An obstacle blocking approval for the Hinkley Point nuclear reactor was lifted yesterday as ministers appeared to change the decision criteria. Greg Clark, the business secretary, suggested yesterday that the future of Bradwell would play no part in the decision on Hinkley, thereby removing an obstacle to the deal. A government spokesman said that no decisions have been taken on the Somerset project. Other considerations, such as value for money and the cost to consumers, will also play a part in Mrs May’s decisions. Last October, when David Cameron was prime minister, the government signed an agreement with China over future nuclear co-operation. The document said that the government welcomed the proposal of a Chinese-led project at Bradwell. The agreement suggested that the Chinese company would submit its plans for the new reactor by the end of this year, once Hinkley had been signed.
Times 14th Sept 2016 read more »
The Government is poised to give the green light to the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear power plant. Downing Street and the new Department for Business and Energy are working flat out so that an agreement can be announced before the end of the week. The Prime Minister wanted to announce on Monday that the project was back on but had to postpone the plans when the Cabinet minister in charge of the project said he had some last minute concerns. A call was arranged between Mrs May and the French President François Hollande on Monday afternoon but it’s understood the Business Secretary, Greg Clarke – whose department is responsible for Hinkley Point – raised some questions at the eleventh hour. It forced Downing Street to postpone the planned phone conversation with the Elysée Palace and it delayed the announcement that the project was back on track.
ITV 14th Sept 2016 read more »
Theresa May will finally allow the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear power plant to go ahead this week, it has been reported. The Prime Minister had delayed the decision on whether to give the flagship energy project the go-ahead until she had looked over the plans personally. A No 10 source has dismissed news of the go-ahead as speculation and insists no green light has yet been given. It comes despite reports that Downing Street and the Department for Business and Energy are working “flat out” to reach an agreement before the end of this week.
Telegraph 14th Sept 2016 read more »
Public support for plans to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant has fallen to an all-time low, a new poll has shown, ahead of Whitehall’s widely anticipated decision on the project. The survey of 2,000 people, by Populus on behalf of Greenpeace, showed a quarter are in favour of Hinkley, while 44 per cent oppose it. Previous polls this April and in October 2015 put support at 33 per cent and 29 per cent respectively. John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace, said: “The public knows what the government has yet to learn — investment in renewables should be prioritised over nuclear power. The government shouldn’t risk taxpayers’ money on old fashioned, flawed technology. It should be investing in the future. Advances in renewable energy like offshore wind, alongside battery storage, energy efficiency innovations and wires that carry electricity under the sea connecting us to other countries are the future for keeping the lights on.”
City AM 13th Sept 2016 read more »
Energy Voice 13th Sept 2016 read more »
Greenpeace Press Release 13th Sept 2016 read more »
Four reasons why Hinkley will go-ahead. First, there has been the lack of anti-Hinkley spinning from the new brooms at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Last week, the Secretary of State, Greg Clark, and senior civil servants hosted journalists for a get-to-know-you session. If Hinkley was dead you can be sure that the subliminal chat would have been how the energy market had changed, new options were available, delays at other EDF sites were a big worry etc. There was none of that. Secondly, EDF has already spent £2.5bn on developing the project. Clearing earth, building a concrete factory and providing top-notch bat and hedgehog facilities doesn’t come cheap. Does the government really want to face a compensation claim from EDF? If so, that could mean spending £2.5bn on NOT building infrastructure. Third, Theresa May has had a chance to deal with China’s top brass directly. Meekly nodding through a project developed by two previous governments without acknowledging the parties had changed would arguably show weakness. With China now added to the project, it seems reasonable to want a personal chat with Mr Xi to remind him who the customer is. Fourth, EDF went to the trouble of announcing a Welsh steelmaker as the preferred bidder on a £100m steel order for Hinkley just last week. Granted, that may have been another nudge from EDF and the subcontractors to the government to highlight the benefits to a particularly beleaguered industry of Hinkley. BUT after the embarrassment last time, one feels that it wouldn’t be worth going through the motions unless they were fairly confident.
BBC 13th Sept 2016 read more »
French Energy Minister Segolene Royal said she understands that U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May needs to take her time to decide whether the new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant should go ahead as talks between the two countries on the project continue.
