Toshiba puts UK’s nuclear power plans under threat: Fears that crisis will halt Japanese firm’s investment in British plant. Toshiba owns a 60 per cent stake in the planned £10billion NuGen nuclear power project in Moorside, Cumbria, which aims to supply power for about 6million homes from 2025. But shares plunged at Toshiba for the third day running yesterday after it warned of a multi-billion dollar write-down involving its US nuclear subsidiary. Forty per cent has been wiped off the company’s value since it said on Monday that its US nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse Electric may have overpaid by several billions of dollars for another nuclear construction and services business. Westinghouse UK is providing the reactors for the planned project in Cumbria, the rest of which is owned by French company Engie, and would be one of Europe’s largest nuclear power plants. Moody’s investor service has downgraded Toshiba’s ratings and warned the writedown could affect the company’s ability to pay its debts, little over a year after its finances were seriously hit by an accounting scandal. Justin Bowden, the GMB union’s national secretary for energy, said: ‘It needs to be established as soon as possible whether or not the collapsing Toshiba share price, in particular in relation to its Westinghouse operation, has any implications, and if so what these are for the extremely important Westinghouse project.’
Daily Mail 29th Dec 2016 read more »
Faced with the prospect of a multi-billion-dollar writedown that could wipe out its shareholders’ equity, Japan’s Toshiba (6502.T) is running out of fixes: it is burning cash, cannot issue shares and has few easy assets left to sell. The Tokyo-based conglomerate, which is still recovering from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal in 2015, dismayed investors and lenders again this week by announcing that cost overruns at a U.S. nuclear business bought only last year meant it could now face a crippling charge against profit. Toshiba says it will be weeks before it can give a final number, but a write down of the scale expected – as much as 500 billion yen ($4.3 billion), according to one source close to Toshiba – would leave the group scrambling to plug the financial hole and keep up hefty investments in the competitive memory chip industry, which generates the bulk of its operating profit.
Reuters 29th Dec 2016 read more »
Toshiba Corp.’s ambitions to make nuclear power a centerpiece of its future have instead led to an accounting scandal and billions of dollars in potential losses. For clues to what happened, the reactor being built by its Westinghouse Electric Co. division in this seaside town south of Shanghai offers an illuminating Exhibit A. The Sanmen reactor was meant to be the showcase of a new technology that Westinghouse hopes will revolutionize the nuclear industry by making power plants safer, less labor-intensive and quicker to build. Instead, the first so-called AP1000 reactor has been bedeviled by delays. In one instance, a critical component in its cooling system failed, slowing work by more than two years. Meanwhile, Westinghouse struggled for years to complete its design work for the AP1000, adding to delays and angering its Chinese state-owned customer. The reactor is now at least three years behind schedule. Westinghouse said Thursday it aims to load enriched uranium fuel in the reactor early next year, pushing back its previous year-end goal. The troubles in Sanmen mirror those at nuclear projects around the world—including four by Westinghouse in the U.S.—that led to this week’s announcement by Toshiba that it is looking at billions of dollars in potential losses, triggering a massive selloff by investors. Engineers are now pushing to complete final work for the first Sanmen AP1000 reactor to start up by spring. Even if all goes smoothly, the company’s failure to deliver on schedule has undermined its standing.
Wall St Journal 29th Dec 2016 read more »
Analysts were scrambling yesterday to identify what Toshiba could throw overboard to stay afloat in the storm battering the Japanese company. As its shares fell for a third day in a row, dropping 17 per cent to 258.7 yen and slicing away a cumulative 40 per cent chunk of its value this week, and after a second credit ratings agency downgraded it further into junk territory, Toshiba was coming under growing pressure to plug a multibillion-dollar financial hole. “I see little option but to sell a slew of non-core assets,” Kenneth Courtis, the Asia-based managing partner of Courtis Global & Associates, said. That might be easier said than done. Hiroki Shibata, of Standard & Poor’s, said that Toshiba “doesn’t have many saleable assets in hand”. After S&P downgraded Toshiba on Wednesday, Moody’s followed suit yesterday, from a B3 to a Caa1 rating, with Masako Kuwahara, its lead analyst for Toshiba, warning that the group’s “financial metrics will likely deteriorate further, potentially resulting in a negative equity position”.
