This report provides an update on Hitachi-GE’s progress with Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR), and the progress of Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor design between May and October 2016. AP1000: Westinghouse’s approach to GDA closure has continued to improve and we are seeing the results of its revised management arrangements. There is agreement on the technical scope of work required to address the outstanding issues, and overall submissions are improving. However, the regulators are concerned about the volume of work still to be assessed in the remaining time. ABWR: ONR continues its intensive assessment of the UK ABWR Step 4 technical submissions, and we are now moving towards finalising any additional safety case issues and identifying matters that may require further work. There is a large volume of work remaining; however Hitachi-GE continues to respond well and maintain pace. The Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales continues their assessments and are starting consultation on their findings so far on 12 December 2016.
ONR 17th Nov 2016 read more »
WEST Somerset Councillors plan to fight back against central Government as a business rates valuation for Hinkley Point B again threatens the stability of the cash-strapped council. The councillors are planning to lobby Government as the Valuation Office Agency has reviewed nationally and put a rateable value of £29.5m on Hinkley B, less than two years after EDF reduced the value of the station from £12m to just over £8m. The appeal punctured a black hole into West Somerset Council’s finances as it had to pay £1.6m from its reserves to cover part of the refund – and lost £315,000 a year in business rates funding.
This is the West Country 16th Nov 2016 read more »
The Heathrow third runway and Hinkley Point C projects have already contributed to skills shortages, according to One Way. An analysis by the specialist construction and rail recruiter found that the choice of building a bridge, rather than a tunnel at Heathrow was mainly due to a shortage of talent. In addition, firms in the South West have already begun to adapt their approaches due to a looming drought of skills brought on by the need for labour at the Hinkley Point C site. One Way has warned that there currently aren’t enough professionals working in the industry to meet demand should it be raised any further.
Response Source 17th Nov 2016 read more »
The go-ahead for the Hinkley Point nuclear power station should pave the way for future large-scale infrastructure projects across the UK, Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey said today (Thursday 17 November). The leader of the country’s largest union was visiting the Somerset site today, following the government’s go-ahead for the French energy giant EDF to build the £18 billion project. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Hinkley Point represents the large-scale type of infrastructure project that Britain should be developing in the next decade, especially following the Brexit referendum vote. “To see the scale of this operation first-hand and to meet this top-class workforce who fought so hard to deliver this project for the country has been an honour – and this shows once again what unions and business can achieve when they work together. “But this project is also a reminder of the sort of economy that this country needs to take us forward in these uncertain times. “Hinkley Point’s construction will generate thousands of jobs in the south west, including much needed apprenticeships, and will make a vital contribution to meeting the energy needs of the country.
Unite 17th Nov 2016 read more »
NATIONAL Grid is under fire for overlooking local labour in its £2.8bn scheme to provide high-voltage links to a new nuclear power plant at Moorside, Sellafield.
In Cumbria 18th Nov 2016 read more »
SELLAFIELD and the National Nuclear Laboratory have picked up a global award for a scientific study. The findings allowed Sellafield to slice millions of pounds off the estimated bill for cleaning up the building and speeding up the project by around four years. The research centred on the long-term behaviour of the waste and the corrosion of magnesium and uranium. It confirmed that Sellafield Ltd could move from a 22-step mechanical treatment and encapsulation process, which would have required the construction of a multi-million pound plant, to a simpler and ultimately safer process where waste is placed in a shielded box for storage for decades before final disposal in an underground repository.
In Cumbria 18th Nov 2016 read more »
DECOMMISSIONING of Oldbury Power Station has ‘skipped ahead’ with the first items being removed from the site’s cooling pond. The fuel skip, which is one of many used for storing fuel rods after they had been inside the reactor, has been redundant since the decommissioning work began earlier this year, and its successful removal signals the start of the campaign to clear the pond before it is drained and decontaminated.
Gloucestershire Gazette 17th Nov 2016 read more »
Fresh talks over a third bridge crossing the Menai Strait have begun, a senior Welsh Government minister has revealed. The National Grid are planning to build an underwater tunnel to connect electricity cables from the proposed new Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant. The structure, which will cost in the region of £100m to built, will be sunk under the seabed between Anglesey and Gwynedd. But the Welsh Government has revealed that they want a bridge to be built instead of the tunnel, which would be a ‘shared crossing’ capable of carrying car and other vehicles as well as cables across the Strait.
