Infrastructure funds, debt financiers and City advisers have warned that Government guarantees are in danger of distorting commercial financing efforts. The Treasury must stop issuing guarantees for smaller scale infrastructure projects or risk sabotaging the Government’s aim of securing billions of pounds of private financing for British power stations, railways and bridges, experts have warned. Following a £230m loan guarantee for ethane storage at Grangemouth last week, infrastructure funds, debt financiers and City advisers have warned that Government guarantees are in danger of distorting commercial financing efforts. Experts said there is widespread support for government guarantees for large-scale projects for which the risk is either hard to price or mis-priced because of the scale, such as at Hinkley Point in Somerset or the High Speed 2 rail proposals. However, there are concerns guarantees are being extended to projects that do not need it.
Telegraph 20th July 2014 read more »
It might sound like the kind of material used as a plot device in a comic book blockbuster, but it could solve the fuel crisis in the real world. Chemical element thorium is being hailed as the key in the bid to find safer and more sustainable sources of nuclear energy to provide our electricity. And just like in a Hollywood movie, the race is on to be the first to fully harness that power. Named after Norse god (and Marvel comic book hero) Thor by the Swedish chemist who identified it in 1828, thorium has taken almost 200 years to be taken seriously as an energy contender. After a period in the 1950s and 1960s in which it flirted with thorium, the US government shut down its research into the radioactive element, preferring to go the uranium route. Critics say thorium was pushed aside because uranium was an easier component for nuclear weapons. But times have changed, and thorium’s status as a safer alternative to uranium is now a help, not the hindrance it was during the Cold War. India, which has hundreds of thousands of tonnes of the metal amid its terrain, has announced plans to build a thorium-based nuclear reactor by 2016. But it faces competition from China, where the schedule to deliver a thorium-based nuclear power plant was recently overhauled, meaning scientists in Shanghai have been told to deliver such a facility within the next ten years.
Metro 21st July 2014 read more »
The recent closure of five US power stations is forcing the industry to confront big questions about radioactive waste, writes Paul Brown. Who is to pay the mounting costs of managing the wastes and keeping them secure? And precisely where will be their final resting place?
Ecologist 20th July 2014 read more »
Environmental groups have launched a ferocious attack on the Tory former minister Owen Paterson after he used his new freedom from office to label them a “green blob” of “unelected busybodies” who were damaging Britain. Friends of the Earth described Mr Paterson as “paranoid” and “never fit” to hold ministerial office, while Greenpeace said his “tenuous grasp of the facts” showed why is was best that he “no longer dictates policy”.
Independent 20th July 2014 read more »
Civil servants have conspired with green groups to block progress on key issues such as extracting shale gas and protecting cattle from bovine tuberculosis, according to the former environment secretary, who was sacked last week. Owen Paterson said a “Green Blob” of like-minded public officials, environmental pressure groups and renewable energy companies had used “scare stories and green tape” to pursue their misguided agenda. “This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely,” he wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.
Times 21st July 2014 read more »
Guardian 20th July 2014 read more »
The six world powers pressing Iran for an agreement on nuclear power failed to meet their target date at the weekend but agreed to extend talks until November 24.
Morning Star 21st July 2014 read more »
Iran has moved to eliminate its most sensitive stockpile of enriched uranium gas under an interim nuclear deal reached with six world powers last year, according to a monthly update by the U.N. nuclear watchdog obtained by Reuters on Sunday.The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed that Iran had met the terms of the six-month agreement, under which it limited its atomic activities in exchange for some easing of sanctions that are crippling its economy.The preliminary accord had been due to expire on Sunday but will be extended with some adjustments, after Iran and the six powers failed during negotiations in Vienna to meet a self-imposed July 20 deadline for a long-term deal to end the decade-old nuclear standoff and agreed to continue talking.
Reuters 20th July 2014 read more »
ITV 20th July 2014 read more »
BBC 20th July 2014 read more »
The following table lists outages at French state-run utility EDF’s nuclear reactors, containing information on stoppages and restarts. France has a total nuclear generation capacity of 63,260 megawatts (MW) provided by 58 reactors, France’s power grid RTE data showed. According to a Reuters estimate, 10,400 MW or 16.44 percent of France’s nuclear production capacity is currently offline. This puts the online availability at 52,860 MW or 83.56 percent. The data does not take into account partial capacity cuts in nuclear reactors. Those can be seen on RTE’s website:
Reuters 15th July 2014 read more »
Letter: While India tries to squeeze into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the world’s nine nuclear-armed countries — including India — are being sued by the Marshall Islands in the International Court of Justice for their continuing possession and modernization of nuclear weapons. The lawsuits allege that India and the others are in continuous violation of customary international law by failing to negotiate in good faith for nuclear disarmament.
New York Times 14th July 2014 read more »
No fewer than 50 Labour constituencies put forward submissions critical of Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapon; by Saturday morning these had been whittled down to four.
FT 20th July 2014 read more »
Renewables – AD
A Sainsbury’s store in the West Midlands will be the first retail outlet in the UK to come off the National Grid and be powered by food waste alone in a groundbreaking project being unveiled on Monday. Sainsbury’s and waste recycling company Biffa have been working on new technology to allow the Cannock store to run on electricity solely generated from anaerobic digestion. Sainsbury’s is already the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion, generating enough energy to power 2,500 homes each year. Food waste from the chain’s supermarkets around the UK is delivered by lorry to Biffa’s plant in Cannock, and turned into bio-methane gas which is then used to generate electricity that is directly supplied to the supermarket via a newly constructed 1.5km-long electricity cable.
Guardian 21st July 2014 read more »
Efficient LED lights are appearing more and more in homes, businesses and industry. Today, LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) use about 85% less electricity than a conventional lighting source such as an incandescent bulb. They may soon use even less.
Renew Economy 21st July 2014 read more »
A former Tory minister is leading opposition to attempts to explore for shale oil in a picturesque West Sussex village, in a blow to Government attempts to kick-start fracking across Britain. Nick Herbert MP has urged councillors to throw out Celtique Energie’s bid to drill near Wisborough Green at a crunch vote on Tuesday, warning: “Rural West Sussex cannot become a carelessly industrialised landscape.”
Telegraph 21st July 2014 read more »
Britain will not sign a global deal on climate change unless it includes commitments from China and India on reducing emissions, the energy and climate change secretary said on the eve of visiting the two countries. China is the world’s highest emitter of greenhouse gases and India the third. Neither has agreed any cap on emissions. In an interview with The Times, Ed Davey said that there was little point in Britain making great efforts to cut emissions if other countries did not. “If I looked around the world and no one was doing anything I would have to ask myself the question : is it worth us doing anything if no one else is?” he said. Speaking before meetings in Beijing and Delhi this week to discuss contributions to a global climate deal due to be signed in Paris next year, Mr Davey said: “We won’t do a deal unless these countries come on board. We need a deal that’s applicable to all – that’s what we didn’t get at Kyoto [the 1997 conference in Japan at which binding targets were set for the emissions of industrialised nations].” Mr Davey said that developing countries should be allowed to carry on increasing their emissions for a few years but at a lower rate and with clear targets for when the level should peak and start declining.
Times 21st July 2014 read more »