One of the new nuclear plants that Britain is relying on for energy security in coming decades has been plunged into doubt as Toshiba reviews the future of its crisis-hit nuclear power business. The UK government is bracing for the withdrawal of Toshiba from the Moorside project in Cumbria as the Japanese conglomerate faces a multibillion-dollar writedown stemming from losses in its US nuclear division. Toshiba said last week that it would “reconsider the future of the overseas nuclear business” and there is a growing acceptance within the UK government and nuclear industry that Moorside will need new backers if the project is to survive. The UK government has signalled its willingness to consider investing in nuclear power by entering talks with the Japanese government about financing for a different project led by Hitachi, another Japanese conglomerate, at Wylfa in Anglesey, according to people briefed on the discussions. Direct UK government financing would represent a big shift in policy; until recently Whitehall has balked at exposing public money to the high costs and risks involved in nuclear reactor construction. However, people involved in discussions with the government say Theresa May’s administration is more open to the idea as part of its wider ambitions to rebuild the UK nuclear supply chain and maintain energy security. This could be an opportunity for Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), the South Korean energy group, to offer its APR-1400 reactor as a replacement for the AP1000 model built by Toshiba’s US nuclear unit, Westinghouse. Some people in the nuclear industry said this was the best chance of salvaging the project if Toshiba quits because South Korea was already known to be keen on entering the UK nuclear market.
FT 4th Feb 2017 read more »
The ‘biggest nuclear construction project in Europe’ next to Sellafield in Cumbria is now hanging in the balance, writes Martin Forwood. With Toshiba fast sinking due to failed nuclear projects, and other members of the Nugen consortium getting cold feet, the project is facing collapse. The only alternatives are a Korean rescue – or making British taxpayers pick up the bill upfront.
Ecologist 3rd Feb 2017 read more »
The Government is being urged to step in and guarantee funding for a new nuclear power station after Japanese giant Toshiba said it was reviewing its investment in overseas nuclear projects. The GMB union said ministers should take urgent action to secure the development at Moorside in Cumbria. The future of the planned £10 billion power plant has been thrown into doubt after Toshiba said it was reviewing its overseas nuclear business. Toshiba owns Westinghouse, the American-based nuclear developer whose AP1000 nuclear reactors are set to be used at Moorside.
ITV 3rd Feb 2017 read more »
Why I’m standing for the Green Party in Copeland. Despite Jonathan and Caroline Lucas making it clear that Greens are always open to talking, no-one from Copeland Labour reached out to ask us not to stand, or to back their candidacy. Neither, for that matter, did the West Cumbria Liberal Democrats. So why aren’t the Greens taking the moral high ground and demonstrating how an alliance might work? Well, we considered it. Many members were conflicted about potentially splitting the progressive vote, so it came down to a few key issues. First and foremost is the elephant in the room – nuclear. A lot of misinformation has been spread about the state of nuclear power in Copeland. While many are suggesting an anti-nuclear stance will hurt jobs in the region, news outlets including the BBC keep suggesting there is currently an active nuclear power plant in Cumbria. Neither are true.
Left Foot Forward 2nd Feb 2017 read more »
Few chief executives are ever willingly prepared to put their companies into run-off. To do so seems an admission of failure. Yet is this not the best strategy for the oil giants BP, Shell, ExxonMobil et al? I ask this question not just for its shock value, but because it is the logical conclusion to draw from BP’s latest “Energy Outlook”. This highlights an increasingly self-evident fact; that despite one time predictions of “peak oil” and other such nonsense, the world is in fact overflowing with oil and other fossil fuel reserves. Today’s known resources dwarf likely consumption out to 2050 and beyond. As a commodity product, oil has to date been quite unusual in that it accommodates both low and high-cost producers. This is largely because supply is deliberately constrained by OPEC and others with an interest in eking out the resource’s income stream for as long as possible. A barrel of oil, it has long been thought, is worth more left in the ground than extracted. The now exponential growth of renewables threatens to challenge this established orthodoxy. Indeed, BP admits in its analysis that quite a bit of today’s known reserves will end up never extracted. The now exponential growth of renewables threatens to challenge this established orthodoxy. Indeed, BP admits in its analysis that quite a bit of today’s known reserves will end up never extracted – music to the ears of the green lobby. The implications are clear: oil producers should make hay while they still can, even at the cost of a resulting glut that depresses prices. In any case, there may be little point in developing new sources of supply, particularly at high cost. Rather, oil companies should be slashing their investment to virtually zero and handing the cash back to shareholders – either that or using their superior credit ratings to invest in renewables.
