Behind the continuing negotiations on new nuclear in the UK one big question remains unanswered. Who is going to pay? Senior officials are concerned that the pressure to close a deal is undermining a sensible negotiating strategy by separating the terms – including the strike price and the issues of risk allocation – from the question of funding. To grasp what is happening you have to understand the degree of desperation which now exists in Government to deliver growth. Growth is the justification of the whole economic strategy and of course the solution to the challenge of rising borrowing. Growth is seen as the only platform from which either coalition party can go back to the electorate. But growth is elusive and time is running out. The risk as seen from Whitehall is that the company is forced to come back in the autumn to say that they have not found the money, and that the deal will have to be rewritten – for instance to offer investors some interim payments during the construction period . Alternatively of course the UK Government could provide the funding itself – a decision which would certainly raise questions in Brussels and in other less privileged parts of the energy business. To get to that point would be humiliating and would undermine any of the anticipated economic and political benefits.
FT 28th April 2013 read more »
A NEW round of public consultations over plans for a Sizewell C nuclear power station is likely to be delayed until next year, it has been disclosed. The delay is largely due to the stalling of talks between the Government and EDF Energy over a guaranteed price for the electricity to be generated by the first of the proposed new stations – at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The first phase of public consultation over Sizewell C was launched in November last year. It lasted eleven weeks but the public had its first glimpse of the outcome only this week at a community forum meeting. Although no date had been set for the second phase of consultation, which will pave the way for a formal planning application, it was expected to take place during the next few months. However, delay with the price talks over Hinkley means that the Sizewell C second phase will almost certainly have to wait until 2014.
East Anglian Daily Times 29th April 2013 read more »
Salaries among staff in the nuclear industry have leapt by 10 per cent over the past year. According to Project Resource who recruit within this sector, the salary surge is a result of the gathering pace of UK nuclear decommissioning as well as new investment in the sector. As a result, the company reports many employers are competing for employees through attractive bonuses and generous relocation packages.
Global Recruiter 29th April 2013 read more »
The credibility of George Osborne’s £310bn plan to boost economic growth by building roads, railways, airports and power stations is thrown into doubt today by MPs. The Commons Public Accounts Committee accused ministers of being unrealistic over how much private capital could be raised – and warned that consumers could end up shouldering much of the cost through higher rail fare and utility bills. Margaret Hodge, the committee’s chairman, said: “The Treasury’s Infrastructure Plan is simply a long list of projects requiring huge amounts of money, not a real plan with a strategic vision and clear priorities. “Most of the £310 billion of investment needed will come from the private sector, with households shouldering the cost through higher energy bills and fares. Family budgets are already badly squeezed and inevitably those on the lowest incomes will be hit hardest. The Government needs to urgently assess the impact on consumers and how this can be contained.”
Independent 29th April 2013 read more »
Telegraph 29th April 2013 read more »
Yesterday Radiation Free Lakeland and 3 Weeks to Save the Lakes marked the anniversary of Chernobyl at St Bees. St Bees was named after the Irish princess who landed on the beautiful West Cumbrian coast about 900AD. What is the betting that St Bega would join the 1.3 million households in Ireland in calling for an end to the illegal and immoral radioactive poisoning of the Irish Sea from reprocessing at Sellafield?
Radiation Free Lakeland 28th April 2013 read more »
The United States is still haunted by a nightmare of 2006, says an insider of the Defense Ministry. But the “nightmare” he refers to is not the first nuclear test by North Korea in October that year, but rather an internal report compiled by the Japanese government a month earlier on “the possibility of domestically producing nuclear weapons.”
Japan Times 29th April 2013 read more »
The Nuclear Regulation Authority has effectively put a hold on Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd.’s plan to start running its nuclear reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture. Until new safety standards are in place, the NRA has decided not to carry out a pre-operation test of the plant, which has been under trial operation. The NRA is expected to announce the new safety standards in December. The decision has dashed Japan Nuclear Fuel’s hopes of bringing the plant online by the end of the year.
Asahi Shimbun 25th April 2013 read more »
China is to reprocess used reactor fuel at a plant supplied by Areva, according to a letter of intent signed in Beijing yesterday. The agreement sets out the technical specifications of the future plant, the project’s organisation and the scope of work for the partners, Areva and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). Areva said it was a milestone that represented a signature on part of acontract for sale. Heads of those companies Luc Oursel and Sun Qin put pen to paper in the presence of French and Chinese Presidents Francois Hollande and Xi Jinping on 25 April during an official visit.
World Nuclear News 26th April 2013 read more »
France-based nuclear energy company Areva delivered two steam generator for Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant located in Red Wing, Minnesota, US. Located on a 520-acre site about 40 miles southeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul and about five miles north of Red Wing, the 1,100MW Prairie nuclear station has two reactors, each with a power generating capacity of 550MW.
Energy Business Review 29th April 2013 read more »
Projected natural gas prices in the US will play a key role in the decision to build new nuclear reactors beyond the currently installed capacity of 101 gigawatt (GW). In an analysis of a series of possible scenarios, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that the projected reliance on nuclear power in 2040 varies between 63GW and 133GW which accounts for 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively of total electricity generation. Future nuclear capacity additions in the US, according to the EIA, will depend on gas prices as well as whether or not existing nuclear power plants will renew their operational licenses beyond the 60 year period for which most are licensed.
Gas to Power Journal 29th April 2013 read more »
Perspectives on the 2013 Non-Proliferation Treaty PrepCom meeting held at the United Nations in Geneva, and the role the UK should take at the meeting from Sir Nick Harvey MP, Ambassador Jo Adamson, Jeremy Corbyn MP, and Professor Gareth Evans.
