French utility EDF’s project to build two nuclear reactors in Hinkley Point, Britain should pour its first concrete in 2019 and a possible British exit from the European Union would not change the plan, its chief executive said on Tuesday.The 18 billion pound (23.26 billion euro) project was first announced in Oct. 2013 and EDF announced a partnership for it with Chinese utility CGN in Oct. 2015, but an investment decision has been delayed several times although EDF has said repeatedly a decision would come soon.”We have the intention to proceed rapidly with the investment decision for Hinkley Point,” EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Levy told reporters.He added that EDF had not yet finalised talks with its Chinese partners before the Chinese New Year break. “Today we estimate this final decision is very close,” he said.Levy said it would take about three years, possibly a bit more, of study and work with sub-contractors before EDF will begin building the first definitive structures on the Hinkley Point C site, though the company will do terracing and other preparatory work between now and then.”Definitive construction of what will be built on the site, what we call the first concrete, is on the horizon for 2019,” Levy said.Asked whether a possible British exit from the European Union could change the utility’s plan to go ahead with Hinkley Point, Levy said “No, we do not think so”.
Reuters 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Yesterday EDF’s chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy insisted the plant would get the go ahead soon. He said: ‘We have the intention to proceed rapidly with the investment decision for Hinkley Point. We estimate this final decision is very close.’ Levy said he expects the first construction on Hinkley to begin in three years’ time. And when asked if that plan would be affected if Britain votes to leave the European Union, he said: ‘No, we do not think so’.
Daily Mail 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Central Somerset Gazette 16th Feb 2016 read more »
EDF has admitted it is yet to finalise funding for its proposed Hinkley Point nuclear plant, as it announced it would extend the life of four of the UK’s ageing nuclear reactors by up to seven years. The French energy giant claimed a final investment decision on the £18bn project was “very close”, but disclosed that an agreement was yet to be confirmed with Chinese state nuclear corporation CGN, which is due to take a one-third stake in the Somerset plant. He also confirmed that EDF, which reported a 68pc drop in net profits and cut its dividend, was still looking at the “financial equation” for funding its own two-thirds stake in Hinkley, admitting: “We have a number of constraints.” A final investment decision on the project would follow “when all this is fully organised”, he said, claiming this was “just ahead of us”.Mr Levy also disclosed that even after a decision was taken, the “first concrete” – construction of the actual nuclear plant, rather than just preparatory work – would not begin until 2019.
Telegraph 16th Feb 2016 read more »
FT 16th Feb 2016 read more »
This week seemed to see a step-change in the debate over the UK’s first new nuclear site in 20 years. While Greenpeace went down the traditional route with a bold statement at the Houses of Parliament (see below), anti-nuclear protestors occupied EDF’s Cannington offices in a show of defiance against the scheme. But aside from the ever-more public demonstrations against the project, questions marks have grown ever bigger this week over the economic future of Hinkley. French energy utility EDF has continued to postpone making the final investment decision reportedly due to the small matter of stumping up the best part of £18 million for the project. the fact remains that the UK’s renewable energy policy may not be able to rely on nuclear in the way Rudd would like. The fact is the project may not be completed till 2030, by which time public support, which only stood at 54% at its height, will have dropped even more. The question is; what will UK solar look like by 2030? It’s hard to say, but the 3.2GW that Hinkley is expected to generate will have been met by solar well before, so maybe it’s not necessary to look that far ahead. DECC recently upgraded its forecasts for solar, suggesting that 13GW will be connected by 2020. Considering installed capacity has already hit 10GW, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change has a history of upgrading its forecasts on a regular basis (36% increase in the last six months), solar is surely on course to provide the power Hinkley will likely be late in delivering.The argument remains though that solar can’t provide base load power in the way nuclear can. However, there are companies working around the clock to address this issue, with predictable rise of battery storage systems making it an economic proposition worth exploring.
Solar Portal 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Paul Dorfman: the final investment decision – widely expected to be a mere formality – has been delayed due to EDF’s failure to secure the necessary funding. It looks like the UK is reaching a tipping point, and now it’s time to invest in a rational, evidence-based energy policy – before it’s too late. Transitioning to a sustainable UK energy policy won’t be easy, and nor will it be cheap. However, unlike what’s currently in place, it will work. This means big renewable solar and wind energy, a big grid upgrade, local-scale networks for energy distribution, bridging combined heat and power (CHP) “clean-burn” back-up gas technology, market innovations from energy supply to energy services, real energy conservation and management, and the paced restructuring of our built and transport environment.