Telegraph 4th Feb 2017 read more »
The cost of keeping the lights on will more than triple next year through a new subsidy designed to keep energy plants running. UK energy consumers will be forced to pay £378m through their energy bills to support the Government scheme which offers contracts to power plants to guarantee that they will produce power. The contracts will be awarded to the a power plants which offered the lowest fees through a capacity auction which ended on Friday and will pay for 54GW of power at a price of £6.95 a kilowatt. The cost will dwarf the £120m price paid for a modest reserve bench of 3GW of power supplies for this winter, maddening critics who claim that millions of pounds will be paid to polluting power plants which would have been running anyway. Through the auction over 96pc of power will come from existing power plants and interconnectors while only 3pc will be sourced from new projects. A tiny minority of payments will be made to companies which reduce demand.
Telegraph 3rd Feb 2017 read more »
Coal-fired power generators were among the winners of contracts worth £378m to generate electricity next winter, highlighting the tension between government efforts to reduce carbon emissions and the need for energy security. Gas-fired power stations secured the biggest share of contracts — almost 40 per cent — in the capacity auction held by National Grid, the UK electricity system operator, to ensure adequate supplies during the winter months when demand is highest.
FT 4th Feb 2017 read more »
Labour has promised to place a cap on the prices charged by energy companies if it wins power. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell made the commitment to the BBC a day after Npower said it was raising electricity prices by 15% from March.
BBC 4th Feb 2017 read more »
A new pan-European nuclear group is being discussed after the UK’s decision to pull out of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) plunged the Brussels-linked group into disarray. Tim Yeo, a former energy select committee chair, told The Sunday Telegraph that he will unveil plans in the coming weeks to replace Euratom, after Brexit Secretary David Davis confirmed plans for Britain to quit the group once Article 50 is triggered. The exit could dash Britain’s hopes of co-operating in major international nuclear projects and delay the home grown Hinkley Point and Horizon plants while complicated new bilateral agreements are formed. Mr Yeo said the successor group to Euratom is envisaged as a wider Europe-based pro-nuclear club including the 27 European Union member states as well as countries outside the bloc that are also developing new nuclear power plants. The group could include the UK, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus and potentially Russia, Mr Yeo said. “The need for discussion is urgent because the enforcement of nuclear rules and safety regulation is extremely important across Europe. We absolutely need to address these legal questions,” Mr Yeo said. Britain’s Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) lobbied for the UK to remain in Euratom because it streamlines the movement of nuclear goods, people and services through a framework which governs safety standards. Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the NIA, said existing outside of Euratom is possible but will not be easy or straightforward, adding it is “something that will have to be done by governments”. The UK will need to come to new agreements with individual EU member states but also secure deals with third countries, including Japan, Canada and the United States, which all have nuclear co-operation agreements within the Euratom framework.
Telegraph 4th Feb 2017 read more »
HOLYROOD will hear a cross-party appeal to scrap Trident, ahead of a parliamentary debate on the issue this week. Twenty-nine MSPs have signed a parliamentary motion highlighting a study by the think-tank the Jimmy Reid Foundation arguing that Trident missile submarines at Faslane will not create any new jobs, but will only sustain the current workforce, at a cost of nearly £18 million per employee. It estimates the cost of renewing Trident to be £205 billion and says that a replacement programme would not lead to any jobs boost in Scotland. MSPs backing the call to scrap Trident include the SNP’s Mairi Evans and Christina McKelvie, Labour’s Neil Findlay and Elaine Smith, as well as Greens Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone.
Sun Herald 5th Feb 2017 read more »
Collapse imminent at Fukushima — TV: Officials find large section under reactor is “unstable… about to collapse” — “Bad, bad news… Time to reconsider that trip to the east coast of Japan”.
ENE News 3rd Feb 2017 read more »
Triple meltdown shock as Fukushima radiation SOARS to new high after six years.
Daily Star 4th Feb 2017 read more »
Express 3rd Feb 2017 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News: Swindon Council’s solar project construction underway; An innovative solar-linked battery storage project developed by Western Power Distribution is now up and running in Somerset; North Ayrshire Council has approved plans to investigate interest among its social housing tenants for the installation of solar PV on around 500 homes; Ayrshire mining community of Cumnock is poised to get become Scotland’s first carbon neutral town.
Microgen Scotland 3rd Feb 2017 read more »
One of the world’s biggest manufacturers of chemical and oil products has threatened the National Trust with legal action to force it to allow exploration for shale gas on its land. Ineos Shale, part of the Ineos Group, which is headed by the billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, is the country’s leading shale gas company. It has government licences that give it access to about 1m acres of potential shale gas reserves. These includes National Trust land at Clumber Park, near Worksop in Nottinghamshire.
Times 5th Feb 2017 read more »