Hinkley Point C has become a battleground in the Scottish independence debate, with first minister Alex Salmond accusing Westminster of stifling Scottish views on nuclear power. UK energy minister Michael Fallon reportedly warned Scottish counterpart Fergus Ewing in February against making any representations to Brussels over the UK’s proposed support for the new nuclear plant. Such an intervention would be viewed as a “hostile act”, Fallon said. The Scottish Government has made no secret of its opposition to subsidies for nuclear. It said in a November white paper an independent Scotland would not allow Scottish generation to be “compromised” by “expensive, long-term contracts for new nuclear generation”.
Utility Week 10th April 2014 read more »
The SNP are today asking Westminster what it has to hide on new nuclear following attempts to freeze Scotland out of a European Commission investigation into a new nuclear power plant. The move illustrates concern that the European Commission will find against them. In February, UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon warned Scottish Government Energy Minister Fergus Ewing that any Scottish Government involvement in the EC’s investigation into subsidies for new nuclear power would be seen by the UK Government as a “hostile act”.
SNP 9th April 2014 read more »
New rules on state aid adopted today by the European Commission will make it harder for the UK and other governments to subsidise nuclear energy projects like the new reactors at Hinkley Point, according to Greenpeace.
Click Green 9th April 2014 read more »
The UK tried to make the EU relax its rules on State Aid to allow subsidies to nuclear power. Now we know – it failed. The chances that the Hinkley C power station will ever be built have fallen another notch.
Ecologist 10th April 2014 read more »
Today, we rely on Russia for around a third of our gas across the EU. But that average figure masks a dependency more than 50 per cent for some countries including Austria, Finland, Greece, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. It is not easy to pursue an increasingly antagonistic relationship with Russia while depending on it to power our industries and homes. As European policy makers are now realising, energy independence is independence. If we really do want secure, competitive and clean energy we need to put someone in charge of it. A senior energy commissioner, who sits above the other four for any decision within their portfolios which affects energy policy, and therefore has the power to make the really difficult political decisions and trade-offs that energy requires. This senior commissioner would also need the authority to define which decisions are within the remit of the EU, and which can be left to individual member states.
FT 11th April 2014 read more »
James Lovelock: we should give up on saving the planet.
Guardian 10th April 2014 read more »
David Cameron is considering whether to overturn Ministry of Defence resistance to recognising Britain’s nuclear test veterans. The prime minister has met with Conservative backbencher John Baron and has promised to ask questions within the government about the issue. Around 20,000 British servicemen were exposed to radiation during Britain’s atomic tests in the Pacific Ocean in the 1950s. Unlike other countries like France and the US, which have provided compensation without requiring a direct medical link to future illnesses, Britain has consistently refused to even recognise a causal link.
Politics.co.uk 11th April 2014 read more »
The two sides of the referendum debate do not agree on much, but it seems that an unlikely consensus of sorts has been reached on one issue at least: Trident. The SNP says an independent Scotland would be free of nuclear weapons and that its position on the issue is not open to negotiation. Now the Scotland Office Minister David Mundell appears to be saying the same thing for the No side. On Trident, he tells The Herald today, there is no deal to be done. “Yes” in September will mean “no” to nuclear weapons. Like so much else that is said on both sides of the campaign, Mr Mundell’s comments should be approached with caution. Who knows how negotiating positions would change in the event of a Yes vote? But, taken on face value, is what the minister has said good or bad for the Yes campaign?
Herald 11th April 2014 read more »
On Tuesday, Germany announced some new policy reforms to its high-profile ‘energy revolution’. Some reports have suggested the country is slamming on the brakes to prevent renewable energy further pushing up prices. In fact, with these new reforms, the government’s main priority seems to be protecting big business while continuing to roll out renewables. Germany’s energy transition – the Energiewende – has largely been a bottom-up grassroots movement over the past 25 years. Citizens and energy cooperatives account for roughly half the investments. Large utilities are only just now getting on board.
Carbon Brief 10th April 2014 read more »
US – nuclear industry
We couldn’t have written a better headline ourselves: Nuclear power industry under seige, FirstEnergy exec warns. Never mind the misspelling of “siege,” newspapers are having a hard enough time these days…The article leads off: “The nuclear power industry finds itself buffeted by financial concerns, political pressure and increased scrutiny because of the Japanese disaster that could lead to the closures of more plants in the United States, a Western Pennsylvania utility executive said Tuesday.”
