Centrica is expected to turn its back on building new nuclear power stations in Britain and instead focus its expansion in the US. The owner of British Gas will formally take the decision by January at the latest to end its partnership with French energy giant EDF to build a new Hinkley Point power station in Somerset. According to senior company sources, only a dramatic change in Government policy on subsidising nuclear power would create a business case for investment.
This is Money 17th Nov 2012 more >>
Mail on Sunday 17th Nov 2012 more >>
The Government has again delayed its long-awaited energy bill after fundamental disagreements between the coalition partners look set to push its publication into next month. In a move that increases the prospect of the lights going out, the bill, due to be published this week, has been postponed after George Osborne and his Conservative allies were unable to resolve differences with the Liberal Democrat energy minister Ed Davey and his party. Mr Davey told The Independent on Sunday that the bill would be published "very soon" but declined to be more specific. Sources suggested it is likely to be pushed into December. The sources said the disputes centred on the ideological differences between a Tory party determined to keep costs to a minimum and champion the use of gas, and the Lib Dems, for whom a green agenda is a defining characteristic. Among other things, the two sides are understood to be at loggerheads over whether to include a legally binding target to make electricity generation almost entirely green by 2030 – which Mr Davey backs and Mr Osborne opposes. Dominic Nash, an analyst at Liberum Capital, said: "The whole thing’s a joke. The lights are going to start flickering around 2015 or 2016, so even if it gains Royal Assent in the fourth quarter of 2013 there can be no new power station until 2017.
Independent on Sunday 18th Nov 2012 more >>
The only way Copeland can survive the brutal budget cuts it faces is by hosting a new underground nuclear waste repository, says MP Jamie Reed. He told at a public meeting in Whitehaven last night that failing to back nuclear new-build, including the potential major waste disposal facility, would “seal the area’s fate”. The Labour MP called the meeting to discuss Copeland’s future in the light of government cuts, in which Copeland Council must save £2.6m by 2015. “Failure to act now will seal our fate, and the choices we make need to include three new nuclear reactors (on land just north of Sellafield at Moorside), a new Mox facility at Sellafield, and an underground repository. The jobs and community benefits these developments will create are key to our future.” Copeland, Allerdale and Cumbria County Councils will decide on January 4 whether to proceed to the next stage of the process to explore hosting an underground facility in the area.
Carlisle News & Star 17th Nov 2012 more >>
In the poor nations of Eastern Europe, some fear offline nuclear reactors left in limbo pose extraordinary risks. Dormant nuclear facilities could potentially pose a tantalizing prize for terrorists or smugglers of nuclear materials, and experts point to another worry: Only a handful of reactors worldwide have been fully dismantled, meaning the process is largely uncharted territory. Tearing apart reactor cores, for instance, creates unknown challenges and potential risks given the level of radiation inside them. Steven Thomas, an energy expert at Britain’s Greenwich University, says taking apart the core will likely require robots that are not yet invented. "The robots we have at the moment won’t do it because the levels of radioactivity will send them berserk," he said. Ignalina presents particular challenges. The nuclear fuel rod bundles, at 7 meters (23 feet), are twice as long as those in conventional plants and must be sawed in half to fit into storage casts.
Huffington Post 17th Nov 2012 more >>
ENERGY companies will launch a fightback in the row over soaring household bills with a new report that claims government-imposed “green” charges are driving up prices. Politicians pilloried the “big six” utilities for a flurry of recent rate rises that have pushed up the average annual household bill to £1,330 — twice what it was five years ago. The companies claim that aside from the wholesale gas price, the biggest factor in rising tariffs is the raft of subsidies for wind farms and other low-carbon technologies. British Gas, the country’s biggest utility, said green charges accounted for £150 of the overall bill — a 50% increase from 2007, when they accounted for £94. Energy UK, the industry body, will publish a report within days that is expected to say that a new scheme designed to slash household energy use will add as much as another £50. That would be twice the level five years ago and represents 15% of the current tariff. The report from Nera, the consultancy, focuses on the energy company obligation scheme, or ECO. From next year the scheme will replace the £1.3bn-a-year CERT programme, which offers subsidised loft insulation and boiler replacement. ECO is targeted at more difficult, and expensive, measures such as solid wall insulation, which can cost several thousand pounds as opposed to a few hundred for cavity walls.
Sunday Times 18th Nov 2012 more >>
IRAN has postponed its plans to start a nuclear research reactor which Western experts fear could produce material for an atomic bomb. The Islamic State has continued to work at the facility near the town of Arak, but the start-up of the reactor has been delayed until 2014. Tehran officials claim the site is for research purposes only. However, nuclear analysts claim it could yield plutonium for nuclear arms if the spent fuel is reprocessed. This latest news follows claims the country is ready to double its underground uranium enrichment facility. This latest news follows claims the country is ready to double its underground uranium enrichment facility.
Sunday Herald 18th Nov 2012 more >>
Florian Bamberg has posted again to his new anti-renewable propaganda blog, with the title “Germany’s dirty nuclear import secret”. There he pushes the standard talking point that Germany, by phasing out nuclear energy, needs to import nuclear energy from France. These imports from France that Bamberg has discovered are so top secret that everybody else reports “record electricity exports from Germany” right now. Germany has exported 12.3 TWh in the first three quarters of this year, since renewable energy reduces wholesale prices. Electricity flows from lower priced markets to higher priced ones, just like everything else.
Karl-Friedrich Lenz 18th Nov 2012 more >>
Dash for Gas
The chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell has backed the Government’s “dash for gas”, saying that the fossil fuel is abundantly available, environmentally friendly and will provide energy for the next 250 years. Next week the Government is expected to announce its gas strategy, which will propose the building of 20 new gas-fired power stations in the UK.
Telegraph 17th Nov 2012 more >>