The nuclear industry could get subsidies from the taxpayer to build new reactors, the new energy minister has said, despite opposition in the coalition agreement and repeated assurances to the contrary. John Hayes told MPs on Thursday that new nuclear power would not receive specific government subsidy but could be eligible if other forms of electricity generation also benefited from the scheme. The Conservative minister’s admission during energy questions in the House of Commons appears to back up a long-held suspicion that the government’s proposed scheme to offer a guaranteed minimum price for new low-carbon energy to encourage companies to build new capacity – known as Contracts for Difference – would become a backdoor subsidy for the expensive nuclear industry. Greg Barker, the other Tory climate minister, revealed that the department was considering a new subsidy paid through electricity bills – known as a feed-in-tariff – for households that install energy efficiency measures. Currently such tariffs are only available for homes and businesses that fit small-scale renewable technology such as a wind turbines or solar panels. "This is one of a number of measures under active consideration at the moment," Barker said. It could be added to the upcoming energy bill through a government amendment, he said.
Guardian 1st Nov 2012 more >>
A Tory energy minister has defended plans for a fleet of new nuclear power stations in the face of concerns from some MPs, declaring: "I won’t be influenced by the preoccupations of bourgeois left academics, I’ll be inspired by the will of the people." John Hayes said Japanese engineering giant Hitachi’s deal to build two power plants which could be feeding electricity into the national grid in the first half of the 2020s, was "good news" for Britain’s supply chain, its people, energy mix and energy security. His comments, during Commons Energy and Climate Change questions, came as Lib Dem Deputy leader Simon Hughes sought "absolute clarity" on the issue of subsidising new nuclear power stations.
Evening Gazette 1st Nov 2012 more >>
Liverpool Daily Post 1st Nov 2012 more >>
What would you do if you wanted to create uncertainty and cause clean energy investors to put plans on hold? Shortly before the energy bill reaches the floor of Parliament you would fire the minister who has been leading work on it, building relationships with all the different energy sectors. You would bring in a new clutch of energy and environment ministers known to be skeptical about anything other than oil and gas, and put onto your main energy committee a back-bencher with links to a climate-change denying think tank.
Bloomberg 31st Oct 2012 more >>
The Government, with their proposals for a ‘levy control framework’ cap on spending on ‘low carbon’ electricity sources, are heading for a breach of EU state aid rules. This is because the Treasury are likely to reserve a specific fund to pay subsidies to nuclear power rather than make it available to ‘low carbon’ sources in general. Otherwise they cannot possibly justify paying more money to nuclear power developers than will be paid to onshore wind developers. The Treasury appear to be claiming that it is handing out subsidies, through the ‘contract for difference’ (CfD) framework being set up by the forthcoming Energy Bill, on a ‘competitive’ basis that is available to all low carbon sources. But if that is the case, then why are the Government proposing to give a higher strike price to nuclear power than onshore wind? Onshore wind is tipped to get no more than around £80 per MWh. The strike price being mooted in Government circles for nuclear power (close to £100 per MWh) is the same sort of level as the government is proposing to pay for large scale solar pv and offshore wind. Moreover nuclear power developers will get this stream of money for a much longer period (25 or 30 years) than renewable developers that, it seems, will be limited to 15 year contracts. So there will be no consumer savings if nuclear power is substituted for renewables. Quite the contrary. In fact the consumer will be out of pocket if nuclear is funded rather than renewables.
