A £25bn contract to build the UK’s first new nuclear power plant in 25 years is expected to be signed within weeks. Ministers in the Department of Energy and Climate Change have reached an agreement with the French energy company EDF to develop Hinkley Point C, near Bridgwater in Somerset, and are ready to approve the project after parliament’s summer recess. The Guardian understands that David Cameron and China’s president, Xi Jinping, are expected to sign the deal at a meeting in the UK in October. More than two thirds of the upfront investment costs for the controversial project will be provided by two Chinese companies. Beijing is keen to secure a greater stake in further nuclear power plants. Hinkley has faced growing criticism from energy experts, who have questioned the rising costs of the electricity it would generate and whether it is right to subsidise nuclear while cutting money to renewables.
Guardian 4th Aug 2015 read more »
Independent 4th Aug 2015 read more »
Reports that the government ‘is under growing pressure to abandon plans to construct the UK’s first nuclear reactor for more than 20 years’ feature in today’s newspaper round-up.
Planning Resource 4th Aug 2015 read more »
Will BBC4’s ‘Britain’s Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield’ give the public first and unprecedented access into Europe’s most complex nuclear site? Although claiming to be the first, it isn’t – as it was preceded by this 1989 “Inside Sellafield” Channel 4 documentary from CORE’s archives. In this 1989 ORIGINAL “INSIDE SELLAFIELD” ‘fly on the wall’ Channel 4 documentary, BNFL allowed unprecedented access to Sell…afield operations, mishaps, suspected foul play within the workforce. and the now unacceptable working conditions of radiation workers in plant B30. Addressing the BNFL workforce, of “the real threat to reprocessing”, Head of Sellafield, Alan Johnson continues “reprocessing is unnecessary. Many of our important customers would love to cancel their contracts at the drop of a hat. We won’t let them do that of course.” After previewing the upcoming BBC4 programme, Darren Ennis, Head of media relations at Sellafield Ltd said “I welled up with pride and I believe our workforce and wider West Cumbrian community will have the same reaction when they watch it.” CORE considers that, in contrast, Darren Ennis and the Sellafield Unions should well up with shame rather than pride that up to now ill health amongst those B30 workers has not been acknowledged and that those men are denied the compensation they so rightly deserve.
CORE 4th August 2015 read more »
Members of Unite at the site in Cumbria will stop work for two and a half hours from 5.30am tomorrow as part of a campaign to have a full-time union convenor. Picket lines will be set up outside the entrances as part of the action, which follows a work-to-rule and overtime ban launched last week. The construction workers, working for 15 sub-contractors, are pressing for the creation of a full-time convenor on the site which they maintain would improve industrial relations and help address health and safety concerns.
Express & Star 4th Aug 2015 read more »
The control room of a nuclear power plant has been dismantled and will be rebuilt in two national museums. The historic nerve centre of one of the most iconic landmarks of the far north – the “golf ball” dome at Dounreay – will first go on show next year at the Science Museum in London and later at the National Museums of Scotland. The Dounreay Fast Breeder Reactor (DFR) has been a feature of the Caithness coast for almost 60 years. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has recommended that the DFR be decontaminated by 2022 so it can then be demolished.
Aberdeen Press & Journal 3rd Aug 2015 read more »
A technical consultation which seeks input on the scope of the Appraisal of Sustainability and approach to the Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Government’s (to be developed) draft National Policy Statement on geological disposal facility infrastructure.
DECC 4th Aug 2015 read more »
British public support for nuclear power and shale gas has fallen to its lowest ever level in a long-running official government survey, which has also briefly ceased polling showing widespread public support for renewable energy. Nuclear and fracking for shale gas are key planks of the Conservative government’s energy policy, but the polling published on Tuesday shows just one in five people now support shale gas and one in three support nuclear.
