Proposals to store nuclear waste under England’s largest national park and other areas of outstanding natural beauty will face stormy opposition this week. A decision to abandon or press on with a nuclear waste dump in Cumbria will be made by three councils on Wednesday. The result will have major implications for energy policy, experts warn. the delay has allowed a dramatic escalation in opposition. Yesterday protesters from Spand (Solway Plain Against Nuclear Dump) presented a 3,600-signature petition to county councillor Tony Markley, who wants the proposals to go to the next stage. In December an online petition attracted more than 6,000 signatories and a series of public meetings has seen a groundswell of opposition. At one meeting, in Keswick this month, 600 people voted to stop the process. Influential groups including the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria Tourism are concerned that the proposed dump is already damaging the Lake District “brand”.
Independent 27th Jan 2013
Hundreds of people have taken part in a march against the possibility of building an underground nuclear waste site in Cumbria. Councils will decide next week whether to conduct feasibility studies for the radioactive repository. Protesters from all over the country carried banners for 2.5km (1.5miles) through the valley of Ennerdale to lobby against the plans. A petition against the proposals now has more than 17,000 signatures.
BBC 26th Jan 2013
Cumbria’s most famous living artist fears an underground nuclear repository will end up being a 19th-century solution to a 22nd-century problem.
Carlisle News & Star 26th Jan 2013
Copeland councillors have given their unanimous backing for a ‘yes’ decision in next week’s crucial nuclear waste repository vote. Members of Cumbria County Council’s local committee for Copeland yesterday urged their colleagues on the decision-making cabinet to proceed to the next stage of the process into the possibility of burying high-level nuclear waste in west Cumbria.
Carlisle News & Star 26th Jan 2013
The head of one of the energy giants bidding to build Britain’s next generation of nuclear power stations has said it is committed to a base in Central Lancashire. Mike Tynan, chief executive of Westinghouse UK, said he was confident the group’s AP1000 reactor would be built as part of plans for 11 new power station sites across the country. The group failed in a bid to takeover the Horizon Nuclear Power group, which will build new reactors at Wylfa in Angelsey and Oldbury, Gloucestershire, last year.
Lancashire Evening Post 27th Jan 2013
LONDON would set the levels of subsidies for Scotland’s wind farms and other forms of renewable energy in the event of independence, the Sunday Herald has learned. The Scottish Government has confirmed that plans to repatriate control over subsidy levels from Edinburgh to London in 2014 would endure if Scotland voted for independence. Under the terms of the Energy Bill now working its way through Westminster, the Scottish Government would have only a consultative role over setting the subsidies, effectively putting Scotland’s 2020 target to meet 100% of the country’s energy needs with renewables in English hands. The Scottish Government told the Sunday Herald that it did not “envisage establishing a separate [subsidy] regime in an independent Scotland”, suggesting that the joint administration of the system would be “of mutual benefit to all GB customers”. Energy experts interpreted this as an attempt by the nationalists to neutralise opponents’ threats that energy bills in an independent Scotland would rise by as much as £400 a year to subsidise renewables developments.
Sunday Herald 27th Jan 2013
Bulgarians are expected to vote in favour of building a new nuclear power plant in their first referendum in the post-communist era on Sunday, challenging the government’s decision to abandon the multi-billion-dollar project. The plebiscite will be seen as a test of public support for the policies of rightist Prime Minister Boiko Borisov ahead of July elections, even though voting rules mean the result of the nuclear referendum is unlikely to be binding.
Trust 27th Jan 2013
BBC 26th Jan 2013
The French government plans to unveil a fund to support small and mid-size businesses in the country’s nuclear industry, a spokeswoman for the industry ministry said on Saturday, confirming a report in Le Monde newspaper.
Reuters 26th Jan 2013
North Korea could be almost ready to carry out its threat to conduct a nuclear test, a US research institute said, pointing to recent satellite photos. The images of the Punggye-ri site where nuclear tests were conducted in 2006 and 2009 reveal that over the past month roads have been kept clear of snow and that North Koreans may have been sealing the tunnel into a mountainside where a nuclear device would be detonated.
Evening Standard 26th Jan 2013
Homeowners who sign up to the government’s new energy efficiency savings scheme, Green Deal, could find that they are hit with a big bill when they come to sell their property, according to some sources. Starting tomorrow, the government wants householders to sign up to the deal, which will allow them to pay for energy efficiency improvements in their home with no, or little, upfront cost; instead, they will be funded by a loan repaid through their electricity bill.
