Phil Johnstone & Andy Stirling: The chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, has recently been waving huge wads of cash at different (but similarly delinquent) parts of UK nuclear policy. In August, he sailed triumphantly up the Clyde to the Trident-hosting Faslane Naval base to announce £500m of investment. This was a move many considered to be jumping the gun, or even “arrogant” given that no final decision has been made on its renewal. A few weeks later, on his tour of China, Osborne was announcing an astonishing £2 billion loan guarantee to city investors if the developers of the Hinkley C reactor go bust. And this is additional to a guaranteed strike price of £92.50 per megawatt hour for 35 years (roughly double the current price of electricity – and significantly more than the current strike price for several renewables). As Simon Jenkins writes in relation to the chancellor’s recent announcements: “You can accuse George Osborne of many things, but austerity isn’t one of them”. Virtually no commentator in the British media, or elsewhere, who seriously considers the Hinkley C project to be a sensible idea. As support for renewables are cut and commitments to Hinkley remain, international observers look on in wonder at UK energy policy – but for all the wrong reasons. Never plausible to anyone recalling past episodes of nuclear enthusiasm, the latest bout of zeal for a “nuclear renaissance” has now lost all credibility. As early as 2003 the most detailed energy white paper for decades found nuclear power “unattractive” – before being overturned by a cursory revision that was itself rejected by judicial review for being too superficial. George Osborne’s nuclear obsession really does require some kind of explanation. As we have explored elsewhere, perhaps the best clue lies in Osborne’s trip up the Clyde to Faslane; maybe the real commitment here is to maintaining Britain’s nuclear arsenal. Amid the clamour of the recent China visit, it was also announced that a big slice of Hinkley contracts would go to Rolls Royce – the makers of Britain’s nuclear submarine reactors.
The Conversation 14th Oct 2015 read more »
The Chinese investors in the proposed new £20 billion Hinkley C nuclear power station are playing hardball with the British and French governments and have stated they are only willing to invest less than a third of the total cost of the plant. And that is putting in serious doubt any hope that the deal to build the new power station in west Somerset can be announced when the Chinese president arrives on a visit to Britain next week. The Times has reported from a source close to the talks between ministers, EDF and the Chinese that the two Chinese companies were not keen on putting any more than 30 per cent of the total investment cost into the project. The Times quoted people close to the talks as saying the disagreement over terms was so wide that there was ‘little hope’ a final investment decision could be reached in time for a visit by China’s president, Xi Jinping, to Britain on October 20.
Western Daily Press 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Campaigners have staged a demonstration against the building of the Hinkley C power station outside the site to draw attention to what they see as a ‘white elephant.’Dozens of anti-nuclear demonstrators from Stop Hinkley listened to speeches from the SW Green MEP Molly Scott Cato and Denis Baupin, the vice president of French National Assembly last Friday questioning the finances and the safety of the plant. The French politician said: “EDF and Areva have said they want to build a new design but not the one they are building here. Hinkley will be the last one in the world. France nuclear production will decrease from 75 percent of electricity to 50 percent in 2025. I also want to say that the President of EDF said in a newspaper last week that nobody except the Chinese want to put money into the two EPRs because they are not so sure that it will work.”
Bridgwater Mercury 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Application brought by Austria against the Commission.
Info Curia 13th Oct 2014 read more »
A PETITION against a new nuclear power station at Bradwell has been signed by more than 1,000 people. Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (Banng) has addressed the petition to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, and is opposing any proposals for a power plant.
Harwich & Maningtree Standard 13th Oct 2015 read more »
New advances in nuclear waste management could significantly boost progress at the Sellafield reprocessing site in Cumbria, potentially saving hundreds of millions of pounds. Scientists working at the facility have discovered new information about the long-term behaviour of intermediate level waste (ILW) that will allow the process of packaging and disposing of the material to be simplified. The four-year study focused on ILW stored in the site’s Magnox Swarf Storage Silo, which the government says is one of the country’s “most hazardous buildings”. While scientists previously thought it was necessary to undertake a 22-step mechanical treatment and encapsulation process to safely dispose of ILW stored in silos built more than 50 years ago, the new study has suggested that the approach could be cut down to a three-step process, in which the waste is stored ‘raw’ in a shielded container with concrete grout.
BDaily 14th Oct 2015 read more »
National Policy Statements
The legal requirement for the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to review the original 2005 decision to include nuclear power in the UK’s future energy programme has been set out in a document prepared by members of Together Against Sizewell C (TASC), and has been delivered to Secretary of State Amber Rudd on two occasions over the past two months. At the time of writing, TASC has received no reply from Ms Rudd.