Green World 10th April 2014 read more »
Czech utility CEZ cancelled a tender to expand the Temelin nuclear plant on Thursday, halting a potential $15 billion project citing low wholesale power prices and the government’s refusal to provide price guarantees.CEZ had long argued that building two 1,200 megawatt reactors was not feasible without government support, a prospect which grew less likely after a centre-left government took power in January. CEZ shares rose 3.1 percent to 563 crowns following the news.
Reuters 10th April 2014 read more »
Argus Media 10th April 2014 read more »
Czech power utility CEZ said today it had cancelled a tender to expand the country’s Temelin nuclear plant. The move comes a day after the government made its strongest statement yet that it would not offer the €8bn-10bn project any public support. State-controlled CEZ said it had informed the contending bidders – US/Japanese Westinghouse and a consortium led by Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom, as well as Areva of France, which had already been ejected – that the tender to build two additional 1,200 megawatt reactors at the plant had been halted. Given a healthy and abundant power supply in Europe, the Czech government would do well to focus on making the Czech grid smarter, better interconnected and more robust. “Then consumers will be able to profit from cheap German wind and solar power rather than to try to subsidize inflexible baseload generators”.
FT 10th April 2014 read more »
Japan – plutonium
Just weeks after Japan agreed to give up a cache of weapons-grade plutonium, the country is set to push ahead with a program that would produce new stockpiles of the material, creating a proliferation risk for decades to come. Though that additional plutonium would not be the grade that is most desirable for bombs, and is therefore less of a threat, it could — in knowledgeable hands and with some work and time — be used to make a weapon. The newly created stockpiles would add to tons of other plutonium already being stored in Japan.
New York Times 9th April 2014 read more »
Japan – energy efficiency
Replacing nearly one-third of their energy supply — especially going into peak summer demand — was not a realistic option, and the population braced for rolling blackouts to accompany the crippling impacts of the tsunami and earthquake. The government and the people also turned to another option, energy efficiency and conservation. A campaign called ‘setsuden’ (power saving) was established to generate support. It worked, and by allowing dressed-down outfits and rotating air-conditioning schedules, the country averted blackouts. But many worried that this short-term effort would prove to be just that, and that in the long-term an elevated demand for electricity would return, once again taxing the system. However, it turns out these worries were unwarranted — Japan has managed to replace half its missing nuclear power capacity through energy efficiency and conservation measures that endure three years later.
Climate Progress 10th April 2014 read more »
Akkuyu NPP, the Russian-owned project company responsible for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, has submitted a revised version of its environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on the plant.
World Nuclear News 10th April 2014 read more »
Kim’s secret weapon: North Korea ‘is capable of striking U.S. with a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack’.
Daily Mail 10th April 2014 read more »
Renewables – Wind
The wind industry has responded angrily to Eric Pickles’ announcement that he will be extending his period of pulling in decisions on renewable energy projects for a further 12 months. The Communities and Local Government Secretary announced in October 2013 that he would recover more renewable energy projects in England for a six month period in order to determine how new planning guidance was being implemented. According to renewables trade body RenewableUK, Pickles has pulled in 33 wind projects, amounting to 93% of all wind energy capacity currently at appeal in England.
Edie 10th April 2014 read more »
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has extended his powers to personally block onshore wind farm planning applications, in a move that has raised fresh questions from businesses over whether he is “playing politics with energy policy”.
Business Green 10th April 2014 read more »
Renewables – Geothermal
CHEAPER fuel for Whitehaven residents could be an “unexpected legacy’’ of the town’s redundant pits. A potential scheme to extract heat from water and gas in disused mines in Kells has moved closer after a £123,470 funding award. The money, from the Department of Energy and Climate Change to Copeland Council, will be used to look into developing “innovative heat networks’’. It follows a bid from economic development organisation, Britain’s Energy Coast (BEC). Coun George Clements, Copeland Council’s portfolio holder for community planning, said: “This is a great example of partnership working with Britain’s Energy Coast to secure Government funding.
Whitehaven News 10th April 2014 read more »
Naomi Klein: Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine. From climate change to Crimea, the natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain – what I call the shock doctrine.
Guardian 10th April 2014 read more »
Desmond Tutu calls for anti-apartheid style boycott of fossil fuel industry. Nobel peace prize winner calls for organisations to cut ties with industry and for investors to dump fossil fuel stocks.
Guardian 10th April 2014 read more »
Guardian 10th April 2014 read more »