Observer 27th Jan 2013
The Green Deal, the government’s flagship programme to make millions of homes more energy efficient, goes fully live on Monday. But will it be a case of “Deal or No Deal” once homeowners have looked at what’s on offer and done the maths? This major scheme is a new way for people to improve their homes without having to shell out large sums upfront. It’s basically a type of personal loan where you pay for the work over time through your electricity bill. The aim is that your monthly repayments will be covered by the savings you’ll make as a result of having the measures installed. Ministers were this week giving the Green Deal the hard-sell treatment, and there is even cashback on offer from the government to encourage people to sign up. The sug gestion is that the government will effectively pay you to have the work done because, under this scheme, someone who previously would have had to fork out upfront for a new boiler would now be able to gradually pay for it via the savings they will see in lower energy bills – and would pocket a Â£270 cash bonus too. But there are growing doubts about whether the maths is going to add up. For the Green Deal to work, the estimated savings on your bills must always equal or exceed the cost of the work done. However, when Money crunched the numbers on some examples, we couldn’t find a way to make it work. This is partly because your repayments will also include interest, which bumps up the cost of the deal.
Guardian 26th Jan 2013
When there is snow on the roofs, I play a game: spot the houses with little insulation in the loft. Theirs are the roofs on which the snow melts first because the occupants are heating the sky. There’s a surprising number, despite the millions of pounds handed out over the years by energy companies and local authorities for loft insulation. That’s because people’s lofts are full of junk they can’t be bothered to move, or because the way the lofts are built makes them difficult to lag – as in our house. It will be fascinating to play this game in a decade’s time. Britain’s notoriously leaky housing stock is what the Green Deal – the government’s flagship green policy, which comes into effect tomorrow – is meant to improve. It might also kick-start some economic growth. The internet is rife with predictions of failure. In fact it is too early to tell. If this innovative policy – whic h Ed Davey and Greg Barker, the energy ministers, have championed at some risk – does not succeed, then it will not be because of lack of interest from the public. Blunders by the civil service and the failure of the coalition to do joined-up government are more likely to sink it. In a nutshell, the Green Deal offers unlimited loans, paid off over up to 25 years, to householders who install energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall insulation, efficient boilers and solar panels. This they pay back through their fuel bills, provided the loan repayments are no more than the amount they are expected to save through lower energy consumption – a requirement called the “golden rule”. The deal enables people who do not have a ready source of cash to slash their fuel consumption, improve their homes and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Sunday Times 27th Jan 2013
In households all over the UK the heating has been cranked up to full as we brace ourselves against the cold snap. Keeping warm is a costly business and energy bills are through the – poorly insulated – roof, so it is welcome news that tomorrow sees the timely launch of Green Deal, the Government’s flagship energy-efficiency scheme. Many people who want to install renewable-energy systems simply don’t have the capital to do so, but under the scheme households can borrow money for energy-efficient home improvements and pay it back through their electricity bills. If you’re interested, you need an assessment first, which could be undertaken by an energy company, DIY store, local tradesperson, or an independent assessor such as One Green Place (thegr eendeal.co.uk), who will produce a report with recommendations for your property.
Independent on Sunday 27th Jan 2013
The Economist has declared that Europe is in the midst of a ‘coal renaissance’ – an odd term to use to describe something so unwelcome. But is it really a fundamental shift in Europe’s energy landscape or is it actually the last gasps of an industry that remains on the decline? How the US fracking revolution has pushed up coal burn in Europe. As The Economist notes, “the story starts… with American shale gas.”Whilst fracking, along with a big boost in wind power, has helped reduce US coal use, this shift has flooded the market with US coal and seen European purchases of American coal rise by a third in the first six months of 2012. Put simply, as the US switched across from coal to gas and renewables instead, they have simply dumped their coal onto Europe. This has coincided with rocketing European gas prices. As EnergyDesk has illustrated before, gas prices in Europe have risen significantly in the last few years – and, whilst global shale gas may moderate price rises no independent projection sees them falling. The future of coal across Europe depends on policy at a European level. Whilst little new coal is expected to be built the amount that will come offline is also unknown. The utilities with existing European coal-burning stations – around 104GW – have not yet decided whether to make the necessary changes that would enable them to comply with up-coming EU pollution laws and stay in operation burning coal. Whether or not they do will probably depend on whether Europe acts to make carbon more expensive.
Energy Desk 25th Jan 2013
Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks, and should have been more “blunt” about the threat posed to the economy by rising temperatures.
Observer 26th Jan 2013