Case against Hinkley Point nuclear development gets stronger after yet another critical report. The more entertaining stuff is in director Richard Black’s blog. He describes Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation as: “A giant Godzilla that will either crush all before it or collapse under its own weight.” The latter is much the more likely outcome. But you can see his point.
Independent 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Richard Black: [Hinkley is] also something of a mirage; and when you escape its unreality field, interesting things are happening. Stereotypically, enthusiasm for renewable energy is the domain of tree-hugging greenies who know and care little for niceties such as keeping the lights on so long as the sanctity of Mother Earth remains unviolated. Real men do not do renewables. It’s amazing how long stereotypes persist past the point where they have lost all basis in fact. Energy academics and investment banks have understood for years that renewables-based systems are becoming the logic-based choice, given not only climate change but also simply cost. Seventy-five percent of bosses asked in a survey think Britain should build more [renewables]. Even solar power, treated with huge scepticism in government ever since the late Professor David Mackay told ministers that it could not amount to a row of beans – garnered a huge thumbs-up. The second big news of last week came from National Grid, which admitted its complete failure to predict the rapid advent of small-scale renewables. Four years ago it estimated that 0.5 gigawatts would be installed by 2021. Already, the total is 11GW – and 13GW more is now considered likely. That’s an under-estimate by a factor of nearly 50. Accordingly, Grid has now slashed its forecast for the building of big block power stations by more than 50%.
ECIU 22nd Aug 2016 read more »
The UK can meet its energy and climate change targets without building the controversial new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, a new report has found. ECIU director Richard Black said the report – Hinkley What If? – shows the nuclear plant “is not essential”. He said: “Despite years of debate on Hinkley, we’re still not sure whether or not it’s going to get built – the Prime Minister is due to make a decision next month, but even if she says ‘yes’ there are many other issues that could derail the project, including legal cases and EDF’s financial woes. “So we wanted to know how essential Hinkley is for the ‘energy trilemma’ – keeping the lights on whilst cutting greenhouse gas emissions and keeping costs down. “Our conclusion is that it’s not essential; using tried and tested technologies, with nothing unproven or futuristic, Britain can meet all its targets and do so at lower costs” The report found that building an extra four big wind farms on top of those scheduled to be constructed could bring as much electricity into the grid as Hinkley. Using electricity more efficiently and productively could negate the need for at least two-fifths of Hinkley’s electricity, the report also found.
Plymouth Herald 26th Aug 2016 read more »
ITV 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 26th Aug 2016 read more »
The report’s findings received the backing of North Star Solar CEO – and until recently RWE npower chief – Paul Massara, who, not for the first time, argued Hinkley was the wrong solution for meeting the UK’s future energy needs. In view of the costs and “unproven, outmoded technology” involved, pressing ahead with Hinkley would be “madness”, he suggested in a statement. “Listen to any informed energy market insider, and they will tell you that future grids will be smart, decentralised, flexible, and dominated by a mix of renewable energy, demand-side and energy efficiency measures, and storage,” said Massara. “If that’s the case, then the question is very simple: what’s Hinkley for?” However, a spokesman for EDF said the scenarios outlined in ECIU’s report were “not credible alternatives” to Hinkley, the costs for which he said were competitive. “Wind, gas, interconnection, energy storage, demand side response, efficiency measures and large scale nuclear generation will all be part of the ideal future energy mix for the UK,” the EDF spokesman said. “We must get the engineering and the economics right. The scenarios outlined in the ECIU report are not credible alternatives to Hinkley Point C. HPC’s cost is competitive with other large-scale low carbon technologies. It will generate electricity steadily even on foggy and still winter days across Northern Europe. It will play a crucial role as part of a future, flexible energy system.”
Business Green 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Scrapping plans for the proposed new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point and focusing on other projects could save the taxpayer £1bn a year, according to a new report from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).
Holyrood Magazine 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Prime Minister Theresa May will pull out of the Hinkley Point nuclear project and China “cannot be trusted”, according to former MP for Wells and Liberal Democrat spokesperson, Tessa Munt. The prospect of a government pull-out over the project to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point near Bridgwater, has been welcomed by Munt, who believes the Prime Minister will turn against it and it would be “mad” to have China “running our energy”.
Somerset Live 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Government is exploring ways to get out of the deal.
Burnham-on-sea 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Power Engineering International 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Media reports say Britain’s new government under Prime Minister Theresa May is scrutinizing the deal with China in search of a loophole or an escape clause that could allow them to back away from the deal with dignity. May’s chief of staff Nick Timothy, in an online posting in 2015, criticized the idea of Chinese companies taking a minority stake in the $24 billion project as a security risk. China could move in and “shut down Britain’s energy production at will,” Timothy wrote. In addition, criticism over the price deal the previous government arranged for French nuclear plant operator Electricite de France (EDF), remains a frequent discussion in the press, despite the subsidy’s previous approval from the European Commission. That decision, however, may be considered moot, as Britain, more recently, has decided to exit its membership in the European Union.