Bloomberg 13th Sept 2016 read more »
At a conference on energy security in Cambridge East Anglia MEP Vicky Ford told business leaders and regulators that Theresa May was right to reflect on the UK’s proposed deal with China and France over nuclear power stations. Mrs Ford said: “This is a huge issue for Bradwell and the residents of South Essex. “I visited Bradwell earlier this year and I was very impressed by the world-class technical expertise working on decommissioning the old power station and the work that is already going on in the local schools to build skills for the future. “Nuclear is very important for our long term economic and energy security as well as local jobs.” It is not currently known what impact the review could have on the new deal for Bradwell B. But Mrs Ford added: “Mrs May has asked for time to reflect on the deal. She is right to look closely at the detail especially the price commitments of the long-term contract as well as the data and cyber security issues. “We must ensure all safety and environmental issues are fully addressed. The next generation of nuclear power stations will be operating for over forty years – if our new PM needs another four months or so to look at the detail then this is time well spent.”
Maldon & Burnham Standard 12th Sept 2016 read more »
NuGen, a partnership between Toshiba of Japan and the French company ENGIE, wants to build three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at Moorside. It is due to make a final decision on whether to proceed in 2018 with a view to starting construction two years later. According to the Sunday Times, NuGen has approached Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) as a potential investor in the project. The report says that Toshiba and ENGIE – formerly GDF Suez – are finding raising the £10bn needed to fund Moorside “a challenge” and have approached Kepco and other potential investors. It adds that Kepco held talks about joining the NuGen consortium in 2013, but no deal materialised.
Whitehaven News 13th Sept 2016 read more »
The News & Star reported in May that it had approached Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) as a potential investor in the project. Now The Financial Times is saying that Kepco is “closing in” on a multi-billion pound investment in Moorside. NuGen is due to make a final decision on whether to proceed in 2018 with a view to starting construction two years later. It is understood that Kepco held talks about joining the NuGen consortium in 2013, but no deal materialised.
Carlisle News & Star 13th Sept 2016 read more »
While the GDF was initially intended to be for existing (legacy) waste alone according to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, over time it has become clearer that the UK government wanted to remove this restriction. During the failed Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) process, the question of inventory was left open. There was a 2010 baseline inventory of legacy waste and two further possible inventories, one using the assumption of a 10 GW(e) new build nuclear programme, and another based on a 16 GW(e) new build nuclear programme. The difference between the baseline inventory, and 16 GW(e) inventory was to approximately double the required footprint of the GDF, taking it from 10 to 23 square kilometres for example if constructed in a sedimentary rock.
Cumbria Trust 14th Sept 2016 read more »
On November 10, 2011, a hundred or so residents of Andrews, Texas, gathered at a large hole in the ground to celebrate the grand opening of America’s newest nuclear waste dump. Assembled amongst the locals were political and business luminaries from Dallas, Austin, and Washington D.C.. For the ribbon cutting, hedge trimmer-sized scissors were passed out to the various men in suits responsible for making Andrews County a repository for the nation’s radioactive trash. Among them were the senior managers of Waste Control Specialists (WCS), the company that owns the site, Harold Simmons, the conservative Dallas billionaire who owned that company; and Bob Zap, the mayor of Andrews at the time. The inauguration of the low-level radioactive waste facility, Texas’ first, ended with a barbecue. Most communities would not find the prospect of housing nuclear refuse cause for celebration. And yet, two years earlier, the town had narrowly voted to fund the construction of the disposal site with a $75-million bond. Despite the enduring opposition from a handful of locals and the state Sierra club, most of Andrews’ 15,000 residents were eager to celebrate their accomplishment. And it was an accomplishment. With the opening of the WCS facility, the town of Andrews had done what no other community in the United States has accomplished in two decades: it wrangled the necessary political support to open a new nuclear waste disposal site.
Priceonomics 13th Sept 2016 read more »
Prices in the UK’s electricity market have surged to their highest September levels since the recession as temperatures soar past 67-year highs, forcing Britain’s air-conditioning units to work harder against the unseasonal heat. The wholesale market price for electricity rose to £59.00 a megawatt-hour on Tuesday, hit 64.50 a megawatt-hour for peak demand periods, surpassing prices usually reserved for dark mid-winter months when heating and lighting demand surges to annual peaks. Energy market experts at pricing agency Icis said the price is the highest seen in three and a half years, providing “an early test” for National Grid, which is tasked with meeting Britain’s energy demand despite record low capacity margins.
