A deal to build Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in a generation is finally nearing completion, with ministers hopeful the government and EDF Energy will agree a contract for the reactor at Hinkley Point “within weeks”. Michael Fallon, energy minister, told the Financial Times he was “working intensely” to conclude negotiations that have dragged on for a year. “We’re not quite there yet, but I hope we will be in the next few weeks,” he said. Whitehall officials said there were still a “couple of boxes” to be ticked before the deal could be signed off, but the bulk of it was “done and dusted”. EDF Energy declined to comment. A deal on Hinkley will be followed swiftly by an announcement that a state-owned Chinese company is to invest in the venture, a person familiar with the matter said. China General Nuclear Power Gro up is already in talks with EDF on taking a stake of up to 49 per cent in the Hinkley project. Ed Davey, energy secretary, travelled to China last month to woo Chinese nuclear companies.
FT 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
The Government is within “weeks” of agreeing a contract to build Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, according to the Financial Times. The newspaper reports that energy minister Michael Fallon said he was “working intensely” to close a deal to build a reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset after a lengthy negotiation process. He told the FT: “We’re not quite there yet, but I hope we will be in the next few weeks.” Mr Fallon suggested that a contract with French energy giant EDF would send a strong signal about Britain’s long-term commitment to nuclear energy, and invite new investment opportunities. He said that a number of East Asian investors, including South Korea, China and Japan, had already shown an interest in UK reactors, the FT reports.
York Press 3rd Oct 2013 read more »
Belfast Telegraph 3rd Oct 2013 read more »
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group has a co-operation agreement with EDF and could claim a stake of up to 49% in the project, the FT reports.
BBC 3rd Oct 2013 read more »
The European Commission is divided over state-aid rules for energy and the environment ahead of a debate to be held in Strasbourg next week (8 October). The Commission is preparing guidance for member states in a bid to solve inconsistencies that have plagued two areas: feed-in tariffs for renewable energy, and state subsidies for nuclear power plants. A draft version of the guidance will be issued by the end of the year, with a view to adoption in 2014. The nuclear industry wants European Union rules changed so that member states can provide direct state aid for building nuclear power plants. But member states and Commission departments are split on the issue. Several member states – including France, the Czech Republic and the UK – want the Commission to relax state-aid rules so they can use environmental subsidies to fund nuclear plants, seeing such a policy as part of a ‘low-carbon’ approach. But other countries, including Germany and Austria, are adamantly opposed to nuclear being on the same footing as renewables when it comes to environmental subsidies. The Commission’s energy department, headed by Germany’s European commissioner, Günther Oettinger, is said to favour nuclear subsidies. However, the Commission’s climate and environment departments, as well as green campaigners, do not support the idea.
European Voice 3rd Oct 2013 read more »
The board of Urenco have selected Rothschilds, the investment bank, as advisers on a sale that could value the uranium enrichment company at somewhere between £8bn and £14bn. The privatisation is set to be the UK’s second big state sell-off this year, alongside Royal Mail, and could raise up to £3bn for the Treasury. Aides to George Osborne, chancellor, have said he could use the receipts to fund capital projects – and potentially boost growth – or to pay down the national debt. Urenco is owned by the British and Dutch governments and two German utilities, RWE and Eon. Previous attempts to privatise the company have been impeded by Its complex ownership structure and the sensitive nature of its business. The final obstacle to full privatisation was removed in May when the Dutch government said it had decided to sell its stake in the company.
FT 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
The Conservatives are sending out mixed messages on energy, and the prime minister’s backing for clean power and fracking in the same breath doesn’t help. A Tory schism was transparent at the party conference in Manchester. Energy minister Michael Fallon, who has referred to climate change as “theology”, told a packed hall: “I am a cheap green. I don’t want to load any other costs onto consumers or business.” “I am clear, with the chancellor, that we should not be putting our industry out in front compared to the rest of Europe, that is what I mean by assisted suicide,” he said. What is more scary to the investors the UK so urgently needs: the schism in the Conservative party or Miliband’s frozen bills? What is more likely to keep bills down: Labour’s breaking up of the big six energy companies that even Tory ministers call an “oligopoly” or as-yet-hazy Conservative pledges of more competition in the market and less regulation?
Guardian 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
It’s been a fortnight of party political grandstanding, with both the Labour and Conservatives unveiling populist energy plans in a fight for the votes of the “squeezed middle”. But neither clarify the parties’ positions on how these measures will help decarbonise the UK’s economy.
