Industry sources told not to expect Energy Bill publication until the week of November 19th. Concerns are mounting that the government’s crucial Energy Bill could be subject to a delay, after industry sources confirmed they had been told not to expect publication of the bill until mid-November. The government has not provided a precise date for the publication of the bill, confirming only that it expects to release the document next month and put it before parliament before the end of the year. The prospect of any delay to the bill will further fuel speculation over whether the Lib Dems have been able to secure Treasury support for both the inclusion of a decarbonisation target for the power sector in the legislation and the creation of a government-backed company to guarantee long-term financial support for low carbon power projects. Whitehall sources have indicated that ministers are close to finalising a deal on the content of the bill, but DECC may have to agree to controversial new restrictions on onshore wind and carbon capture and storage projects in return for the Treasury’s support for the wider package of measures.
Business Green 25th Oct 2012 more >>
EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz denied the company was trying to recoup construction cost risk via the “strike price” for power for its two planned EPR reactors at Hinkley Point C. But a colleague at a rival nuclear company said construction risk for the reactors it plans to build would have to be accounted for either in the strike price or via some sort of “adjustment mechanism.” Speaking before the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee earlier this week de Rivaz said that EDF is not asking for construction cost overrun risks to be included in the “strike price.” The strike price comes through a long-term contract with a guaranteed price for power from the reactors. EDF is currently negotiating the strike price for the Hinkley Point C reactors in Somerset, England with the Department of Energy and Climate Change. De Rivaz’ answer contrasted sharply with that from his colleague at the NuGen consortium, which is currently the only other active consortium planning to build new reactors in the UK.
i-Nuclear 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Reports that the government is preparing to write a ‘blank cheque’ to subsidise new nuclear power plants features in today’s newspaper round-up.
Planning 22nd Oct 2012 more >>
EDF and Areva have so far closed out only nine of the original 31 GDA Issues and are currently at risk of extending the program into 2013. Even if EDF and Areva are successful in closing out the 22 remaining GDA issues on the UK EPR by the end of the year as planned, one critic fears they will do so only by shifting unanswered safety questions into the licensing phase of the new reactors. Nuclear engineer and industry critic John Large says this could turn EDF’s planned project for two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point C into an “Olkiluoto-3”-style situation with cost overruns and project delays inevitable as regulators grapple with last minute design changes. The ONR disputes Large’s criticism.
i-Nuclear 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Japanese engineer Hitachi is the "firm frontrunner" to acquire Horizon, the joint venture planning to build nuclear reactors in the UK, according to people familiar with the matter. A Hitachi-led consortium is in advanced talks with Horizon’s owners, the German utilities RWE and Eon, and was winning out against a bid from a rival group led by Westinghouse Electric Co, the people said. The selection of Hitachi will resolve some of the uncertainty that has clouded Britain’s nuclear expansion plans since March when RWE and Eon announced they were putting Horizon up for sale. But choosing Hitachi could also end up slowing the UK’s nuclear revival. Its design, the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor or ABWR, has yet to be submitted to UK regulators and the design assessment process can take four years.
FT 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Telegraph 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Business Green 26th Oct 2012 more >>
Bloomberg 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Michael Meacher: The nuclear industry and its cheerleader DECC will be pleased at today’s announcement that China has re-started its nuclear programme after an 18 month hiatus following Fukushima. The Chinese government have made clear they remain very concerned about the safety issue, as well they should be – Fukushima came very close to making Tokyo uninhabitable for decades to come – but once again industry lobbies have prevailed over sober analysis and common sense. The decision by China and the UK is of course taken on purely economic and industrial grounds, marginalising whatever environmental considerations there might be, but sadly it is also a view taken on very different grounds by such splendid environmental campaigners as George Monbiot and Mark Lynas, for both of whom I have enormous respect. But in this matter they are wrong. The only plausible environmental case for nuclear is that climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity, fossil fuels therefore have to be phased out as quickly as feasible, and nuclear is then the best (or even only) means to fill the gap. This argument is deeply wrong-headed, as the figures irrefutably show.
Michael Meacher 25th Oct 2012 more >>
THE nuclear, offshore wind, transport and infrastructure sectors are key to future growth in the North West, according to the CBI. The employers’ organisation has published a number of recommendations for supporting growth throughout the UK, with a detailed assessment of potential within every region, including Merseyside and the North West. The CBI believes that a successful re-balancing of the economy requires the private sector to grow across the whole country, not just in London and the South East.
Liverpool Daily Post 26th Oct 2012 more >>
A SECOND perimeter fence aimed at giving Sellafield double security against potential terrorist attack is due to be completed by the end of the year. It will stretch for more than five miles.
Whitehaven News 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Letter: Why can’t the benefits of the “Energy Coast” be enjoyed by the wider community of West Cumbria and not just by those with links to, or employed directly by, the nuclear industry? The land in the proposed Weddicar windfarm site has been adopted for the development of windfarms, in a planning policy document resulting from a consultation process involving local councils. The planning panel seems to have overlooked the fact that this area was adopted by Cumbria Council for the purpose of such developments after an extensive consultation process that involved the local parish and Copeland councils.
Whitehaven News 25th Oct 2012 more >>
The world’s only nuclear-powered containership, the Murmansk-based Sevmorput, is set for its last voyage: to the scrapyard. The vessel, which has been lying idle outside Murmansk for some years, was taken out of the Russian Ship Register at the end of July and will end up a scrap metal, according to a report in the Barents Observer.