Daily Post 17th Nov 2016 read more »
Britain will end up importing electricity from polluting power plants in Europe instead of generating it from cleaner and newer plants at home unless it phases out its carbon tax, Policy Exchange has warned. In a report, the influential think-tank urged the Chancellor to resist calls from manufacturers who want the levy scrapped now and instead keep it until the early 2020s, to ensure that it leads to the closure of the UK’s dirty old coal-fired power plants in favour of new gas plants. But once the coal plants have shut, by the mid-2020s, Policy Exchange argues the tax will serve little purpose and would simply encourage Britain to import more power from dirtier plants in Europe where carbon taxes are lower. This could actually increase overall European emissions, while also pushing up UK electricity bills, it warned.
Telegraph 18th Nov 2016 read more »
Energy Policy – Scotland
The Scottish Energy Association’s 10th annual conference will be based around the opportunities for the industry as a result of the forthcoming Scottish Government Energy Strategy Document. The Scottish Energy Strategy draft is due to be published for consultation by the Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse in January 2017.
Scottish Energy News 18th Nov 2016 read more »
There is “no reason” for the Big Six energy giants to raise their standard variable tariffs this winter because their hedging strategies should insulate them from rising wholesale prices, leading analysts have said. Amid mounting speculation over a possible round of price rises, consultants Cornwall Energy said their analysis showed major suppliers should be able to hold off for several months – but warned that electricity price rises of up to 10pc before winter 2017-18 were highly likely. Leading challenger brands such as Ovo Energy have increased the cost of their one-year fixed-price deals in recent weeks, blaming rising wholesale prices, while energy giant SSE has warned of wholesale and green levy costs putting “pressure” on all suppliers. But Cornwall’s analysis suggests the hedging strategies used by the Big Six – which typically buy energy for their standard tariffs well in advance – should help insulate them for now.
Telegraph 17th Nov 2016 read more »
The Treasury has been lambasted by MPs for failing to adequately factor in long-term sustainability risks into its decisions, with the carbon capture and storage (CCS) and zero-carbon homes policies specifically cited as detrimental to both the economy and investor confidence.
Edie 17th Nov 2016 read more »
Nukes vs Climate
The Fairewinds Crew created this special 2-minute animation to show you why building new nukes is a lost opportunity for humankind with precious time and money wasted on the wrong choice. At least $8.2 Trillion would be needed to build the 1,000 atomic reactors the nuclear industry wants – that’s 1 reactor every 12-days for 35-years. Watch the animation to see what it means and why!
Fairwinds Energy Education (accessed) 18th Nov 2016 read more »
Oettinger found himself in the spotlight again — this time, after revelations that he flew to Budapest in May on the private plane of a German businessman, Klaus Mangold, to meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Mangold, Vice-Chairman Europe at the investment bank Rothschild, has connections to both the Hungarian government — he’s a consultant for a multi-billion euro nuclear project known as Paks II — and the Kremlin. (He is sometimes referred to as Mr. Russia in the German press.)
Politico 18th Nov 2016 read more »
The EU claims to be promoting an ambitious agenda at the Marrakesh climate conference, but its latest piece of energy legislation could subsidise new coal capacity and undermine market access for renewables.
Edie 17th Nov 2016 read more »
The European Commission has ended proceedings against Hungary over the award of a contract to Russia’s Rosatom to expand the Paks nuclear plant, although it is still investigating the country’s funding for the project. The Commission said in a filing that its infringement proceedings had closed on Nov. 17. EU rules allow public procurement without call for competition if the contract can only reasonably be given to one company.
Reuters 18th Nov 2016 read more »
The French state electricity giant building Britain’s new nuclear power plant was accused by environmentalists yesterday of a gross underestimation of the cost of atomic energy. Greenpeace claimed that if EDF disclosed the true cost of running a fleet of reactors in France while financing two new ones in the UK, it would be declared bankrupt. The allegation was made after Greenpeace commissioned an audit by AlphaValue, the equity research company. The claims were denied by EDF, which said its accounts had been certified by official auditors. A source close to the company said that Greenpeace was an unreliable critic because of its anti-nuclear stance. The report fed into longstanding concerns in France over EDF’s financial solidity. The French government has agreed to inject 3 billion euros into the group this year and has renounced dividend payments until next year. Shares in EDF, in which the French state has an 85 per cent stake, have lost almost a third of their value in the past year and the company is no longer listed on the Paris blue-chip index. The AlphaValue report described EDF as an “uncompetitive firm . . . incapable of reacting rapidly and efficiently to the variations in electricity needs and the changes created by the liberalisation of . . . European markets”. It said that EDF’s rivals had written down the value of their nuclear plants because of the move to renewable energy and the fall in electricity prices and that EDF had failed to follow suit. Juan Camilo Rodriguez, author of the report, said the company was likely to have to close 17 of its 58 French reactors to meet the government’s requirement that nuclear power should provide 50 per cent of the nation’s electricity in 2025, down from 75 per cent now. “The provisions to safeguard the burden of financing the decommissioning of the French reactors are far from sufficient. [If 17 are closed], the group should increase its provisions by more than 20 billion euros.” Mr Rodriguez said the cost of handling nuclear waste added at least 33.5 billion to that figure. “Whatever scenario is retained, an adjustment of the nuclear provisions . . . would lead to the bankruptcy of EDF from an accountancy point of view,” he added. The report said that EDF would need to find a further 165 billion during the next decade to finance projects such as Hinkley Point and the renovation of reactors in France. EDF says it will spend 51 billion renovating its reactors and £12 billion on Hinkley Point. A spokesman for EDF accused AlphaValue of making erroneous calculations that failed to take account of long-term electricity price movements and differences between France and other European markets.
