A LEGAL challenge launched this week against the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear development has a ‘pretty high’ chance of success, a prominent energy lawyer has warned. The Austrian government has launched a legal fight against the European Union’s decision to approve a potential £17.6billion subsidy for the project, which would be funded largely by UK taxpayers. Dr Dörte Fouquet, an energy and competition lawyer with Brussels-based firm Becker Büttner Held, told the Guardian the chances of their success were ‘pretty high’, and stressed that any court case would take at least three years to complete. North Somerset and Sedgemoor stand to reap significant economic benefits should the build go ahead – with the former recently appointing a business liaison officer to help provide what North Somerset Council deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees described as ‘long-term employment, training and business opportunities’ for the district. However, Roy Pumfrey, from campaign group Stop Hinkley, said: “The demise of the development would be a blessing, freeing local communities from ties to a project which promises not only immense disruption in the short term, but also the long-term headache of storing highly radioactive nuclear waste for many years.”
Weston Mercury 3rd Feb 2015 read more »
The latest port to enter the annals of decline and fall, then rejuvenation, can be found in a badly silted corner of a Westcountry estuary which once saw large numbers of ships passing to-and-fro, but is now better described as a place where gulls go to be lonely. Combwich, on the River Parrett in Somerset, has fallen and risen from grace before – it was massively revamped during the building of both the first and second nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point. Now it is due to be refurbished once again as soon as the building of Hinkley Point C begins in earnest. Plans are in place for a freight and logistics facility which will be located to the south of village, and for the refurbishment and extension of the harbour known as Combwich Wharf to “accommodate a range of vessels”. “The wharf is to be refurbished to accommodate for the arrival of approximately 180 abnormal loads and other construction related goods for over a four-year period, including insulation material, plasterboard, doors, windows, electrical and electronic equipment,” says a report to the local authority. “A heavy lift berth will be required, alongside the abnormal load berth, that is capable of supporting a mobile harbour crane and unloading cargo onto land for forward transportation to the site.”
Western Morning News 3rd Feb 2015 read more »
Sedgemoor District Council has raised concerns of how a £128m community fund linked to Hinkley Point’s planned power station will be funded by government. The Community Benefit fund aims to benefit those affected by the nuclear build by boosting local amenities. There are fears though the government will re-direct the council’s business rates revenue to the fund instead of allocating additional funding. The government has not confirmed how the fund will be paid for.
BBC 4th Feb 2015 read more »
The licence for operations at Sizewell B nuclear power station has been renewed for a further 10 years. EDF Energy got the approval from industry regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation. Sizewell B was opened in 1995 and is due to operate until 2035, although EDF said this could be extended by 20 years. EDF still hopes to build a new power station, Sizewell C, on the site near Leiston.
BBC 4th Feb 2015 read more »
Demolition of the largest building at the obsolete nuclear power station Dungeness A is nearing completion. The 26 metre-high turbine hall is being knocked down as the site, which closed in 2006, is decommissioned and made safe. Sarah Saunders went along to watch as the building was torn down and spoke to Paul Wilkinson, Site Director and Andy Dyson, Demolition Engineer.
ITV 4th Feb 2015 read more »
There are 69 reactors under construction today – the largest number in 25 years – but only one is in a liberalized electricity market, writes Edward Kee. In the USA, two nuclear power plants operating in liberalized electricity markets recently closed for financial reasons. Other operating nuclear power plants in liberalized electricity markets face similar issues and may also retire early. Moreover, all new nuclear power projects in U.S. liberalized electricity markets are on hold or have been cancelled. The UK electricity market caused financial problems for British Energy prior to its sale to EDF. The difficulty in developing a new nuclear power project in the UK electricity market is demonstrated by the complex Electricity Market Reform program and controversial incentive package for Hinkley Point C. Are liberalized electricity markets incompatible with nuclear power?
World Nuclear News 4th Feb 2015 read more »
Highlands Against Nuclear Transport is holding a Public Meeting in Dingwall next Monday (9 February 2015 at 1930) to highlight concerns about the transport of nuclear waste in and around the Highlands. The meeting will include an input from John Finnie Independent MSP who will speak about. “Nuclear waste transport by rail through the Highlands by rail & by sea through the Minch – a responsible solution ? ” Nuclear waste is currently carried regularly by rail from Georgemas Junction, near Thurso in Caithness to Barrow in Cumbria with secrecy surrounding the movements and very little information available to local communities about the emergency procedures in place in the event of an accident or terrorist attack leading to releases of radiation. The next controversial plan is for nuclear fuel and waste (including unirradiated plutonium and highly enriched uranium). to be transported regularly by sea from Scrabtster to Barrow starting this year. These shipments pose a threat to fishing & aquaculture, tourism, the environment, wildlife and coastal communities along the route, which includes the dangerous waters of the Minches.