Telegraph 13th Sept 2016 read more »
Critics claim €3bn European funding for the Southern Gas Corridor energy project would undermine EU climate change targets and gloss over human rights abuses. Civil society campaigners have accused the European Union of pouring unprecedented amounts of state aid into a huge energy project that runs counter to its own climate change objectives.
Critics say funding the construction of new gas pipelines from the Caspian region is also causing misery to communities living along the 3,500 kilometre route, while helping to prop up an autocratic regime in Azerbaijan
Climate News Network 14th September 2016 read more »
The government is making final arrangements to scrap the trouble-prone Monju fast-breeder reactor after determining it will never obtain public support for a restart, government sources said Tuesday. The Nuclear Regulation Authority urged the education and science ministry, which oversees the reactor, in November to replace the government-backed Japan Atomic Energy Agency with a new entity to improve safety and management of the project. In response, the ministry informed the Cabinet Secretariat earlier this month of a plan to keep operating the reactor in Fukui Prefecture by spinning off part of the project from the current operator. However, officials gave up on that plan and opted for its decommissioning after utilities and plant manufacturers showed reluctance to establish a new entity, according to the sources. Many officials also expressed the belief that resuming ordinary reactors should be given priority. According to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s 2012 estimate, the cost of scrapping Monju would be around ¥300 billion over 30 years, with the expense higher than for other reactors due to its complex operating system that uses sodium as a coolant.
Japan Times 13th Sept 2016 read more »
Two earthquakes that jolted South Korea on Monday night, including the largest ever recorded in the country, prompted concerns about the safety of nuclear plants clustered in the quake-prone southeast. Korea’s Meteorological Agency said the two earthquakes, of magnitude of 5.1 and 5.8, occurred near the city of Gyeongju. They could be felt in the capital Seoul, over 300 km (186 miles) to the northwest. Fourteen people were injured but there were no reports of serious damage, a Ministry of Public Safety and Security official said. Nonetheless, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co shut down four nuclear reactors at the Wolsong complex in Gyeongju as a precaution. South Korea’s reactors are designed to withstand a magnitude 6.5 or 7.0 earthquake, according to the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission. South Korea’s 25 reactors supply about one-third of its electricity and make it the world’s fifth-largest user of nuclear power. It plans to add 9 more nuclear plants by 2027, according to the nuclear watchdog. As in many countries, nuclear power is controversial in South Korea, especially after a 2012 scandal over parts being supplied with fake certificates prompted shutdowns.
Reuters 13th Sept 2016 read more »
In response to what was a record earthquake for the country, four of South Korea’s 25 nuclear power plants have been shut down as a precautionary measure.
Power Mag 12th Sept 2016 read more »
KOREANS are living in fear of a “Fukushima-style” accident following warnings the nuclear power-heavy peninsula could become a new earthquake zone.
Express 13th Sept 2016 read more »
A contract to install the nuclear islands of units 3 and 4 of the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant in China has been awarded to China Nuclear Industry 23 Construction Company Limited (CNI23). The units are a demonstration project for China General Nuclear’s (CGN’s) Hualong One reactor design.
World Nuclear News 13th Sept 2016 read more »
North Korea will have enough material for about 20 nuclear bombs by the end of this year, experts have warned. Kim Jong-Un has ramped-up his uranium enrichment facilities and has an existing stockpile of plutonium.
Mirror 14th Sept 2016 read more »
North Korea will have enough material for about 20 nuclear bombs by the end of this year, with ramped-up uranium enrichment facilities and an existing stockpile of plutonium, according to new assessments by weapons experts.
Reuters 14th Sept 2016 read more »
From its founding meeting, CND has championed the global abolition of nuclear weapons. Yes, we have always fought first and foremost to secure British nuclear disarmament, because this is where we have most leverage. But we have never been a NIMBY organisation and know that Britain’s nuclear weapons are a relatively small part of a massive global problem that needs to be dealt with. Many states are now so totally sick of the inaction, prevarication and double standards of the nuclear weapons states that they are pushing for a new international legal process through the United Nations, to secure a global nuclear ban treaty. A series of conferences over the past few years, initially about the devastating humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use, coalesced into a UN General Assembly resolution last autumn, convening a working group on taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations. Three sessions of the group later, it reported in August, recommending that the General Assembly convenes a conference in 2017 to negotiate a legally binding prohibition of nuclear weapons, leading to total elimination.
