A Japanese-led consortium is so keen to kick-start Britain’s faltering nuclear programme that it is preparing to pay over the odds for two reactor sites. Hitachi has bid at least £600 million for the sites at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire, The Times has learnt. The consortium, which includes SNC-Lavalin of Canada and an undisclosed British company, is expected to be unveiled as the winning bidder for Horizon, the nuclear joint venture that owns the sites, early next week.Handing the Horizon joint venture to Hitachi could delay Britain’s nuclear programme. It wants to use its Advanced Boiling Water Reactor design, the only one put forward by bidders that has not been assessed by British regulators, a process that can take up to four years. The consortium argues that since a final investment decision on whether to build the reactors on the Horizon sites had not been due until about 2015, waiting for approval should not hold up construction.
Times 27th Oct 2012 more >>
Energy Business Review 26th Oct 2012 more >>
The deal would likely give a boost to the nuclear power business of Hitachi, which is having difficulty signing a formal contract with the Lithuanian government. In an interview with the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Peter Terium, chief executive officer of energy giant RWE, said the group will withdraw from the business of constructing nuclear power plants.
Japan Times 27th Oct 2012 more >>
EdF chairman Vincent de Rivas explains the steps that will be necessary to ensure the UK has the energy mix it needs for the coming decades. The Secretary of State has made clear publicly that he is committed to making progress, with the Second Reading of the Energy Bill before Christmas. And the Energy Minister has told me of his determination and his confidence that his team has the mandate it needs. Progress requires above all the agreement of a Contract for Difference (CfD), including the strike price, duration, indexation and the conditions for review. We are engaged with DECC on an intensive process to review our costs, the project risks and delivery arrangements, and to define transitional arrangements.
The Engineer 26th Oct 2012 more >>
Hinkley Point C nuclear power construction project is “shovel ready” but construction will not begin until further progress is made on the Energy Bill, EdF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz told MPs today. Rivaz told the Commons energy and climate change committee that the firm had not yet made its final investment decision on constructing Hinkley Point in Somerset. “But like all investors in capital intensive infrastructure projects we need to have a compelling business case,” de Rivaz told the Committee. “In this respect our final investment decision requires more progress to be made.” De Revaz said progress requires “above all” an agreement of a contract for difference (CfD) – a long term mechanism which will guarantee electricity prices. The CfD will reveal the cost competitiveness of nuclear with all other low carbon technologies. Nuclear is the best low carbon choice for consumers.
New Civil Engineer 23rd Oct 2012 more >>
POSITIVE steps are being taken on the Snowdonia Enterprise Zone centred on the former Trawsfynydd nuclear power station, which will aim to make the most of local natural resources, built infrastructure, transport links and skilled workforce. Following a successful bid to become one of the seven designated Welsh Enterprise Zones in May this year, work is under way to assess the development options at the Snowdonia Enterprise Zone, with the primary focus on the former Trawsfynydd nuclear site.
Daily Post 26th Oct 2012 more >>
Deadly asbestos has led Somerset’s first nuclear power plant to be named the biggest source of industrial deaths in the county. In the last 14 years 26 Somerset people who worked at or on Hinkley Point A have died from asbestos-related mesothelioma cancer.
Western Daily Press 26th Oct 2012 more >>
The head of the organisation representing Europe’s nuclear industry says "lessons have been learned" from the Fukushima accident in Japan last year. Jean-Pol Poncelet told a Brussels conference that "safety has always been of paramount importance to the European nuclear industry". Addressing a debate organised by Foratom, the Brussels-based representative body for the nuclear industry, he said, "It has always been – and will always be – a non-negotiable priority. "It guides our work and defines our business," he said on Wednesday. He added, "The risk and safety assessments process that was carried out at Europe’s nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima accident, and which culminated in the recent publication of the commission’s communication, were an important reminder." He said they reminded the industry "that even when standards of safety are considered to be of the highest order, unprecedented, external factors can combine – thankfully very rarely – to force us to reassess those standards and to raise the bar of safety even further."
Parliament 26th Oct 2012 more >>
Australian Stock Exchange-listed Paladin Energy confirmed October 26 that a long-term uranium off-take contract it announced in August is with Electricite de France. Paladin had not divulged the counterparty in the contract when it was first announced August 15, but confirmed October 26 that the contract for 13.7 million pounds of uranium oxide (U3O8) to be delivered over the years 2019 to 2024 was with EDF.
i-Nuclear 26th Oct 2012 more >>
French nuclear firm Areva is likely to reach agreement soon on the sale of a 13% stake in its Niger-based uranium mining operation Imouraren to China Guangdong Nuclear Power (CGNP). The expected deal would allow the Chinese firm to gain access to the world’s second-largest uranium reserves with a planned annual production of 5,000mt, reported China Daily citing French media reports. Earlier this year, CGNP and the China-Africa Development Fund had agreed to buy Australia-based explorer Extract Resources for $2.3bn to gain access to uranium deposits in Namibia.
