Is there a really need for Hinkley Point to be built? Tom Burke: There isn’t actually, there’s lots and lots more things that we can do. There is no need to replace nuclear with nuclear, or indeed with gas. We’ve got so many more options, that by the time we get to the 20’s they are going to be an awful lot cheaper, a much better bargain for Britain’s bill payers. What’s interesting about Hinkley Point is that it has managed to be 10 years late before it’s even started, which is a record even for the nuclear industry, so we can’t have any confidence anyway that they what they say they’ll be able to do.
Tom Burke 17th Feb 2016 read more »
French state-owned energy giant EDF has once again postponed a decision on whether to commit to building a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in south west England, over financial worries and project overruns. The UK Government is committed to building new nuclear power stations as part of its policy of reducing carbon emissions, however, it has struggled to get the project off the ground. Plans for a third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point were delayed over financing the deal.
Sputnik News 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Just think of the warm glow that’ll bring to the residents of Heysham, Hartlepool and Torness: the lifespan of the local, ageing nuke extended for up to seven years. And all thanks to EDF Energy, the state-backed French outfit that still can’t decide whether the bribes are big enough to build Hinkley Point C. All perfectly safe, too, apparently, what with Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation on the case: the same one, incidentally, without a full-time chief nuclear inspector and whose brand new chief executive has zero experience of the industry, as you might expect from the ex-deputy leader of Hull city council. But at least EDF is in cracking shape: net debts of €34.7 billion versus a €20 billion market cap, annual net income down by two thirds to €1.2 billion, a surprise dividend cut and so cash-strapped to need a “de facto” €1.8 billion capital-raise, to quote the group’s chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy. Hinkley, supposedly costing £18 billion to build, is an even bigger rip-off than it seemed. Assuming EDF ever does sign up with its Chinese partner, it will get an index-linked £92.50/MWh for 35 years. Or, to put it another way, David Cameron is proposing to pay EDF almost three times what it currently needs to make a profit out of UK nuclear just for building the thing — and to beyond 2050. If Mr Cameron really is hell-bent on a last-century grand project like Hinkley, it would be far cheaper to use historically low borrowing costs to build it ourselves and regulate the operator’s returns. Instead, Britain is planning to enrich EDF. Why are we signing up to such a financially radioactive deal?
Times 17th Feb 2016 read more »
The EPR reactor is not Areva’s first failure in the field of nuclear engineering. The French nuclear company was involved in another disgraceful fiasco in Chernobyl, which the press has not wasted any time exposing. In the heart of the exclusion zone, just 2.5 kilometers from the ruins of Chernobyl’s reactor no. 4, lies a strange pile of concrete boxes, and two horizontal beams with multiple oval holes drilled into them extending for hundreds of meters. This unusual assemblage is called ISF2, which stands for “Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility 2”. It is a nuclear waste storage facility, which Ukraine commissioned Areva to build. The French nuclear group made a major design error in the facility, which has rendered it inoperable. This facility, considered by the international community to be as vital to the nuclear safety of Chernobyl as the giant arch over the damaged reactor, is still not functioning to this day, largely because of Areva’s initial errors.
Journal Energie 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Not even China likes the reactor its state-owned nuclear power company is helping to build in the UK. With its reactors at Taishan, models for the proposed Hinkley project, beset by lengthy delays and spiralling costs, Beijing appears to have soured on the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) technology. According to the World Nuclear Association, beyond the two at Taishan it has already committed to building and potentially a further two in planning, the only EPR reactors China will be associated with will be overseas. Four may sound like a perfectly respectable number, but in the scheme of China’s grand nuclear plans, it’s next to nothing. China expects to build around 40 nuclear power plants over the next five years, with Beijing preferring the other third-generation reactors, including the AP1000 due to be built in Cumbria. But things aren’t exactly working out with that model either. “The AP1000 units at Sanmen [in Zhejiang province] were due back in 2013 and 2014,” Antony Froggatt, energy research fellow at Chatham House, told Energydesk. “They’re now talking about finishing both of them sometime this year— so far they’re 18 months to two years behind schedule.” The reactor, designed by US energy company Westinghouse, which is now owned by Toshiba, may be considered the superior imported third-gen reactor but – like the EPR – it’s riddled with problems.
