Nuclear power is so expensive compared with other forms of energy that it has become really hard to justify, according to the chief executive of General Electric, one of the worlds largest suppliers of atomic equipment. Its really a gas and wind world today, said Jeff Immelt, referring to two sources of electricity he said most countries are shifting towards as natural gas becomes permanently cheap. At the same time, a 75 per cent fall in solar panel market prices in the past three years has made solar power competitive with daytime retail electricity prices in some countries, according to a recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, while offshore wind turbine prices have steadily declined.
FT 30th July 2012 more >>
A leading minister has said the government is committed to building a new wave of nuclear power stations despite recent blows to the programme. Lord Sassoon, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, who spent the bulk of his career with the accountant KPMG and the investment bank SG Warburg, told The Independent the private sector “wants reassurances of the direction of travel from the Government” on nuclear. He said the Government would create a “settled energy market” that would encourage investment on nuclear power station development.
Independent 30th July 2012 more >>
The government’s green policies are incoherent and fail to achieve their objectives in combating climate change, the manufacturers’ trade body has said. Firms were polled by the EEF on current green policies, including measures to monitor carbon dioxide emissions, rules on energy efficiency and reporting on companies’ environmental performance. A large majority said they often went further than the government’s stipulations, but said the bureaucracy involved in complying with the regulations was time-consuming and inefficient. In some cases, companies are covered by as many as five different regulatory regimes. This made complying with the regulations complex and costly, they said.
Guardian 30th July 2012 more >>
Dash for Gas
Greenpeace has submitted Freedom of Information Act questions in a bid to discover how many times Lord Howell has met the Chancellor and discussed energy questions. Lord Howell is the father of George Osbornes wife, Frances. Lord Howell is a foreign office minister with responsibility for international energy issues in the Lords, but it is his role as president of the British Institute of Energy Economics that is exercising Greenpeace. The Institute has Shell, BP and BG Group as corporate members, while the Energy Department is one of its eight sponsors. A Greenpeace spokesman said: We feel there could be conflict of interest because the institute has backing from oil and gas companies. Has he been bending the Chancellors ear on behalf of fossil fuel interests? What conversations have there been over the dinner table? Lord Howell is said to be sceptical about climate change and believes the Government is not serious about renewable energy. Greenpeace feels that his approach has been reflected in the Chancellors battle with Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, over wind farm subsidies and support for a new dash for gas.
Telegraph 30th July 2012 more >>
Thousands of people formed ‘a human chain’ around Japan’s parliament complex yesterday to demand the government abandon nuclear power — the latest in a series of peaceful demonstrations that are on a scale not seen for decades.
Irish Independent 30th July 2012 more >>
Irish Examiner 30th July 2012 more >>
Scotsman 30th July 2012 more >>
How will Japan meet its energy demands in the next two decades? There are two short-term choices: 1) decommission all nuclear plants and replace them with new fossil fuel plants, or 2) restart the nuclear fleet and upgrade their capacity to replace the lost capacity of the Fukushima plants. There are some variations on these two, e.g., shut down only the oldest plants (twelve pre-date 1980), build a few new gas plants, or adjust the particular mix of coal versus gas, but the economic and environmental costs of these two paths are vastly different.
Forbes 29th July 2012 more >>
An outspoken critic of nuclear power lost a local governor’s election in southwestern Japan on Sunday, according to projections by national broadcaster NHK, defeated by an old-guard candidate in a race that had come to serve as a litmus test for the future of atomic energy in the country.
Wall Street Journal 29th July 2012 more >>
Radioactive strontium-90 from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has been detected for the first time in 10 prefectures outside Miyagi and Fukushima, the science ministry said July 24. The highest reading was in Ibaraki Prefecture and nearly matched the maximum level of strontium-90 recorded in Japan following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The nine other prefectures are Iwate, Akita, Yamagata, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo and Kanagawa. But experts say the current levels of strontium-90 will have little impact on health.
Asahi 25th July 2012 more >>
Mitt Romney has made a staunch declaration of unity with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat, pledging that the US “will not look away” in the face of an existential challenge against the Jewish state. In his first foreign policy speech, delivered against the dramatic backdrop of the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, the presumptive Republican candidate insisted the US must use “any and all measures” to prevent a nuclear Iran.
Guardian 29th July 2012 more >>
One of President Barack Obama’s top security officials has briefed Israel’s prime minister on U.S. plans for a possible attack on Iran, it was claimed today. National security adviser Tom Donilon sought to reassure Israel that Washington is prepared to act militarily should diplomacy and sanctions fail to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear enrichment programme. He met premier Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to the country earlier this month, according to the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.
Daily Mail 29th July 2012 more >>