The government has insisted it was still optimistic about plans to build a series of nuclear power stations despite expectations that EDF would delay its timetable for a new reactor at Hinkley Point and concerns that China was losing interest in being a co-investor. On Friday, the construction trade paper Building quoted industry sources as saying that EDF did not expect to take a final investment decision on Hinkley in Somerset until September at the earliest. The firm, 80% of which is owned by the French state, had originally talked about concluding negotiations by the end of 2012. That was later extended to the first quarter of 2013. Delays have traditionally dogged nuclear energy projects but are particularly worrisome in this case because Britain faces a potential energy capacity crisis within five years. EDF has been struggling with its own soaring £30bn debt levels and delays at its key project in France. The group opened talks with the Chinese as an alternative co-investor and earlier this month signed a formal co-operation deal with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Company. But City sources working for the Chinese told the Guardian they thought it very unlikely they would participate.
Guardian 17th May 2013 read more »
EDF will not make a final investment decision on its £10bn Hinkley nuclear plant project until at least September and is set to cut up to half the staff on the site in Somerset, Building understands. The French power company is expected to reach a deal with the government over what it can charge for the electricity from the power plant in Somerset – the so-called “strike price” – later this month, and had been expected to announce its investment decision soon after. However, sources close to the project have said no decision is now expected till September at the earliest. One source said it would “probably” be nearer to Christmas.
Building 17th May 2013 read more »
THE chairman of an influential Commons committee warned the high price of new nuclear power stations would be worth paying for cheaper energy bills over the long term. The Scottish Government is opposed to the creation of new nuclear power stations in Scotland. Ministers say nuclear is costly and dangerous and that Scotland should focus on renewables. Advocates say nuclear will help cut carbon emissions and “keep the lights on”.
Herald 18th May 2013 read more »
Energy and Climate Change – First Special Report. Building New Nuclear- the challenges ahead: Government Response to the Committee’s Sixth Report of Session 2012-13
Parliament 9th May 2013 read more »
The Government has been urged to clarify who will bear the risk of any cost overruns in building new nuclear plants, after ministers appeared to suggest the burden could fall on consumers. In a memo to the energy select committee, released on Friday, ministers also admit that delays or cost overruns at EDF’s proposed £14bn nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset could jeopardise the chances of any other new UK nuclear plants being built. The memo said that in “most cases” power plant developers were “best able to manage construction risk”, but in some cases “variation” was needed to “ensure that a range of low-carbon technologies can come forward at a reasonable cost and in a manner that reflects distinguishable differences in risk profile”. Tim Yeo, head of the committee, has written to energy minister Michael Fallon “in confusion” and asking, in effect, whether EDF’s proposed £14bn plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset is one such case.
Telegraph 17th May 2013 read more »
Government approval for the proposed new Hinkley C nuclear station is being challenged in the High Court, by the National Trust for Ireland. The charity is seeking a judicial review of planning approval, arguing that the UK Government has breached European law by not consulting the Irish people about the scheme which is as close to the Irish Coast as it is to London.
This is Somerset 17th May 2013 read more »
Horizon and Hitachi-GE sign contract for design work on Wylfa nuclear plant. The “major contract” will support site development work and allow Horizon to assess the best construction timetable for Wylfa, according to the company’s chief operating officer Alan Raymant. It will also feed into public consultations and support Horizon’s supply chain development strategy.
Nuclear Engineering International 16th May 2013 read more »
TORNESS Nuclear power station has opened to the public for the first time since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America. The power station unveiled its new visitor centre ¬yesterday before taking guests on a guided walk of the power ¬station – the first since 2001. EDF Energy, which runs the facility, said it hoped to attract thousands of visitors, from East Lothian and across Scotland, as part of its commitment to increasing openness at nuclear power stations.
Scotsman 17th May 2013 read more »
A MAJORITY of Caithness people would accept another nuclear power station in the far north. That was the view expressed yesterday by local MP John Thurso, landward Caithness Highland councillor Willie Mackay and Thurso community councillor Don Smith. They were responding to a claim made by Caithness Wind Information Forum chairman Stuart Young that nuclear power is the answer to the country’s future energy needs.
John O Groat Journal 17th May 2013 read more »
If Germany can phase out nuclear power and still thrive, why would other nations pursue a uranium-fuelled future? When a highly industrialised country such as Germany can cut a third of its nuclear capacity almost at the flick of a switch and still export more electricity than it imports, the pursuit of a nuclear renaissance elsewhere is puzzling. For example, the UK recently agreed to a new nuclear plant, Hinkley Point C, in Somerset and work began on reactors in South Carolina and Georgia in the US. Why would anyone choose to reinvest in a form of power that seems not to have been harnessed properly? At Chernobyl and Fukushima the world had two very close shaves. Not a very impressive safety record for a technology that has been pampered with billions of dollars of investment over 60 years. In 2010 my agency devised a study which showed how Germany could source all of its electric energy from sun, wind or water. Now the Energiewende, or energy transition, the country needs to make is high on the political agenda and gathering pace quickly. Remaining nuclear power stations will be shut by 2022 and fossil-fuel dependence reduced bit by bit.
