After Weightman the biggest challengesays Deloitte head of UK nuclear Daniel Grosvenor, is the outcome of the Electricity Market Reform process. A White Paper was launched in July, with energy secretary Chris Huhne promising legislation would be drawn up to be put before MPs in the second session of Parliament, which starts in May next year. The Association of Electricity Producers chief executive David Porter says until those firms looking to invest in new nuclear in the UK – EDF, Horizon (a joint venture of RWE and E.ON) and NuGeneration (a joint venture of GDF Suez and Iberdrola) – have clarity on their revenue streams, namely how the proposed feed-in tariff will work, then they will not make their final investment decisions.Mr Grosvenor also points out that there are very compelling economic concerns, in particular for Horizon, whose two German stakeholders – RWE and E.ON – have seen their share prices slide (RWEs by more than 10) since Germany announced its plan to close its nuclear plants by 2020.
Construction News 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Many authoritative independent voices, most notably the energy and climate change select committee, are of the opinion that Mr Huhne just isnt being upfront about the reality of nuclear power. It cant be funded purely by private sector investment without the government tilting the playing field.
Channel 4 News Fact Check 14th Oct 2011 more >>
Is the government really more keen on atomic power than other renewables? And if so, why doesnt it just say so and find a better way to encourage investment in nuclear power stations than the current system of green taxes?
Channel 4 News Fact Check 17th Oct 2011 more >>
The Price-Anderson Act and international treaties unfairly shift the huge liabilities of nuclear accidents from plant operators to governments and the public, creating a “moral hazard” that encourages unsafe and uneconomic practices. Over many decades, regulators have failed to create a system of rules that can substitute for the market discipline of private insurance and ensure safe nuclear plant operations. The Fukushima disaster creates an opportunity to phase out current liability regimes, so operators seeking new nuclear licenses have to acquire insurance or otherwise bear the full liability for nuclear accidents.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 5th Oct 2011 more >>
Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for nuclear issues has raised concerns over the transfer of low level radioactive waste and waste contaminated by asbestos from further afield into landfill in Cumbria. At a Cabinet meeting in Kendal today, Cllr Tim Knowles explained that the county council had recently contacted both the site director of Chapelcross and the head of the Scottish Governments Radioactive Waste team to voice the council’s concerns over Scottish very low level and asbestos waste finding its way into Cumbria.
eGov Monitor 19th Oct 2011 more >>
RESIDENTS angry at the decision to allow nuclear waste to be dumped near their village have raised £10,000 to help fund a legal battle. Quiz nights, safari suppers, and yard and garage sales have been organised by campaigners to try to raise the funds for the court case which campaigners hope will overturn the decision to allow the waste to be dumped at Augeans East Northants Resource Management Facility, in Stamford Road, Kings Cliffe. They have also received personal donations towards a £30,000 target to meet the total costs of bringing the case on behalf of the local community. The case is due to be heard at the High Court in London on November 2.
Peterborough Evening Telegraph 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Nortthampton Evening Telegraph 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Freedom of Information
A talk b y Rob Edwards: First an illustrative little story. In 2005 under what was then the new freedom of information (FoI) legislation I asked the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in London about a list of potential nuclear waste dumps which the government waste agency, Nirex, had given them.
Robedwards.com 19th Oct 2011 more >>
WIRRAL shipyard Cammell Laird wants to win £50bn of work building huge sections of nuclear power stations. It would generate 3,000 jobs over 25 years at the Birkenhead firm.
Birkenhead News 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Its been a difficult period on Anglesey, with acting head of economic development Dylan Williams admitting the island had already been hit hard by private sector industrial redundancies in 2009 and 2010. However, he said there was reason to be optimistic. We are also hoping to generate financial savings and income through energy efficiency and renewables projects. The proposed new power station at Wylfa and associated investments are a unique and major opportunity to revive the economy of Anglesey and North Wales generally at a time of otherwise limited economic prospects, and we are working hard with our Energy Island partners to achieve this.
Daily Post 19th Oct 2011 more >>
NFLA puts forward its views to Welsh Environment Minister, councillors and the public on Wylfa B and wider Welsh energy policy.
NFLA Press Release 19th Oct 2011 more >>
At the spending review in October 2010 the Government announced it would commission an independent review of fuel poverty, to take a fresh look at the targets and definition and to help focus resources. Sir John Hills was asked in March 2011 to undertake the review. The John Hills review of Fuel Poverty has now been published.
