Greens say the case for building a new nuclear power station at Hinkley is now firmly closed. They cite three strong arguments for not proceeding with the controversial Hinkley C power plant: European Competition law; cost and delay, and the irrelevance of nuclear for future electricity generation. These are in addition to the crucial issues of safety and the unresolved question of what to do with nuclear waste, say the Green Party. Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West and long time campaigner against nuclear, said: “Its time to abandon nuclear power. The government’s whole nuclear strategy is legally questionable; fails to offer us energy security, either in the short term or long term and makes no economic sense”. Greens have challenged the legality of up to £17bn worth of ‘back door’ government subsidies to EDF, the company planning to build Hinkley C; a deal currently being investigated by the European Commission to see if it constitutes illegal State Aid. Greens also point to a similar reactor being built in Finland, which is now expected to be almost a decade late and well over budget. They say that similar delays to Hinkley would totally undermine one of the key arguments the government uses to justify its nuclear programme: that nuclear is urgently needed to fill the energy gap and ‘keep the lights on’. Finally, Greens highlight a report from giant multinational investment bank, UBS, which concludes that the proposed £16 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station could be obsolete within 10 to 20 years. The report says large power stations will soon become extinct because they are inflexible, and are “not relevant” for future electricity generation. The bank urges investors to “join the [solar] revolution”. Molly Scott Cato concluded, “This really is a case of three strikes and you’re out”.
Molly Scott Cato MEP 7th SEpt 2014 read more »
CONCERNS Dungeness B could be overpowered in the event of a flooding catastrophe on the Marsh were discussed at a meeting earlier this week. Station director Martin Pearson was invited to give an update on Dungeness at Shepway District Council’s community overview committee on Monday evening. Among the items discussed was the station’s recent work to protect the building from the Channel. Cllr Tony Hills said: “What you’ve done at the station is very clever, brilliant work and no corners cut. “My problem is with the Environment Agency as no work has been done at Dengemarsh. I worry about the back door to the power station as if Dengemarsh was to flood it would flank you.” Mr Pearson said: “We are strengthening the back and have a planning application in at the moment.”
Folkestone Herald 9th Sept 2014 read more »
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne saw first hand the latest technology being used to clean up Britain’s nuclear legacy linked to an under-construction £500m plant. Mr Osborne, MP for Tatton, joined by Chester MP Stephen Mosley, dropped into Capenhurst Nuclear Services on a visit to the North West, championing his ‘northern powerhouse’ vision to ensure the region gets its fair share of economic growth.
Chester Chronicle 10th Sept 2014 read more »
In response to a news report on the Today programme on 10th September 2014 that stated that Friends of the Earth had changed its position on nuclear power and is now pro this technology, Chief Executive Andy Atkins said: “Friends of the Earth has not changed its position on nuclear power. We remain firmly opposed to it and continue to strongly promote a transition to an energy system based on energy efficiency and our abundant resource of renewable energy, which is getting cheaper to exploit by the day. “We have always been an evidence-based organisation and we commission independent reports to ensure our policy positions are robust, and we will continue to do so in the future. “Our review showed that the non-nuclear energy pathway we support is credible and therefore we have not changed our position of opposing new nuclear plants.”
FoE 10th Sept 2014 read more »
And a curious tussle between Friends of the Earth and the BBC, as the latter announces the group has performed a U-turn to embrace nuclear power. The story was prominent on bulletins, and was flagged up as a bit of a scoop ahead of the annual jamboree of the World Nuclear Association in London. But it was all news to Friends of the Earth itself. “I am totally astonished by @BBCr4today inaccuracy. Could our position on nuclear be any clearer?” tweeted campaigns director Craig Bennett ahead of FoE’s demand for a retraction. They are a cynical bunch, these greens, especially when traduced or maligned. They are not over-enamoured of the BBC anyway; a distanced hardly breached by the fact that Diane Coyle, acting chair of the BBC Trust, is also a member of the stakeholder advisory panel of nuclear fatwallets EDF Energy. Her predecessor, Lord Patten, sits on that panel, too.
Guardian 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Friends of the Earth has denied dropping its opposition to nuclear power after the BBC reported that the green group had made a “huge and controversial shift” in its stance.