Dave Toke’s Green Energy Blog 1st Nov 2012 more >>
Why the people are losing faith in politics, part 36. Let us consider the area of nuclear energy. "[We will] … reject a new generation of nuclear power stations; based on the evidence nuclear is a far more expensive way of reducing carbon emissions than promoting energy conservation and renewable energy." That was the Liberal Democrat general election manifesto 2010. "In addition to posing safety and environmental risks, nuclear power will only be possible with vast taxpayer subsidies or a rigged market. People don’t want nuclear, but they don’t know what the alternatives are. Now they do, and the alternatives are cleaner, safer, greener and better for the environment and the taxpayer." That was Ed Davey, doing his Karen Silkwood routine, part of the Lib Dems’ "Say no to nuclear" campaign in 2006. And then there’s "New nuclear isn’t only about keeping the lights on and emissions down, it’s an industrial strategy with big potential wins." Davey again, on Tuesday, announcing the coalition’s new nuclear investment deal with Hitachi. Without even the slightest embarrassment, apparently.
Guardian 1st November 2012 more >>
Dave Morris MP: I heaved a sigh of relief when it was finally bought by Hitachi. The sale comes as the United Kingdom faces a cross roads in our energy policy. We claim we want to produce green energy locally but in reality we are increasingly reliant on foreign fossil fuels, particularly gas.
Conservative Home 1st Nov 2012 more >>
More than 400 of the recommendations made to improve the safety of British nuclear plants after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan last year still have to be implemented, according to the government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). Military sites like the nuclear bomb factory at Aldermaston in Berkshire and the nuclear submarine yard at Devonport in Plymouth have been the slowest to match the ONR’s timetable. Of the 178 recommendations that apply to UK defence sites, 70% (120) have so failed to meet ONR’s expectations. The French company, EDF Energy, also has a large backlog of safety issues at its nuclear power stations. According to ONR’s latest progress report, it has yet to complete half of the recommended changes (62 out of 126). Overall, 58% (426) of all the 747 safety recommendations made for all UK nuclear sites are defined by ONR as not yet closed. Nearly a third (265) are described by ONR as needing “further development or provision of evidence/information before ONR can be content that they adequately address expectations.”
RobEdwards 1st Nov 2012 more >>
Tories and Liberal Democrats remain far apart over another key issue, the desirability of a target for decarbonising the power sector by 2030. Relations within the Quad, the government’s power-broking unit of Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg, George Osborne and Danny Alexander, are “increasingly fraught” over the issue, according to sources. This is largely because of the way Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, has been blindsided by the surprise tariff announcement and the attempt by the Tory Energy Minister John Hayes to call a unilateral halt to onshore wind farms.
Times 2nd Nov 2012 more >>
Nothing will happen if Hitachi doesn’t get regulatory approval for its advanced boiling water reactor technology, which is why it’s seeking advice from Rolls-Royce. No commercial contracts have been signed, but it’s likely Rolls will help steer Hitachi through the licensing process, or generic design assessment (GDA). It’s worked with rivals Areva and Westinghouse on this kind of thing, and their reactors have already received the green light in Japan, Taiwan and the US. Rolls won’t actually build them, but it can make many of the parts and safety instrumentation and control systems, which it already supplies to the Chinese and the French.
Investors Chronicle 2nd Nov 2012 more >>
CUMBRIA’S six MPs are to launch an inquiry into the likely impacts – good or bad – of an underground nuclear waste repository somewhere in the county. The move comes after Cumbria county council, Copeland and Allerdale borough councils put off a site-search decision until January. Firstly the three councils want solid government commitments on key issues. Meanwhile the all-party committee of Cumbrian MPs plans to hold its inquiry to take evidence and views from all sides of the argument.
Whitehaven News 1st Nov 2012 more >>
Listening to Radio Cumbria at 4pm today I hear the news that Tim Farron MP has asked a Parliamentary Question on how safe a geological nuclear dump would be under Cumbria. Ed Davey Minister in charge of DECC says “IT WILL BE SAFE” Now we know where Cumbria stands…on the edge of darkness! The graphics are from a comic novel being made (unfunded, voluntarily) to send as an ebook to all the snoozing councillors and Partners in the Government’s diabolic plan to sacrifice Cumbria. The novel will be the third one to be sent to Cumbrian councillors and supposed movers and shakers like Cumbria Tourism- who so far might as well be mannequins as far as protecting Cumbria is concerned.
