The aim of EMR should be, the Government says threefold: to secure the substantial decarbonisation of supplies, to provide security of supply and to do both at affordable energy prices. One reason for doubting the Bills ability to deliver lies outside its provisions and that is that whilst claiming to be about Electricity Market Reform, the bill does not reform the electricity market at all. It leaves the present, non-transparent bilaterally trading, vertically integrated, Big Six-dominated energy market arrangements exactly as they are.
Alan Whitehead 24th July 2012 more >>
The price of electricity will have to at least double to underpin a new wave of nuclear reactors in the UK, according to people close to negotiations between the government and energy industry. Companies need a price of at least £100 per megawatt hour – more than double the present wholesale power price of about £41/MWh – to justify the huge investment needed in new nuclear plants, they say in comments that will raise concerns that consumers could end up paying much of the cost of the nuclear programme. New nuclear reactors are a critical part of government plans for a low-carbon economy and widely seen as essential if the UK is to meet its ambitious climate change targets, which require an 80 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050. But the costs of atomic power have risen significantly since last year’s Fukushima disaster in Japan. Some estimates put the price tag of building a new reactor as high as £7.5bn – some Â£3bn more than two years ago. “If you do the maths on that, you would conclude that £100 is the number one would need to get a reasonable return,” said a person close to the negotiations on the level of government support energy companies should receive to build new reactors. He said the upper limit of any such support would be about £130-£140/MWh – the cost of electricity generated by offshore wind farms. “If you can’t do [nuclear] for that price, then you might as well build more wind farms,” he said.
FT 24th July 2012 more >>
DRAGGING out the sale of a Gloucester-based firm behind plans for two new nuclear power stations would see skilled staff “drift away” the Government has warned. Energy minister Charles Hendry has stressed the urgency of finding a new buyer for Horizon Nuclear Power, which plans to develop plants at Oldbury in Gloucestershire and Wylfa in North Wales. Talks are being held this week with potential bidders for the nuclear venture, which is being sold by parent companies RWE npower and E.ON. Two consortiums are reported to have expressed an interest. The first is led by Toshiba Westinghouse, the Japanese-owned nuclear reactor manufacturer. The second is Areva, the French controlled reactor manufacturer, and China Guangdong Nuclear power Corp. Bids could be submitted by the end of September.
Gloucestershire Citizen 24th July 2012 more >>
Detailed talks will be held this week with potential investors in a West nuclear power station following the decision of two German energy groups to pull out earlier this year. A consortium involving the French state-controlled nuclear reactor manufacturer Areva and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp is keen to take over Horizon, with another group, led by Japanese-owned Toshiba Westinghouse also thought to be interested.
Western Daily Press 24th July 2012 more >>
The proposed Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power station in Somerset took two steps forward last week when two side applications were granted. First, an application was granted under the Transport and Works Act 1992 to allow land adjacent to Bridgwater Bay to be acquired for the purposes of building a temporary jetty that would be used during the construction of the power station. Secondly, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has simultaneously approved an application under the Harbours Act 1964 to build the jetty itself, as well as two other consents to deposit the jetty on the sea bed and to dredge material for a berth next to the jetty and deposit it (you need consent to put things on the sea bed whether they be structures or disposed material).
Bircham Dyson Bell 24th July 2012 more >>
Heysham power station is understood to be on a hit list of Chinese investors looking to inject £35bn into the UK’s nuclear sector. Reports suggest a team from the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute, part of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), met senior British officials. The plan would involve the corporation and another public sector firm, the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, bidding against each other for a stake in the ‘Horizon’ project.
Insider Media 24th July 2012 more >>
CIVIL war in Whitehall is putting the future of major energy projects such as Wylfa B at risk, MPs warn today. The Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee report, just two days before the deadline for bids to build a new Wylfa reactor, comes in the wake of the sudden resignation of the top civil servant at the Department of Energy & Climate Change.