City AM 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Will they, won’t they? EDF, the French company on which the nuclear part of the Government’s energy policy depends, still hasn’t made a decision on whether to press ahead with the new Hinkley Point power station, the first new nuclear development in a generation. The company, 85 per cent owned by the French state, has struggled to secure financing for the hugely ambitious project, but has wider issues than that to deal with. It has just cut its dividend after a sharp fall in profits – driven by, among other things, writedowns in asset values and provisions. Anyway, if nuclear can’t hack it, there are always those billions of barrels of frack free oil under Gatwick. The widely derided (including in this column) claims made by UK Oil & Gas for the “Gatwick Gusher” are being reassessed after test results, although whether it is commercially feasible to extract much of it is open to question. It’s far too early to say Sussex is the new Saudi Arabia. Paul Dorfman at the Energy Institute, University College London, wonders if Hinkley will ever get going. It would be a shame if it didn’t. I stand with those environmentalists who, however reluctantly, see nuclear as a necessary part of an energy future that minimises the impact of by far the most dangerous polluting threat: carbon. So that belated government approval of Hinkley was a rare example of strategic thinking. Even if it meant guaranteeing a generous price to the developers. Even if it irked people that the UK wasn’t in a position to do the work itself. If it fails, shoulders will be shrugged, excuses will be readied, fossil fuels will be burnt, and we will all suffer the consequences.
Independent 17th Feb 2016 read more »
A West MEP has called for an urgent review of energy policy in the wake of EDF Energy’s announcement that four aging nuclear reactors are to have their lives extended. The French state-owned gas and electricity company has yet to make a final investment decision on a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset and yesterday its group results revealed “extremely challenging market conditions”. Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, says extending the lives of the existing nuclear reactors is more evidence that EDF’s plans for a Hinkley C station may be either abandoned or further delayed, creating a serious energy gap for the Government. Ahead of the results, environmental campaign group Greenpeace projected a huge picture of Chancellor George Osborne in a hard hat with the EDF logo onto the House of Commons, and the Treasury with the words: “Let it go, George everyone else has #LetHinkleyGo”. Greenpeace says the project faces “unprecedented opposition” from EDF’s management and French unions over costs.
Western Daily Press 17th Feb 2016 read more »
George Osborne wants to build a new nuclear plant in Somerset — Hinkley Point C. If it goes ahead it’ll be the first nuclear power station to come online in the UK in 30 years. But right now it’s increasingly looking like a big if. Because Hinkley is on the verge of becoming a national omnishambles. It’s suffered huge delays, safety concerns, and it’s clear the money could be far better spent. Here are eight reasons the Chancellor needs to #LetHinkleyGo. 1. The ‘unconstructable’ nuclear reactor; 2. The cost is astronomical; 3. About that reactor again… 4. Does anybody even want it anymore? 5. Onshore wind is already cheaper (and soon solar will be too); 6. It’s already 8 YEARS overdue; 7. We could be forced to pick up the cost; 8. The (not so) little matter of nuclear waste
Greenpeace 16th Feb 2016 read more »
EDF’s share price has been cut in half over the past year; China General Nuclear Power Company, better known as CGN, has a 33% stake in the Hinkley project. The state-owned firm, which went public on the Hong Kong stock exchange in late 2014, has had a rough time of it lately; its share price has plummeted by more than 50% since June last year.
Energydesk 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Four of Britain’s oldest nuclear power plants are to keep generating electricity for up to seven years longer than planned, renewing fears about the capability of Britain’s over-stretched nuclear safety regulator to cope with a growing workload. EDF, the French state-owned energy giant, said the Heysham 1 plant in Lancashire and another at Hartlepool in Co Durham, both of which had been due to be switched off in 2019 because of their advanced age, would be allowed to keep producing electricity for another five years. Two other reactors, Heysham 2 and Torness in Scotland, have been granted extensions of seven years to 2030. Andy Blowers, a nuclear industry consultant, expressed concern that the Office for Nuclear Regulation, Britain’s under-resourced safety regulator, would not be able to manage its growing workload. “If they have to put a lo t of effort into regulating these three stations on top of all their other work, then that is quite intolerable,” he said.