Energy desk 17th Feb 2016 read more »
UK Government Can Not Outsource Responsibility For Building UK Power Stations To Foreign Governments Delaying Final Investment Decision On Hinkley Point C.
GMB 16th Feb 2016 read more »
The UK is having an architectural contest to “beautify” the proposed Moorside Nuclear reactor Site, which we choose to call a “beauty pageant”. The image of the Toshiba owned Westinghouse AP 1000 looks like a milk churn or can.
Mining Awareness 16th Feb 2016 read more »
According to the Belgian popular newspaper La Dernière Heure, security has been enhanced around Belgian nuclear plants, after investigators acquired the conviction that the Belgian and French terrorists of North African extraction who killed 130 people and left 350 wounded in Paris in November last year were initially planning to attack nuclear plants in Belgium. In one of the hide-outs in Brussels, investigators have found more than ten hours of video footage of the house of the chief of the Belgian nuclear researches in Flanders. The official had been tracked and followed for a long time by the terrorists who finally committed the massacres in Paris, which already constitutes a serious breach in security and a serious embarrassment for the Belgian security services.
New Europe 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Belfast Telegraph 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Express 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Reuters 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Guardian 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Iraq is searching for “highly dangerous” radioactive material stolen last year amid fears it could fall the hands of Isis jihadis. The material, stored in a protective case the size of a laptop, went missing from a US-owned storage facility in Basra last November, according to leaked environment ministry documents. An unnamed senior security official with knowledge of the theft said: “We are afraid the radioactive element will fall into the hands of Daesh (Isis). “They could simply attach it to explosives to make a dirty bomb”. The document, dated 30 November and addressed to the ministry’s Centre for Prevention of Radiation, describes “the theft of a highly dangerous radioactive source of Ir-192 with highly radioactive activity from a depot…in the Rafidhia area of Basra province”. An anonymous senior environment ministry official based in the city told Reuters the device contained up to 10 grams (0.35 ounces) of Ir-192 “capsules”, a radioactive isotope of iridium also used to treat cancer.
Independent 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Mirror 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Telegraph 17th Feb 2016 read more »
RWE is set to announce details of a ‘comprehensive restructure’ of Npower next month, as it seeks to cut costs across the business by €2.5 billion by 2018. The German energy giant is overhauling its global business, with an Eon-style split of traditional generation from supply, grid and renewables operations announced at the end of last year. It has already exceeded its own incremental cost cutting targets, and has now raised the total target by €500 million to €2.5 billion.
Utility Week 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Catherine Mitchell: Exploring German governance issues – informed by GB and US experiences.
IGov 17th Feb 2016 read more »
US – radwaste
February 2016 marks two years since the underground fire and radiological release events forced the temporary closure of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), near Carlsbad, New Mexico. Since that time much progress has been made in the recovery of the underground including mine stability and habitability, initial panel closure, radiological risk remediation and the addition of an interim ventilation system. Additionally, in response to investigations from the Accident Investigation Boards (AIB), the site has made significant changes to all safety management programs and is in the process of revising the Documented Safety Analysis (DSA) that establishes the safety envelope for all activities on the WIPP site.
Cumbria Trust 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Rapidly decomposing waste 60 feet to 200 feet down is smoldering beneath one of the landfills in what scientists call a sub-surface burning event. The underground burn is only a few thousand feet from a Superfund site filled with waste from the World War II-era Manhattan Project, the federal government’s ultimately successful effort to build an atomic bomb. The Superfund site is managed by the Environmental Protection Agency, which neighbors and state officials say has done little to stop the burn from reaching the radioactive waste.
Washington Post 16th Feb 2016 read more »
Weapons plutonium is riskier above ground.