TASC 12th Oct 2015 read more »
A council has agreed to spend £450,000 on a study which could see four villages bypassed ahead of a planned new nuclear power station in Suffolk. EDF Energy wants to build a new plant – Sizewell C – on the coast. Villagers on the A12 want a bypass to keep construction traffic away from their homes. Suffolk County Council has agreed to spend the money on further studies to create a funding case to present to the government. EDF has said it aims to build Sizewell C in the 2020s at a cost estimated to be about £2bn.
BBC 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Plans for how businesses and the local economy can benefit from future investment in west Cumbria’s nuclear industry were highlighted at a conference today. Hundreds of delegates were at Energus in Lillyhall for the Nuclear Energy Business Opportunities Conference. Hosted by Britain’s Energy Coast, the event focussed on the potential business opportunities that could be delivered by a NuGen’s new nuclear power station close to the existing Sellafield site at Moorside.
ITV 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Amec Foster Wheeler has been selected to lead a new project to set up a high-temperature facility (HTF) for nuclear industry research. The firm has won £2 million of funding from the UK government to establish the HTF, which will undertake vital testing work on materials used in current and future nuclear reactors. Greg Willetts of Amec Foster Wheeler’s Clean Energy business said that the award would “cement” the company’s leadership in understanding how materials inside reactors perform at high temperatures.
Modern Power Systems 13th Oct 2015 read more »
A camera that can image the radiation emited by a nuclear reactor from outside its core has been developed by UK researchers. A portable camera based on the function of a cat’s eye, which can create images of the radiation emitted by a nuclear reactor from outside the core, has been developed by researchers in the UK. The camera, which can image high-intensity “fast-neutrons” and gamma-rays simultaneously, could monitor the burn-up of fuel in nuclear power plants, to ensure they are operating efficiently. It could also allow clean-up crews to remotely detect the source and location of radiation within a reactor, in the event of a nuclear disaster like that at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011.
Engineer 13th Oct 2015 read more »
In recent years, the UK has added thousands of renewable power schemes to its ageing and dwindling fleet of coal, nuclear and gas plants. Yet these older sources still supply most of the UK’s electricity. Carbon Brief has plotted the nation’s power stations in an interactive map to show the diversity of the UK’s electricity supply.
Carbon Brief 13th Oct 2015 read more »
IGov published a Working Paper in March 2015 called Public Value Energy Governance: establishing an institutional framework which better fits a sustainable, secure and affordable energy system which included a ‘straw’ model for a restructured institutional framework for a GB Governance system. We suggest this framework is fit for purpose, as opposed to the current governance system which is not. Governance is here taken to mean the policies, institutions, rules and incentives of the energy system, and the process of decision-making behind them.
IGov 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Most Britons support nuclear power, a new study has found – as long as it isn’t anywhere near their homes. A poll by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers found 56 per cent were in favour of the UK continuing to use nuclear power. Of those in favour, four out of five supported nuclear power because they believed it to be necessary for the country’s power supply. Others said it would provide jobs and boost the economy. However there’s a strong feeling of nimbyism over nuclear power: nobody wants to live near a plant – and fewer still by a nuclear waste facility. Nearly half, or 44 per cent, of those polled said they’d protest if a waste facility was planned within 10 miles of their home.
City AM 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Despite the general support for nuclear, 44 per cent of those surveyed said they would protest if a nuclear waste facility was to be located 10 miles from their home, compared to 32 per cent who said they would not protest.
Engineering & Technology 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Cheshire Today 13th Oct 2015 read more »
New Civil Enginner 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
AMEC Foster Wheeler, which employs nearly 1,500 people in the North West, 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.
Business Desk 14th Oct 2015 read more »
Broken government promises, multibillion-euro delays and a key national champion rescued from the brink of failure: it has been a torrid year for the proud French nuclear industry. Problems came to a head in August when Areva, the designer and builder of nuclear reactors around the world, was forced to strike a multibillion-euro rescue package deal with rival group EDF and the French government. For French nuclear the past five years have been a tale of technical problems and cost overruns that brought Areva to its knees and called into question the country’s ability to deliver on next generation technology. Construction problems highlight the complexity of the EPR projects, and have led some to question if there is demand for these larger reactors, given their cost and size. The questions come at the same time as internal political ones, as France attempts to reduce its reliance on nuclear power. Even if no plants are shut down for political reasons in the lead-up to 2025 there are still decisions to be made, all of which are likely to be expensive. The grand carénage, increasing the life expectancy of the 30-year-old plants from their current 40 years to 50 years, is expected to cost EDF around €55bn, should it ever win political approval. Closing one nuclear plant has already proved difficult. Decommissioning Fessenheim, France’s oldest reactor on the German border, was promised by the government to happen by 2016. This year it was delayed until Flamanville comes online in 2018, leaving the government accused of breaking its promises.