DECC 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Thousands of people die each year from illnesses linked to fuel poverty, according to an independent report. Professor John Hills has called for a new definition of the problem, which focuses on people with low incomes driven into poverty by high fuel bills. His report found that in 2004, fuel-poor households faced a shortfall of £256 to heat their homes and avoid poverty, but in 2009 it was £402. The report argued this shortfall had serious implications for health. There are 27,000 extra deaths in the UK each winter compared to other times of year, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics. The report found most of this was due to cold weather. That figure is one of the highest in Europe and worse than Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway and France. Derek Lickorish, chair of the Government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (FPAG), called the figures for the number of deaths due to fuel poverty a “disgrace”. “Insulating the homes of the fuel poor is the only long-term and sustainable solution to solving this problem, but they will need financial help to make this happen and this takes time. Urgent action must start today,” he said.
BBC 19th Oct 2011 more >>
The number of households in fuel poverty would fall almost a third to 2.7m if the government were to accept a new definition of the problem suggested by an independent inquiry.
FT 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Almost 3,000 people in England and Wales will die this winter because they cannot afford to heat their homes, a report suggests more than the number killed in traffic accidents each year. Commissioned by the government, the Hills Fuel Poverty Review found that if just 10% of UK winter deaths are caused by fuel poverty a conservative estimate it claims 2,700 people will perish as a direct result of being fuel poor. The report also found that between 2004 and 2009 the “fuel poverty gap” (the extra amount those with badly insulated homes and poor heating systems would need to spend to keep warm) increased by 50% to 1.1bn as a result of rising fuel prices.
Guardian 19th Oct 2011 more >>
A select handful of energy-intensive industries may be given a free pass that allows them to avoid proposed environmental levies when the government announces its planned growth review next month. The FT reported yesterday that the Treasury has bowed to pressure from the CBI and companies such as Tata Steel and Ineos and now plans to introduce tax breaks for some of the sectors affected by the £16 per tonne carbon floor price that the government plans to introduce from 2013.
Business Green 19th Oct 2011 more >>
European firms that play a key role in nuclear power and other critical industries have been targeted by a cyber espionage attack based on Stuxnet, the computer virus that was designed to sabotage the Iranian nuclear programme.
Telegraph 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Rio Tinto has shown confidence in uraniums long-term prospects with a C$578m (US$566m) agreed bid for Hathor Exploration, a Vancouver-based company developing a large uranium deposit in northern Saskatchewan.
FT 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Finnish utility TVO took nuclear power plant builder Areva by surpise when it announced that “regular operation” of its new nuclear power station, Olkiluoto 3, “may be postponed until 2014”. Speaking to Reuters, an Areva spokesman expressed surprise about TVO’s anouncement. The reactor, the first of Areva’s new EPR design, has been dogged by delays and concerns over construction, but he said it was due to begin loading fuel in 2012. In a statement, Areva called on TVO to take the “path of co-operation” in the next phases of reactor construction and handover.
Utility Week 18th Oct 2011 more >>
Radiation of nearly 4 microsieverts per hour–a level that slightly exceeds the government-set benchmark for designating evacuation zones–was detected Monday at a primary school in Adachi Ward, Tokyo, ward officials said. The reading was recorded under the drainpipe attached to a gutter of a machinery room next to a swimming pool at Higashi-Fuchie Primary School. Tests conducted Monday found radiation of 3.99 microsieverts per hour at five centimeters above the ground. At the same point, 0.41 microsieverts per hour was measured at a height of 50 centimeters, and 0.24 microsieverts per hour at one meter.
Yomiuri 19th Oct 2011 more >>
The US will hold a fresh round of talks with North Korea on its nuclear weapons programme next week and appoint a full-time envoy as its seeks to deepen its engagement with the reclusive regime, officials said on Wednesday.
Guardian 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Outages at US nuclear power plants reached the highest levels for four years in the second quarter of 2011, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, they have returned to more typical seasonal levels since the start of July 2011.
Nuclear Engineering International 19th Oct 2011 more >>
A Pakistani nuclear power plant imposed a seven-hour emergency after heavy water leaked from a feeder pipe to the reactor, but no radiation or damage has been reported, an official said on Thursday.
Reuters 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Reducing demand for electricity is a cost-effective part of decarbonising our economy, but it wont happen on its own. Electricity consumers have persistently not reduced their demand, even when it is economically rational to do so. The expectation that increasing energy prices will change this ignores the behavioural, financial, and policy barriers which have prevented energy saving in the past. Indeed, rising electricity prices are likely to have a negative impact on decarbonisation by reducing public support for funding the transition to low carbon power, which is widely accepted as the first step in decarbonising the wider economy. The governments tacit bargain with the electorate is that decarbonisation policies which raise the unit cost of energy will be offset by demand reduction policies such as the Green Deal, yielding a net equal cost to consumers. This paper shows that current policies will not go far enough to encourage people to reduce their electricity use, meaning bills will rise more than they need to. However, our analysis demonstrates how a drive to encourage greater demand reduction could avoid future expenditure of up to £125 billion on new low carbon generation and save consumers at least £35 billion.
