Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, a former opponent of nuclear energy, appears to have undergone a conversion on the road to Dungeness. In opposition, the Lib Dem minister railed against plans to build a new generation of reactors, but the full extent of his U-turn became clear in a speech to the Royal Society this week. Its clear that he now backs new nuclear power stations but with one important caveat that was enshrined in the coalition agreement. According to the World Nuclear Association, there are 432 commercial nuclear reactors in operation now in 30 countries. Not surprisingly, given the multibillion-pound costs, its very difficult to find an example of one that was built without a hefty government subsidy. Some commentators, like the environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, who used to be the chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, the governments independent advisor on green industry, believes there are precisely none in existence. So why is Mr Huhne so confident that Britain can buck the trend and build new nuclear purely out of private sector investment? A chorus of critics would beg to differ when Mr Huhne states that there is in fact no state subsidy in the pipeline for the nuclear sector.
Channel 4 News 14th Oct 2011 more >>
The mistakes that have dogged Britains nuclear policy for decades will not be allowed to happen again, Chris Huhne promised yesterday. The Energy Secretary, in his first major speech on nuclear power in the 17 months he has been in the job, said he has learned from past errors.
Western Daily Press 14th Oct 2011 more >>
Cheminal Engineer 14th Oct 2011 more >>
ENERGY secretary Chris Huhne warned energy firms the taxpayer would not pay to clean up the nuclear mess of another generation of reactors.
He said the Government has learned from past mistakes over nuclear power as it pushes ahead with a new generation of plants, including Wylfa B on Anglesey.
Power Engineering 14th Oct 2011 more >>
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne yesterday completed a dramatic personal U-turn and declared: We need nuclear.
Daily Mail 14th Oct 2011 more >>
In this rosy glow, Huhne declared, “I believe that nuclear electricity can and should play a part in our energy future provided that new nuclear is built without public subsidy.” Unfortunately, it’s a belief that’s difficult to share. It’s clear that nuclear is difficult to build safely without being almost unfathomably expensive. The only new plants being built in Europe (at Olkiluoto, Finland, and Flamanville in northern France) are already four years behind schedule and more than 2.5 billion euros over budget. The late delivery messes up all the finance, which means the cost of electricity will have to be prohibitively high in an open, deregulated market. These were meant to be the flagship projects for new nuclear, and they are in trouble way before anyone has plugged them in. If new UK nuclear has to be built “without public subsidy”, as Huhne said, it simply won’t be built.
Hufington Post 13th Oct 2011 more >>
MEMBERS of the public are being invited to attend a debate at Exeter University about nuclear power stations on Friday, October 14. The recent protest at the EDF Energy nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset will be debated as part of the event hosted by the university’s Debating Society. Audaye Elesedy, a co-defender of the Motion in the debate and Chair of Exeter Green Party, said: “The nuclear debate seems to be in an interminable struggle to reach a conclusion. I think that’s because it isn’t just one question to be answered; it’s a web of questions and answers that provoke us to challenge ourselves on many assumptions about the way we live and, to an extent, why we live that way. It is deeply political, expressly scientific and provokingly personal the conclusions as a result carry significant impact.”
Exeter Express & Echo 14th Oct 2011 more >>
Anglers fear plans to move thousands of tons of shingle on Dungeness beach will cut off access to one of the most important cod fishing spots in Britain. EDF Energy and the Environment Agency want to move the shingle to protect Dungeness nuclear power station and nearby Camber from erosion and tsunami.
BBC 14th Oct 2011 more >>
A pinhole in a stainless steel pipe was responsible for the leak of a litre of radioactive fluid at the Dounreay plant last week. During a routine operation of destroying liquid metal coolant in the Dounreay Fast Reactor, which was housed in Dounreays landmark dome, drips of caustic liquor from pipework in a shielded cell were detected by the monitoring systems. The plant was immediately shut down and the leak isolated
Herald 15th Oct 2011 more >>
Energy regulator proposes ‘radical reform’ of energy market and simpler tariffs as it reveals net margin for typical customers has risen from £15 in June to £125 in October.
