There seems to be practically no one left who thinks Hinkley is a good idea. Newspaper columnists are falling over themselves to condemn the project. Only UK Chancellor George Osborne and EDF’s CEO are left defending it. I suspect they privately wish it would disappear as well, but they have to save face. But saving face is not a sensible motivation for national energy policy, and there’s wide agreement that everyone would be better off if we can find a way out. The important thing is that such a scenario absolutely must involve much greater investment in renewables, storage capacity and smart grid technology. Otherwise the gap could be filled by more polluting technologies, as happened when Germany shut down its nuclear reactors following the Fukushima disaster.
New Economics Foundation 1st April 2016 read more »
Electricite de France SA has mitigated financial, technical and governance risks of its plan to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in the U.K. with a Chinese partner, paving the way for the French utility’s board to make a final decision on the 18 billion pound ($26 billion) project. “The final investment decision should be taken before the board in coming weeks,” Dominique Miniere, EDF’s head of nuclear and thermal power generation, said Thursday at a conference in Paris. EDF’s chief executive officer believes “the risks of delaying are greater than the risks of not doing so, given the mitigating measures” that the company has introduced, Miniere said.
Bloomberg 31st March 2016 read more »
French energy company EDF has tersely dismissed as “fanciful” speculation that it is less than committed to moving ahead with the Hinkley C project. The company said it had been subject to a campaign of misinformation about the two new nuclear reactors in Somerset and that a start date of 2025 was set in stone. A spokesman said: “In recent days, a number of unfounded rumours and fanciful stories, from anonymous sources, have been put out in the media.
Plymouth Herald 31st March 2016 read more »
WORLD leaders will gather in Washington to discuss how to prevent terrorists getting hold of radioactive material, with the UK set to play a leading role in protecting nuclear facilities from cyber attack. The UK and United States will take part in a joint exercise next year to prepare for any online attack against nuclear power plants and waste storage facilities, such as those at Hinkley, Somerset.
Burnham & Highbridge Weekly News 31st March 2016 read more »
The real guiding principle of UK energy policy has been facilitating one single power station — Hinkley C — the infamous nuclear plant that was due to come on line in 2017, or 2025, or possibly 2027, or sometime in the early 2030s, or maybe not at all if the delays continue as they have done for the last decade. Hinkley has required the government to rig the energy markets in a way which favoured nuclear over renewables, just as it became clear to the rest of the world that the future belongs to renewables and nuclear belongs to the past. As a consequence the entirely rational global drop in investment in fossil fuels and nuclear has been matched in the UK with a drop in investment in clean energy, engineered through government policy. According to recent research, from 2017 onwards we will be losing billions in potential investment in clean tech, a loss due to the government’s ideologically driven energy policies. This systemic policy failure impacts on all three aspects of the energy ‘trilemma’ — the government’s chosen framing for energy issues.
Greenpeace 31st March 2016 read more »
The first EDF board member to go public with their intention to vote against the £18 billion project to build Hinkley C nuclear power station has said his own firm’s timetable was ‘not credible’. Christian Taxil spoke out as pressure on the state-owned French power firm – and the French Government – intensified to clarify the position on exactly how it will finance what will be the biggest single building project in Britain.
Western Daily Press 1st April 2016 read more »
EDF in the UK may be propelled by its disastrous nuclear ambitions, writes Chris Goodall. But across the Atlantic it’s another story: the company is the US’s biggest wind developer, and selling its power, profitably, for under 40% of the price it has been promised for Hinkley C, including federal tax credits. If it continues at the current rate, it will be generating more electricity from wind by 2025 than would be provided by Hinkley Point C. The numbers are as follows. Hinkley will generate about 25 terawatt hours a year. EDF’s 2015 annual portfolio of new wind projects will provide about 3 terawatt hours a year at average US utilisation factors. If it continues to develop new wind projects at the rate of 1 gigawatt a year, it will be generating well over 30 terawatt hours a year from wind by the end of 2025. 2025 is when EDF says Hinkley will be finished. What about the capital cost of wind versus nuclear? The latest US estimates suggest a figure of about $1,700 per kilowatt of capacity. That means EDF’s projects completed in 2015 cost about $1.8bn. Over ten years, that rate of installation will mean a total cost of around $18bn or about £13bn. Wind is therefore at least 30% cheaper to construct.
Ecologist 1st April 2016 read more »
New arrangements see Sellafield Ltd, the organisation responsible for cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear site, becoming a subsidiary of the NDA, which is the public body responsible for the safe and efficient clean-up of the UK’s nuclear legacy. The new subsidiary model will help Sellafield Ltd to build on, and accelerate progress in hazard and risk reduction and decommissioning and deliver it more efficiently. It will replace the Parent Body Organisation model, which from 2008 has seen Sellafield Ltd owned by private sector Nuclear Management Partners (NMP).
