Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy knew the British government wanted to take more time to review the Hinkley Point nuclear contract before the French utility’s board voted to approve the investment, he said in a letter to top executives. Board members at their meeting on July 28 were not informed that Britain planned to delay its decision on the $24 billion project to build the power plant in England, according to several sources with direct knowledge of the proceedings. In a letter emailed to EDF’s executive committee late on Tuesday this week, and reviewed by Reuters, Levy said that when he called the board meeting on July 21, he had done so with the go-ahead of the French state, which “had warned us that in light of her very recent arrival, the new British prime minister had asked for ‘a few days’ before deciding on the project”.
Reuters 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
The chief executive of EDF knew that the British government wanted to take more time to review the Hinkley Point nuclear contract before the French company’s board voted to approve the investment. Jean-Bernard Lévy, the chief executive of EDF, said in a letter to the company’s executive committee that when he called the board meeting on July 21 he had done so with the go-ahead of the French state, which “had warned us that in light of her very recent arrival, the new British prime minister had asked for ‘a few days’ before deciding on the project”.
Times 4th Aug 2016 read more »
City AM 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
French state-owned energy company EDF’s plan to build the first new nuclear plant in Britain for 20 years is being reviewed by the British government under the leadership of new Prime Minister Teresa May. If construction starts on the 3.2 gigawatt Hinkley Point C plant in 2019 as is currently envisaged, it would likely take at least a decade before it comes online and then it would provide around 7 percent of Britain’s electricity generation. The timeline of the project is outlined below.
Reuters 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
Directors have told the Financial Times they were not aware of the possibility of another delay when voting narrowly to approve it. But a letter sent on Tuesday night to the rest of the board by Jean-Bernard Lévy, the chairman and chief executive, claims he did know that a delay was coming. The letter, which has been seen by the FT, said: “Late on Wednesday evening, the 27th, we learned that the British prime minister was asking for a little more time, without putting in question the interest of the project, without saying what date the signature could take place, and that she would not communicate on the topic. “We therefore cancelled preparations for Friday’s ceremony in Somerset and the Chinese minister did not, in the end, take the plane for his imminent trip to Great Britain. “At the moment of the board’s vote on Thursday 28th afternoon, we thus knew that the ceremony wouldn’t be on the next day.” Seven board members voted against the plan last week, with one more having resigned just before the meeting in protest. Some of those members believe the vote might have gone the other way had they been aware of the potential that it could be delayed, and even cancelled, by the UK government. One senior EDF manager told the FT on Wednesday that the letter, which has been passed to the wider staff, has caused “uproar” at the company. He said: “We want to know why our chairman decided not to mention this to the other members of the board. On the contrary, they were told the British government was pressing for it to be signed so it could be immediately countersigned. This is quite amazing in terms of governance.”
FT 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
Hinkley Point descends into diplomatic row with China.
The Week 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
China’s official news agency has questioned the British government’s postponement of approval for the Hinkley Point nuclear power station, saying it cannot risk driving away Chinese investors. A commentary published by Xinhua, which is often seen as a reflection of official thinking, said China understood and respected Britain’s requirement for more time to think about the deal. “However, what China cannot understand is the ‘suspicious approach’ that comes from nowhere to Chinese investment,” it said. “The British government is actually running the risk of dampening the hard-won mutual trust with China,” Xinhua said. “For a kingdom striving to pull itself out of the Brexit aftermath, openness is the key way out,” it said. Theresa May, the prime minister, is understood to be concerned about the security implications of a planned Chinese investment in Hinkley and has delayed giving the £18bn (€21bn, $23bn) project the green light.
Nucnet 1st Aug 2016 read more »
Despite its friendly overtures, despite the pageantry of last year’s state visit and despite its money, China is not looking for friends. It is looking for people who will do what they are told. It is to be hoped that Theresa May will keep this in mind when the pressure starts to build over Hinckley point and the telephone calls begin.
