The government has given the go ahead for plans to build the first new nuclear plant in Britain for 20 years. The French and Chinese governments have been told that the £18bn Hinkley Point project will go ahead, but with conditions. Critics of the deal have warned of escalating costs and the implications of nuclear power plants being built in the UK by foreign governments. China General Nuclear Power Group, the state-controlled company, sees its investment in Hinkley Point as part of a three-plant deal. BBC Business Editor Simon Jack said there were two key issues. One is the price guarantee of £92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity generated, which he said he did not believe was “up for grabs”. “The bigger prize is they want to use their own nuclear reactor design at Bradwell which would give it a British kitemark,” he said. It would mean that the Chinese could then sell its designs in other countries. The Bradwell part of the deal has raised questions over national security, and it is thought that the conditions attached to the Hinkley approval may include greater oversight and scrutiny of China’s involvement.
BBC 15th Sept 2016 read more »
The Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been given the go ahead following a ‘new agreement’ with EDF, the Government confirmed today. Ministers said they had imposed ‘significant new safeguards’ for future foreign investment in critical infrastructure.
Daily Mail 15th Sept 2016 read more »
Greg Clark, secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said today: “Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the government’s agreement. “Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy, and we have always been clear that nuclear is an important part of ensuring our future low-carbon energy security.”
City AM 15th Sept 2016 read more »
Telegraph 15rg Sept 2016 read more »
Independent 15th Sept 2016 read more »
Guardian 15th Sept 2016 read more »
Somerset County Gazette 15th Sept 2016 read more »
Bristol Post 15th Sept 2016 read more »
Several Whitehall officials and senior industry figures said they expected the prime minister to give the green light in coming days, two months after she ordered a review . However, big questions remain over China’s one-third stake in what would be Europe’s biggest energy project – as well as an associated deal for Beijing to build a new plant in Essex. Downing Street has remained tight-lipped about the decision and its timing other than to confirm it is due this month. Mrs May’s review has focused on the high cost of electricity generat d by Hinkley, doubts about the reactor technology offered by EDF, the French utility leading the project, and security questions over Chinese involvement. Several people in Whitehall and the industry said Downing Street was especially concerned about a deal between EDF and its Chinese partners to build further plants at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex. Bradwell would be led by state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) using its own reactor technology. One senior industry figure said approval for Hinkley was likely to be conditional on new “scrutiny or oversight” of the Bradwell project; CGN has yet to gain UK regulatory approval for its Hualong reactors, never before used in the developed world.
FT 14th Sept 2016 read more »
The U.K. government has told France it’s approved Electricite de France SA’s controversial plan to build two nuclear reactors for 18 billion pounds ($24 billion) in southwest England, according to an official familiar with the matter. The approval is subject to some conditions, the person said, without elaborating and asking not to be identified because the decision is not yet public.
Bloomberg 14th Sept 2016 read more »
In an eleventh-hour effort to block the deal, Greenpeace said that it had written yesterday to Mrs May and Greg Clark, the energy secretary, warning that it plans to file a court action against the scheme. Theresa May has approved the building of the Hinkley Point nuclear reactor in Somerset, according to French officials. EDF, the energy company owned by the French state, is understood to have been informed that Downing Street will approve the deal but with conditions attached, Bloomberg News reported last night. Mrs May was understood to have been close to concluding the deal on Monday but a conversation between her and the French president was postponed at the last minute because of fresh concerns. There was speculation that the “conditions” attached to the approval are aimed at diluting Chinese involvement. One source said that Britain’s desire to restrict Chinese investment in the nuclear industry on security grounds could force EDF to take a larger equity stake, of more than two thirds, in Hinkley. EDF is thought to be resisting this but is willing to consider alternatives because of the high priority placed on the scheme by the French government. China has indicated that it may pull its £6 billion investment in Hinkley if the government does not give assurances that it would also want a Chinese-designed nuclear reactor in Bradwell, Essex. Some industry figures believe that Mrs May may demand that the Chinese-designed reactor faces a tougher regulatory process than at present. The Hualong reactors have never been used in the developed world, and China wants the British safety kitemark to sell them across Europe.