FT 13th Oct 2015 read more »
A German government-initiated “stress test” of nuclear power providers’ capacity to pay for the country’s nuclear phase-out has been released. The verdict is positive, but not entirely certain. EurActiv’s partner Tagesspiegel reports. The five nuclear power providers have set aside capital on their books in order to pay for the huge costs associated with a nationwide nuclear phase-out. As of 31 December 2014, the nuclear companies have kept €38.3 billion as a provision for decommissioning nuclear power plants, interim storage and the packaging, transport and eventual disposal of nuclear waste.
Euractiv 13th Oct 2015 read more »
New England is leading the nation away from nuclear power, and toward the energy efficient, renewables-powered system of the 21st century. Today’s news from Entergy that it will close its Pilgrim reactor by mid-2019 –and probably a whole lot sooner–is just the latest manifestation of that process, and it’s a process that is accelerating. It is probably not a coincidence that for the past 25 years, New England has been home to the most active and aggressive anti-nuclear movement in the U.S. When people band together, work together, and stick to it: good things happen.
Green World 13th Oct 2015 read more »
That the United States should be contemplating a nuclear deal with Pakistan in connection with Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington on October 22 makes little sense. Judging by a Washington Post report by a senior columnist, it appears that some move in this direction is under internal discussion in the Obama administration. The report cannot be ignored because of the timing and the standing of the columnist who was briefed. Our spokesperson has, therefore, taken note of it and questioned the rationale of a nuclear deal with Pakistan in view of its proliferation record.
Daily Mail 12th Oct 2015 read more »
Iran’s parliament on Tuesday approved the nuclear agreement with world powers but not without tears and fisticuffs that reflected the frustration of hardliners hoping to scupper the deal.
FT 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Former Labour First Minister Rhodri Morgan wonders whether Jeremy Corbyn has blown his hopes of election victory with his refusal to launch Trident nuclear weapons (Opinion, October 3). Those hostile to Corbyn like to assert a Labour leader who advocates doing away with nuclear WMDs could never get elected. Harold Wilson led the Labour Party to victory in the 1964 General Election – at the height of the Cold War and only two years after the Cuban Missile crisis – backed by an election manifesto that stated: “We are not prepared any longer to waste the country’s resources on endless duplication of strategic nuclear weapons.
Western Mail 13th Oct 2015 read more »
The Conservatives’ commitment to owning, renewing and using the UK’s nuclear weapons was cheered to the rafters at their party conference, writes David Lowry. But it has left them vulnerable to Corbyn at tomorrow’s Prime Minister’s Questions – should he decide to expose their nuclear hypocrisy.
Ecologist 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Renewables – Scotland
The Scottish Government has brought its campaign on the future of renewable energy to Westminster as it renewed calls for the Conservative Party to rethink its recent subsidy cuts. Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing hosted a Renewables Roundtable event yesterday morning (12 October) to discuss the impact of recent UK Government decisions on renewables which Ewing says are “anti-business, anti-environment and anti-energy security”. “The impacts are spreading right across Scotland and the UK,” said Ewing. “It’s not just the renewables industry that is affected but also the wider supply chain, including ports and harbours, transmission and distribution, consultancy, communities and the civil engineering sector.”
Edie 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has raised £355m in the second tranche of investment for its Offshore Wind Fund, bringing the total value to more than £818m. Added to the £463m raised earlier this year, the additional committed capital brings the Fund nearer its target value of £1bn, making it the largest renewable energy fund in the UK.
Edie 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Scotsman 14th Oct 2015 read more »
Strathclyde Pension Fund has committed around £50 million to the world’s largest offshore wind investment fund. It was one of the backers in a second round of fundraising by the Green Investment Bank’s offshore wind fund.
Herald 14th Oct 2015 read more »
Community heating can save residents up to 60% on their heating bills compared with buying gas or electricity from a big supplier. Because the heating is more efficient, less carbon is emitted to heat people’s homes and water.The role it can play to achieving the toughest targets for saving carbon emissions is equally impressive. A 2009 report prepared for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) found that a district heating network covering 250,000 houses could save between 0.25 and 1.25 Mt CO2 a year compared to conventional heating systems. In Sweden, for example, district and community heating began to be installed at scale during the ‘60s, growing 95% between 1960 and 2007. By the later date, 86% of energy delivered for heating purposes to multi-dwelling buildings was district heating, helping to halve CO2 emissions between 1970 and 1990 in Sweden to 6.07 tonnes.
Ener-G Switch2 Blog 1st Oct 2015 read more »
On the same day that a construction industry coalition and fuel poverty charities called for £10bn housing energy-efficiency improvement programme in Scotland, a vulnerable, house-bound, disabled resident in rural Aberdeenshire has sent this letter – in desperation – to Scottish Energy News.