Prospect 4th Aug 2016 read more »
There are reasons why Theresa May might harbour doubts about the Hinkley Point nuclear project — chiefly its unproven French technology and the high probability of time and cost overruns — but the fear expressed by her aide Nick Timothy that ‘the Chinese could use their role to build weaknesses into computer systems which will allow them to shut down Britain’s energy production at will’ sounds — even to a Sino-cynic like me — far-fetched. As I wrote here during President Xi Jinping’s visit last year, ‘The least sinister thing about the Chinese is their money. A ten-digit cheque… even from China National Nuclear Corporation… does not carry a ‘backdoor’ listening device.’ That said, we should stop kidding ourselves about the growing warmth of our economic relations with China, which was one of George Osborne’s propaganda themes. And we should ignore the Xinhua state news agency’s warning that the new Prime Minister’s apparent ‘suspicion towards Chinese investment’ threatens ‘the arrival of the China-UK golden era’. The truth is that to the Chinese we are a minor trading partner with some useful services to sell; we’re never likely to find them straightforward to deal with, or respectful of western concepts such as intellectual property and contract law.
Spectator 6th Aug 2016 read more »
Your short history of British nuclear power accompanying your extensive coverage of the Hinkley Point sudden vote face postponement (Mail, 29 July) wrongly described the Calder Hal plant at Sellafield ( then called Windscale) as “the world’s first full-scale nuclear power station.” Interestingly, the first – nominally commercial – reactor at Hinkley, the Magnox ‘A’ plant, was operated for military production purposes too. The first public hint came with a public announcement on 17 June 1958 by the Ministry of Defence, notably not the Ministry of Fuel and Power that oversaw the civilian nuclear programe – on: “the production of plutonium suitable for weapons in the new [nuclear ] power stations programme as an insurance against future defence needs…” in the Hinkley reactor. .
David Lowry’s Blog 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
Yesterday I was invited to speak on BBC Scotland’s breakfast show about the state of Hinkley after last Thursday’s dramatic halt. In a short debate along with Tony Blair’s former Energy Minister Brian Wilson, a big advocate of nuclear, we touched on why Theresa May pulled the plug on the deal at the 11th hour for ‘further scrutiny’. Is as reported, the problem not the cost but our PM’s unease at Chinese involvement in such a deeply important bit of national infrastructure? Or is it less a conspiracy more the avoidance of complacency, as Mrs May is looking to justify the huge price tag and our commitment to pay EDF a whopping £92 per MWhr for about 50 years? We won’t know until autumn but it is clear Hinkley is having a very troubled birth, if it ever does take its first steps! A decade ago we were told it would be providing power by 2017. When ELN started we expected it to be half built by now. And after redesigns, safety changes, investigations, resignations and endless controversy we are now looking at another delay, all of which is costing cash. If we could reduce our current energy use by a tenth in the next decade, which is totally possible with incoming demand side technologies, do we need a Hinkley and its 7% baseload capacity, at all? We know both National Grid, businesses and government are looking to increase how much energy we can save by changing both personal and working practices. Smart meters will change how we look at power use and the growth of EV transport could radically alter our view of renewable energy, which is at present so hard to store. Tesla boss Elon Musk’s huge battery factory (Giga-factory) in the US, is expected to revolutionise EV driving and with it energy storage as new batteries in cars will be able to store power generated by renewables at any time. If it works he plans to repeat the feat in Europe. Could the EV battery replace the need for the nuclear generator? I don’t know if any of this is going on in Mrs May’s mind. Is she thinking short term? Go for gas it’s cheap. Or is she thinking long term energy reduction? Perhaps she is worried about Chinese espionage? Or simply delaying an approval after she’s given it more considered thought.
