THE firm hoping to build a third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point should find out within weeks the result of a major EU probe into the deal. EDF Energy’s proposed £16 billion power plant at Hinkley Point has been on hold while awaiting the outcome of the European Commission’s investigation into whether the terms of the subsidy deal struck with the Government constituted illegal State aid. The Commission says the consumer-funded subsidies that could total up to £17.6 billion risk giving the French energy firm excess profits and could throw off competition. The finding of its investigation are expected to be released on or before November 1. A spokesman for anti-nuclear protest group Stop Hinkley said: “The European Commission should read the writing on the wall and just say ‘No’ to subsidising this failed, dangerous, expensive technology. “And it’s time for local authorities in Somerset to join the revolution and start looking at how it, too, can play a pivotal role in the development of low carbon energy projects by emulating work going on in the rest of the West Country rather than relying on an outmoded centralised utility like EDF Energy.” A spokesperson for EDF told the County Gazette: “We hope to get EU approval by the end of the year. In the meantime, phase two site preparation works are still underway to prepare the ground.
This is the West Country 13th Sept 2014 read more »
Campaigners are delivering 4,000 leaflets warning residents of what they claim is the potential grave danger of Sizewell B following changes announced to its emergency zone. Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) is angry over the proposed reduction of the area where potassium iodate tablets will be issued – only to those living one kilometre from the nuclear power station – and says the evacuation zone is “ridiculously small”. However, Sizewell’s owner EDF Energy says the risk of an accident has significantly decreased since Sizewell A stopped operating eight years ago, and the chance of an accident at Sizewell B requiring the off-site emergency plan to swing into operation was “once in every 300,000 years”.
East Anglian Daily Times 13th Sept 2014 read more »
Plans for a new nuclear power station on Anglesey are due to go out for community consultation. Bosses behind the £8bn Wylfa Newydd power plant say it is the first time people will be able to view the proposals for Wylfa Newydd in detail. The current Wylfa power station will close in 2015 at the latest, after beginning operation in 1971. Horizon Nuclear Power say the community consultation is a major step in the planning process. People will be able to access information online, at a series of public exhibitions and at libraries across north Wales from Monday 29 September.
BBC 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Westinghouse boss says firm may need to import foreign engineers to build nuclear plants in the UK due to skills shortage. The boss of one of Britain’s three nuclear power developers has said the firm may need to import foreign engineers to build nuclear plants in the UK because of a lack of suitably qualified British staff. The UK is planning to build at least five nuclear power plants over the next decade. But because these will be the first nuclear power plants to be built in Britain in decades there are mounting concerns that the country lacks the highly-qualified engineers needed to undertake the build programme. Speaking last week, Danny Roderick, president and chief executive of Westinghouse, which holds a 60% stake in the NuGen nuclear power development project in West Cumbria, said a lack of expertise was “a real problem”.
Building 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Nuclear & Climate Change
Letter David Mowat MP: You published two letters on 8 September setting out the importance of acting against climate change. The implication of both is that the government needs to do more. Both were signed by individuals who lobby against civil nuclear power, by far the major source of carbon-free electricity around the world. Hinkley Point C, when built, will produce more carbon-free electricity than all windfarms currently operational in the UK. To act as if carbon-free nuclear is not part of the solution is destructive and threatens our planet. This is understood by more thoughtful environmentalists but not apparently Greenpeace, WFF or the Green party. As a consequence their credibility in matters of climate change and decarbonisation is deservedly very low indeed.
Guardian 14th Sept 2014 read more »
Every birthday is special – but today Japan is celebrating something unique. Japan has been nuclear-free for one year. Nuclear-free – a phrase that in its simplicity carries a devastating message for the worldwide nuclear industry, and an inspiring lesson for people across the globe. The future can indeed be free of the threat of another Fukushima disaster. One year ago today, the last commercial nuclear reactor operating in Japan was shutdown. It joined the other 47 nuclear reactors that had been idled for most of the period since the devastating Fukushima catastrophe in March 2011. Japan is the world’s third largest economy, with 130 million people, and with the largest number of nuclear power plants after the United States and France. Except none have operated for 12 months. And, not only were there were no electricity blackouts, but Japan came in second worldwide for installing solar PV in 2013 (only China installed more). This was a massive and rapid expansion.