Carbon Brief 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
Luciana Berger: Labour would forge ahead with delivering the energy efficiency that will help millions of homes reduce the amount of gas and electricity they use in the first place. This will reduce bills, create jobs and cut our carbon emissions. We would achieve this by replacing the failing Green Deal with a new ‘Energy Save’ scheme. We will be consulting with the insulation industry in the months ahead on how best to offer cheaper loans, drive take up through minimum standards and target support for the fuel poor by redirecting £1.3bn of ECO funding into an area based scheme. Labour’s reforms will be better for investors as well as fairer for consumers. If there is uncertainty for investors this week, it is David Cameron and George Osborne who are responsible. Large scale investment in clean energy has already halved on their watch. It was the Tory-led Government who refused to set a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill currently progressing through Parliament, ignoring the independent recommendation of the Committee on Climate Change and countless industry leaders. A Labour Government would set a target now to clean up our power supply by 2030. This would go hand-in-hand with a new Energy Security Board, greater freedoms for the Green Investment Bank and using the public sector to boost demand for clean energy.
Independent 26th Sept 2013 read more »
WARRINGTON South MP David Mowat gave a key note speech at the Conservative Party Conference on the benefits of nuclear power. Speaking at the event, hosted by Nuclear Management Partners and Dods Engagement, Mr Mowat stressed the importance of nuclear power as a part of the UK’s varied power sources, aiding in the reduction of carbon emissions.
Warrington Guardian 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
All this talk of gigatonnes and global limits is difficult to relate to. What does it mean for me, my family, my local area, my country? Over the past three years, the Lake District has been involved in a fascinating local experiment that tries to answer this question. As far as we know, the Lake District is the first local area to set a local carbon budget. We worked out how much carbon the Lake District is responsible for, we set targets to reduce this year on year, based on the UK’s national carbon budget, and we’ve made a plan for how we can meet our targets. In a small corner of a small country, we’ve been doing what needs to be done at a global level. Our local experiment is modest, but we’ve counted the benefits in terms of pounds and pence, providing better holidays and a more secure future for farming. It may be a tiny fraction of those gigatonnes but, as the IPCC reports a challenging picture over the years ahead, it’s nice to know we’re off the starting blocks.
Green Alliance 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
A MULTI-AGENCY exercise to test the city’s response to a nuclear accident ran smoothly yesterday, police said. The Ministry of Defence and Plymouth City Council’s contingency planning exercise, code named Short Sermon, tested the procedures for dealing with a nuclear reactor accident involving a nuclear-powered submarine at Devonport Naval Base. The exercise aimed to prove to independent regulatory bodies the site has the necessary plans and resources to deal with such a scenario.
Plymouth Herald 3rd Oct 2013 read more »
Shaw AREVA MOX Services, the contractor for the MOX facility at the Savannah River Site, has reported “nonconforming welds” in housings of key filters used to contain radioactive materials at the Site. “During a routine quality control inspection, we initially discovered an issue with a small amount of welds,” said MOX Services representative Bryan Wilkes. “We reported the issue to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the National Nuclear Security Administration in a timely manner.”
Aiken Standard 1st Oct 2013 read more »
A plan partly funded by Warren Buffett to set up a U.N. nuclear fuel bank to help prevent the spread of atomic weapons could still be inaugurated by late 2014 despite slower-than-expected progress, according to one of its main backers.Almost three years after member states of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approved the U.S.-backed scheme to establish a reserve of low-enriched uranium (LEU), the IAEA has yet to conclude negotiations with Kazakhstan, the country that will host the fuel bank.
Reuters 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
National Nuclear Laboratory
The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory, which has a site in Lancashire, has finally become a government-owned and operated business. NNL said today it acknowledged the considerable contribution made by managing contractor SBM (comprising Serco, Battelle and The University of Manchester) in transforming the Laboratory during its stewardship since 2009. Chairman of the NNL Board, Richard Maudslay, said: “NNL has made tremendous progress during the four and a half years since the company was created in its present form.
Lancashire Evening Post 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
Low-cost gas and reduced energy demand are hammering the US nuclear industry. Some plant operators are finding ways to fight back. Staff at Exelon Generation’s Clinton power station in the US state of Illinois had good reason to feel proud this May. That was when the company was given a GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Vendor Award for improving the efficiency of plant refuelling. In a nutshell, the team at Clinton managed to shave about USD$10m a year off fuel costs by refuelling on an annual basis instead of every 18 months to two years, as is standard practice in the industry.
Nuclear Energy Insider 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said on Thursday another tank holding highly contaminated water overflowed, probably sending the liquid into the Pacific Ocean, in the second such breach in less than two months.Recent site mishaps have returned Tokyo Electric Power Co , or Tepco, to the spotlight, calling into question its ability to execute a complex cleanup that could last decades. The company has vowed to monitor the tanks more closely and improve its water management.