Energy Live News 1st Aug 2016 read more »
Following publication today by Cumbria County Council of its full response to the NuGen Stage 2 Consultation on the Moorside project, Cllr Frank Morgan, Chair of Copeland Local Committee has reiterated the council’s concerns following a discussion at today’s Local Committee meeting. Cllr Morgan said: “The local committee recognise the enormous economic benefits associated with the NuGen investment proposed at Moorside but the response provided by Cumbria County Council has clearly identified in section 12 that there are serious deficiencies in the evidence behind these proposals which must be addressed by NuGen before this development can progress. “NuGen has a responsibility to ensure the necessary investment is made into the local infrastructure and community facilities in order to mitigate the impacts of their development. At the moment their Consultation document has insufficient information for anyone to assess the true impact of their proposals. We know there will be a significant call on local resources but without impact assessments, where and how this will appear is still an unknown. It is incumbent upon NuGen to clearly identify the impact of their development on the county’s road network, health services and skills availability and then work with us to put in place proper mitigation which will have a lasting benefit.”
RAAI 1st Aug 2016 read more »
Suffolk’s business leaders have expressed “deep concerns” about the Government decision to delay its final decision on Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Suffolk Chamber has written to Prime Minister Theresa May to condemn the hold-up as “unhelpful and counter-productive”, particularly in relation to the knock-on impact on the prospects for a new nuclear plant at Sizewell, and urged her to keep the time for reflection to “an absolute minimum”.
East Anglian Daily Times 4th Aug 2016 read more »
The decision to review the Hinkley Point C project presents an opportunity row back from the plans to build a new power station at Bradwell, a group campaigning for the complete and permanent closure of the Essex site has argued. The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has said the Government’s postponement of the Hinkley Point project in Somerset will have consequences for other nuclear projects in the queue, not least for Bradwell which was gifted last autumn to the Chinese in return for their support in shoring up French energy giants EDF. But if Hinkley goes, it is not clear whether it would take down Bradwell in its wake or whether the former nuclear site would rise as a “phoenix among the Hinkley ashes”, the group has said.
Essex Chronicle 3rd Aug 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.
EDF 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
The Visitor 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
Nuclear developers NuGen and Horizon have played down fears that scrapping Hinkley Point would derail the wider UK new-build programme, insisting their projects are not dependent on EDF’s getting the go-ahead. Industry experts have warned that confidence across the sector would be damaged if Theresa May pulls the plug on the £18bn project, especially given the French energy giant has already invested £2.4bn in Hinkley with unstinting Government support until now. But NuGen, which is jointly owned by Japan’s Toshiba and France’s Engie, said it would continue developing its project at Moorside in Cumbria “irrespective of the status of other developers’ plans”.
Telegraph 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Cumbria Trust Director Rod Donnington-Smith letter to The Times – there is currently no long term arrangement in place for dealing with the country’s already massive stocks of nuclear waste let alone any waste that a new generation of nuclear power stations will produce. No suitable location has been identified for a GDF. The Hinkley review provides an opportunity to re-assess the policy.
Cumbria Trust 4th Aug 2016 read more »
Britain faces nasty shock when global energy cycle turns.
Telegraph 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
A Slow Genocide of the People”: Uranium Mining Leaves Toxic Nuclear Legacy on Indigenous Land. The iconic Grand Canyon is the site of a battle over toxic uranium mining. Last year, a company called Energy Fuels Resources was given federal approval to reopen a mine six miles from the Grand Canyon’s popular South Rim entrance. A coalition of Native and environmental groups have protested the decision, saying uranium mining could strain scarce water sources and pose serious health effects. Diné (Navajo) tribal lands are littered with abandoned uranium mines. From 1944 to 1986, 3.9 million tons of uranium ore were chiseled and blasted from the mountains and plains of the region. More than 1,000 mines have closed, but the mining companies never properly disposed of their radioactive waste piles, leading to a spike in cancer rates and other health ailments.
Mining Awareness 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
Japan’s nuclear regulator says plans for terrorism-response facilities at the Takahama nuclear plant are the first in Japan to meet its requirements. New government regulations introduced after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident require nuclear plant operators to build standby control rooms at least 100 meters away from each of their reactors. The special facilities allow employees to retain control of a plant’s reactors even if main control rooms are destroyed by terrorists or in a plane crash. Officials at the Nuclear Regulation Authority confirmed that the plans for standby control rooms for the No. 3 and No.4 reactors at the plant are in line with requirements. They will soon issue formal approval for construction.
