The Government is putting the commercial interests of a French energy giant over the British taxpayer in a “disgraceful” decision not to release documents on the UK’s first new nuclear power station in 25 years, according to a veteran anti-nuclear campaigner. Dr David Lowry, an independent consultant and member of Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates, has asked the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) to release documents related to the proposed construction by the French company EDF of Hinkley Point C. The plant on the Somerset coast is expected to cost £24.5bn. The documents were requested under Freedom of Information legislation, but Decc is unwilling to release them. Campaigners believe the plant is a costly mistake and have attacked plans to pay EDF no less than £92.50 per megawatt hour for its electricity, far higher than the current market rate. The subsidy, known as the strike price, would last 35 years – over half the plant’s expected operational life. Dr Lowry asked Decc for all documents given to the European Commission in support of the UK’s application for a state aid agreement for Hinkley. These include a report into potential competition distortions, and a review of the evolution of Britain’s energy industry. The Information Commissioner’s Office upheld the department’s decision to refuse disclosure, which officials said would “place a strain on resources”. But Dr Lowry seized on Decc’s point that providing the documents would also be time-consuming for EDF. Decc’s decision states: “We would also need to ask EDF to consider the information that is covered by Decc’s non-disclosure agreement with them in greater detail than they have already… Due to the volume of information, it would require a great deal of effort on EDF’s part to consider the information covered by the non-disclosure agreement and provided to the Commission to assist with their investigation.”
Independent 31st Aug 2015 read more »
The International Nuclear Services company that manages ships owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has confirmed that the first ‘return’ shipment of HLW to Switzerland from Sellafield will be made from Barrow Docks in early to mid-September on the Oceanic Pintail. The ship will be carrying three transport flasks holding a total of some 84 containers (around 42 tonnes) of HLW in vitrified glass form bound for the Swiss utility Kernkraftwerk Gosgen-Daniken AG (KKG). It will be the first time that the ageing Oceanic Pintail has transported HLW and tests to ‘prove’ the ship’s ability to accommodate the TN81 transport flasks in its cargo hold were completed in 2011 following the arrival of the first of three empty transport flasks at Barrow Docks from a manufacturer in Belgium. The second and third flasks were delivered to Barrow from Italy in 2014. Switzerland had signed up as the second largest European customer for Sellafield’s Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) with 422 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel contracted for reprocessing. Now completed, and as a requirement of those contacts under the UK’s waste substitution policy, a total of 104 tonnes of vitrified HLW (in 209 containers) must be returned to Switzerland. Following the upcoming shipment, a further two shipments will be made over the coming years.
CORE 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Warrington South MP David Mowat has praised nuclear group Sellafield for transforming the fortunes of young people in the region. Mr Mowat expressed his support at news that Sellafield will increase the recruitment and training of young people. A key employer in Warrington, with around 2,000 staff based in the area, Sellafield has committed to making a further 5% of its workforce apprentices, graduates or sponsored students over the next five years as part of the industry-led campaign, ‘The 5% Club’.
Liverpool Echo 1st Sept 2015 read more »
Low Level Waste
A while back the brilliant anti fracking campaigner Tina Louise Rothery posted on the Radiation Free Lakeland facebook page requesting help to stop the huge expansion of Whitemoss landfill. We looked at Whitemoss, near Skelmersdale and what goes into the landfill is very, very nasty ….even without radioactive wastes. What we found though was that Whitemoss was indeed designated for receipt of low level radioactive wastes. According to the Cheshire West and Chester Local Plan for 2015: “Currently low level radioactive waste is exported to Whitemoss Landfill site in Lancashire”. So we asked Questions under Freedom of Information. What happened next is incredible. The reply came back within 6 days not from the Department of the Environment (who we addressed the FOI to) but from Whitemoss Landfill: “Whitemoss Landfill (25 July 2015) … The report you refer to has been corrected to say, “Currently low level radioactive waste is exported to Clifton Marsh Landfill site in Lancashire.” Whitemoss has never accepted any low level radioactive waste from Capenhurst or any other nuclear site. Rob Routledge Whitemoss Landfill Limited”.
Radiation Free Lakeland 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Women from across the nuclear industry met at a global event to fight for gender balance in the sector this week. They took part in the 23rd Women in Nuclear (WiN) Global Annual Conference in Austria. Women in Nuclear aims to address the industry’s gender balance, improve the representation of women in leadership and to engage with the public on nuclear issues.
Energy Live News 1st Sept 2015 read more »
The leaders of all of Scotland’s main political parties have pledged to set out comprehensive plans on how they will address climate change, ahead of next year’s Scottish Parliament election. All of Scotland’s main political parties have signed up to WWF Scotland’s climate change manifesto agreement, pledging to reduce emissions by 42% in the next five years. They have committed to a national infrastructure programme to make buildings more energy efficient and a low carbon transport system, as well as a plan to cut emissions from the electricity generation and food sectors. While they are united around these goals they will offer competing visions of how they can be achieved.
Herald 1st Sept 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
The IAEA Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident, along with five technical volumes on this topic by international experts, have just been publicly released. This publication comes ahead of the Agency’s General Conference in September. The report assesses the causes and consequences of the 11 March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, triggered by a tsunami that followed a massive earthquake. It was the worst emergency at a nuclear power plant since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The report and the technical volumes distil and assemble lessons learned from the accident and provide a knowledge base for the future. They consider the accident itself, emergency preparedness and response, radiological consequences of the accident, post-accident recovery and the activities of the IAEA since the accident. Measures taken, both in Japan and internationally, are examined. “Although nuclear safety remains the responsibility of each individual country, nuclear accidents can transcend national borders,” Mr Amano said in his foreword. “The Fukushima Daiichi accident underlined the vital importance of effective international cooperation. The IAEA is where most of that cooperation takes place. Our Member States adopted the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety a few months after the accident and have been implementing its far reaching provisions to improve global nuclear safety.”