Reuters 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
Telegraph 3rd Oct 2013 read more »
Iran has foreign exchange reserves that cover less than three months of imports, a new report says, but warned that the regime could still “muddle through” long enough to develop a nuclear weapons capability by mid-2014.
Telegraph 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
Western governments are considering allowing Iran to continue some uranium enrichment, as part of a possible deal to resolve a decade-old dispute that Tehran says it wants to reach within six months, a senior EU diplomat said.
Reuters 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
Bangladesh has begun building the first of two new nuclear power plants north of the capital, Dhaka. The plants – each with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts – are being constructed with Russian help as Bangladesh looks to close a yawning power deficit. Inaugurating the project, PM Sheikh Hasina said that “utmost priority” would be given to nuclear safety”.
BBC 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
The Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in Sweden had to shut down reactor number three on Sunday as hundreds of moon jellyfish blocked the pipes that carry cold water to the plant’s turbines. The pipes have now been cleared and engineers are preparing to restart the reactor. At 1,400 megawatts of output the reactor is the largest boiling-water reactor in the world.
Daily Star 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
ITN 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
Daily Mail 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
If we are to move beyond the political impasse generated by the IPCC report and prevent catastrophic climate change we must look to market mechanisms, specifically price competitive renewables, writes Oliver Tickell. But can the market do the job without a carbon price? Or put another way, can clean, renewable energy compete against fossil fuels without a carbon price to tilt the field in its favour? Recent price falls, especially in solar PV, show that it can. An irreversible process is under way that will, over coming decades, make clean energy cheaper than dirty – but maybe not fast enough to save the Earth’s climate.
Ecologist 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
ALEX Salmond’s green energy programme has suffered a setback from a landmark court ruling which casts doubt on the legality of many wind farm developments in Scotland. Anti-wind farm campaigners have seized on a Court of Session opinion by Lady Clark of Calton that almost all turbines require an electricity-generating licence from the regulator Ofgem before planning consent is given. Those opposing wind farms believe the ruling could stem the tide of turbines being built across Scotland. The Scotsman has learned that Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has written to the Scottish Government demanding that an application for a RWE Npower Renewables wind farm at Rowantree, near Oxton, be refused. Lawyers for the council believe that Lady Clark’s ruling, published last week, creates a legal precedent which means that the Rowantree development should not go ahead.
Scotsman 3rd Oct 2013 read more »
The growth of onshore wind farms helped renewables generate the equivalent of 40 per cent of Scotlands annual demand for electricity last year. Investment in Scotland is already paying off, says Niall Stuart, and the biggest opportunities still lie ahead of us. Despite the daily headlines on energy, climate change and the growth of wind power, few Scots appreciate the scale of the transformation under way in our energy sector. In just five years we have doubled the output of renewable power, and made a massive dent in the country’s carbon emissions as a result.
Scotsman 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
Carillion is having to restructure its energy services division because of the lack of expected Green Deal work and likely delays to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. Carillion paid £300m to take over energy services group Eaga in 2011 on the expectation of massive workload. The government promised that its flagship Green Deal policy – where homeowners get ‘free’ energy-saving improvements paid off over time through their fuel bills – would upgrade 14 million homes in the first seven years and 26 million homes by 2030.
Construction Index 3rd Oct 2013 read more »
Greenpeace activists and a journalist could face up to 15 years in jail after they were charged with piracy and the Russian Prime Minister took a tougher line on campaigners protesting against Arctic oil drilling.
Times 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
Guardian 2nd Oct 2013 read more »
Scientists have for the first time found dangerous levels of radioactivity and salinity at a shale gas waste disposal site that could contaminate drinking water. If the UK follows in the steps of the US “shale gas revolution”, it should impose regulations to stop such radioactive buildup, they said. The Duke University study, published on Wednesday, examined the water discharged from Josephine Brine Treatment Facility into Blacklick Creek, which feeds into a water source for western Pennsylvania cities, including Pittsburgh. Scientists took samples upstream and downstream from the treatment facility over a two-year period, with the last sample taken in June this year. Elevated levels of chloride and bromide, combined with s trontium, radium, oxygen, and hydrogen isotopic compositions, are present in the Marcellus shale wastewaters, the study found. Radioactive brine is naturally occurring in shale rock and contaminates wastewater during hydraulic fracturing – known as fracking. Sometimes that “flowback” water is re-injected into rock deep underground, a practice that can cause seismic disturbances, but often it is treated before being discharged into watercourses.
Guardian 3rd Oct 2013 read more »
Protests against fracking by thousands of people in Sussex over the summer appear to have reversed the growth in British public support for shale gas for the first time. Polling by the University of Nottingham has shown support for shale gas extraction in the UK steadily rising for more than a year, peaking at 61% in favour in July. But that number fell in September, to 55%.
Guardian 2nd Oct 2013 read more »