MPs have written to the energy secretary to ask if a Plan B exists in the event of the collapse of EDF’s deal to build an £18 billion nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Angus MacNeil, chairman of the energy committee, wrote to Amber Rudd to express disappointment at the energy company’s failure to both set a firm timeline for the project and to make a final investment decision. “Given the uncertain timetable, I would like to know what contingency plans you have in place in case Hinkley Point C does not materialise . . . what the costs would be to the UK,” Mr MacNeil wrote. There has been growing concern about the cost of the project. MPs on the committee asked about the terms of a 2013 deal to pay EDF a guaranteed price for electricity of Â£92.50 per megawatt hour, treble the current wholesale price, for 35 years. “The track record to date at Hinkley and overseas does not inspire confidence,” Mr MacNeil wrote.
Times 25th March 2016 read more »
A British parliamentary committee has asked the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to outline any contingency plans and potential costs if the Hinkley Point C nuclear project collapses. The 18 billion pound project was announced in October 2013 and the plant is seen as vital to securing British electricity supply, but a final investment decision has been delayed while developer EDF seeks partners and financing.
Reuters 24th March 2016 read more »
The U.K. won’t struggle to keep the lights on if Electricite de France SA decides not to proceed with its 18 billion-pound ($25 billion) plan to build a new nuclear-power plant at Hinkley Point in southwest England, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said. Britain has nine years to fill any gap in generation created by the loss of a 3.2-gigawatt project that could produce 7 percent of the country’s electricity supply, Rudd said in an interview Thursday. “If there were any delay, we would have plenty of time to arrange replacements,” Rudd said after giving a speech near Rochester in southeast England. “It’s absolutely not right to think that there will be some sort of black hole in 2025.”
Bloomberg 24th March 2016 read more »
Asked by Conservative MP James Heappey why it was “reasonable for us to assume it but not reasonable for you to just say it”, EDF chief executive M Vincent de Rivaz responded: “I am very pleased to give you the privilege to make the assumption and to draw the right conclusion as you have done.”
Dr David Lowry 24th March 2016 read more »
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has refused to accept a £100 wager to guarantee further public subsidies will not be offered to a delayed nuclear power station. Ms Rudd insisted the multibillion-pound Hinkley Point C project will go ahead although she came under pressure to assure MPs it will not be at any cost and also hit UK taxpayers. Labour’s Rob Marris (Wolverhampton South West) warned “ridiculously large” subsidies have already been offered by the UK Government to the project. He added: “I bet the minister £100, proceeds to charity of course, that that nuclear power station will not be built without even more public subsidy being offered.
Western Daily Press 24th March 2016 read more »
Energy Voice 24th March 2016 read more »
ITV 24th March 2016 read more »
The Chinese nuclear developer part-funding Hinkley Point C has said it wants to be heavily involved in the construction of new nuclear plants in the UK. Speaking to MPs on the Energy Select Committee, Zhu Minhong, general director of UK nuclear projects at China General Nuclear (CGN), said that in addition to its investment in EDF’s Somerset plant, his firm wants to bring its “expertise and experience” to Hinkley and further nuclear schemes in the UK. Under CGN’s funding deal with EDF, the Chinese nuclear giant has already agreed to help fund Hinkley and to partner on construction of further plants at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex. At Bradwell CGN is expected to lead on development and construction itself. Minhong told MPs the final terms of CGN’s funding deal with EDF for Hinkley is “practically completed” and the firm is “confident” it will go ahead. CGN has a 33% stake in the £18bn project. In China. In China CGN is developing five nuclear power plants and has plans to develop four more. It also operates two completed plants. Minhong added: “We hope through our participation in [Hinkley] we can learn how to develop nuclear power sites in the UK.”
