The Prime minister must step in urgently to rescue the UK’s nuclear power programme, or risk it failing, a senior Tory has warned after French nuclear company EDF gave a downbeat report on the prospects for a new fleet of reactors in the UK. Chairman of the influential energy and climate change committee and former Tory cabinet minister Tim Yeo said that Cameron must speak to his French counterpart, Francois Hollande, in order to decide what conditions are necessary for the state-owned French utility to fulfil its planned investment. De Rivaz told the committee that the company’s first planned investment, at Hinkley, was subject to the government putting a framework in place on time. He said: “I think it’s very clear that we will not be able to make our final investment decision, as we expect to make it at the end of the year without a contract for difference, and without a robust legal framework for this contract.” This may mean a delay, because full details of how the reforms will work will not be in place by the end of this year, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has said.
Guardian 12th June 2012 more >>
MPs were told EDF was on track to make a final investment decision over its plans with Centrica to build two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset at the end of 2012. However, planned reform of the electricity market is “critical” for companies to build new nuclear power plants in the UK, the French energy giant said. It could not make the decision to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point without long term contracts that provide a guaranteed price for electricity from low carbon sources, chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said.
Bourne Local 11th June 2012 more >>
EDF could not make the decision to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset, without long term contracts that provide a guaranteed price for electricity from low carbon sources, chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said.
East Anglian Daily Times 12th June 2012 more >>
Ian Marchant, chief executive of another of the “Big Six” energy firms, SSE, warned that the negotiations over the price that nuclear generators will be paid in the contracts were being conducted in a “smoke-filled room”. He said there had been a lack of transparency over cost structures in the nuclear industry in the past and the UK was facing the same situation now.
Engineering & Technology 12th June 2012 more >>
The chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) said June 12 he was very concerned about transparency around how the government and EDF would negotiate the strike price for new nuclear power under the governments proposed electricity market reforms, or EMR. The strike price is the price producers of low carbon electricity would be guaranteed for electrical power under a complex EMR arrangement known as a contract for difference (CfD). EDF Energy is planning to take a final investment decision on building twin Areva EPR reactors at Hinkley Point C by the end of the year, prior to the effective approval expected for EMR. The government has agreed to negotiate custom-designed CfDs on a project-specific basis prior to implementation of EMR to allow major investment projects, such as Hinkley Point C, to proceed. Moreover, in the case of nuclear generally, it is possible that all future nuclear projects may benefit from project-specific negotiations, rather than a more general technology-specific strike price, according to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
i-Nuclear 12th June 2012 more >>
Government negotiations with French energy giant EDF over subsidies for new nuclear power are being conducted in a smoke-filled room, the chief executive of rival company SSE claimed yesterday. Ian Marchant attacked the lack of transparency in the talks as he warned MPs on the energy select committee that ministers plans to reform the energy sector were so complex and risky as to leave consumers paying a higher price.
Telegraph 12th June 2012 more >>
The Nuclear Industry Association has today published a new briefing paper on electricity market reform. No-one is saying it wont cost money to replace our ageing energy infrastructure, whether its with solar, coal, wind, nuclear or clean coal. To maintain our quality of life, and to keep powering our schools, hospitals and industries, there is a price tag attached for the new generation we need. Of course it is right that Government seeks to keep costs down for the tax payer and the consumer. Costs need to be stable and affordable. Thats why we need the new Energy Bill and electricity market reform.
NIA 12th June 2012 more >>
Fears of political interference and a complex set of ill-defined market reforms are starting to scare investors from the UK, executives from some of the countrys biggest energy companies told MPs on Tuesday. This country used to be seen as a fantastic energy market to invest in, said Keith Anderson, ScottishPower head, whose group is a leading UK wind farm investor, owned by Spains Iberdrola, and operates several coal and gas power stations. Mr Anderson and executives from some of the other so-called Big Six energy companies said the draft legislation still lacked a large amount of critical detail, which worried investors. Ian Marchant, SSE chief executive, said he did not even think the legislation was necessary. Executives also questioned the proposed capacity mechanism, a measure designed to compensate owners of coal and gas plants to provide back-up power even when the growth of low carbon power made investment in such plants riskier. The government has created a known-unknown, said SSEs Ian Marchant. They have said there will be a capacity mechanism but not what it will be.
FT 12th June 2012 more >>
Natural gamma rays may be responsible for around 40 cases of childhood leukaemia in the UK each year, research suggests. Scientists found a small but significant link between the risk of the disease and exposure to gamma radiation from environmental sources. Higher levels of gamma radiation were associated with a greater likelihood of children developing leukaemia. The findings contradict the widely held belief that very low radiation doses have little or no effect on cancer rates. They follow separate results published last week suggesting that low dose X-rays from a type of hospital scan can triple the chances of children developing leukaemia or brain cancer.
Independent 11th June 2012 more >>
Thousands of nuclear decommissioning workers have won a “landmark” case to protect their pensions after being transferred to different employers, their union announced today. Prospect said a ruling in the High Court meant that the pension benefits of 13,000 workers cannot be cut back or varied by their employers. The case involves former employees of British Nuclear Fuels and the UK Atomic Energy Authority who are now employed at 23 UK sites in at least nine companies in the nuclear decommissioning industry.
Manchester Evening News 13th June 2012 more >>
Nuclear power can produce massive amounts of energy – one station can make enough for more than a million homes. But it’s also controversial because of the dangerous waste it produces. All this week Joe is looking at how power is made before it’s sent to you. Today he’s at a nuclear power station in Somerset and investigating the future plans for the technology in Britain.
Newsround 12th June 2012 more >>
French power giant EDF won a 15-year legal battle to keep 1 billion euros in state aid on Tuesday when Europe’s highest court said the European Commission was wrong to rule the payment was illegal. The case goes back to 1997, when, according to the European Commission, France waived a tax claim against the then wholly state-owned company, valued at the time at 888.89 million euros ($1.11 billion). The Commission ruled in 2003 that the waiver strengthened EDF’s competitive position with peers and constituted improper state aid, and ordered EDF to pay 1.22 billion euros ($1.52 billion) after interest to the French state.
Reuters 5th June 2012 more >>
Iran said it was drawing up designs for its first nuclear powered submarine yesterday, putting it in position to become the first nation not nuclear armed to put the technology to front line military use.
Telegraph 13th June 2012 more >>
Independent 12th June 2012 more >>
The global nuclear regime is eroding too quickly. Some countries around the world seem ready to develop their own nuclear-weapons initiative in the event of a sharp deterioration in the international environment. In this context tthe way Iran’s uranium-enrichment programme is managed and resolved is crucial.
Open Democracy 12th June 2012 more >>
Some telephone diplomacy rescued the next round of negotiations in the Russian capital though expectations remain low.
Guardian 12th June 2012 more >>
The goal of cutting emissions sufficiently to keep the global temperature rise below a critical level is still “within reach”, even though nine out of 10 low-carbon technologies are not on track to make their required contribution to emission reductions, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported yesterday. The latest biennial Energy Technology Perspectives report from the Paris-based organisation says integrated use of existing technologies can reduce fossil fuel dependence and curb emissions from industry, transport and buildings. But it warns these technologies are not currently being deployed at sufficent scale to deliver the deep emission reductions that are required.
Business Green 12th June 2012 more >>
A massive increase in solar power helped renewable energy investment surge to a record $257bn in 2011, despite falling equipment prices and severe budgetary restrictions, according to two new reports. Investment last year reached more than six times the level for 2004 and almost twice the total investment seen in 2007, the last year before the global financial crisis.
Business Green 12th June 2012 more >>