Lloyds List 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Fish from the waters around the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan could be too radioactive to eat for a decade to come, as samples show that radioactivity levels remain elevated and show little sign of coming down, a marine scientist has warned. According to a paper published in the journal Science on Thursday, large and bottom-dwelling species carry most risk, which means cod, flounder, halibut, pollock, skate and sole from the waters in question could be off limits for years. Sample fish caught in waters near the stricken reactors suggest there is still a source of caesium either on the seafloor or still being discharged into the sea, perhaps from what is left of the cooling waters. As the levels of radioactive isotopes in th e fish are not declining as fast as they should have, the outlook for fishing in the area is likely to be poor for the next 10 years.
Guardian 25th Oct 2012 more >>
BBC 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant is struggling to find space to store tens of thousands of tons of highly contaminated water used to cool the broken reactors, the manager of the water treatment team said. About 200,000 tons of radioactive water – enough to fill more than 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools – are being stored in hundreds of gigantic tanks built around the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. has already chopped down trees to make room for more tanks and predicts the volume of water will more than triple within three years.
Huffington Post 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Still responding to the partial meltdowns last year at nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan, the Chinese government has lowered its target for the construction of nuclear power plants by 2015, notably by not building more nuclear reactors at inland locations. A white paper on energy policy released after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday said that the government planned to have 40 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity installed by 2015, and pledged strict safety standards. While the white paper and state-controlled media did not describe this as a reduction in the target, the country’s current Five-Year Plan sets a target of 50 gigawatts.
New York Times 24th Oct 2012 more >>
German utility E.On has said it will sell its 34% interest in the planned Hanhikivi-1 nuclear power reactor in northern Finland. As the largest single shareholder in Fennovoima Oy, the company planning to build Hanhikivi-1, E.On’s decision puts the future of the new build project in doubt. “E.ON has decided to focus its resources, capabilities and investments in the Nordic region on existing operations in mainly Sweden and Denmark. We are therefore initiating the process of divesting our businesses and assets in Finland,” Jonas Abrahamsson, Chief Executive of E.ON Sverige, said in a statement October 24. Fennovoima said in a statement the same day that E.ON is committed to financing Fennovoima through spring 2013.
i-Nuclear 25th Oct 2012 more >>
The EU, leading diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme, has talked to Tehran to bring it up to date on the latest discussions, officials said Thursday. The EU’s Deputy Secretary-General Helga Schmid and Dr. Ali Bagheri, Deputy Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, talked on the phone Wednesday, a spokesman for EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton said. "The call took place in the context of ongoing diplomatic efforts … towards a diplomatic solution of the Iranian nuclear issue which the High Representative of the European Union is leading," he said. The call "was used to inform Iran" about a meeting between the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany in New York on September 27, he said. They had "stressed their determination to work for a diplomatic solution and the need for Iran to engage urgently in a confidence building process aimed at resolving international concerns about the nature of its nuclear programme", the spokesman added.
EU Business 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Iran appears to have nearly finished installing centrifuges at its underground nuclear plant, Western diplomats say, potentially boosting its capacity to make weapons-grade uranium if it chose to do so. Iran only disclosed the existence of the Fordow plant, built inside a mountain to shield it from air strikes, in 2009 after learning that Western spy services had detected it.
Trust 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Britain has rebuffed US pleas to use military bases in the UK to support the build-up of forces in the Gulf, citing secret legal advice which states that any pre-emptive strike on Iran could be in breach of international law.
Guardian 25th Oct 2012 more >>
A contained radioactive water leak detected at EDF’s Flamanville nuclear plant did not cause any damage to the environment or harm any employees, France’s nuclear safety watchdog ASN and EDF said on Thursday.The nuclear safety agency said on its website EDF had detected a leak in a water pipe that feeds the plant’s reactor 1 primary circuit late on Wednesday. It was stopped and did not cause any radioactive contamination.
Reuters 25th Oct 2012 more >>
The South Korean capital Seoul has set itself the target of ‘eliminating a nuclear power plant’ through an ambitious energy efficiency and renewables drive. Mayor Park Won Soon announced the “One Less Nuclear Power plant” project, as he assumed the role of chair with the World Mayors Council on Climate Change (WMCCC), and one year after the city suffered rolling blackouts. Seoul currently generates just 2.8% of its own power and will seek to boost this number to 20% by 2020 through the use of small hydropower scheme, solar and hydrogen fuel cells.
RTCC 25th Oct 2012 more >>
MPs are urging the Scottish and UK governments to thrash out a deal on nuclear weapons well before the independence referendum. The Scottish Affairs Committee says it is crucial that people in Scotland know exactly what they are voting for in the poll in 2014.
ITV 25th Oct 2012 more >>
VENTURE capital firm Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) is helping to pour £3.3 million into a hydro-electric developer to trigger a flood of new projects. Perth-based Green Highland Renewables, run by managing director Ian Cartwright, will use the cash to increase the number of landowners it works with. The company specialises in small to medium-sized schemes that can generate from 100kW to 2MW of electricity, enough to power between 80 and 1,600 homes. SEP is investing in the company alongside the Scottish Investment Bank. Neither party would disclose the size of the stakes they are buying.
Scotsman 26th Oct 2012 more >>
An innovative bid to harness the Water of Leith has moved a significant step further after city planners backed the
proposals. Plans to revive the use of the hydroelectric power station at the Harlaw Reservoir dam for the benefit of the local community are set to be approved later this week. The defunct structure was once part of a network which powered mills across the region, and residents from a Balerno community group are now bidding to return the device to its previous use. Comprising a skilled set of homeowners, including designers and engineers, the Balerno Village Trust has drawn up plans for the 65-kilowatt device – which has been defunct since the Second World War – at minimal cost. It would be connected to the National Grid, which would in turn pay the community for the power generated. They would also receive feed-in tariffs from the government for generating green energy. After ten months of planning, officials at the city council have recommended councillors back the bid, which they will formally vote on next week.
Edinburgh Evening News 22nd Oct 2012 more >>