Times 29th Dec 2016 read more »
Review of the year – Radiation Free Lakeland. An observation…..while activist and NGO attention has been (deliberately?) ratcheted up and focussed on fracking the nuclear industry has been lining up its myriad ducks from the South of England to Wales to Cumbria with a view to poisoning our water, land, sea and our DNA.. People often say to me “Why bother, its too big to fight, Moorside is a done deal” but this is true only if we are so cowed and intimidated by the entrenched and violent (yes violent) nuclear industry that we let their evil ambitions be a done deal. RESIST! Here is to containing Sellafield and Stopping Moorside in order to ensure many many more New Years being seen in – here in our beautiful, vulnerable Cumbria. Thanks to All Nuclear Resisters Everywhere!!
Radiation Free Lakeland 29th Dec 2016 read more »
The last known descendant of the Romantic poet William Wordsworth is to join campaigners marching to “save the Lake District from pylons” on New Year’s Day. Ninety pylons the height of Nelson’s column are planned across an estuary in the area of outstanding natural beauty where Wordsworth wandered lonely as a cloud. Christopher Wordsworth, great-great-great-great-grandson of the poet, is fighting a £2.8bn plan to “fence in” the scenic Lake District.
Guardian 29th Dec 2016 read more »
Heysham 2 nuclear power station’s unit 8 has claimed a new world record for continuous operation – 895 days. Unit 8 at Heysham 2 surpassed Ontario Power Generation’s Pickering 7’s 894 day continuous run between 26 April 1992 and 7 October 1994, a record that has lasted for 22 years. John Munro, station director, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and is testament to the professionalism of the team we have here at Heysham 2. “This record comes in the station’s 28th year of operation which shows what can be done with a skilled team and targeted investment in the plant. “Earlier this year we extended the operating life of Heysham 2 by seven years to 2030 and over the next 14 years I’d like us to be challenging our own new operating record.”
EDF Energy 29th Dec 2016 read more »
All nuclear fuel at a former Welsh power plant should be off the site within two years, specialist teams have said. It is exactly a year since the last nuclear reactor was switched off at Wylfa on Anglesey. But staff told BBC Wales it had been 12 months of both personal and technical challenges to overcome. It includes the loss of over 200 jobs at the plant over the period, and more to come after de-fuelling ends.
BBC 30th Dec 2016 read more »
ISLANDERS have demanded a robust evacuation strategy is in place in the event of a nuclear disaster before a commitment to build 200 more homes is signed off. Fresh proposals in Colchester Council’s Local Plan would see the new houses built on Mersea over the next 16 years. But campaigners want assurances a strategy is in place to get all residents off of the island in case there was a radiation emergency from the mooted new nuclear power station across the River Blackwater in Bradwell. Pressure group STOP350 has written to Colchester Council’s chief executive Adrian Pritchard to ask the council how they would be helped off the island in the event of an emergency.
Braintree & Witham Times 30th Dec 2016 read more »
Russian nuclear group Rosatom would be interested in taking an equity stake in French peer Areva if the French government allows it, a top Rosatom executive said on Tuesday. Under a government-led restructuring, 87 percent state-owned Areva (AREVA.PA) will be split up, with its reactor unit Areva NP sold to state-owned utility EDF (EDF.PA) while its nuclear fuel unit will become a separate firm provisionally named NewCo. Areva, EDF and the government are looking to sell minority stakes to foreign investors in both units.
Reuters 27th Dec 2016 read more »
Constrction starts on 2nd Hualong One. China General Nuclear (CGN) has started construction of its second Hualong One reactor – unit 4 of the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant in western China. Pouring first concrete began on 23 December, “marking the official start of construction on another Hualong-1 (HPR1000) demonstration power unit, China’s first homegrown nuclear power plant”, CGN said the following day.
