I’ve always said that the two proposed new reactors at Hinkley Point would never get built. Now I’m not just saying it: I’m absolutely convinced that they’ll never get built. A couple of weeks ago, EdF formally confirmed that no decision would be taken on Hinkley Point before the General Election, and probably not before the end of the year. The reason it gave was that: “We are in the final phase of negotiations, but that phase can take a considerable amount of time, depending on the number of problems left to resolve.” And that list of problems is daunting. First, it needs to be able to sign final deals with co-investors, including the Chinese, who are beginning to cut up rough; then it needs final confirmation from the European Commission and the UK Government for a whole load of issues regarding the waste transfer contract; it needs to finalise a £10bn loan guarantee from the Treasury; and, despite months of discussions, it needs to conclude negotiations with the UK Government regarding the subsidy contract. You’ll notice that this list does not include any delays that may be caused by the Austrian Government challenging the EU’s decision to approve as ‘legal’ (within the EU’s state aid rules) the billions of pounds of subsidy that the UK Government will pump into the project. EdF doesn’t talk about that, as it still hopes that the Austrians will be ‘persuaded’ by the UK Government to withdraw its challenge.
Jonathon Porritt 9th March 2015 read more »
The impact of new nuclear on Somerset. Theo speaks to Euro MPs about how EDF’s Hinkley C project has corrupted the democratic process and left Somerset reliant on a project which EDF will probably never be completed. Only a Plan B for renewables can fill the gap. Theo is the Green Party General Election Candidate for Somerton and Frome.
Theo Simon 10th March 2015 read more »
Luxembourg has confirmed that it will back Austria in filing a lawsuit against the European Commission for the decision to allow billions of pounds of subsidies for Hinkley Point C, casting fresh doubt over the UK’s first planned nuclear reactors in 20 years. Monique Clement, Private Secretary at Luxembourg’s Department of the Environment told Power Engineering International, “Yes we are going to follow Austria. That’s the decision of the Luxembourg government.”
Power Engineering International 10th Mar 2015 read more »
The British government is considering holding a trump card in the $25 billion Hinkley Point C construction project, that would be built by Electricite de France. Media reports say that British Energy and Business Minister Matthew Hancock in Parliament said that the government was considering taking a so-called “golden share” in the project. A golden share amounts to a corporate trump card. It would likely be used to maintain consistency and high standards in the supply chain, should the Hinkley Point C power plant ever be sold, Penn Energy reported.
Nuclear Street 10th Mar 2015 read more »
The Public Accounts Committee are furious over events from the past decade, and have summoned the likes of John Clarke, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) chief executive, Stephen Lovegrove, Permanent Secretary for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and Paul Foster, Sellafield Ltd managing director, for a nasty grilling. Since 2005, Sellafield has been arguably the world’s most hazardous decontamination site, an £80bn-plus clean-up job that will take at least a century to complete. Workers and managers alike face a daily struggle with the horrendously complicated logistics of detoxifying more than 250 buildings in a mere two square mile site. A National Audit Office report last week made the headlines for finding a £5bn increase in clean-up costs, but buried on page 17 was a rather alarming finding from 2014-15: “One milestone – the appointment of a director in charge of security – was missed but this post has now been filled.” Sellafield’s many opponents are furious. David Lowry, the campaigning independent research consultant on nuclear issues, said the news “beggars belief”. He has written to Margaret Hodge, the PAC chair, demanding she gets answers on why such a key post was left unfilled. I’m told the appointment had been filled by the date set by the NDA, but there was a four-month delay getting the person in post, including time soaked up by the vetting process. In the meantime, there was an interim director and a dedicated team, so there were no security gaps.
Independent 11th Mar 2015 read more »
A renewed call has gone out for an early inspection of the pressure vessel “heart” of Sizewell B after a senior Belgian nuclear safety official suggested cracks found in similar components in two of his country’s power stations could be the result of operation and not manufacture, as previously thought.