Times 15th Sept 2016 read more »
Theresa May is expected to confirm on Thursday that she will give the go-ahead for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, but will seek to impose new conditions on its French and Chinese backers. May and Greg Clark, the business, energy and industrial strategy secretary, are thought to be hoping to persuade the contractors involved – the French utility company EDF and the Chinese state-backed firm CGN – to renegotiate the contract that specifies a generous minimum price for the electricity the project will generate. Downing Street sources insisted on Wednesday that no formal decision had been made, but May’s spokesperson has said an announcement would come in September. Thursday is the last possible day for a statement to parliament before the House of Commons goes into recess so that MPs can attend the autumn party conferences. The shadow energy secretary, Barry Gardiner, said he would welcome a decision to give Hinkley the go-ahead, saying: “If the secretary of state has now managed to reduce the cost to British bill payers, in line with my suggestions, I promise not to gloat. I will simply say well done for sticking up for the consumer. “But in return, the government must stop the dithering. Their delay has put at risk £18bn of investment and jeopardised 25,000 skilled jobs in the nuclear industry, which are essential for the UK’s balanced energy portfolio.” However, environmentalists are likely to condemn the decision. The Green party co-leader Caroline Lucas said: “Instead of investing in this eye-wateringly expensive white elephant, the government should be doing all it can to support offshore wind, energy efficiency and innovative new technologies such as energy storage.”
Guardian 14th Sept 2016 read more »
Speculation is mounting that the Government is set to give the go ahead for the first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK for a generation, creating thousands of jobs.
Daily Mail 14th Sept 2016 read more »
The Prime Minister has confirmed Hinkley Point C will proceed after a “revised agreement” was reached with EDF. A Downing Street spokesperson said: “Following a comprehensive review of the Hinkley Point C project the government has decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation. “However, ministers will impose a new legal framework for future foreign investment in Britain’s critical infrastructure, which will include nuclear energy and apply after Hinkley.”
Express 15th Sept 2016 read more »
A senior MP has urged caution over plans to build a new power station with the Chinese government, suggesting “these are people with whom we should sup with a long spoon”. The attack by former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth came amid fresh scrutiny of the Hinkley Point nuclear project in the Commons. Labour accused the Government of “dithering” over the £18 billion plan, having delayed a final decision until the end of this month.
Daily Mail 13th Sept 2016 read more »
[Machine Translation] Observers expect a government announcement Thursday. A certain excitement seized all players of Hinkley Point folder, the project to 18 billion pounds (21.1 billion euros), which includes the construction of two EPR nuclear reactors by EDF and its Chinese partner CGN in the southeast from England. According to a source familiar with the matter, London is preparing to give its green light Thursday to the project. After the announcement, in late July, the British government gave itself a period of reflection to study again all components of the project, the first minister, Theresa May, has promised a decision before the end of September. The parliamentary session was interrupted for three weeks because of the convention that held the three main parties, several sources were betting on a speaking Thursday. For a politically sensitive decision if, indeed some believe that the Government will solemnize the announcement by presenting it to Parliament. The green light from London to the nuclear project, if confirmed, could be subject to conditions. According to the same source, these would however not likely to change the overall balance of the project. One such example would impose EDF remains a shareholder of the project for the duration of construction of the plant – which is the intention of the public electrician.
Les Echos 15th Sept 2016 read more »
Greg Clark, the business secretary, said on Tuesday that the Government was only reviewing the subsidy contract for Hinkley Point, which will guarantee it a price of £92.50/MWh for the electricity it produces. But given the concerns apparently harboured by Mrs May, the Chinese investors are understood to be looking for reassurance that the crucial Bradwell part of deal still has the UK’s full support. Here is what the UK has promised China to date.
Telegraph 14th Sept 2016 read more »
Alternatives to Hinkley
Swapping Hinkley Point power station for solar power would halve the cost to taxpayers, say experts. David Powell at the New Economics Foundation says Hinkley’s extra running expenses and the falling price of solar panels mean the nuclear plant will end up costing twice as much as solar, making it “perhaps the most expensive object on earth”. The Solar Trade Organisation has also said that Hinkley Point nuclear power station will cost double the amount solar power would. “Solar together with storage and flexibility would cost roughly half that of Hinkley Point over the 35 year lifetime”, it has said. Powell calculates that at current prices the £18bn nuclear plant would power around 1,890,000 homes, whilst the same investment in solar would serve almost double, at around 2,800,000. And the large subsidy required to run Hinkley point together with a predicted 10% yearly fall in the price of solar power would bring the nuclear plant to twice the cost of solar, he says. A paper from the Solar Trade Organisation, published in 2015, estimated investing in solar panels rather than the Hinkley would save consumers around £15bn, taking into account running costs over its lifetime. Powell says that if the money was spent instead on insulating homes it would result in a total energy bill saving of £261m, as well as acting as an economic stimulus, “and massive health benefits from reduced fuel poverty”.