World Nuclear News 29th Dec 2016 read more »
North Korea’s despotic leaders are determined to complete development of nuclear weapons by the end of 2017, according to the country’s most senior defector. Thae Yong-ho, 55, the former North Korean deputy ambassador in London, defected to South Korea earlier this year along with his wife and children due to his discontent with the regime and for their futures. Mr Thae said Kim Jong-un will pursue his nuclear programme “at all costs” and will not relinquish its weapons “even if the country is offered $1 trillion or $10 trillion in return”, Yonhap news agency reported.
Independent 29th Dec 2016 read more »
The Government secretly approved powers for armed guards to shoot on sight any intruders approaching Britain’s nuclear-armed submarines after peace protesters managed to board one of the vessels at a supposedly ultra-secure base.
i news 30th Dec 2016 read more »
BBC 30th Dec 2016 read more »
Mirror 29th Dec 2016 read more »
Mark Ruskell MSP, Energy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (30 Dec) welcomed the call from environmental and industry groups for Scottish Ministers to set a new target to ensure half of all energy used in Scotland comes from renewable sources by 2030. Mark said: “This call will increase the pressure, not just on the Scottish Government, but on other opposition parties to match the Scottish Greens’ ambition. Earlier this month other parties voted down or abstained on our proposal to set a target of Scotland producing half of all the energy it consumes from clean, renewable sources. “We can see the support for this target is growing. It would create more jobs, reduce climate change emissions and air pollution, and cut fuel poverty. Scotland’s renewables industry has been badly damaged by the anti-Green policies of the Westminster Government. The target of 50 per cent of energy from renewables must feature in the Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy.”
Scottish Greens 30th Dec 2016 read more »
Conservationists and the green energy industry are demanding the Scottish government sets a new target to ensure half the country’s power comes from renewables by 2030. WWF Scotland and trade body Scottish Renewables made the call following what they believe has been a “landmark” year for Scottish renewable energy. Scotland is “blazing a trail for pollution-free power”, they said. The government said it exceeded its 50% renewable electricity target for 2015. A spokesman added that the government’s long-term vision for the future of energy in Scotland would be published in the new year.
BBC 30th Dec 2016 read more »
Business Green 30th Dec 2016 read more »
The National 30th Dec 2016 read more »
Energy Voice 30th Dec 2016 read more »
Green energy such as wind power made up 40% of electricity generated in Britain, compared with 25% on 25 December 2015. Figures produced by Electric Insights and commissioned by Drax showed that three-quarters of renewable energy produced on Christmas Day came from wind turbines. Drax is Britain’s largest coal power producer but it is in the process of converting its facility to using biomass. Koss said the company provided 20% of the UK’s renewable power in the first half of 2016. “It’s important to have the right mix of energy generation to ensure we are decarbonising, whilst also keeping the lights on and the costs down,” he said.
Guardian 29th Dec 2016 read more »
Express 29th Dec 2016 read more »
More communities are producing their own renewable energy, with a 17% increase in nine months, according to a new report. Scotland had 595MW of community and locally-owned renewable capacity in June this year – enough to power about 300,000 homes, the research found. This was a 17% increase on the operational capacity in the last report in September 2015, when the operating capacity was estimated at 508MW. As in previous years, the largest proportion of operational community and locally-owned capacity was on Scottish farms and estates, which produced 41% (244MW), followed by local authorities, which made 18% (108MW). The Energy Saving Trust report, published on December 29, found there are 15,570 locally and community-owned renewables sites in Scotland at present, though more wish to pursue projects. Within those already in place, the two largest power sources contin ue to be onshore wind (273MW) and biomass (162MW). Business, innovation and energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “We have exceeded our 2020 target of achieving 500MW in community and local ownership and, in line with our 2016 election manifesto commitment, we now pledge to double this to 1GW in the same timeframe. “Putting this in context, 1GW would be enough electricity to power half a million homes in Scotland.
Scotsman 29th Dec 2016 read more »