The global rebirth of nuclear power was meant to be well under way by now, writes Jim Green. But in fact, nuclear’s share of world power generation is on a steady long term decline, and new reactors are getting ever harder to build, and finance. The only real growth area is decommissioning, but that too has a problem: where’s the money to pay for it? The UK’s planned Hinkley C nuclear plant is looking increasingly like a dead duck – or possibly parrot. As the Financial Times reports today, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has abandoned plans to examine the ‘value of money’ Hinkley C offers taxpayers – because no deal has been reached and none is expected before the general election in May. In other words, all that bullish talk about Hinkley C launching Britain’s ‘nuclear renaissance’ has melted away like a spring frost in the morning sun. There is no deal on the table for the PAC to examine – indeed it’s looking increasingly as if there may never be a deal, in spite of the astonishingly generous £30 billion support package on offer, at the expense of UK taxpayers and energy users. Only last week Austria confirmed that it will launch a legal action against the Hinkley C support package, on the grounds that it constitutes illegal state aid. The action looks likely to succeed – and even if it doesn’t, it’s predicted to ensure at least four years of delay.
Ecologist 29th Jan 2015 read more »
About 20 European renewable firms and associations are set to launch “substantial” legal action against the EU’s decision to allow the UK to build nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point, said an academic spearheading the action.And in a related move around 70 leading UK energy experts and academics are preparing to sue the UK government which they accuse of withholding key documents relating to the EUR 19bn project, Paul Dorfman of University College London’s Energy Institute told Montel. Confirmation of the planned legal challenges comes after the European Commission last week published its decision, first announced in October, to approve the UK government subsidy to French utility EDF to build two 1.6 GW reactors in south-west England. It follows the Austrian government’s confirmation last week that it intends to take separate legal action against the EC for approving the project which would delay any final decision beyond the UK’s general election in May, media reported. Opponents have until the end of March to file legal action and while Dorfman declined to name the renewable companies involved, saying talks were ongoing, there “was no doubt at all” that the challenges would go ahead, he said.
Montel 29th Jan 2015 read more »
The government has recently announced the second Triennial Review of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) and is seeking the views of stakeholders who wish to contribute to the review. Triennial Reviews of non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) are part of the government’s commitment to ensuring that NDPBs continue to have regular independent challenge.
Cumbria Trust 29th Jan 2015 read more »
Nuclear vs Renewables
Representatives from the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and the Vienna-based Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe (CNFE) presented the findings of its recently commissioned European energy study to members of the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee this week. The Vienna Ombuds-Office for Environmental Protection report, „Renewable Energy versus Nuclear Power – Comparing Financial Support‟, analysed the comparative costs of renewable energy and nuclear power, in the light of the huge subsidy required to develop a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
NFLA 29th Jan 2015 read more »
I submitted this letter to the Western Mail, Wales’ national newspaper, today: You report Keith Parker, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, as saying of the Westminster government decision to support a new nuclear power plant in Wales: “This is a positive step in securing the UK’s long-term electricity supply and carbon-reduction targets.” (“Decision paves the way for further decisions that could see go-ahead given for Wylfa power station in 2018,” 29 January) Western Mail readers deserve to know the nature of the Parliamentary scrutiny that has taken place to endorse this ministerial decision by the Secretary of State for Energy, Ed Davey. On 21 January, a committee of the House of Commons ( The 9th Delegated Legislation Committee) spent a grand total of 17 minutes examining the decision in favour ofthe merits of Wylfa Newydd on Angelsey. A few days later , on27 January, the matter was “examined” in the House of Lords, led by junior energy minister, Baroness Verma, who observed of the project: “it must first undergo a high-level assessment to determine whether its economic, social or other benefits outweigh the health detriment that it may cause.” The entire Lords examination lasted 12 minutes. ie less than 30 minutes between two Houses of Parliament. That is surely a scandal!
David Lowry’s Blog 29th Jan 2015 read more »
EDF Energy, operators of Heysham Power Station in the UK, has said that one of the two reactors at the Heysham 1 location has been taken offline due to water leak. A water leak was found in a turbine at a non-nuclear part of the facility, a spokesman was quoted as saying by the BBC. The plant was closed as a precaution. However, the spokesman did not confirm when the plant would resume operations.
Energy Business Review 29th Jan 2015 read more »
Nuclear power is one of the most important technologies that can help the world to limit global warming to 2ºC, said OECD agencies in a Technology Roadmap for nuclear that spells out some steps to ensure this happens. The report is jointly authored by two bodies, the International Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency. Their Technology Roadmap Nuclear Energy is an update of a 2010 edition.