Nuclear Street 25th Aug 2016 read more »
When Greenpeace published a comment piece in the Guardian, arguing that there were plenty of alternatives to the £30 billion Hinkley Point C, we had plenty of responses with ideas ranging from the off-beat to the so-obvious-why-aren’t-we-doing-it-already. What unites them all is their size: the energy systems of the future are numerous, varied, small-scale and interconnected. In contrast, Hinkley Point C would be a huge monolith, which – even before it’s built – is widely recognised as an expensive white elephant, saddling British consumers with high energy costs for decades to come.
Energydesk 23rd Aug 2016 read more »
Another day, another Hinkley Point C demolition job. This time it’s from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, a non-profit organisation, apparently, but clearly one with a better grasp of finance than our ex-chancellor. It’s had a squint at the £18 billion nuke and reached a happy conclusion: there are “cheaper, quicker and simpler alternatives to Hinkley”. Its report tackles a key myth: that Hinkley is the best way to meet 7 per cent of Britain’s energy needs, while also cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Not so. Four big wind farms or three more interconnector cables could bring as much electricity into the grid. And that might not be necessary anyway as “we could negate the need for at least two fifths of Hinkley’s electricity by cutting waste”. Neither do we need 3,200MW of “always on” baseload power. We could handle the same peak demand requirements through extra connectors or gas-fired stations, not least if industry rescheduled non-essential processes away from times of highest demand. Besides, grids are getting more flexible, partly thanks to innovations in storage. Tot it all up and those alternatives will save taxpayers at least £1 billion a year versus Hinkley, a project so daft that its electricity will cost us more than twice today’s wholesale rate, an effective £30 billion subsidy. Theresa May is pondering what to do about the Hinkley nuclear disaster. It’s blindingly obvious.
Times 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Alternatives to Hinkley
The owner of what was once the U.K.’s biggest coal plant joined a growing list of companies jostling for position to fill a potential energy gap if the government drops plans for an 18-billion pound ($23 billion) nuclear station in Somerset. Andy Koss, chief executive office of Drax Group Plc., said biomass is the U.K.’s most cost-effective form of energy on a whole-systems cost basis. The company, which converted three of its six units to biomass from coal, “stands ready” to convert the remaining three, he said. Biomass would be “the cheapest” source of energy if all costs of running a plant were considered he said, including the need to balance the variability of other renewables as well as providing back-up capacity.
Bloomberg 25th Aug 2016 read more »
The public will get another chance to have their say on plans for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa in Anglesey from next week. Horizon Nuclear Power, the developer behind the multi-billion pound plans for the plant, will launch its second major public consultation next Wednesday. It has also announced its intention to submit an application for the nuclear power station next spring. The news comes just weeks after concerns were expressed over the future of the Anglesey plant following the Government’s last minute decision in July to review the planned Hinkley Point C power station.
Wales Online 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Britain’s nuclear industry has been hit by fresh turmoil after the government said it was planning to appeal against a ruling that it had botched a £7bn contest to clean up toxic power plants, while another company threatened to bring legal action. A High Court judge ruled on July 29 that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority had acted unlawfully in the way it awarded a contract to dismantle and make safe 12 of the UK’s first-generation nuclear power stations. The decision leaves the government agency exposed to multimillion pound claims for damages.The initial court challenge was brought by Energy Solutions, the US-based company that lost the contract after managing the nuclear sites for 14 years, but on Friday another US contractor, Bechtel , said it would also take legal action. Other losing companies or consortiums, such as Ch2MHill and Serco, are expected to follow. Bechtel is understood to be seeking compensation for the loss of future earnings but others may just seek to recoup bid costs, which are estimated at £15m per consortium. In 2014 the work was handed to the Cavendish Fluor Partnership, a joint venture between the FTSE 100 company Babcock and the American engineer Fluor. But the court found that the NDA had “manipulated” the valuation process in order to avoid disqualifying the Babcock-Fluor bid. “In my judgment the NDA sought to avoid the consequence of disqualification by fudging the evaluation,” Justice Peter Fraser wrote in his ruling. He found that the NDA “fell short” in meeting its obligations of ” transparency and equal judgment”. Other than Energy Solutions and Bechtel, which had teamed up to compete for the work, the bidders were CAS Restoration Partnership – a consortium of CH2M Hill, Areva and Serco – and UK Nuclear Restoration, which was made up of Amec, Atkins and Rolls-Royce.