Times 17th Feb 2016 read more »
EDF plans to extend the life of four nuclear power plants in the UK and has said it is close to announcing a decision on its investment in two new reactors at Hinkley Point. Paul Dorfman of the UCL Energy Institute said EDF’s financial position cast doubt on the prospects for Hinkley Point. “Unfortunately, with the best will in the world, it may just not happen,” he told the BBC’s Today programme. “EDF shares have crashed to half their value a year ago; the budget for Hinkley alone is bigger than EDF’s entire market value.” Greenpeace said EDF and the French government were in disarray over the cost and risk of the Hinkley project. Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s policy director, said: “EDF’s accounts show growing debts and falling earnings. Hinkley is a bad investment and most people with an ounce of financial acumen have now come to realise this. George Osborne stands alone in defending Hinkley’s honour.”
Guardian 16th Feb 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) notes a number of contradictory issues in the debate over nuclear power in the UK after various announcements today by EDF, the company that runs a number of UK power stations and hopes to build new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point and Sizewell. The media has led in most bulletins today on the announcement from EDF that it is seeking to extend the operating life of nuclear reactors at Heysham, Hartlepool and Torness. This has been welcomed in the media as a positive announcement in ensuring the UK’s security of supply. Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear power reactors will have life extensions of five years until 2024, while Heysham 2 and Torness will see their life extensions pushed on by seven years to 2030. At the same time, EDF announced that its 2015 profits fell 68% to €1.18bn. The BBC noted that this is mainly due to write-downs on coal-fired plants. These results were seen as below analysts’ expectations. As a result, EDF has announced it will cut its dividend by 15 cents to €1.10 a share. EDF has seen its shares fall almost 25% since the start of 2016, and by 50% from a year ago.
NFLA 16th Feb 2016 read more »
GMB Scotland – the trade union for the energy industry – has welcomed the operating life extension for Torness to 2030 which it said demonstrates that Scotland is and will remain dependent on nuclear power for base load electricity. Gary Smith, Secretary, GMB Scotland, said: “We have a good low carbon mix in Scotland but renewables are intermittent and we need nuclear as part of the mix.
Scottish Energy News 17th Feb 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Industry Association, the UK trade body for the civil nuclear sector, has today welcomed the news that EDF Energy plans to extend the life of Torness nuclear power station, so that it will run until 2030. The seven year life extension was announced by EDF Energy as it also said it was to extend the operation of a further three reactors in England.
Scottish Energy News 16th Feb 2016 read more »
The Torness nuclear power station on the east coast of Scotland is to have its life extended by at least seven years, operator EDF has announced. Paul Younger, professor of energy engineering at the University of Glasgow “On average, more than a third (34%) of all the electricity used in Scotland comes from those two nuclear power stations (Torness and Hunterston). Their attribute is they are very low carbon and 24/7. They pump the electricity out steadily around the clock. “As other things wax and wane, like the wind coming or not, it provides the bedrock. “Without nuclear – which is where we are heading, this just delays the day – Scotland is going to have serious problems achieving its carbon targets and keeping its lights on.” Friends of the Earth Scotland described the announcement from EDF as “disappointing” but “hardly a surprise”. The organisation’s director Dr Richard Dixon said: “Nuclear power is the ultimate unsustainable form of energy, creating waste which needs to be looked after for 25,000 years. “The UK government needs to refocus on energy efficiency and renewables instead of continuing to chase the nuclear dream.”
BBC 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Green anger as nuclear plant’s life is extended.
The National 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Scottish consumers stand to benefit from a decision to extend the lifespan of the Torness nuclear power station, according to experts. The stay of execution for the East Lothian plant could help to keep electricity bills stable. But the announcement sparked a furious row as Scottish ministers accused the UK Government of “deterring” investment in renewables and Labour and the Conservatives said the SNP risked letting the lights go out. The Scottish Greens also claimed that Scotland’s energy policy was being dictated by a private French firm. The Scottish Government opposes the building of any new nuclear plants. But SNP ministers say that they are not against extending the life of current operations.