Energy Business Review 26th Oct 2012 more >>
Notes for a better Europe. An inspiring video (think of Cumbria when you watch it) made by Bankwatch, FoE and WWF. See in particular http://www.wellspent.eu/#feldheim
Vimeo 19th Oct 2012 more >>
Book: The Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011 led Japan, and many other countries, to change their energy policies. Following Germany’s example, some adopted nuclear phase-out plans, focusing instead on renewable energy . Even heavily nuclear-reliant France began to consider a phase-out, and some developing countries in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific area rethought their nuclear plans. David Elliott reviews the disaster and its global impacts, looking in detail at public and governmental reactions as the scale of the disaster became clear, and at the social, environmental, economic, technological and political implications in Japan and worldwide. He asks whether growing opposition to nuclear power around the world spells the end of the global nuclear renaissance.
Palgrave 30th Oct 2012 more >>
Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant is struggling to find space to store tens of thousands of tonnes of highly contaminated water used to cool the broken reactors, the manager of the water treatment team has said. About 200,000 tonnes 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 Daiichi plant. Operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has already chopped down trees to make room for more tanks and predicts the volume of water will be more than tripled within three years.
IPS 25th Oct 2012 more >>
Fukushima crisis update 23rd to 25th October.
Greenpeace 26th October 2012 more >>
The operator of Japan’s quake-struck Fukushima nuclear power plant said on Friday it could not rule out the possibility that it may still be leaking radiation into the sea.
Reuters 26th Oct 2012 more >>
Sky News 26th Oct 2012 more >>
Senior figures inside Iran’s regime have "succumbed" to the pressure imposed by sanctions and favour compromise over the nuclear issue, according to the public comments of their colleagues.
Telegraph 26th Oct 2012 more >>
The Foreign Office declined to comment on suggestions that British ministers have been advised that a strike on Iran would breach international law because no imminent threat currently exists.
Telegraph 26th Oct 2012 more >>
Pre-election machinations may be behind a decision by Bulgaria’s parliament this week to hold a referendum on a nuclear power plant. The referendum, to be held in January, follows the government’s March decision to cancel the development of the Danube-side Belene nuclear power plant (NPP), in which Bulgaria had already invested 1.4bn levs ($925m), with one reactor already completed. The Belene project has been one of the longest-running sagas in Bulgarian politics, first proposed in the 1970s under communism. Construction started in the 1980s but was then halted until 2008, when the government, then dominated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), awarded the construction contract for the 2000MW plant to Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom. As several energy analysts told beyondbrics at the time of the cancellation, the project had become economically unfeasible, given pressures on the national budget, the spiralling costs (variously estimated at between €4bn and €10bn-plus) and the outlook for power demand, with Bulgaria’s population shrinking and power prices on the rise. Concerns had also been raised about the baleful influence of Russia, which already supplies almost all Bulgaria’s gas.
FT 26th Oct 2012 more >>
Energy Business Review 26th Oct 2012 more >>
China looks on the verge of a major expansion of nuclear power as a moratorium on new projects is lifted, according to energy experts GlobalData. To sustain its rapid industrialisation, while reducing emissions, China appears to be planning a major investment in new nuclear capacity. The latest research from the organisation estimates that China’s nuclear output will increase from 87 TWh in 2011 to 470 TWh by 2020, taking the country ahead of traditionally nuclear-dependent nations like France. China currently has 15 nuclear reactors in operation, but has 27 under construction and a further 160 in planning and proposal stages. With the lifting of its moratorium on new nuclear power plants, which was brought in immediately following the Fukushima crisis in Japan, these can now move ahead.
Energy Efficiency News 26th Oct 2012 more >>
Greenpeace has published its latest EU Energy [R]evolution report to coincide with the adoption of the European Commission’s 2013 Work Programme which contains a promise to: “Provide a long-term perspective on how the EU will move ahead from its 2020 targets to continue the trajectory towards a low-carbon economy through a comprehensive framework for the period to 2030” In other words, after months of speculation we finally know that the Commission will come out with proposals on a new Climate and Energy Package for 2030. To meet its decarbonisation objectives the commission’s proposals should include an ambitious renewable energy target of 45% for 2030, as well as strong targets for emissions reductions and energy efficiency. The report itself is a European energy scenario to 2050 carried out for Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) by the German National Centre for Aerospace, Energy and Transport Research (DLR). The findings are not only that a share of over 40% of renewables by 2030 is possible, but that a shift in investments towards renewables can create higher employment in the sector to the tune of over half a million additional jobs by 2020.
Energy Desk 25th Oct 2012 more >>
The 2012 EU Energy [R]evolution report, carried out for Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council by the German National Centre for Aerospace, Energy and Transport Research, demonstrates how Europe would gain nearly half a million extra energy sector jobs by 2020 if it prioritises a system largely made up of renewables and energy efficiency over nuclear power and fossil fuels. Other benefits include long-term savings for consumers and improved climate stability.
Greenpeace 24th Oct 2012 more >>
Regulations covering building standards, including fire safety and wheelchair access, could be torn up in a government plan to cut costs for the construction industry and boost the economy. Ministers have ordered a wide-ranging review covering all aspects of building regulations, also including standards on energy efficiency. The review, which controversially includes the option of giving the building industry more scope for self-regulation, is the latest in a series of government initiatives intended to stimulate activity in the economy and drive job creation through investment in homebuilding.
Guardian 26th Oct 2012 more >>
Micro Power News
This week’s news includes: UK solar reaches 1.3GW; DECC opposition to PV is ‘bonkers’; Welsh solar revolution; Brixton solar co-op receives award; 180,000 wood stoves installed last year.
Microgenscotland.org.uk 26th Oct 2012 more >>