The French government is expected to agree the terms for a bailout for EDF this weekend so the energy firm can go ahead and start building the £18 billion nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. EDF might sell part of its stake in France’s equivalent of the National Grid – called RTE – to state-owned bank Caisse des Depots et Consignations with EDF keeping at least 51 per cent. A second option is for the French government, which already owns 85 per cent of EDF, to take future dividends in shares rather than cash. This is very likely, according to sources close to the company.
Daily Mail 20th March 2016 read more »
The French government has promised a bailout that will allow EDF to go ahead with the delayed £18 billion new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, it has been reported.
Western Daily Press 19th March 2016 read more »
Rolls-Royce is positioning itself as a “white knight” that could rescue Britain’s faltering nuclear power strategy and stop the UK’s lights going out. The company best known for its jet engines has met with Government to put forward plans for a fleet of small reactors built around Rolls’s expertise gained producing powerplants for the Royal Navy’s submarines. The UK’s current plans for a new wave of huge nuclear power stations is spinning out of control. The first, Hinkley Point in Somerset, was set to start generating in 2017 but questions over design and financing of the £18bn, 3,200 megawatt plant have put it years behind schedule. The scheme was thrown into further doubt earlier this month when the finance director of EDF, the French company which will build Hinkley Point, quit over fears the company’s balance sheet could not withstand the huge costs. Rolls has submitted detailed designs to the Government for SMRs capable of generating 220MW, that could be doubled up to 440 megawatts on plants covering 10 football fields, a 10th of the size of a traditional nuclear power station.
Telegraph 19th March 2016 read more »
Christopher Booker: Just when we think the world can’t get any madder, along comes something to show that we haven’t yet seen the half of it (who, three years ago, could have predicted the rise of Isil or Donald Trump?). Another such moment came last Monday when our energy minister Andrea Leadsom told MPs that the Government now believes that we should “enshrine” in law the “Paris goal” of cutting our emissions of CO2 to “zero”. So carried away into cloud cuckoo land have been all those responsible for our energy policy that Mrs Leadsom now proposes that we should go literally for broke. If our existing policy is like committing suicide by taking ever larger doses of paracetamol, she now wants us to make doubly sure by knocking back a cup of cyanide. China, India and many other countries are planning to build hundreds more coal-fired power stations (of which we will soon have none at all), in a way that will guarantee a further huge leap in the world’s “carbon emissions”, to which our own contribution is now only 1.2 per cent. At least when lemmings jump over a cliff, they are all supposed to do it together. Mrs Leadsom and the rest of our politicians seem happy that we should be the only one.
Telegraph 20th March 2016 read more »
Dave Elliott: The UK may be island based, but, as renewables expand, it will need more grid links to the continent for balancing and trade. It may have a net surplus and so could do very well selling it over supergrid interconnector links to EU countries less well endowed with renewables. The UK’s National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which seems to be taking a leading role in energy system planning, said in its recent report ‘Smart Power’, that interconnection, along with storage and demand flexibility ‘could save consumers up to £8 billion a year by 2030, help the UK meet its 2050 carbon targets, and secure the UK’s energy supply for generations’. However, if the Hinkley project collapses, there are also those who say we should look to other nuclear options to replace it, including perhaps Small Modular Reactors. That seems a bit of a long shot. SMRs are in their infancy, as are most of the other Generation 4 reactor ideas and it’s far from clear if they would be any cheaper. By contrast, the UK is in a good position to develop its huge renewable resource rapidly, with already available technology. Costs are falling rapidly: onshore wind and PV projects are already going ahead with CfD strike prices under £80/MWh, well below the £92.5/MWh offered to Hinkley when and if it starts up, which at best won’t be until after 2025. By then, offshore wind will also be cheaper. Indeed the Budget announcement included a plan to support offshore wind at £85/MWh for projects starting up in 2026. But that set of renewable options would arguably be easier to balance if the UK stayed in the EU!
Environmental Research Web 19th March 2016 read more »
Biologist Timothy Mousseau has spent years collecting mutant bugs, birds and mice around Chernobyl and Fukushima. In a DW interview, he shares some surprising insights into the effects of nuclear accidents on wildlife.
Fukushima 311 Watchdogs 18th March 2016 read more »
A large shipment of plutonium is expected to depart Japan soon amid a warning from a senior American official saying nuclear reprocessing in East Asia could lead to increased amounts of nuclear material that could be used for nuclear weapons. By late Sunday, two armed British transport ships currently docked in Kobe, the Pacific Egret and the Pacific Heron, are to be dispatched to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s port in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, according to Greenpeace, which is monitoring the ships.
Japan Times 20th March 2016 read more »
The European Commission is calling on Europe’s utility companies to make major investments in nuclear energy in a report which Handelsblatt has seen in advance of its publication. In its new report on the state of the nuclear industry, the Commission estimated that to secure energy supply across the 28-nation bloc, investments of between €450 billion and €500 billion are needed in nuclear power by 2050. The report, which is to be released in the coming weeks, states that because of Europe’s growing electricity needs, nuclear power is unavoidable. Of the sums the report suggested, between €45 billion and €50 billion would be needed to maintain power stations while the rest would need to be invested in building new plants.
Handelsblatt 18th March 2016 read more »
The nuclear leak at the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) continues unabated more than a week later at the indigenously made 220-megawatt nuclear reactor in southern Gujarat. Despite best efforts, it continues to leak a mixture of light and heavy water. The exact cause of the leak also remains a mystery. India has another 17 reactors of the same Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) type that continue to operate and the big question is should the entire fleet be ground.
Economic Times 20th March 2016 read more »
Former Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov today said the East-West standoff over the Ukraine crisis has brought the threat of nuclear war close.
Mirror 19th March 2016 read more »
Express 19th March 2016 read more »
Daily Star 19th March 2016 read more »
Not far from the House of Commons, a stone’s throw from Westminster bridge, two streetlamps will soon be erected. Paid for by Transport for London, these are no ordinary lights. According to their manufacturer, they could play a major role in tackling Britain’s energy crisis. The Monopoles, unveiled at a German trade fair last week, convert sunlight to streetlight via photovoltaic (PV) panels. The energy they generate can then be stored in a battery and used during the night to power the lamps. As a result, the “zero-emission streetlight” eliminates electricity costs. But not only do they generate enough energy to light themselves, they create a surplus which can be sold to the National Grid, potentially making millions of pounds for Britain’s local authorities, for which running streetlights costs an estimated £300m a year. Many councils are now dimming their streetlights or switching them off, raising fears of an increase in accidents and crime.
Observer 20th March 2016 read more »