Guardian 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Campaigning Green group Friends of the Earth is at the centre of a row over BBC claims it has dropped its long-standing opposition to nuclear power. Just two years ago the organisation was warning nuclear energy was ‘a gamble we don’t need to take’. It said there was good evidence to believe the country could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by closing coal and gas fired power stations without the need to fill the resulting energy gap with nuclear. The group also complained nuclear was too expensive and created radioactive waste that would be a danger for thousands of years. However, the BBC reported yesterday that the group h ad dropped its opposition to nuclear power in a major shift in policy. It said the group’s director of policy, Craig Bennett, believed the time it takes to build new nuclear power stations was the biggest worry, rather than safety. Mr Bennett told the Radio 4 Today programme: ‘The biggest risk of nuclear is it takes far too long to build.’ He suggested the whole process of getting approval for new nuclear power plants was so expensive and long-winded that it was better to opt for other low carbon options, such as wind, solar and wave power. The comments triggered an immediate row with both Mr Bennett and the FoE leadership accusing the BBC of misrepresenting the organisation’s views. The group’s executive director, Andy Atkins, released a statement saying the group had made no changes to its stance on nuclear.
Daily Mail 11th Sept 2014 read more »
Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has put French nuclear power engineering group Areva on “creditwatch negative” and will decide within 30 days whether to downgrade its credit ratings by one notch into non-investment grade territory. A downgrade into the junk category would make its shares and bonds unattractive for investment funds who only seek investment-grade securities, but Areva’s finance chief said the firm was not worried about its liquidity or borrowing costs.
Reuters 9th Sept 2014 read more »
Scientists at the University of Manchester may have found a novel way to dispose of nuclear waste: unleash bacteria that love to devour it. The bacteria don’t seem to have a name yet, but the researchers group them with “extremophile” bacteria, which live in environments once thought to be uninhabitable. In fact, bacteria that devour waste aren’t new: What’s new is that the waste these bacteria eat is radioactive.
Oil Price 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Bacteria that eats radioactive waste has been discovered in the Peak District – and could now be used to help ‘eat away’ at nuclear waste.Scientists at the University of Manchester say they have found ‘extremophile’ bacteria that can survive the harsh conditions of underground radioactive waste disposal sites. The findings, published in the ISME (Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology) journal, say the tiny waste-eating single-cell organisms could help with Britain’s growing problem of nuclear waste disposal.
Daily Mail 10th Sept 2014 read more »
IB Times 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Gizmag 11th Sept 2014 read more »
Once Scotland has decided its constitutional direction (the shape, the size, the way it operates, the way it makes decisions), Scotland must decide its policy direction (what we want to do with our powers, how we look after our people or our environment, what we spend, what we build). It’s one thing having powers in your toolbox, it’s another thing to use them in a way that achieves real outcomes. The policy questions are the questions that, once Better Together and Yes Scotland have disbanded after 18 September, the political parties that want to form the next Scottish Government will have to answer. For example, if Scotland gets new powers over North Sea oil, what are the policies the next Government will put into place to ensure a planned transition away from oil?
WWF 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Scottish independence could lead to cheaper energy bills for consumers in England and Wales, senior industry sources have told the BBC. The UK government claims independence would see Scottish bills soar to pay for renewable energy projects. The SNP rejects this and has promised a 5% cut in bills if Scotland votes Yes. Energy industry sources say it all depends on how subsidies for Scottish wind and tidal projects – currently shared across the UK – are divided up. “One scenario is that the charges to English customers go down. Now you can imagine what some people in Scotland would think about that,” a senior figure with one of the “Big Six” energy firms told BBC News. According to an analysis published by Lib Dem energy secretary Ed Davey in April, Scotland would need to meet the full cost of subsidies for the renewable energy schemes currently under construction there.
BBC 10th Sept 2014 read more »
This paper explores the relationship between ‘postpolitics’ and processes of rescaling enacted through planning reform. It centres empirically on the policy shift which has occurred in planning since the inception of the Planning Act 2008—the new framework which will oversee the development of new nuclear power and other large-scale infrastructural developments in the UK. This act has radically altered the ways in which publics can engage with government policy. Using interview data gathered from participants in recent nuclear power consultations, as well as participants in the old inquiry-based system of the 1980s, it is argued that processes of rescaling through the Planning Act have diminished the ‘political opportunities’ available for certain nongovernmental actors to intervene in the policy process. This has contributed to the postpoliticisation of the planning framework in certain arenas, which raises significant questions concerning public engagement and democratic accountability within the wider context of the modernisation of planning. The potential consequences of these developments are discussed.