Radiation Free Lakeland 1st Nov 2012 more >>
Letter Martin Forwood: one highly significant point in the announcement by the councils of a three-month delay to decision making has been entirely overlooked. In their letter to DECC’s Baroness Verma and in their press release announcing the delay, the County, Copeland and Allerdale councils have suggested that alternative radioactive waste management solutions should be considered in parallel with the MRWS programme. This is not only a tacit admission of the hopelessness of their deep dumping case, but also represents an extraordinary U-turn on the original remit of the MRWS process and therefore wholly undermine the work carried out by the Partnership over recent years. Given the prevailing atmosphere in Cumbria – a lack of trust in Government, the receding prospect of finding suitable geology and the clumsy manipulation of consultation and poll results to obscure the level of local opposition to a dump in West Cumbria, the case for on-site storage is overwhelming.
Whitehaven News 1st Nov 2012 more >>
A NUCLEAR deal which will see millions of pounds’ worth of community benefits pouring into the area has almost been finalised. Sending large volumes of highly radioactive materials to Sellafield from Scotland – and other NDA sites – could be worth as much as £16 million but no figures have been confirmed. However, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has confirmed that it is in the final stages of a massive community benefits deal being struck with Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council. Arrangements are still to be finalised and the amount of money disclosed, but the NDA’s chief executive John Clarke has confirmed to The Whitehaven News that an agreement is close. There are also hopes that it might be sealed in time for a Christmas boost to the area. Negotiations with the councils over a likely community benefits package were started after the NDA decided there was “a clear and compelling” case to move all the radioactive spent fuel from Caithness to Sellafield.
Whitehaven News 1st Nov 2012 more >>
NUCLEAR giants from the land of the rising sun have swept away the economic clouds after taking on the Wylfa B project – reviving hopes for a 6,000 jobs boom on Anglesey.
Daily Post 31st Oct 2012 more >>
Holyhead & Anglesey Mail 31st Oct 2012 more >>
AT least 200 jobs are on the way to Gloucester thanks to a £700million nuclear deal. Horizon Nuclear Power, based at Gloucester Business Park, is now in the hands of Japanese giant Hitachi and locally they expect to recruit between 200-300 new workers.
Gloucester Citizen 1st Nov 2012 more >>
EDF Energy announced that over 1,000 Somerset businesses have registered so far on a dedicated website as potential suppliers to the proposed nuclear power project at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, England.
Energy Business Review 2nd Nov 2012 more >>
EDF Energy’s 610-megawatt (MW) Heysham 1-2 nuclear reactor failed to reconnect as planned to the electricity network on Thursday, the company said. "Heysham 1 R2 was manually shut down during return to service today, following a fault on the plant control system," a spokeswoman said.The reactor had been expected to restart on Thursday following an electrical fault on Oct. 4.EDF Energy did not disclose a new reconnection date for the reactor.
Reuters 1st Nov 2012 more >>
Dirty bomb attack now a ‘real threat’ to Britain as nuclear waste smugglers swap tips online, Foreign Office warns. The government claims nuclear terrorism is still one of the biggest threats to global peace. Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt used a speech in London to warn of the dangers posed by a rise nuclear weapons being smuggled around the world.
Daily Mail 1st Nov 2012 more >>
Burt said the number of incidents involving the loss or theft of nuclear materials was growing and nations need to show the utmost vigilence. According to the IAEA between 1993 and 2011 there have been 2164 cases of nuclear material "outside state control". Of those 147 occurred in 2011.
Independent 1st Nov 2012 more >>
British scientists have created a machine that can detect attempts to smuggle nuclear material through airports.
Independent 1st Nov 2012 more >>
Letter from Sita: While the Department of Energy and Climate Change is rightly proud of Hitachi’s investment in UK nuclear, (report, October 31), which should provide some electricity security around 15 years from now, there is cause for alarm at the lack of leadership to tackle the expected energy supply gap following the closure of old coal-fired and nuclear power stations, which risks leaving the UK energy-insecure for the following decade.