World Nuclear News 29th Jan 2015 read more »
Several unidentified flying objects have been spotted over nuclear power plants in France and Belgium over the last few months, and the story has been all over European news. Thus far, the media has reported that the UFOs are likely drones. However, currently, months after the sightings began, the French government still doesn’t know who they belong to. Now a director of one of those nuclear power plants in France says whatever flew over his plant in October, 2014, was not a drone. It was a UFO.
Huffington Post 28th Jan 2015 read more »
After being briefly displaced by gas, coal returned to its place as the UK’s most used fuel for electricity generation towards the end of 2014, new government statistics show. At the same time, low-carbon electricity generation fell slightly as two nuclear power reactors were unexpectedly taken offline and wind speeds slowed. The data shows the UK’s continued reliance on the most carbon-intensive fuel source for its power, and the energy system’s sensitivity to international fuel-price volatility. Carbon Brief goes through the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s latest energy trends statistics, which provides data up to the end of November 2014.
Carbon Brief 29th Jan 2015 read more »
Teesside manufacturers are being urged to access a £1.5m fund, which could help them break into the UK nuclear power sector.
Middlesbrough Gazette 30th Jan 2015 read more »
A SCIENTIST was jailed yesterday after offering to build a nuclear bomb to target New York City.
Express 29th Jan 2015 read more »
There is a great debate about the success or otherwise of Germany’s Energiewende, or Energy Transition. Most of it is uninformed, and much of it is fuelled by the nuclear and coal industries, which have most to lose from the push into renewables by Europe’s most successful economy. This series of graphs shows how the renewable targets are on track, have lowered emissions, decoupled energy consumption from economic growth, pushed wholesale prices down to record lows, and are now pushing retail prices down. And it has done some interesting things to the energy mix.
Renew Economy 29th Jan 2015 read more »
The US and India announced a “breakthrough” in resolving a liability spat that has stalled the implementation of a civil nuclear deal. But Mycle Schneider tells DW this is more about geopolitics than industrial reality. There is no real market for foreign nuclear companies in India, unless they bring their own funding, adding that the recent announcement is more about presenting both countries as equal partners than it is about the vision of a future blooming Indian nuclear export industry.
Deutsche Welle 28th Jan 2015 read more »
The path-breaking 2006 India-United States agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation, which had been gathering dust because of the subsequent Indian law on nuclear liability, appears to have been taken off the shelf. One of the key agreements finalized during United States President Barack Obama’s Republic Day visit, it has four elements. India will not change its nuclear liability law; instead, it will create a government fund to address claims resulting from an accident. India will also take a fresh look at the provision of its law that permits claims made under tort law for damages caused; and the United States has given up its demand to track material supplied under the peaceful nuclear program. Investment costs for nuclear power, at Rs 6-8 crore a megawatt, are about the same as for thermal power. The cost of grid-connected solar power is rapidly approaching that of thermal power. All sensible nations should work towards a combination of wind, solar and gas-based power (these plants are least polluting and can be quickly started and shut down to meet gaps). The good news is that the United States has also promised to help create a huge solar power capacity whose technology is maturing rapidly.
Green World 29th Jan 2015 read more »
The share of nuclear power in the French electricity mix is likely to drop from 74 percent today to 58 percent in 2030, failing to meet a reduction target set out in planned legislation, a survey of energy market experts has shown.
NucNet 28th Jan 2015 read more »
Deadlines for the retrieval and packaging of legacy radioactive waste at Areva’s La Hague reprocessing facility in northern France have slipped, with the country’s regulator issuing a new decision to compel Areva to guarantee compliance. The French nuclear safety authority ASN (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire) said in a statement that the waste, which has “significant nuclear safety and radiation protection implications”, results from the activities of a spent fuel reprocessing plant known as UP2-400 between 1966 and 1998. The waste is currently stored in the La Hague facility in conditions that require retrieval and repackaging, ASN said. Because of its physicochemical and radiological nature, and the current storage conditions, retrieval and packaging operations for the waste must carried out according to a rigid timetable. ASN said Areva undertook to retrieve and package the waste, but there had been “successive delays”, despite the nuclear safety and radiation protection implications. “These delays… lead to the continued storage of legacy waste in unsatisfactory conditions of safety,” ASN said.