Building 24th March 2016 read more »
Moorside & Wylfa
The UK needs new nuclear power and there are projects beyond Hinkley Point C (HPC) that will also ensure the country meets future demand for this affordable, low-carbon baseload source of electricity, a parliamentary committee heard yesterday. Giving evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Committee, Tom Samson, CEO of NuGeneration (NuGen), and Alan Raymant, COO of Horizon Nuclear Power, said they were learning from EDF Energy’s experience with HPC. The Committee grilled them and EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz on progress with their respective new nuclear projects. De Rivaz said the £18 billion HPC construction project in Somerset, will “categorically” go ahead and that a final investment decision (FID) would be made “very soon”. Samson said the UK’s nuclear new build industry is “larger than just Hinkley” and that NuGen “understands the need” for the country to bring online 18 MWe of new capacity in the mid-2020s. Samson said: “We have a deliverable technology, a fleet of AP1000s currently being built, in China and the US, and in fact NuGen will have the 17th, 18th and 19th AP1000s to be delivered. We have a single consortium approach to deliver the project in Cumbria and we believe we have the right technology and the right team and right location to bring this online.” Like NuGen, Horizon “is not dependent” on the progress of HPC, Raymant said, adding, “We are bringing tried and tested technology”. Horizon Nuclear Power, a 100% subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, plans to deploy the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) at two sites – Wylfa Newydd, which is on the Isle of Anglesey, and Oldbury-on-Severn, in South Gloucestershire. Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy in November last year reached a regulatory milestone in its progress towards deployment of the UK ABWR, following confirmation that British regulators will move to the final step of the GDA. The GDA process for the UK ABWR is on schedule for completion by the end of 2017.
World Nuclear News 24th March 2016 read more »
Stephen Monk Lancaster University: Everything you need to know about mini nuclear reactors. The chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, now wants the UK to be a “global leader in innovative nuclear technologies”. Part of this plan involves spending £250m on a research and development programme to put the UK in with a chance of “winning” the race to develop small modular reactors (SMR). The main benefit of SMRs compared to full-sized reactors is probably financial – the capital start-up costs are far lower, reducing the cost risk for any interested builder. Another advantage over full-sized reactors is that most countries are better equipped for smaller power loads than bigger ones – the national electricity grid of some countries cannot handle the huge power load from a full-sized power station – they would simply overload and shut down – so SMRs would be ideal in these circumstances. The modular design of the SMRs also ensures they can be manufactured and assembled at a central factory then sent to their new location where they can be installed relatively easily. This is particularly useful in remote locations which might not have the best manufacturing facilities. The obvious drawback is the increased running costs – each kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity from an SMR would be expected to cost between 15% and 70% more than a kWh of electricity produced in a full-sized nuclear power station, due to economies of scale. This means power output decreases while other costs stay constant.
The Conversation 24th March 2016 read more »
In the U.K., a firm with 50 years of experience building SMR’s for the British Royal Navy’s fleet of nuclear powered submarines says it can generate power at less than a fifth of the price of new, much-delayed projects such as Britain’s proposed massive 3,200 mw Hinkley Point project. Rolls-Royce has submitted detailed plans to the British government for SMRs capable of generating 220 mw that could be used in tandem with larger arrays depending on the local demand and infrastructure and, even with the need for regulatory approval for civilian use, could be operational within 10 years.
Oil Price 24th March 2016 read more »
Eleven Belgian nuclear workers have had their work passes revoked amid fears that the Brussels bombers were plotting to build a radiological dirty bomb. Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui, the brothers suspected of suicide strikes on Brussels airport and Metro, are believed to have been involved in an Islamic State plan to create a bomb to scatter radioactive material over a populated area. A senior Belgian nuclear industry official was secretly filmed by jihadists late last year, according to the country’s nuclear authority. Yesterday the brothers were linked to the surveillance. An official at the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control told The Times: “When you start filming someone in the way they did, the logical conclusion is that they wanted to abduct that person and to obtain radioactive material .” A conspiracy to build a dirty bomb, with the aim of contaminating a crowded public space, was “the big question” faced by the authorities, the official added. About 140 soldiers were guarding Belgium’s two atomic power plants, a nuclear research facility and a company that makes medical isotopes, with two members of the terrorist cell behind Tuesday’s attacks at large last night.