New Scientist 20th May 2013 read more »
Exchanging different predictions for how much moving to a greener energy system might be going to cost British consumers was all the rage about eighteen months ago. Today, reports in the right wing press claim Britain’s green energy “folly” will cost consumers £600 a year by 2020. The Mail and Telegraph picked up on a press statement from thinktank Civitas arguing that green energy subsidies will cost every household £600 per annum – or £16 billion in total – by 2020. The figure is based on calculation by the chief executive of the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), Dr John Constable. How has the figure been created, and how does it compare to DECC’s?
Carbon Brief 17th May 2013 read more »
Families will be paying £600 a year towards green energy projects within the next seven years, a study for the Civitas think-tank has found. A DECC spokesman said: “We don’t recognise these numbers. The report is a manifesto for locking the British economy into excessive reliance on imported gas from far-flung, unstable parts of the world.
Telegraph 17th May 2013 read more »
Daily Mail 17th May 2013 read more »
So Ed Davey, climate secretary, wants to “want to turn the non-switchers into savvy switchers”, he said on Friday, talking about the importance of driving down energy bills. But switching supplier is never going to be enough. We need to start taking energy consumption seriously. The UK currently has a handful of policies in place on this, in an attempt to catch-up with our European rivals on efforts to rein in energy consumption. The majority of UK energy programs are aimed at the housing stock. UK homes are among the least efficient in Europe, burdened by poor insulation, draughts and inefficient heating systems. They account for nearly a third of the nation’s total energy use.
Guardian 17th May 2013 read more »
Governments of all political hues have long known that Britain faces an energy crunch. The country’s generous endowment of power stations is running down and needs replacing. Thanks to its antiquity and the demands of environmental legislation, roughly a fifth of the existing stock will drop out of the system over the next decade. While the post-crisis downturn has masked the scale of the looming problem by restraining consumption, the safety margin between capacity and demand is shrinking. It stands at 14 per cent, well below the 20 per cent deemed necessary to insure against shocks. High quality global journalism requires investment. The Energy Bill has all the flavour of a last-minute botch. The heart of the problem is ministers’ wish to mandate how much of the UK’s energy supply comes from different sources, with a view to ensuring that a big enough component is filled by nuclear and renewables. The energy bill going through parliament requires them to set minimum guaranteed prices for each power source stretching into the future. Setting aside the complexity and the invitation this extends to lobbyists, it involves setting prices in aspic when energy markets are undergoing unprecedented upheaval. High quality global journalism requires investment. Rather than continue down this road, the government should do two things. First, it should de-link gas-fired capacity from the rest of the bill and start auctioning capacity so the lights stay on. Second, it should think again about the merits of picking winners among the other energy sources. This newspaper would prefer a sensibly set carbon price, leaving investors free to pick technologies, even if this led to a near-term emphasis on gas. The government says European renewables targets leave it no alternative but to press on. But other countries, such as Germany, face similar problems. If the cap is too tight, ministers should try to negotiate a more flexible deal.
FT 17th May 2013 read more »
Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power producer, fell the most in five months in Paris trading after Bank of America Corp. cut its rating on the stock on concern earnings from nuclear generation will fall short. EDF (EDF) fell as much as 5.5 percent, the biggest intraday decline since Nov. 29, and was down 4.8 percent at 17.265 euros as of 4:39 p.m. local time. Trading volumes were more than 60 percent above the three-month daily average. The French government, which controls Paris-based EDF, is due to set wholesale prices for the company’s atomic power by the end of the year as the utility pushes for higher rates to help finance investments and cover costs. The tariff “could disappoint investors,” Arnaud Joan, an analyst at Bank of America in London, wrote in a report published today.
Energy Tribune 17th May 2013 read more »
China, India, and the Russian Federation are quietly forging ahead with nuclear energy expansion while the West and Japan fret over it. Developing countries are dominant leaders in the construction of nuclear facilities.
Proactive investors 16th May 2013 read more »
France must accelerate a decision on its future energy mix before aging nuclear plants are halted permanently, according to the country’s atomic-power regulator. Lawmakers must also ensure electricity producers have sufficient generation capacity to keep the lights on should multiple reactors shut at once for safety reasons, Autorite de Surete Nucleaire President Pierre-Franck Chevet said yesterday.
Bloomberg 17th Feb 2013 read more »
A panel of experts appointed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority concluded Wednesday that a reactor in western Japan is located above an active fault that could undermine its safety, increasing the likelihood the unit will be permanently shut down. The determination is expected to lead NRA commissioners to decide that the No. 2 unit at Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tsuruga plant does not meet the conditions necessary for undergoing a safety assessment, which the country’s reactors are required to clear in order to resume operation following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi complex disaster.
