Cameron has often said Britain is open for business. What it seems he meant was Britain is open for sale. There is no other country in the world which would throw open its strategic industrial sectors to a foreign power. That is exactly what the Tories are now proposing to do with handing over the building and ownership of 5 new nuclear power stations to the Chinese. Energy supply is a national security issue as much as military defence, and to hand over control of 5-10% of Britains future power supply is taking a risk that no other country would countenance. This is a classic example of the neoliberal (Tory and New Labour) fixation with allowing the market to take all the decisions, even the biggest ones, without regard for the national strategic interest.
Michael Meacher 21st July 2012 more >>
Low-carbon electricity has been generated safely at Sizewell for nearly half a century – at the now decommissioning Sizewell A, then Sizewell B and, at the end of this year, EDF Energy will begin consulting with the public about its proposals for Sizewell C. EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies, employing 15,000 people and generating one-sixth of the country’s electricity. In Suffolk, the company employs over 500 staff at Sizewell B, including 50 apprentices, and over 200 contract partners. Its annual contribution to the local economy is £30m. This one station generates enough electricity for about 2 million homes – or 3% of the UK’s electricity needs. The UK is facing an energy crisis. A large proportion of the country’s power stations are due to shut down in the next decade or so. We are also faced with challenging targets to reduce our CO2 emissions and keep electricity affordable for consumers. I believe there is no single simple answer to this problem. Instead it is about getting the ‘energy mix’ right. If we are to meet the challenge of producing clean, secure and affordable electricity, nuclear power has to be part of the solution.
Utility Products 21st July 2012 more >>
ANY decision to continue with plans for an underground nuclear dump in west Cumbria will depend on finding an area with suitable geology, according to Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn. She gave the assurance as the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Partnership agreed its final report. Though the document contains no recommendations about a possible underground dump for highly radioactive waste in the area, it summarises the results of three years of investigation. The three local authorities involved Copeland, Allerdale, and Cumbria County Council this week said any key decisions on a dump would be made in public at executive and cabinet meetings.
Carlisle News and Star 21st July 2012 more >>
Residents of Kings Cliffe and surrounding villages are to lobby county councillors in their fight to stop a low level nuclear waste dump in the county doubling in size. They are to hold a demonstration on Tuesday (July 24) before a meeting of the county councils development control committee. Councillors are to discuss a planning application by Augean which is seeking to double its site at Kings Cliffe where low level radioactive waste is processed. Councillors are set to discuss a Local Impact Report which will recommend no objection to the plans. In March 2010 the county council committee refused planning consent for Augean to dispose of low level radioactive waste at the site, as it had previously done with hazardous waste disposal. Both decisions were later overturned by the Secretary of State following appeals.
Northamptonshire Telegraph 21st July 2012 more >>
The woman who leads the government department in charge of combating climate change has announced she is to quit her job and leave the Civil Service. Moira Wallace, one of only five female permanent secretaries, will step down in October from the post she has held for four years. Ms Wallace’s departure comes at a time when the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is involved in fighting the Treasury over reductions in subsidies for on-shore wind farms.
Independent 21st July 2012 more >>
BRITISH GAS will stoke the outrage over energy prices this week when it unveils a 25% profit jump thanks to soaring household bills. Average annual bills have doubled in the past five years to £1,345 because of rising wholesale gas prices and subsidies for low-carbon technologies. One in five households is now in fuel poverty when more than 10% of disposable income goes to pay for electricity and heating. The countrys biggest supplier of electricity and gas is expected to report on Thursday that it made a profit of £350m in the first six months of the year up from £280m in the same period last year, which had unseasonably warm spells.
Times 22nd July 2012 more >>
Independent 22nd July 2012 more >>
One of the few remaining countries that claims the nuclear renaissance is real is Russia. The renaissance is not so real at home, where the number of planned nuclear power stations always looks impressive, but actual construction slows down. So, Russia looks to the outside world to push new reactors. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev travelled to Belarus to sign a general contract for the construction and operation of the Astravetz nuclear power plant. Several journalists and environmentalists who are critical of the plan wanted to give him a petition, asking him to withhold his signature. Did he meet them with a smile? Small chance. Even before they were on their way to the Russian Embassy in Minsk to deliver the petition, Russian nuclear physicist and journalist Andrey Ozharovsky and his Belarussian colleague and organiser of the petition Tatjana Novikova were arrested. Both were convicted that same day, Ozharovsky was given 10 days in jail and Novikova five days. They were accused of “hooliganism.”
Greenpeace International 20th July 2012 more >>
Japans usually sedate society is angry and getting organized against nuclear power, with the kind of snowballing protest movement not seen for decades. Weekly demonstrations outside the prime ministers residence attract tens of thousands of people and a rally in Tokyos Yoyogi Park last Monday drew a crowd organizers claimed at 170,000, demanding an end to atomic power in post-Fukushima Japan. And as numbers swell there are indications the countrys usually inflexible politicians are getting worried and just might start paying attention.
Japan Today 22nd July 2012 more >>
A SUBCONTRACTOR at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant told workers to lie about possible high radiation exposure in an apparent effort to keep its contract, according to media reports in the country yesterday.
Herald 22nd July 2012 more >>
BBC 22nd July 2012 more >>
Scotland on Sunday 22nd July 2012 more >>
Hot rocks technology, which uses the heat of the Earth’s core to generate power, will soon become a reality in Britain. Plans have been unveiled to tap into geothermal resources at five sites, including one in Manchester with the potential to heat 7m homes. And planning permission has been granted to two projects in Cornwall, considered to be the leading county in hot rocks technology, including a £32m scheme at the Eden Project. A study by Sinclair Knight Merz, engineering consultants, found deep geothermal resources could provide 9.5 gigawatts (GW) of renewable electricity, equivalent to almost nine nuclear power stations and 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand. It could also provide more than 100GW of heat, enough to meet the UK’s entire demand for heating homes and buildings.
Hotspots are spread across the UK, but they are more likely to be found in the Lake District, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Cheshire, Dorset and Hampshire. Parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland are also considered promising.
Independent 22nd July 2012 more >>
A GROUP of Edinburgh businessmen is spearheading a scheme to unlock tens of millions of pounds for small-scale hydroelectric projects by making them more attractive to angel investors. Sandy Finlayson, founder of Archangel Informal Investment, Ian Rogers of building engineer RPS Consulting, and Bob Salter of planning specialist Geddes Consulting, have overseen the development of a new company called Sustainable Heat and Power (SHP) that is designed to overcome the barrier to investing in small hydro-electricity and other renewable projects. The UK Government’s subsidy system of feed-in-tariffs (FITs), backed by tax breaks under the enterprise investment scheme, aims to make hydro projects that will produce between 50KW and 100KW enough to power between 50 and 100 homes particularly attractive. But landowners and communities that own the water-courses with the potential to power these schemes struggle to find backers for the £300,000 to £500,000 investment because banks generally do not lend for projects under 1MW and angel investors do not want to risk that size of investment on one project.
Herald 22nd July 2012 more >>
Wind farms can cause property blight to nearby homes, according to what could become landmark rulings by a government agency. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which decides council tax valuations, has accepted that having wind turbines built near homes can sharply decrease their value and has, as a result, moved some into a lower tax band. The decisions are a serious threat for the wind farm industry. Until now, such negative views have been rejected by the industry and planners as simply subjective opinion.
Times 22nd July 2012 more >>