Last year EDF began a vigorous campaign to build nuclear plants around the world. But to the dismay of advocates of a nuclear renaissance, the cost and complexity of embarking on several big projects at once is weighing on the firm, despite its size and government backing. On top of the acquisition of British Energy and Constellation Energy, it plans to build 11 new reactors (four in Britain, four in America, two in China and one in France). It also wants to build four plants in Italy and is bidding to build several in the United Arab Emirates, as part of a consortium in both places. These investments will stretch the firm’s balance-sheet. Debt now stands at 37 billion ($53 billion) and could rise to 65 billion by 2017-18, according to a report from HSBC, a bank. To help contain its debt, the firm plans to make disposals worth 5 billion by the end of 2010. EDF is also facing operational troubles. France has had to import large quantities of electricity this year because almost a third of its nuclear plants went out of service at some point, either because of strikes or for maintenance. France’s grid operator recently warned that the country could even suffer power cuts this winter. The first EPR, under construction in Finland, is well behind schedule and far over budget. The rising cost of building new nuclear plants is another worry. Higher prices for cement and steel, the complexity of building new designs for the first time and onerous safety requirements are all adding to EDF’s bills and threatening profits.
Economist 19th Nov 2009 more >>
NEARLY two thirds of people in the north west are now in favour of nuclear power, a major new survey has found. French energy giant EDF Energy commissioned the poll, carried out by YouGov, which found 60 per cent of those asked supported the idea of building a new generation of nuclear power stations.
Cumberland News 19th Nov 2009 more >>
Gwyn Prosser MP: The new Energy Act will enable the industry to come forward with plans to build and operate new nuclear power stations as part of the UK’s strategy for a secure, diverse, low carbon energy mix but the Kent site at Dungeness does not feature on the provisional list of approved locations. On the job front this is not good news – but it might allow us to sleep a little easier in our beds.
Hawkinge Gazette 19th Nov 2009 more >>
The government has left out Dungeness on the proposed new sites for a new power station on the Romney Marsh. Shepway and Romney Marsh residents are devastated as Dungeness B puts an estimated £30 million pounds a year into the local economy.
Romney Marsh Times 19th Nov 2009 more >>
YRM has linked up with a larger US architect to bid for nuclear power station work. The firm is already working on the masterplan for EDF Energy’s proposed new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset and is also set to carry out design work on some of the buildings planned there, including turbine halls, offices, plus a research and visitor centre.
Building Design 19th Nov 2009 more >>
Bristolians should be able to have their say on plans to build two new nuclear power plants near the city, according to one local councillor. The government announced earlier this month it wanted to build new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset, 25 miles south of Bristol and at Oldbury in Gloucestershire, nine miles north of the city. A exhibition will be held this weekend in Bridgwater for Somerset residents to get more details on the plans, but the government has confirmed there will be no similar consultation in Bristol. Mark Wright, Liberal Democrat councillor for Cabot ward and a prominent anti-nuclear campaigner has condemned the lack of consultation, and urged the government to do more to canvass the viewsof Bristolians.
Original 106.5 Bristol 19th Nov 2009 more >>
EDF Energy will hold a series of public events about its plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. The initial consultation over the next few weeks will be on EDF’s so-called ‘Initial Proposals and Options’ before a further consultation next March on its ‘Preferred Proposals’. The consultations will cover not just the proposed construction of two new reactors at Hinkley, but also all the major infrastructure changes that would be needed to make it happen.
Bridgwater Mercury 18th Nov 2009 more >>
Somerset residents are being called on by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to come forward and give their views on nuclear power. The invitation comes after the government confirmed that Hinkley Point as a potential site to build a new energy plant.
Low Carbon Economy 19th Nov 2009 more >>
eGov Monitor 19th Nov 2009 more >>
A new nuclear power plant in west Cumbria could threaten the future of rare bat and toad species, conservationists claim. Cumbria Wildlife Trust says building a reactor at one potential site – Kirksanton, near Millom – could jeopardise biodiversity in the area. The concerns were highlighted as the conservation group revealed its worries about Government plans to fast-track the construction of new atomic stations.
Carlisle News and Star 18th Nov 2009 more >>
NW Evening Mail 19th Nov 2009 more >>
Electric cars and unreliable wind power could bring down Britain’s electricity network, National Grid said as the Government launched a £30 million grant scheme to promote the installation of charging points for plug-in cars. Steve Holliday, National Grid chief executive, said that without smart meters in homes and an intelligent system to balance supply and demand, the network would be unable to cope.
Times 20th Nov 2009 more >>
The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management believes that the development of public transport is critical to achieving a sustainable transport system and creating a low carbon society.
Fitting the Bill – Manifesto for Environmental Action 20th Nov more >>
Obama has signalled a further escalation in the crisis over Iran ‘s nuclear ambitions by serving notice that punitive measures could be agreed “within weeks”. Obama used a speech in Seoul, to warn that the lesson of dealing with neighbouring North Korea was that Tehran must meet a deadline for complying with international demands and would face unspecified “consequences” if it did not.
Guardian 20th Nov 2009 more >>
Belfast Telegraph 20th Nov 2009 more >>
FT 19th Nov 2009 more >>
North Korea must take “serious steps” towards nuclear disarmament if it wants to win any concessions from the international community, the US President Barack Obama has warned following meetings in the South Korean capital, Seoul.
Telegraph 19th Nov 2009 more >>
Smoke rose on Thursday from the world’s largest nuclear power plant in Japan, which was hit by a deadly earthquake two years ago, but the operator said no-one was injured and there was no radiation leak.
Channelnewsasia 19th Nov 2009 more >>
Steve Winn, head of NRG Energy’s nuclear development joint venture, said on Thursday that a higher cost estimate to build two new reactors in Texas may force its partner, CPS Energy of San Antonio, to cut its ownership interest in the project below 20 percent. Winn, chief executive of Nuclear Innovation North America (NINA), told an NRG investor meeting that an updated cost estimate for two new reactors may exceed the target municipal utility CPS Energy has said it would raise customer rates.
Reuters 19th Nov 2009 more >>
The Royal Navy’s biggest and most powerful attack submarine is due to arrive at Faslane on the Clyde later. Astute which measures nearly 328ft (100m) from bow to stern, set sail from Barrow in Cumbria for its first sea trials on Tuesday.
BBC 20th Nov 2009 more >>
Trident working group report on Scotland without nuclear weapons is published.
Criminal Justice Forum 19th Nov 2009 more >>