Highlands Against Nuclear Transport 25th Jan 2015 read more »
The coastal railway line from Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness is one of the most scenic in Britain. In places it runs at the foot of cliffs immediately above the water. That means it’s also one of the most vulnerable lines in the country, always at risk from the destructive power of the sea, or from rock falls, or from both. The tiny unmanned halt at Flimby, just north of Workington, is a bleak and windswept place in January. It’s also one of the most exposed stretches of the line – the track here runs almost at sea level right along the back of the beach, divided from it only by a low earth bank. And on 3 January last year, a few hundred metres south of Flimby station, the line ended up under water. Last year Network Rail spent £2.3m repairing the sea defences along this line. And as I interviewed those commuters, a deafening reminder of the line’s strategic importance came rumbling by – two heavy goods locos pulling a single wagon on which sat what looked like a nuclear flask. This is the line to the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield.
BBC 4th Feb 2015 read more »
The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) is drawing up a preliminary assessment for the geological disposal of spent nuclear fuel. Radioactive waste disposal programmes in UK and Japan are at a similar stage. In both countries, there is no agreed site yet, so the current emphasis is on drawing up a generic safety case and developing effective processes to engage with communities in order to select a suitable site. The development of a robust safety case for the direct disposal of spent fuel in Japan has taken on added urgency in the wake of public concern following the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Along with Dr Cristiano Padovani, RWM’s Senior Research Manager, from the UK, there were invited delegates from Sweden, the USA, Switzerland and Korea. Each chaired a feedback session examining different parts of the documentation, coordinating suggestions for enhancements to the programme. The results of these sessions will be used by JAEA to further refine their assessment. The global nuclear industry has a history of sharing insights and expertise, especially in the areas of waste management and disposal.
NDA 4th Feb 2015 read more »
The US small modular reactor (SMR) market is inching towards becoming a fully fledged part of the nuclear industry, the question is how can all this progress spur an SMR export market for US companies? Design and certification applications for SMRs are now ready to be reviewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as more ideas are being funnelled through from the drawing board, to being potentially considered for licensing. Barack Obama’s administration has continued to voice its support for SMRs, as part of the 2015 fiscal budget, plans for public-private programmes to develop small reactors were included. Recently the Department of Energy (DOE), announced a total of $12.5bn being allocated, for innovative nuclear projects through loan guarantee solicitations. Small modular reactors, which are 300 megawatts or smaller, are on the list of ideas that that DOE would like to facilitate.
Nuclear Energy Insider 28th Jan 2015 read more »
The group’s revenue for 2014, which was down 7.2% like for like, slightly exceeded the group’s expectations. The decrease is due to the deterioration of market conditions throughout 2014 and to an unfavorable basis of comparison, with non-recurring contracts in the Mining and Back End businesses having benefitted the year of 2013.
Areva 2nd Feb 2015 read more »
French nuclear group Areva warned on Monday that it expects to book a significant increase in provisions and writedowns of assets in its 2014 accounts.Areva did not specify what the provisions were for, but spoke of “certain new builds”. Areva has already booked billions of provisions on the much-delayed Olkiluoto 3 reactor in Finland, its only major new-build project.Areva also said it would write down industrial assets and increase provisions related to the decommissioning of nuclear installations.”Taken together, these items would significantly downgrade net income for the 2014 fiscal year in relation to June 30, 2014,” Areva said in a statement.
Reuters 2nd Feb 2015 read more »
A NUCLEAR expert who once helped with the clean-up operation following the Chernobyl disaster has become a director of a Derby-based engineering consultancy. Sue Hewish has joined Rodgers Leask to help the business expand in the nuclear sector. Mrs Hewish, who will head the firm’s new nuclear division, has 25 years’ experience working in the industry. She was originally a chemist in nuclear technology development, with an environmental focus on cleaning up sites.
Derby Telegraph 4th Feb 2015 read more »
There is some promise for nuclear: Projects in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee may yield the first new nuclear plants in decades. The industry and its advocates are touting new, safer reactor designs. In addition, thanks to a federal appeals court decision, utilities no longer have to add to the $30 billion burden of paying for the abandoned Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pressing hard for its rules to reduce carbon emissions, which would squeeze competing coal-fired plants. But on the flip side, Wisconsin, California, Florida and Vermont are shuttering aging nuclear plants, and some planned new ones have been shelved in Maryland, New York, Texas and Florida. Closing and decommissioning isn’t cheap — usually a billion dollars or more. As many as seven reactors in Illinois, Ohio and New York could close this year if not rescued by ratepayers.
Energy Collective 4th Feb 2015 read more »
ARGENTINIAN President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner revealed today that two nuclear plants will be built in Argentina with transfer of technology from China, calling the development a “gateway for the deepening of this strategic relationship.” She and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed 15 agreements covering travel visas, information technology, media, energy, space technology and finance.
