PROTESTORS were holding a rally at Hinkley Point today (Friday, October 9, 2015) to call on the British Government to stop what they have described as a nuclear “white elephant.” Members of the Stop Hinkley campaign group were joined by South-West MEP Molly Scott Cato and Dennis Baupin, vice-president of the French National Assembly, for the “pop-up” protest against the Hinkley Point nuclear installation. The protest group is urging Prime Minister David Cameron not to sign a £24.5-billion agreement with the Chinese Government later this month. The deal will give the final go-ahead for the planned Hinkley Point C – Britain’s first new nuclear power station for two decades – to be built.
Bridgwater Press 9th Oct 2015 read more »
Stop Hinkley Press Releases 11th Oct 2015 read more »
With ministers hopeful that EDF Energy will soon take a decision on building reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset, the Telegraph charts the long history of plans for the UK’s first new nuclear plant in a generation.
Telegraph 12th Oct 2015 read more »
At the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Welsh Forum meeting in Cardiff City Hall last Friday, members present heard from expert speakers about progress over Hinkley Point C, renewable energy subsidy cuts, Trident replacement and concerns over post-Fukushima UK nuclear emergency planning. It was resolved to issue a media statement outlining their resolved concerns.Members heard from Roy Pumfrey of the group „Stop Hinkley‟ , who outlined the many reasons why the proposed new nuclear reactor planned for Hinkley Point, Somerset, just 15 miles from the south Wales coast, was in jeopardy. This is due a combination of reasons including its £24.5 billion projected cost and associated safety and waste concerns. Members agreed that they believe Hinkley Point C should not go ahead due to the large financial cost to the taxpayer, the length of time it will take to build when the urgency of climate change grows, and the safety faults found in similar reactors being built in Finland, France and China. Members were also concerned that the huge public finance guarantees being offered to EDF and Chinese nuclear utilities would hinder the growth of the sustainable renewable energy sector.
NFLA 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Letter: As the heat grows on our leaders to heed the warning of climate change, more endangered species appear, floating on thin ice. On Saturday it was the turn of white elephants. Two inflatable specimens were the background to a protest at Hinkley Point, with Welsh, French, English, Chinese and Indian activists lending their voices to the call to stop the madness of nuclear power. French EDF and Chinese investors plan to step in to save Hinkley C nuclear power station as its costs spiral out of control. We heard from Denis Baupin, vice president of the French Assembly, explain that France has changed its policy away from dependency on nuclear to renewables, while Chancellor George Osborne has just reduced UK subsidies for wind, wave and solar power. Hinkley C is outdated and uneconomical. This was an argument put forward passionately by Green MEP Molly Scott Cato. She said the model planned has proved unreliable. It will not produce energy until 2023, creating a dangerous energy gap. The Chinese investors who propose to step in to save Hinkley have a poor safety record, and are closely linked to the Chines government’s industrial military complex.
South Wales Echo 12th Oct 2015 read more »
The UK has won EU regulatory approval for a pricing methodology for nuclear waste transfer contracts. The new methodology aims to ensure that nuclear power operators bear the cost of disposal, and not taxpayers. Proposed pricing methodology will ensure that plant operators will pay for all costs linked to the disposal of the spent fuel and nuclear waste. The new scheme is expected to establish a waste transfer price reflecting the actual disposal costs, which will be determined only when most of the currently unknown cost factors of the disposal facility become clear.
Power Technology 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Nucnet 9th Oct 2015 read more »
As Conservatives gear up for the next election they could be hit by a electricity crisis as the costs of subsidies for new gas power stations escalate in 2019. This is because of a triple failure of policy; its failure to realise that its nuclear power objectives are undeliverable, the failings of its ‘capacity mechanism’ which beckon an escalation in costs in 2019, and a failure to promote decentralised energy solutions that would avoid these problems. To cap it all, as the Conservatives implement their ending of incentives for most renewables, they end the development of low carbon solutions that will decrease electricity prices in the medium and long term.
Dave Toke’s Blog 11th Oct 2015 read more »
A coalition of electricity suppliers with a collective customer base of more than 1.2 billion people has released a major new report for the Paris climate conference, detailing how electricity innovations can help tackle global warming. The group, known as the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP) – which includes EDF, RWE and American Electric Power – said that innovation in new technologies “would be the cornerstone for a sustainable energy transition”. The report details 50 individual technologies that could be developed – from traditional renewables to more advanced solutions – including floating offshore wind farms, deep-sea carbon capture, compressed-air energy storage, and smart grids.