Guardian 4th Aug 2015 read more »
Subsidies for fossil fuels amount to $1,000 (£640) a year for every citizen living in the G20 group of the world’s leading economies, despite the group’s pledge in 2009 to phase out support for coal, oil and gas. New figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show that the US, which hosted the G20 summit in 2009, gives $700bn a year in fossil fuel subsidies, equivalent to $2,180 for every American. President Barack Obama backed the phase out but has since overseen a steep rise in federal fossil fuel subsidies. Australia hosted the most recent G20 summit, where prime minister Tony Abbott was forced to reaffirm the commitment to the phase out, but it still gives $1,260 per head in fossil fuel subsidies. The UK, which is cutting renewable energy subsidies, permits $41bn a year in fossil fuel subsidies, which is $635 per person. In contrast, Mexico, India and Indonesia, where per capita subsidies average $250, have begun cutting fossil fuel support. “The [new] figures reveal the true extent to which individual countries are subsidising pollution from fossil fuels,” said Lord Nicholas Stern, an eminent economist at the London School of Economics. “The failure to reflect the real costs of fossil fuels in prices and policies means that the lives and livelihoods of billions of people around the world are being threatened by climate change and local air pollution.” “In particular, these figures reveal that the G20 countries are wasting trillions of dollars each year on subsidies for fossil fuel pollution,” Stern said. “It is time for the G20 to recognise that the extent of subsidies is far greater than has been previously understood, and to honour their commitment.” Stern criticised the UK government’s recent attacks on renewable energy subsidies: “The government should remember that if it wants to cut the subsidies for low-carbon energy, it should cut the subsidies for fossil fuel pollution that are at the core of the problem for which clean technology is the sensible and attractive solution.”
Guardian 4th Aug 2015 read more »
The EU, much famed in previous years for its promotion of global climate change abatement treaties and its installation of renewable energy, is heading for ‘laggard’ status in the global drive for clean energy. Until a few years ago the bulk of renewable energy installed in the world was sited in the EU. But now the proportion is falling quickly. In 2014 only a quarter of new wind power capacity and only a fifth of new solar pv capacity was installed in the EU. That proportion seems certain to fall significantly in the next two years. The UK’s renewable programme is being mostly abolished, in Spain windfarms have already stopped being installed and Germany has decided to strangle its once impressive solar pv programme.
Dave Toke’s Blog 4th Aug 2015 read more »
The question being posed by western intelligence services is: what will Isis do next? It may be partly answered by an article on dirty bombs in a recent issue of the group’s glossy magazine Dabiq. Such a bomb isn’t particularly ingenious, it’s not even a nuclear device — it packs high explosive together with radioactive material. Flown in a light plane and crashed into a western transport hub, it would be unlikely to cause mass casualties, but it would paralyse cities, spread fear and distract from actions planned elsewhere. Dabiq might be openly discussing such weapons to highlight that it is in the market for, or in possession of, radioactive material. Similar reports are coming out of eastern Ukraine. Russian specialists there have reportedly shifted radioactive waste from a secure bunker at the Donetsk state chemical plant to a rebel military base. One commander has boasted to his troops that they will soon have an “atomic weapon”. Dirty bombs, because of their radioactivity, carry a certain menace, even though conventional bombs are probably bigger killers. Their true power is the ability to confuse, to draw international attention and heighten tension between nuclear states.
Times 5th Aug 2015 read more »
A multibillion-euro rescue package that Areva has struck with EDF will transform the two French nuclear companies’ strained relations, according to one of the senior figures involved in the negotiations. “The deal will force a close co-operation, I am sure of this,” says Philippe Varin, the chairman of Areva who is also an EDF board member, in a Financial Times interview. But the damage done by infighting between EDF and Areva was most notable in bids to build nuclear power plants. For example, in 2009 petty discord between the two companies was blamed for neither winning a reactor contract in Abu Dhabi. Instead, it went to a market newcomer. Some analysts are sceptical that Areva and EDF can consign their strained relations to the past with the new rescue package.
FT 4th Aug 2015 read more »
Yesterday, an amazing thing happened. Yes, President Obama released the first real climate action policy in the U.S. ever. But that’s not all. The incredible thing—the one that will be most important in the years to come—is … they got it basically right. Including on nuclear power. President Obama just made it the policy of the United States that nuclear power is not a viable climate solution. And not just that, but renewable energy can replace nuclear power just like it can replace fossil fuels. This is a game-changer, both for reducing carbon emissions in the US, and for discrediting the deceptive Nuclear Matters bailout campaign. What is more, going into December’s global climate treaty negotiations in Paris, the U.S. government just declared that we are moving forward, and we are going to do it with renewables, not nuclear.
Green World 4th Aug 2015 read more »
Seventy years after the US dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 15,000 miles away in Brazil, a group of bomb survivors known ashibakusha campaigns against the use of nuclear energy. Brazil has nuclear energy capabilities – but thehibakusha argue that there is no practical way of disposing of radioactive waste.