East Anglian Daily Times 9th March 2015 read more »
Wylfa nuclear power station will be shutdown for around a month after a problem was found during re-fuelling. The Daily Post revealed yesterday that Reactor 1 had been taken ‘off-line’ after operators Magnox found an issue on Saturday. They said a “conservative decision” was taken to shut the reactor down to investigate the issue at the Anglesey nuclear plant. Now they say the shutdown is expected to last for four weeks for repair works to be carried out.
Daily Post 10th Mar 2015 read more »
Wales Online 10th Mar 2015 read more »
Anti-nuclear campaigners will hold a protest on the Menai Bridge during rush-hour tomorrow morning to show their opposition to a new plant being built on Anglesey. PAWB (People against Wylfa B) supporters are expected to gather near the bridge between 8-9am to commemorate the four year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The meltdown at the nuclear power plant in Japan back in 2011 was caused by a tsunami that hit the country’s Pacific coast. It devastated the prefecture of Fukushima, making 470,000 people homeless.
Daily Post 10th Mar 2015 read more »
Nuclear and Carbon
Nuclear power is not ‘low carbon’. So says Professor Keith Barnham, author of the hugely influential ‘The Burning Answer’. He’s just produced a new analysis of how much CO2 a nuclear reactor causes to be released, per unit of electricity. Here’s the headline conclusion: “Far from coming in at 6 grams of CO2 per unit of electricity for Hinkley Point, as the Climate Change Committee believes, the true figure is probably well above 50 grams – breaching the Committee on Climate Change’s recommended limit for new sources of power generation beyond 2030.”
Jonathon Porritt 10th Mar 2015 read more »
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived in Tokyo ahead of scheduled talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In preparation for this summer’s G-7 summit, Merkel plans to discuss climate change, terrorism and free trade. “In light of the lessons in the experience of Fukushima,” Merkel told the national broadcaster NHK ahead of her journey, “we would like for Japan to undertake the same road as Germany.”
Deutsche Welle 9th March 2015 read more »
Nobel-winning author Kenzaburo Oe said Tuesday that the nation’s push to restart some nuclear reactors following the Fukushima disaster could lead to another crisis, and urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to follow Germany’s example and phase out atomic energy. Oe’s remarks to reporters came a day after visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had decided to end her country’s use of nuclear energy by 2022 because the Fukushima crisis convinced her of its risks.
Japan Times 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Telegraph 11th Mar 2015 read more »
March 11th 2015, is a somber anniversary for the people of Japan: four years since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, sparking a tsunami, claiming tens of thousands of lives, and beginning the worst nuclear disaster in a generation: the triple reactor core meltdowns and destroyed containment buildings at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. And, four years later, the nuclear crisis continues to unfold: both the environmental contamination and the ongoing human suffering caused by the disaster. Even Japan’s Prime Minister Abe – an unabashed nuclear supporter who has been pushing for the restart of Japan’s nuclear fleet – has taken a step back from his position of 2013 that the radioactive water crisis was “under control.” In January 2015, he admitted that, “There [are] a mountain of issues, including contaminated water, decommissioning, compensation and contamination… When I think of the victims still living in difficult evacuation conditions, I don’t think we can use the word ‘settled’, to describe the Fukushima plant”.
Greenpeace 10th March 2015 read more »
The Abe administration is recklessly trying to restart nuclear reactors across Japan without learning lessons from the Fukushima crisis and failing to prepare effective countermeasures against another potential disaster, a former accident panel chief said. Yotaro Hatamura, former chairman of a government panel that investigated the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, said in a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun that the atmosphere surrounding nuclear power is returning to the pre-disaster days of complacency. “Sufficient investigations have not been conducted,” Hatamura, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at the University of Tokyo, said of the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Asahi Shimbun 10th March 2015 read more »
As the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster approaches, NFLA argue that it is irresponsible to look to develop new nuclear reactors. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) commemorates the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, which takes place tomorrow. It remembers all those who died as an effect of the earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan, and the immense environmental, social and economic problems that the destruction of three of the six nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi has brought about. NFLA welcome two national events commemorating the anniversary here in the UK. Last week, the Heinrich Boll Foundation hosted a day conference From Fukushima to Hinkley: Dismantling the Nuclear Argument for a Sustainable Energy Future. This brought leading academics and politicians to understand the implications of the Fukushima disaster and compare the potential negative impacts of new nuclear build at Hinkley Point. Tonight, NFLA fully supports the official Westminster event commemorating the disaster organised by CND, Kick Nuclear and Japanese Against Nuclear UK. Amongst the speakers will be Michael Meacher MP, Baroness Jones, influential American nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen and independent nuclear policy academics Dr Ian Fairlie and Dr Paul Dorfman. This will outline the problems that still remain four years after the worst nuclear disaster in the global history of nuclear power.
