Molly Scott-Cato MEP: Today I will welcome Denis Baupin, Vice President of the French Assembly, to Hinkley. His own choice to come and visit the site of the proposed new nuclear power station reflects his strong desire to prevent the UK disappearing up a dangerous dark alley in terms of energy policy. It also takes place as France takes a totally different path, with the French government recently adopting a law which will reduce nuclear energy in the country. There are the safety and technological risks. It is clear that the Pressurised Water nuclear reactor (EPR) – the design proposed for Hinkley C – simply does not work. France’s nuclear safety watchdog has found multiple malfunctioning valves that could cause meltdown, in a similar scenario to the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the US. The steel reactor vessel, which houses the plant’s nuclear fuel and confines its radioactivity, was also found to have serious anomalies that increase the risk of it cracking. Apart from the obvious safety risks, the problems experienced by the EPR reactors being built at Flammanvile in France and Olkiluoto in Finland have pushed the projects years behind schedule. Secondly, Hinkley poses risks to our energy security. Hinkley is supposed to produce 7% of the UK’s energy. But we now know there will be no electricity from the new nuclear plant until at least 2023. This makes power blackouts over the next decade increasingly likely and the only way to avoid them is to rapidly invest in renewable energy, particularly onshore wind. Earlier this week Bloomberg produced a report showing that onshore wind is now the cheapest way to generate electricity in both the UK and Germany. But instead of supporting onshore wind this government is undermining it by attacking subsidies to renewables and destroying jobs in the sector. Thirdly, there is the risk of Chinese finance. In a globalised world we are expected to consider the option of allowing foreign companies and governments to control our essential infrastructure. But it is clear that in bequeathing our infrastructure we lose the political control that strengthens our security. The Chinese companies who will be part of the deal are part owned by the Chinese government and therefore controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. What a toppy-turvy world globalisation has created, where our Conservative British government is inviting the Chinese Communist party to control our energy infrastructure. It also seems that China National Nuclear Company is responsible for the manufacture of Chinese nuclear weapons.
New Statesman 9th Oct 2015 read more »
OLDBURY Power Station marked the end of an era with the removal of the last fuel from its reactors. During defuelling more than 52,000 fuel elements were removed from the reactors and the final element was removed from reactor two on Sunday, October 4.
Gloucestershire Gazette 8th Oct 2015 read more »
The Conservative party has spent much time mocking Labour for being out of touch on business issues, particularly Jeremy Corbyn’s support for rail and possibly energy nationalisation. But George Osborne seems much more at home tickling the tummies of huge, state-owned companies in China and France, especially with regard to nuclear power, than tending his domestic, private-sector firms. While the chancellor was out wooing on a recent trip to Beijing, he seemed blissfully unaware that subsidy cuts to the UK’s growing army of small and medium-size “green” companies have been causing havoc. Last week, the true scale of his destructive policies became clear when one of the largest providers of solar panels in Britain, the Mark Group, collapsed into liquidation with the loss of almost 1,000 jobs. It was not long before a second solar and insulation provider, Climate Energy, bit the dust and now the Solar Trade Association predicts that dozens of firms and 27,000 employees are in danger. Mark Group was happy to make clear where the blame should lie, saying the government’s “draconian policy proposals… will essentially eliminate the solar PV market in the UK”. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has denied this, claiming it’s all down to “commercial decisions”. It has the unenviable task of implementing the policies on renewable energy, but few are in any doubt that the orders come from the Treasury, which is on a wider mission to bear down on all costs. The latest proposal, to cut solar subsidies by 87%, is just another in a long line of changes that have hit energy efficiency, onshore wind, biomass and many other sectors that create jobs and a lower-carbon economy. These cuts look particularly irresponsible in the run-up to the UN climate change talks in Paris, but at any time it is odd to see a party that wants to make Britain greater showing little time for nurturing a new business sector.
Observer 11th Oct 2015 read more »
Hgh cost of nuclear waste – Chickens come home to roost; squabbles over who pays.
Mining Awareness 7th Oct 2015 read more »
Here are the speaking notes used by UK’s Amber Rudd in Parliament on 17 Sept. The UK is pushing for Europe already to go beyond the agreed 2030 framework so as to ensure all member states start planning to meet common energy and climate goals up to 2050. In the text, this is covered by priority 3 on page 4. The UK thinking is reflected already in the draft conclusions for the 26 November Energy Council.
Mark Johnston 10th Oct 2015 read more »
Operators of German nuclear power plants have set aside enough funds to pay for decommissioning the country’s reactors, the Economy Ministry said on Saturday, even though stress tests showed the potential cost could far exceed their provisions. E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall are due to switch off their nuclear plants by a 2022 deadline set by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.The ministry appointed auditing firm Warth & Klein Grant Thornton to subject the balance sheets of the four nuclear operators to a stress test to ensure that the 38.3 billion euros ($44 billion) they have set aside in provisions to cover decommissioning of reactors and disposal of waste was adequate.
