Letter David Lowry: Margaret Thatcher said something in her speech to the Conservative Party conference in 1983 that has a contemporary resonance. This is in respect of the £150bn in taxpayers’ money that the Treasury is about to allocate to France’s State-owned nuclear power generator, Electricité de France (EDF), to underwrite the electricity produced if the Hinkley C plant goes ahead in Somerset. “Let us never forget this fundamental truth,” she said, “the state has no source of money other than money which people earn themselves. If the state wishes to spend more, it can do so only by borrowing your savings or by taxing you more. It is no good thinking that someone else will pay – that ‘someone else’ is you. There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers’ money. “Protecting the taxpayers’ purse, protecting the public services – these are our two great tasks, and their demands have to be reconciled… Someone has to add up the figures. Every business has to do it, every housewife has to do it, every government should do it… When there is only so much money to spend, you have to make choices, and the same is true of governments.” Perhaps Mr Cameron and his Conservative cabinet colleagues can adopt this sensible strategy, and stop the insane plan to hand over this fortune of taxpayers’ money to France’s state-owned generator.
Independent 12 April 2013 read more »
Experts believe the UK’s contracts for difference (CfD) scheme could be delayed by EU state aid rules, as the government has confirmed that it will have the power to change the terms of subsidy agreements without public disclosure. The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has revealed to ICIS that it will have the powers to change the terms of subsidy agreements brokered with low carbon energy generators without public disclosure through its electricity market reform bill. In response to questions from ICIS about specific sections of the draft electricity market reform bill, a DECC spokeswoman said: “We have committed to laying before Parliament and publishing the terms of any contract including the strike price and reference price. Some limited terms, however, may not be made public for reasons of confidentiality or commercial sensitivity.” She added that one of the circumstances this would include is “commercially sensitive information, which may be redacted from the varied contract laid before Parliament.”
ICIS 11th April 2013 read more »
Hitherto the future of nuclear in Britain has hinged around whether the French nuclear behemoth, EDF (Electricite de France), can find a partner to help bear the cost of new nuclear plants – currently some £14bn apiece – and, not entirely unrelated, whether EDF can squeeze the British government where it hurts into agreeing a ‘strike price’ at nearly twice the current costs of electricity generation, using the blackmail that if the government does not agree, EDF will walk away and there will be no nuclear generator left willing to step into the breach. At that point the government’s much vaunted new nuclear build programme collapses like a pack of cards. Indeed the chances of this happening are rising by the day. But now another bombshell has been thrown into the mix (if that is not an unfortunate metaphor). EDF is close to bankrupt.
Michael Meacher 12th April 2013 read more »
EDF Energy, majority owned by the French Government, was in full retreat today as their annual London energy conference “Let’s Talk Power”, scheduled for May 01, was cancelled due to “planned protests”. Organisers cited latest advice from police that “there could be disruption in the Blackfriars area which might complicate journeys for delegates travelling to and from the conference.” A counter event “Let’s talk People Power”, organised by EDF off and others in solidarity with No Dash for Gas, was scheduled for May 01 and had attracted 500 confirmed attendants. The counter event called on protestors to “shut down the EDF conference” following EDF Energy’s 5 million pound lawsuit against the No Dash for Gas activists who occupied EDF owned West Burton power station for a week last autumn. This is the second time this year EDF has had to bow to public pressure, after dropping the civil claim against the activists last month.
EDF Off 11th April 2013 read more »
Nuclear regulators have signed an agreement marking the start of plans to build new reactors in north Wales. The deal clears the way for Horizon Nuclear Power to submit initial proposals for a new power station at Wylfa on Anglesey. Horizon’s owner Hitachi wants to build new Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) in the UK, including at Wylfa. ABWR plants are in operation at four sites in Japan, but have yet to be approved in Britain.
BBC 11th April 2013 read more »
Environmental groups including the RSPB and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) are considering legal action to challenge the government’s decision to allow the expansion of Lydd airport in Kent. The minor airfield, wedged between Dungeness nuclear power station, Romney Marsh and a nature reserve, has been given permission to extend its runway and handle up to 500,000 passengers a year. Environmental activists claimed the proximity of Dungeness nuclear power station posed a severe risk if there was an air accident. In a local referendum, residents rejected the expansion scheme by a ratio of two to one.
Guardian 11th April 2013 read more »
A former Sellafield contract worker has lost a tribunal against his former employer.
Whitehaven News 10th April 2013 read more »
Letter: Listening to the continuous Britain’s Energy Coast trumpeting of West Cumbria as a Mecca for business investment, an outsider would be forgiven for thinking the area has everything it needs to fuel an economic boom. A glance, though, at the deprivation figures for the area, the evidence of physical dereliction, levels of wealth inequality, low levels of economic productivity, coupled with a substandard and fragile infrastructure, quickly dispels any such notion. In a matter of a few short years reprocessing at Sellafield will come to an end. The window of time now available to transform the local economy and accommodate a reduction in site employment is frighteningly tight. Failure to act will for all intensive purposes ‘call last orders’ for Copeland and consign the area to the fate of many post industrial towns that cease to have a reason to exist.