Edie 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Warrington firm Amec Foster Wheeler has been appointed by Japan’s nuclear decommissioning organisation to carry out a major study into managing radioactive waste at the Fukushima Daiichi power station. The work will assist the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (NDF) to develop a long-term waste management strategy for the site which was hit by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Clive White, president of Amec Foster Wheeler’s clean energy business, said: “Our work will make both a significant contribution to the Fukushima remediation programme and will also form the basis for further initiatives to adapt waste management tools to the specific requirements and conditions at Fukushima.
Liverpool Echo 13th Oct 2015 read more »
BDaily 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Seaweed caused almost three days’ downtime at Unit 3 of Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (LNPP), on the Gulf of Finland , near St. Petersburg , after a storm blew bay bottom sediments into the plant’s water intake structures, clogging the intakes that supply water to the unit’s cooling system. The blockage had to be manually removed before the reactor could resume operation.
Energy Central 12th Oct 2015 read more »
France is considering cutting its stake in Aeroports de Paris to below 50 percent to raise funds as it seeks to bolster troubled nuclear reactor builder Areva SA, people familiar with the plan said. The government, which oversees the Agence des Participations de l’Etat, or APE — the state shareholding agency that owns 50.63 percent of Aeroports de Paris — is studying the divestment of a stake in the operator of Paris’s two main airports, the people said, asking not to be named since the plan isn’t public. The state has overcome its long-held reluctance to relinquish its controlling stake in a company it considers strategic, one of the people said.
Bloomberg 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Shortly after New Year’s Day, the Tennessee Valley Authority is expected to bring its newest nuclear power plant online. The TVA says Watts Bar Unit 2 in Spring City, Tenn., about 50 miles north of Chattanooga, will be fully modern and superlatively safe — “the nation’s first new nuclear generation of the 21st century,” the utility says. The truth is rather different. Not only is Watts Bar 2 not new, it could be a symbol of everything that has gone wrong with America’s nuclear power industry since it generated its first electricity at Shippingport, Pa., in 1958. “Rather than exemplifying a fine technological achievement,” environmentalists Don Safer and Sara Barczak write on the website of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “the history of Watts Bar Units 1 and 2 is a cautionary tale of the worst pitfalls of nuclear power and the federal regulatory system.” As they observe, the history of Watts Bar is one of enormous cost overruns, antiquated design and unimaginable construction delays. Most of those features are shared with America’s nuclear power industry in general, which may explain why the industry is held in such low esteem and regarded with so much fear by the public that the last new nuclear plant to enter service in the U.S. is now nearly 20 years old — the 1996-vintage Watts Bar Unit 1.
Los Angeles Times 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Twenty months after a truck fire and a Valentine’s Day radiation release almost half a mile underground, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico is still out of business and not expected to reopen before the end of next year. And that expectation is far from definite considering the mounting complications and competing needs that are becoming more and more apparent across the nuclear enterprise. Meanwhile, nuclear waste shipments, some planned and others merely wish-listed have been delayed or halted all across the country, including unshipped transuranic waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Area G and the waste intended for WIPP that has been sent to Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in Andrews, Texas.
Los Alamos 12th Oct 2015 read more »
RWE AG and EON SE jumped the most since 2008 in Frankfurt trading after the German Economy Ministry said the nation’s utilities have enough funds to pay for the shutdown and cleanup of nuclear power plants. RWE gained as much as 15 percent while EON rose as much as 12 percent. Total reserves set aside by EON, RWE, Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, Vattenfall AB and Stadtwerke Muenchen GmbH totaling 38.3 billion euros ($43.6 billion) “completely reflect the costs” of decommissioning nuclear reactors, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Saturday in an e-mailed statement. Shares in EON and RWE, Germany’s biggest utilities, fell 36 percent and 52 percent this year through Friday on concern provisions for decommissioning nuclear plants may prove insufficient.
Bloomberg 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Utility companies under pressure over fears that they might not have made sufficient provisions to pay for Germany’s nuclear clean-up have had the burden lifted from their share prices. Economics minister Sigmar Gabriel dispelled the concerns on Saturday when he reported expert opinion that the 38.3bn euros set aside by five operators, Eon, RWE, Vattenfall, EnBW and Stadtwerke Munchen, was sufficient to cover the costs of dismantling plants and disposing of radioactive waste. Auditors appointed by the German government said that provisions of between 29bn and 77bn euros would be required, and that the net assets of the groups were sufficient to cover even the highest scenario. The ministry said in a statement that the operators’ provisions “fall within the range calculated by the experts”. Dismantling costs are estimated at 857m euros per reactor in Germany. In a joint statement, Eon, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall said: “In view of this unequivocal finding, speculation about a possible need for higher provisions has no basis in fact.”