Guardian 14th Oct 2011 more >>
Telegraph 14th Oct 2011 more >>
Times 15th Oct 2011 more >>
If only some bright spark would invent it. You know, some wizzy machine that harnesses the energy from Ofgem’s regular punch-ups with the Big Six electricity companies and then relays it to the national grid.
Telegraph 14th Oct 2011 more >>
Gordon Edge: The debate about how we replace the quarter of our electricity generation capacity shutting down over the next 10 years is a real and urgent one. Central to it is the challenge of doing so while cutting the amount of carbon dioxide the UK’s power plants release into the atmosphere. A recent article in the Guardian by Guy Newey at Policy Exchange raises many important points not least that the impact of lowering emissions on our economy should be a core consideration. Building new plant is expensive, and regardless of which option we choose to meet this short-term need, prices are going to rise. Until 2020, our options are simple: we can deploy new gas plant, or we can deploy a mixture of gas and new wind generation; these are the only technologies which can be deployed in time and in sufficient quantities. Onshore wind, as Policy Exchange recognises, is the cheapest form of low-carbon generation currently available, and its inclusion into our generation mix will displace gas generation while the wind is blowing, lowering overall demand and thus lowering gas prices as well as emissions. Offshore wind, while more expensive, can also play this role. Policy Exchange’s alternatives to renewables for cutting our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 depend in large part on the massive expansion of either nuclear power or carbon capture and storage. While both may form part of a future energy mix, it’s not clear that in reality they will play as strong a role as Newey’s recommendations require. The risk with Newey’s approach is that both nuclear and CCS fail to deliver on the scale required, and in the wake of soaring gas prices we embark on a rush for offshore wind in the late 2020s importing technology from abroad, having lost our first-mover advantage. With the prospect of over 70,000 jobs in the offshore wind industry if the UK chooses to move into the lead, this would be a lost opportunity.
Guardian 14th Oct 2011 more >>
For the first time, come Sunday’s votewhich will determine the Socialist Party’s candidate for the 2012 French presidential electionsthe French people will choose between two Socialist Party politicians who both question France’s unflinching attachment to nuclear energy. The Socialist Party’s atomic shift could turn into a key issue during next spring’s presidential election, highlighting the profound effect that the March nuclear disaster in Japan has had on the perception of nuclear power around the world. In an effort to woo green voters, Martine Aubry has pledged to phase out nuclear power in France if she is elected. “We must prepare our country for a progressive exit from nuclear power,” she said in a speech last month. “We must use the excellence of our nuclear industry to dismantle nuclear plants.” Her rival, François Hollande, is taking a softer line, saying he wants to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear power by a third.
Wall Street Journal 14th Oct 2011 more >>
Angry villagers living near a recently built nuclear power plant in southern India blocked a main road to demand its closure on Thursday, saying they don’t believe the facility is safe. Some villagers near the Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu state, have been fasting for a week. They occupied the road to step up pressure on authorities. Local fishermen joined the sit-in, saying that they feared waste water discharged from the plant into the sea would ruin their fishing grounds.
Morning Star 14th Oct 2011 more >>
Setbacks and challenges there may be, but nuclear remains the safest and cleanest form of energy and an essential part of Chinas future, argues industry figure Mi Sen.
China Dialogue 13th Oct 2011 more >>
A nationwide solar initiative tipped to help Greece drag itself out of financial meltdown could be rubberstamped by the end of the year. Project Helios, named after the Greek god of the sun, is designed to attract 20bn in foreign investment to deliver 2,200MW of solar capacity by 2020 a tenfold increase before rising to 10,000MW by 2050.
Business Green 10th Oct 2011 more >>
Scotlands first commercial wavefarm could be built off the Western Isles within four years. The multimillion-pound development to the west of Lewis will be capable of powering 7,000 homes more than meeting the requirements of a town the size of Stornoway. Supporters say it will create jobs in the region and secure the future of the Arnish fabrication yard, which has already built sections for several wave power machines.
P&J 12th Oct 2011 more >>
This weeks Micro Power News: More FiT cuts on the way? Proven rescued; Lincolnshire plan to install solar on 2,500 council houses.
Microgenscotland.org.uk 14th Oct 2011 more >>