Chancellor George Osborne has been criticised by the European Commission for failing to reveal all the costs associated with building the UK’s first nuclear power station since the 1990s. Some members of the Commission were critical that the Government has consistently failed to include other long-term costs when valuing Hinkley Point C, the first of a planned fleet of new nuclear reactors that are expected to reduce household bills by £95 in 2030. Buried deep in commission minutes from 8 October is an admission that there was “regret, expressed by some, that all the long-term costs for the British Treasury had not been integrated into the calculation of the cost of the project, for instance the cost of storing the nuclear waste or of dismantling the plant at the end of its lifetime”. Dr David Lowry, a research consultant and member of Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates, warned that nuclear costs “always escalate” and added: “When ministers and political atomic aficionados back the nuclear industry’s claims that they have covered all future costs for long-term radioactive waste management, they have fallen into a clever trap.”A Treasury spokesman said: “With respect to the decommissioning and storage costs the situation is that [EDF subsidiary] NNBG are responsible for these long-term costs (through their investment in a Funded Decommissioning Plan), and these costs are all included in the agreed strike price. It is a pity that the minutes do not reflect this.
Independent 27th Oct 2014 read more »
The energy secretary, Ed Davey, has sought to reassure households that there will be no energy shortage this winter, after a series of fires at power stations raised fears about Britain’s lights going out. Davey said: “There will be no blackouts. Period.” He made his pledge shortly before THE energy regulator Ofgem publishes its assessment of the UK’s energy supplies on Tuesday. Davey’s assurance, in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, suggests he expects no negative shocks in Ofgem’s energy outlook for autumn and winter, drawn up with National Grid. The fire at Didcot was the third at a fossil fuel-fired power station this year. After a blaze in February, E.ON decided not to bring one 370MW unit back online at its Ironbridge power station in Shropshire. In July, a fire caused the closure of two units at SSE’s 1GW Ferrybridge coal plant in West Yorkshire. EDF Energy also took two of its nuclear plants out of service in August for inspections after a fault was found.
Guardian 26th Oct 2014 read more »
A project backed by Gazprom to build a giant pipeline to export Russian gas to Britain has been scrapped amid worsening relations with Moscow. The Russian state-owned gas monopoly claimed that British ministers were keen on the Nord Stream pipeline plan when it was first proposed two years ago. Gazprom and its consortium partners completed a feasibility study in February this year, but European governments have refused to sanction the project, which would have increased dependence on Russian gas. Staff have begun to leave the consortium as it becomes apparent that there is no chance of it proceeding soon.
Times 27th Oct 2014 read more »
Wind farms can never be relied upon to keep the lights on in Britain because there are long periods each winter in which they produce barely any power, according to a new report by the Adam Smith Institute. The huge variation in wind farms’ power output means they cannot be counted on to produce energy when needed, and an equivalent amount of generation from traditional fossil fuel plants will be needed as back-up, the study finds. Wind farm proponents often claim that the intermittent technology can be relied upon because the wind is always blowing somewhere in the UK. But the report finds that a 10GW fleet of wind farms across the UK could “guarantee” to provide less than two per cent of its maximum output, because “long gaps in significant wind production occur in all seasons”.
Telegraph 27th Oct 2014 read more »
MORE THAN 300 nuclear safety incidents have been reported at Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde over the last five years, new figures show. Between 2008/09 and 2012/13 a total of 316 “nuclear safety events” and 71 fires were recorded at the Faslane base. There were 59 incidents in 2011/12 compared with 69 in 2012/13, according to figures obtained by the Sunday Herald through freedom of information legislation. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said none of the incidents had caused any risk to staff or members of the public.
Scotsman 26th Oct 2014 read more »
Daily Record 26th Oct 2014 read more »
Evening Times 26th Oct 2014 read more »
FoI documents available for downloading.
RobEdwards 26th Oct 2014 read more »
THE SNP has described as “chilling” reports of a sharp rise in the number of safety blunders at Faslane and Coulport nuclear bomb and submarine bases on the Clyde.Internal Ministry of Defence documents show there have been 316 “nuclear safety events,” 2044 fire alarms and 71 fires in the last five years at the Royal Navy’s controversial facilities at Faslane and Coulport near Helensburgh. There have also been more than 3000 industrial accidents, classed as ‘near misses’, a positive test for illegal drugs and a series of difficulties with wild animals. Angus Robertson MP, the Scottish National Party’s leader at Westminster and its defence spokesman, now plans to raise the issue in the Commons and demand action from the MoD. He said: “These new figures are chilling and once again show how widespread nuclear safety breaches are at Faslane.
Herald 27th Oct 2014 read more »
Finland – Olkiluoto
Inflamed relations between the supplier and operator of the long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant worsened this week as both sides upped the ante in their ongoing compensation battle. Earlier this week TVO ratcheted up estimated costs and losses due to project delays to 2.3 billion euros, while Areva’s new claim reached 3.5 billion euros Friday.
YLE 24th Oct 2014 read more »
US – radwaste
Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Community Engagement Panel met on Oct. 14 to hear bids from the two final companies vying to create storage for nuclear waste at the decommissioned San Onofre Power Plant. The storage casks will hold radioactive waste on-site, perhaps indefinitely. The Community Engagement Panel does not make decisions on the plant’s decommissioning. Its meetings serve as a public window into the process. Volunteer panel members take their task of “asking the important questions” seriously. Prior requests from the panel to truly understand the cask selection process prompted the Oct. 14 meeting.
Coast News 23rd Oct 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
Rooftop solar PV will reach grid parity in 50 US states by 2016 – up from just 10 now – setting the scene for a dramatic increase in the uptake in household and commercial rooftop solar in the world’s biggest economy. That’s the prediction of Vishal Shah, the leading solar industry analyst at Deutsche Bank, who says that declining system costs, customer acquisition costs, financing costs and rising volumes should drive significant scale benefits.
Renew Economy 26th Oct 2014 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Atlantis Resources Ltd – which is building the world’s largest planned tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth – has raised another £5 million in working capital through a share placement. Atlantis placed 12.5 million shares at 40p a share. The cash will also be used to part-finance Atlantis’ contribution to MeyGen, its subsidiary company which is developing the Pentland Firth project and as working capital.
Scottish Energy News 27th Oct 2014 read more »
Severe winters are more likely over the next few decades due to climate change melting Arctic ice and sending freezing air south, according to new research.
Guardian 26th Oct 2014 read more »
Independent 27th Oct 2014 read more »