FT 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Atomkraft? Nein Danke! So read a bumper sticker beloved among peaceniks in Germany during the 1980s. Investors have also been saying “no thanks” to nuclear power of late; shares in the two main German utilities, RWE and Eon, have fallen heavily as the market fretted about nuclear decommissioning costs. Now that a state-appointed auditor has endorsed the companies’ calculations, the shares have rebounded. The pop could be shortlived. Nuclear clean-up costs are notoriously imprecise, stretching many decades ahead, but the two utilities have always argued that their provisions were conservative. Between them, they have set aside more than 30bn euros for future costs. By way of comparison, EDF has provided 34bn euros against its French decommissioning costs – but its installed nuclear capacity is six times that of Eon and RWE combined. The German government’s report noted that domestic reactor dismantling costs were almost 60 per cent above estimates elsewhere.
FT 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday supporting the government in implementing a nuclear deal with world powers, but insisted that international inspectors would have only limited access to Iran’s military sites, state news agency IRNA said.
Business Insider 13th Oct 2015 read more »
BBC 13th Oct 2015 read more »
One of the truly interesting things about Iran’s stepped up involvement in Syria (be it through Tehran’s various Shiite militias, the Quds, or most visibly, via Hezbollah) is that it demonstrates an outright disregard for the nuclear deal. That’s certainly not an attempt to scold Iran. In fact, it’s never been entirely clear why Washington gets to play world nuclear police with Tehran when history has definitively proven that if there’s any country that can’t be trusted with nuclear bombs, it’s the U.S. That said, the Ayatollah’s ravings leave something to be desired when it comes to diplomacy and if you’re going to threaten to wipe entire countries off the map you shouldn’t necessarily be surprised when those other countries try to prevent you from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Well the ink on the deal is barely dry and not only has Iran i) effectively invaded Syria, and ii) flouted inspectors at Parchin, they’ve now test-fired a long-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
Oil Price 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Greenpeace East Asia activists today protested near Kori nuclear power plant near Busan, South Korea’s second largest city. The protest aims to ramp up pressure on the South Korean government, which is about to give permission for the construction of two additional reactors, and highlight the risks the nuclear plant poses to the public. In South Korea, there are currently six reactors on site and two waiting for operating license approval, bringing the total number to ten by 2020. Once Shin Kori Reactor 3 begins operation (expected in late October 2015), Kori NPP will become the world’s largest in terms of installed capacity (6860MW) with seven reactors in operation.
Greenpeace International 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Over 3 million people live within 30 km of what is set to become the largest nuclear power plant in South Korea and the world. So why is the government expanding nuclear and locking out safe, clean renewables?
Greenpeace 13th Oct 2015 read more »
South East Asia
Rising electricity demand, growing dependence on imported fossil fuels and environmental concerns have prompted several Southeast Asian countries to consider the role that nuclear power could play in their energy mix, but since the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan the near- to medium-term prospects for nuclear in the region have diminished, a report by the Paris-based International Energy Agency says. All countries in Southeast Asia that are interested in deploying nuclear power face “significant challenges”, the report says. These challenges include sourcing the necessary capital on favourable terms, creation of legal and regulatory frameworks, compliance with international norms and regulations, sourcing and training of skilled technical staff and regulators, and ensuring public support. There are no commercial nuclear power plants in operation in Southeast Asia, but there has been interest in developing nuclear power technology including in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The report says Vietnam has made the most progress, albeit with major delays, and aims to start construction of a Russian-supplied plant in 2019. A master plan calling for nuclear power to provide about 10 percent of electricity production by 2030 was passed by the government in 2011, the report says.
NucNet 8th Oct 2015 read more »
Nearly 50 years after one of the Cold War’s most serious accidents, the US will finally clean up radioactive material scattered around a Spanish village when a nuclear bomber crashed. Washington and Madrid are set to announce that the US will scrape up a 50,000 sq m patch of contaminated soil near the village of Palomares in southern Spain and bury it in a secure area in the desert near Las Vegas. In 1966 the village became known around the world after a B52 bomber carrying four nuclear bombs more potent than those used to attack Hiroshima collided with a US refuelling aircraft in mid-air. Three bombs fell near Palomares and the fourth into the sea.
