The future of the planned new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point remains in doubt as key French unions still oppose the project, BBC Newsnight has learned. EDF, which would build the plant, had delayed a decision on the project in Somerset until the summer while it consulted French union representatives. The company, which is 85% French state-owned, had hoped to win support from a committee of workplace representatives. But the committee said staff had not been reassured about the plant’s costs. Trade union representatives hold six of the 18 seats on EDF’s board. Jean-Luc Magnaval, secretary of the Central Works Committee that EDF consulted with, told Newsnight that staff feared the cost of the project would cripple EDF. He said: “We have reservations about several aspects of the project: organisation, supply chain, installation, and procurement. “The trade unions are unlikely to give their blessing to the project in its current state. A former energy adviser to the French government told Newsnight that while EDF did not technically need the backing of the trade union representatives, it would be very difficult, politically, to go ahead without it. Yves Marignac said: “Going for it would for the government be crossing a red line in their relationship with the trade unions, which would make it really difficult for the government, particularly with the perspective of the next general election when they will need to get some support of the trade unions. “Making a decision for the project is not possible right now. The political costs and the costs for EDF’s financial situation are too high right now.”
BBC 27th May 2016 read more »
The Hinkley Point project has been dealt a fresh blow after French unions said they would vote against the scheme to build the UK’s first nuclear power plant in three decades. The workers’ committee of French state-backed utility firm, EDF, which has been contracted to build two new reactors in Somerset, said it is “unlikely” to back the project “in its current state”. “We have reservations about several aspects of the project: organisation, supply chain, installation and procurement,” Jean-Luc Magnaval, secretary of the EDF Central Works Committee, told the BBC. “The trade unions are unlikely to give their blessing to the project in its current state. We are not reassured by the documents we have received. We have been given a marketing folder, not the full information we require.”
IB Times 27th May 2016 read more »
Press & Journal 27th May 2016 read more »
The French government is mulling a sale of its stake in Peugeot parent company PSA Group, to help fund a €3 billion (£2.28 billion) aid package for energy giant EDF – which is responsible for building the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Utility Week 26th May 2016 read more »
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has called on the British Government to listen carefully to the concerns of a ‘consistent majority’ who oppose the development of a new nuclear power plant beside the Sellafield site in Cumbria.
Newry Times 26th May 2016 read more »
THE nuclear industry is coming to Carlisle this autumn, when the city hosts the first ‘Cumbria Nuclear Conference’. The two-day event on September 21 and 22 will attract movers and shakers from across the sector and highlight the opportunities – and challenges – to Cumbrian businesses arising from nuclear new build at Sellafield. Speakers confirmed include NuGen chief executive Tom Samson, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, the former Defence Secretary and Barrow MP Lord Hutton, and John Clarke, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
In Cumbria 27th May 2016 read more »
For the past seven months Wessex Archaeology has been working with Horizon Nuclear Power at Wylfa Newydd, Anglesey in advance of the construction of a new power station. Our work has comprised the excavation of over 1200 evaluation trenches across a 250ha site with a team of up to 50 archaeologists. The site is located on the northern limits of Anglesey, an area with a rich archaeological past, and the findings will add considerably to our understanding of Anglesey’s prehistoric and medieval history.
Wessex Archeology 26th May 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today an independent submission by radiation risks expert Dr Ian Fairlie on the role of science and scientific advice in emergency incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials. The submission was made by Dr Fairlie to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee and has the full support of the NFLA, who assisted with some background information to the submission.
NFLA 25th May 2016 read more »
NFLA 25th May 2016 read more »
NFLA publish independent analysis of scientific advice in nuclear related emergency incidents and call for national issuing of stable iodine tablets. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today an independent submission by radiation risks expert Dr Ian Fairlie on the role of science and scientific advice in emergency incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials. The submission was made by Dr Fairlie to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee and has the full support of the NFLA, who assisted with some background information to the submission.
Radiation Free Lakeland 26th May 2016 read more »
RWM has issued an update to its Science & Technology Programme. The programme has been significantly restructured to take account of developments in Government policy and in our own organisation. This document provides a concise overview of the structure and scope of technical work that RWM plans to carry out and of the key outputs to be produced to support delivery of a GDF and the provision of waste management solutions. This Science & Technology Programme therefore provides an excellent introduction to the technical activities being undertaken prior to GDF construction.
RWM 26th May 2016 read more »
Centrica CEO Iain Conn was in Brussels yesterday to talk policy and field questions. I asked him if he was interested to increase his company’s 20% stake in the UK’s eight remaining nuclear power plants, co-owned with EDF since 2009. Since last year, the EDF Group has sought to raise cash from asset disposals in several locations including e.g. the UK by selling a further share of its main generation unit. Essentially, Conn rejected the idea. He said he sees his company’s present 20% holding as being like an “annuity” in assets that were coming to their “end of life, closing in the next 10 to 20 years or so” adding “if anything we’re probably a seller … if the price is right.”
