French nuclear power developer EDF said it expected to sign a long-awaited investment agreement with its Chinese partners for a new reactor at Hinkley Point in southwest England by the end of March, helping pin down procurement for the £24.5bn project. The plant would be the first overseas venture for China General Nuclear Power Corp, which has negotiated for Chinese companies to get a share in supplying components to the project. EDF and the British government had initially envisioned the Chinese partners would primarily help with providing financing. “In principle, everyone’s on board,” said Song Xudan, chief executive for EDF in China. “But these are huge contracts and we have to go through them line by line.” The UK government had pushed for a final commitment from EDF last year after the EU approved incentives in the form of guaranteed power prices. The company and the British government still have to sign the final details of the contract for difference, or price at which the power will be sold, and an infrastructure investment guarantee. EDF, which is one of the UK’s big six energy suppliers, has stated it wants to reach an agreement on the plant’s ownership in the first quarter of 2015. If talks slip into April, final agreement could be delayed by government business winding down ahead of May’s general election. The Hinkley Point reactor would be a valuable showcase in China’s drive to export nuclear construction services around the world and, ultimately, a Chinese-developed reactor. CGN’s rival China National Nuclear Corp, which is also due to invest in the Hinkley Point project, is building a reactor in Pakistan. Beijing is also negotiating to build four reactors in Turkey. It is thought that the Chinese companies have also been pushing for a substantial share of the supply contracts, a demand that has complicated the negotiations. They also want ownership of another nuclear site, at Bradwell in Essex, with the aim of building their own reactor. Discussions over that have been a stumbling block in the Hinkley Point negotiations.
FT 15th Jan 2015 read more »
While it is good that the Hinkley Point C case has finally been determined, it is disappointing how long it took. The decision on the Development Consent Order (DCO) was issued on 19 March 2013, 505 days after the application was made. The judicial review was finally disposed of 632 days after that, adding 125% to the time taken from application to decision. That’s another more than doubling.
BDB Law 15th Jan 2015 read more »
WORKERS and major community projects will NOT suffer following the news that Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) has been stripped of its multi-billion pound contract to clean up Sellafield. Reassurances have been given by nuclear chiefs amid concerns raised by Copeland’s political, community and union leaders about future operation on and off the site. The government confirmed on Tuesday that it is ending NMP’s controversial six-year stint at the nuclear site, with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) taking over the reins. The transition will take between 12 and 15 months. Sellafield Ltd – whose ownership will revert from NMP to the NDA under the new setup – says that while there will be changes to the way the site is managed “at a strategic level”, the day-to-day impact on the workers is “unchanged”.
Whitehaven News 15th Jan2015 read more »
Fishing equipment used for scallop trawling has been adapted to clean storage ponds at Sellafield.
Power Engineering 15th Jan 2015 read more »
Union officials are to meet to decide their response to the Government’s decision to strip a private consortium of a multibillion-pound contract to clean up the nuclear waste site at Sellafield. The coalition has decided to terminate the £9 billion contract awarded to Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), saying ownership will switch to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The industrial consortium – US engineering group URS, British firm AMEC and French energy firm AREVA – has run the site in Cumbria for more than six years, and was granted a five-year extension in 2013, despite criticism from unions of its performance.
Aberdeen Press and Journal 16th Jan 2015 read more »
Letter: Ever since my appointment to a socio-economic role within the nuclear industry here in West Cumbria, a position I held for three years, I have been compelled through a sense of injustice to work with partners to help tackle the structural causes of social deprivation and poverty, a spectre which haunts our communities. I have started my New Year with a resolution to break free from local political constraints which has held back progress in Copeland for far too long now. During the remainder of this term I shall serve the people of Bransty in Whitehaven as an independent councillor.
Whitehaven News 15th Jan 2015 read more »
A final consultation event is being held on proposals to use a former Scots nuclear plant to store radioactive waste from redundant submarines. Chapelcross, near Annan, is one of five sites being considered but is the only one north of the border. Capenhurst in Cheshire, Sellafield in west Cumbria and Aldermaston and Burghfield, both in Berkshire, are the other possible locations. The consultation is at the Victoria Halls in Annan from 12:00 to 20:00. Councillor Ronnie Ogilvie, who chairs the Chapelcross Site Stakeholders Group, said it was important as many people as possible took the opportunity to examine the proposals and express their opinion. The UK government has pledged that public opinion will be taken into account in deciding the final location.
