The company in charge of running Britains nuclear reprocessing operation at Sellafield in Cumbria said today that it needs an extra £276 million of taxpayers money to complete the single biggest nuclear construction project in the UK. Sellafield Ltd said that the final costs of building the Evaporator D complex to handle Britains liquid nuclear waste will need to be increased from £397m to between £599m and £673m. This is more than six times the original estimate for the project. The extra costs of completing the project will wipe out the companys efficiency savings of £182m and come on top of the £1.34 billion wasted on the Sellafield Mox Plant.
Independent 30th May 2012 more >>
Bidders for the massive Hinkley Point C civils job are bracing themselves for a series of savage costs cuts in the contract value. The two main bid teams led by Laing ORourke and Balfour Beatty met with energy giant EDF today for an update on the project. But contractors fear delays in the contract award will give EDF the chance to squeeze margins on the job. A winner for the £1.2bn civils package was due to be announced this month. But bidders are not expecting a decision now until late summer at the earliest as uncertainty over the project continues in the wake of the election of new French President Francois Hollande. A source close to the project told the Enquirer: Everything is being delayed now and there seems to be little urgency about awarding the contract. Its such a massive job the client knows it can keep bidders hanging on. Im sure they will use this extra time to compare the two bids and incorporate the best, or cheapest solutions, in the final win. The price is sure to get driven down while EDF demands the highest rates it can for energy produced by the plant. A Kier Bam joint venture was awarded the £100m site preparation contract at Hinkley last year but main work has still not started.
Construction Enquirer 30th May 2012 more >>
Ministers are on the cusp of signing a deal for Britains first new nuclear power station for almost 30 years, the Government said last night. Lord Marland, its energy spokesman in the Lords, said a final deal to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, would be sealed within months.
Daily Mail 30th May 2012 more >>
Land and Marine has resumed its search of the seabed near Dounreay for “significant” fragments of nuclear fuel. The company is working with specialist radiation sub-contractor Nuvia to recover the remains of historic discharges from the site. Its return to the seabed marks the third consecutive year of full-scale offshore clean-up and the fourth involving remotely-operated equipment on the seabed.
DSRL 29th May 2012 more >>
The electricity markets reforms outlined in last week’s draft Energy Bill are untested and could increase costs for businesses, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today. In a wide-ranging review of the UK’s energy policies, the Paris-based organisation warns an emissions performance standard for new power plants, the carbon floor price, and the so-called contracts for difference, which set future power prices, are “more than is strictly necessary”. While the report is generally positive about the UK’s policies, it warns low carbon generation may be pushed aside in favour of new gas plants and urged the government to encourage an “efficient mix of new, cleaner generation, more efficient use of existing infrastructure and more flexible demand.”
Business Green 30th May 2012 more >>
Government plans to reform the energy sector risk becoming expensive and ineffective, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned. In its review of UK energy policy, published on Wednesday, the IEA also warned that the Green Deal efficiency scheme could be hindered by mistrust of the Big Six suppliers. The UKs Electricity Market Reform package – intended to encourage a new generation of nuclear and renewable power plants – was a pioneering effort, it said, but was also untested. They represent a fundamental departure from market-based principles and will need to be carefully monitored and adjusted to ensure that they complement market-based incentives for timely, efficient and innovative private sector responses, and do not become an expensive and ineffective substitute for them, the IEA said.
Telegraph 30th May 2012 more >>
Can you believe a single word they say? The governments new Energy Bill published last week was proclaimed as enabling the UK to move away from high carbon technologies (i.e. coal, oil and gas). The Bill says that to meet the governments statutory commitment to cut greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050, electricity plants must be largely decarbonised by the 2030s. That is impossible without the widespread deployment of CCS capturing the carbon from power stations and storing it underground. Yet the government clearly doesnt believe this is going to happen, not surprisingly since no prototype exists anywhere and its development is riddled with problems. What that means is that the government is talking green technology, but actually giving the nod and wink to all the dirtiest fuels coal, oil and gas. Game, set and match to the fossil fuel lobbies, and contempt and shame to the Tory/LibDems who still talk green, but act dirty brown.