IAEA 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Japan – reactor re-starts
The number of Japanese nuclear reactors likely to restart in the next few years has halved, hit by legal challenges and worries about meeting tougher safety standards imposed in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, a Reuters analysis shows. The country has been inching back to nuclear energy, turning on its first reactor in mid-August after a two-year blackout, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and many in industry looking to cut fuel bills despite widespread public opposition to atomic power. But the analysis shows that of the other 42 operable reactors remaining in the country, just seven are likely to be turned on in the next few years, down from the 14 predicted in a similar survey last year. The findings are based on reactor inspection data from industry watchdog the Nuclear Regulation Authority, court rulings and interviews with local authorities, utilities and energy experts. They also show that nine reactors are unlikely to ever restart and that the fate of the remaining 26 looks uncertain.
Reuters 31st Aug 2015 read more »
South Africa has not struck a deal so far with any country on nuclear expansion but its immediate focus was to build more renewable power projects, the energy minister said on Monday.The government of Africa’s most advanced economy, which is battling an energy crunch, said in May it will procure a nuclear fleet to generate 9,600 megawatts of power this year, estimated by analysts to cost as much as $100 billion.
Reuters 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Scotland’s deputy first minister has accused George Osborne of making “the wrong moral choice” on nuclear weapons after the chancellor announced £500m of extra spending at the Trident submarine base in Faslane. John Swinney accused Osborne of jumping the gun by making the announcement before the Commons could have a full debate on Trident’s renewal and the future shape of the UK’s defences. Osborne, who was visiting the base on the shores of Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute on Monday, announced a further £500m to upgrade and expand its infrastructure, including jetties and seawalls. All the UK’s nuclear and conventional submarines will be based there from 2020.
Guardian 31st Aug 2015 read more »
George Osborne never misses an opportunity to cause political trouble for his opponents, and his trip to Scotland to announce £500 million to fund work at the Royal Navy submarine base at Faslane was no exception. First, the Chancellor’s move exposed the Scottish National Party’s shabby and incoherent opportunism over defence: the nationalists oppose the Trident deterrent that is based on the Clyde, but want the Ministry of Defence cash that funds HM Naval Base Clyde and enriches the local area.
Telegraph 1st Sept 2015 read more »
George Osborne has claimed Jeremy Corbyn will be a national security threat if he becomes PM because of his vow to scrap nuclear weapons. The Chancellor sounded the warning today as he unveiled £500m for the Trident submarine base in Faslane, near Glasgow – prompting fury from the anti-nuclear SNP.
Daily Record 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Mirror 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Britain will spend more than 500 million pounds ($770 million) refurbishing its nuclear submarine base in Scotland over the next 10 years, finance minister George Osborne said on Monday.
Reuters 31st Aug 2015 read more »
The Government should be focusing on helping disabled people rather than spending billions on a new generation of nuclear weapons, the Scottish National Party has said. George Osborne has announced £500m of cash for the Royal Navy’s submarine base in Falsane, where the Trident system is stationed. But Brendan O’Hara, the SNP’s defence spokesperson, said the Chancellor’s priorities revealed “something fundamentally wrong with Westminster’s values”.
Independent 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Chancellor George Osborne has announced £500m of investment in the Faslane naval base on the Clyde. So, what do we know about the base, and why is it so important?
BBC 31st Aug 2015 read more »
The Chancellor said half-a-billion pounds of taxpayers’ money would be pumped into the Royal Navy’s Faslane base on the Clyde. Mr Osborne visited the home of the UK’s nuclear deterrent to announce a 10-year programme of work due to begin in 2017. But critics said he was ‘bribing’ the people of Scotland after last year’s referendum and blasted the investment in nuclear infastructure as a ‘dangerous’ move.
Express 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Telegraph 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
Barnsley residents are being invited to invest in a £10m solar rooftop community energy scheme – the largest of its kind in the UK The scheme, known as Energise Barnsley, will see solar panels installed onto approximately 5,000 council houses and council-owned buildings. Residents and the wider community will be able to invest in Energise Barnsley, through a community share offer which is expected to give an annual return of 5%. The town hall meeting to educate residents about the scheme happened on Thursday 27 August, the same day the Government announced proposals for sweeping cuts to the Feed-in Tariff which provides subsidy support to rooftop solar projects. Speaking to edie, Barnsley Council’s principal asset data officer Robin Clark said he was not overly concerned about the proposed changes but added: “It has made us accelerate our delivery plan”.
Edie 31st Aug 2015 read more »
Two of Britain’s largest energy suppliers are more reliant on coal to produce the electricity they sell to customers than they were 10 years ago. British Gas and SSE, which have over 40 per cent of the market between them, now use more coal to produce electricity than they did in 2005, new figures suggest. Experts said their reliance on coal – the dirtiest form of fossil fuel, which produces twice as much CO2 as gas – was undermining attempts to cut the UK’s carbon emissions through renewable supplies. In the past 10 years the percentage of electricity generated from renewable sources has grown by 400 per cent – yet total carbon emissions from generation have only fallen by around 8 per cent. This is because while the Big Six energy companies are now buying more than a third of the energy that they sell from polluting coal-fired power stations, they have cut back on buying power from more expensive but greener gas-fired power stations.
Independent 31st Aug 2015 read more »