BBC 15th Jan 2015 read more »
The state-owned train company that carries Britain’s nuclear waste is set to carry paying passengers as the UK’s railway network struggles with soaring demand. Direct Rail Services, a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority that operates freight trains, is expected to start services along the west Cumbrian coast within weeks under a government-brokered deal. The Department for Transport had to step in last week to prevent a capacity crisis in the north of England because of a shortage of diesel trains. These were due to be replaced by electric trains on many lines but the pace of electrification has been slower than expected.
FT 15th Jan 2015 read more »
Letter: “Off the grid” (The Big Read, January 14), your review of the prospective “death spiral” facing large, centralised electricity producers in the US in the face of ever-increasing possibilities for consumers to generate their own power, is most timely, given the current review of energy market policy by the UK’s House of Commons energy committee. This analysis reinforces one of the central points of my own written submission to the energy committee’s review. The prospects of a “death spiral” for the UK’s major electricity producers is, however, exacerbated by the UK government’s enthusiasm for loading consumer electricity bills with the costs of a range of renewable sources of electricity, particularly new nuclear power stations, rather than bearing such costs from general taxation. Such a loading of electricity bills will reinforce the tendencies to self-generation and concomitant reduction of reliance on the centralised power network (if not full detachment), particularly by those businesses and households that have the financial resources to fund such investments. The attractions of cost reduction will be further reinforced by a growing appreciation of the greater reliability of locally sourced electricity that is less vulnerable than a centralised network to disruption by extremes of weather or the attentions of malevolent forces.
FT 15th Jan 2015 read more »
White House won’t rule out nuclear deal with Iran while the Islamic regime holds American citizens captive without criminal charges.
Daily Mail 15th Jan 2015 read more »
Incensed by a report Iran would transfer most of it enriched uranium to Russia, conservatives in Tehran have levelled new criticisms against Iranian negotiators for not standing firm against United States’ demands over the nuclear programme.
Guardian 15th Jan 2015 read more »
Some Iranian lawmakers are considering a push toward resuming unlimited uranium enrichment if the United States imposes new sanctions on Tehran amid negotiations on the country’s nuclear programme, speaker Ali Larijani said Thursday.
Middle East Online 15th Jan 2015 read more »
Nuclear Weapons Convoy
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been accused of a “callous disregard for public safety” after a big nuclear bomb convoy was tracked driving through Glasgow and across the Erskine Bridge in appalling weather conditions on Sunday night. The 20-vehicle convoy, including four high-sided heavy-duty weapons carriers, a fire engine, armoured personnel carriers and MoD police guards, arrived at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport on Loch Long around 1am on Monday morning.
RobEdwards 13th Jan 2015 read more »
There was a 10 per cent reduction in UK carbon dioxide emissions in the twelve months to October 2014 compared to the previous year, new government data shows. The majority of the 49 million tonne reduction came from reduced energy emissions as a three year surge in UK coal use came to an end, with renewables and gas picking up the slack in power supplies. The reduction saw total UK carbon dioxide emissions fall to their lowest level in the past quarter-century, to 28 per cent below 1990 levels (the dark grey line on the chart below).
Carbon Brief 15th Jan 2015 read more »
Solar entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett wagered this week that one of the major oil companies would renounce its hydrocarbon fantasies in the near future, and commit to the world of renewable energy. In the near future? I doubt that. But it will happen eventually. Where else is there to go, after all? Ever since Forum for the Future was established in 1996, we’ve spent a lot of time asking ourselves when that exit moment for an oil major might happen. One of our very first projects was with BP Solar, investigating the future market for solar power in the UK. We were predictably upbeat, as were our immediate colleagues in BP Solar. But the rest of the company paid not the slightest attention to our report. There have always been good, far-sighted people in the big oil and gas companies. From time to time, they’ve succeeded in getting sufficient traction amongst their senior colleagues to make the prospect of becoming ‘genuinely integrated energy companies’ – investing as much in renewables, storage and energy efficiency as in hydrocarbons – more or less realistic. That’s what provided the Forum with the rationale to continue working in partnership with BP and Shell. Our corporate guidelines mean we can only partner with companies that are at least capable of conducting their business ‘on a truly sustainable basis’. But with BP that moment came and went under the leadership of John Browne; and with Shell, that ‘integrated agenda’ pretty much died after Mark Moody-Stuart moved on. In both companies, the hydrocarbon supremacists rapidly regained the ground they’d lost; doing renewables as Corporate Social Responsibility was fine, but anything that threatened to go seriously ‘beyond petroleum’ was deemed to be deviant heresy.
Guardian 15th Jan 2015 read more »