FT 2nd Nov 2012 more >>
Average annual funding for nuclear research is expected to grow almost 15% under the European Union’s (EU’s) planned Horizon 2020 program. Fusion programs account for nine-tenths of the budget.
World Nuclear News 1st November 2012 more >>
Watchdog groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) warn that America’s nuclear facilities remain vulnerable to a variety of potential catastrophic events, both natural and resulting from deliberate sabotage or cyber-attack. And they say that federal regulations are currently inadequate to deal with all of these possible disaster scenarios. I reported on one such danger, solar flares, last May in the New York Daily News. A 2011 study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory warns that a massive solar storm could knock out electricity in some areas for weeks, overwhelming the capacity of many nuclear plants to keep their critical cooling systems operational. But nuclear regulators have not required power plants to guard against the risk of solar storms. David Lochbaum, the director of UCS’s nuclear safety project told me in an email interview that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licenses plants "using the rearview mirror". It looks to the past, in other words, to assess future risks. But, he says, past events are not always a good measure for the worst that can happen. Lochbaum cites Fukushima. The Daichi plant was located behind a seawall that was high enough to protect against the kind of flooding that Japan had seen previously. But nobody had considered the possibility that a monster tsunami could breach the wall.
Guardian 1st Nov 2012 more >>
China Nuclear Engineering Corp plans to raise about 1.8 billion yuan ($288.44 million) through a Shanghai initial public offering, according to the country’s environmental watchdog, which has approved the plan.Nuclear Engineering aims to sell up to 525 million Shanghai-traded A shares and will use the proceeds to invest in six construction and research projects, according to a statement on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
Reuters 2nd Nov 2012 more >>
Foreign Secretary William Hague has been accused of rank hypocrisy following details of the unannounced talks with Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak in London on Wednesday. Mr Barak ghosted into Britain for the talks which Mr Hague said had covered the Middle East peace process, Israeli settlement-building and the prevention of nuclear proliferation by Iran, but apparently made no mention of Israel’s own nuclear stockpile.
Morning Star 1st Nov 2012 more >>
A nuclear Iran would spark a terrifying Middle East arms race "within weeks," involving Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – leaving the "fate of the region out of Israel’s hand". That was the stark warning delivered this week by Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak at Bicom’s annual dinner, held in central London on Tuesday night.
Totally Jewish 1st Nov 2012 more >>
Britain is considering stationing warplanes in the Persian Gulf as the confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme continues amid rising tension in the region.
Independent 2nd Nov 2012 more >>
Plans to build a nuclear warhead store on land north of Falmouth have reared their ugly head again this week as defence experts debate the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Earlier this year, the Packet reported the concerns of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) that proposals first put forward in the 1960’s may be revived in the wake of Scottish Independence. Although rejected at the time on the grounds of expense and possible environmental damage, the proposals would see Flushing and Mylor Churchtown evacuated to make way for the warhead store.Conservative MP for Falmouth and Truro Sarah Newton, who hails from Mylor, said she fully understood the concerns over reports that Falmouth could become a nuclear base in the event of Scottish independence. Yet she also pointed out that these proposals were not being actively considered, according to the Ministry of Defence. She said: “I have raised this with the Ministry of Defence and they have confirmed that the government is not considering relocating the nuclear submarine base from Faslane. This story originates from a report that was published in the 1960s where Falmouth was considered alongside many different locations. “The MoD rejected this proposal at the time and they are rejecting it now. They are not making any plans to move the nuclear submarine base, in the case of Scotland becoming a separate country.”