Michael Meacher 30th May 2012 more >>
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Electricite de Frances A+ rating for long-term issuer default and senior unsecured debt, with a stable outlook. The ratings agency said May 30 that EDFs leading positions in Europe, particularly in France where it has a large, low-cost nuclear generation portfolio, regulated distribution and quasi-regulated supply businesses, contributes to its stable and predictable cash flow. However, Fitch said capital expenditures were expected to increase to meet requirements from the French nuclear safety regulator, post-Fukushima, and that this could put pressure on leverage ratios. Fitch said EDF would spend between 12 to 13 billion on capital expenditures in 2012-13, rising to as much as 13 to 15 billion in 2015-16. Fitch said that EDF has no financial headroom at the current rating level and negative developments on energy policy, for example legislation on nuclear assets, or adverse regulatory changes in relation to tariff reform, would constrain the ratings.
i-Nuclear 30th May 2012 more >>
The EDF Energy people at Barnwood are part of a team responsible for safely generating around a sixth of the UK’s electricity from our nuclear power stations. The electricity generated avoids almost 40 million tonnes of carbon each year equivalent to about half the cars on the road in the UK. It’s been an important few weeks for our business. In April, we launched the country’s first 100% nuclear-backed tariff for residential customers called Blue+Price Promise. Only this week, the draft energy bill was published which will help to pave the way for low-carbon generation including new nuclear power stations.
Gloucester Citizen 31st May 2012 more >>
He is a star of French industry, running a state-owned energy giant with interests across the world, notably in Britain. But Henri Proglio, the chief executive of EDF, is facing the indignity of a 68 per cent pay cut after the French Government denounced his salary as indecently high.
Times 31st May 2012 more >>
Nuclear Information Service has published the results of a major investigation into the effectiveness and openness of the Local Liaison Committee for the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE). We found that, although members of the Local Liaison Committee take their duties seriously and work hard, it is not reasonable to expect them to take on a mass communication role about issues at AWE sites. The committee was established on a relatively informal basis back in 1993 and has not significantly changed its approach since then. As a result it now falls well short of stakeholder engagement standards which are adopted as the norm elsewhere in the nuclear sector.
Nuclear Information Service 30th May 2012 more >>
Water and wastewater service provider Severn Trent Services (STS) has won a contract to supply a chlorine dioxide generator to a nuclear plant in China. STS, which operates in the UK and Ireland, US and Italy, will provide the Taishan nuclear plant in the Guangdong province of China with its Capital Controls chlorine dioxide generator.
Edie 30th May 2012 more >>
On high-level nuclear waste, the world’s governments are registering low levels of activity. The US pulled the plug on its planned Yucca mountain repository in Nevada last year. The UK has been inviting local communities to “volunteer” to host a storage facility since 2008. Meanwhile France and Germany shunt waste between each other, hoping something will turn up. That something may be “transmutation”. Using particle accelerators to convert waste into elements with shorter half-lives – perhaps coupled with thorium reactors to generate electricity – looks increasingly attractive.
New Scientist 30th May 2012 more >>
NEWLY elected SNP councillor Alex McLean has responded to criticism over an election row. Councillor McLean who decried an election claim by Labour councillor Alex Gallagher that the SNP were to deposit nuclear waste from around the country at Hunterston has reiterated his point that it was a Westminster issue. Following recent letters criticising him and SNP colleague Alan Hill Mr McLean stated this week: “I would point to the Scotland Act, Schedule 5 (Reserved Matters), which identifies the ‘Transport of radioactive material’ and ‘Regulation of the carriage of dangerous goods’ as reserved matters.
Largs and Millport Weekly News 30th May 2012 more >>
Nuclear energy will have to be used globally to meet the worlds growing energy needs and Britain must be part of that development. That was the message from the Duke of York, opening the new Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and paying his fifth visit to the neighbouring Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, on South Yorkshires Advanced Manufacturing Park. Prince Andrew told staff and guests: Its a great pleasure to be back here again and a real pleasure to open something thats going to have serious and important consequences in the years to come.