Whitehaven News 11th April 2013 read more »
Researchers have discovered that the Fukushima nuclear disaster has had far-reaching health effects more drastic than previously thought: young children born on the US West Coast are 28 percent more likely to develop congenital hyperthyroidism. In examining post-Fukushima conditions along the West Coast, researchers found American-born children to be developing similar conditions that some Europeans acquired after the 1986 meltdown of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
RT 4th April 2013 read more »
The owners of the Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin and Florida’s Crystal River 3 Nuclear Plant announced they were prematurely shutting the plants down, pointing to economic problems driven by growing maintenance costs and competition with cheap natural-gas-fueled power plants. The announcement marked the first nuclear plant shutdowns in 15 years, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). More retirements are likely. Kewaunee is 39 years old; Crystal River is 36. The designed age for nuclear reactors in the U.S. is 40 years. The average age of the 104 working plants is 32 years, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), a part of the Department of Energy. With age is sure to come more maintenance, more outages, and greater safety concerns for communities living near the plants. Other operators are likely to take the path chosen by Kewaunee and Crystal River and begin the lengthy, complex, and expensive process of shutting down, cleaning up, and decommissioning. As retirements near, NRC’s oversight of the trust funds becomes paramount. Last year, a review by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, challenged NRC’s formula for determining the size of funds. The GAO report charges that the formula lacks detail and transparency, and in a sample of power plant savings programs, the report found NRC’s formula may underestimate cleanup costs. GAO investigated 12 reactors’ trust funds, comparing company-prepared site-specific decommissioning cost estimates to NRC’s formula. For nine reactors, NRC’s formula resulted in funds below the companies’ estimates. In one case, a company believed it needed $836 million, which was $362 million more than NRC’s formula figure. GAO also noted NRC’s funding formula was more than 30 years old.
Chemical & Engineeering News 1st April 2013 read more »
High-level nuclear waste has been piling up in the U.S. for decades, and we still have no permanent home for it. Policy makers have been wrestling with the issue since at least 1982, when Congress mandated that waste be stored deep underground. In 1987, lawmakers chose Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a permanent repository; while it was being built, utilities simply stored spent fuel inside cooling pools at nuclear-reactor sites, while paying the government to permanently dispose of the waste. But billions of dollars and decades later, the U.S. is back to square one. Nevada wasn’t happy hosting the nation’s nuclear-waste dump, and the Obama administration formally pulled the plug on Yucca Mountain in 2010.
Wall St Journal 11th April 2013 read more »
The Abe Cabinet on April 2 endorsed a plan to reform the nation’s power industry and its market, including liberalizing electricity retail sales and removing power transmission and distribution functions from the country’s 10 major power companies. Since the reforms won’t be completed till as late as 2020, the government must act to prevent the major power companies and lawmakers representing their interests from weakening or even gutting the reform efforts.
Japan Times 9th April 2013 read more »
North Korea is ready to launch nuclear missiles after advancing its technical expertise, a new US intelligence report has claimed. The intelligence analysis, disclosed at a hearing in Congress, suggests Pyongyang could arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.
Metro 12th April 2013 read more »
Evening Standard 12th April 2013 read more »
Independent 12th April 2013 read more »
Express 12th April 2013 read more »
South Korea’s defence ministry has said it does not believe North Korea has succeeded in preparing a nuclear warhead for a missile. “Our military’s assessment is that the North has not yet miniaturised,” ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a news briefing. “North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests but there is doubt whether it is at the stage where they can reduce the weight and miniaturise to mount on a missile.” It casts doubt over a fresh US intelligence assessment of the reclusive state’s nuclear capability.
ITV News 12th April 2013 read more »
The US and South Korean governments were today scrambling to play down an American intelligence report which concluded that North Korea already has the capability to construct a nuclear missile.
Telegraph 12th April 2013 read more »
On Iran, William Hague said the second half of this year “will be very important in resolving the Iran nuclear crisis”. He said it is then that Iran will have to decide whether it really means what it says.
ITV 11th April 2013 read more »
Deployment of nuclear power is not on the agenda for Singapore at the moment, delegates at the World Nuclear Fuel Cycle (WNFC) conference in the city heard this week. The island city-state has few options for low-carbon power.
World Nuclear News 11th April 2013 read more »
MONGOLIA has banned nuclear weapons from its soil, and Dr John MacDonald believes that Scotland could do exactly the same. In WASHINGTON DC on Tuesday, Alex Salmond reiterated his commitment to an independent Scotland free of nuclear weapons. In articulating this to an American audience, his conviction on the issue is clearly undiminished. The First Minister has referred to how a written Scottish constitution might help an independent Holyrood government achieve this aim.
Scotsman 12th April 2013 read more »
Alex Salmond has faced an embarrassing attack on his defence policy from former SNP politicians who left the party in protest over its controversial decision in favour of membership of Nato.
Telegraph 12th April 2013 read more »
Almost three quarters of the electricity consumed in Portugal during the first quarter of the year came from renewable sources, according to new figures from the grid operator REN.
Business Green 11th April 2013 read more »
If we’re going to create the kind of decarbonised and secure energy market we all want and this country needs, then we should be concentrating far more on how that market can benefit those who are paying for it: the consumer. This requires fresh thinking and compels us to ask some fundamental questions about the way our energy market operates. That comes down to three things. First, we need to better use customer demand to stimulate investment in green technologies. Second, we need to attract the widest possible range of new entrants to the market as part of the decarbonisation process. The accessibility of renewable technology is key to that.Third, the retail market has to deliver new savings to consumers, through drivers like smarter tariffs linked to the times of the day when renewables are generating electricity.
Business Green 11th April 2013 read more »
Lighting company Philips has developed an LED lamp that it describes as “the world’s most energy-efficient”. It said the prototype tube lighting LED is twice as efficient as those currently used in offices and industry around the world but offers the same amount of light. Being able to halve the amount of energy used could bring huge cost and energy savings. Lighting accounts for more than 19% of global electricity consumption.
BBC 11th April 2013 read more »
Shale gas could provide “great economic benefits” to the UK, BP chief executive Bob Dudley has said, suggesting it could help to bring down Britain’s high gas prices.
Telegraph 11th April 2013 read more »