Times 13th Oct 2015 read more »
SCOTTISH Labour must make up its mind on Trident renewal, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said yesterday after a senior nationalist slammed the party for dithering. SNP MSP Bill Kidd has written to Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale asking her to clarity her party’s position. Ms Dugdale has said that the policy on Trident is “deliberately unclear” pending the potential of a debate at Scottish Labour’s annual conference later this month. “This has been another week of absolute chaos for the Labour Party on the issue of Trident,” said Mr Kidd, who leads the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament group. “It’s time for Kezia Dugdale and Labour to stop misleading the people of Scotland on the issue.” CND leader Kate Hudson said: “Scottish Labour should be aware of the overwhelming mandate Jeremy Corbyn received for scrapping Trident during the election campaign.”
Morning Star 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Up to £14 billion pounds of potential investment in renewable energy projects in Scotland is under threat because of cuts in subsidies by the British government, Scotland’s energy minister said. Speaking after holding the UK Renewables Roundtable in London earlier today, Fergus Ewing, Scottish Energy Minister, said figures from the UK’s Dept of Energy (DECC) change showed companies had indicated they could invest around £14 billion pounds in renewable projects such as wind farms, in Scotland. He said: “Much of that is now under threat because of what we can only describe as all out onslaught on renewables by the UK government.” Scotland already generates around 50% of its electricity from renewable sources but has a target of 100% by 2030.
Scottish Energy News 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Sweden’s trade union organisation and the biggest local government workers’ pension scheme in Scotland have both invested major sums in the UK Green Investment Bank’s renewable energy fund. And today (13 Oct) the Edinburgh-registered bank has announced that it has executed a Second Close on new commitments of £355 million for its Offshore Wind Fund. This brings total committed capital to £818 million and on track towards its £1 billion target – thereby making the GIB-managed fund the largest renewable energy fund in the UK.
Scottish Energy News 13th Oct 2015 read more »
A major new alliance has been forged to fight for an end to Scotland’s draughty, unhealthy homes. The group, ranging from the Church of Scotland to the Federation of Master Builders, wants the Scottish Government to set concrete goals on domestic energy efficiency. The SNP administration in June this year declared warm homes to be a national infrastructure priority to tackle both fuel poverty and meet greenhouse gas commitments. But the new group, the Existing Homes Alliance, believes the government should commit to a target that all homes in Scotland are at least an Energy Performance Certificate band ‘C’. The Herald this week revealed growing concerns about heating and insulation in the mushrooming private rented sector. Fully 11 per cent of private tenants say they are never warm enough in their own homes. However, energy efficiency problems also blight many private homes and social rents. Some 39 per cent of Scots are in fuel poverty. Alan Ferguson, who chairs the Existing Homes Alliance said: “It was great to see the Scottish Government’s commitment to make energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority. “This is vital if we as a nation are to end fuel poverty blighting our homes and step up to the challenge of climate change. However, we now need to see concrete proposals and clear goals from the Scottish Government to make this happen. These should include a goal of helping all homes reach a C energy performance standard by 2025, and a commitment to major long-term funding to support investment in energy efficiency.
Herald 13th Oct 2015 read more »
The pension funds of millions of local government workers have lost hundreds of millions of pounds in the last 18 months, as the value of the world’s biggest coal mining companies has crashed, according to a new analysis. The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) provides pensions for 4.6m people, including social workers, school staff, bus drivers, librarians, park attendants and housing officers. The losses estimated by campaign group Platform are equivalent to hundreds of pounds per member. The analysis is part of the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has already persuaded investors managing over $2.6tn in assets to sell off their coal, oil and gas stocks. Most existing fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic global warming, scientists have shown. Institutions including the World Bank, the G20 and city analysts are concerned that, if the world’s nations crack down on carbon emissions to halt climate change, those reserves will lose their value. Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned recently that the losses were “potentially huge”.
Guardian 12th Oct 2015 read more »
The news that millions of public sector staff stand to lose hundreds of pounds as local government pension funds with investments in coal companies crash in value shows there is a serious financial issue in funding fossil fuels. But there’s also an ethical one – scientists say 80% of our fossil fuels must stay in the ground to prevent the worst effects of climate change.Not all hope for a greener planet is yet lost. In the future, local government staff could see their pensions go into the community, instead of polluting coal and gas, as chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to pool local government pension funds to pay for local infrastructure. For the moment, however, it’s up to individual pension funds to make ethical decisions about their investments; fortunately,UK local authorities don’t have to look far for green investment inspiration.
Guardian 12th Oct 2015 read more »