CND 13th Sept 2016 read more »
For the first time ever, investment in new renewables was more than enough to cover rising global electricity demand in 2015. That’s according to the first World Energy Investment report, published by the International Energy Agency (IEA). While fossil fuels still dominate energy supplies, the IEA says changing investment flows point towards a “reorientation of the energy system”. Carbon Brief has seven charts showing why the IEA thinks an energy shift is underway.
Carbon Brief 14th Sept 2016 read more »
FT 13th Sept 2016 read more »
Renewables – marine
The Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre has been named ‘Blue Economy Business of the Year’ at the European Commission’s Blue Economy Business Awards 2016. The awards are organised by the EU Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. They aim to showcase excellent practices from industry – honouring those who have made a specific contribution to bringing and developing innovation in the blue economy. Set up in 2003, EMEC is the world’s leading facility for testing wave and tidal energy converters in real sea conditions.
Scottish Energy News 14th Sept 2016 read more »
SCOTLAND’S marine energy sector can be proud of its many achievements to date, but there’s been a warning that they could all be in jeopardy without continued support from the Scottish, UK and European governments. The caution came from Jenny Hogan, Scottish Renewables policy director, in a keynote address at its marine conference yesterday in Inverness, before an audience of industry leaders. She said the past 12 months had seen some impressive industry achievements, with projects progressing swiftly, supply chain performing well and Scotland showcasing its “world-leading expertise” at an international conference on ocean energy in Edinburgh. Three “world firsts” had been announced in Scotland in recent weeks – the first tidal array from Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation of its two turbines at Bluemull Sound off Shetland; Scotrenewable s began testing the world’s most powerful tidal stream turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) at Stromness, Orkney; and the largest free stream tidal power array unveiled by Atlantis MeyGen at Nigg Energy Park. Wave Energy Scotland had also achieved a great deal since it formed less than two years ago. Hogan said: “It closed its third funding call last week for the development of innovative technologies which will form the basis of cost-effective generation in Scotland. However, she added: “All of this progress – in research, testing and deployment – has led to the marine energy sector as a whole investing hundreds of million pounds into the Scottish economy, with every £1 from public funds typically leveraging around £7 from private investment; and with the sector creating around 1,000 jobs in Scotland, with the potential for substantial further growth. Hogan said Scottish Renewables had been working hard to put the case to Whitehall to make provision for supporting a minimum amount of marine energy capacity in the upcoming Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction round, due to be announced later this year.
The National 14th Sept 2016 read more »
Herald 14th Sept 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
The cost of building offshore wind farms has fallen to a new low, with Sweden’s Vattenfall winning contracts to build two projects in Danish waters for just over 60 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh). That undercuts a previous record set by Denmark’s Dong Energy, which in July won a contract for a project in the Netherlands at 72.70 euros per MWh. Although the prices are not directly comparable with those awarded in the UK, because they exclude grid connection costs which can be up to 30euros/MWh, they are nevertheless substantially cheaper than the most recent UK deals, awarded early last year for about £120/MWh. Magnus Hall, Vattenfall chief executive, said the deals showed it was “able to reduce the costs of offshore wind faster than had been expected, only a few years ago”. Despite the record-breaking low price of the new Vattenfall contracts, the Danish government has warned it could yet scrap the projects as it is concerned the subsidy bill is still too high. Plunging wholesale power prices in Denmark, as in the UK, have pushed up the subsidy required for fixed-price low carbon energy contracts. Another factor helping lower the price for the new Danish sites is that they are only about 5 miles offshore, cutting the installation costs compared with some UK projects that are as far as 75 miles offshore.
Telegraph 14th Sept 2016 read more »
Community Energy Scotland almost tripled the number of active projects – with a concomitant significant rise in associated income – over the past year. Consequently, the 10 partnership projects underway or in development – with a value of around £550,000 – had grown by the year-end to a portfolio of 28 projects with a value of around £700,000. The charity also made big moves into empowering urban communities, thanks to developments on the Tower Power project, set up to help the residents of an Edinburgh housing scheme. In Mull and Orkney, CES is leading two major Scottish Government projects to provide smart electrical demand to keep community generators running when they might otherwise be switched off. And CES’ own generation development in the Borders – the Hoprigshiels windfarm joint venture with Berwickshire Housing Association – made significant progress.
Scottish Energy News 14th Sept 2016 read more »