Huffington Post 14th Sept 2016 read more »
The Manx government has restated its commitment to press for the complete closure of Sellafield. It follows further claims about the safety of the plant highlighted in a TV documentary last week.The BBC Panorama expose alleged ‘years of neglect’ had left parts of facility – which is just 34 miles from the Manx coast – ‘rundown and vulnerable’. There were not always enough workers to maintain safety levels, it claimed, and liquid containing plutonium and uranium is being stored in degrading plastic bottles. The claims have been dismissed by both the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Sellafield Ltd who said in a joint statement: ‘Sellafield is safe, there is no question about that.’
Isle of Man Today 15th Sept 2016 read more »
A Labour government, under my leadership, will deliver an energy policy for the 60 million, not the Big 6 energy companies, championing community-owned renewable energy.
Jeremy Corbyn 13th Sept 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
Heat and transport need “urgent attention” if Scotland is to meet its emissions targets post 2020, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has warned. If Scotland is to stick to “tighter targets” beyond 2020, then “much more will be required”. There has been “little progress” in reducing emissions from transport and agriculture, and there is “much further to go for renewable heat uptake”, according to the CCC.
Utility Week 14th Sept 2016 read more »
UK electricity prices for Thursday have soared to record highs after unplanned nuclear plant shutdowns and the continued heatwave triggered an unseasonal power crunch. Industry sources suggested National Grid was close to having to issue an emergency alert to call for more power for Thursday evening, amid fears demand could outstrip supply. Day-ahead electricity prices have hovered at about £40 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in recent months but on Wednesday surged to a record £160/MWh, according to Jamie Stewart at price reporting agency Icis. Prices for the hour to 8pm on Thursday evening traded at £999/MWh.
Telegraph 14th Sept 2016 read more »
The concentration of impurity in steel a Japanese manufacturer supplied to nuclear facilities in France exceeded the standards set by the European country, Japan’s nuclear watchdog said Wednesday, meaning the steel could be weaker than expected. Briefed recently by French regulators about the finding, the Nuclear Regulation Authority is looking into allegations regarding the products provided by the Kitakyushu-based firm under scrutiny, Japan Casting & Forging Corp. The NRA said it needs to carry out tests to evaluate whether the steel is in fact lacking in strength. The French regulators said in June they found steel containing larger-than-expected amounts of impure substances in facilities such as reactor pressure vessels at 18 reactors operating in France and are investigating the matter. The steel products in question were made by Japan Casting & Forging and Creusot Forge, a subsidiary of France’s Areva SA. In August, the NRA ordered local utilities hosting nuclear power plants in Japan to examine reactors and other major parts at the plants. The utilities have been asked to report the results to the NRA by the end of October.
Japan Times 14th Sept 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
The Solar Trade Association has issued an ‘mayday’ alert to the government over the risk to the UK’s solar thermal sector. The association has written to new junior Energy Minister, Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, urging her to include solar thermal in the Renewable Heat Initiative. The STA said: “If the proposal to remove solar thermal from the RHI is implemented, the technology will be at a competitive disadvantage and there is every prospect that the current supply chain will atrophy – together with valuable UK skills and the manufacturing industry where the UK has cutting edge capabilities.
Scottish Energy News 15th Sept 2016 read more »
The island of Gigha is to play an important role in pioneering work to find a way to store power generated by wind turbines, which could revolutionise the global green energy industry. The island is host to the first community-owned grid-connected wind farm in Scotland, the ‘Dancing Ladies’, which initially consisted of three turbines christened Faith, Hope and Charity. A fourth was added later, but its operation has had to be constrained. The turbines are an important income stream for the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust which led the headline community buyout of the island completed in 2002. Now the turbines are to be connected to a “vanadium redox flow battery”, which is the size of a shipping container. It is a new piece of engineering which some hold could be a game-changer. Energy can already be stored using technologies ranging from pumped hydro schemes to large-scale lithium-ion batteries. But the UK government-funded trial on Gigha, will demonstrate that vanadium redox flow is now commercially viable, says Scott McGregor, chief executive of the device’s developer, the Jersey-registered ‘redT’ company. He said “The technoloy has moved faster than anyone has expected and what you see today is a system that is a commodity product.”
Herald 15th Sept 2016 read more »