So they went ahead and did it – British Prime Minister David Cameron looked like the cat that got the cream this week as his Conservative government finally pushed through the deal for the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in England’s southwest. The government needs to explain why it is drastically cutting support for solar energy while offering double the subsidy to Hinkley. It also needs to explain why it is championing overseas state-backed utilities over British solar companies which, given stable support, would have considerable growth prospects.”
PV Magazine 23rd Oct 2015 read more »
The British taxpayer (as at the 6 October prices) would be contractually required to provide EDF with nearly £40 for each MWh produced at Hinkley. In contrast, the government has recently announced significant changes to the renewables sector, especially in relation to the Renewables Obligation.
Construction News 23rd Oct 2015 read more »
George Osborne’s own father-in-law has slammed the deal he signed with the Chinese to fund the building of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, saying we would all be paying ‘eye-watering’ energy prices because it is such a bad deal. “It should be no surprise that it needs a French state company, a Chinese state-owned company and the British Government, plus eye-watering price penalties on all industries and households for years to come, to keep a project of this size and design going forward and, of course, endless Government guarantees for risk-free returns to the investors,” said Lord Howell, the father of Mr Osborne’s wife Frances, who is the Tories’ deputy leader in the House of Lords. “I suspect that it will be the last of its kind in the line,” he added.
Western Daily Press 23rd Oct 2015 read more »
[Translation] Nuclear experts Wolfgang Renneberg and Steven Sholly have a different view. In their new expertise they criticize that the safety assessment for Hinkley Point C was incomplete. “Risks downplayed in a misleading way”. (They state that) EDF had found in a separate risk assessment that an earthquake which could take the safety systems of Hinkley point tho their limits could happen in Southern England every 10000 years. That is only a number, which however shows that such a case cannot be ruled out even though there were no powerful earthquakes in Britain in recent history. This makes the fact that this number is not considered in the combined safety assessment for Hinkley Point C even more surprising. Sholly and Renneberg write that they noticed that the probability of occurrence for all other serious safety risks was 100 times lower than the probability of occurrence for this kind of quake. The lack of an earthquake assessment might thus make the reactors look safer than they are.
Spiegel 20th Oct 2015 read more »
A conservation charity has warned a new nuclear plant at Bradwell could have a “major impact” on the wildlife in the Blackwater estuary. The news comes as Chinese president Xi Jinping visits the UK for talks over a £2billion deal for Hinkley Point station, in Somerset, paving the way for a new nuclear plant at Bradwell. RSPB has said, despite being neutral when it comes to nuclear power, it fears a new reactor could have a significant effect on the environment and wildlife.
Braintree & Witham Times 24th Oct 2015 read more »
A prolonged cold snap could see electricity prices double this winter, forcing industries to ration their usage, the boss of one of the UK’s largest renewable energy firms has warned. Britain’s “very tight capacity margin” meant there is a “very realistic possibility” of power prices spiking if there is an unusually cold winter, said Ian Marchant, chairman of Infinis Energy.
Telegraph 24th Oct 2015 read more »
The government — particularly George Osborne, who led the negotiations — has put Hinkley at the heart of the £110bn plan to replace Britain’s ageing fleet of fossilfuelled power stations with low-carbon alternatives. The £18bn plant will be one of the most expensive in the world and could, if the chancellor is to be believed, spark a nuclear renaissance in Britain. Yet Hinkley is but one piece of a puzzle that gets more jumbled by the day. Indeed, to many it is not part of the solution, but rather the most stark example of the flaws in a shambolic energy policy that is heading towards disaster. Dominic Nash, an analyst at the investment bank Macquarie, says demand could outstrip capacity, making Britain dependent for the first time on power imported by undersea cable from the Continent. “We estimate a reserve margin [a measure of the system’s capacity beyond peak demand] of negative 3% in winter 2016-17, with imports required to keep the lights on,” Nash wrote. “Something has got to give.” All of which sets the stage for Rudd’s much-anticipated “reset” speech. Having devoted her energies thus far to slashing and burning, Rudd will in the next month lay out the government’s strategy for keeping bills low and the lights on while also reducing pollution. Meddling has led to falling investor confidence, plummeting share prices — see the example of Drax — and failed businesses. Mark Group, a family company in Leicester, last year generated a £14m profit on turnover of £214m by installing solar panels and home insulation. A policy change on insulation hurt it. The solar cuts killed it. The 41-year-old business filed for administration this month, putting 600 people out of work. Beyond the coming winter crunch, more fundamental changes are afoot. Last year a quarter of British power capacity came from “distributed generation” such as rooftop solar panels and wind turbines, a record in the modern era. Rudd’s subsidy cuts will slow the development of green energy but not stop it. Nash at Macquarie said Britain was well on the way “back to the 19th century”, a time when homes and communities answered their own power needs. “Utilities will move away from a model of large centrally dispatched stations to more localised power generation and control networks,” he wrote. “We are going back to the 19th-century model of localised power and innovation.” That is the vision of Elon Musk, the Tesla founder who is building a giant factory in the Nevada desert to churn out the world’s first batteries capable of powering homes. It is this world into which Rudd has been thrust. Her challenge: reset a policy for an industry that is itself in the middle of seismic change.
