The government has this week attempted to ease concern from MPs that its plans to overhaul the electricity market will fail to deliver the £110bn investment required over the next decade to move to a low carbon economy. In its response to the Energy and Climate Change Committee report on electricity market reforms the government also again rejected allegations that the reforms include measures that backtrack on the coalition pledge to deny specific subsidies for nuclear power.
Business Green 28th July 2011 more >>
Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has scaled back its investment in new nuclear power, describing its plans to invest in the UK’s first two stations with EDF as “no done deal”. The news came as planning officers at West Somerset Council effectively gave the green light for EDF and Centrica to begin preparing the ground for the UK’s first new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point. Councillors voted 11 to one in favour of approving the groundwork, with some minor conditions. However, concerns have been growing about the risks of new nuclear power in the UK since EDF revealed that its flagship plant in Flamanville, north-west France, has suffered two fatal accidents this year and seen costs double to 6bn (£5.3bn). This means it will begin operating six years after the original start date. The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in Japan will also to increase safety costs.
Telegraph 29th July 2011 more >>
Areva’s new chief executive said the Fukushima disaster was creating new business opportunities for nuclear service providers as the industry’s focus moves to safety upgrades and sometimes plant dismantling. Luc Oursel said that although the impact of the Japanese catastrophe remained difficult to assess in terms of lost business, the world’s biggest nuclear reactor builder was still convinced most countries would forge ahead with their atomic power plans.
Reuters 28th July 2011 more >>
Anti-nuclear campaigners have slammed a councils decision to allow EDF Energy to begin clearing land earmarked for a nuclear reactor. And they pledged to step-up their campaign of direct action against the energy giant. Activists from the Stop New Nuclear network branded West Somerset Councils decision yesterday to allow EDF to start bulldozing 400 acres next to Somersets Hinkley Point nuclear power station as a circus and a travesty. The planning committees decision paves the way for preparatory work to begin on the Hinkley C mega-reactor.
Stop Nuclear Power 29th July 2011 more >>
Preparatory works for the proposed nuclear power station at Hinkley Point will go ahead, after councillors voted in favour of the application. Energy firm EDF applied for planning permission from West Somerset Council to clear a valley to the west of the existing nuclear power station.
BBC 28th July 2011 more >>
Western Morning News 29th July 2011 more >>
Sellafield has pledged to work with its contractors in a better way, focusing on longer relationships with fewer firms. Speaking at a Meet the Buyer event at Energus, Lillyhall, Sellafield Ltds Keith Case there was a need for a shift of emphasis on how the site deals with the companies that work for it. He said he wanted value for money relationships that can organise and galvanise the supply chain below them.That means tier two companies, who win contracts then employ sub-contractors to help, would have more responsibility for the supply chain.
Cumberland News 28th July 2011 more >>
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry estimated that approximately 1,600 workers partaking in efforts to rein in the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant will be exposed to over 50 millisieverts of radiation, according to a document that emerged July 26 after a citizens’ group lodged a request for access to government information. The internal ministry document was released to the public domain in June after the Japan Occupational Safety and Health Resource Center (JOSHRC) requested the public disclosure of government information. The document originating from the ministry said: “Those who in the days ahead will be exposed to over 50 millisieverts of radiation are expected to number around 1,600.”
Mainichi 27th July 2011 more >>
VETERANS who claim they fell ill after British nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s won a victory in their battle for Government compensation. The ex-servicemen, including four from Merseyside, won the latest round of a legal fight against the Ministry of Defence. Londons Supreme Court gave the veterans the go-ahead to argue their right to seek damages.
Crosby Herald 29th July 2011 more >>
Daily Post 29th July 2011 more >>
The US says a first day of talks on North Korea’s nuclear programme had been “serious and business-like”.
BBC 29th July 2011 more >>
A third commissioner at the U.S. nuclear safety regulator has rejected a rapid overhaul of rules for U.S. plants in the wake of Japan’s nuclear disaster advocated by the agency’s chairman, voting instead for a slower approach.
Reuters 28th July 2011 more >>
The UK has sailed ahead in offshore wind power generation in the past six months, building more offshore windfarms than any other country in the world, and accounting for almost all of the turbines erected in European waters this year. Of only 108 offshore turbines built around Europe’s coastline from January to June, a whopping 101 were built around the UK, with only six built in Germany, and a single one in Norway, according to estimates published on Wednesday by the trade body European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). Chris Huhne, energy and climate change secretary, told the Guardian the figures showed how fast the UK was moving in renewable power. “The UK is the undisputed home of offshore wind energy. Our natural resource and competitive advantage mean we have the biggest market in the world. We’re blowing away the competition,” he said. “It’s part of the low-carbon revolution that’s under way in the UK, bringing jobs and growth in new industries and building us a future less exposed to volatile global energy prices.”
Guardian 28th July 2011 more >>
Despite gloomy skies over much of the country this summer, Britain has experienced a sunshine boom – solar power capacity has risen by more than 18-fold since last year as homeowners and businesses rush to take advantage of subsidies. From April to June this year, nearly 34 megawatts (MW) of new solar generating capacity was added to the UK grid – the biggest amount ever in a single quarter, bringing the UK’s total capacity to nearly 122MW. This represented more than 14,500 new installations in the last quarter alone, compared with the UK’s total capacity of only 2,700 solar panel systems in use by the end of March 2010, according to newly released figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The g overnment’s new feed-in tariffs (Fits) have fuelled the boom, making photovoltaic panels an attractive investment as owners receive a steady income stream for the power they produce, as well as being able to use it to offset their energy bills. However, the boom is in danger of faltering in the coming months as changes to the feed-in tariffs begin to bite. Larger solar farms or parks face sharp reductions in the subsidies available, after ministers decided to restrict most of the funding to smaller installations, such as households and small businesses. The changes – coming into effect from 1 August – mean that large installations, of more than 50 kilowatt (kW) capacity – enough to cover a large field, around 20 houses or a typical school – will lose the higher rate of subsidy and be eligible only for a lower tariff that some developers say is not enough to make them economically viable. Projects completed before Monday will continue to qualify for the higher rate, at least until the next review, giving companies a massive incentive to build as quickly as possible.
Guardian 29th July 2011 more >>