Times 25th March 2016 read more »
Hours after suicide bombers struck a Brussels airport and metro station Tuesday, Belgian officials evacuated all nonessential workers from one of the country’s major nuclear facilities, Tihange. The head of Belgium’s nuclear regulatory agency had said that no direct threats to the plant existed, but that the move was “based on new information, and the events of today. Extra security measures were taken.” Yet new reports indicate that authorities knew of a plausible threat involving its nuclear infrastructure, based on intelligence gathered during raids prompted by the November 13 terrorist strike on Paris. After that operation — where one person was arrested.
New York Intelligencer 24th March 2016 read more »
The Belgian security services completed their background check in 2009 for a new inspector at the Doel nuclear power plant, about an hour’s drive from Brussels. Like other inspectors, Ilyass Boughalab had access to secure areas of the plant. He worked for three years as a nuclear technician before leaving for Syria in 2012. He was killed there two years later fighting on the side of the Islamic State terrorist group. As details continue to emerge about the recent terrorist attack in Belgium, one concern long on the minds of international leaders is the risk posed by weapons-usable material that could be fashioned into a dirty bomb or crude nuclear device — and the safety and security of the 440 nuclear power plants in 31 countries. Next week, President Obama and more than 50 world leaders — as well as business luminaries — will gather in Washington for a push to reduce the risk of the most dangerous materials falling into the wrong hands. It could not come at a better time.
USA Today 24h March 2016 read more »
Suicide bombers who blew themselves up in Brussels were originally considering an attack on a nuclear site in Belgium, but arrests started last week may have forced them to switch to targets in the Belgian capital, the DH newspaper said. Referring to an incident in December that prosecutors confirmed in which militants covertly filmed the home of an unidentified senior official in the nuclear industry, the paper quoted a police source as saying two of the suicide bombers, brothers Khalid and Ibrahim Bakraoui, had filmed the daily routine of the head of Belgium’s nuclear research and development program.
Reuters 24th March 2016 read more »
Independent 24th March 2016 read more »
Express 24th March 2016 read more »
Metro 24th March 2016 read more »
ITV 25th March 2016 read more »
Nuclear power is presently a sustainable energy source, but could become completely renewable if the source of uranium changed from mined ore to seawater. Since U extracted is continuously replenished through geologic processes, nuclear would become as endless as solar. But do renewable and sustainable mean the same thing in the energy world? Not necessarily. As Professor Jason Donev from the University of Calgary puts it, “Not everything renewable is sustainable, and in turn not everything which is sustainable is necessarily renewable.” Research and development on extracting U from seawater has been ongoing since the 1960s, especially in Japan, including inorganic adsorbents, absorbent polymer fibers and uranium-specific nonwoven fabrics. In 2012, DOE announced development of a new adsorbent material called HiCap (pictured above). According to Dr. Per Peterson at UC Berkeley, these improvements have reduced seawater extraction production costs to between $100 and $300 per pound of yellowcake (U3O8). It is expected to fall further in the next ten years.
Forbes 24th March 2016 read more »
SSE has warned that a British exit from the European Union could spark uncertainty for the energy market. The utility, formerly Scottish & Southern Energy, said that being part of the bloc’s internal market had been beneficial to consumers and helped to secure affordable low-carbon energy.
Times 25th March 2016 read more »
Herald 25th March 2016 read more »
Nuclear fusion needs a “Wright brothers” moment, to convince the world of its promise of unlimited clean and safe energy and so unlock significant private investment, according to a physicist whose says his company is closing in on that goal. David Kingham, the chief executive of Tokamak Energy, has announced his company’s target of producing its first electricity by 2025 and feeding power into the grid by 2030, as well as investment from the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Harnessing the nuclear energy which powers the sun has long been touted as the ultimate solution to the cha llenge of powering the world while halting climate change. But, as fusion sceptics often say, the reality has stubbornly remained a decade or two away for many years.
Guardian 24th March 2016 read more »
Abandoned Chernobyl: Eerie photos from town left desolate after devastating nuclear disaster reveal rotting houses and broken possessions.
Daily Mail 24th March 2016 read more »
Construction of the Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant in Finland to be implemented by the Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom will start in 2017.