Mark Johnstone 26th May 2016 read more »
French nuclear group Areva has broken off talks with Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) over the delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor, TVO said on Thursday. An Areva-Siemens consortium and TVO are seeking billions of euros from one another over delays and cost overruns on the EPR reactor originally planned to start operating in 2009 but now expected to open in 2018. “We believed that we were close to solutions, but the French side broke off the talks,” TVO spokeswoman Anna Lehtiranta said. Areva said it was prepared to resume talks. “After a prolonged process of constructive negotiations with TVO, we were not able to conclude at this stage,” Areva said in a statement. “Nevertheless, from our side, the door remains open.” The dispute is blocking a planned takeover of Areva’s nuclear reactor division by another state-controlled French utility EDF, which does not does not want to take on any Olkiluoto-related liabilities.
Reuters 26th May 2016 read more »
Safety concerns over the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant – located only 130km from Hong Kong – have escalated as the plant nears completion and the concrete shells encasing the plant’s two reportedly faulty pressure reactors have now been sealed, drone images gathered by FactWire can reveal. Significantly, the sealing of the shells means that they cannot be removed or replaced, even if proven unsafe. At least seven French engineers based at the plant told FactWire that Unit 1 of the plant had already undergone a large number of tests and the soonest it could come into service would be 2018, a year later than the authorities have announced. However, they said the Chinese authorities had been pushing hard for the construction to speed up so that it could come online in 2017 as originally scheduled and become the world’s first power plant to use third-generation nuclear technology. Safety concerns were sparked last year after problems were found in the reactor pressure vessels made by its French supplier. Surrounded by mountains and sited by the sea in Chixi town, Taishan Nuclear Power Plant is isolated and no one can enter without permission. FactWire sent a drone to obtain aerial footage. It found that the main facilities were complete and the construction appeared finished but for a few cranes still standing. The domes covering the two containment structures for the pressure reactors are now sealed with concrete, meaning that the twin reactors, which will hold radioactive material, are ready to be switched on. Albert Lai Kwong-tak, convenor of Hong Kong think tank the Professional Commons and a close observer of China’s nuclear energy development, said that it was unacceptable for the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant to be the first EPR plant to go into service in the world ahead of France, effectively bypassing supervision by the French nuclear safety authority. Lai believes that given EDF wants to export its third-generation nuclear technology around the world, it would not wish the Taishan project to go wrong and risk damaging its reputation. However, he added a note of concern. “Since EDF’s share in the Taishan project is only 30 per cent, the Chinese side has the power to decide when to turn on the units,” Lai said. “And because CGN only has to report to NNSA, it is not obliged to do anything, even if the EPRs do not pass the examination of ASN [the French nuclear safety watchdog]. The key point here is whether it is explicitly stated in the skill transfer agreement between the two sides that CGN must have ASN’s authorisation before they could activate the reactors.”
Hong Kong Free Press 26th May 2016 read more »
ITER, the troubled, multibillion-Euro nuclear fusion experiment, has made progress in its performance and management, and the United States should continue to support the project at least until 2018, the US Department of Energy (DOE) says in a report to Congress released on 26 May. In 2018, the agency says, the United States should re-evaluate whether to continue funding the project.
Nature 26th May 2016 read more »
Japan will cut reliance on nuclear power when it releases an updated energy plan as early as next year, reflecting public opposition and a recognition that current policy is unrealistic, three sources familiar with official thinking told Reuters. The move is expected to boost the country’s use of renewable energy, but will also likely cement its drive towards cheaper coal-fired generation following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis and the shutdown of reactors. Public resistance to nuclear has remained strong in Japan, and a target by the pro-nuclear industry ministry for nuclear to provide about a fifth of the country’s electricity provoked widespread criticism when it was finalized in 2015. At the same time, only two of the country’s 42 reactors are currently operating following safety shutdowns, and the industry faces a raft of constraints including aging units and legal challenges.
Reuters 27th May 2016 read more »
Donald J. Trump traveled Thursday to the heart of America’s oil and gas boom, where he called for more fossil fuel drilling and fewer environmental regulations while vowing to “cancel the Paris climate agreement,” the 2015 accord committing nearly every nation to taking action to curb climate change.
New York Times 26th May 2016 read more »
Speculation is rising in the Hungarian media that Russia may be seeking to pull out of its agreement to lend Hungary €10bn to power the expansion of the Paks nuclear plant. When two years ago Budapest handed Russia the €12.5bn contract to expand Paks, Hungary’s only nuclear power plant, the government claimed that Moscow promised such advantageous financing that no market participant could compete. Thus, the cost of the extension is likely to increase should Hungary need to look for an alternative funding, while it is questionable how keen Western banks may be to finance a project by Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom that has faced intense EU scrutiny and while Russia remains under sanctions.
Intellinews 26th May 2016 read more »
Striking French workers continued to disrupt oil refineries and nuclear power stations, halted some air traffic and trains and prevented almost all national newspapers from printing in the growing industrial action. Union activists blocked roads and bridges in northern France while some train drivers and air traffic controllers joined the action.
