Centrica is being urged by the City to withdraw from a £4bn commitment to build new nuclear power stations in partnership with Electricité de France (EDF) amid soaring costs and delays at a prototype reactor at Flamanville in France. Centrica should “not touch with a barge pole” the new nuclear build (NNB) joint venture with EDF to build four new plants in Britain, argues Lakis Athanasiou, utilities analyst with Evolution Securities. “Centrica is a minority holder in a technology in which it has no institutional understanding, and where, as emphasised by Flamanville, construction risk is notorious. Centrica should not progress new nuclear further, particularly if [the] government is unwilling to take construction risk,” he says. The Evolution view reinforces concerns expressed by other investment specialists such as Citigroup, which has previously questioned the economics of building new nuclear plants. It is a blow to EDF and the government, which are both keen to see ageing power stations replaced from a source that used to provide almost a quarter of Britain’s electricity.
Guardian 25th July 2011 more >>
EDF’s reputation faces risk of meltdown. It will have taken a decade to build, doubled in price and cost several lives along the way. So it’s no surprise that France’s first new nuclear power plant for 15 years has become a divisive political issue. The tale is not unlike the story of another giant cupola that turned into a white elephant, Britain’s Millennium Dome. The price tag of the nuclear reactor at Flamanville, which looms large on the horizon of north-west France, is now 6bn (£5.3bn). At stake is the professional reputation of EDF, the French state-controlled utility giant, which is looking also to build Britain’s first two nuclear plants for a generation. The design of the Flamanville reactor is the same as the one proposed for Britain’s Hinkley Point and Sizewell. Yet City analysts are not expecting that EDF will be able to construct nuclear plants any more cheaply in Britain. Lakis Athanasiou, of Evolution Securities, estimates that each will cost around £5.5bn. He recommends that EDF’s partner Centrica, which owns 20pc of the UK projects, should not proceed because the risk of spiraling costs is too extreme.
Telegraph 25th July 2011 more >>
Within Europe, the wave of popular resistance to nuclear power seems to be unstoppable, with, as I reported in my last Blog, even France now joining in the debate about whether to phase it out completely. Austria, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Portugal and now Italy are all non nuclear, while famously, Germany, along with Spain, Switzerland Sweden and Belgium all have, or had, phase out plans (Belgiums was postponed but it currently has no functioning government to decide on what happens next, Swedens has been abandoned but no new plants are likely). That leaves the UK as something of an exception, at least within the western EU, Finland apart, although they are having major problems building their new EPR. Although the UK government is still pushing ahead, depending on which poll you believe, opposition is now (narrowly) in the majority (51% according to IPSOS Mori), and it is far from clear if EDF, E.ON and especially RWE , will be willing to invests in UK nuclear projects, even given the government strong support. RWE npower said the Electricity Market Reform (which in effect proposes more support for low carbon options like nuclear) does not yet provide enough clarity for customers or investors.
Environmental Research Web 23rd July 2011 more >>
Eradicating fuel poverty by 2016 will be “extremely challenging” following energy price increases, the Scottish government has said. The admission came from Scottish Infrastructure Secretary Alex Neil after three of the six biggest energy suppliers confirmed rises in electricity and gas prices.
BBC 24th July 2011 more >>
The Times 24th July 2011 more >>
Scotsman 25th July 2011 more >>
Two sets of NVDA training, in London & Bristol, to prepare for the Stop New Nuclear blockade of Hinkley Point on 3 October.
Rising Tide 24th July 2011 more >>
Trains carrying highly radioactive nuclear waste which normally pass through the Olympic Park are to be suspended for the duration of the Olympics, in a move long called for by anti-nuclear campaigners. Despite this decision, the trains are due to return after the games, bringing with them the risk of an accident or terrorism contaminating some of the most densely populated areas of East and North London, says the Campaign for Nuclear Disemament (CND).
Ekklesia 24th July 2011 more >>
Mr Breivik also talks of his links to and friendship with members of the UKs English Defence League. But he chides the EDL for being dangerously naive in pursuing a democratic path, and instead advises it to attack a nuclear plant to cripple the British economy, contributing to creating an optimal climate for significant political change.
FT 24th July 2011 more >>
Sharp could benefit from the new policies, which would require utilities to buy up electricity that comes from renewable sources. The company is Japan’s largest supplier of solar panels, which accounted for about 9% of Sharp’s overall revenue of ¥3.02 trillion (US$38.57 billion) in the last fiscal year.
Wall Street Journal 25th July 2011 more >>
More than two-thirds of Japanese support Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s call to do away with nuclear power, a media poll showed on Sunday, underscoring growing opposition to atomic energy in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Reuters 24th July 2011 more >>
Bernie Ecclestone on Saturday allayed fears that the nuclear crisis will affect Octobers Japanese Grand Prix. Leading MotoGP riders Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo have announced that they will boycott Octobers MotoGP race at Motegi, which is just 100km from the damaged Fukushima power plant. I will not go and most riders have the same opinion, said Australian Stoner.
Formula1 24th July 2011 more >>
Multiple videos have been released showing high levels of radiation in Canada as the corporate media continues to cover up the real dangers posed by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The tests were taken in multiple places in Canada including Lake Louise BC, Kelowna BC, Red Deer/Edmonton, and Hope BC. The radiation tests that were taken near Lake Louise BC clearly showed harmful radiation levels up to 1.66 mcSv/hr .
Alex Higgins Blog 19th July 2011 more >>
Iran’s parliamentary speaker has accused Israel and the United States of assassinating a scientist with possible links to the country’s nuclear programme.
Telegraph 24th July 2011 more >>
A SENIOR North Korean minister will visit the United States this week to discuss the possible resumption of long-stalled international negotiations on ending Pyongyang’s nuclear programmes.
Scotsman 25th July 2011 more >>
FIRST Minister Carwyn Jones has been urged to back a campaign for compensation for UK veterans of nuclear testing at the height of the Cold War.
Western Mail 25th July 2011 more >>
A 20%-25% collapse in the price of rooftop solar power units in recent months has turned the government’s feed-in tariff scheme into one of the most lucrative financial propositions for households with the right sort of property. The scheme was introduced in April 2010, when the Labour government introduced generous feed-in tariffs to encourage households to install solar photovoltaic systems. Back then, anyone spending, say, 13,000 up front to fit a 2.5kWp system to their home was paid 41.3p per kilowatt hour (kWh) generated enough to earn them a typical annual income of 900 a year in payments, on top of a 140-a-year saving in reduced electricity bills. It was described as a good investment b ecause payments for each unit of electricity generated were guaranteed for 25 years, paid tax-free, and set to rise each year in line with inflation. If you were planning to stay in your home and had a suitable roof (unshaded, at a pitch of about 40 degrees, and facing between south-east and south-west), the main question was how big a system to install assuming you could raise the installation costs. The bigger the system, the greater the financial return. However, you shouldn’t worry if you put off doing anything because it has emerged this week that waiting has worked in your favour. Solar experts say that as a result of the installation costs coming down, the investment value of the scheme has become even better. These lower installation costs, an inflation-linked increase to the feed-in tariff payments and the prospect of rising electricity prices all mean the guaranteed returns are now above 10% a year, depending on how you calculate it. And if you insta ll before next April when new payment tariffs look set to come into force you are guaranteed the tariffs for the next 25 years at the old rate.
Guardian 23rd July 2011 more >>