Morning Star 4th Feb 2015 read more »
North Korea has threatened to destroy the United States with “precision nuclear strikes” in a statement which could have come straight from spoof film The Interview. Never known for measured rhetoric when dealing with its enemies, Kim Jong-un’s regime has delivered again by announcing America’s “final ruin.” President Barack Obama and his government were branded “gangsters” and the US described as a “cesspool” in the announcement.
IB Times 4th Feb 2015 read more »
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani berated the world’s nuclear powers Wednesday, saying atomic weapons had not kept them safe and reiterating that his country was not seeking the bomb.
Middle East Online 4th Feb 2015 read more »
On the first day of the sixth Conference of P5 Nuclear Weapons States hosted by the UK in London on the 4th and 5th February, Dods Monitoring has produced a briefing presenting the results of an exclusive poll of MPs on their views of the like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear deterrent. The briefing looks at the key findings, including a breakdown of political parties’ support for Trident. It shows how the nuclear deterrent could potentially become a point for any potential coalition negotiations, with smaller parties such as the SNP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru opposing the renewal and calling it a red line issue.
Politics Homes 4th Feb 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
The Solar Trade Association (STA) has revised its ’10 commitments’ for best practise for its members, to support the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) push for greater levels of local and community ownership. The eighth commitment will now read: “We will offer investment opportunities to communities in their local solar farms where there is local appetite and where it is commercially viable.” The STA states it is now best practice, where commercially viable, to offer local investment opportunities in solar farms such as bond offers, local authority partnerships or partnerships with legally constituted community energy groups.
Edie 4th Feb 2015 read more »
Renewables – tidal
Plans for the UK’s first tidal lagoon power project will get a boost on Thursday with the announcement that it has reached its target of raising £200m from two British institutional investors. Tidal Lagoon Power, a Gloucester-based renewable energy company, has won broad coalition support for its £1bn scheme to build a six-mile barrier in Swansea Bay in South Wales. The breakwater will be fitted with sluice gates and 16 turbines which would generate electricity as the tide comes in and as water is later released. The company faces weeks of tough negotiations to secure an agreement from the government on a guaranteed price for the energy produced over 35 years. The company will say it has raised £100m from InfraRed Capital Partners and another £100m from Prudential – with up to 26 banks ready to provide the £800m of debt to complete the financing. Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Tidal Lagoon Power, said the project could be built in less than three years and would last up to 120 years. As such, he argues the government should lengthen the period of support from the 15 years for wind farms to the 35 promised to EDF for its Hinkley Point reactor in Somerset. It is an argument that has so far been well received by ministers, despite the high level of subsidy being sought. The company wants a “strike price” of £168 per megawatt hour, compared with the £92.50 offered to EDF for Hinkley Point.
FT 4th Feb 2015 read more »
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has today (4 February) awarded 18 organisations £1.28m to help them reduce peak electricity demand, as part of the UK’s first ever Energy Demand Reduction (EDR) auction. Participants in the EDR pilot made their applications for a cut of the money based on how much energy they could save and at what cost. The funds went to businesses running projects – such as LED lighting or efficient motors – that could save energy in the cheapest way possible.
Edie 4th Feb 2015 read more »
The Scottish Government’s budget for 2015-06 contained a welcome £20 million surprise bonus to help tackle fuel poverty. This measure was not part of the earlier Budget figures but was part of the overall allocation of £114 million investment in energy-efficiency funding approved yesterday in Holyrood. There are currently around 900,000 households in fuel poverty in Scotland – about 40% of the total.
Scottish Energy News 5th Feb 2015 read more »
Landlords will be banned from renting out Britain’s draughtiest homes from 2018 in a bid to cut energy bills and carbon emissions. The new regulations are expected to help around a million tenants who are paying as much as £1,000 a year more than the average annual bill of £1,265 because of poorly insulated homes. Campaigners hailed the move as potentially the most significant piece of legislation in a generation aimed at improving the UK’s building stock, which is some of the oldest and leakiest in Europe. Ed Davey, the energy and climate secretary, will present the regulations in parliament on Thursday. They will force landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of hundreds o f thousands of homes currently rated F and G to a minimum of E by 1 April 2018 – or face being unable to let them until they improve the rating. Almost 10% of the UK’s 4.2m privately rented homes currently fall below the E rating.
Guardian 5th Feb 2015 read more »
A potential fracking political time-bomb has been revealed ticking away below the surface of the moratorium on unconventional drilling for shale gas which was announced last month by Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. For although the moratorium has prospective – rather than retrospective – effect, there are a number of live licence applications for unconventional shale gas exploration in the Central Belt being considered by the UK Department of Energy (DECC). These applications were made during DECC’s 14th round of onshore licensing – and before the Scottish Government’s moratorium. If the UK government decides to issue licences to such applications, this would spark a heated policy and powers debate between Holyrood and Westminster, as well as having significant impact on the development of the onshore gas industry.
Scottish Energy News 5th Feb 2015 read more »