TASS 22nd March 2016 read more »
Japanese utility Shikoku Electric Power Co said on Friday it would scrap the ageing 566-megawatt No.1 reactor at its Ikata nuclear plant on May 10. It said it had made the decision after taking into account the cost of safety upgrades to meet stringent requirements imposed following the Fukushima disaster five years ago. The Ikata No.1 reactor began operations in 1977 and has been shut since Sept. 4, 2011 for scheduled maintenance.
Reuters 25th March 2016 read more »
India and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Kallanish Energy finds.The pact was signed earlier this week at the end of the two-day visit of a delegation from French public utility Electricite de France (EDF) to Mumbai for discussions with National Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) concerning the facilities.
Kallanish Energy 25th March 2016 read more »
Trump refuses to rule out using nuclear weapons against ISIS and says ‘we need unpredictability’ in fight against terror group.
Daily Mail 25th March 2016 read more »
Global investment in renewable energy reached record levels in 2015, according to a new report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). More surprisingly, perhaps, the report shows that the $286bn poured into green energy was more than double the spending on coal- and gas-fired power. It also shows, for the first time, that more renewable power capacity was added than other sources and that renewable energy investment was mostly in developing countries. Carbon Brief runs through the key findings in seven charts.
Carbon Brief 24th March 2016 read more »
BBC 24th March 2016 read more »
Global investment in coal and gas-fired power generation plants fell to less than half that in renewable energy generation last year, in a record year for clean energy. It was the first time that renewable energy made up a majority of all the new electricity generation capacity under construction around the world, and the first year in which the financial investment by developing countries in renewables outstripped that of the developed world.
Guardian 24th March 2016 read more »
Lightsource Renewable Energy has this week written to Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd to request government ministers refrain from defending controversial subsidy cuts by “inaccurately” citing the company’s plans to develop “subsidy-free” solar projects. Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Ministers have recently highlighted Lightsource’s plans to build new solar projects without subsidy this year as evidence the industry can continue to prosper in the wake of steep subsidy cuts. Lightsource chief executive Nick Boyle says he is writing to “clarify our position on subsidy-free solar that several Members of Government have recently referenced inaccurately”. He acknowledges the company has said it is “close to building subsidy-free solar in the UK”, but argues it should be noted the statement “currently only applies to projects that are directly connected to the company that uses the generated electricity through a ‘private wire connection'”. “This is a crucial distinction, because the economics and rationale for these types of solar PV projects are very different from projects that feed directly into the national electricity grid and provide green electricity to the wider British public.
Business Green 24th March 2016 read more »
Solar Portal 24th March 2016 read more »
The sun’s solar rays are helping to power a Hartlepool primary school and save it lots of money after winning a national competition. Supporters got together to celebrate West Park Primary School, in Coniscliffe Road, becoming the town’s first official solar school. It has had 100 panels worth £40,000 installed on the roof after the school won the most public backing in the competition run by M&S Energy.
Hartlepool Mail 24th March 2016 read more »
From LED light bulbs to dishwashers, a host of common household appliances are failing to deliver promised levels of energy and carbon saving.That is the conclusion of a major new study carried out by the UK’s Energy Saving Trust and partner organisations across the EU, designed to test if manufacturers and retailers are complying with energy efficiency and labelling rules.
Business Green 23rd March 2016 read more »
Oil giant BP has been given the green light by Scottish ministers to build a new gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant at Kinneil oil terminal in Grangemouth. The terminal processes crude oil sent from North Sea platforms via the Forties Pipeline System (FPS). Kinneil requires steam for heat energy to drive oil separation processes. The Scottish government said the site was a “strategic piece of oil and gas industry infrastructure”. It is based next to the Grangemouth petrochemical complex. The output of the plant is expected to be 159 MWe (megawatts electric) and up to 400 temporary jobs could be created during construction.
BBC 23rd March 2016 read more »
More than a century of coal-fired power in Scotland has come to an end, with generators at Longannet power station in Fife switched off for the last time. Scotland’s only remaining coal-fired plant has shut after 46 years of production, with operators ScottishPower citing high carbon taxes and transmission charges.
Herald 25th March 2016 read more »