Guardian 26th May 2016 read more »
On Thursday, the French workers union CGT said 19 nuclear power plants would be affected by its actions, while six of eight oil refineries have already been impacted by strikes. Major ports, including Marseille and Le Havre, have also been affected, the BBC said.
Kallanish Energy 27th May 2016 read more »
Seven years ago, in the Czech capital of Prague, Barack Obama delivered his first major foreign policy speech as president. To rapturous applause, he laid out his vision for “the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”. It earned him that year’s Nobel peace prize. On Friday he will bookend his two terms in office with another appeal for nuclear disarmament, this time during a historic trip to Hiroshima. No other sitting US president has ever visited the Japanese city that was razed to the ground by a single atomic bomb in the final days of the second world war. Under the Obama presidency, contrary to perceptions, the pace of nuclear warhead dismantlement has slowed, not hastened. Indeed, the two presidents Bush and Bill Clinton each made greater gains in downsizing the colossal US nuclear stockpile amassed during the cold war. But more alarming than this failure to destroy old nuclear weapons has been the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of new, “smaller” ones, for which the threshold of use would be lower, according to former military commanders. At great expense, the president has bolstered all three components of the nation’s “nuclear triad”: the strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched missiles. This was the price paid for securing Republican support in 2010 for the ratification of a modest bilateral arms reduction treaty with Russia.
Guardian 27th May 2016 read more »
The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) has set out a policy roadmap which would “level the playing field” for heat networks and make them subsidy free from 2021. In a report released today ADE has called for a guarantee on future heat connection capacity to reduce the risk for investors, lower business rates for heat networks to match those for electricity and gas networks, and an expansion of the role of the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s Heat Networks Delivery Unit.
Utility Week 26th May 2016 read more »
Green energy company Good Energy is now offering ‘Green Gas’, thanks to dedicated biomethane shipper, Barrow Green Gas. Its new gas offering – which is now 6% biomethane – is designed to make it easy for energy customers to take action against climate change. The carbon neutral gas tariff was launched to coincide with the recent signing of the UN Climate Change Agreement.
Scottish Energy News 27th May 2016 read more »
Cities are not waiting for nation states to give us the solution. They are becoming pioneers in promoting sustainable development and fighting climate change. And they are going beyond nation states commitments. Examples are countless across the world. In Germany there are already more than 144 cities and regions aiming for 100% RE. And examples can be found in every corner of the world: Vancouver, San Diego, San Francisco, Aspen, Frankfurt, Munich, Copenhagen, Malmö, Byron, Canberra, Sydney, Agadir, Kasese, etc. Setting the 100% RE target is likely to be the hardest steps for some cities, due to the political support needed. But it is essential to catalyse action, provide a mandate for action, helping streamline the process, attract investment, and improve coordination across multiple different actors and sectors. Once the target is being set, cities have to identify specific policies that will help them achieve their objective.
World Future Council 26th May 2016 read more »
As December’s landmark climate change summit in Paris (COP21) approached, Ikea made a number of major announcements. It pledged to invest €600m (£471m) in renewable energy projects – in addition to an earlier €1.5bn (£1.2bn) cash injection – and a further €400m (£314m) to support communities vulnerable to climate change. The world’s biggest furniture retailer says it’s going “all in” to have a net positive impact on the climate through renewable energy investment, energy-efficiency measures, cutting supply chain emissions, and product changes designed to achieve behaviour change. It has already helped its suppliers become 18% more energy efficient over the past four years – through the introduction of a sustainability assessment tool and by bringing suppliers together to share sustainability best practice.
Guardian 27th May 2016 read more »
Wyke Farms, which generates electricity, gas and heat from renewable sources. The dairy business in southwest England, which exports 14,000 tonnes of cheddar a year to more than 160 countries, has been building an energy generation and water recycling operation over the past five years to reduce its environmental impact and save money. According to Clothier, it’s been able to lower its energy bills by nearly £100,000 per month as a result. Aside from solar panels, Wyke generates electricity and heat from cow dung.
Guardian 27th May 2016 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
Dong Energy, the biggest developer of offshore wind farms in British waters, is gearing up for a £10 billion flotation. The Danish state-controlled energy company said that it would sell shares in a price range that would value the company at £8.5 billion to £10.9 billion. It said the flotation would support “future growth and strategy, advance its international profile and provide Dong Energy with improved access to public capital markets”.
Times 27th May 2016 read more »
Herald 27th May 2016 read more »
AGL Energy Ltd. plans to announce a program within a few months to roll out about 1,000 power-storage systems for Australian homes with rooftop solar panels amid forecasts that falling prices will stimulate demand. While demand for battery technology in Australia has been “very low,” it’s expected to pick up with costs projected to decline about 60 percent in the next five years, said Andy Vesey, AGL’s chief executive officer. The electricity retailer formed a partnership earlier this year with California-based storage developer Sunverge Energy Inc.
Bloomberg 26th May 2016 read more »