NFLA 10th March 2015 read more »
Fukushima residents doubt rebuild plans.
BBC 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Japan marked the fourth anniversary Wednesday of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country’s northeastern region, left more than 18,000 people dead or missing and triggered the continuing Fukushima nuclear crisis. The anniversary comes as reconstruction in the hard-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima has not progressed as planned, with many evacuees still forced to live away from their hometowns amid the ongoing decommissioning work at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and decontamination work in Fukushima.
Mainichi 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Nuclear Power and Humans cannot co-exist. On 11 March 2011, the strongest earthquake in Japan’s history caused a giant tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people along the country’s north-east coast. It also triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that will take four decades to clean up at a cost of tens of billions of dollars. As Japan prepares to mark the fourth anniversary of the 3/11 disaster, the Guardian talks to key figures from the most critical days of the Fukushima crisis and to some of the tens of thousands forced to evacuate their irradiated communities and who continue to live in nuclear limbo.
Guardian 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Experts agree that the global nuclear power industry has returned to its “pre-Fukushima state” and pessimistic forecasts of a slowdown in its development have not materialized, Leonid Bolshov, director of the Nuclear Safety Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IBRAE RAN), said in an interview with Russian news agency RIA Novosti. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there are 440 nuclear power units in operation and a further 68 are under construction. “Calls for the abandonment of nuclear power crop up every now and then in different countries, but these are, as a rule, the result of short-term political speculation and go against the everyday needs of national economies,” Bolshov said.
World Nuclear 10th Mar 2015 read more »
The economic case for building nuclear power plants must be proven as consumers would want to see the “biggest bang for their buck”. That’s according to former boss of npower Volker Beckers, who believes the UK and France will be leading on nuclear “inevitably” in Europe as there is political will to make it happen. However, he said while nuclear energy has an “important role” to play, there needs to be proof it can be built in an economic way “so taxpayers’ money is used wisely and invested in technologies that contribute to a low carbon generation mix”.
Energy Live 10th Mar 2015 read more »
Dear Baroness Worthington, I watched on in horror as you championed the removal of local authority’s right to decide over the disposal of nuclear waste in their communities. I didn’t know who you were at the time, and your position of the matter left me thinking perhaps you were a stakeholder in some nuclear power supply chain company. I was dismayed to learn that you used to be a key member of Friends of the Earth. Further research shows that you have a background in environmentalism and appear on the surface to be concerned with climate change. So I ask myself, why would someone with your background be a champion of nuclear power? And why would you champion the disposal of nuclear waste underground at levels where groundwater circulates? And why would you want this done without allowing the full scrutiny of councillors and planning officers? Why would you prefer to remove power from locally elected representatives and place decisions in the hands of one person, creating a potentially corruptible situation? Nuclear power is not a low carbon energy source. There is a wide range of data on the carbon footprint of nuclear waste, much of which is industry rhetoric. Benjamin Sovacool’s review found the average carbon footprint of nuclear power to be 66 gCO 2/KWh, breaching the Committee on Climate Change’s recommended limits.
Bulletin Reports 10th March 2015 read more »
Draft Emissions Performance Standard Regulations 2015. Draft Infrastructure Planning (Radioactive Waste Geological Disposal Facilities) Order 2015.
Parliament 10th March 2015 read more »
Germany’s largest utility E.ON on Wednesday reported its biggest ever annual loss mainly due to the impact of power plant writedowns following a steep decline in wholesale electricity prices across Europe.
Reuters 11th Mar 2015 read more »
RWE on Tuesday warned of a “crisis” in fossil fuel power generation as Germany’s second-largest utility by market value predicted a sharp fall in underlying earnings this year and unveiled new cost-cutting plans.