Nature 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Japan – Fast Reactor
The cost of decommissioning a nuclear reactor that was once seen as the crown jewel in Japan’s atomic energy programme has been put at an eye-watering 300 billion yen (HK$20.5 billion). That estimate for shutting down the Monju power plant was drawn up by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency in 2012, a year after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, but has only now been revealed by the Mainichi newspaper. The fate of Monju – which means wisdom in Japanese – has been up in the air since long before the Fukushima crisis due to a series of accidents at the plant, with many in the industry and the government tacitly accepting that it will never again be put into operation.
South China Morning Post 17th Feb 2016 read more »
OKG AB has confirmed that unit 1 of the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in Sweden will close in 2017. Last year it announced the reactor would be shut down between 2017 and 2019.
World Nuclear News 17th Feb 2016 read more »
China is considering the construction of offshore nuclear power plants. The country will conduct a ‘careful and scientific’ feasibility review before it makes the decision, said Xu Dazhe, director of the China Atomic Energy Authority, at a recent press conference.
Modern Power Systems 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Seismologists have warned that North Korea’s repeated nuclear tests could cause Mount Paekdu to erupt – and they add that one of the volcano’s previous eruptions was “one of the largest explosive events in human history”.
Telegraph 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Summary of Astute Class submarine incidents.
MoD 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
The Government’s £500m of allocated funds for green innovation could propel the UK into being a world-leader in energy generation, if the money is spent in key areas such as wave and tidal energy, low-carbon heat and energy storage. That’s according to Scotland’s renewable energy forum, Scottish Renewables, which today (17 February) released a new report that identifies six key innovation areas for the Government. It comes after Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement that the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s innovation programme will be doubled to £500m over the next five years, in a bid to strengthen the future security of supply, reduce the costs of decarbonisation and boost industrial and research capabilities.
Edie 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Scottish Energy News 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Scotsman 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Opening up future contracts for difference (CfD) to a wider array of technologies and reforming the auction process to better reflect their true costs, could save consumers around £2bn, according to research commissioned by Drax. The report, by NERA Economic Consulting and Imperial College London, claims the whole system cost for offshore wind – including paying for back up generation via the capacity auction – is £127/MWh. By comparison, onshore wind costs £92-97/MWh, solar costs £96/MWh and biomass conversion costs £84/MWh. None of these established technologies will be able to take part in the next auction, although they may be included in future ones.
Edie 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Scottish Energy News 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Times 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Global new investment in green energy technologies hit $329 billion in 2015 say Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That’s a good thing right? Well, not necessarily. Knowledge is always partial, and despite impressive breadth of data gathering, some fundamentals remain unclear. That’s where Mariana Mazzucato and Gregor Semieniuk came in, organising a special workshop on Financing Innovation in Renewable Energy hosted by Bloomberg NEF which asked, who is doing what, where and when?
Sussex Energy Group 17th Feb 2016 read more »
Almost a fifth of UK commercial property owners must make improvements to their buildings in order to comply with government energy standards or risk being barred from letting them, new research has found. The Government’s Energy Act, which was passed in the last Parliament, includes rules that mean from 2018 it will be unlawful to rent out a business property which fails to meet the minimum energy efficiency standard – an “E” rating.
Telegraph 18th Feb 2016 read more »
Yet another Energy Bill is trundling through the House of Commons and this time I’m leading for the Opposition on the Committee Stage. That’s not the big news: it is just that, unlike previous energy bills in which I have taken part as a committee member, this time I appear to have to do most of the talking. The Bill, in part, gives legislative substance to the Government’s decision to row back on the ending of the Renewables Obligation for onshore wind (and pretty much flatten onshore wind in England in the process) but it is largely about oil, gas and the North Sea. It will also squash what looks to be a substantial new long term industry for a depleted North Sea. Namely the ‘storage’ end of the Carbon Capture and Storage process.
Alan Whitehead MP 16th Feb 2016 read more »