NucNet 22nd Jan 2015 read more »
French utility EDF expects the first nuclear power plant under construction in the southern city of Taishan to be completed by the end of the year, a company executive told Reuters.Herve Machenaud, a company executive in charge of the Asia-Pacific region, made the remarks on the sidelines of a visit to Beijing by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.Chinese utility China General Nuclear (CGN) and state-controlled EDF are in a 70-30 joint venture to build two Taishan reactors.The two had been slated to be connected to the grid in 2014 and 2015 respectively, but Nuclear Intelligence Weekly wrote in March that according to a China National Energy Administration presentation, the Taishan 1 and 2 reactors were now expected to come online in June 2015 and September 2016.
Reuters 29th Jan 2015 read more »
Herve Machenaud, head of EDF Asia-Pacific, declined to comment on how CGN and fellow utility China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) would divide their stake in the 16 billion pound ($24 billion) project to build two EPRs in Hinkley Point, Britain, but indicated they want to be more than financiers. “They want to have an industrial impact,” he said.
Reuters 29th Jan 2015 read more »
Iran said talks with France, Germany and Britain on Thursday on its nuclear programme were “promising” but more work was needed to settle the 12-year standoff, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Reuters 29th Jan 2015 read more »
NORTH Korea may be attempting to restart a nuclear reactor which can produce fuel for a nuclear bomb after a five-month shutdown, an American think tank has claimed.
Express 29th Jan 2015 read more »
Independent 29th Jan 2015 read more »
Though the recent cross-party attempt to gain a House of Commons vote against the £100 billion renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system was defeated by the Conservative-led Government, with support from a number of Labour MPs, important points were put on the record about the humanitarian and environmental impact of these WMDs. As well as being available on Hansard, this has been helpfully documented by ICAN UK, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Angus Roberston MP (SNP), Joan Ruddock MP (Labour) and Jeremy Corbyn MP (Labour) all referred to their own participation at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, held in December 2014 and attended by 157 countries, including representatives of the UK. “The issue of Trident replacement comes at a time when the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons are being taken seriously by the international community”, said Angus Robertson. “The overwhelming majority of countries attended the international conference on the subject hosted by the Austrian Government… which had a huge impact, forcing attendees to confront the calamity of what would actually happen should there be a planned or unintended nuclear explosion. The UK and other countries need to give a commitment that they will take this issue seriously”. He went on to ask, “Will the Government ensure that the issues raised at the Vienna conference are discussed at the meeting of the P5 nuclear weapons states in February?”
Ekklesia 28th Jan 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
Solar power almost doubled in the last year, with 650,000 installations ranging from solar farms to panels on homes, figures showed. By the end of 2014 there was almost five gigawatts (5GW) of solar photovoltaic panels installed, up from 2.8GW at the end of 2013, the Department of Energy and Climate Change figures showed. The solar industry said there were now enough panels installed in the UK to supply the equivalent of 1.5m homes. Paul Barwell, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association said: “This milestone achievement is testament to the hard work of Britain’s several thousand solar businesses, almost of all of them small and medium sized companies, who are all at the forefront of a real solar transformation as the technology steadily becomes one of the cheapest sources of clean, home-grown power.” Homes, offices, schools, churches, warehouses, farms, police stations, train stations and even a bridge have all had panels installed, the industry said.
Guardian 29th Jan 2015 read more »
Powering cars with corn and burning wood to make electricity might seem like a way to lessen dependence on fossil fuels and help solve the climate crisis. But although some forms of bioenergy can play a helpful role, dedicating land specifically for generating bioenergy is unwise. It uses land needed for food production and carbon storage, it requires large areas to generate just a small amount of fuel, and it won’t typically cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Guardian 29th Jan 2015 read more »
Community renewables experts have said the changes will severely inhibit the ability of local groups to form the legal entities and raise the funds necessary to put up new solar panels or wind turbines. Existing groups face having to change their legal structure or make a much less attractive appeal for funds. The changes relate to the tax relief currently offered to such schemes, in recognition of the benefits they offer in local growth and investment. The tax relief, under the Enterprise Investment Scheme rules, currently forms an important part of the financial planning for these projects, which typically spend nearly al l the money on technology and infrastructure, and a minimum on administration. Many co-operative schemes depend on being able to claim the relief in order to sell shares in their projects, and offer a decent rate of return to attract investors. The EIS for renewables is being replaced with Social Investment Tax Relief, which co-operatives will not be able to take advantage of unless they change their legal structure to become community benefit companies. The government has said the change means new community groups will still be able to form, and existing ones to carry on building renewables, but those involved have said it will become much harder, and the solar industry has said there is uncertainty about the long-term future of SITR.
Guardian 29th Jan 2015 read more »
A planned moratorium on fracking by the Scottish Government is a “huge nail in the coffin” of energy companies undertaking the controversial gas extraction method, say environmental campaigners.
Third Force News 28th Jan 2015 read more »