Daily Post 23rd July 2012 more >>
Sizewell B nuclear power station is generating electricity again after a three day automatic shutdown. Owner EDF Energy said the plant resumed operation at 02:10 BST on Saturday, having stopped on Wednesday afternoon. The company said the automatic safety systems were triggered when an electrical unit was reconnected following routine maintenance work.
BBC 23rd July 2012 more >>
The Springfields Fuels processing plant near Preston, Lancashire was the first in the world to make nuclear fuel for commercial power stations. The site has produced several million fuel elements and supplied products and services to over 140 reactors in 15 countries. A resurgence of demand for nuclear fuel has prompted Springfields to re-commission a previously moth-balled light water reactor (LWR) plant at the site, which is still the UKs main nuclear fuel manufacturing operation.
Process & Control 24th July 2012 more >>
Earlier this month the director of one of Cumbrias leading Estate Agents, Kyle Blue of Penrith Farmers and Kidds reaffirmed his commitment to the government plan for the biggest toxic nuclear hell hole the world has ever seen, here in Cumbria. Yet The Folkstone Herald points out that: Fears have been raised that if the Marsh was to host a £12 billion facility storing nuclear waste from across the UK, house prices would crash and residents would struggle to sell their homes because fewer people would want to move here.
Radiation Free Lakeland 24th July 2012 more >>
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has today published its first Annual Review. It provides an overview of our first year as an agency of HSE. We have also published the latest edition of Quarterly News, reflecting the key themes and developments in each of our regulatory programmes from April to June 2012.
ONR 24th July 2012 more >>
Sheffield Forgemasters is set to become the UK’s only company allowed to weld together critical components for the nuclear industry. The firm is due to achieve Nuclear Partials (NPT) status, allowing it to expand its international output. It follows a successful year which has seen turnover increase by 25%.
BBC 24th July 2012 more >>
The Manufacturer 24th July 2012 more >>
With the government increasingly in crisis and at odds with the public and with demonstrations rising, it looks like it will have to be the people’s voice that forces a shift away from nuclear power.
Alert.net 24th July 2012 more >>
Japan Times 25th July 2012 more >>
Racing against a legislative deadline, the Japanese government is trying to find regulators who understand nuclear technologybut aren’t close to the nuclear industry. Cronyism has been widely blamed for contributing to the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. following the huge earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan in March 2011. In a scathing investigation commissioned by parliament, a panel concluded: “The Tepco Fukushima nuclear-power-plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and Tepco.”
Wall Street Journal 24th July 2012 more >>
Fukushima Crisis Update 20th to 23rd July 2012.
Greenpeace International 24th July 2012 more >>
Japans hunt for renewable energy sources that can replace the loss of its nuclear power sector continues. Since the recent announcement of feed in tariffs, the capacity of solar installations has grown rapidly, and now another renewable energy source could see a similar growth in popularity. According to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan has the third largest geothermal potential in the world, one of the benefits of being situated on an active fault line, but 80% of that potential exists within protected national parks.
Oil Price 24th July 2012 more >>
Electricite de France SA and Areva SA (AREVA), along with other French nuclear operators, may not be setting aside enough funds to pay for future dismantling of reactors and treatment and storage of atomic waste, according to a parliamentary report. Cost estimates by atomic operators dont have a safety margin and risk being raised in the future, according to a report published today by a national panel charged with evaluating the financial costs of atomic decommissioning. Current estimates carry large margins of uncertainty.
Bloomberg 24th July 2012 more >>
In 2010, Iran’s nuclear facilities were infiltrated by Stuxnet, the centrifuge-wrecking malware allegedly cooked up by the US government. Now they seem to have been hit again by a bizarre attack forcing nuclear plant workstations to pump the song Thunderstruck by heavy metal band AC/DC through the speakers at full volume.