Green Alliance 18th Oct 2011 more >>
Green levies only account for around 7% of the average consumer’s bill. Dropping the UK’s 2020 renewables target will take around £21 off domestic consumers’ bills by the time of the next election in 2015, but recent price rises from the big six energy suppliers amount to a £134 rise on average bills and reflect higher gas prices. So simply ditching our green ambitions won’t mean a big cut in bills. Second, we need to think about bills in the latter half of this decade when the UK could be even more dependent on imported fuel. No one knows which energy technologies will provide low cost, low-carbon power in the future. The government is using green levies to force the energy sector to diversify so that we have a chance of finding a low-cost pathway to a decarbonised power sector by 2030. Diversification isn’t the cheapest strategy if you know what will be cheap in the future, but we don’t. There’s every reason to believe that renewables (and carbon capture and storage) could be as cheap as or even cheaper than other low-carbon technologies. Consulting engineers Mott Macdonald, in a May 2011 assessment of future costs for government, have said as much. But this is a long-term argument, and prices are high now. We may not know what will give us an affordable energy future, but we do know that saving energy makes good economic (and environmental) sense now. Unfortunately, there are well documented barriers to energy saving, including uncertainty about future electricity prices. So here’s a counterintuitive idea: pay people to use less energy. This is the idea at the heart of Green Alliance’s proposal for an electricity efficiency feed-in tariff. Its premise is simple: consumers will have to pay to build new power stations to meet our demand in the future. If we can spend less to cut our demand and avoid the need to build, we can save money. The size of the prize is illustrative: even on conservative estimates, we could save £35bn on the UK’s energy bill between now and 2025.
Guardian 18th Oct 2011 more >>
The National Insulation Association welcomes today’s news that the Energy Act has become law, finally setting in stone the legal framework for the Green Deal, and governments commitment to energy efficiency and insulation. Under current proposals, cavity wall and loft insulation will not be subsidised and may need additional incentives. The industry predicts that this could result in a significant fall off in up-take until the Green Deal is fully established which could compromise carbon savings and the Industry’s ability to ramp up for Solid Wall Insulation (SWI) in the early years.
National Insulation Association 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Subsidies for households to install solar panels are about to be slashed by ministers in a controversial move which could make a further dent in the coalition’s green credentials. Ministers are also on Thursday expected to announce a shake-up of wind power incentives from 2015, which will cut subsidies for onshore wind but improve state help for wave and tidal power. The news comes hours after ministers confirmed on Wednesday that they were not going ahead with a flagship £1bn carbon capture and storage demonstration project in Scotland. Intense discussions are taking place about precisely how far to cut the small-scale solar “feed-in tariff” (FiT) which pays households and companies for energy produced. Some officials in the Department of Energy and Climate Change are calling for a reduction in the subsidy by three-quarters, according to industry sources. That would mean a fall from the current level of up to 43p per kilowatt hour generated, to as little as 9p per kWh – a move which the industry claims would be devastating. If the government follows past precedent, any change would not affect homeowners with existing solar panels. The row is taking place amid a wider shake-up of renewable subsidies called ROCs (renewables obligations certificates) for wind, waves and biomass. Ministers will maintain the overall annual support for renewables but are adjusting the number of certificates given to different sectors within the industry.
FT 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Fears of a cut are already denting investor confidence, according to Bruce Davis, retail director of Abundance, a community investment company. We know of several community initiatives across the UK who were considering using the generation of renewable energy . . . and who are now either stopping development or considering pulling out altogether, he said.
FT 20th Oct 2011 more >>
A pioneering 1bn state-funded carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at the Longannet power station in Fife has been cancelled, as the government announced that “a decision has been made not to proceed with Longannet but to pursue other projects with the 1bn funding made available by the government.” Earlier this month, the Guardian revealed that Longannet, the only remaining project in the government’s competition for CCS funding was on the brink of collapse because Scottish Power and its partners, Shell and the National Grid, were concerned about its commercial viability without more public backing.
Guardian 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Independent 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Times 20th Oct 2011 more >>
BBC 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Scotsman 20th Oct 2011 more >>
THE north-east could be in “pole position” to land up to £1billion of UK Government funding for the country’s first carbon-capture and storage project. The decision by ministers yesterday to abandon a green-energy scheme at Longannet in Fife has paved the way for the huge investment to be redirected to Peterhead.
Aberdeen Press & Journal 20th Oct 2011 more >>