Greenpeace 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Stamp duty discounts, variable council tax rates and other financial incentives should be offered to help households reduce energy bills and revive the government’s flagship conservation initiative, a group of MPs has urged in a scathing report. The green deal, launched in January 2012 to encourage energy efficiency, has been a failure and needs a complete rethink, says the energy and climate change select committee. Although over 300,000 households have asked for assessments, only around 4,000 have signed up to the financial packages offered. The pay-as-you-save scheme, which is designed to help retrofit older buildings allows households to have energy efficiency work done without upfront costs is seen as too complicated and has led to confusion and mistrust, say the MPs.
Guardian 15th Sept 2014 read more »
The Government’s flagship Green Deal energy efficiency scheme has been a “disappointing failure”, with flawed planning and poor implementation leaving consumers frustrated and confused, a committee of MPs concludes on Monday. Homeowners should be offered new incentives such as discounts on stamp duty or council tax in return for carrying out work to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, the Energy and Climate Change select committee recommends.
Telegraph 15th Sept 2014 read more »
Times 15th Sept 2014 read more »
One icy morning in February 2012, Hillary Clinton’s plane touched down in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, which was just digging out from a fierce blizzard. Wrapped in a thick coat, the secretary of state descended the stairs to the snow-covered tarmac, where she and her aides piled into a motorcade bound for the presidential palace. That afternoon, they huddled with Bulgarian leaders, including Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, discussing everything from Syria’s bloody civil war to their joint search for loose nukes. But the focus of the talks was fracking. The previous year, Bulgaria had signed a five-year, $68 million deal, granting US oil giant Chevron millions of acres in shale gas concessions. Bulgarians were outraged. Shortly before Clinton arrived, tens of thousands of protesters poured into the streets carrying placards that read “Stop fracking with our water” and “Chevron go home.” Bulgaria’s parliament responded by voting overwhelmingly for a fracking moratorium.
Mother Jones Sept/Oct 2014 read more »
It seems the world is not running out of oil after all. In fact, producing nations and America’s frackers are beginning to worry that we are facing a glut of the stuff. Crude oil prices have softened, Saudi Arabia is offering its customers discounts and has cut its production by some 400,000 barrels a day, and the new fracking industry is getting nervous, really nervous, as prices drop below the $100 a barrel they feel they need to get to assure their viability. As always with economic changes, there are winners as well as losers: airlines are looking forward to cheaper jet fuel, and American consumers saved $700m a week last month compared with petrol prices a year ago, according to Tom Kloza of Gasbuddy.com. This rather bright picture is somewhat different from what observers here see on the other side of the Atlantic. German chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to phase out f ossil fuels and nuclear power, and place the country’s economic future in the hands of renewable energy, is running into economic reality. Her Energiewende, or energy revolution, has driven manufacturing costs up and economic growth down – the economy contracted by 0.2% in the second quarter – and is costing about as much as it did to reunify the country. German manufacturers, especially medium-size and smaller firms, say they can no longer compete with American companies that have access to abundant supplies of cheap oil and natural gas.
Sunday Times 14th Sept 2014 read more »
Massive £1 billion tax breaks given to big oil companies in the North Sea every year should be diverted to renewable energy and improving social services under independence, says a new report from the Scottish Green Party. The party has made the first estimate of all the UK government’s subsidies provided to oil and gas corporations to encourage development. A complex web of allowances and tax relief rewards them with at least £1.15bn annually, it reckons, equivalent to £190 for every Scot.
RobEdwards 14th Sept 2014 read more »