FT 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Could the “Big Six” energy companies be broken up? It’s one of the possibilities that could come out of the current energy investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority, reckons Ed Davey. The Climate Change and Energy Secretary knows that he’s likely to be out of a job come May’s general election, but believes he has been involved in a period of major change – and improvement – in the UK’s energy industry, not least in tackling the problem of rising prices and fuel poverty. The culmination of that will be the first major report from the Competition and Markets Authority before the end of the year. “I’m not going to second guess their recommendations; but whatever they turn out to be they will be based on evidence and analysis.
Independent 11th Mar 2015 read more »
Standard & Poor’s cut the credit rating of Areva (AREVA.PA) two notches deeper into non-investment grade status after the French nuclear group posted a record 2014 loss.The rating agency cut Areva’s long-term debt to BB- from BB+ with a developing outlook, which means it could upgrade if Areva bolsters its balance sheet or downgrade further by 2016. S&P downgraded Areva one notch into junk status in November after the firm had issued a profit warning.
Reuters 6th Mar 2015 read more »
The future of the huge coal-fired power station at Longannet in Fife will come under scrutiny at Holyrood later. Members of the Scottish Parliament’s energy committee will hear from Scottish Power, National Grid and the electricity industry regulator Ofgem. It was recently revealed the cost of connecting to the grid meant Longannet may close earlier than planned. MSPs want to learn more about its future and the security of Scotland’s electricity supplies. Longannet, which generates about a quarter of Scotland’s electricity, is one of Europe’s biggest power stations. However, the requirement to tackle climate change by cutting carbon emissions means the power station does not have a long-term future.
BBC 11th March 2015 read more »
Lang Banks: The centralised, large, fossil-fuel generation model is being unravelled with every new megawatt of renewable generation. The role of “baseload” thermal power is being eroded rapidly as renewable technologies are effectively taking the place of conventional fossil fuel power plants. Already in Germany we are seeing periods when fossil fuel power is scarcely required. The impact is most clearly seen in the decision by German utility E.On to radically restructure its business model to cut off its nuclear, oil, coal and gas operations and focus on renewables. In Scotland, the debate on the energy transition is taking place in microcosm as policymakers and industry grapple with the future of Longannet coal-fired power plant. Today, the Scottish Parliament’s Energy Committee will discuss Longannet’s future with National Grid and the station’s owners, ScottishPower.
Herald 11th March 2015 read more »
Beyond breach of international protocol, the construction of nuclear reactors in Karachi has raised safety concerns. The threat of terrorism in such an unstable country worries not only U.S. diplomats, but Pakistani civil society as well. The head of a Karachi-based non-profit questioned Pakistan’s ability to safely operate the new reactors in an interview with The Washington Post, citing prior nuclear disasters in the U.S., Soviet Union, and Japan. “Those are three highly advanced countries,” Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute for Labor Education and Research said. “This is Pakistan. We don’t live on technology and science. In fact, we are quite allergic to that.” China insists the technology is safe, citing the International Atomic Energy Agency’s completed safety review in January. Still, for a city that is no stranger to cyclones or earthquakes, a natural disaster could spark a nuclear catastrophe. Any sort of emergency situation would be a nightmare because of the power plant’s proximity to the megalopolis of Karachi. With only a few dozen fire trucks on hand, a handful of public hospitals, the capacity of the city to respond to such a situation is uncertain.
Oil Price 10th Mar 2015 read more »
The Republican letter to the Iranian leadership, claiming that any agreement it makes with the Obama administration could be disowned by its successor, raises a lot of questions. One is how could 47 out of 54 Senate Republicans be so wrong about US constitutional and international law.
Guardian 10th Mar 2015 read more »
In an eyebrow-raising missive to “the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, 47 Republican Senators, led by Arkansas’s Tom Cotton, ostensibly gave the Iranians a lesson in America’s constitutional system – though, despite Cotton’s Harvard training as a lawyer, they got some details wrong.