FT 26th Aug 2016 read more »
According to a report by the Reuters news agency, Anurag Gupta — director and global lead for power infrastructure at the KPMG consultancy — says that a range of mini nuclear-power plants could help solve the UK’s “looming power crunch”. So-called small modular reactors (SMRs) that use existing or new nuclear technology would each be able to produce around a tenth of the electricity created by large-scale projects, such as the new reactor proposed for Hinkley Point. These mini plants, with parts small enough to be transported on trucks and barges, could be assembled in 12 months or less — about a tenth of the time it takes to build some larger plants.
Machinery Market 26th Aug 2016 read more »
A local Japanese governor on Friday asked Kyushu Electric Power to temporarily suspend the Sendai nuclear plant, one of two operating in the nation, further clouding efforts by the government and utilities to restart more idled reactors. Anti-nuclear advocate Satoshi Mitazono, who was elected governor of Kagoshima prefecture last month, called on Kyushu Electric to re-examine safety and safety measures at its facility in southwestern Japan, raising concerns about a series of strong quakes that struck neighboring Kumamoto in April.
Reuters 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Russia has developed a program for management of used nuclear fuel covering the period “2016-2018 and up to 2020” to replace the previous one, which has expired. The Russian Research Institute for Nuclear Power Plant Operation (VNIIAES) – a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear enterprise Rosatom – said yesterday the program reflects Rosatom’s policy to reprocess used fuel from the country’s reactors in an environmentally responsible way that enables the “sound treatment of fission products and the return to the nuclear fuel cycle of nuclear materials recovered”. The concept provides for transportation of used nuclear fuel from the sites of nuclear power plants to Mayak Production Association in Ozersk for reprocessing or to a centralized repository at Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC) at Zheleznogorsk for storage and subsequent reprocessing.
World Nuclear News 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Over the past two weeks, thousands of residents of Lianyungang, a town in Jiangsu province, have gathered,halting preparations for a proposed nuclear waste reprocessing plant. Lianyungang is one of six sites under consideration for the project, but the two companies developing the plant, China National Nuclear Co. (CNNC) and France’s Areva, have not yet decided on a final location.
Global Risk Insights 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – tidal
The Churchill Barriers that were designed to protect the British fleet from German submarines in the Second World War are at the centre of a £200 million tidal energy scheme. Orkney Islands council invited interested developers to bid for the contract to design, construct, operate and finance the ambitious renewable energy plan. The project would capture energy from tidal flows using turbines built into two of the four barriers. They were built on the orders of Winston Churchill, then first lord of the admiralty, to provide a haven for British naval ships in their base at Scapa Flow.
Times 27th Aug 2016 read more »
The UK’s energy system entered a new era on Friday with the announcement that eight huge battery systems will be used to help the country’s power grid cope with the influx of wind and solar power. Germany’s Eon and France’s EDF are among the energy companies to win the first four-year National Grid contracts to supply split-second power to the electricity system in a £66m deal that analysts said was the largest of its kind in Europe.The move is aimed at addressing the challenge created by the growth of renewables, which now account for 25 per cent of UK electricity generation, up from 9 per cent in 2011. Seven companies, including Sweden’s Vattenfall and UK-based Renewable Energy Systems, will install eight lithium-ion battery systems around the UK.
FT 26th Aug 2016 read more »
Eight new battery storage projects are to be built around the UK after winning contracts worth £66m to help National Grid keep power supplies stable as more wind and solar farm are built. EDF Energy, E.On and Vattenfall were among the successful companies chosen to build new lithium ion batteries with a combined capacity of 200 megawatts (MW), under a new scheme to help Grid balance supply and demand within seconds. National Grid says that maintaining the correct frequency is becoming more challenging as more renewable generation is built, because this makes the electricity system less stable and leads to more volatile fluctuation s in frequency. As a result, it has launched a new scheme to support technologies such as batteries that can respond within less than a second to either deliver or absorb power to or from the grid, bringing the system back into balance. EDF Energy’s was the biggest individual project to secure a contract, winning a £12m deal to build 49 megawatts (MW) of battery storage by its coal and gas plants at West Burton in Nottinghamshire. Vattenfall won a contract to build 22MW of batteries next to its Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in Wales, while E.On is to build a 10MW battery by its biomass plant at Blackburn Meadows near Sheffield. Low Carbon secured £15m of deals to build two projects, one in Kent and one in Cumbria, with a combined capacity of 50MW. The other winners were Element Power, RES and Belectric.
Telegraph 26th Aug 2016 read more »