Falmouth Packet 1st Nov 2012 more >>
The apparent tensions within the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) were made clear today, as ministers faced accusations they are watering down support for a range of low carbon technologies. Appearing together for the first time since yesterday’s high profile row over wind farm policy, the DECC ministerial team faced questions in the House of Commons, during which MPs repeatedly attacked the contradiction between Energy Minister John Hayes’ opposition to onshore wind farms and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey’s stated support for the sector. Climate Change Minister Greg Barker ducked a question from Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary Caroline Flint on whether the government would cement its aspirational target of delivering 22GW of solar capacity by 2020 in its upcoming renewable energy roadmap. Barker insisted the government still saw the potential to deliver 22GW of capacity, but said the country could not afford "an open chequebook" for the sector, arguing that large scale deployment would only be possible if solar developers deliver further cost reductions. He later wrote on Twitter that he was committed to "massive expansion of solar" but success depends on driving costs down to grid parity this decade.
Business Green 1st Nov 2012 more >>
For someone who had allegedly been given a bollocking by the boss, Mr Hayes looked remarkably pleased with himself. He resembled the schoolboy who, having been summoned to the headmaster for a caning, has remembered to wear his cast-iron Y-fronts. He had an air of casual insouciance, or as he put it "What a pleasure it is to answer energy questions for the first time, and to do so with the wind in my sails." One of his joys is making life difficult for the Tories’ coalition partners. Simon Hughes said the coalition agreement meant there could be no public subsidy for nuclear power. Mr Hayes was far too happy about the offer from Hitachi to provide us with nuclear power to let that one go. "Let me be crystal clear," he said, using the politicians’ term for "let me obfuscate". There would be no subsidy, "unless similar support is provided more widely for other forms of generation". In other words, the Tories were perfectly prepared to rip up the agreement. As they always are, when they can get away with it. Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, complained. Mr Hayes said he would not be influenced by "the preoccupations of bourgeois-left academics". Who, presumably, are the only people concerned with the fate of the planet, in their horrible Marxist, middle-class, tree-hugging, beard-growing, Monbiot-reading way.
Guardian 1st Nov 2012 more >>
Andrew Simms: "Enough is enough" says Conservative energy minister John Hayes about the building of onshore windfarms in Britain. It makes you wonder where else in energy policy he might consider enough to be enough: the accumulation of hazardous, long-term radioactive waste from nuclear power, for example, or the build-up of life-threatening greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels? Why pick on wind, and in particular, now, is it really such a threat? No country has yet been invaded to annex its windfarms, and no terrorists or foreign powers are known to be fiendishly acquiring wind turbine technology with which to hold the world to ransom. Hayes’ intervention raises eyebrows for several reasons. Timing is one. Attacking renewable energy, which is part of the answer to solving climate change, just as a massive extreme weather event – the kind set to worsen in a warming world – is ripping through north America leaving carnage in its wake, amounts at best to questionable political judgment. Antipathy toward the economic potential of environmental action seems cruelly to deny Britain a vital route out of its industrial torpor, not to mention the chance of building real energy security, and creating countless job opportunities by cashing in on the fact that, according to Deutsche Bank, pound for pound of investment, energy efficiency and renewable technologies deliver anywhere between two- and four-times the number of jobs compared to the old, conventional energy sources.
Guardian 1st Nov 2012 more >>
Wind and solar are relatively safe forms of energy, a feature that we tend to overlook until a disaster hits like the "superstorm" that disabled New York City’s power grid this week. Unlike fossil fuel plants, they require no combustible fuels to generate electricity. And there is no danger that they will leak radiation as did the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant following last year’s tsunami in Japan. Hence, the Northeast’s wind and solar farms evoked little public anxiety this week when Hurricane Sandy hit – unlike the nuclear and fossil fuel infrastructure. Safety officials kept a careful eye on the nuclear power plants and three were shut down in New Jersey and New York. And the smell of natural gas in any flooded areas drew quick attention from those who understood the danger. These anxieties speak to a larger difference between renewables and conventional generation. Specifically, wind and solar operate under simpler systems that are prone to fewer problems, say renewable energy advocates.
Renewable Energy World 1st Nov 2012 more >>