EDF Energy will scale down plans to build a new generation of nuclear reactors in the UK unless the government fixes the price of carbon, its chief executive, Vincent de Rivaz, has warned. De Rivaz said that EDF’s business case to build four new reactors depended on a carbon tax or minimum carbon price being introduced. The government will publish a wide-ranging white paper this month detailing plans to meet the UK’s new carbon budgets. It is expected to discuss measures to prevent the carbon price fluctuating wildly. Two years ago prices fell to as little as 0.10 (£0.08) a tonne. Experts say that a far higher price – at least 60 (£51.40) a tonne – is necessary to make low-carbon technologies, such as nuclear power generation or carbon capture and storage, economic.
Observer 5th July 2009 more >>
Old Capitalism has long gone and has been replaced by New Capitalism, which is like the previous system, but without the risk of failure. Now businesses, like National Express, take on a venture like the railways, and make lots of profit from running it, but then when they stop making profits they hand the keys back to the government and walk off leaving all the losses with the taxpayer. The cost of decommissioning the last generation of nuclear power stations was around £100bn – paid for by us. It was the most expensive way of producing electricity since the Van Der Graaff generator. The next generation is going to be totally different. Private companies will build and operate super-efficient and totally self-financing nuclear power stations earning healthy profits. Except that, under the deal, when something goes wrong they’ll be handed back to the government. This is because the insurance costs are so high for these power plants that if the government hadn’t taken on the financial liability for nuclear disasters, the private operators wouldn’t have been able to make a decent profit. And, of course, the bulk of the decommissioning costs and the disposal of the nuclear waste, radioactive for a thousand years, will naturally be the taxpayer’s responsibility.
Sunday Herald 5th July 2009 more >>
John Hutton: As long as others have nuclear weapons that can be aimed at us, we must never give up the ultimate deterrent. There is a growing debate in the country about how Britain can best defend itself militarily in the 21st Century. A report last week by the Institute for Public Policy Research think-tank, questioning whether Trident nuclear submarines are a cost-effective way of maintaining the UK’s nuclear deterrent, is an example of this.
Mail on Sunday 5th July 2009 more >>
Russia, China and the US have all called for calm after North Korea test-fired a series of missiles. Seven Scud-type ballistic missiles with a range of about 500km (312 miles) were fired in an apparent act of defiance against the US, on 4 July.
BBC 4th July 2009 more >>
Sunday Telegraph 5th July 2009 more >>
The (Scottish) National Planning Framework gives government backing to 14 “national developments” in order to help fast-track their approval. They include “enhancements” to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Prestwick and Aberdeen airports, a new road bridge across the Firth of Forth and four possible coal or gas-fired power stations. But like all government projects, the plans have to be subject to a “strategic environmental assessment” by officials to gauge their impact on global warming. When this was done, seven of the 14 national development were rated as having negative effects. The most damaging were the four proposed airport improvements, which were all given double negative ratings, suggesting that they would lead to major or significant increases in emissions of carbon dioxide and energy use.
Sunday Herald 5th July 2009 more >>
More than 1,000 environmental protesters joined hands to form a ‘Mili-band’ around a power station today. Demonstrators, who encircled Kingsnorth Power Station, in Kent, are calling for Energy Secretary Ed Miliband to reject plans for a new coal-fired plant there. According to the World Development Movement, who took part in today’s demonstration, the environmental damage caused by the proposed E.ON plant could lead to100,000 more people in the developing world losing their water.
Times 4th July 2009 more >>