Mainichi 15th May 2013 read more »
The utility companies that hold major stakes in Japan Atomic Power Co. could be forced to shoulder enormous financial burdens if JAPC were to collapse due to the possible shutdown and decommissioning of the No. 2 reactor at its Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture. A panel of experts appointed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority concluded on May 15 that the No. 2 reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear power station in western Japan is located right above an active fault that could undermine its safety, increasing the likelihood the unit would be shut down permanently. The power companies, major shareholders of JAPC, have already decided to extend support to JAPC until April next year, but there are no viable plans yet to restore its finances.
Mainichi 16th May 2013 read more »
The Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor will unlikely be able to resume operations by the end of the current fiscal year, the research institute that owns the facility said Thursday. The remarks were made a day after the Nuclear Regulation Authority decided not to allow the Japan Atomic Energy Agency to engage in preparatory work for resuming operations at Monju because it sees problems in its safety management.
Japan Times 17th May 2013 read more »
Germany’s parliament has begun lengthy debate on draft legislation to find the safest possible underground site to stash waste from nuclear power stations for eons. Legislative details have already sparked ructions.
Deutsche Welle 17th May 2013 read more »
In January, it seemed the restart of San Onofre Unit 2 would be a corporate cake walk. With its massive money and clout, Southern California Edison was ready to ram through a license exception for a reactor whose botched $770 million steam generator fix had kept it shut for a year. But a funny thing has happened on the way to the restart: a No Nukes groundswell has turned this routine rubber stamping into an epic battle the grassroots just might win. Indeed, if ever there was a time when individual activism could have a magnified impact, this is it
Counter Punch 17th May 2013 read more »
The Government has promised to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the UK by the mid 2020’s, in accordance with the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT). Of the five NPT signatory states, the UK already has the smallest amount of weapons (just 225 while America holds 7,700). The aim of the UK government is to reduce this number to 180 by the mid 2020’s.
Information Daily 17th May 2013 read more »
The government has categorically rejected claims public support for renewable energy will top £200bn by 2030, dismissing a paper by think-tank Civitas as “a manifesto for… excessive reliance on imported gas”. In an unusually blunt statement, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said it did not recognise the numbers used in the report to underpin projections that average energy bills will rise £600 a year as a result of green policies.
Business Green 17th May 2013 read more »
A site for a Scottish wind farm that has been the subject of a bitter battle between two hugely wealthy families has been sold to the energy company SSE.
Times 18th May 2013 read more »
After years of conflict, it can be difficult to imagine the people of Mogadishu enjoying a nightlife. Thanks to improved security and solar street lighting, the Somali capital has been transformed from a war-zone to a place where people can venture out without fear. Anne Soy shows the city’s nightlife for the first time in 20 years.
BBC 17th May 2013 read more »
Last night John Ashton, the UK’s former Special Representative for Climate Change and now one of the world’s most effective climate change campaigners, delivered a wide-ranging lecture on the challenges facing the green movement. Hosted by Friends of the Earth and titled Cometh the Hour, the lecture touched on a huge range of topics, including the importance of getting China and the US behind a legally binding international climate treaty; the need for environmentalists to make a more compelling case for the low-carbon economy; the “madness” of trying to leave the EU when the world is becoming ever more interconnected; and the embarrassment of Labour, Lib Dem, Conservative and Green politicians failing to take UKIP leader Nigel Farage to task on Question Time recently for his cavalier and scientifically illiterate stance on climate change.
Business Green 17th May 2013 read more »
Suggestions that global warming has stalled are a “diversionary tactic” from “deniers” who want the public to be confused over climate change, according to the world’s best-known climate scientist. Prof James Hansen, who first alerted the world to climate change in 1988, said on Friday: “It is not true that the temperature has not changed in the two decades.”
Guardian 17th May 2013 read more »
The number of people employed by the government to work on the UK’s response to the effects of climate change has been cut from 38 officials to just six, triggering accusations that David Cameron’s promise to be the greenest government has been abandoned.
Guardian 17th May 2013 read more »
Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) is a technology for recovering a synthetic gas directly from coal deposits by partial in-situ combustion. It is currently being trialled in a number of countries, and advocates argue that despite high intrinsic carbon emissions it could provide a low cost route to effective carbon capture and storage. This study, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, reviews the technical and economic status of UCG technologies, and develops a series of scenarios to assess the possible implications for the climate. It finds that the technical and cost obstacles to effective deployment of high levels of carbon capture in UCG are more significant than advocates of the technology acknowledge, and that the risk of increased or prolonged unabated use of coal as a result of UCG could become a serious climate threat.
McLaren Environmental (accessed) 17th May 2013 read more »