Guardian 4th Aug 2015 read more »
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday that Israel “has begun a diplomatic campaign to thwart a resolution to subject its nuclear facilities to international supervision.” The newspaper added that the draft resolution, which was submitted at International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is supported by Egypt, Jordan and other Arab and Islamic countries. The newspaper noted that a senior official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry expressed his fears that the deal with Iran would make it difficult for Israel to deal with such a demand.
Middle East Monitor 4th Aug 2015 read more »
Individual members of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) will join with Mayors for Peace members in the UK and Ireland and around the world to commemorate the 70 h anniversary of the nuclear weapon attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which occur this week. The August 6th and August 9th 1945 attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki devastated each city and led to the deaths of over 200,000 people. They remain testament to the hugely destructive power of the atom bomb.
NFLA 4th Aug 2015 read more »
On the morning of 6 August 1945 an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. US chief of staff Admiral Leah felt “we had adopted an ethical standard common to that of the barbarians of the Dark Age”. But no medieval despot could have inflicted the carnage that followed. Within seconds, 60 percent of the city was wiped off the face of the earth. The death toll reached 140,000—in a town of 350,000. Three days later another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing half its population. The nuclear attacks were, and are, justified as the only credible military option. But Japan was in no position to continue the war. Even before the attack Japan’s rulers were prepared to surrender.
Socialist Worker 4th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
Schools, hospitals and businesses – with lots of roofspace – could miss out on solar power. Help us stop the Government from sabotaging the UK’s most popular renewable energy. A great policy with a boring name – pre-accreditation – helps bring renewable energy to schools, hospitals and businesses. The Government wants to shut it down. But it’s holding a consultation first. So we must act fast. Tell the Government to support the growing renewable industry – and to make it easier to install rooftop solar, not harder.
FoE 3rd Aug 2015 read more »
While the UK w-industry struggles with the after-shock of the decision by the UK government to accelerate and reduce subsidies for onshore project, the UK solar energy sector now aims to become the first fully subsidy-free renewable power industy. Already, ground mounted solar power is set to reach “grid parity” by 2020. And although rooftop solar is following closely behind, it needs a stable UK policy environment to achieve the cost reductions necessary, according to the most authoritative report to date on the future of solar power industry. The report has been launched by the UK’s largest renewable trade body – the Renewable Energy Association – and business advisory firm KPMG following the announcement of the consultation on the closure of the RO for solar as well as a forthcoming consultation on Feed-in Tariff.
Scottish Energy News 4th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – wind
A family-owned firm has erected a large wind turbine on a site in Shetland acquired from Scottish energy giant SSE. Shetland Aerogenerators, operators of the 15-year-old Burradale Wind Farm, one of the most productive in the world, has put up a 3MW Enercon machine at Luggie’s Knowe near Lerwick.
Scottish Energy News 5th Aug 2015 read more »
The purple prototype is, Hampton hopes, a step towards his vision of scores of huge kites flying over the sea in formation and generating clean, affordable electricity. The test site for Kite Power Solutions (KPS) is an apt one for technology innovation, with the disused airfield lying in the shadow of one of the UK’s first nuclear power stations at Bradwell, and a few flat fields away from new wind farms whose blades turn slowly in the gentle breeze. But, huddling behind a second world war pill box to observe the latest test flight, Hampton admits his motivation to found the company was more for the technical challenge than environmental awareness. He spent 18 years working in the exclusive super-yacht industry, creating the bespoke equipment that billionaires dream up for their huge boats.
Guardian 4rg Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – wave
The Scottish Government-funded Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has allocated £7m to 16 wave energy developers to help them commercialise their technologies. Contracts ranged from £78,000 for concept optimisation, up to £2m for later stage prototype development. This is the first round of contracts awarded by WES – a Scottish Government-funded organisation, set up last year to support the development of wave energy technology. Projects that received funding included feasibility studies for adapting technology from the wind and automobile sectors, and finding more efficient ways of converting wave energy into electricity.
Edie 4th Aug 2015 read more »
Southend Council has become the first local authority in England to secure finance from the UK Green Investment Bank to replace its existing street lights with lower energy alternatives. The Edinburgh-based bank is providing funding of £8.2m alongside a grant of £5.1m from the Department for Transport as part of a £13.5m programme of refurbishments that will see 14,000 lanterns and around 4,000 other pieces of illuminated street furniture, replaced with energy-saving LED alternatives. The council believes that the installation of LED street lighting will pay for itself through savings of around £25m over 25 years, with the new LED lights using 55% less energy than the existing stock
Scottish Energy News 5th Aug 2015 read more »