Reuters 10th Oct 2015 read more »
Bloomberg 10th Oct 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
Former England rugby star Austin Healey has warned that government plans to slash subsidies on solar panels could result in hundreds of job losses at his green energy company, calling the new measures “draconian”. Hertfordshire-based Solarplicity has signed deals across the UK to install solar panels on 150,000 properties – including 3,000 local authority homes – but the work may now be in jeopardy.
Telegraph 10th Oct 2015 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
The U.K. government’s failure to spell out future policy on offshore wind power is putting the industry’s growth at risk, said the country’s biggest developer, Dong Energy A/S. Developers, turbine makers and cable suppliers are being kept in the dark over government plans from 2020, according to Samuel Leupold, chief executive officer of Dong’s wind-power unit. The “complete silence” of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s administration is jeopardizing investment decisions, innovation and potential job creation, he said Thursday in an interview in Norddeich, Germany, where he was attending the opening of Dong’s Borkum Riffgrund 1 offshore wind farm. Compared with the Netherlands or Germany, the U.K. market is one where “we have much more uncertainty,” Leupold said. In the U.K., key offshore actors have “decisions on their table on additional manufacturing capabilities just when the government is completely silent on how things look post-2020.”
Bloomberg 9th Oct 2015 read more »
Renewables – Onshore Wind
The UK government has announced it intends to push on with ending public subsidies for onshore wind farms, but has included a grace period to soften the blow. In an announcement made Thursday, the country’s Energy Minister, Lord Bourne, revealed that the UK government would be closing the Renewables Obligation across the UK from 1 April, 2016, as had been expected for some time now. However, amendments were made to the Energy Bill, setting out grace period criteria which intend to “provide further certainty for investors.” Specifically, the government predicts around 2.9 GW of onshore wind capacity will be eligible for the grace period criteria. The government also believes that, even with the closure of the Renewables Obligation scheme, 12.3 GW of new onshore wind capacity can still be installed by 2020.
Clean Technica 9th Oct 2015 read more »
Scotland had over 1 gigawatt of renewable heat capacity in operation in 2014 – making up around 3.8 per cent of total non-electrical heat demand. The capacity of micro renewable heat generating systems installed in Scotland grew by a third in 2014 to around 0.19GW, with over 9,600 micro systems estimated to be operational. Scottish Renewables said the figures show Scotland is moving “in the right direction, albeit slowly”, while calling for strong commitments from both the Scottish and UK governments. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said programmes such as the Home Renewables Loan Scheme, Resource Efficiency Scotland and the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme were evidence the Government was working towards decarbonising the heat system. He said: “We are committed in helping support households and business across become more energy efficient and use more low carbon and renewable heat sources. “There is however continuing uncertainty about the Renewable Heat Incentive, which the UK Government have not commitment to beyond March 2016. We will continue to press for commitment to the long term sustainability of the RHI beyond next year to provide confidence for funders and stimulate investment in renewable heat technologies.” Joss Blamire, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “More than half of the energy consumed in Scotland is in the form of heat, so it’s vital that we introduce more renewable sources – like solar thermal, biomass and heat pumps – in order to cut carbon emissions and reduce consumer bills. “What the industry needs now, particularly if we are to hit our target of sourcing 11% of our heat demand from renewables by 2020, is a strong commitment from the Scottish and UK Governments to help increase the pace of development. “With that in mind, the UK Government’s continued silence on commitment to the Renewable Heat Incentive, the scheme which supports renewable heat development, beyond 2016 is worrying. Reduction or removal of that scheme would see our chances of hitting that 2020 target fall to almost zero.”
Holyrood 9th Oct 2015 read more »
The future of Britain’s nuclear weapons is set to be decided within weeks as ministers plan to call an early Commons vote on Trident. The government wants the question to be settled “by Christmas” to stop Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn turning next year’s Scottish parliament elections into a referendum on Britain’s nuclear deterrent, senior sources said. Senior figures fear that a divisive debate over national defence would weaken Britain’s image abroad at a time of increased threat to national security.
Telegraph 10th Oct 2015 read more »
Pledges by nations to cut carbon emissions will fall far short of those needed to prevent global temperatures rising by more than the crucial 2C by the end of the century. This is the stark conclusion of climate experts who have analysed submissions in the runup to the Paris climate talks later this year. A rise of 2C is considered the most the Earth could tolerate without risking catastrophic changes to food production, sea levels, fishing, wildlife, deserts and water reserves. Even if rises are pegged at 2C, scientists say this will still destroy most coral reefs and glaciers and melt significant parts of the Greenland ice cap, bringing major rises in sea levels.
Observer 10th Oct 2015 read more »