Herald 17thFeb 2016 read more »
Sizewell B nuclear power station could have its life extended by 20 years, owners EDF have revealed.
East Anglian Daily Times 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Hundreds of jobs in the North East are being safeguarded after plans were announced to extend the life of Hartlepool and three other nuclear power stations.
Chronicle 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Hartlepool Mail 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Bosses at Heysham power stations have given the green light for nuclear energy to be produced there until at least 2030. The move will safeguard around 1,500 local jobs and continue to pump £80m into the district’s economy every year.
The Visitor 16th Feb 2016 read more »
A pressure group wants more public consultation on nuclear waste being stored in the district. The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) claims the site of Bradwell Power Station, Downhall Beach, is in danger of becoming a “regional store for nuclear waste”, after site managers Magnox were given permission to proceed with their planning application, without needing an environmental impact assessment.
Braintree and Witham Times 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Europe lacks more than 118 billion euros ($132 billion) needed to dismantle its nuclear plants and manage the waste storage management, a working paper by the European Commission seen by Reuters shows. Assets covering only 150.1 billion euros in decommissioning costs – which includes the lengthy dismantling of stations as well as the removal and storage of radioactive parts and waste – are available, compared with 268.3 billion euros in expected costs, the paper shows. The data is part of a broader analysis of Europe’s nuclear capacity, the so-called Nuclear Illustrative Programme of the Commission (PINC), the last of which has been published in 2007, before Japan’s Fukushima nuclear crisis five years ago.
Reuters 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Coming from the people who run the Waste Isolation Plant in Carlsbad New Mexico (where operations have beens suspended since a fire two years ago this month), we thought this might be of interest to our members and followers: The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and the Department of Energy are hosting a webcast about business management from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. The webcast will live-stream a meeting held in Albuquerque, which will include an overview of the Supply Chain Management Center, small group sessions, information about what it means to become a strategic partner and a forum to discuss business capabilities.
Cumbria Trust 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Nuclear Industry Association
Tom Greatrex, former Shadow Energy Minister and MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, joined the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) as Chief Executive on 1 February. He writes about his priorities in that role. The prospects and potential for the UK nuclear industry has come a long way in a relatively short period of time, to the extent that we are now widely viewed as an integral part of our future energy mix and not the past. The NIA, representing and working closely with its members, has played a crucial role in securing, maintaining and promoting the broad political and industrial support for new build, while also making the case for maintaining vital work on decommissioning. Underpinning this has been a determination to ensure the UK supply chain is well placed to take advantage of the significant economic opportunities which will exist as a result of a rejuvenated sector.
Politics Home 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Equipment worth millions of pounds is going unused as a result of delays to the UK’s nuclear reactor programme and because British suppliers are not winning contracts. The Nuclear Advance Manufacturing Research Centre, a hangar-sized facility on the outskirts of Sheffield, has received nearly Â£40m from the government to help build the UK’s next generation of nuclear reactors. But those running the centre say that much of the equipment being made there is not being used. This is partly because new nuclear plants have been much delayed, and partly because developers want to award supply contracts to companies in their own countries.
FT 16th Feb 2016 read more »
In 2006 in a speech to the Local Government Association David Cameron said that “where the [Labour] government sees nuclear power as the first choice, under our framework it would become a last resort.” “In Britain we are still lumbered with the same backward-looking, central-planning mindset that has dominated thinking on electricity since the first half of the last century.” He concluded: “The future of energy is not top-down, it’s not centralised – it’s bottom-up and decentralised.” In our view, very 21st century, but practitioners in energy efficiency, heat networks and renewables would be forgiven for thinking this is not the philosophy underpinning energy policy today. Let’s make sure it will be again.
ACE 11th Feb 2016 read more »
Amber Rudd, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, yesterday described the extension of the lifespan of four nuclear power plants as “part of our plan to deliver long-term energy security for our families and businesses”. It is gratifying to learn that there is a plan. Any dispassionate observer might conclude that the vicissitudes surrounding Britain’s revived nuclear programme were evidence more of uncertainty than of design. We had our misgivings over the deal with the French state-owned energy company EDF to build a new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset underpinned by Chinese investment. These have not diminished with the latest development in this saga. Construction should have been well under way yet the earliest date for the plant to produce any electricity has been put back to 2025; and even that is not set in stone because the funding is not finalised. EDF said “final steps are well in hand to enable the full construction phase to be launched very soon”. But we have heard this before. If the UK is to deliver 16 gigawatts of new nuclear power by 2030 as planned, massive amounts of private investment will be needed.