Times 18th Nov 2016 read more »
France’s power giant EDF has “drastically” under-budgeted the cost of dismantling its old reactors and investing in new projects such as a contested British nuclear plant, a Greenpeace-commissioned study said Thursday. The amount of under-budgeted costs for state-controlled EDF to take old reactors out of commission and deal with waste disposal is evaluated at between 57.3 and 63.4 billion euros in 2025 ($61.3 – $67.8 billion), the study said. This is more than double the current value of the company, which is nearly 25 billion euros, said the report’s authors, financial analysis firm AlphaValue.
Expatica 17th Nov 2016 read more »
[Machine Translation] “EDF asphyxiated by nuclear,” according to a study for Greenpeace. Power plants “probably” overvalued and dismantling and waste management costs “drastically” undervalued: a study by the financial analysis firm AlphaValue, commissioned by Greenpeace, tightens EDF’s nuclear strategy and its financial situation. According to the study published on Thursday, entitled “EDF asphyxiated by nuclear”, “the main concern” for the electrician concerns “under-provisioning” of the costs of reactor dismantling and waste management. AlphaValue estimates that “global underfunding is valued between € 57.3 and € 63.4 billion in 2025”, well above the Group’s current equity of around € 25 billion.
Ouest France 17th Nov 2016 read more »
[Machine Translation] A study commissioned by the NGO, and challenged by EDF, estimates that it lacks at least 50 billion euros in the caisses to face the wall of investments looming. “EDF asphyxiated by nuclear power”: Greenpeace has chosen its moment to send a new Scud to its best enemy. The environmental NGO publishes this Thursday an alarming study on what it considers to be the reality of the financial accounts of the operator of the 19 French nuclear power plants. According to the audit conducted by the financial analysis firm AlphaValue at Greenpeace’s request, the electrician overestimates its power stations considerably and drastically underestimates the cost of the provisions necessary for the dismantling of its nuclear installations and the management of waste, While it faces an investment wall by 2025.
Liberation 17th Nov 2016 read more »
The operator of Switzerland’s nuclear reactors, Alpiq, reportedly offered reactors to France’s EDF at no cost or “a symbolic franc.” The French, who have their hands full with their own struggling fleet at home, refused the offer. A potential power shortfall still looms in the background. Craig Morris explains. On the weekend, Swiss media reported (in German and in French) that Swiss reactor operator Alpiq could find no buyer for its two nuclear plants and is therefore hoping to give them to the Swiss state. The firm’s CEO is quoted saying that France’s EDF was not interested even at no cost because it “has its own problems pertaining to nuclear power at present.” It is possible that the announcement is a bargaining chip just in case the Swiss decide in their referendum later this month to phase out nuclear. Alpiq’s Gösgen reactor would then have to close in 2024; Leibstadt, in 2029. The company may thus be looking for ways to ask for money from the Swiss state in return for a closure. At present, the firm is apparently losing 2 billion francs annually but can only pass on half of those losses to consumers.
Renew Economy 18th Nov 2016 read more »
Bulgarian prosecutors charged former economy and energy minister Rumen Ovcharov on Thursday with mismanagement that led to state losses of more than 190 million euros ($200 million) related to a canceled nuclear project with Russia’s Atomstroyexport. Bulgaria canceled the 10-billion-euro Belene project on the Danube River in 2012 after failing to find foreign investors and under pressure from Brussels and Washington to limit its energy dependence on Russia. An arbitration court has ruled Bulgaria needs to pay over 600 million euros in compensation to Atomstroyexport over the project, which analysts and politicians say reflects widespread corruption in the Balkan country.