NDA 1st April 2016 read more »
Explained: The new model for managing Sellafield.
NDA 1st April 2016 read more »
It has been described a ‘win-win’ by the Government with nothing like it having happened before. In a nutshell, a new deal has been struck which will see the UK ship nuclear waste to the United States, which in return will send uranium to Europe to help in the fight against cancer.
Metro 1st April 2016 read more »
The threat from terrorists trying to launch a nuclear attack that would “change our world” is real, President Barack Obama has said. The world has taken “concrete” steps to prevent nuclear terrorism, he told the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. But the so-called Islamic State (IS) obtaining a nuclear weapon is “one of the greatest threats to global security,” he added.
BBC 2nd April 2016 read more »
Reuters 1st April 2016 read more »
Mirror 2nd April 2016 read more »
Independent 2nd April 2016 read more »
ISIS could use remote control drones to attack Western cities with a deadly dirty bomb, David Cameron has warned.
Express 2nd April 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 2nd April 2016 read more »
Telegraph 1st April 2016 read more »
World leaders face a stark choice at the final Nuclear Security Summit later this week: Will they commit to efforts that continue to improve security for nuclear weapons, fissile materials, and nuclear facilities, or will the 2016 summit be seen in retrospect as the point at which attention drifted elsewhere, and nuclear security stalled and began to decline? The answer will shape the chances that terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, could get their hands on the materials they need to build a crude nuclear bomb. Since the last Nuclear Security Summit, security for nuclear materials has improved modestly—but the capabilities of some terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State, have grown dramatically, suggesting that in the net, the risk of nuclear terrorism may have increased.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 27th March 2016 read more »
WORLD LEADERS have met in Washington for a nuclear security summit focused on North Korea and the spectre of atomic terrorism. More than 50 governments and international organisations attended the two-day gathering, which wound up yesterday. Conspicuous by his absence was Russian President Vladimir Putin, who commands the world’s second-largest nuclear arsenal. Russian ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak attended in his place. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also pulled out of the summit following last weekend’s terrorist attack that killed 72 Christians at Easter.
Morning Star 2nd April 2016 read more »
President Obama invited more than fifty heads of state and heads of government to a summit in Washington DC this week to discuss the risks of nuclear terrorism. While the official agenda is tackling proliferation of nuclear weapons, recent threats on nuclear power facilities in Belgium will also be discussed. A few years ago, a report on the vulnerability of Belgium’s nuclear plants was drafted by Belgian authorities. Only a few copies were made and they were secured in a safe. Rightly so. Nobody wants technical nuclear reactor details to get into the wrong hands. But, at the same time, and particularly in the wake of last week’s attacks, the Belgian parliament, media and public want to know if their government is taking the measures needed to protect against a breach of nuclear installations. Avoiding the discussion is not an acceptable option. The nuclear threat is now openly discussed in the media. The El Bakraoui brothers, who detonated explosions that took many innocent lives at Brussels airport, are reportedly linked to planning an attack against a nuclear target in Belgium. This is in addition to the 2014 sabotage of Doel4 nuclear power plant where neither the saboteurs nor the motives have yet been identified. Over the past years, several Greenpeace offices have commissioned several technical studies on threats to nuclear power plants which were handed to authorities in the relevant countries. In 2014, Greenpeace in Belgium and France sent a report on the threat of commercial drones to national authorities, including to the Belgian Minister of Interior and nuclear authority, FANC. These drones are a serious threat, especially when combined with an infiltration of nuclear sites. Greenpeace did not receive any reaction from the Belgian authorities. In France, however, as a result of the report, the author was invited by the French Parliament to a hearing. Another study focused on the threat from 3rd generation “Kornet” anti-tank missiles, based on the Russian model. Such missiles are capable of penetrating walls of a nuclear plant to cause serious damage.
Greenpeace 1st April 2016 read more »
Belgium’s interior minister has warned that the country’s nuclear plants are a target for Islamic State, as Belgian police blocked the reopening of Brussels airport by demanding tighter security following the 22 March suicide attacks. Jan Jambon said the possibility that Isis militants have obtained nuclear material was a primary concern for heads of states meeting at nuclear security summit in Washington.
IB Times 1st April 2016 read more »
“Britain, a world leader in civil nuclear security, will also use the summit to launch a scheme that will strengthen other countries’ abilities to withstand cyber- attacks at nuclear sites and power plants…” So announced a low key press release issued collectively on 31 March by the Foreign office, the Prime Minister’s office and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.to make the UK involvement in the fourth – and final- global Nuclear Security summit in Washington DC. Ministers are severely deluding themselves if they think the UK is a “world leader in civil nuclear security.”