You Tube 26th April 2013 read more »
Jeremy Corbyn: There was a very interesting story the New York Times last week. Well-placed “sources” from within the US State Department and Defence Department are apparently telling Britain to stop obsessing over nuclear weapons and instead protect the rest of the defence budget so that Britain can play its part in being the European arm of US foreign policy within Nato.
Morning Star 28th April 2013 read more »
Fridges, washing machines and other electrical goods could be switched off automatically in British homes without the owners’ consent under EU proposals to help power stations meet demand for electricity.
Telegraph 28th April 2013 read more »
Consumers can and surely will control when their dishwashers, washing machines and electric cars will be able to run under proposals for ‘demand response’, not ‘big brother’ as reported in today’s press. However, plans to achieve this have not been thought out properly yet by the powers that be at both UK and EU level. The idea behind proposals to fit sensors to various types of electrical appliances is to increase the ability of the Natonal Grid to respond (‘demand response’) to fluctuating supplies of wind power, solar power and other renewable energy sources. Electricity-using equipment at the industrial, commercial and domestic levels can and will be enrolled in a system to match electricity supply with demand, without loss of service to the consumer. It is quite possible to fit the right meters to ensure that consumers can set machines automatically. Hence they can use them according to their preferences, which will include them automaticaly running (or charging car batteries) when the electricity prices are low (when there is plenty of renewable power), and using them less when electricity prices are high (when renewable power is scarce). But, as I explained in a previous blog current regulatory arrangements will only allow a ‘top-down’ system of controlling demand response. The sort of ‘smart meters’ being rolled out at the moment are the wrong sort that will not allow consumer control of demand response.
Dave Toke 28th April 2013 read more »
Ruth Rosselson is an environmental pioneer. The freelance writer and community trainer is one of the first homeowners to sign up with the Manchester-based Carbon Co-op for a programme of energy-efficiency improvements that will transform her cold and draughty house into a warm and toasty low-energy home. Carbon Co-op, which launched in 2011, is one of a new generation of co-ops that are now aiming to address the critical issue of climate change by making houses more energy-efficient, which in turn will slash carbon emissions and in the long-run save homeowners money. “The big energy companies dominate the energy-efficiency market because they are forced to by Ofgem, the energy regulator. However, very few people trust the big energy companies any more because of the recent mis-selling scandals.” He says people are increasingly suspicious of energy companies trying to sell them big-scale changes, thinking that all the companies want is for their bills to increase.
Guardian 29th April 2013 read more »
It is one of the greatest social, scientific and political dilemmas facing humankind. This week’s Science Weekly is dedicated to exploring the burning question that is the subject of Duncan Clark and Mike Berners-Lee’s new book: how to leave vast untapped reserves of coal, gas and oil in the ground, and somehow find viable alternative forms of energy. Adam Vaughan, the Guardian’s online environment editor, interviewed Clark, who is a consultant editor on the environment desk and visiting researcher at the UCL Energy Institute, and Berners-Lee, a leading expert on carbon emissions and the author of How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything.
Guardian 29th April 2013 read more »
Australia’s huge coal industry is a speculative bubble ripe for financial implosion if the world’s governments fulfil their agreement to act on climate change, according to a new report. The warning that much of the nation’s coal reserves will become worthless as the world hits carbon emission limits comes after banking giant Citi also warned Australian investors that fossil fuel companies could do little to avoid the future loss of value.
Guardian 28th April 2013 read more »
The government is proposing to bribe communities with cheaper energy bills in exchange for dropping opposition to local fracking projects as part of plans to push ahead with shale-gas extraction. Several options to cajole rural England to accept the contentious drilling schemes are being discussed as ministers prepare to announce that the UK’s shale-gas reserves are much larger than previously estimated.
FT 28th April 2013 read more »
George Osborne had wanted to herald in the Budget the dramatic findings of a British Geological Survey report – that the extent of shale gas reserves in the UK has been vastly underestimated – as part of a sweeping pro-shale announcement, according to Whitehall sources. However, the BGS findings did not, in the end, make an appearance in the chancellor’s speech and the energy department is understood to have asked it to redo its calculations, a process that is taking several months. A final report is still a few weeks away and could see a downward revision to the estimates. Many senior Tories, including Mr Osborne believe shale gas is an “exciting opportunity” and has the potential to bring down energy bills and reduce Britain’s dependence on imports. Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, has cautioned that shale gas is unlikely to provide mo re than a small proportion of the country’s energy needs, saying it is not “the golden goose”. But this week he said it had the potential to “bring significant economic opportunities and enhance our energy security, if it can be shown to be economic and safe”.
FT 28th April 28th April 2013 read more »
The pretty West Sussex village of Balcombe, nestled in Britain’s stockbroker belt, is not a place you associate with protest. But that was before the frackers showed up. Local people have been incensed since Cuadrilla Resources, the shale gas explorer, acquired an exploration licence for Balcombe in 2010. Cuadrilla has yet to frack a single well, but anger runs so high that getting to that stage will be a fraught process. “If Cuadrilla tries to drill here, they’ll soon find they haven’t reckoned on the opposition,” says Vanessa Vine, a member of campaign group Frack Free Sussex. “People will take direct action.”
FT 28th April 2013 read more »
One by one, the barriers to shale gas exploration in the UK are crumbling. Last year an 18-month moratorium was lifted and two weeks ago a study of thousands of wells around the world revealed no evidence that the industry had any significant role in causing earthquakes. But the most formidable obstacle remains. Without serious efforts to overcome rising public hostility, Britain may never know for sure whether its future holds a US-style shale gas revolution.
FT 28th April 2013 read more »