Environmental Planning 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Ask many Conservative MPs what they think about onshore wind and the answer will usually begin with them saying that they understand the financial and economic benefits, but conclude that they just don’t like the sight of wind turbines and don’t want them in their constituency. It’s because of the local residents, you see. They simply don’t want to live next to a big, noisy, bird blending wind farm. Well, apparently someone forgot to ask their constituents. New polling conducted by ComRes has found that 62% of Britons would be happy to have an onshore wind development in their local area. Even in rural areas, more than half the people polled said they would have no objections to living near a wind farm. Despite this popular support, 78% of Conservative MPs say they wouldn’t want a wind farm to be built in their constituencies. This is in contrast to the 74% of Labour MPs and 64% of Liberal Democrat MPs who say they are in favour of onshore wind, which seems to align much more with the public attitude identified in the ComRes research.
Huffington Post 4th Sept 2014 read more »
President-elect Juncker today enacted a long-rumoured move to combine the Climate Action and Energy portfolios in the new European Commission. There is no strategic rational for this and, if confirmed, it reduces our capacities to respond adequately to the global climate crisis both at home and abroad. With the merger of the environment and fisheries portfolios, environmental protection overall has also been weakened by the new line-up. Everywhere else in the European political arena environment and energy matters are with good reason handled separately. Greenhouse gas pollution and energy systems are quite different phenomena and so are measured and regulated in different ways. In the Treaties, there is an environment chapter and there is an energy chapter. The environment chapter was specifically amended by the 2009 Lisbon treaty so as to make explicit reference to climate change and to frame this as an global issue.
Mark Jonhston 10th Sept 2014 read more »
In the coming months, the EU will decide on its future energy mix and the role of renewables. So far, the outlook is bleak. Silvia Brugger explains why the EU should opt for a much more ambitious program: Renewables are cheaper and reduce Europe’s foreign energy dependence. The decision on the EU’s climate and energy targets for the year 2030 is expected in October. EU Member States are entering the final bargaining game about the level of ambition and as to whether the goals will be binding in the post-2020 climate and energy framework. While the Commission only proposed at least 27% renewables in the energy mix by 2030, there is still some hope for Member States to agree on a 30% target for renewables. To put this into perspective, at least 45% would be a number that deserves to be called ambitious.
Energiewende 9th Sept 2014 read more »
The new European Commission President has announced a major reorganisation of the EU’s climate change and energy departments in a bid to reduce the energy dependency of several Member States. Jean-Claude Juncker today (10 September) revealed the line-up of new European Commissioners nominated to be the European Union’s most senior civil servants for the next five years. His announcement began with details of the formation of a new ‘Energy Union’, which will be led by former Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek. The President-elect also confirmed rumours that the formerly separate roles of Energy and Climate Action Commissioners will be combined and will now be led by Spain’s former Environment Minister Miguel Arias Cañete.
Edie 10th Sept 2014 read more »
The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan left a lasting impression on the country’s energy infrastructure and long-term energy vision. The ensuing nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant put citizens on edge and the nuclear industry — on which leaders had been relying to achieve ambitious clean energy goals — in the cross hairs. After the disaster, the country halted its nuclear program and all 48 nuclear reactors have been dormant since. As the government attempts to sway public opinion back in favor of nuclear power, reconstitute the nuclear regulatory and oversight program, and get at least some plants online by the end of 2015, an energy swell has been building off Japan’s coast. While the belt of solar panels around the moon proposed by a Japanese engineering company may never get built, a number of future-thinking offshore power sources are already in the works. Offshore wind is a top priority, with Toshimitsu Motegi, a member of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the former minister of economy, trade and industry, telling Bloomberg this week that Japan is “now focusing on mainly floating offshore wind, but we want to push various types of technical development and research.”
Climate Progress 9th Sept 2014 read more »
As with all things nuclear, things are not always what they seem. Good example – today’s decision on the so called restarting of the Sendai reactors by the Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA), the best nuclear regulator in the world, according to the Abe government. The five NRA commissioners decided that a proposal submitted by Kyushu Electric, owner of the Sendai reactors, complies with new guidelines brought in after the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear catastrophe. What the commissioners actually did was capitulate to pressure from Japan’s infamous nuclear village – the same industry and government alliance that created the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The decision really means that Kyushu Electric has moved restarting the Sendai reactors forward a bit, but it’s still not a restart approval. It doesn’t mean the NRA has certified the reactors as safe to operate or that they will restart anytime soon. Why the confusion? In part, it’s a savvy political strategy and a deliberate effort by the regulator, acting for the nuclear utilities and the Abe government, to signal that nuclear power is back in Japan.