Scottish Energy News 14th Oct 2015 read more »
A coalition of fuel poverty charities, health professionals and construction sector trade bodies has called on the Scottish Government to upgrade the insulation and energy-efficiency ratings of 127,000 homes a year for 10 years. The Existing Homes Alliance Scotland says that making energy-efficiency a national infrastructure project would ensure that there will be no households in Scotland living in draughty, hard-to-heat homes by 2025.
Scottish Energy News 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Holyrood 13th Oct 2015 read more »
The National 14th Oct 2015 read more »
Letter from various NGOs: The closure of Redcar steelworks (Report, 13 October) shows the importance of boosting energy productivity to tackle high energy costs. Over half (54%) of the energy used in electricity is lost before it even reaches us, and is worth Â£9.5bn annually – enough to pay half the electricity bill of every home in Britain. Wasted energy reduces our productivity and undermines efforts to create a competitive, modern economy. With energy costs on an upward trajectory and ever tightening carbon budgets, urgent action is needed. New analysis identifies how to cut much of this waste and save bill payers more than £3.9bn a year. How? By focusing on a best-value energy policy, improving energy productivity and giving businesses a simple policy to leverage investments in energy efficiency. Unlocking energy productivity will strengthen the economy and protect jobs. Carbon emissions will decline. The enviro nmental impact of new energy infrastructure will reduce. Energy costs will go down. Businesses will be able to do more with less. As the secretary of state for energy and climate change, Amber Rudd, approaches her planned energy policy “reset” and the comprehensive spending review, now is the right time to transform this wasteful inefficiency into a huge growth opportunity for the UK economy.
Guardian 13th Oct 2015 read more »
CONTROVERSIAL plans to introduce means testing for winter fuel payments have been ruled out the day after a government document suggested ministers were considering the move. A discussion paper on how new welfare powers may be used when they are devolved, with a foreword written by Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil, said that it would “consider the eligibility criteria” for the benefit, which is paid out to pensioners regardless of income. It added that the funding may also be used to provide “warmer, more affordable homes”.
Herald 14th Oct 2015 read more »
The UK government is set to push ahead with potentially dangerous underground coal gasification work despite rising safety concerns. The process, which is similar to shale fracking, has been ruled out in Scotland pending a public health impact assessment. But the Westminster government has already issued over 30 licenses allowing developers to plan pilot projects. Underground coal gasification, deemed “risky and experimental” by environmental campaigners, involves blasting underground coal still seams with enough heat to cause gas to be released and extracted through a separate well.
Utility Week 13th Oct 2015 read more »
FRACKING presents Scotland with a once-in-a-generation opportunity while fears over safety are fuelled by misinformation, the company that wants to establish an indigenous shale gas industry is claiming. Writing in The Herald ahead of an attempt to win support of SNP members at its conference, Ineos director Tom Pickering said that the country had the chance to create jobs, boost the economy and provide a showcase for engineers by embracing the controversial gas extraction technique.
Herald 14th Oct 2015 read more »
Shale gas will be top of the agenda at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, so that’s why we are manning a stand and hoping to speak to as many of the delegates as possible about this important issue for the future of Scotland. The SNP has set out a clear path that there will be no shale gas extraction in Scotland until it can be assured that this can be done safely and will not damage the environment. It has said it wants to follow a science-based approach and will consult widely and, at Ineos, we back this plan. To support this approach, Ineos has spent the last year visiting and talking to communities across Scotland. We have met thousands of people.
Herald 14th Oct 2015 read more »
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has published its initial recommendations for the UK’s fifth carbon budget, suggesting a 54% cut in emissions by 2030 from a 1990 baseline. The Climate Change Act, which established a target for the UK to reduce its emissions by at least 80% by 2050, also called for five-yearly carbon budgets en route to that final target. The level of these budgets is recommended by the CCC and then voted on in Parliament. The CCC will publish its official recommendation for the fifth carbon budget – covering 2028-2032 – in November, with today’s report marking its preliminary context assessment.
Edie 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Business Green 13th Oct 2015 read more »
Britain should aim to cut its carbon dioxide output by about half by 2030, whether there is an exit from the European Union or not, according to advice published on Tuesday by the Committee on Climate Change. The advice comes as the government is preparing to negotiate a new worldwide deal among governments on climate change, in two tense weeks of talks this December, in Paris. Any agreement reached there would determine the global response to the threat for decades to come. The UK is doing no more than other major countries in cutting its carbon emissions by 2030, compared with the standard 1990 baselines, the chief executive of the committee told the Guardian. “This is in line with international commitments,” Matthew Bell said in an interview.
Guardian 13th Oct 2015 read more »