Sheffield Star 30th May 2012 more >>
HOSPITAL workers from St Marys took part in a training exercise to make sure they are prepared for a chemical or nuclear incident during the Olympics.
Fulham Chronicle 30th May 2012 more >>
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday he did not expect talks next month with six world powers in Moscow on Iran’s nuclear programme to yield any major breakthroughs, but hoped to improve confidence between the two sides.
Reuters 30th May 2012 more >>
Germany expects renewables to contribute 35% electricity by 2020 no matter what the cost. Polling shows German citizens are indeed seriously concerned, but rather than losing faith they are worried that the changes needed to accommodate large amounts of variable renewable energy on the grid, in particular thousands of kilometres of new power lines and the ramping up of energy storage, are not happening quickly enough. The contrast with the UK, where renewables contributed 9.5% of electricity in 2011, is stark. Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes, head of the German renewable energy federation, blames the absence of Fits for individuals and community groups until 2010, 20 years after Germany, and the earlier policy forcing major energy companies to ensure a chunk of their power generation was renewable, which he says meant small-scale renewable energy generators weren’t considered. In Germany 65% of renewables are owned by individuals or communities: in the UK the figure is less than 10%.
Guardian 30th May 2012 more >>
Germany’s power-transmission companies have tabled plans to build four electricity Autobahns to link wind turbines off the north coast with manufacturing centres in the south – a boost for Angela Merkel after criticism from industry that Berlin has done little since announcing an accelerated nuclear phase-out a year ago.
FT 31st May 2012 more >>
Geothermal energy in the UK could generate as much electricity as nine nuclear power stations, according to a new report published today. The independent technical report confirms the UK has enough deep geothermal resource to match 20% of the UK’s electricity demand as well as enough heat for millions of homes. Engineering consultants Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) have identified geothermal hotspots in Cornwall, Weardale, Lake District, East Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Cheshire, Worcester, Dorset, Hampshire, Northern Ireland and Scotland. And the SKM report found geothermal resources could provide 9.5GW of baseload renewable electricity equivalent to nearly nine nuclear power stations which could generate 20% of the UKs current annual electricity consumption. In addition, geothermal could provide over 100GW of heat, which could supply sufficient heat to meet the space heating demand in the UK.
Click Green 30th May 2012 more >>
Guardian 30th May 2012 more >>
Telegraph 31st May 2012 more >>
Herald 31st May 2012 more >>
THE chairman of ice cream and crisp manufacturers Mackies has warned MSPs that the “lights will go out” for Scotland’s electricity supply unless there’s a drive towards renewable energy. Maitland Mackie, speaking at the Scottish Parliament’s economy and energy committee today, said that energy bills will “undoubtedly” keep rising unless there’s an expansion of wind farms to create renewable energy. Mr Mackie went onto say that Scotland was running out of fossil fuels as he called on MSPs to focus on renewable energy rather than nuclear power.
Scotsman 31st May 2012 more >>
Energy from gas power stations has been rebranded as a green, low-carbon source of power by a 80bn European Union programme, in a triumph of the deep-pocketed fossil fuel industry lobby over renewable forms of power. In a secret document seen by the Guardian, a large slice of billions of euros of funds that are supposed to be devoted to research and development into renewables such as solar and wave power are likely to be diverted instead to subsidising the development of the well-established fossil fuel.
Guardian 29th May 2012 more >>
Public mistrust of the “big six” energy firms may undermine the UK government’s planned Green Deal, according to the International Energy Agency.
BBC 30th May 2012 more >>
New research from uSwitch.com has shown that Britain could be less than three years away from an energy affordability crisis. Under current pricing trends, the average household energy bill will reach £1,500 by 2015. Importantly, the price comparison company estimates that an affordability tipping-point occurs when bills hit £1,500. At this point, nearly 60 percent of consumers indicated that bills would become unaffordable with almost six in ten households not receiving adequate heating as a result. The research also finds that at this point almost four in ten households will be forced to switch their heating off entirely, exasperating fuel poverty.
Solar Power Portal 30th May 2012 more >>