Greenpeace 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Even with the approval, it will probably be months before either of the reactors can be turned back on. In addition to further safety checks, the plant’s operator, the Kyushu Electric Power Company, must obtain the consent of local governments around the plant. The final decision on whether to restart the plant will be made by the prime minister, probably in December, according to local news media reports.
New York Times 10th Sept 2014 read more »
More than three years after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster more than 120,000 people from the region are living in nuclear limbo with once close-knit families forced to live apart. Japan’s nuclear watchdog on Wednesday gave the green light for two nuclear reactors at Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai plant in south-west Japan to restart, but communities are anxious over the safety aspects. The nuclear industry in Japan has been mothballed since the meltdown. At a temporary housing complex in Fukushima prefecture one resident, Iiko Kanno, said she now spends her days reading, growing vegetables and counting the days until she is reunited with her grandchildren. As with many of her neighbours, Kanno’s family has been torn apart by the nuclear meltdown, which happened in March 2011.
Guardian 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Japan’s nuclear watchdog has given the green light for two reactors to restart but the operator still has to persuade local communities they are safe. Widespread anti-nuclear sentiment has simmered in Japan ever since an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 caused meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant, sparking the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.
Guardian 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Officials from Iran and Britain, France and Germany were due Thursday to hold nuclear talks in Vienna towards reaching a potentially historic accord by November.
EU Business 11th Sept 2014 read more »
Russia has revealed it will develop an array of new weapons – including nuclear warheads – amid the escalating stand-off with the West over its involvement in Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin revealed the move after Nato set up a ‘spearhead’ force to defend eastern Europe against what it describes as growing evidence of a Russian presence in Ukraine. He told a Kremlin meeting western nations should not get ‘hysterical’ about the re-arming, insisting the prospect of Russia entering a Cold War style arms race was ‘absolutely excluded’.
Daily Mail 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Reuters 10th Sept 2014 read more »
ITV 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Chinese utility China General Nuclear (CGN) has submitted a non-binding bid for the construction of two nuclear reactors on the river Danube, Romania, Nuclearelectrica manager Daniela Lulache said. Lulache was quoted by Reuters as saying in a news conference that CGN will partner with Romania’s state-owned nuclear power producer Nuclearelectrica for the construction of the reactors. Initially, Nuclearelectrica planned to develop the two reactors in partnership with six European energy firms, with combined estimated cost of $7.73bn.
Energy Business Review 10th Sept 2014 read more »
UK consumers could be forced to foot the bill for the government’s planned £11 billion smart meter rollout which may bring savings of just 2 per cent on the average annual bill, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned.
Utility Week 10th Sept 2014 read more »
Six things to know about the climate change summit happening in New York this month.
Carbon Brief 10th Sept 2014 read more »
For one week surrounding the UN Climate Summit 2014, the focus of the environmental movement will be in New York City. A dizzying array of events will take place, sponsored by hundreds of nonprofit organizations, businesses and religious groups all demanding immediate climate action. One of the most high-profile events of the week that will capture widespread international attention is the People’s Climate March on Sept. 21.
Ecowatch 9th Sept 2014 read more »
As world leaders meet in New York later this month at a summit convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to discuss the global fight against climate change, a new report highlights the crucial role a new set of Sustainable Development Goals must play in meeting the challenge. It says the goals, to be agreed next year, offer a vital opportunity for the international community to tackle the way that climate change is driving people into poverty. The report, written by CAFOD, CARE International, Christian Aid, Greenpeace, Practical Action and WWF-UK, says it is now clear that without action to tackle climate change, efforts to eradicate poverty will be severely compromised. The work is in response to the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the leading authority on climate science – that warns climate change is a massive threat to poverty reduction and sustainable development.
CARE International 10th Sept 2014 read more »
A WWF report has found meeting the UK’s carbon targets could save the country billions of pounds by improving energy security, creating jobs and stimulating new industries. With your help, Karl Mathiesen investigates.
Guardian 10th Sept 2014 read more »