NHK World 2nd Aug 2016 read more »
Behind the Environment Ministry’s controversial decision to allow reuse of highly radioactive soil emanating from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in public works projects was an estimate that the reuse could cut the costs of reducing radiation levels of such soil by over 1.5 trillion yen, it has been learned. The estimate in question was presented during a closed-door meeting of the ministry in January and stated that reuse of radioactive soil generated from Fukushima decontamination work could cut the cost for purifying such soil from 2.9127 trillion yen in case the levels of radioactive cesium are reduced to 100 becquerels per kilogram to 1.345 trillion yen in case the cesium levels are cut down to 8,000 becquerels per kilogram. The estimate calls the latter option “reasonable from economic and social points of view.”
Mainichi 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
Renewables – small wind
On the back of the recent dramatic UK-govt. cuts in the UK FiT for small-medium scale wind turbines, there is now only one band that provides attractive returns given the right wind turbine in the right site – the 0-50kW band. One supplier, Orenda Energy, has been able to modify its 51kW wind turbine to become a 49kW wind turbine as a result of the flexible proprietary control systems that lie at the heart of its 51kW Skye Turbine, often the choice of landowners, farmers, investors and wind-parc developers.
Scottish Energy News 4th Aug 2016 read more »
Iceland may be a cold, hard place to live, but the locals sure have made the most of what they’ve got. The country runs on 100 percent renewable energy, thanks to its geothermal pockets and hydroelectric dams. Hello World’s Ashlee Vance paid a visit to the capital city of Reykjavik to see the next part of the green energy story. He found a startup called IceWind that has designed a wind turbine to perform well in low-wind conditions but also to slow itself in high winds to prevent it from catching on fire or ripping apart.
Bloomberg 21st June 2016 read more »
Renewables – Onshore wind
New study concludes there is ‘no overall relationship’ between tourism employment in an area and the deployment of onshore windfarms.
Guardian 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
The newly-formed Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is being urged to reverse a cut to renewable energy subsidy support which was initiated by its governmental predecessor the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC). DECC laid an amendment to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) before Parliament on 7 July, one week before the Department was abolished and replaced by BEIS. That amendment, which took effect on Monday (1 August), effectively reduces the financial support for many combined heat and power (CHP) systems throughout the UK. Biomass CHP plants that have a power efficiency lower than 20% will see a reduction in subsidy payments through the RHI scheme, which BEIS says will “close a loophole” in existing regulations. But neither DECC nor BEIS formally consulted with the industry on this amendment, angering trade associations and other industry stakeholders.
Edie 3rd Aug 2016 read more »
Orkney is a net exporter of electricity- but renewable generation is at times limited by the export capacity of the subsea cables to the Scottish mainland and between the islands. As a response to these limitations, Orkney has innovated. In 2009, the Islands became home to the UK’s first ‘smart grid,’ which uses a new Active Network Management approach to make better use of the existing network by instructing generators to control their output. Now, with help from Heriot-Watt University, Solo Energy – a new 100%-renewable energy supplier business operating in Orkney – is pushing ahead with the installation of large numbers of actively managed distributed energy storage assets in homes and businesses. Orkney has the highest proportion of households generating their own electricity of anywhere in the UK. Orcadians generate more than 100% of their total electricity needs from renewable sources and have pioneered the utilisation of renewables whether that be wind, wave and tidal and now they are looking at energy storage. Solo Energy – whose directors include mother-and-son Maureen and Simon Di Pietro from Ireland’s DP Energy – plans to create a demand-side energy storage network on Orkney, utilising battery storage technology in order to shift customers’ energy supply from periods of peak demand and peak wholesale energy price, to periods of peak renewable generation and low demand / low wholesale energy price.
Scottish Energy News 4th Aug 2016 read more »