Reuters 17th Nov 2016 read more »
As the host of this year’s COP22 climate change conference in Marrakech, Morocco has been keen to demonstrate its green credentials and make this COP the “African COP”. In the past year, Morocco has banned the use of plastic bags, launched new plans for extending the urban tram networks in Casablanca and Rabat, started the process of replacing its dirty old fleet of buses and taxis, launched Africa’s first city bicycle hire scheme, and launched a new initiative – the “Adaptation of African Agriculture” – to help the continent’s farmers adjust to climate change. But by far the most attention has been on the development of “mega” inf rastructure projects in an ambitious plan to transform the country’s energy mix. Morocco has no fossil fuel reserves so is almost entirely reliant on imports. In 2015 King Mohammed VI committed the country to increasing its share of renewable electricity generation to 52% by 2030, aiming for the installation of around 10 gigawatts (GW). Of that, 14% is expected to come from solar, with plans to install 2GW of new capacity by 2020, as well as increases in wind power and hydraulic dams. Morocco has even opened the door to exchanging electricity produced from renewable sources with Europe.
Guardian 17th Nov 2016 read more »
A 350-member Citizens’ Jury convened to decide on whether a massive nuclear waste dump would benefit South Australia just gave the plans a big ‘No!’, writes Ian Lowe. SA Premier Weatherill must drop his attempt to reverse that decision with a referendum, and accept the jury’s well informed, democratic verdict.
Ecologist 16th Nov 2016 read more »
A high-level agreement is to be signed in Brussels next week by Aberdeen Council and a European-wide organisation which will boost the city’s hydrogen renewable energy profile. Aberdeen council currently holds the presidency of HyER, the Hydrogen Organisation for the European Regions. Councillor Barney Crocket, the city’s spokesman on hydrogen, is to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) which seeks to ensure better working relationships for hydrogen fuel cells between regions and industry. The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) is a co-operation of representatives from industry, academic, research organisations and public authorities to develop and deploy strategies for fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies, and its mission is to accelerate the commercialisation of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. As cities and regions are the main drivers to decarbonise the transport sector, improved coordination of priorities and activities within EU is key to achieving the goal of accelerating the adoption of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies. Aberdeen is promoting hydrogen energy technologies through schemes such as the Hydrogen Bus Project.
Scottish Energy News 18th Nov 2016 read more »
The grass is always greener than the gas on the other side, according to a British businessman who claims grasslands could provide enough gas to heat all of the UK’s homes. Dale Vince, the chairman of renewable energy company Ecotricity, is investing £10m in the first of a generation of what he calls ‘green gas mills’ that he says could compete against gas from fracking. The company said its Hampshire plant at Sparsholt College, which has planning permission and is slated to be operational in 2018, will take grass harvested from nearby fields and break it down in an anaerobic digester. Grass at the plant would be turned into biomethane within 45 days and then injected into the national network, providing the heating needs of more than 4,000 homes. A report by Ecotricity on Thursday said there are around 6m hectares of suitable grassland in the UK, not including arable land for crops. It argued this would be enough to match the amount of gas the National Grid forecasts homes will consume by 2035, but doing so would require the building of around 5,000 mills akin to the Hampshire one. Vince admitted that getting to that point would be a huge challenge, given no other country had done it before and it was a new approach in the UK. “It would be a massive undertaking but it would be permanent. Grass keeps growing, it doesn’t run out, unlike gas from fracking. Most of the value would be in the hands of farmers who, post-Brexit, may be in need of it,” he told the Guardian. The company is planning four other mills in addition to the one at Sparsholt College – in Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Shropshire, Wiltshire. Ecotricity is lobbying the government to secure subsidies for the plants, via the renewable heat incentive, which currently excludes support for grass.
Guardian 18th Nov 2016 read more »
A CORPORATE financier has drafted a paper outlining how Scottish communities could directly benefit from renewable projects by investing in a green energy bond. It marks the first significant work to set out how such a bond, mooted by Scottish ministers in their 2016-17 programme for government, would work in practice. Simon Robinson, a consultant with significant experience of helping firms raise finance to build wind farms and offload renewable assets, explored the practicalities behind the idea after holding talks with Scottish Renewables. It comes with the Scottish Government committed to having one gigawatt (GW) of renewable capacity under community and local ownership by 2020. The previous 500 megawatt target has already been exceeded.
Herald 18th Nov 2016 read more »
The UK government has signed a document ratifying the world’s first comprehensive agreement on tackling climate change. Parliament raised no objections to the Paris deal; after the government signed the deal on Thursday, it is now just awaiting deposition at the UN.
The government is set to announce tomorrow that ratification is complete.
BBC 17th Nov 2016 read more »