New Scientist 24th July 2012 more >>
THE lack of a contingency plan for Britain’s Trident nuclear arsenal if Scotland votes for independence is causing alarm within the UK Government, with one senior source decrying the gap in forward planning as nonsensical. The Coalition source also told The Herald the cost of relocating the nuclear deterrent to England would cost as much as the plan to replace it with a new generation of submarines, some £25 billion.
Herald 24th July 2012 more >>
Changes to subsidies for renewable electricity could incentivise between £20 billion and £25 billion of new investment in the economy between 2013 and 2017. The Banding Review for the Renewables Obligation will support jobs and deliver more clean power with a reduction in costs to consumers between 2013 and 2015, Ministers said. Support for onshore wind from 2013-17 will be reduced by 10% to 0.9ROCs, as consulted on in Autumn 2011. This level is guaranteed until at least 2014 but could change after then if there is a significant change in generation costs. A call for evidence on onshore wind industry costs will be launched this Autumn and report in early 2013.
DECC 25th July 2012 more >>
Business Green 25th July 2012 more >>
The call from green groups for the Chancellor to stop “meddling in energy policy”, came after it emerged yesterday that Osborne is putting pressure on Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey to clear the way for a surge in investment in new gas power plants. In a letter sent to Davey earlier this month and seen by BusinessGreen, Osborne said he would agree to cuts to onshore wind power subsidies of just 10 per cent. But he adds that in return DECC must agree to review wind farm subsidy levels again during the course of this parliament, send out clear signals that the government wants unabated gas power plants to play a “core” role in the UK’s energy mix through to 2030 and beyond, and defy the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation for a target requiring the electricity sector to be largely decarbonised by 2030.
Business Green 24th July 2012 more >>
The government has today announced it is to make £8m available to community energy projects focused on installing renewable heat technologies, such as solar heating systems, heat pumps, biomass boilers and heating networks.
Business Green 24th July 2012 more >>
The subsidy for onshore wind energy generation is to be cut by 10%, the government has announced. The Treasury is thought to have favoured a larger cut of up to 25%. It is one of a number of cuts which the Department for Energy and Climate Change said should encourage up to £25bn in new investment in energy generation between 2013 and 2017.
BBC 25th July 2012 more >>
Wind investors will escape deep cuts to subsidies but the coalition will not commit itself to tough new targets for decarbonising British electricity generation under a compromise deal thrashed out between George Osborne’s Treasury and energy secretary Ed Davey. Under the agreement, to be announced on Wednesday in parliament, Mr Davey will claim victory for seeing off a Treasury threat to cut onshore wind subsidies by further than planned – a decision that will anger many Tory backbenchers. But environmentalists are likely to be furious that ministers have been unable to find an agreement over whether to legislate to make most electricity generation carbon-free by 2030. The coalition has been urged to set this goal by its own committee on climate change and – this week – by the Commons’ energy select committee.
FT 24th July 2012 more >>
A bitter row between the Treasury and the energy department over subsidies for wind energy has ended in a victory for the Lib Dem energy secretary, Ed Davey. The row centred on the level of support channelled to companies providing wind energy to the grid and had escalated into a bruising confrontation between the chancellor, George Osborne, and the Liberal Democrats, which threatened to derail the coalition’s environmental and energy agendas. On Monday, there were calls for the prime minister to intervene in the row because of the impact that uncertainty over energy policy was having on investor confidence. The Guardian has learned that the coalition will announce on Wednesday that onshore wind subsidies, paid for through energy bills, will be cut by 10% and not by the 25% that Osborne had been demanding.
Guardian 24th July 2012 more >>
Today’s announcement, which follows negotiations between the Coalition parties, will be some relief to the renewable energy industry, which has warned that uncertainty about government support has been putting off investors. However, more cuts could yet be made following a formal review of the costs of renewable energy to be held in the financial year 2013-14. In another concession to George Osborne, the Chancellor, today’s statement will contain a clear commitment that “unabated” gas supplies will form a major part of Britain’s energy mix.
Daily Telegraph 25th July 2012 more >>