Telegraph 17th Feb 2016 read more »
The depoliticisation of policymaking is, of course, not confined to the UK. However, a recent UK example is offered by the National Infrastructure Committee (NIC) set up in October last year by HM Treasury. The NIC is independent of government, but ‘works with’ the Treasury. Indeed the NIC is so ‘independent’ that the first CEO has already been informed, by the Chancellor no less, of what the UK’s infrastructure priorities will be: northern connectivity; London transport infrastructure; and energy. What does this mean, however, for government departments, like the newly established Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), usually responsible for research and policymaking in these areas? Or indeed, what does this mean for informed and inclusive political representation in policymaking?
IGov 16th Feb 2016 read more »
[Machine translation] By stating that EDF has “no plans, in conjunction with the state” to close more than two nuclear reactors in the next ten years, Jean-Bernard Lévy calls into question one of the major goals of the legislation: reducing 50% by 2025 from the atom in the French electricity production. Is the energy transition law stillborn? The question may arise after the murder sentence released today by the CEO of EDF, Jean-Bernard Lévy at RTL. Here it is: “We have no plans, in conjunction with the state, given the electricity needs of the French, closing other plants that will be closed two [actually plants, he meant reactors note]. “clearly, EDF intends to close two reactors, normally those of Fessenheim (the oldest French nuclear power plant in operation, in Alsace), to compensate for the EPR commissioning of Flamanville (Manche), postponed end 2018. This corresponds to a provision of the young energy transition law enacted in August 2015, which tops out at its current level of 63.2 gigawatts of nuclear generation in the country.
Liberation 16th Feb 2016 read more »
[Machine translation] Areva in the 2000s: the world’s No. 1 nuclear power, national pride, a flagship of French industry, the backbone of the image of France abroad. Today, Areva is dying. While the purchase by EDF of its activity drags reactors, the company will be recapitalized to the tune of 5 billion. This is the largest debt ever paid by taxpayers since the collapse of Crédit Lyonnais, and that’s only the beginning … The losses frôleraient 10 billion. The story also ends badly for 6 000 employees who will see their jobs eliminated by 2017. Not counting today, Justice gets involved and suspected corruption operations.
France TV 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Renewables – solar
Europe’s biggest ever floating solar array is being installed on the Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir, to the south of the River Thames. More than 23,000 solar PV panels will be floated on the 317-acre reservoir near Walton-on-Thames, following an agreement between Thames Water, Ennoviga Solar and Lightsource Renewable Energy. The French-manufactured system will have a total installed peak capacity of 6.3MW and is expected to generate 5.8GWh of electricity in its first year – equivalent to the annual consumption of around 1,800 homes. The renewable energy produced will be used to power Thames Water’s nearby water treatment works
Edie 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Heating and cooling is the unglamorous consumer of half of the EU’s energy, with 75% of this generated from fossil fuels. Only 25% is generated from low-carbon sources. This sector sits alongside transport and electricity, which consume 31% and 20% of the EU’s energy, respectively. Yet it has so far received scant attention from policymakers in Brussels, who have admitted that understanding of the sector is “insufficient” — even while acknowledging that heating and cooling will have a major impact on whether the EU is able to meet its 2020 and 2030 climate change goals.
Carbon Brief 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Nearly one-third of Scotland’s streets will be LED-lit by April 2017 as local councils have announced that a further £56m will be invested in a nationwide lighting replacement programme over the next 12 months. The number of Scotland’s LED streetlights will double to 250,000 and more than 65,000 tonnes of CO2 will be saved thanks to the new public-sector funding announced this week. With support from Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland, £82m has already invested in LEDs over the past three years, with Scotland’s councils at various stages of installing the more energy-efficient lights. South Lanarkshire Council has installed the most LEDs in Scotland – 19,000 street lights – which are generating annual savings of £550k. The Council is on target to replace all of its 58,000 street lights to LEDs in the next two years.
Edie 16th Feb 2016 read more »