David Lowry’s Blog 1st April 2016 read more »
This week, an IPPR report said the government’s capacity market is broken. With a consultation on reforms to the capacity market ending today, Orme explains what the much-criticised policy was supposed to achieve and where it has gone wrong.
Carbon Brief 1st April 2016 read more »
The operator of Japan’s destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant has switched on a giant refrigeration system to create an unprecedented underground ice wall around its damaged reactors. Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is starting the system in phases to allow close monitoring and adjustment. It has started with the portion near the sea to prevent contaminated water from escaping into the Pacific Ocean before expanding it to the No.1 reactor.
Daily Mail 1st April 2016 read more »
US – plutonium
The U.S. Department of Energy formally signed a plan Wednesday to prepare and move 6 metric tons of plutonium from the Savannah River Site to a repository in New Mexico. The National Nuclear Security Administration’s official record of decision designates downblending and storage as the preferred plan for the material as part of the Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. According to Tom Clements, director of the nuclear watchdog group SRS Watch, there are approximately 125 containers from SRS already interred at the WIPP site and another 97 were in queue when a fire on a salt truck shut down operations in 2014. No concrete dates have been announced for the site’s reopening. This agreement indicates two things to me,” Clements said. “One, plutonium disposition is in chaos and any route has problems. Second, perhaps serious discussions are under way to move plutonium disposition forward.”
Aiken Standard 30th March 2016 read more »
U.S.-bound plutonium that has recently been shipped out of Japan will be disposed of at a nuclear waste repository in New Mexico after being processed for “inertion” at the Savannah River Site atomic facility in South Carolina, according to an official of the National Nuclear Security Administration. “The plutonium will be diluted into a less sensitive form at the SRS and then transported to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for permanent disposal deep underground,” said Ross Matzkin-Bridger in charge of the operation at the NNSA, a nuclear wing of the Department of Energy. “The dilution process involves mixing the plutonium with inert materials that reduce the concentration of plutonium and make it practically impossible to ever purify again,” he told Kyodo News in a recent phone interview.
Japan Times 2nd April 2016 read more »
China remains committed to its plans for nuclear reprocessing, its top nuclear industry official said on Thursday, despite concerns this could lead to a competitive buildup of plutonium stockpiles in Asia. Xu noted that China was in discussions with French firm Areva over the construction of a commercial reprocessing plant, although he added that there was still “a long way to go to complete the negotiation, both technically and commercially.” Industry watchers say the two sides are still far apart in terms of a price for the multibillion-dollar project. Asked about this, Xu said, “yes, so the negotiations still have a long way to go.” Speaking at a news conference earlier, Xu reiterated concerns about the size of the plutonium stockpile possessed by Japan, which plans to open its own reprocessing plant in 2018.
Reuters 31st March 2016 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News: self consumption, private purchase agreements and storage order of the day for solar.
Microgen Scotland 1st April 2016 read more »
A MAJOR scheme to unlock the green energy potential of Scotland’s islands is at risk, industry leaders have warned, amid growing concerns the UK Government is preparing to ditch promised subsidies. Industry insiders have warned time is running out for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to clear its plans with Brussels. At stake is investment in the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland potentially running into hundreds of millions of pounds. The development of large scale wind power schemes on the islands would also help Scotland meet ambitious green energy targets and pave the way for future wave and tidal schemes. A string of major wind farms on the islands have been approved but cannot go ahead because the transmission infrastructure to export the power to the mainland does not exist. Previous attempts to provide extra subsidies, to allow generators to build suitable transmission cables, have fallen foul of EU state aid rules. Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron gave a commitment to resolve the issue but DECC remains in talks with Brussels. Industry insiders have been told an agreement has been reached informally but that DECC has so far failed to make a formal bid to go ahead with the subsidy scheme, known as the Remote Island Wind Contract for Difference (CfD). The delay has prompted fears the UK Government is preparing to scrap the plan. Unless a deal is struck soon, the islands will miss out on the next round of Government-backed green power contracts.
Herald 2nd April 2016 read more »
The prize is considerable. Abundant resources mean wind farm technology on the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney could make a huge contribution to the UK’s renewable energy industry. In the Western Isles alone, schemes already subject to consents and contracts hold out the prospect of some £7 million in benefits to local communities. Projects already on the cards would deliver 700 jobs in construction and around 150 permanently – these are not trivial figures in the local context. But that is just the immediate term. If energy minister Fergus Ewing is to be believed, Scotland’s island economies could benefit from up to Â£725m over the next 25 years, if wind, wave and tidal projects are implemented. A report by the Scottish Government last month found the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland could potentially supply up to five per cent of total electricity demand in the UK market by 2030. The catch? The islands have no way at present of exporting it. Interconnectors are needed to help make windfarms and other renewable power schemes viable by connecting them to the grid.
Herald 2nd April 2016 read more »