Guardian 10th Mar 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
New York wants to get serious about solar power. The state has a goal to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, and it’s already among the nation’s solar leaders. New York ranks ninth overall for total installed solar, and in 2013 alone it added enough to power more than 10,000 homes.The policy puts New York on track for a new way of doing business that many energy wonks now see as inevitable. In the past, the role of electric utilities was to generate power at a few central hubs and bring it to your house; in the near future, their role will be to facilitate the flow of power between countless independent systems. “We need to plan for a primarily renewable system,” said John Farrell, director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which advocates for breaking up the old utility model as a key solution to climate change. “We want to pay [utilities] for doing things we want, rather than paying for their return on investment for the things they build.” So far, the response from utilities has been receptive; a spokesperson for Con Ed said the company looks forward to developing details for how the order will move forward. The change in New York could become a model for other states, Reynolds said. Regulators in Hawaii are already considering a similar policy. “Everyone is watching to see what’s happening here,” she said. “It’s really a model of what a utility could be in the future.”
Mother Jones 6th Mar 2015 read more »
Applauding a record-breaking year, GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today released the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review report, the definitive source of installation data, forecasting and policy analysis for the U.S. solar market. Newly installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity for year reached a record 6,201 megawatts* (MW), growing 30 percent over 2013’s total. An additional 767 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) came on-line in the same period.
Renew Economy 11th March 2015 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
The UK will drive the expansion of the EU offshore wind market, but developers must collaborate to become price-competitive with other energy sources in the future. That’s the conclusion of a new report released today by EY, commissioned by the Brussels-based European Wind Energy Association. The report found that the EU offshore wind industry could triple its capacity – from 8GW today to 23.5GW in 2024 – with growth expected “mainly from the UK market as well as a faster deployment in France and the Netherlands”.
Edie 10th March 2015 read more »
“Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, recently became the first in the country to use 100 percent renewable energy for its residents’ electricity needs. In a state known for socially conscious policies, the feat represents a milestone in the growing green energy movement. NewsHour’s William Brangham reports on the implications for the country’s green movement.”
Off Grid World 9th Mar 2015 read more »
As most of the energy industry turned its attention to the recent subsidy auctions, Nathan Goode reveals how a transformation in community energy could be coming up on the rails. The end of February saw two significant milestones in the decarbonisation of the energy sector. The first – more widely heralded – was the announcement of the results of the first auction for Contracts for Difference. The second was hosted by Bloomberg in their London offices on 24th February and entitled “Transforming Community Energy Finance”. The organisation behind this event was Pure Leapfrog. The result of a merger of two charities in 2013 (both constituent parts bringing an impressive track record to the merger), Pure Leapfrog provides both social investment and professional support for community energy projects.
Business Green 9th March 2015 read more »
The Urras Energy co-operative has raised more than £700,000 in community share investment to build two new wind turbines for the scheme at Ballantrushal on the Isle of Lewis. Urras Energy has exceeded its original target of £600,000 to pay for the two 900kW turbines to be constructed next to a turbine that was installed at the site in December 2013. While the co-operative has not yet announced when construction will begin on the turbines, it is expected that together the three turbines will generate enough power for 1,400 homes.
Scottish Energy News 11th Mar 2015 read more »
In recent weeks we have responded to two Department for Communities and Local Government consultations with money saving proposals that will end up costing the taxpayer more than they save and undermining the Government’s ability to deliver its own policies. They pertain to the Department’s proposals to truncate the breadth and depth of Display Energy Certificates and the English Housing Survey respectively. Both consultations seem rushed ahead of the General Election and reflect bad practice under the guidelines for policy consultation.
ACE 10th March 2015 read more »
EU states like France and Germany might be talking up their climate-change-fighting credentials at home, but they are also helping companies export technology for power plants that run on coal, the most polluting of the fossil fuels. EU taxpayers’ money worth $3.8 billion was used as a guarantee for the construction of coal-fired power plants, according to a recently leaked document.
EU Observer 10th March 2015 read more »
UK shale firm IGas has signed a Â£30m gas deal with Switzerland’s Ineos in a tie-up designed to expand IGas’s exploration efforts. The deal will give Ineos access to sites beyond the ones it currently operates in Scotland.
BBC 10th March 2015 read more »
Times 11th Mar 2015 read more »
FT 11th March 2015 read more »