Times 25th Oct 2015 read more »
Time is rapidly running out to make the crucial planning decisions and secure investment to keep the UK on track to deliver a reliable, affordable and decarbonised energy system to meet future emissions regulation enshrined in the 2008 Climate Change Act, according to a report published today by the Royal Academy of Engineering. Prepared for the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, A critical time for UK energy policy details the actions needed now to create a secure and affordable low carbon energy system for 2030 and beyond. Dr David Clarke FREng, who led the group that produced the report, says: “Updating the UK energy system to meet the ‘trilemma’ of decarbonisation, security and affordability is a massive undertaking. Meeting national targets affordably requires substantial decarbonisation of the electricity system by 2030 through a mix of nuclear power, CCS and renewables with gas generation for balancing. Beyond 2030 we must then largely decarbonise heat and transport, potentially through electrification but also using other options such as hydrogen and biofuels. We also need to adapt our transmission and distribution networks to become ‘smarter’”.
Royal Academy of Engineering 23rd Oct 2015 read more »
The U.K.-China nuclear deal is particularly complicated by the fact that it is this sector that has been named by the U.S. as one of the main victims of Chinese commercial espionage by cyber means. Westinghouse nuclear power station secrets were among those that figured in the May 2014 indictment in a U.S. Federal Court, alleging that China was making commercial advantage over U.S. firms. Moreover, a cyberattack on a Chinese nuclear power plant (in Hong Kong) provides the opening sequences of a movie released just this year, “Blackhat.” In 2014, the EastWest Institute called for international agreement to quarantine civil nuclear stations from cyberattack. So the nuclear cyber sector is definitely a live issue for China, its partners and all of us. The mix of competing interests opposed to the U.K.-China nuclear deal has been enriched by environmentalists who have argued that Britain need not expose itself to any possible Chinese threat because it did not have to go down the nuclear energy path at all, and could rely instead on other renewable resources.
Japan Times 25th Oct 2015 read more »
On their own, the mines account for nearly one-third of Niger’s exports. Nigerien uranium is thought to provide for approximately one-third of France’s domestic consumer electricity needs. Both of the mines are nearing the end of their operational lifespan — one is expected to only last another 10 to 15 years. A third mine, at Imouraren, is currently under development and has reserves enough to become one of the most productive uranium sites in the world. But plans to begin large-scale mining at Imouraren are now on hold because of the worldwide plunge in uranium prices that followed the Fukushima incident and the resulting shutdown of Japan’s 43 commercial nuclear reactors. A fourth mine, in a place called Azelik, near the mostly ethnic Tuareg city of In’gall, is currently much smaller than the other three sites. Like Imouraren, it’s currently shuttered as a partial result of the uranium price dip. But because of its ownership and a checkered recent history, it’s an instructive guide to the future of Niger’s uranium and the global nuclear energy industry at large. Niger’s Azelik uranium mine, owned and operated by Chinese companies, is at the geographic and economic fringes of a continent-wide wave of Chinese investment, goods, and people. In Niger alone, China has invested billions in the oil sector and has undertaken a number of large infrastructural projects. But, as the mine demonstrates, it’s far from a given that both sides will always benefit from a complex social and economic relationship that neither has fully figured out yet.
Business Insider 24th Oct 2015 read more »
The largest and most costly U.S. environmental cleanup project has been dogged for years by worries about an accidental nuclear reaction or a spill of toxic materials that could endanger residents nearby, as well as a history of contractor retaliation against workers who voice worries about persistent safety risks. But it hasn’t fully turned the corner yet, according to recent comments by the federal officials now overseeing its operation. “Changing the culture takes time,” said Mark Whitney, the Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for environmental management, at a special hearing last week before members of an independent federal watchdog group that monitors safety problems at federal nuclear facilities. “I’m not going to sit here today and tell you we have everything solved.” Whitney spoke inside a ballroom at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick, Washington, 17 miles from the Hanford Site where generators churned out plutonium, the lifeblood of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, for a half-century during the Cold War. More than 55 million gallons of pasty waste now lie in decomposing barrels beneath the ground at Hanford, posing a potential safety hazard to thousands of people who rely on the nearby Columbia River for drinking water.
Alternet 23rd Oct 2015 read more »
How comical that the Government plans to spend £20billion on a new superpower nuclear missile fleet when it has already sold this country to the Chinese police state. Who will be frightened by this unusable, overblown Cold War weapon? Not China, for sure. They already know we are led by gutless worms who won’t defend our independence or our way of life. Last week, in return for some dubious and overstated investments, we handed over the heart of our capital to Peking’s security goons, some of whom allegedly intimidated and photographed British protesters.
Mail on Sunday 25th Oct 2015 read more »
JEREMY Corbyn is set to miss the headline debate on scrapping Trident at this week’s Scottish Labour conference, it has emerged. The UK leader will address delegates at the start of the three-day event in Perth on Friday. But despite saying earlier this year that, win or lose the Labour leadership, he would attend specifically for the Trident debate, Corbyn is due to leave town before it comes up.
Sunday Herald 25th Oct 2015 read more »
How Rissia planned to drop a handful of nuclear bombs on London.
Express 24th Oct 2015 read more »
Daily Mail 24th Oct 2015 read more »
Mirror 24th Oct 2015 read more »
Independent 24th Oct 2015 read more »