has spoken of his determination to spare the countryside from going to waste. Sir Andrew Motion says rural campaigners are facing their greatest challenge in the history of the planet, as environmentalists struggle to win the war on litter louts and polluters. And he said how nuclear developments such as the Hinkley Power Plant in Somerset have a certain role to play in the planet’s energy security. In an interview with the Western Morning News, Sir Andrew said: “The whole energy provision and how it impacts the countryside is very difficult. “I never thought I’d hear myself say I think nuclear should be part of it, but I think nuclear should be part if it. It doesn’t charge greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”
Western Morning News 30th June 2012 more >>
GE Hitachi is poised to hand nuclear authorities a report that the US-Japanese joint venture believes will prove that Britain can solve its 100-tonne plutonium waste problem by burning it.The UK’s stockpile is the biggest civil waste deposit in the world, and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which is responsible for cleaning it up, had planned to convert the plutonium into fuel for other reactors. However, GE Hitachi will say in a feasibility study to be handed to the NDA in the next two weeks that its Prism fast-reactor design could eliminate the waste, with the bonus of producing low-carbon electricity.
Independent 1st July 2012 more >>
PLANS to demolish derelict houses around a nuclear power station are moving ahead as a consortium remains optimistic Wylfa B will happen. Horizon have submitted a raft of applications to Anglesey council to move ahead with the demolition of 28 dilapidated properties on land owned by the firm.
Daly Post 30th June 2012 more >>
A HIGHLAND estate infamous for its radioactive beach has been put on the market for at least £2.45 million. Geoffrey Minter, the laird of Sandside in Caithness, has described putting the 9,350-acre property up for sale as devastating. However, the four-mile stretch of beach where more than 200 radioactive particles have been discovered is not included in the sale because of ongoing action. Mr Minters firm, Magnohard, went into administration after a long-running legal battle over the radioactive contamination of his land by the operators of the Dounreay nuclear plant. He said in a statement yesterday: Sandside Estate is being offered for sale after 21 years of ownership, improvement and caring stewardship.
Scotsman 29th June 2012 more >>
Dozens of protesters shouted and danced at the gate of a nuclear power plant set to restart Sunday, the first to go back online since all of Japans reactors were shut down for safety checks following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Ohi nuclear plants reactor No. 3 is returning to operation despite a deep divide in public opinion. Last month, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered the restarts of reactors No. 3 and nearby No. 4, saying peoples living standards cant be maintained without nuclear energy. Many citizens are against a return to nuclear power because of safety fears after Fukushima.
Washington Post 1st July 2012 more >>
BBC 1st July 2012 more >>
The Anglican Church in Japan has reiterated its opposition to nuclear power following last years meltdown at the Fukushima plant.
Christian Today 30th June 2012 more >>
Britain is being powered by record levels of green energy, after a surprise increase in electricity generated from wind, sun and waves. Renewables accounted for 11 per cent of the UK’s electricity in the first three months of 2012, compared with 7.7 per cent from January to March 2011. With the Renewables Obligation Certificate regime due to expire in 2017, there are fears that uncertainty over its replacement could spook investors. Shaun Kingsbury, of the private equity firm Hudson Clean Energy, warned MPs that “if things continue to slow andmore detail comes out that makes it more complex, then you will see people stopping development spend”. The Government claims its Energy Market Reform Bill will attract the £150bn-£200bn needed to overhaul the national grid and replace ageing nuclear and coal power stations. “Our ageing infrastructure has not been invested in for 30 years,” said a government source. “If we don’t fix it, the lights go out.” There are continuing calls from some sections of the Tory party for an end to state subsidy for green technology, which, coupled with apparently anti-green rhetoric from the Chancellor, have fuelled doubts about the Government’s commitment to the low-carbon agenda. A group of pro-green Conservative MPs dubbed Turquoise Tories are urging Downing Street to realise that support for the renewables sector is “not about tree-hugging but about jobs, growth and keeping the lights on”.
Independent 1st July 2012 more >>
THE worlds biggest maker of wind turbines is considering putting itself up for sale as concerns mount over its giant debt pile. Vestas is studying the drastic move after entering debt restructuring talks with its lenders. The banks have demanded that the Danish company prepares a comprehensive financial restructuring plan after it was forced to bolster its cash position by drawing down a 300m (£242m) bank facility.
Sunday Times 1st July 2012 more >>